The past few months have been full of introspection. For the first time, the world seemed to slow down and allow me to bask in my thoughts. Merriam-Webster defines introspection as: "a reflective looking-inward; an examination of one's thoughts and feelings." As an empath, my feelings and the environment become a fluid interchange. I have a vital concern for others at an unbreakable depth, and yet my emotional empathy and capability to self soothe is deeply repressed due to childhood conditioning. My depression the past few months guided me into a profound transformation that changed my life for the better. I sometimes become a stranger to my own emotional experience, so I learned to use my solitude to create my own paradise to retreat into.
Over the past few weeks, life as we know it has taken a plot twist. Between the global quarantines and the fear-based media lies our sanity gasping for air. What if I told you you could escape within yourself, and there was a silver lining? I want to change the way you view this new norm; see it as a blessing and less of a curse.
I was in the 5th Grade at P.S.6 running in the gym, and the gym teacher pulled me aside. She asked me if I wanted to run for Colgate Woman’s Games & after asking my grandmother, I joined the team. It was only five races a year, but it made me feel excellent inside. I remember looking at my grandma before the gun went off at the starting line; her eyes were different. The way my grandma looked at me changed, I can’t describe how she looked in words, but it was like she saw hope in me. I decided to keep running, and in 2005 I moved from Brooklyn, NY to Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. I was the shyest girl you could ever meet. I was the youngest in all my classes; I sat in the back, hidden with a mouth full of metal & I hardly spoke, and my grades for D’s and F’s. Later in life, I discovered I was dyslexic, and it went undiagnosed. As a child, I could go days without speaking because I stuttered horribly and had to leave P.S. 91 to go to P.S. 6 due to bullying.
I knew I had a purpose, but why did I feel like cellophane? I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in the early '90s between the dope dealers on Flatbush and the Haitians playing dominos on Church Ave. My mother got pregnant with me at fifteen years old, and my father was shot and killed three days after my first birthday. Growing up in Brooklyn was rough; however, I made the most of it. No matter how turbulent things were, I always found my silver lining, and I didn't give up. When I was nine, I ended up homeless with my mother, and I experienced hunger for the first time. Twenty-nine years of profound experiences gave me the grit to make something of my life and share my story to inspire other women.