When I was still in elementary school, and before gymnastics got serious I was an angry child. I was angry at everything and I didn't know why, I just knew I felt nothing was in my control. Looking back I realized my mother recognized this in me. That recognition coupled with a desire to know I could protect myself encouraged her to enrolled me in After School Karate.
I loved the outlet but what really kept me coming back was the understanding and self help it brought me before I could seek it out consciously myself. At the end of every class we were sent home with excerpts that taught us about looking within and being mindful. Karate was the first time I was introduced to the concepts of mindfulness and how your mentality ultimately shapes your reality.
One of my favorite readings was one that talked about acknowledging ourselves as mirrors. Back then I felt the statements gravity but did not really realize how deeply understanding that concept could affect me. As I mature and grow in self love I realize just how true the concept really is in crafting your existence. When you realize that what you project determines what you attract, you also realize that you can teach the world through example.
I rested this concept in the back of my mind for most of my life, getting hints of it here and there, but when I moved to Los Angeles I had no choice but to face it. I came to LA knowing my purpose and asking God to help me remain true to it. What God did was make 2017 the year I truly and deeply looked into myself in order to better understand myself and then become my best self. The people I met forced me to look in the mirror literally and figuratively. In all of my genuine connections I had to be mindful of who these people were inately and what that meant for the how they navigated the world. Though my first few meaningful connections would become some of my best friends I was also confronted with pieces of myself that I was not aware had not completely healed.
My mirrors, even the ones who cannot articulate it consicely are moving towards their "why" on a daily basis. I see myself in them as the pieces of myself I both I love and hate. I see my potential and I see my light when they confront me.
Knowing this, and knowing my propensity for connection I have begun to be more mindful of the things my mirrors are constantly showing me. I learned the most last year from the mirrors who showed me pieces of myself I do not want to project, mainly the victim mind and the fearful mind. I learned the repercussions of not properly navigating being confronted with these mentalities in the mirrors who'd succumbed to the dark side of themselves. I looked into these mirrors and saw their light dying to shine but overshadowed by all the things they themselves could not face. This confrontation caused me to speak out, and take action to demand change. The result was change, but it was dramatic and drastic. Most of all it was something those around me were not ready for.
In this, I learned that there are times when your presence and actions are more beneficial for those around you than immediate action or even words. Though I was not wrong for standing up for those who could not, I also know that I am not to actively seek to save but instead to empower. Those mirrors taught me more with their dark side than I have learned about myself ever. For that I am thankful, but those mirror also emphasized for me how important balance is to my mental health. I was wrapped in them when I began molding myself to their needs and neglecting my purpose. In trying to be everything for them I was creating with all the right intention but not the right connections. I kept excusing their faults and dragging them to higher plains but the issue with that is I was fighting battles they needed to fight for themselves. Being wrapped up in those connections was debilitating. It forced me to look inwardly for the energy they depleted daily. I would not have made it through the experience had I not already known and come back to my why and purpose. Realizing that we simply were not in alignment allowed be to not only step away form these people but it also allowed me see the situations with clear eyes and reminded me that my "why" gave me strength greater than anything they could throw at me.
These mirrors reemphasized why empowering with my existence is so important to who I am. The legacy I plan to leave behind is one filled with leaders driven by purpose, progress, and love, not ones who cannot look past their pain long enough to recognize the destruction it causes. Ultimately, I cannot expect to be a leader in this sense if I do not LIVE what I preach.
"Hurt people hurt people," This is a simple complexity that everyone should face. I hope to help raise a generation who feels empowered to rise above their pain with an understanding that who they wish to be is exactly who the world needs and the only way to achieve that is to become the best version of yourself, unhindered by where they've been only driven by it.
It is simple complexities like this that keep it all in perspective and keep me on my toes.