“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in two or three decades.” Tony Robbins
After writing last week’s post titled, “Dear Michelle” a few things happened. In addition to transcending old agreements that were governing my life to new ones, I discovered more about my then Modeling Scout (Gus Castaneda) and his success, including being the trainer/coach for Lupita Jones, Miss Universe 1991. Looking at pictures of what could have been, uncovered old wounds which blew in a wind of depression. The idea that perhaps I could have been crowned Miss Universe sunk me like an anchor of lost possibilities.
I packed my bags and did what I always do when I’m feeling bad, (no, not drink, well, sometimes) I went to visit my girls. I first spent the day and night with my youngest daughter Priscilla and her Sheba Inu Pepper. I was happy to be with them and avoided thinking or talking about the subject.
The following day, I visited and spent the night with my daughter Brontë and her Husky Tapioca (yes, like tapioca pudding). (I swear both Pepper and Tapi know I’m their grandma!) I continued to avoid the subject of feeling bad with the smile and laughter of my girls, that is until the pain showed in my body. I tossed and turned all night, woke up and felt tired; my back hurt, my shoulder hurt, and my eyes were full of tears. As I attempted to blame the mattress for my ailing mood, I paused and asked myself, What’s this really about? Why am I sad? Brontë then interrupted my thoughts and said, “I don’t know what’s going on with me Momma. I just have a fuck you attitude.” We both started laughing. “I was at work yesterday and I was in a horrible mood. I don’t know mom….I don’t know…it’s not that I’m not grateful. I am so grateful for my job and my lifestyle, it’s just that I want to be working in what I want to do and that’s it.”
She nailed my exact sentiment. After publishing my post, I went from feeling euphoric to disappointed, to angry, to sad and then finally depressed to the point where I didn’t want to be around anyone. I got home, put my things away, changed and did everything but meditate or read. I could not quiet my mind. I threw in a load to wash, then another, picked up a broom, swept the garage, separated the recycling items, smashed the aluminum cans, hosed down the trash cans, cooked, borrowed a shovel from the neighbor, shoveled dirt from in front of the garage under the scorching sun for about an hour, showered and eventually, fell asleep. It was all I could do to keep myself from falling into further depression.
When I opened my eyes on Friday morning, I said out loud, You can either sit here and continue to feel sorry for yourself, or you can get up and do something about it. Knowing that I needed help, I turned to Anthony Robbins. In his documentary currently airing on Netflix, I Am Not Your Guru, director Joe Berlinger, catalogs footage of Robbins both behind the scenes and throughout the six-day event, A Date With Destiny. Within the first minute of pressing play, I was sobbing. I felt as if the first young man Robbins was speaking with was my Avatar. His eyes became my eyes, his pain became my pain, and I felt as if Robbins stood before me saying, “I know you right now. And you have a lot to give. Can you feel me?” I nodded, Yes. “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in two or three decades. So don’t fuck it up. There’s time.” I laughed and better than that, I believed.
I continued to watch, participate, cry, jump, roar, cry some more, raise my hands and then an epiphany came with the final exercise. Attendees were asked to get in a group of four and say, “I” (name) “see, hear, feel and know that I am…” (and then you fill in the blank). It was wonderful to see a young woman by the name of Dawn call herself out, and look to her group and say, “Guys, what am I missing?” Her newly adopted uncle corrected her with passion. That happened with each group.
Again, sobbing, I said my own statement, “I Michelle, see, hear, feel and know that I am Decisive.” Blah! Lame! I knew I didn’t mean it. Delete. I tried again. “I Michelle, See, Hear, Feel and Know that I AM LOVED!” Oh my God! I Am Loved, yes, I am loved. (If my sweetheart would have walked in, he would have seriously thought I was losing my mind.) I repeated the sentence over and over and over again and exhaled a sound like no other that I have ever released.
Yes, it’s true. My childhood dream was to be a super model, a possible Miss Universe, a lawyer, a judge, a writer, a singer, a songwriter, but in that moment, I realized, all of those things were careers; something I wanted to do. What I wanted, really, really wanted more than anything since I was a little girl was to feel loved. That love first came through my maternal grandmother (Mamá Jovita) who nurtured me with warmth, then through our elderly neighbor (Mrs. Bell) who treated my sister and me as if we were her own granddaughters.
Love infused my core with the arrival of my children. Self-love rose as I became a single mother. Romantic love (I’m with you even though sometimes you can be a crazy-ass Latina but is strong enough to place boundaries) came with my Sweetheart, BFF non-judgment love came through Noemi (aka Mi Vieja). And an innumerable amount of love from my family that I could write a book in itself.
All of this love combined is the kind of love that has your back at all times, that will defend and protect you even when you don’t ask them to, that will sit and listen to the same story a million times like it is was the first, the kind of love that inspires you to rise and recreate yourself. Greater self-love that reveals the truth; You are home, complete, fulfilled, whole and secure. The kind of love that mirrors the love of God.
In one of my favorite classic movies, “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring James Stewart as George Baily and Donna Reed as Mary Hatch, a dialogue opens with the heavens assigning an angel by the name of Clarence (who hasn’t yet received his wings) to go down to earth to help George. “What’s wrong with him? Is he sick?” Clarence asks, “No worse, he’s discouraged.” While at a bridge, George wishes that he were never born. His wish is granted, and life as he knows it ends. Everything he loves was taken away including his home located on 320 Sycamore. The worse it gets, the more George realizes that he had a wonderful life and he wishes to live again. (Dear reader: If you’ve never watched this film, make time for it. If you haven’t seen it since you were a kid, watch it again. It’s beautiful.)
Perhaps an angel by the name of Clarence didn’t come down to visit me, but like the title of Tony Robbins event, I had a Date with Destiny. I was able to look into my past and heal it. If given the opportunity to choose between a crown and my children, without a doubt, I would choose my children. If one single event changed from my past, my life as I know it would cease to exist.
If you could change your past would you? Take out a journal…record events of your life. Don’t hold back. I know, sometimes it’s hard. Work through it. Seek help. (There are a vast amount of books, teachers, seminars to help guide you.) Think about the things you say you want. Is that what you really, really want or is it something you want to do? Perhaps you are like me, and already have what you long for. Pause and look at your surroundings. Take it all in. Isn’t it beautiful? Look into the eyes of those you share your life with…really look, can you see love reaching for you? Accept it and say, “Thank you, for sharing your love with me.” Look into your own eyes and see the love of God.
As far as a career is concerned…as Robbins says, “There’s time.” We have an old Spanish adage, Hay Más Tiempo Que Vida (there is more time than life). There are no limitations except for the ones that we place on ourselves. My mom said to me this week, “Mija, it’s never too late. You can still model.” (I smiled.) Maybe sometime in the future, I will. Right now, there’s nothing more that I want to do than write. Writing is what I crave. It is my calling. It is my creative expression, a platform by which I can share my story and hope that you may see yourself in me. Together, we can heal our past, be present in each moment, allow Life to guide us, raise our standards, take action, fulfill our purpose on earth; above all else, love one another. And as we walk the globe, know with every breath, that we truly have been given a wonderful life! Now let’s go live it.