I remember feeling like an outcast most of my life. Not feeling love. Not feeling like love was something I was worthy of since It didn’t seem like I could give it myself. I fell in love with a boy when I was 14 and one day while sitting in the car with him talking, I remember him saying to me “I really think you should stop expressing your feelings because no one really cares and quite frankly, they’re pretty annoying.” 

I remember that moment. Heartbroken. 

You see because of the dynamic of my upbringing (Dad working and gone all the time) I never really got to see my parents interact and my dad never really told me how a boy should treat me…So at 14, I just accepted what he had said to me. 

You can only imagine what happened from that moment forward. I kept everything to myself. Afraid that I would say the wrong thing and accidentally “annoy” someone. Anxiety flooded my life like a hurricane. I was always anxious…but this was different. I went long stretches of keeping my emotions in and not saying anything to anyone about anything. As time went on anxiety turned into depression and today I look back to find I spent 13 years of my precious life battling depression. Lots of dark times, times of sorrow, grief, disbelief, and sadness. My family life was falling apart and I wanted to be the child that my parents could be proud of. I fought hard to do that but I was dying on the inside.

It wasn’t until health and fitness came into my life that things very slowly started to change. I started to learn how to take care of myself both physically as well as what I was consuming through food. Both things seemed to help me overall. As I walked into bodybuilding competition after the competition I couldn’t believe how far I had come. I was dating a new guy at this point in my life and I was happy. We were engaged to be married and I felt excited about my future. 

Just a few months later the engagement was ended and I was graduating from college. I decided to move away to do my internship as there was nothing keeping me in the area at that time once that situation was said and done with. 

So here I was: New Job. New City. No longer a student. No longer engaged. Bought a car. Leased an apartment. 

Everything was new in my life and I felt like a walking tornado. I couldn’t decide if I had made the wrong move and sometimes wanted to kick myself. But I persisted. 

7 months later the business I was working for went under. Bye Bye income. 

Moved again. New job that was commissioned came into place. New apartment. New city. New people.

I worked that job, started my own business, learned how to be a business partner, recovered from a binge eating disorder, and many other things. But still, I persisted. 

Today I stand married to the same man who proposed to me way back many many years ago. We are happy and our life is full of abundance. I have tried a ton of different businesses including building my own from the ground up. 

If there’s anything I can emphasis throughout this story its the beauty of persistence. Every day I showed gratitude, intention, affirmation and set goals for the next thing. I learned to love myself and in turn, could love people. I realized that all of those years of depression allows me to help others going through the same thing I was battling. I learned that maybe all the hard times really are just learning lessons for our future. 

Persisting through hard times despite how I felt is what brought me to my feet today and is what makes me who I am as well as how strong I am. Life gets crazy and hectic sometimes. But even in all of your doubts, sadness, disbelief or whatever it is you’re facing. Persist on and things will get brighter. Thank you for reading my story.

Our #RiseToConfidence Campaign is about giving women the opportunity to anonymously share their experience of losing confidence and feeling down because of others in their lives and how they rose above it. With each story, we hope to increase female empowerment and positive leadership in a respectful, impactful and influential way!

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