I was the short, overweight, four-eyed, in-her-imagination kid and teen who never felt they belonged anywhere. Friendships and loyalties, even strong family bonds have been fleeting and fragile all my life, but not for lack of wanting or trying. It turns out it was a lack of understanding. Understanding how the mistakes of my earliest caregivers and mentors set me off looking for something that I wouldn’t ultimately find in someone else. The understanding of how hurt people can hurt people, and no two people come from the same place or journey the same way at the same time. The understanding that some people are truly special because they are conscientiously kind to others, even though they have themselves been hurt. This something was much closer and easier to obtain than I could have imagined until recently.
A very special person came into my life under the simplest, non-suspecting circumstances for a period that to me seemed far too short. They helped me with so much awareness of myself and what it means to love unconditionally. I would have never suspected that such people exist who could, without knowing and without really trying, heal such a variety of emotional wounds, from many people and situations that I had allowed to shape me and my self-concept so dishearteningly. For years I had wondered if I was ready to or had in fact, accomplished forgiveness of certain people for hurting me. I was already aware that I wanted healing but until I met this special person, the process felt incomplete and the sadness or anger would return in degrees and certain relationships never seemed to improve.
A perfect stranger turned into a friend and loved into me an awareness that I was beautiful inside and out. I was in awe that this perfect love I had chased and struggled with and never received was now mine. I began to forgive and reframe many old hurts from a place of unconditional love, like the one that was now being given to me. I began to take care of myself and feel truly beautiful, smart and appreciated. I trusted so implicitly and thought so highly of this person, who cared so beautifully for me, how could I not think highly of the person they thought highly of...myself? Part of my journey was learning about co-dependency and uncovering its roots in my story and changing toxic scenarios and relationships not just for my sake, from a space of unconditional love and a recognition that hurt people hurt people. I played a role that I hadn’t realized I was cast in and accepted only to become the most convincing actress; a willing participant of manipulative conditioning. One that I will never stop trying to defeat for the sake of mine and my children’s health and happiness.
As had been my guess based on the powerful feelings and changes taking place from this special person’s active presence and love in my life, our physical connection was only temporary. It has been difficult, as a truth seeker, to not have such a loving and illuminating presence with me. I cherish the memories and more so the knowledge that the relationship instilled in me. The wonderful thing is that love, and the things done in love, never really go away. There are times when I want to let myself slip…back to old ways of not being loving to myself…days when I struggle to respect the lesson that I do not need to give care to or save people from their own choices or equate having certain people in my life as a sign that I am valuable. Robbing someone of an opportunity to learn a genuine lesson…to prevent them from a journey, possibly like my own, goes against everything I’ve been through and stand for.
This experience has inspired me to dig deep and think about who I’ve been, who I am and who I will be. It is an opportunity for me to see myself both through my own eyes and the eyes of the one(s) who love me. It has shown me that it is not the opinion of others that makes my beauty, talents, strengths and gifts true…they just are.
The fact that I don’t celebrate them nearly often enough does not erase them. Having just turned 40 I feel that it is time to put focus onto my inner and outer beauty, in individuality, and celebrating the strength and courage that it takes to keep moving through a tough journey. I keep going and try to reflect this hope that so much beauty lies ahead and there are amazing people in the world who love despite weaknesses, flaws and hurts. I had the experience of one. I am one.
By caring for myself I am honouring the special person who helped me realize my beauty and unlimited potential, who asked nothing in return and never hesitated to forgive when I acted out of old beliefs instead of new and better knowing. This creative and collaborative process is a record of how far I have come, which will help me journey forward, not backward, just because I had previously been unable to see and feel my worth. Every time I see these pictures I will know the truth.
I am Brenda. My name means flaming sword. I am a healer. I am a recovering co-dependent. I am a diabetic and depressed individual who has been through a lot of emotional trauma in my life. My past doesn’t define me. I now define myself with truth and kindness. I actively choose to break cycles that hurt me and others. I am a sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, wife and most importantly mother of 3 amazing children. I am a special needs teacher and therapist to my son and an autism and special needs advocate. I am a Registered Nurse. I have welcomed life into the world, prevented sickness, healed the sick, helped save lives and been there to support those going home. I have made a difference in the lives of many patients and individuals.
I am highly principled and highly spirited. I have beautiful eyes and lips and a beautiful mind. I seek truth and justice in all I do. I love to sing with all my heart. I am intelligent, warm, compassionate and sensual. I have intuition and empathy in spades which I desire to help seekers and travelers by. I have dreams that I am still fulfilling. I enjoy reading, writing, history and learning languages. I long to travel within and without. I never want to stop learning. I am capable and strong. I lead when called to do so, without fear. I love people, all kinds of people.
I have many lovable and desirable qualities. I no longer need to focus on proofs of being unloved. No part of me is unlovable. I inherently believe there were and are and will be more moments that I am given love and respect than I allow myself to see. I am love…loving and lovable…and I am grateful.