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THE LATINA SEX AND THE CITY
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I have a Google document that reads “The Not So Good Sides of Me.” I don’t remember when I created it. Nevertheless, it’s a blank page. My intention was to pen a piece on my shadow side as part of my self-love journey. I planned to describe in detail the parts of my personality that I needed to “fix.” Because I’m a fixer and I thought I needed fixing.
I’ve had a change of heart. I understand now that I am (im)perfect just the way I am. Still, I believe in personal growth and personal development. I am a proponent and an active participant of self-examination and exploration. Simply put, I’ve entered an exciting phase in my self-love journey where I actually love myself. I have ceased picking myself apart, limb from limb and trait by trait. I’m focused on the beautiful aspects of my personality, my heart, and my mind.
For decades, I thought that my actions and thought processes were wrong. I convinced myself that I had to change my behavior in certain situations. I believed that in order to mature and be the best version of myself I had to be less reactive and more selfless, less expressive and more “zen,” and less energetic and more introverted. In this head and heart space, I committed to men who didn’t love me unconditionally because I did not see my worth and value just as I am.
I thought the answer to a loving relationship lay in changing myself. So I took in my exes criticisms and tried to talk less, shine less in social settings, and become more “responsible” and less of a dreamer. During the last few years of our relationship, he discouraged me from pursuing a creative career due it “not being stable.” He often asked when I’d “give up” on my creative pursuits. I didn’t have an answer to that and told him so.
Still, I wanted to please him. I wanted him to feel proud of me and to see that I was indeed enough. I hid my selfie game and the grand events I hosted for my brand, like Stassi from Vanderpump Rules hid from her then-boyfriend, Patrick. At one point, I took odd jobs, even working at Century21 in the mall, so that I could pay my bills and “provide” for my family. I did all of this and more because I did not love myself enough to say no and say, “Love me as is or don’t love me at all.”
Yet I’m grateful for it all. I have my son, Evan, thanks to my former relationship and I found myself through it as well. I learned so many lessons in self-love and, yes, responsibility. Because my ex was my mirror.
I chose a man who didn’t like how much I talked because I felt insecure about how much I talked. He thought I lacked a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility. In the conventional sense, I did. I felt terrible that I was unconventional. I took his jokes to heart when he poked fun at my style (bright colors and patterns for days) because I desired to be stylish and graceful, like a Libra ruled by Venus. Instead, I felt like my style was scattered and rushed, much like Mars, my astrological papi. (Hey Aries!)
My point is not to hate on my ex. Although I truly could. I had one goal for penning this piece. That’s to be accountable for the way that I felt about myself due to a lack of self-love. To finally release that version of myself. Because I believed something was wrong with me.
I didn’t have to change myself to be loved, I had to love myself to be loved. And that, my friends, is growth.