This is a very important post for me. It’s where I’m going to start sharing with you a little bit of my story. I have been wanting to share it but I’ve been afraid of being vulnerable and I keep avoiding this blog. I think about it every day – that I need to start blogging more – but then I think why? for what? for who? – but then I think, why not? who cares? just be you! It’s a constant battle in my mind but my heart is leaning more towards sharing and being vulnerable so here I am. I don’t know the outcome or why and I’m not worrying so much about it either, so here we go. I’m just following my heart.
I used to be a full time photographer in New York-New Jersey for about 5 years when I moved to Florida. The business was doing great and I was growing and getting more profitable. Then I got divorced and I didn’t believe in marriage anymore – you see, I used to shoot weddings and shootings weddings became a huge challenge for me (not anymore). Nothing seemed real. Even shooting families and everything else was hard. I had lost my sparkle and I started to loose focus on my business. I started partying and dating NYC weirdos and just didn’t care about anything. I got tattoos on my body (I love them) and I let my brother cut my hair when we were drunk and stuck in the apartment for days because of the hurricane Sandy. I was careless. I don’t regret any of my crazy moments. In fact I love remembering all the little details because those moments were crucial moments that helped me find my path again – find myself and reinvent myself – and learn more about life along the way.
After 9 months of careless partying, dating and spending all my money eating out at the meatpacking district and upper east side, I had it enough. None of that was fulfilling my soul and nothing made sense anymore. I knew then that that wasn’t the life for me so I decided to take a break from everything and everyone. I needed time alone to process everything and start fresh. My original plan was to backpack all around Colorado and Utah and camp on all the national parks but after I did my research I found out I wouldn’t be able to afford it and it was dangerous for a girl to do that all alone. It could be possible if I really wanted but it was just not meant to be. But I still wanted to be alone. I needed silence and I couldn’t find it in NY. I shared what I was feeling with my friend Gilcelia and she invited me to stay with her but I said I wanted my own space. She then hooked me up with this awesome apartment close to her and only one mile from the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
I partied all night on the upper east side in Manhattan. It was January 3rd and I was celebrating my 29th birthday early with my friends. The very next day I packed some summer clothes, my triathlon bike, my photography equipment, my juicer and drove my car all the way to Fort lauderdale non-stop. I stopped to get gas, pee and eat but that was it.. Twenty fours hours later I arrived. It was 5am and the first thing I found as I open the door was a giant roach on the living room. I managed to kill it without screaming and finally went on to sleep all day.
It wasn’t hard at all to adapt to the new life one mile from the beach. Specially knowing it was snowing back in NJ and NY. My days were filled with beach, sun, yoga, green juice, meditation, prayers, fasting and reading. It was basically my own solo yoga retreat. Within a few days I was already feeling recharged and brand new. I was loving my solitude and was also enjoying my dear friend Gil. She was the only person I really knew and it was always nice to spend time with her. The plan was to stay until March to get ready for the wedding season that slowly starts to pick up again after the winter in NY. I was in such a good place in my life. My meditations consisted of me letting go of control and asking God for guidance. I had no expectations about anything and was truly living one day at a time. I prayed every single day asking God for wisdom and to show me the way. I have never felt so close to God like that time in my life.
Then something unexpected happened. I met Justin (my husband now). BOOM! Gil and Eddie kinda of set us up. I didn’t want to meet anyone but I told them that I would love to meet an African American one day (I actually said that I would love to meet a black guy one day) just out of curiosity. I was just saying it but Eddie took it very seriously and kept inviting Justin to everything we would do until one day he showed up and since that day we haven’t’ been apart.
That day changed my life. We kissed and danced and had a blast. He texted me the very next day and that was our official first date. We went to Chili’s. Poor choice but I didn’t care. I was in such a peaceful state of mind that nothing bothered me. Also he was so interesting that nothing else mattered. He asked me what were my goals for the next 6 months. I was impressed! What guy ask that on the first date? I thought to myself “I want this guy!” – But it’s so soon! My goal was just to find peace and I did. A few weeks later I couldn’t imagine my life without him and I decided to stay. Crazy, I know! I meditated and prayed a lot about it and I asked God to guide me. I already had a marriage that didn’t work out, I was so scared. I didn’t want to be in control. I didn’t want to manipulate anything. I learned the lesson. My main concern wasn’t me moving. It was me doing something that it wasn’t meant to happen, I didn’t want to force anything. So I let it go. I let go of my expectations and all my wants and needs and I kept praying. As soon as I did that things started to flow even more and our connection grew stronger and it became more and more real. I felt it deep in my heart that that was it. Okay, I’m staying. I rented a little tiny apartment with no kitchen (for real) right behind Gil’s house and I started my new life in Florida.
Justin and I traveled to NJ so he could meet my parents and brother. The trip was a success. My parents, my brother and two of my closest friends met Justin and loved him. The first thing my mom said as she gently touched his face was: “I feel like I’m seeing an angel!” For real, that’s what she said. I was already sure of my decision but that confirmed and sealed the deal. Then maybe a month later I went back for a shoot and to get rid of all my furniture and old apartment. My ex got a few things and he managed to get his friends to get the rest of the furniture for themselves. I sold a few items but I just wanted to give everything away. All of that stuff were things that I kept with the apartment when he moved out so I felt it was right to ask him if he wanted anything since it was also his before. Our marriage of 6 years ended in great terms and we were able to stay friends and I only wish the best for him. Anyways, I got rid of everything and went back to Florida, to my new tiny apartment with no kitchen to start my new life following my heart.
It can be very scary to follow our hearts. It can be unconventional and it can go against what we think it’s normal or acceptable for our society or our friends. The truth is that our heart is the best guide. If you are in connection with the Divine and your intentions are good, the Divine – God (you can call it however you want), will use your heart to guide you. You will know, see and feel the truth and know what’s best for you. It’s also important to not have any expectations but always keep an open heart to receive the new and unexpected. I’m so happy I consciously followed my heart when I decided to stay in Florida. That’s only the beginning of the story. As this new chapter of my life unfolds it becomes more and more clear that that’s the way to go. To follow your heart. Always!
(to be continued)