Taking Flight // Part Two

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We all have preset expectations of how our life is supposed to look, what we think we deserve, and how it will all play out. If I’m being honest with myself, and others- that’s bullshit.

I used to believe that my life would unfold the exact way I planned for it to-merely because that’s what I planned. I expected a few hiccups along the way, but I didn’t expect my life to be the exact opposite of what I had planned for.

Five years to the day, I took a flight that ultimately ended up changing my life. I moved abroad with my then husband into uncharted territory ready to pursue the next chapter in our lives. Five years later on this very day I’m flying to Boston- a place that holds meaning to me, and yet another place that changed the course of my life.

Upon graduating college (eight years ago) my girlfriends and I decided to take a road trip to Boston. We spent quite a few ridiculous nights in the heart of the city; going out to bars, having fancy roof top dinners, and introducing ourselves to unfamiliar faces. We were literally having the time of our lives. We unexpectedly walked into the Beantown Pub for yet another ridiculous night on the town. That night I ended up meeting my future husband. From that moment on my life was never the same. I fell in love, moved to a different state, got married, moved to a different country, watched my marriage fall apart, attempted to pick up the pieces while failing miserably, and eventually moved back to the states.

It was during those times of uncertainly that I began to figure out who I was, what I stood for, and how my own voice sounded when the background noise of others was no longer so influential.

Last year, on March 28th, I flew to Mexico. I needed a break, an adult time out from the rest of the world and I wasn’t quite sure why, why then…why I was breaking down. Facebook was kind enough to remind me why I was in such a state of angst, confusion, and misinterpretation of my own feelings. At the time of realization, tears began to roll down my face, they were tears of sadness, of loneliness, and a feeling that what I fought so long and so hard for was no longer my reality.

Yet, today, I’m back in Boston for a reason; it’s the rebirth of a new era. Two years ago, the thought of visiting the Beantown Pub would have made me go into a complete state of utter chaos, but today I’m more at peace knowing that a place that once held such a life altering experience is now a reminder that life can change at any moment, and for any unimaginable reason. In a sense it’s a form of closure.

This time the tears aren’t of pain, or of hurt, they’re tears of joy, and the ability to pursue my purposeful passion. It’s the roads that don’t always get discovered, but somehow manage to find their way to you. Not necessarily because you decided to go a different route, but because life decided that’s what was written in the stars for you. My mom continues to remind me that despite our desire to be in control, we’re not. The life we thought we planned for ourselves is nothing more than our purpose that was planned long before we can imagine. The future you thought you’d live wasn’t as meaningful as the present you’re currently living. Learning to embrace your fear, and a life you didn’t plan for can be a source of inspiration, but only if you allow it to.

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Recycle Your Pain

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I’m usually very focused, and my vision so clear, yet life got me. I lost myself and could no longer hear my voice. We get inundated and saturated with what should be, what our priorities should look like, and how we ought to feel, and then we shift. Often times we shift without even realizing we’re doing so, yet we feel it.

As of late there’s been a lot on my mind…a lot. With family members getting sick and people close to me losing their lives too soon you begin to focus on real world issues. Issues that you don’t necessarily want to put your energy towards but ones that won’t otherwise disappear.

I’ve also been working on forgiveness. It’s something that I 100% believe in, yet something I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s somewhat similar to the story of the boy who cried wolf. You never want to keep talking about the same old thing all the damn time-yet sometimes that’s life, that’s your life, and it’s part of my story, and I bet yours too.

Yes I was married, and yes I’m divorced. It’s behind me, yet also standing directly in front of me. There are obstacles and hurdles I must tackle to be the whole person I’m capable of being. Is this an overexerted topic of discussion? Perhaps, but it’s my topic of discussion and I’m owning it 110%. No, my divorce doesn’t define me, but it does allow a lot of issues to come to the surface. Issues that are ongoing that most choose not to discuss.

You hear it a lot;

“Forgiveness is for you, it’s not for them.”

“By forgiving someone you regain the power.”

“Forgive yourself first, and the rest will come.”

Although I realize it takes two to make a relationship work, as humans we have a tendency to blame ourselves for the downward spiral, and eventually the demise. Various scenarios will play out in your mind time and time again of how you could have fixed the situation, made it better, or done something differently. Yet the outcome still remains the same. For me, I think a large part of beginning to work on forgiveness is allowing myself to be both vulnerable and honest. Being vulnerable means putting yourself out there, but it also means dealing with the truths of what may come. Truths you don’t necessarily want to confront, but must deal with head on.

My husband was my mirror. I looked at him for happiness, for stability, for everything I couldn’t find within myself. I became so insecure because of his actions; infidelity, and lying. Truth is- I was insecure from the beginning of the relationship because I didn’t quite fully know how to trust myself, my truths, my emotions, my intuition, or my own personal journey. I didn’t want to know the truth because I knew it would hurt. I didn’t want to deal with the pain so I allowed myself to let him play the leading role of my doubts and my fear, when in reality, I should have taken a closer look in the mirror, because I too, was a lead actress. In a sense, he was me, and I was him. We mirrored one another; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What I’m working on now, is forgiving myself for everything I feel I’m entitled to let go of. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you forget what they’ve done, it means you allow yourself the ability to move on in a positive direction without them having so much power over you.

Recycling pain occurs in various forms, it’s a cyclic cycle for someone that is suffering from it. They pain others because they too are in pain. Yet by learning that in certain situations there was nothing you could have done better to change the situation you learn (slowly) to recycle your pain in a more constructive and positive way. Recycling your pain doesn’t mean that the struggle isn’t real, and reoccurring, it means that you’re aware of it and able to focus your energy on letting go of the life you thought you should live, and embracing the one you are living.

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Photography: Michele Suits

Recommend Listening: Let it Go- James Bay

Success is a Mindset

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Right around the New Year I debated (with myself) about whether or not I should post a blog about why I don’t believe in New Years resolutions, but for the people that do, I didn’t want to offend anyone. The thing is, I believe in execution. I believe that setting goals is an amazing thing. I like to hand write my goals around years end so I have something tangible to look back on. I also take time to think of how I’m going to execute them properly without getting overwhelmed with all the forgotten steps that come in between.

What I see people failing at most (myself included) is taking time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished this past year, and how it all transpired. I’m one for making plans, sticking to them, and getting frustrated when things are seemingly not going according to my plan, when the truth is; we all have a plan. Whether you believe in God, Buddha, or another higher power greater than yourself, you must believe that we all have something we’re meant to be doing to help others and ourselves. The issue that comes into play is that we’re not always capable of seeing where life may unexpectedly take us. We get so caught up in why things aren’t working and take little to no time to question if we may be headed on a more desirable path, one that will suit us better, and one that will ultimately make more sense in the long run.

This past year I had a lot of personal success in my business, but I also made a lot of mistakes. Mistakes that frustrated me, made me question my direction, but mistakes that ultimately led me to where I am, and who I am today. Looking back is something we’re often taught to not do; “look ahead” is what people say. While I’m all for it, I think that occasionally looking back allows us to see how much we’ve grown, what lessons we’ve learned, and that sometimes the most beautiful forms of creativity evolve through suffering.

I’m going to rewind a few years back to when I was living in Germany with my then husband. Neither one of us were happy in the marriage, he left and ultimately left me to pick up the pieces. I stayed in Germany for quite awhile, trying to make sense of it all, get a grip on where my life was headed (since it was no longer going in the direction I had always planned for it to), and figure out who Jayel was one her own. Not married, but single. Not Michael’s Air Force dependent, but independent. This was all new to me. I remember quite vividly asking for strength, and guidance. Every door pointed towards fitness. When I wanted to drink myself silly and forget that I had emotions I was reminded that I had clients that were depending on me. They were going through their own issues and I was there to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was during that time period that I made a promise; while I do believe in God, I told myself that fitness would become a new part of my belief system. I vowed to give my life to fitness. At the time I wasn’t able to fully understand the capacity of what I was committing to.

I now see it.

For a while I struggled with connecting to others through fitness. I never struggled with weight, I had always been active, and I naturally had an athletic build. In other words, I wasn’t relatable.

As my world felt as though it was falling apart, the truth was, in part, that it was coming together. My divorce was the hardest thing I’ve had to endure to date. It left me breathless, broken, and guarded, but throughout that process I learned who I was, what I’m capable of enduring, and how I can’t look at success through anyone else’s eyes but my own- because success isn’t something you can simply write down on paper- it’s a mindset. It’s how you view your weakness and are able to make them into your strengths. We must remind ourselves that healing and rebuilding is an evolutionary process. It takes time to create a fruitful relationship, not just with others, but with ourselves as well. I can speak from the trenches because I was there, and at times still am. I felt I was in a relationship that wasn’t necessarily conducive to my growing process for seven years…yet it’s the very relationship that made me grow up.

Through that process I was reminded that each beautiful piece of artwork was birthed by failure, heartache, defeat, and loss. Yet by facing my reality I had to deal with my problems that I had been trying to cover up for so long, by pretending they didn’t exist. I now am a testament to how one can view something as a failure, yet it can turn into one of the biggest successes in your life. Sometimes veering of course is something we need. We must understand that our pain has the capability of turning our passion into a purpose.

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Rabbit Hole

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It’s not always easy to be transparent, in fact it’s rather difficult at times, but it’s that ability that reminds yourself as well as others that you’re human. Being “healthy” used to be a hobby of mine. Now I can’t seem to say health without wellness. In most peoples opinions there’s a vast difference between the two, but truthfully the two ought to go hand and hand.

Over the years, I’ve learned that being healthy, and well, is truly the only way I know how to live my life. That’s not to say each day isn’t a struggle to find the perfect balance, but as long as the pendulum keeps swinging- I feel like I’m coming out on top.

A few weeks ago; September, I was in a really, really rough place. It’s something I chose not to discuss with many people, but I’m certain my actions were doing most of the talking for me. In life there are ups and downs, highs and lows, this was one of my memorable lows. September was the month I was married in, where I said my vows; for better of for worse. It’s a period in time that I often reflect back upon, but also a period in time that a part of me wishes never existed. This September happened to also be the month that three of my very close friends said “I do.” I was as much a part of the wedding process as I could be without feeling like I just couldn’t do it.

When I first got back to the States I had several friends that were getting married, all of which I hadn’t seen in some time. Although happy for them, I chose not to attend those weddings- not because I didn’t want to be a part of their commitment to one another, but because it was too soon, and too difficult. This September I wanted to be a part of my friends’ weddings, I wanted to show them how happy I was for them that they found “the one” and I wanted to show myself, that despite my marriage ending in divorce, love still existed.

Seeing as wedding planning begins far in advance, I knew what I was getting myself into (emotionally) and I knew that it would not be an easy road ahead, but I also knew that it was one I wanted to conquer. Being the happy and bubbly person I typically am is great, but when I’m not in the mood to be that person, or have personal demons that I’m struggling with it’s really hard to play the role of “normal” me.

Each wedding I attended was beautiful, heartfelt, and fun. It was the days leading up to the wedding/s, and after the wedding/s that I struggled with feeling that my perfectly swinging pendulum had stopped. I was depressed to say the least. I didn’t want to train my clients, I didn’t want to put on my happy face, I didn’t want to workout or do anything good for myself, I didn’t put my health and wellness as a top priority (which I absolutely should have), and I didn’t count calories in my late night take out orders, or my goblets filled with red wine. Instead, I sulked, I cried myself to sleep, and prayed I wouldn’t feel like that for long.

The feeling of not being in control- something in my career and in my personal life I’m somewhat used to- having the ability to control certain situations. Although these situations of loss were mine, and mine alone, I wasn’t able to control how it was making me feel, so I thought. I felt hopeless and as though I was in a rabbit hole. The people that I usually turn to for support were the same people that were getting ready for their big day, were beyond excited, and happy. I couldn’t be that person, or that friend to not attempt to share in their happiness with them.

It wasn’t until wedding season came to an end that I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At first you feel sorry for yourself, because life seems to be moving on without you, people in your life seem to be moving at an increased speed while you’re still trying to put yourself in drive. Truthfully it’s all relevant. As I reflect back on each wedding, each situation, and each couple, I have to remind myself that they’re not me. I have to remind myself that true love does exist, and that although it doesn’t exist for me at the moment, it doesn’t mean it never will.

For me, it’s making myself a priority. As the saying goes; you have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else- it speaks volumes. Knowing that you are worthy, and that timing is everything will be your saving grace. I have to practice self love before I can think about loving someone else, I also have to remind myself that despite not feeling my best, I am so blessed to have been a part of such an unforgettable time in all of my friends lives. Although difficult to see at the moment, I’m reminded that love conquers all.

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Let That Shit Go

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During my last visit with my therapist I realized I was so frustrated because I was angry. Anger for me, is an emotion that I’ve struggled to connect with for such a long time, but as of late, it’s found its way to me. It catches me off guard, creeps into my thoughts, and unintentionally plays a role in my actions. That’s when I began to realize that I’m angry. Anger usually originates within me through sadness that sticks around for a long, long, time.

It took me awhile to connect the dots, to see things for what they were/are, and allow myself to admit that my sadness has in fact turned into anger. It’s not so much my ex-husband, or ex-boyfriend, but more so myself. I’m angry because looking back, I allowed someone to treat me with such little respect, for making a poor decision, for falling for the type of person that doesn’t deserve my energy, and that I should have been able to see right through.

I’m a very strong person, both physically and mentally, but this wasn’t something I always knew to be true. It wasn’t until my world came tumbling down that I realized I have the power to be as mentally strong as I want to be.

These past couple of months have been filled with nuptials, love, and bliss. More so for my friends as they said “I do” – just as they were saying “I do” a switch went off that said “I did” … Although I was happy to partake in the festivities it was a constant reminder of my “failed marriage” and through those reminders I was able to see that when I thought I was angry at Michael, (my ex-husband) I was really angry at myself.

Have you ever heard the saying “If you want to fly, you’ve got to give up the shit that’s weighing you down?” Well, if that’s not the truth, I don’t know what is. We, as a collective hold on to so much…because it’ easy…it’s easier. It’s something we think we’ll just live with and endure, so we go through the same emotions, and same sad tune, over, and over again.

We’re stuck because putting in the work it takes to escape from these emotions seems far more daunting than staying stagnant and in a place of welcomed comfort.

For me, this is when the real work comes in. When I have to constantly be ready to fire at my emotions that are still slightly confused, where my heart wants to take over my head, where I have to tune out my own cyclic thoughts…

I asked my therapist; “When do I start to feel like a success, that I’ve come out on top, that my past relationship/s don’t have as much power over me…?”

Her response; “When you choose to.”

Although that may sound quite simple, and easy it’s actually quite challenging work. Yet, it’s work that I must choose to take on so that the alternative won’t control me. Although still a very difficult and emotional task, it’s much easier once removed from certain situations to see how your own actions can in fact control the situation at hand. It wasn’t until leaving certain people, places, and/or things, that I began to fly. That I was able to see my own potential. Not through the eyes of others but through my very own actions. I’m a big believer and advocate for allowing people to see that they have a choice, although certain options may be easier than others, putting in the necessary work will most likely lead you in the right direction.

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