Writer: Marcy Cruz | When you show up for others, magical things happen. But when you show up for yourself, you are truly living your best life.
A recent trip to the West Coast reminded me of this fact.
I have not traveled in a while and nor been on a plane in three years. After my brother died, things hit an all-time low for me. I had just lost my dad three years before and my brother’s death just took me over the edge. I lost faith in life and the things I could do within it.
I convinced myself that I couldn’t afford to travel. I convinced myself that I didn’t need to be seen or heard. I honestly just wanted to stay home or in my little local bubble and not venture outside of that world I had created for myself.
I stopped going to events and showing up in public. I would cancel on friends and stay to myself. Then I started having foot pain due to a collapsed arch, which affected my knees. Chronic pain was yet another reason for me to avoid putting myself out into the world.
Grief, anxiety, depression, sadness and now chronic pain held me captive and standing still. I can’t blame anyone but myself. I made the choice to let those things take over my life and stop me from being the best person I can be.
Last year was when the light switch turned on for me. Despite not putting myself out there, I was still getting contacted by brands who wanted to work with me. I was presented with opportunities that my inner voice was screaming to me that I couldn’t pass up.
2016 was one of the best years of my life because I got out of that black hole I had voluntarily put myself in. But I also realized I was not living my best life to my fullest potential.
Sure, I was getting out more. My job at Gwynnie Bee was pushing me out of my comfort zone and giving me a way to engage with other women. I started blogging and writing more. I went to Full Figured Fashion Week and attended most of the week — I was so proud of myself because I made it through the week despite my foot and knees killing me.
But something was missing. I could hear my dad’s voice in my ear saying I needed to do more; that I was coasting and getting by. I was not being consistent. And he was right.
I then vowed that 2017 would be the year I live my best life.
How hard could it be? I was already starting to venture out and show up more. But I realized I was not showing up for myself and if I can’t show up for myself, how can I show up for others?
I learned that it only takes one baby step to lead you to take another and another. Then you realize that you have taken some giant steps and are further ahead than you thought you could ever be.
So I kicked off the year in a Lane Bryant social media campaign featuring different bodies and shapes in their new Allie pant. I was featured in Society+’s midi skirt campaign and also launched my second lookbook titled Body Love Comes in All Sizes.
I started shooting more images for my blog, with the help of another blogger who I became good friends with. I have heard some say that when women support each other, wonderful things happen and that is so true. The pictures she has taken of me have been stunning and that, in turn, fueled my confidence and determination to remain consistent on my blog.
So many other wonderful things have happened so far in 2017, from me being named one of the 11 bloggers Inspiring the Body Positive Movement by BodyPositivity.com, to being featured in fashion spotlights on other blogs and even being the featured blogger for February on Avenue.com.
But I still felt like I had not done enough. I wanted to keep pushing. It’s like once you start walking on this path, you can’t stop. You keep pushing forward because you see the magic that happens when you start walking.
The LA trip started as a four day trip. I thought, hey, I can afford this. I just have to save and plan. Despite still dealing with the pain in my knees and foot, I just told myself that I would pace myself and walk with a cane when needed.
Then I decided to visit San Francisco while I was on the West Coast. I figured, why not? I’m already on the west coast. The trip ended up being 10 days! To my surprise, so many people wanted to see me! And it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
I did it! I came home feeling so empowered and motivated. I feel like I have a purpose to fulfill and I do need to show up for myself. This, in turn, fuels my passion to show up for others.
At my first speaking engagement at Curvy Girl Lingerie in San Jose, it was a defining moment for me. As I looked at the women who showed up for me and listened to my voice, I saw the impact I can have on them as well as they can have on me.
And as they all, one by one, hugged me and took pictures with me, my heart felt so full. In that moment, I knew this is where I need to be.
All I did was show up. And I plan to show up more often on this journey of mine and see where it takes me.
Next up, physical therapy. I have been avoiding it for a while and let chronic pain take over my life. I can’t live like this anymore. Because I want to live my best life NOW.
Check out my blog for more on my West Coast adventures: www.fearlesslyjustme.net