I strongly believe that our histories make us who we are, and that is not limited to our lives. Our ancestors helped shape our present as much as our parents, as we will do for the following generations. So everything I have experienced in my life has brought me to this moment.
My history, just like yours, is full of great highs and great lows. I think what makes us who we are is how we learn from those experiences and apply them to our perception of our pasts as well as our vision of the present and hopes for the future.
The high points in my life that add to my character include falling in love with and marrying someone that silently encourages me to be my best self each day, and better than yesterday. Without growth, we’re wasting precious life.
In addition, traveling has really opened my eyes to how other parts of the world live. I’ve had the privilege of visiting India numerous times, having a chance to explore its vast beauty in land, culture, food, and people. Being in touch with my cultural roots there is very important to me, and for that reason, I’m studying Indian classical music, which is just as much about spirituality and logic as it is music.
I also have an unquenchable spiritual thirst, something I get from my mom. I’ve had the blessing of having several role models in my life to look up to within a spiritual community. It is there that I have experienced unconditional love, which is one of the most simple and yet hardest things to practice. But I have seen it. I have received it. And it is beyond powerful.
I also consider it to be a highlight of my life to experience hard work, from a young age. My single mom wasn’t around much when I was growing up, and the biggest reason was that she was working so hard to give myself and my brother a better life than she had. That work ethic that she passed on to us has allowed me to build a successful marketing firm in my early twenties, which in turn put me in a position to make some very sound investments that I still continue to benefit from.
And along with the highs come the lows, as is natural. My lows include a feeling from a very young age that I was a misunderstood outsider. I never had a core group of school friends, I would always have one-on-one friendships. That did allow me to understand the other person deeper, and vice versa, but it never seemed to be the norm. Later in my life (late college and after), I started to embrace that and even be able to poke fun at myself regarding being a misfit. And I am now at the point where I don’t think about it much. I think we are all connected in some way; it’s sometimes a little harder to find that connection (especially with those that have protective walls up as I have had up most of my life).
I’ve also experienced various types of abuse in my life, from sexual to verbal and emotional. What I’ve learned is that I may have played a part, but it was not my fault. I never asked for it, never deserved it. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and these people decided to take advantage of some of my vulnerabilities. None of these experiences define me. They happened, I accept them, learn from them, and continue to live my life.
For the highs, the lows, and everything in between, I’m grateful. I wouldn’t change anything about my past if I had the power, because I wouldn’t end up where I am today. Creating meaningful artwork to share.