There's no white picket fence, so paint your own.
Growing up, most girls fantasize about their future life as a wife and mother, and chase an unrealistic utopian dream. As a child, I recall thinking that I would be married with four children by age 26, when, in actuality, I had just finished graduate school and was busy developing my first company, BodyRock Sport. I did meet my husband at age 26 but we got divorced when I was 32, and one of the reasons that I was so devastated aside from the fact that my heart was broken was also because I was not sure if I would ever be able to have children. There's so much pressure on women to become mothers before the age of 35 that I was not sure if I'd ever find the right man, fall in love, and start a family. "Will I have to freeze my eggs?" I recall thinking. In retrospect, I am extremely grateful that my marriage was dissolved, because when we got married, he told me he did not want kids. So, if we were still together, I'd still be stuck in a relationship that was not right for me fantasizing about the children I may have never had.
Of course, I did not imagine that someone that I barely knew would end up getting me pregnant in what I like to consider an extended one night stand, and despite pressure to abort, I made the decision to keep my baby and raise her alone. My Mom raised me by herself and I certainly knew that I could do the same. I had to deal with the stereotypes of "having a child out of wedlock," and so on, but life would not present battles if I weren't equipped to fight them. Often, the most profound blessings in our lives come at the very moment that we are about to succumb to that little bird chirping in our ears telling us that we cannot do it or that we're not good enough. Don't give in and don't give up.
I personally love people who have endured adversity and heartache, and obstacles that are seemingly insurmountable. They usually make it out with hearts as warm as gold and as fervent as a roaring fire. Their lives are soaked with a newfound sense of unwavering intention. They know how to start again, how to walk through walls and break through ceilings with a grateful heart and an open mind.
With my daughter, Zoe Giselle, who is now almost eight months old, I am literally the happiest I have ever been, and that would not have been possible if I had clung onto the unrealistic ideal of the infamous white picket fence. Once my perspective shifted, so did my heart. She has given me a love so deep that no pain I have ever experienced is capable of reaching. We always know who is truly home, and our fence is dipped in gold and sealed in love, illuminated by gratitude and bedazzled in positivity.
You deserve the world, even if you're giving it to yourself.
I have always put everyone first, which, in turn, has stymied my personal growth. It was not until I gave birth to Zoe that my insatiable desire to "save the world" had dissipated. Yes, of course, I still help others, often too much, but for perhaps the first time in my life, I have embraced saying NO to people and I have learned how to set boundaries. I do not need anyone or anything in my life that does not positively serve Zoe and me. My kindness has always gotten the best of me and Zoe has enabled me to prioritize her needs as well as my own. Not much else matters, frankly. I cannot give Zoe the life she deserves if I am constantly giving to others, thereby neglecting myself. If I am happy, she is happy. Thus, for perhaps the first time in my life, I prioritize myself and fulfill my own needs, especially my desire for peace and emotional health. When you nurture and support your body, it reciprocates. The body reflects exactly what the mind believes, so feed it faith and feed it love. So many people have told me that Zoe is the happiest baby they have ever seen and/or met, and that is a testament to me as a Mother, and I will never compromise that for anyone.
My passion is to help people create real breakthroughs in their relationships, their emotions, their health and their overall well-being. I do not need to bust out my checkbook to achieve that. Don't give so much of yourself to people who would not do the same for you at a moment's notice. Your circle may decrease in size but it will increase in value.
I used to crave validation from everyone and Zoe has enabled me to bid farewell to my people-pleasing tendency once and for all and what a blessing it has been to be able to not need everyone to like me.
Real joy in life comes from finding your true purpose and aligning it with what you do every single day.
There's five questions that can help you achieve your desired level of happiness and success:
(1) What do I really want? (Vision)
(2) What is important about it? (Values)
(3) How will I get it? (Methods)
(4) What is preventing me from having it? (Obstacles)
(5) How will I know I am successful? (Measurements)
My top priority is providing for Zoe. Anyone or anything that disempowers me in my pursuit of doing so is immediately eliminated from my life. Thus, despite the fact that I was in the midst of developing a new activewear brand when I found out I was pregnant, I have decided to put my entrepreneurial dreams aside and focus on building a stable career. Of course, I still take on styling jobs from time to time, and design a website every here and there, but I am not about to leave town for a trade show and travel around the world to build a start-up company when my Zoe's happiness is of pivotal importance.
Master money so that it does not master you. What we're really after in life is the feelings and emotions that we think money can create.
Stop being the chess piece and become the chess player.
Love is a verb. Without action, it is merely a word.
Zoe's father has said "I love you" thousands of times but his actions tell a very different story, one that forced me to let go and move on, despite desperately wanting a nuclear family. He has asked me to marry him countless times, but you cannot undo hurt, and as I have said before and I will now say again, trust is like a piece of paper; once it's crumbled, it is never the same. Not much is more beautiful than a child seeing how much her father loves her mother, but when she does not see that, you run the risk of pejoratively effecting her development and that is not a risk I am willing to take.
That said, your ex is not your child's ex, so you should never speak negatively about him or her in the presence of your offspring.
When people act shady, allow them. When people betray your trust, allow them. But never stoop to their level. Their choices are a direct reflection of who they are, not who you are. No matter how angry, hurt, or disappointed you may be, do not allow them to make you bitter. Be better. React with love. No one is YOU and that is YOUR power. So accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be. We all deserve to be in relationships that make us happy, that feed our souls and help us grow. We are all worthy of connections that are genuine, loving and nourishing. So never settle for anything less than that which makes you feel safe, loved, and enough. I think it's crazy when people stay in relationships that they're genuinely not happy in--in so doing, they're literally choosing to be unhappy.
I know my worth and until I meet the man who values Zoe and me as much as we deserve, and who does not view my daughter as competition for my time, but rather as an invaluable addition to his life, we'll truly be fine on our own. We come as a beautifully wrapped package bursting with beauty and happiness. Anyone that comes into my life has to accept that Zoe will always be number one on my priority list. I want her to have a childhood that she does not have to recover from and I never want her to be able recall a moment where she felt abandoned, neglected or unloved.
Zoe makes me feel whole all by her little sweet self.
I believe in growth, the kind that hurts and the kind that heals. Raising Zoe by myself has expanded my heart. Despite my hardships, I have never given in and I have never given up, and I have learned that this is how magic happens. The universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart. Love is the grand healer and Zoe is my panacea. We learn from each other every day. She enabled me to remember who I am and that was an absolute game changer.
We all have within our capacity, within our power, all the abilities of self-healing. All we have to do is remove the obstacles. Healing comes from re-owning our power and realizing that we alone create the meaning of any circumstance, event, place, position, or person in our life. We alone are the ones who determine the outcome. I encourage you to interpret problems as opportunities for vast personal growth.
On occasion, someone asks me if I have any regrets. I probably shouldn't have married my ex-husband. That said, I will always have love for him and I am hopeful that he has evolved and found true happiness. I am also sorry for all the ways in which I may have hurt him. That was never my intention. And let's be real. It definitely was not wise of me to have unprotected sex with a stranger. Fast forward to now when I can look back and reflect on the sequence of events that manifested my reality. If I hadn't gotten divorced, I never would have moved back to California and I never would have gotten pregnant with my precious Zoe. All perilous roads led to this exact moment, where ZoZo is giggling on my lap as I type, and so no, I do not have any regrets. Zoe makes me a better woman. Gratitude is a magnet for miracles, and I am grateful for all of the blessings and lessons that have shaped me into the incredible Mom that I am, all of which have provided me with all of the fundamental tools that I need to raise an intelligent, kind, loving daughter who will be fully equipped to unabashedly pursue her dreams, for I will always be the wind beneath her gilded wings and I will make sure she is always prepared for battle when life throws her a curveball.
I forgive my ex-husband. I forgive Zoe's father. And, perhaps most importantly, I forgive myself, which I did not know how badly I needed to do until I finally did.
So, even on your darkest days, try to interpret any hardship that enters your life as a blessing in disguise, and when you look up in the sky, remember that every cloud has a silver lining. No one is YOU and that is YOUR power.
And maybe, just maybe, the real fairytale is this everyday love that Zoe and I share. My heart wept so long for a love this true.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.
With Love and Light,
Kelly (and ZoZo)