It honestly happened in a very moment, just a second of time when I decided I was over being so self critical and negative. My butterfly moment happened the second I decided to choose self love. Now it was not in this instance that I suddenly loved me for all of me. I simply decided I was ready to work on myself, find my happiness again, and create internal balance. I had reached my breaking point. I was simply over it. Over all of it. The doubt. The fear. The loneliness. The self hatred. The angst of unworthiness. This destined negative path of life my mind had created. The missed opportunities due to the silliest and strangest of insecurities. I never realized that in order to break free, I had to break down and un-become everything I thought I was. Little did I know that this breaking point, was the beginning of my journey to self discovery. My wings had taken shape, but I still had to learn to fly.

Mostly, I had fallen out of recognition with myself. In my 25 years of life, I never truly loved myself, yet I had a strong sense of who I was. Or so I thought. Around the age of 16 or 17, I was so sure of everything. I knew what I wanted to do and be. I knew the contributions I wanted to make to society. I really thought I had it all figured out. Except one day, roughly 9 years later in the early months of 2015, I woke up and I did not have it figured out. I did not know who I was anymore. I was incredibly unhappy. I had so many uncertainties of the future. I had been chasing this dream and life that I realized was not meant for me. Who I wanted to be at 16 was not who I was meant to become. But in life, everything has a season, and seasons change. Prior to turning 25, I did not drink because someone close to me is an alcoholic. Seeing their struggles and the pain it caused my family made me not want to drink… ever. Yet after my 25th birthday, I crumbled under my will power. I call this time my “quarter life crisis”. I was struggling and needed something to numb the pain I was experiencing. I started drinking and truly lost every notion of my inner being. But in this time of temporary loss, I found myself too. I found my strength. I found my drive. I found my determination. I mostly found my willingness and the courage to change, and change for the better.

I had spent all my life feeling like a caterpillar. I had built a cocoon around my heart by being emotionally callused, which in turn caused immense shyness and anxiety. Drinking allowed me to feel free. Free from the anxiety, the deep sadness, the insecurities, yet it was not right. I am not sure there is a right reason to drink, but I certainly drank for the wrong reasons. I drank to feel an emotional and mental release of painful negative feelings. However, each time I did drink, I slowly was building my cocoon. Eating camouflaged emotion as well. I hid emotionally and mentally, intentionally, for I did not want to be seen. I wanted to be invisible and to conceal myself from the predators of society. I was comfortable being unseen. But invisibility is lonely and deep down I knew I wanted to be seen for all of the internal beauty I knew I had within.

As it turns out, the biggest predator all along was my mind. I had created this destiny, a life of lonely solitude. And for so long I blamed my past and things that happened in my childhood that brought me to this present bitterness. I blamed others for my unhappiness and miserable state of being. It was not until I was enclosed in the darkness of a full cocoon that I saw the light. I had been drowning mentally for so long trying to find myself and sense of worth again. On May 24, 2015 my cocoon began to break! I had just looked at a picture I was tagged in after a great day snorkeling with manatees with a dear friend. Horrified, I turned to my roommate and said, “I look like a beached whale” and in which she replied with, “you do not look like a beached whale, you just do not see yourself the way the rest of the world sees you”. This was the day of my butterfly moment. I realized life did not have to be this miserable. I knew I was capable of being happy, I just had to let go and break free from this caterpillar stage in life. I let go of it all by gaining control again. I took charge of my life and chose happiness because I finally realized I was worthy of loving myself and ultimately self love was what I needed most of all.

I always knew I had the strength to transform and find self love and confidence but did not know how. Happiness and a strong sense of self was what I wanted. Both internal feelings yet I did not know how to simply be happy or be completely, wholly, 100% me. I knew getting into shape was what I needed to be healthy both for my mind and body. On June 1, 2015 I started Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide workout program and never looked back. I found my wings with this program, but for the next several months I had to learn to fly. Slowly but surely with time and consistency I found mental and physical strength which led to happiness in both my mind and heart. However, this was not enough. Was I happier? Yes. But I still was struggling to find me again. Mostly I felt I was lacking meaning and significance to my life. I realized these were things I could not find on my own, so on January 19, 2016 (a day after my 26th birthday) I decided to see a therapist again. Working out and eating right got me pretty far physically, yet mentally I could no longer help myself because I still felt like a big piece of me was missing.

I was and still kinda am holding on to the past. The ugly, dark, familiar side. The part of me that was a perfectionist, organized, focused, planner, and very self critical. My anxiety took control over my mind and was hindering my ability to truly fly because I knew I was still living a life not meant for me. I am currently struggling to find my sense of self and still seeing my therapist. With each session, a little more of me is revealed. Loosing every notion of my being has allowed me to become more of who I am. I know my meaning now. I know who I am meant to become. I am ok with acknowledging that I need help in allowing my mind, heart and soul the ability to become one. Freedom from my past is what I need so I can continue to move forward.

Letting go of the things holding you back is difficult, but it is the only way to find your butterfly moment. Today I am so much happier and healthier. I am finding my voice and my meaning. We can blame others all we want for the things we feel and think. YOU and only you have the choice and the power to chose how you feel about yourself. My fitness journey has never been about looking a certain way. The continued courage to change has lasted because I finally became content in not pursing a “look” and started chasing a feeling. After all, a butterfly is beautiful no doubt, but they are not beautiful for their colorful wings, they are beautiful for their soft grace in flight and the way they dance in the wind. My ability to seek change happened when I realized I did not have to change from ugly to beautiful. It was about finding wings to let my toughened heart become uncallused, so that I could then open my mind, and let my soul, my true inner beauty soar. Our journeys are not ones of transforming from a caterpillar to butterfly. It is not about unbecoming something usually deemed unattractive and changing into something beautiful. It really is not about unbecoming anything. It is about realizing your inner beauty and strength to become our best selves. This realization gives us the strength to transform. Do not strive to become beautiful like a butterfly. You already are beautiful! Strive for letting your inner beauty shine so that you can let you soul free.

Jess <3