July 12, 2014

I Found Myself, Unmasked & Naked. ~ Nikki Zajac

Nikki Zajak not for reuse

The road leading to myself has been a steady journey forward.

With that being said, I must confess that there were some dark days before the light streamed in.

I cannot express in words the type of inner dialogue that has run me for a decent portion of my life. In this state, we operate on auto pilot every day.

We wonder why life feels difficult.

We question whether “this is it” or if there is something more to this thing called life.

In this bubble, life is slightly predictable, a little bit comfortable, but incredibly painful.

You see, in this movie of our lives we are the main character. The way we act, the things we say and the thoughts we think all impact the quality of our lives. When we are in this place, it is even difficult to comprehend how much we are being affected.

Life becomes incredibly overwhelming when we decide to turn that light switch on. All of our imperfections are bare to the world, naked for all to see. All of the characteristics and personas we try to hide all of a sudden become exposed. There is nowhere left to hide and the only place to go is inside.

I can honestly say that I have gone through the deepest, most intense emotions since “outing” myself.

Growing up as a ballerina, and oldest daughter to an entrepreneur, my masks formed early on in life. I learned how to strive for perfection and when I did so, I was rewarded.

It started off innocently, but turned into an obsession. Sooner or later, obsessions ran my life and trickled into every nook and cranny.

I was obsessed with getting perfect grades.

I was obsessed with having a perfect body.

I was obsessed with being perfect at everything I did.

If I didn’t succeed, I was miserable (and you might already guess that miserable was an everyday occurrence as perfection is only a destination made up by the mind).

My misery was a secret.

To the world, I was a bright young lady with a plan. A smart, intelligent youngster with dedication and discipline. I was incredibly easy to be around, a dependable friend.

Inside, I felt like a fake. Inside, I felt sick. Inside, I didn’t like myself.  In fact, in time I became physically sick (but that is a story in itself).

I always knew that this was a safe way to live.

People liked me.

I was accepted by society.

On the outside, life flowed.

It came to a point when I had to ask myself a tough question: “Is being accepted by people truly worth it at the expense of my own happiness?”

With time, I decided that I was done living this lie.

Slowly, I began to expose myself.

I started to learn who I really was, without all of the masks.

I began to meditate and ask myself questions.

I learned to say no to people and things that were not in my alignment.

I learned how to stand up for myself when I used to just let it be.

I learned not only to feel emotions, but how to communicate them.

I learned how to respect myself.

Most importantly, I learned how to love myself unconditionally.

Self-love saved my life.

It taught me how to accept who I am wholeheartedly.

It taught me how to forgive the past.

It taught me how to honor my emotions and my body.

It taught me how to own my power.

The journey toward self-love is one of courage, pain, vulnerability and trust. If I hadn’t followed this path, I don’t know where I would be today, but I can only assume that I would be digging myself into a deeper hole day by day.

Today, I love myself and my life is one of inner freedom.  It is a continuous journey and I am tested all the time. In moments when I find myself starting to slip, I remind myself that I am love and that love is my birthright.

Therefore, I always know that one thing is for certain—no matter what comes up I can always come home and return to love.



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Apprentice Editor: Lauryn DeGrado/Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Author’s Own

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