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The Pursuit of your Purpose by Jaquí Rodriguez

I’ve never been good enough to be me. I’ve been told.  Confusing isn’t it?

I am a professional scuba diver of the depths of the soul.  What?!?

What I mean is, I spend a lot of time thinking, digging within, trying to find answers, making sense of the world, in a quest for truth, our connectedness and more importantly what brings us here. Yep! that’s me, its always been part of me.  Also, a source of shame because I’m a little different.

Growing up, I questioned everything ( I still do, quite honestly), which made me feel like an extraterrestrial dressed in the flesh. While most around me including adults adopted certain information as facts, I joyfully pulled it all apart to dissect. In silence, of course. I could share my opinions, but only to an extent. So rather than be wronged or seen crazy, I kept it to myself for the most part.

For many years, I knew there was more for me to do, for me to be, but I didn’t know what it looked like because I was confused myself. I am versatile. But, to be successful we can only be good at one thing, so I’ve heard repeatedly throughout my life.

One thing?!? I can’t even maintain one conversation without it turning into three. How on earth can I be great at only one thing? I am broken, obviously. For a very long time, I thought something was wrong with me. I have more to me than just one thing, I am not normal then.

I spent my time limiting myself to aspire to do just a little more than what was “possible”, like making 6 figures check! or managing a huge team, check! risking by jumping out of a plane, sure, check! Those were all realistic enough for me to create and I did. Anything beyond that was unrealistic and not something a young Latina that came from an impoverished, crime-riddled neighborhood could accomplish.  We were set up to stay in the cycle not defeat it. Bushwick was no walk in the park back then, a vast contrast to the gentrified, trendy, creative hub it’s transformed into.

Growing up, I didn’t have any living examples of someone who was successful and came from where I came from. That was my measuring tape, but there was little to measure. I recall being excited that Rosie Perez came out of my hood, she was the only one at the time. There was hope to breach the invisible walls enclosing us in our environment. The reality was, that people that looked like me weren’t breaking barriers, getting awards, Nobel Peace prizes or acknowledgments for the difference they made in the world with their work, so why would I?  Plus, who the hell do I think I am? It would be insulting to even consider more was possible. I often thought about how others would laugh at my nonsense, but was it really nonsense?

I blame it on crab mentality, it’s real and it is hurting all of us. Crab mentality for those of you that never heard of it: if I can’t have it, neither can you. As the story goes if you have ever observed crabs in a bucket, as one crab is almost at the top reaching its escape, the others pull it back down.  It’s interesting how our environment can consume us, even if we do not realize it. Ideas get created about who we are and who we are supposed to be. This is how shame is planted.

Throughout this time I explored more of who I was because I didn’t have the luxury of doing it as a child. The arts and extracurricular activities weren’t as accessible to me unless it was a class in school. Additionally, my parents didn’t see the value of it and we couldn’t afford it anyway.

What I knew for sure was that I was craving some form of expression whether through writing, painting or beating drums, which, I still haven’t done unless you count the family parties where I would get yelled at for sneaking behind the drums while the musico’s were taking a break.

As I followed this adventure, there was a faint whisper that haunted me. I ignored it for the most part. I already had a lot on my plate, I was a young mom, had a full-time job, went to the gym daily and spent a lot of time reading. I was immersed in personal development, metaphysical and spirituality.

As I read books many talked about purpose, people that were successful claimed to find it. So I figured, maybe I had a purpose too, I searched and searched. To no avail, purpose eluded me. I guess it was for people that are special and that was not me.

Nonetheless, I have been on a journey of discovering and rediscovering myself for a long time. Every time I reach a new place, I gain a key that brings me to a new level of awareness and perception. I saw this process as brutal punishment, in reality, I was my own punisher. I feared to break the barriers and becoming more than one thing.

I fantasized about who I would become, my dreams morphed into many different things. It was like looking at the clouds as they shift shape.  Maybe one day I would own my business, or write a book or heal people or who knows. It was difficult to see myself through all the layers, the conditioning and even when I saw a little bit clearer, I would tell myself it couldn’t be that.

Nonetheless, that feeling in the pit of my stomach would not leave me alone.

This calling,  speaks to us in so many different forms, but yet we turn our heads instead. Listening to it means facing all the shit we’ve been running from for most of our lives. Like not being enough for the task ahead or failing. Maybe we are just afraid of how magnificent we really are or owning the power we have to co-create our lives. All equally frightening.  

I put it off for all the reasons we all put off the things that put fire in our hearts. Time, money, responsibilities and not to mention everything that is wrong with me, that I needed to fix and do before I start. That is one thick chapter I wasn’t ready to go through.

Making life changes brings up all the buried shame and then add some external shame on top of that. There was shame in wanting more, but also in not being enough. What a dichotomy! Add to that the concerns of what others say and I mean the others who don’t have good intentions for us. Different from feedback, I digress but isn’t it all feedback? Ha! Looking back on, how I have learned!

This reminds me of when I started a career in fitness and a “friend” remarked to someone else if I thought my future was in fitness videos (sarcastically). This was before social media, and we’ve all seen what has happened with that.

The moment we gain the courage to step outside of the box, we are met with resistance. The crabs come back to keep our coloring within the lines. People project their own limitations and fears onto us, to be fair it’s well-intended most of the time.

What I have learned is that some people were not meant to color out of the lines and there is no judgment for that. Those people should not stand in the way, let the rest of us run wild with our crayon box. We should leave them happily where they are if that’s what their heart desires. Neither is right or wrong just our own way. Then we have people who invite us out to play, some of them are wild like us. Like my amazing friend who kept nudging me to do more. She was already creating her life from vision. Others see something in us and encourage us to get out so we don’t end up like them.

I received a message in the most surprising way.

An influential person where I was working at the time asked me on a personal note, what I was doing there. I was perplexed at the question, so I asked for clarification. That person went down the list of all my great qualities and told me I should be somewhere else, doing more, utilizing my creativity, following my calling, my purpose. I was thankful for the conversation but at the same time I thought; “why don’t they want me here? am I doing something wrong? I now laugh at the way I held on to my cage and where my mind automatically went.

Not long after that conversation, I was injured. It started out when my knee snapped, months into physical therapy and many diagnoses later including a herniated disc it turned out to be a labral tear of the hip. I needed surgery. I guess, the universe had enough of my bullshit, it dragged me out. 13 years was enough time for explorations and development. It was time for some action.

Trust me, I didn’t want to answer the call. I wanted to hang up and run! I still have moments that I feel like this. Leaping without a net is not for the faint of heart.  

During my downtime, after surgery,  I decided I would keep myself busy, so  I stocked up on books. A few days into recovery, a writing apprenticeship opportunity came up.  I juggled back and forth with the idea to go for it or not. Rejecting myself before I was rejected was my specialty. Out of everything I’ve done writing has by far always been the most intimidating. I stalled all the way to the end. It was 11:58 pm on the eve of the deadline, I had my submission written out. All I had to do was press send before midnight, I sat there and contemplated. It was sent seconds before the deadline. I was accepted, had a great experience and got over some of my fears of writing.

It’s all starting to make sense, I thought to myself. Until I saw an old friend who is also a life coach. He asked me about the “love your curvas” book (something I had shared with him about 2-3 years prior) and I said nothing. After that conversation, he pushed me off a ledge and forced me to find my wings on the way down.  I invested in myself by hiring him as my coach and with his guidance and my experience, we turned the book into a workshop. During this transition into workshops and coaching, I was shamed for not staying in a job that demanded 100% of me, a gift I could no longer give, some people judged me, others turned their backs. There she goes again following her heart, who does that anymore? Grow up! the drowning sounds of echoes garbled.

Liberating myself has given me the courage to facilitate freedom for other women. Freedom from guilt, shame, and the inner critic. Every time I open dialogue on the importance of loving oneself,  truly accepting who we are we are and self-care; I open up an opportunity for someone to truly see themselves through more compassionate, loving eyes.  I create the possibility for women to fill their own container first, with the awareness that this energy overflows into everything and everyone.

Antiquated is the idea that women go last when it comes to our families, our passions, and dreams. We now create space for ourselves while taking care of others.  Through my workshops, I’ve supported over one hundred women so far. My goal is to unleash millions of women to own their power and be their best self.

There is no timeline we subscribed to, no manuscript for life, so why pretend any of us have it all figured out? Anyone that says they have arrived is bypassing reality unless they’re describing stagnation. We are in constant motion. Leading just a few steps ahead, enough to provide guidance if we make the choice. I’m not speaking of materialism, many people have arrived there only to find houses that are like carcasses with no soul, devoid of peace and joy.

We can choose to answer what it is outside of us, or what pulsates within. At this point, I’ve learned enough to answer to the whispers in the wind. To trust the guidance that pulls my heart towards the teachers and travelers as we walk our divine assignment.

I am still exploring, there is so much to share and unravel.  Some of which, parts of me are still avoiding. My natural curiosity demands adventures, I don’t think that will ever change. As we grow and peel the layers of ourselves that don’t serve us, we are not meant to stay the same.

Self-acceptance is key, but it is not something we just wake up with one day. It takes time, nurturing and unlearning. There are still parts of me that I am working through. Heck, maybe there will be parts I will always have to work through. I don’t have to conform to being good at one thing, have you heard of being a multipotentialite?

Actually, no one has to conform to anything other than being who they are.

I know for sure that my purpose is not to be a certain size, to please or be defined by others or care about opinions that do not contribute to me.  When I transcend this existence, I will not be taking any of that with me.

We are not broken pieces waiting to be put together again. We are whole, already living, breathing, purpose in motion. Only in action is where we unlock the doors. Within action, we are on purpose. There is nothing to find, we are already it. The call asks us to remember who we are.

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As the founder of Love Your Curvas, Jaquí now shares her personal struggles, extensive personal development training, and 10 years of experience in the fitness industry to help women heal from the inside out. Teaching women to make peace, not war with their bodies and minds. Through guided meditations, energy healing, workshops and one on one coaching.
Jaquí’s compassionate and charismatic persona provides women with the comfort and trust they require to achieve freedom from guilt, shame, and their inner critic.
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About wendyang

Wendy Angulo is a New York City born Latina, raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Wendy is a mother, writer, lawyer and the founder of Wendy Angulo Productions, an organization whose goal is to support, encourage, and promote poetry and visual arts in the borough of Queens. Wendy, re-discovered her love for writing in the summer of 2011 after attending a spoken word event in Queens. She then joined the New York City Latina Writers Group where she has been an active member and has taken on the role as the organization’s Program Director. Wendy is an essayist who is currently working on her Memoir. She has read her work at several venues throughout New York City, including Nuyorican’s Poets Cafe, East Harlem Cafe, Sankofa Sisterhood, Camaradas and has been published in the online journal Mom Egg Review; she is a 2016 VONA alum and the sole creator/curator and producer of Canvas of Words, an art and poetry showcase that birthed of Wendy’s desire to bring the arts back to her beloved borough of Queens. Wendy continues to scout for new talent and build new connections to perpetuate the arts and strengthen the literary community.

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