I knew I had lost my connection to who I was, and I knew that my healing here at Brookhaven was going to be all about finding myself, embracing my own identity and needs, and valuing my own self worth.
Connecting with myself was my first challenge, getting out of my mind and in touch with my heart. Two things helped me the most at this stage – Carrie's constant reminder that my job was only awareness, and Zumba.
Zumba taught me so much – I loved the fact that E_ was not always on the beat and occasionally forgot the steps. I realized that it really was all about me and what others did wasn't important. This was my workout, this was my time to have fun and do something good for myself. I was able somehow to lose myself in the dancing – what I know now is that this is the feeling of freedom when I am truly connected to me. It doesn't matter if I'm doing “the right steps” or not – what matters is I'm having a blast. This is the joy I have been seeking to find. My first Zumba instructor always said that Zumba is a party, and I approach every class with this attitude.
Awareness took me far - it helped me realize just how anxious and fearful I was. But the validation that my core members gave me when I presented projects was new. I knew I was a perfectionist; I knew I had high expectations – but acknowledging these in front of others and examining my life – and not being judged but being embraced and supported – was an entirely new world of understanding for me.
These past 11 weeks at Brookhaven have given me hope, courage and confidence. I came here thinking this was my last resort. I know that my happiness and my self- worth are within me. While life may throw me curve balls, I can survive and remain true to myself.
I am so grateful to have found a place like Brookhaven. You have given me a new chance at life. The program is thoughtful, and comprehensive and the projects have given me the chance to face what I needed to face.
But the most valuable part of Brookhaven has been the people – the staff and the other women. You care for me, push me hard to face what I need to face, support me and love me no matter what. I am so grateful to the friends I have made here and the chance to live a healthy, happy, fulfilling life. Thank you for helping me get my life back.