When people meet me today, they assume that I had the best upbringing because of my current situation. I am not going to lie, I am very blessed right now and I love my life today. I hear “Wow, you are so lucky!” WHAT?! Lucky? What are they talking about? I worked my tail off to get to this place in life. Let’s get real here, life is not a Disney movie with a fairy tale ending that we were groomed to believe growing up. Life throws us challenges that we have to grow through every day. Sometimes it is easy and we are on top of the world and sometimes it completely sucks. It is what you do right now to handle your current situation that will determine if you succeed, stay in limbo, or fail.
My current situation has nothing to do with luck. The reality is that I grew up in a very strict military catholic family. My dad was an immigrant from Mexico who joined the Air Force at 18 in hopes to live a better life in America and my mom was one of six children born to Nebraska farmer. They were so young when they got married and had me, they were 21 years old. My mom had the 4 of us within 8 years. My parents raised us like little soldiers. There was very little love or positive affirmation in my household. We never heard “good job” or “love you honey”. To be quite honest, my parents were miserable. They were struggling with their marriage, finances, and raising a family. My three siblings and I felt the negative pressure growing up, especially in high school. We walked on pins and needles trying not to make our parents mad at us.
I heard 2 things growing up quite often in my household. 1) No, you can’t do that and 2) No, we can’t afford that.
Years of hearing no over and over being played my head make me think “When I am old enough to move out, I vow to live the opposite of my parents!” I did not want their unhappy stressful life. My childhood was not a happy memory for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some positive memories, but the negative ones outweigh the positive ones. Yeah, I used to wish that I had I had the perfect family. In fact, I used to lie to people and tell them I had the best family and put on a fake smile to the world. I was embarrassed to tell people my parent about my unhappy childhood. I knew it was only a matter of time before the truth makes its way out. I mean, I couldn’t lie forever, could I?
Besides feeling the stress of my parent’s daily struggles, we had the worst nutrition. Between my dad being Hispanic and my mother being a Nebraska farm girl, we had a combination of traditional Mexican food and hearty home cooked meals with lots of butter and gravy. Also, during high school, I worked at McDonald for three years. I ate that junk almost every day. So, between being unhappy, I had horrible nutrition. I was not the picture of health back then.
I had issues. Here I was a young girl with a ton of childhood issues from my upbringing trying to make it in the world. I was very angry for years. I dated the wrong men, I hung out with the wrong friends, and I thought this was the card I was dealt in life. I had no education on eating the right foods; therefore I was eating processed foods on a daily basis. I had negative self-talk. How else was I supposed to talk to myself? I didn’t know how to believe in myself. I never heard positive self-talk at the time, I don’t think I would have believed myself at the time if I did say something positive. In fact, when I looked around my life at that time, I was miserable. I was a product of my parents and my environment. I told myself I would change years ago but never put it to action. I complained too long for too many years.
Then one day I decided the pity party was over. I wanted to change my life.
I was about 24 when I made the biggest decision in my life. I wanted a new life. I wanted to be happy. I wasn’t happy with my current situation and I knew I needed to change it. So I moved to a new city, got a new job, made new friends, started reading books to educate myself, and went back to school all on my own with no help. I read a lot of self-help books and started working out. Day by day I felt like I was rehabbing myself to be the best me I could be. As time went on, between going to college and educating myself (reading a ton of health and fitness books), I was feeling better overall. I knew I was on the right path to living a happier life.
The point of my story is not to make you feel sorry for me or to throw my parents under the bus. That was how my parents knew how to deal with their life at the time. It was one of the hardest times of their lives. They didn’t know the consequences of their actions and words would affect their children into adulthood in a negative way. My story is to show you that you have it within you to change your current situation if you really want to. For me, I was tired of living a miserable life every day, it got me nowhere. There was something in me that said “Marzia, you can be happier than this.” And that is what I did. If you have it within you to change your current situation whether it be your love, life, career, your health, or your social circle, you can do it. It takes time. My goal back when I was miserable was just to be happy. After changing certain factors in my life, I was on my way to happiness. Only I could change myself. I couldn’t blame anyone but me.
Today at 39, I feel blessed. My life now is everything I dreamed about when I was 24 and much more. I would never have believed the negative little girl who worked at McDonald would ever be Ms. Bikini Universe or a fitness model today. Life is what I made it. Happy. It took me years to get here but it was so worth all the life lessons and failures. I rewrote the story of my life day by day and still continue to do so now.
Dig deep inside yourself to make the changes you need for your life. Your life depends on it. Happiness is part of being healthy. You are a product of the choices you make right now. Go out there and find your happiness.