The following post has been submitted by Selina Reitsma in collaboration with Jodi Lee Fleming Photography.
Who am I?
A simple question right?
The Selina from years ago would agree. I would’ve answered: I’m a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a girlfriend. I’m an athlete, a teacher, and a homebody. I’m confident, caring, loyal and funny. Every one of those descriptors would have been safe answers.
However, almost three years ago I went through a break up that crumbled my perspective of who I was. It’s from that point on that my real journey of self-discovery began. Currently, I would describe myself as a wandering soul; looking for the truest version of myself.
This is a ridiculous cliché but I’m going to roll with it...I'm like an onion with many layers! The first layer being a front: looking good on the outside for appearance-sake. Next (which most women can attest to), the first inside layer is full of insecurities and self-consciousness. Deeper yet...the nasty stuff...a nice ripe layer ready to make you cry. This is the layer I use to protect my vulnerabilities – which I suppose is truly functioning as barrier to hide my fears (at the core of the onion).
My core: an insufferable childhood loss. The death of my father. Yeesh! That's deep.
My greatest learning over the past three years is coming to this realization. That these layers have been building upon each other, stifling my joy and inhibiting me from finding my true self and living the life I was meant to.
This journey that I'm on has been challenging, messy and confusing, yet at the same time, beautiful and rewarding. I am not alone. I am going through this while holding the hands of God.
My faith in humanity, the world, and beliefs in a higher power have been strengthened...and it's with strong conviction that I share the following bit of wisdom:
Trust and believe in something...anything. Whether it's God, Buddha, or the entirety of the Universe, that 'something' will be your strength on the most difficult of days...the days when you've struggled to get dressed, ate yourself through the fridge, wallowed, napped, Netflixed, napped again, and cried yourself to sleep thinking "why me?"; remember to call on your strength, your Source. Know and TRUST that you are being guided to your purpose and your place.
This is my journey. I'm finally realizing that it's okay for it to look different than I had originally imagined (like honestly...the mind of a Dutch Christian Reformed pre-teen is totally unrealistic). Now I'm wise enough to know that we are all on individual paths, however; those paths are destined to cross. We meet up at different times to encourage each other, be a cheerleader and a shoulder to cry on.
I have learned to trust that every trial and tribulation that has come before me, has had its purpose - a hidden lesson to learn or a new perspective to gain. Whether it be great moments of celebration or hurtful agony, there is something for all of us to learn and guide us further down our road of self-discovery. Trust in those difficult times. They are there to create vulnerability. If we are brave enough to be vulnerable and trust that our Source, our friends, our families, will still be there to love us on the other side, we can face our deepest fears. Really, what have you got to lose?!
So why do it? Why go through this mess and allow Jodi to convince me to expose myself for the whole wide web to see? It’s as simple as hope. Hope, that in my efforts to peel back my layers, I can actually just be Selina.
SELINA IS: a strong, beautiful child of God, who is vulnerable and ready!