Imagine you wake up one morning and you feel that something has shifted. You realize that you love your life, and not only that, you feel that a weight that you’ve been carrying on your neck and shoulders is no longer there. The constant stomachache and the low level anxiety that you have been trying to manage has disappeared.

You look around your life and you count your blessings. You take a deep breath and smile. You have worked so hard for this.

Your mouth opens in a tiny gasp, and you realize that you are free.

You got rid of that relationship that dragged you down, and made you shrink yourself.

You and your family have regular, loving, (really loving) conversations. You feel connected to the ones you love, and you have a community in which you absolutely belong. You have also learned to say no, and put yourself  first, so that you are only involving yourself in activities and relationships that make you feel good.

You feel fulfilled by your work, and you are a respected member of your workplace, and you know your colleagues trust you, and you trust them to have your back. You have professional relationships built on mutual respect and true merit. Your co-workers have done the work as a group  to clear their bad habits.

You are in love. Love that supports your goals, and allows you to speak your truth without fear. You know that your partner is fully in your corner. You regularly have conversations about your goals and desires. You feel supported and seen. You feel safe in your relationship, and you are so excited to spend your life with this person.

You remember what is was like to spend so much of your time thinking about how you were mistreated by your boss and barely tolerated by your coworkers. You remember the microaggressions - where others took credit for your ideas, where the tears of other women were meant to make you feel smaller, where you were reprimanded for demanding to be treated in your full humanity.

You remember when you bent over backwards to meet the expectations of those you loved the most. You remember days and weeks-- months even -- in behaviors and activities done only to prove how much you loved another. You wondered when it would be your turn to demand actions out of love. You wondered when you would get your dreams and desires met.

You remembered how you practiced your smile and modulating your voice to make others feel safe and comfortable, even though it felt like hiding under a bushel. How your tempered your vitality. You shrunk so that others could shine.

Waiting, because surely your time was coming.

Now you see that waiting was wrong. You also see that those things you wanted, to have your turn to demand love, to scream as loud as you could , just so that you could be heard.

None of that is what you actually wanted.

All you really wanted was to be free.

And here you are.