A few years back after releasing a series of videos on how I do things "my way", I got at least a dozen messages from people of all ages, male and female, asking me if I didn´t feel uncomfortable seeing myself move so differently.
All that woke up a memory that had left me for a long time, when I was around fourteen years old I loved pictures, like any other teenage girl. I would dress up with my friends and take pictures, I knew the angle that worked best for my body shape and my face and I always possed the same way, so looking at myself in pictures wasn´t a big deal.
All that comfort changed one night at my first formal party, it was a Quisiañera, so there was a professional videography team capturing the special night. At that time I was a huge fan of a boy (salsa) band, I knew all the dance steps by heart as I used to dance to it every single day in front of the tv.
So, when MY tune started playing that was it, I hit the dance floor like a dancing queen, I was SO excited about it and giving it my all that the video team recorded the whole show this Misha put on.
A few weeks later, when we got together to watch the party video, it was all fun and laughs until my song came up, there I was dancing on tv, I was filmed from every angle for the whole song, showing my moves. To my friends I did great, this was the Misha they all knew, nothing new. BUT to me, it was life-changing, I couldn´t believe I moved like that, in my head my moves were right on point but in reality, I was sort of there, but mostly it was just an unbalanced crazy girl that didn´t know what the moves were like for that song.
It took me a few weeks - if not months- to shake that moment off, I truly struggled. I wanted to be the first to arrive at any event and once I sat down that would be it for the night. I just didn´t want to walk or move, to me it was just disastrous that I hadn´t realized before how differently I moved.
I remember the exact day that I made the DECISION to change that terrible situation. Since I was ten years old I had a huge group of friends from my neighborhood, we saw each other almost every day. We played together, we went to parties together, we hanged out all the time. One afternoon after that party, I was going to the shop but there were like fifteen of my friends sat in the street, to go to the shop I normally went I had to walk right by them, at that moment I felt so terrified that I went all around the block. When they saw me at the shop they start yelling at me things like " Why did you do that?" "Are you ignoring us?". I remember going back home and crying for the whole afternoon. I didn´t want that for my life, why did I feel like that in front of people that knew me and liked me just the way I was? What would happen now with new people if I couldn´t even handle my own friends?
After hours of replaying the video in my head, I came to the conclusion that this did n´t have anything to do with others, this was all on me and it was all my fault, yes FAULT. Nothing had changed except for the fact that now I knew more about me and it was ME who wasn't comfortable, not others. I was so lucky that my friends and family accepted me the way I am. So, the change had to come from... ME! At that moment I decided that I was never going to be a stranger to myself ever again, I would know exactly how I move, how I look when I eat, how I sound, I would put it all out there not just for the world but for me, everybody - including me- was going to get used to every inch of Misha. NO MORE SURPRISES.
Since that afternoon, what you see it´s me and what you see I know how it looks from EVERY angle, I can not stand the idea of not knowing how I am, this is me, this is my body and I´m going to be in it for the rest of my life, being aware of it, accepting and loving it is my choice. This has been one of the biggest and most important decisions of my life, it wasn´t easy, there were many times I wished I walked differently or many other things, but working on this every single day, choosing to accept me and love myself just the way I am has been the greatest revolution. I have freed myself from unnecessary pain, uncomfortable moments and it has given me a wonderful life. And My friends enjoying life is what we are here for, everything else is just noise.
So, if you are struggling with anything related to who you are, how you look or move, I beg you ( if I could get on my knees I would) to give all that you are an opportunity to be loved and accepted by the most important person to be loved by, YOU. It is hard work, some days you might not even find the strength to do so but, self-love is like a muscle the more you use it the stronger it gets, and the place to start is by knowing what is that you are loving, recognising yourself inside AND out, from every angle, concentrate on acceptance and being unapologetically you.
I have been in the dark, I have gone through it, and is not a place to be for anyone. You owe it to yourself to at least try, and you will see how every day gets better. Until one morning you will wake up with the wonderful feeling of enjoying being who you are in full.