This transformation has been life-changing, but it was a long time coming.
In in order to get to where I am today, I had to pass through some darkness. College, for me, was anything but the fun, "time of your life" experience that everyone claimed it would be. I went through physical traumas and emotional ones. I experienced pain I would never wish on anyone. But most of all, I lived under the false belief that I was not worth much at all.
This led me to engage in behaviors I am not proud of. I relished in any male attention I received, despite the fact that most of it was wrought with malicious intent. I gave myself fully to these men, my attention, my time, my body, subconciously hoping that if they loved me enough, I too would somehow begin to see my self-worth.
I partied - not a lot for "college standards," but more than I was at all comfortable with, in the hopes of numbing the anxiety I felt around alcohol and drunk men.
And it didn't work. This darkness culminated in an event I am not yet ready to share with the Internet, but an event that stripped me fully of any lingering sense of bodily autonomy or self-worth that I might have still had. Processing this event is what led me to the place I am today, and to the realization of my self-worth. For that, I am grateful. But I would never wish my experience on anyone.
Why am I sharing all of this today? Because lately, I feel as though this person and the person I am today are two completely different people. I love this present person, this strong, independent, woman, who knows herself and believes in herself and loves herself. But this other person, the past me, the one shrouded in darkness and doubt and self-loathing - I don't like her at all. In fact, I am ashamed of her. Embarassed. I wish I could take it all back. Start from the beginning, knowing what I know now. Delete, start over, erase, redo.
But see, that's just the thing. I can't do that, because that person too is me. We are different, yes, but she is and will be - and must be - a part of me for the rest of my life, because she led me to where I am today. I would not be this person I love and am proud of, without the darkness. I could not know self-love until I experienced its painful and complete absence.
The truth is, rather than being embarassed by this past, I should be grateful for it. I should forgive my mistakes, because they have made me who I am today. Both women, the past Greta and the present Greta are equally deserving of my love and respect and admiration, because they are both me. Because I survived.
So today, the next step in this spiritual transformation is to learn self-forgiveness and gratitude - not only for the pain I have felt, but also the mistakes I have made. This is what I am working on today, as I live my beautiful and exciting life, more grateful than ever for the sunshine, because I know how it feels to live in darkness.