I just finished taping, The Kelly Show. I had traveled all the way to Atlanta, to be on a talk show, to talk about my first book, Song of the Boricua. "Me???" I thought, "On a show???!" I could not believe it. I have come far.
There was a time I believed someone else’s words about me. There was a time I believed that I was no one and would never be anyone. There was a time I was on my knees looking at the ruin all around me--a hurricane had hit my life twenty years ago.
On that stage at The Kelly Show, I thought of all the people who had helped me on this long, hard journey and I remembered the words of a woman I greatly admired. My first great mentor said, “Be the hero of your own story" and “Be like the Phoenix rising from the ashes."
At the time I was in an abusive marriage and what she said was a concept that was so foreign to me. Those words helped change the direction of my life. I began to stop seeing the world from the eyes of a victim and began to see it from the eyes of a victor.
There are moments in life when you have small victories and this week on The Kelly Show, I realized I had become the person I had always wanted to be. I had become the person I had always admired in all the books I had read and loved as a girl. Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind, Anna Karenina, to name a few. I had become the hero of my own story. I had risen from the ashes and was now flying.
I have overcome much in my life. This is why I wrote a book about people who not only survive, but thrive. A book about people who not only thrive, but triumph.
Before Atlanta, I had just visited the island of my family, Puerto Rico, and saw heroes everywhere. They were the heroes of their own stories. Puerto Rico is rising from her ashes and will be like a mighty bird soaring.
As I come back from this amazing experience, I think back to a moment when I was talking to Kelly, when she asked, “Does this book validate you?" “Yes," I said, “I speak not only for me, but for my ancestors and for those women who suffered and could not speak."
I stand tall today and if I can do it, anyone can...
Be the hero of your own story.