ME FIRST MONDAY FEATURED POWERHOUSE
Please help us understand your self-love journey. What have you learned along the way?
Alondra: Ah, self-love. Why do we forget how to love ourselves along the way? In my particular journey, my broken heart was the trigger that might as well had blown my brains out. I was cheated on by my first love and rather than realizing it had nothing to do with me, I then decided to go into another relationship where naturally I was worse off. I dimmed my light for him. I stopped dancing, I stopped acting (he didn’t feel comfortable with the prospect of me having to kiss someone else in a scene), and I stopped singing, even in the shower! Needless to say - I completely stopped taking care of myself. I dimmed my light so he could shine, we could be happy, and hopefully he wouldn’t cheat on me. I remember I couldn’t even find myself in the mirror, I was not able to look into my own eyes. I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I was ugly, and all my color was gone.
The true challenge of being in such a dark place, is that you have to pull yourself out it. So how did I do it? I propelled myself into rock bottom- I do not recommend this approach. We gradually became violent with each other. One night, our last night, he beat me so badly that I stopped fighting and just surrendered to his beating. He was so angry and I was so tired. He threw me across the room, he punched my stomach, then my ribs, and my face. The beating that started in the living room, went into the kitchen, and resumed in the bathroom. I found a niche between the toilet and the shower, hoping it would be more challenging for him to grab me, I cradled my face between my knees and hugged my legs for life. He grabbed a fistful of my hair as if I were a rag doll, and pulled my face out. I looked up and saw the sole of his boots coming straight to my face and as I raised my arms into a shield the impossible happened. I heard a thundering roar, “NOOOOO!!” He was pulled from his back out of the bathroom and thrown into the living room floor. It was my older sister, Eda, and she was livid. He became the rag doll and she the tigress mother. I don’t remember how she managed to get him outside the house, but I remember that’s when I found the strength to stand. Shaking and weak, I walked to the mirror. Upon finding my reflection my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach as my gaze met my bruises. Strangely, I didn’t cry, I allowed myself to take it all in and found the eye contact I was trying to avoid for so long. In my eyes I saw the little girl that I used to be and I asked myself how did I ever allow this to happen to her? I saw me and I was relieved - I was still alive and I could put myself back together.
Putting the pieces back together is an obstacle for some people. How were you able to return to your body?
Alondra: The relationship ended that night and my heart was broken for many reasons - shame mostly. My sister, my brother, and my mother nurtured me back to life, each in their own sensitive way. I’m very blessed to have them. Little by little I rediscovered myself. I started dancing again - though in my room, it was a start. Then I took an entire summer off to travel on my own! I visited my friend in Barcelona, somehow managed to spend a weekend in Ibiza, then went to Paris where I fulfilled my sexual fantasies, regained my feminine power, and finally went back home to Moca. While in Moca, I meditated and took full inventory of my life. That was difficult to do - that’s when I had a serious conversation with God. I was grateful for my process - all the lessons, all the tears, and all the love. I told Him I was ready to meet the love of my life, to please send him my way. Two weeks later, on my 30th birthday, Marcell my now fiancé walked back into my life. I had met him 13 years prior, in architecture school, before I had even fallen in love with my first love.
Between managing multi-million dollar properties and nurturing your own self-development, how do you make time to prioritize yourself? What do you do?
Alondra: Now that I’m back to living my best life and shinning as brightly as I can, I spend my time balancing all the things that make me happy. I work, a lot and all the time, so managing my time efficiently is vital. I start my day with a simple but powerful phrase; it’s actually the way my aunt used to wake me when I would sleep over her house growing up. I say, “Albado sea Jesus sacramentado…” and my fiancé responds, “… sea por siempre bendito y alabado.” God first, always. Then my feet touch the ground and off to the races I go! On a good morning, we get ready for work and meditate for 20 minutes before heading off. When I arrive at my office, as I sip my cafecito, I make a to-do list of tasks I must complete before the end of the day. This list includes tasks that are both work and life related. Depending on the day, the personal may outweigh the professional or vice versa.
Now that we've discussed what day-to-day self care looks like, what can you tell us about your self-love practices overall? How do you remain aligned?
Alondra: I realize there are certain items that must be included in my general routine for me to have a healthy flow in life. I must always be reading a good book. I alternate between self-improvement books, and novels. I must train my artistry. I take acting class 2 times a week, vocal lessons once every 2 weeks, and dance lessons at least twice a month. I must learn and I must study. I discovered I actually quite enjoy studying - just sitting, reading, taking notes, and learning. I’m currently studying astrology. I’m obsessed with the moon cycles in addition to the positioning of the planets to understand and maximize on energy that’s available. I must serve. I volunteer at least once a month. I currently volunteer teaching children how to dance where I take dance classes. It turns out to be a win-win as my volunteering hours turn into credits towards my future dance classes, and the kids fill me with joy! I must meditate and I must pray. I go to mass every Thursday during my lunch break - best lunch hour ever! I must cook. I love LOVE LOVE to cook, for me it’s a form of meditation. I try to make a nice Dominican dinner for my honey and myself, once or twice a week. It also helps that he just loves coming home from work to find me dancing in the kitchen con mi vinito and stirring a pollo guisado! I must have Home balance. This means I must see or speak to all my family and friends as often as possible.
What would you say to the person having trouble putting themselves first?
Alondra: I believe everyone has a different journey. If someone is not putting themselves first, the first step is realizing you’re trying to avoid your true self. I would advise you to find and commit to a time that is just for you to spend time with yourself. A lot of women don’t have that luxury because they have children or a caring for a loved one; but I would tell them to start small. Everyday, spend 10 minutes with yourself (no phone, or tv) just yourself and preferably outside. Go take a walk or go on your fire escape, breathe, and listen to yourself.
I believe it's important to take full inventory of your life and commit to change or heal what is unbalance. If you’ve always wanted to do something and never got around to doing it; if you loved doing something and stopped doing it due to time or money; if you had a falling out with a dear friend or family member; all those examples are unfinished missions. It’s your responsibility to change or heal your position. The sooner you work towards that, the better.
This month's theme at Loved by Destiny is gratitude: What role does gratitude play in your life?
I love that November’s theme is gratitude! Once I became graceful of my processes I was able to heal and build myself back up. Without gratitude we are victims and victims never thrive. Be grateful, and know things can always be worse.
Describe your self-love journey in one word:
What can we learn from Alondra?
First it's important to recognize that there is strength in sharing your truth, because truth is a light that gives others the cue to give themselves permission to shine. Our powerhouses are an emblem of bravery, and there is nothing more brave than owning our truth - just as Alondra has. We learn that resilience through the obstacles in our lives can lead to beautiful paths that allow us to discover who we truly are. We also learn from Alondra the negative, at times fatal, consequences of not loving ourselves in the way we deserve. bell hooks in her book All About Love says, “All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm's way.” Alondra teaches us that it is possible to come out of the other side and return to your body - while not forgetting the many women who were unable to do so. Thank you, Alondra!
Where can I find this powerhouse?
If you want to learn more about Alondra, her journey, or simply want to continue feeling her radiant light, you can find her on Instagram @alondralberti and be sure to visit her website www.alondraalberti.com.
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−7233 for assistance. You are worthy. I love you!
Who is she?
Alondra Alberti is a multi-passionate creative architect that spends as much time looking at blueprints as she does developing her artistic talents. Born in Moca, Dominican Republic and moving to and from the United States a few times through her life, credited her with a strong foundation of values and faith that shape who she is today. Disuaded from pursuing a career in the arts because they weren't considered "real" in her Dominican culture, she opted to follow in the footsteps of her favorite aunt "Tia Tatty" and chose a career in architecture.
She has been practicing architecture for 11 years now; focusing on luxury real estate in Manhattan for the last 5. Through the industry, she has met and worked with clients that are successful artists: Broadway directors, film actors, composers, screenplay writers. As life would have it, her career in architecture is organically merging into the performing arts, specifically set designing! "A beautiful way to show that you never truly know where life will take you," as she would say!
Your highest self is waiting...