She Crawled Into My Bathroom Stall…

She Crawled Into My Bathroom Stall | Sedruola Maruska

We were living in Miami at the time. Which means I was around eight years old.

I raised my hand.

“May I go to the bathroom?”

“Yes, Sedie, go ahead.”

It was a typical day. We were learning. Things were going fine, until I went to the bathroom.

I heard someone come in.

Then, she crawled under the partition, into my stall.

Her name was Sara. She was in my class. We were friends. It’s foggy, I was eight. We only lived in Miami for six months. I didn’t know her well, but she was my friend.

And here was my friend, Sara, standing in front of me, in my bathroom stall, pulling down her pants and showing me her vagina.

“What are you doing?!”

“Show me yours.”

“NO!”

“Come on?!”

“NO!”

I quickly got up, pulled my clothes together and tried to leave the stall.

She tried to kiss me.

“Stop!”

My eight year old self was confused. What happened? Why did she come into my stall? Why was she showing me her vagina? Why did she want to see mine?

Why did I feel scared? Why did I feel ashamed?

Get a Fresh Start!

I’ve never told that story before. As a matter of fact, I haven’t thought about that incident in a long time

It came to mind because the other day I was talking to my mom about my son. We were sharing about how open he still seems to be at thirteen.

Then I thought about Sara. About how I never told anyone what happened in that bathroom. How, I felt so ashamed and nervous afterwards.

Looking back, I wonder if Sara ever said anything to anyone either. She and I never talked about it. I didn’t tell on her. I didn’t tell anyone, ever. We moved.

As a mom I’d like to think I can protect my kids from hurt. I want to think that they’ll tell me what’s going on with them, by making sure I give them space to be fully open and honest.

But they’re not going to tell us everything. They’re not always going to say when they feel confused or frustrated. Especially if they feel ashamed or nervous.

They’re going to move on and pretend everything’s fine, or they’ll forget.

What happened with Sara? Did she keep crawling under partitions into stalls? Did she grow into herself and acknowledge that she was gay, or at least curious? Or, did she bury herself and her curiosity deep inside because of confusion?

I’ll never know.

Something I do know, our children will never tell us everything. Because when I think about it, I realize that I didn’t.

We didn’t, we don’t tell everything ourselves.

She Crawled Into My Bathroom Stall | Sedruola Maruska

I could have gone home and told my mom about this little girl that came into my bathroom stall. I didn’t. Which is why I’m not naïve enough to think my kids will tell me.

No matter how safe they feel in talking to me, and we work hard to make our home a safe space, they won’t. What I hope is they’ll learn to process and cope.

Until we’re able to process the reasons we keep ourselves buried, we’re destined to live in darkness. We can’t be upset at our children for not sharing everything with us, when we don’t share everything with ourselves.

Homeschooling my daughter the other day, we worked on a reading comprehension activity. I looked at her work and noticed a couple of wrong answers so I sent her back to review. She reviewed then brought it back. I glanced and started to tell her that what she did was wrong as she started to get emotional.

When I looked closer, I was wrong. I didn’t take the time to look closely, thinking I already knew what I was doing, and I was correcting what she’d done, when it was already correct.

I looked at her teary eyes and said “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

But I didn’t stop there. I want to empower her to speak up so I said “it’s okay to tell me if I’m wrong. I will be wrong sometimes. Okay? No matter who it is, they can be wrong. If you know you’re right, speak up.”

She nodded, smiled and we moved on. What I’m hoping she’ll learn is, even if she’s not willing to tell me everything, she will speak up for herself and process outwardly if necessary.

Click Here if you’re ready to be your best?

As we mature the extent we allow ourselves to learn and grow is the extent we’ll be able to allow others around us to learn and grow.

We’re not called to live anyone else’s life, even our children’s. What we’re called to do is be and project the best versions of ourselves. That’s how we empower ourselves, our children and our loved ones to be the very best of themselves.

Then, when someone does crawl into their bathroom stall, they’re equipped to handle, process and move beyond that situation.

Open Letter To My Younger Self

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

Hey Lady!

It’s me, your older self.

I’ve missed you. I’ve missed the fire in your soul that brightened up rooms you inhabited. I’ve missed the pick-up-and-go, and I’ve missed my younger self zest!

I say ‘missed’ because after all these years, I’m finally discovering that I buried you, my younger self, in a deep dark place. I’m so sorry.

I was afraid, hurt and so, so ashamed. I felt like you were the problem and didn’t deserve to live full out. I know it’s confusing. You’re wondering why? That’s why I’m writing.

I’m slowly finding you again and I feel terrible that I left you locked up for so long. You need and should have an explanation.

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Man #1

First, I want you to know, your idea that it’s time to find a man is all wrong. You’re young, you’ve got stuff to do, there’s no ‘need’ to find a man.

But I know what’s about to happen so. . . .

Girl, he’s fine. I know! He’s got a warm radiating smile and he knows it. He’s also got eyes that seem to look right through you. Thing is, he doesn’t see you, not really. It only feels like he does cause, you want him too.

He’s good news and bad news. He’s where things start to wobble, beware. Oh, you’ll have fun. You’ll see each other a few times, and it’ll start to look promising.

Then he’ll disappear. What do they call it now? Oh, girl, you’ll get ghosted. Don’t let that rattle you. Yes, I know it’ll feel bad. You’ll be sad. And you’ll wonder what you did, or didn’t do, to make him stay.

You didn’t do anything but be yourself, my younger self. You’re not responsible for decisions others make that don’t include or have anything to do with you.

Everyone’s dealing with their own stuff. You’re okay and there’s more where that came from.

Discover Your Brilliance

Open Letter to My Younger Self | Sedruola Maruska

Man #2

You got ghosted and you’re wondering why. Not only that, you’re panicking. All your girlfriends are getting married and you don’t even have a man. Trust yourself. Don’t be anxious, you’ve got this.

This is where you derail. Where you stop trusting yourself and start trusting someone who doesn’t see you, uses you, and discards you. Don’t go there! This is the one. Not “The One”, just the one that put you in the dungeon.

He’s a doozy. Those eyes. That smile. They get you every time don’t they? He’s not wearing a ring and he’s super helpful. He’s helping you navigate this conference and find your place. Not so bad. Don’t take the number.

I know you, you’re flattered. He’s also a little flustered, it’s cute.

Don’t take the number.

It’s not worth the ending. I’m here, and I see you so clearly and I just want to hug you and say “trust your instincts. You’re right, he’s bad news!”

Don’t throw your instincts away because of this guy. You’ve made it this far, you’re bound to meet someone that won’t be so shady feeling.

Don’t take the number.

Reinventing Yourself: Get A Fresh Start

I Love You

You didn’t deserve to be in the dungeon. I stopped trusting you. I’m sorry. He was a bad decision. We all make bad decisions, but a bad decision doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human.

I felt we weren’t worthy of our bigger dreams. I convinced myself that what we wanted no longer mattered because we weren’t worthy. Looking back I realize now how wrong I was.

We’re all worthy of our dreams. Mistakes happen. They don’t define us. What we do regularly does. Who we are and our worth isn’t dependent on the mistakes we’ve made or failures we’ve had. We are worthy simply because we are.

Somehow I forgot that after our loss. She saved us. I took the safe route and didn’t allow us to be too “big.” I’m happy to say, we’ve turned a corner. I’ve learned a lot and now we’re moving forward in faith, love, hope and joy!

I know we’ve learned a lot along the way. I know all the learning has made us who we are. But it was hard to get past the loss.

For a long time I didn’t know how much I was punishing you, my younger self, for that bad decision.

Now I do.

It’s okay.

We’re okay. We’re taking the world by storm and enjoying being “big!”

In everything, always remember, you’re loved more than you know and you’re totally worthy of all you want.

With love, Me


Transformation – Part 3: Brilliance

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

This is the final installment of the transformation journey. It’s about the brilliance we find when we embrace ourselves fully. If you’ve missed the first two posts, you can find the here:


It’s 2016, I’m 47. I’m twenty years removed from my angel’s passing. My son’s ten and my daughter’s five. But there’s a stirring in my gut that won’t leave me alone. I feel a shift I can’t explain. Nothing feels right but I can’t pin it down.

I’m prepping to go to my son’s soccer game and right before rushing out the door I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. “Who is that? It can’t be me, I don’t dress or look like THAT!”

I quickly change my clothes to something more “me” appropriate and keep it moving.

What’s Your Self Story

The Diagnosis

We’re sitting in the surgeon’s office, it’s December 13, 2017, and my husband and I are waiting to hear the results from the two biopsies I had the week before.

The first and only words I hear are “You have Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, breast cancer.” As I sit there absorbing this information, my overwhelming thoughts are:

  1. What about my kids?
  2. What am I doing with my life?

So, for the first 8 months of 2018, beginning on January 2nd, I go through active treatments to fight cancer. In that time I realize there are things I want to be, do and have yet nothing’s leading me to them.

Now’s the time.

Becoming

The Universe responds by laying me off from my job. It’s October 2018 and I’m at a crossroads. Recovering from cancer treatments, looking for a job and feeling completely transformed in a way I’m unable to explain to myself, let alone anyone else.

At the same time, my daughter’s in the second grade and bored, I’m frustrated because she’s full of brilliance and loves learning, but she feels she’s not learning anything. So, I say “if Mommy can find a way to stay home, we’ll do home school.”

Around that time, I decide to drive for Uber until I can “figure things out”. I enjoy driving so much I decide to stop my job search, drive full time and home school my daughter and build my dream career of coaching, speaking and making a real difference in other’s lives.

Serene Lifestyle Coaching

Transformation - Part 3:  Brilliance  - I believe women are brilliant! The luminous kind. Here's the final part of my story and why I spend time cultivating brilliance in every femme I encounter.

No life is linear.

We don’t always know what events in our lives mean until we look back at how they’ve unfolded. Cancer re-ignited the brilliance of my soul in a way that’s hard to explain.

When I lost my first baby that brilliance was dulled to almost imperceptible. Cancer allowed me to see that I’ve been living in default for over twenty years. Instead of being the leader I was in high school, I shrunk myself to fit in and not make waves. Instead of taking huge chances and making big bets, I stayed at the slot machines and hoped. There’s no honor in being dull.

Now I’m aware. There’s no turning back because I get to choose how my story ends. Mine isn’t a story of defeat, it’s a story of triumph. It’s a story of realization and growth. It’s a story of knowing myself, honoring myself and allowing myself to continue becoming.

I’m no longer worried about being worthy, I know I am. I no longer care to carry shame, I care more that my gifts be shared. That my brilliance serve as a beacon for others, lighting their path and their motivation.

So, maybe by listening to my soul’s cry to do more for others, my cancer can be what helps others find their own brilliance.

I’m living forward, pushing through whatever comes so the next time I look back, I’m overwhelmed and humbled by what I see.

From this moment on I’m no longer in default. I’m intentional.