Disaster offers the opportunity to reinvent yourself by changing what’s not working in your life. Sometimes this behavior arises from desperation, sometimes from optimism that things will get better. Anna Bella’s journey took her through heart-wrenching events: the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, being kidnapped by one parent in order to punish the other, childhood sexual abuse and neglect, complications giving birth, and the development of her career. Her life has rolled through cycles of hope and disappointment, chasing the deep desire to find love and stability. Anna Bella learned to balance optimism with realism, and now shares her hard-won wisdom in her new book, Beneath My Smile. By writing out her tribulations and wry observations on human nature and relationships, Anna Bella rises above negativity to uplift both herself and her audience.
A Work in Progress: My Quest Continues
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect,” said Alan Cohen. I ponder this as I seek to move forward in a new direction. Over the years I have questioned myself many times about
why I continuously and knowingly make such mischief. Theanswer? It’s all to compensate, to fill a void, I guess. But one thing I know for sure: in my search for love, freedom, and peace, I need to love myself unconditionally first. As part of this process, I must first admit that I have been my own worst enemy, consumed by fear, doubt, despair, disappointment, and lack of trust.
Many times in my life I have lost faith and trust in people and have questioned why God would allow certain things to happen. After all, I treated people as I wanted to be treated. You know the old adage, “Do unto others as you would have done to you”? Well, for whatever reasons, the love I demonstrated was never reciprocated.
I realized I had to fix it myself through therapy, yoga, self-care—whatever it took. Expecting happiness to come from
someone else is most often inconsistent, temporary, and unreliable. And so I decided to reset the GPS of my mind, heart, body, and soul.
I was never satisfied with the status quo and continuously made attempts to change my thought process to foster a more positive outlook. I choose to do this now. I believe that we bring to fruition our deepest fears through our thoughts. If I am to find love, freedom, and peace, it starts with me making better choices and thinking positively, replacing the negative energy.
I want to taste the deliciousness of my truth. I’m aware once I start living my truth and making the necessary changes there will be some repercussions. So let me say this: From now on, I will not apologize. Looking at my life in retrospect, I realized that I’ve come a long way. Many would expect, based on my history, that I would’ve been an alcoholic, a drug addict, or dead.
As I try to come to terms with my past, I am aware of how much I have grown, and can see the strength that I possess. I don’t know what’s in God’s divine plan for me, but I will continue to be the best I can be while enjoying life to the fullest without any more regrets.
As beautiful as the lotus emerging from the depths of murky, muddy water, I too have emerged from the parched and unnourished cracks of my past, determined to continue to grow. I refuse to be consumed by the atrocities of my past in my search for love, freedom, and peace.
In the same way I sat upon the roof of the funeral home many, many years ago, listening to the song of the corn bird, I lift my face to the star-lit sky and hear that song once again—but now, that peace-giving melody emerges from within the depths of my own soul.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BORN IN THE TWIN ISLAND REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, ANNA BELLA
spent her formative years maintaining her faith and hope in the good things to
come, despite enduring difficulties and discouragement. After migrating to the
United States in 1987, she connected with extended family, made a variety of
friends, and attended high school. Marrying at an early age, she courageously
relocated to Florida in 1995, with periods of her life spent traveling back and
forth from New York. Always interested in bettering herself and being financially
independent, she obtained her BSN and AA degrees and dabbled in an
This surgical nurse is a lover of the arts, an avid reader, a passionate writer, a
hopeless romantic, and a mother of four. Though she has always worn rose-colored
glasses, she has learned through trial and error to balance optimism with
realism, and sees the world with ever-growing discernment. She enjoys dancing,
experimenting with multicultural cuisines, and spending time with friends.
Though she can be very serious, she loves to laugh and make others laugh along
with her. By writing extensively of her life’s tribulations and wry observations on
human nature and relationships, Anna Bella rises above negativity while uplifting
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