In Perla’s Shoes : Tomar las Reindas

Name : Perla Brito

Hometown : Taxco, Mexico

Current Residence: Alpharetta, GA

What does it mean to have a voice?

To have a say in your life. To decide for yourself and have control of your life in your hands.

How did you find your voice?

I gained control of my life by putting myself first and listening to my needs.

What event or series of events led to you finding your voice?

Seven years ago when I found out I was pregnant, I was in shock. Not because I wasn’t happy, but since it did not happen as I had planned. You see, I grew up dreaming of how I wanted my life to be as an adult. I grew up planning and doing everything that needed to be done to make it happen. I guess that’s how the majority of people are. So when I got pregnant, it came as a shock that I had run out of time for my intended life : I wasn’t married yet, I hadn’t had the time to travel the world with my “prince charming,” and I hadn’t dominated the world (market) with my chain of jewelry stores as I had planned.

For the first six months I maintained my plan of being a mompreneur by continuing to run my jewelry boutique while being a mom of a newborn. In six months, I realized I couldn’t do it. I was overtired, overworked, and alone.

My family lives in Mexico and my boyfriend (now husband) was working in New York while I was alone in Boston with my baby] When the lease of my apartment was up for renewal, I decided to sell all my belongings and move to Mexico with my family. That way I could have the help I needed and continue to run my business by traveling to Boston every other month. I told my boyfriend, “you can come or you can stay.” He chose to leave New York and came with me for a month, but then moved to Chile (where he is from) and found a job. Six months after, he asked me to move to Chile with him and our son.

Living in Chile was hard. I went from being my own boss, having my “stuff,” my apartment, and my income; to not working, staying at home with my son, and depending on my boyfriend for an income. It was also hard living in His country with His friends and family, all things His. I began missing My side of the world : My friends, My family, all the things that were Mine. After a year of living in Chile, my second son, Santiago, was born. I became the definition of a stay at home mom. Taking care of my kids was my priority now. Everything started revolving around them, and if I was still having a “life” with only one son, having two really changed things around. You see, my oldest, Fernando, was a very easy child. Going out with him was easy. Traveling 12 hours on a plane? No problem. Going on a 1,000-mile road trip? We did that for his first Birthday. Santiago, on the other hand, could not even be in his car seat for a 10 minute car ride without screaming and crying - both me and him. So I avoided going on a car ride with just the kids. I needed my husband or the baby sitter to go with me in the car. I became dependant on other people again.

After two years of living abroad, we moved back to the US and I assumed as soon as we got back to the familiar land, I would be myself again; but no, it wasn't as easy as that...

Tell me about when you finally found your voice

Last April, I read an article in a parenting blog about personal satisfaction. If you are not fulfilled and happy with yourself, you cannot be happy with your life and your children. I sat back and thought about it for a while. I thought about how I did not feel happy with myself, and how I would snap at the kids easily. That got me thinking that it was probably because I was not paying attention to myself. I wasn't fulfilled and definitely was not happy. It was the moment when I decided that in order for me to feel like I had a voice in my life, I needed to put myself first. I needed to feel good about myself first, in order for me to be good around others.

I joined a Gym, became a Real Estate Agent, focused on my online jewelry boutique, and decided to continue to pursue all the dreams I had left on pause. Today, a year after this realization, I have lost 10 pounds, have run a half marathon, and I am stronger than ever. I am a Real Estate Agent who enjoys helping other people find their dream house and I am running my jewelry boutique, which still gives me a big smile of satisfaction every time I get a new order in :). I go out with my friends at least once a month and have also gone on girls trips with my besties without feeling any guilt because it's my me-time. I have learned to put myself first. Because if I am satisfied, I am happier around my kids and my husband. If I feel good, I am good around everybody. I am just an overall better person.

Define “voice” and why it is important?

Having "control" or a say in your life is the most important thing. You need to take your destiny in your own hands and make it happen because nobody is going to do that for you. You are the only person who can do it so you need to put yourself first, because you are the most important person in your life.

What advice do you have for someone trying to find their voice?

We, as women, tend to care much more about others’ needs than ours, and that’s how we end up losing our voice. Put yourself first, and gain your voice.

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