Growing up, my mother always treated me like a grown-up. She asked me thought-provoking questions, encouraged me to tap into my intuition (a word she taught me when I was only 8-years-old), and introduced me to a documentary called The Secret.
The Secret has become popular lately, but at the time when my mom introduced me to it, I felt like I truly had discovered the secret of life: believe and you will achieve. The movie inspired me to create what’s called a vision board, a big poster with pictures of all my dreams, goals and aspirations. On there I pasted a photo of a book with the author’s name crossed out and ‘Mary Jelkovsky’ written instead, a photo of Alcatraz Island because the prison story fascinated me and I dreamed to see it in person, and of course, a printout of the TEDx logo in giant red letters.
I don’t know how I stumbled upon TED at such a young age, but TED continued to be a big part of my learning throughout my adolescence. In the past 4 years of my life, I feel like I’ve lived multiple lifetimes. From being a bikini fitness competitor at age 17 to recovering from an eating disorder and building a business by sharing my healing journey, my story is unique yet relatable.
Now, at age 21, I finally gathered the courage to apply to speak on the TEDx stage to inspire women to not be afraid to take up space in this world, whether that’s physically or metaphorically.
My 10-year-old sister tells me I’m “nervous-cited” (nervous + excited), but and she’s right. But mainly, I feel on purpose.