I Want To Speak From The Heart

I figured out at a young age that I was different in some way. Maybe because I was dark-skinned, black, caribbean descent, connected to the Divine in some way. And I was vulnerable. And I wanted to be loved and to be seen as beautiful and valuable, in a way that no one around me was capable of making me feel at that time. I was alone. And in my vulnerability, I was taken advantage of. By many. And I think I learned to allow myself to be violated repeatedly by tensing up and whisking myself away when the violation happens. I’m not talking about sexual violation. That did happen. The violation I am talking about is mental and psychological. I feel like because of the events that transpired in my home life, I became a target for abuse on many levels.

Over the years, I learned to stop allowing my heart to speak freely and openly about how I feel and about various traumas. I learned that people don’t come to my aid when I need them to. This affects me on a creative level. Fear of speaking from my creative place makes it so that I stifle my writing and method of expression. But it needs to come out. It needs to be expressed in order for me to live in the fullness of my being.

I guess this is why I’m here. This is why I write the things I write on this page. This is where my heart writes its truth, unfiltered and uninhibited. It needs to happen.

 

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Tell The Truth: I’m Doing Trial And Error

Life has accelerated very quickly for me since turning 26. For one, I’ve learned the value of boundaries and the importance of enforcing those boundaries. Then, as time went on, I found it more and more obvious to me that I care less and less what others think. This has been increasing at alarming rates for myself. I’m not a shrinking violet anymore. At least not nearly as much of a shrinking violet as I use to be.

However…

Today, while on a mini vacation, I decided to call a small deli and bakery to order some food for myself. I looked at the menu online, dialed the number, and when someone on the other end answered, I proceeded to place my order. Now on the website, the menu clearly stated that they had a Blacked Salmon available for order as an Entree. But when I proceeded to order the person on the other end became very upset and stated that they don’t do Entrees and that I was probably looking at the wrong thing because she did not know where I was getting my order selection from (it was from their website). She later said that maybe I was looking at their dinner menu (their website does not have a lunch or dinner menu option available for selection). I asked her to hold on while I went to check on the website and confirm what I saw as I was taken aback by her obvious annoyance at my asking about the Entree options. She then asked me to call back. I said okay and she hung up. I was angry. I was very angry. And uncomfortable. But I didn’t show it. I proceeded to ask myself why is it that I’m not okay with expressing my anger. I had one thought come to mind: that maybe after years of being shown and having it be implied through other’s behaviors and lack of supportiveness that as a Black woman I was not allowed to be angry, I learned to suppress my anger. 

And this is true. For years, I noticed how others often reacted fearfully to my anger or came to other’s aid when I was angry. I noticed how I was always the “bad” one for feeling anything other than happy and pleased and grateful or, if offended, silent and forgiving, for the stupid shit that other people did or said to me. I watched how people came to other’s aid when they were hurt, wounded or offended or how supportive other people were when the one who was offended stood up for themselves. The message from childhood was clear: I was not allowed to show offense or take offense.

But at some point I decided to say Fuck ’em. Yep. Fuck them, okay? Because I’m entitled to my feelings as much as anyone else.

Here’s what I realized is going on: I get taken aback when others express anger towards me or in my direction. I get overwhelmed by it and it makes me uncomfortable. I never learned how to deal with angry people except to avoid them. But I can’t always avoid them. People always try to offer tools when other people are angry on how to deal with them. Stay calm, stay safe, stay out of the way, listen, know when to disengage. But sometimes their anger makes me angry too! Sometimes I think people get angry because they know that others have been taught not to engage angry people and they want others to submit to their will. Some people think that by speaking louder or yelling then they will be heard or it will force others to agree or…I don’t know. I’m not looking to empathize with the feeling of anger. I’m looking for how to deal with it.

I’m going to use trial and error. I’m just not comfortable having people talk to me in a disrespectful manner.

The Solution

It’s been a real struggle for me learning how to take responsibility for my own actions while not taking on responsibility for the behavior of adults because they are family. Not understanding the importance of allowing people to take ownership for their stuff the way I take ownership of my own stressed me out. I’ve wanted to feel appreciated and respected by my family and I haven’t felt that way. I often feel unheard, bullied, belittled, disrespected, and like my boundaries don’t matter. It made me feel angry and I just didn’t know how to deal with it. There are systems already in place that have no room for me as the adult I am now.

The solution is learning to be more self-sufficient. Having my own place and managing my own affairs. I need to figure out how to do this. Having that ownership without looking to them for validation will help me better create boundaries. I’ve come to understand that this is an important part of me not seeking their approval and validation because they can not give me what I need. And what I need is a respectful, loving, and supportive system that values honesty, transparency, and a willingness to “speak to the mountain” (respectfully) if an issue arises. I need to be in a place that nourishes my soul.

 

I Am Right With Me

I could not accept my own goodness and this is why I suffered. I couldn’t say anything nice about myself without following up with, “I’m not perfect.” Why? Because somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that if it came easily, it wasn’t worth it. I was suppose to work hard for everything I earned and I was not suppose to validate and give credence to myself.

Back in 2014/2015, I was working in Texas under a particularly difficult travel nursing assignment. I picked up so many extra shifts and struggled to remain on day shift despite dreading it. I had convinced myself that it was necessary to do these things in order to demonstrate that I was not lazy. One day, after a particularly stressful shift, I came to the realization that struggle was not necessary for growth. And indeed it was not. The days and weeks and years that followed involved me learning to relinquish control of the notion that somehow I had to prove to the world and to myself that I somehow deserved all the good things I received in life.

A few weeks back, I was speaking to a spiritually gifted woman and I was telling her that one of the things I continued to ask myself and have asked myself for years is, “What’s wrong with me?” I’ve searched through every nook and cranny of my life and my own soul, overturning any perceived flaw and attempted to improve it, attempted to demonstrate to myself and others that I am “good”, “okay”, “lovable”, “acceptable” or whatever positive trait can be applied to a person. I wanted their respect, their attention, their time, their love and felt that somehow I was unworthy of it because I wasn’t this, that and the other. And if for a second a demonstrated any of those things and it was noticed, I’d have to diminish it so as to appear humble, another positive trait that I assumed did not exist in my “good trait bank”.

Fast forward to age 26 and I am focused on self-love. Self-love is, in many ways, the overarching lesson I had been trying to learn in so many ways throughout the years. The need for boundaries, self-respect, telling the truth to yourself and others, honoring your truth, trusting yourself, letting go and letting God, taking risks, all these fall under the theme of self-love. They are sub lessons and sub categories to propel you to experience the richness that is me.

I am right with me. Who I am, how I live, what I say, do, think, feel and how I act are in alignment. In my soul, I know, that at age 26, I am right with me. The validation I sought, I now give to myself. I give myself permission to live my best life because I matter. On all spheres. What I say, think, feel, do, matters. I understand now that instead of taking life’s messages as a sign that something’s wrong with me, maybe my feelings, thoughts, the sluggishness of and pains I felt in my body, the blockages and sense of drain I often felt in my previous lives were indications that I need to change something about the environment I am in or that maybe I need to change the way I approach a situation or maybe I just need to leave it! The body, the mind, the spirit, the heart, all of these things communicate on a regular basis and I had not been listening to the messages that were being put out. Paulo Coelho often said that we need to pay attention to signs. I wasn’t. Actually, I was trying to once again find external validation and messages that could or would serve as signs that I am on the right track. What I first needed to do was listen to myself. There was nothing intrinsically or even extrinsically wrong with me. But because I spent so much time trying to pick myself apart and make myself move despite the signals life, god, my body, my heart, my soul, my mind were sending me, I suffered. Now I know better. So I do better.

I am right with me.

 

 

 

Eating When Hungry: Why I Binge

Today I learned that one of the reasons i binge on junk food in order to cope with my own emotional discomforts. Something(s) in my life have been or felt out of my control. There’s been things in my that I truly wanted and while I did everything to try an get them, I didn’t get them. As a result, I Binge on junk food to cope with the sadness, pain, and discontent of those unfulfilled spaces in my soul. I feel like my boyfriend is ignoring me, I go out and buy junk food. I’m sitting watching television and boredom overtakes me, I grab a burger. I’m sad, I go to Wendy’s and get nuggets. Stress? Junk food. Lonely? Junk food. Empty, heavy calories to fill me up when I feel hollow inside. 

Today, I chose to eat only when hungry. Today, I chose to listen to my body and eat when it told me it wanted to eat. I was surprised because today, instead of having my first meal at 8 or 9am, I had my first meal at 2pm. I tried a square of my boyfriend’s maverick &pizza, a chicken caesar salad, with 1.5 chocolate chip muffies and a caramel iced latte with skim milk from Panera and a piece of bread. How did I feel afterwards ? Content. Satisfied. For dinner I shared a chicken caesar salad and a piece of bread with my boyfriend and drank a cup of water. I felt satisfied then too. 

It was quite an eye opener when I realized that I’ve been attempting to bury my emotional discomfort and trauma with food. It never occurred to me that instead of trying to eat away the pain, sitting with it and allowing myself to listen to the messages my body was sending me would be a better alternative. It had never occurred to me that I used food in that way until now. 

I wonder what other messages my body has for me…

A Victim No More

Dear Society,

What did I allow you to do to me?

I left as a baby but returned as a little child filled with hope and you raped me. You raped me of my voice, my style, my ability to rely on my own body’s messages, my intuitive ability and sense of wonder. I came willing to share my gifts, but you weren’t satisfied unless you were inside every vulnerable hole I had. I was naive and let you in. I thought you could help me, save me even, from what you implied was my wretched existence. My blackness, my caribbean roots, my connection to divinity, my natural beauty, gifts, and talents, were something to be ashamed of. It’s one thing to be black. It’s another thing to be black and in love with the reflection of the divine within you, when to the outside world you have nothing to be in love with. So you sought to break me. Your history of rejecting difference and preferring the illusion of normalcy and assimilation serving as your compass. You made me believe that what I knew was inaccurate, that my poise was a stuck up demeanor, that my ability to note self destruction and despair was me being boring. 

I was ridiculed for eating only when I was hungry. So I binged. I binged on your lies and your own misguidedness. Your illusion of power convincing me that it was the only way. You told me, often subtly, sometimes not, that who I am and what I am, was unnatural. 

You sought to change me while in the same breath offering me spiritually in a bottle, as if to say, “get to know yourself. love yourself. But only the parts that allow others to love and admire you. Still hide the ugly. Keep it to yourself.” 

I called myself weird because of you. I came up with a host of terms and wove together stories trying to piece together the why’s, when’s, and how’s of my weirdness. I beat myself up, pulled myself apart and, on several occasions, have broken down trying to figure out what it was that is/was so wrong with me. I asked hosts of people throughout the years for their approval, crumbling when I didnt get it. I attempted to look inward by looking outward for some indication of your approval of what I was becoming. Did I fit? Was I finally right with you? 

I was using your ruler to measure my worth. I was looking at myself through your twisted, distorted mirror, filled with bias, racism, discrimination, judgement, persecution, uncertainty and doubt, ridicule, friendship and belonging, team behavior, despair, and illusions. But no unconditional love. So many conditions were placed on my acceptability that I could never quite fit, this afro-caribbean descent girl with dual citizenship, who ate only when she was hungry, who was joyful because God put it in her to be so. Who danced in her own way, enjoyed her own company, was smart, observant, intuitive, and selective with the company she kept. She stood out simply for being. 

I ask myself now, after all is said and done, what’s right with me? And I like every answer that comes through. 

Age 26: What’s My Focus?

By grace I am still alive. By grace I keep moving. I cry at the drop of a hat these last few days, realizing so much about myself and the way in which I view the world. I want to know what it means see self-love in action. One of the things I know is that I like myself. I think I carry some really great attributes and that I put in the effort to be the best person I can be and to develop myself. I like me. I care enough about myself to keep going and I enjoy my own company. But I feel like in the past I have done the right things for the wrong reasons.

To love oneself is to be happy with the person you are, to celebrate who you are, to feel a sense of completeness in your own being, because you exist. Not because you are expecting some sort of reward or social recognition by doing so. To love oneself means to look at myself in the mirror and allow myself to see who I truly am and to appreciate what’s staring back at me in the mirror because what I see is beautiful. It means to really see myself and love her as a beautiful reflection of the Divine from a place of knowing, not expecting others in the world to validate this knowledge.

I’d like to focus on self-love.