I Like Myself

I decided I want to like myself, so that I can love myself. Over the years, I stopped liking myself because I did not like the person I became. I lost vision of the kind of person I like and the kind of person I want to be.

The kind of person I like is a woman who advocates for herself regardless of the status the person holds. The kind of person I like is a woman who works out daily. She eats well. She takes care of her skin and her hair. The kind of person I like is a woman who respects herself and is kind to herself. She treats others with respect. The person I like speaks with authority, knowing her value and her worth. She is confident in who she is. The person I like works towards her goals. She spends less time sulking in her bedroom and more time grounding, strengthening her core self. The person I like spends less time concerned with what others think of her and more time on how she feels and what she thinks.

I lost vision. I lost motivation and sense of purpose. But I am back. My focus is on creating a life I am pleased with and being a person I can honestly say I like.

Advertisements

The Struggle To Be Real

Everyday I struggle to be true to myself. My favorite quote is “to thine own self be true”. I try to live my life by this quote. What this means to me is to always be insincere, always tell the truth, always be my authentic, genuine self, never lying and trying to conceal the truth even if for a moment it hurts.

Sometimes, at work, I have a hard time with realness. I want to tell the whole truth and to ensure that I am continuously living my truth. I want to be completely grounded in who I am. But sometimes, I mess up. I get shy. I do this around my boyfriend’s friends and family as well. I get scared. I offer myself compassion in these moments. But sometimes, I wonder, what is it I am expecting myself to do?

Recently, I was talking to my travel nurse friend. Every time I talk to her she often gets the feeling that nursing is not what I am suppose to do. I believed that too. That maybe what I really should be is a writer. Or just doing something else in general. But it occurred to me that the feeling of inadequacy I often feel isn’t really related to hating nursing directly. It’s related to a feeling of lacking purpose. It’s related to a feeling of not having a good spiritual foundation right now from which to draw strength.

All my life I have felt like an outsider. All my life I have felt disconnected. Trying to belong only made me feel lonelier. But I still tried. Part of those feelings were attributed to that constant belief that maybe I am inadequate or not good enough. Part of those feelings come from feeling a disconnect from God. I need a spiritual practice. A good foundation.

Let Me Get Secure In Peace

Dear People,

Dear World,

Dear…You Know Who You Are,

If someone comes off as insecure to you, give them some space. They might be working on it. There’s a lot of people in this world who act like sharks. They smell blood and they go in for the kill. Now, I like animals. But some animals I’d rather keep at a distance. Some animals belong behind a glass in the aquarium. Or in the ocean. Some animals belong in natural history museums. Some…may even qualify to be put on a plate next to some rice and broccoli. I’m just saying, salmon is delicious. So is shark. But let’s be honest: many of these animals do not belong in the work place. Unless of course you work in any of the aforementioned places. In which case I’m sure they have a barrier big enough to withstand you. Most work places would rather you not venture beyond your barrier though.  So like…stay there. Or lay yourself on some sides and take a break.

 

 

 

Tell The Truth: Shame

My experience at Catholic University of America was full of pain. I was hurting. I’ve talked extensively about all of the things I felt was done to me there but I did not talk about the things I was ashamed of. One of the things I felt shame over was that in Philosophy and theology class, I would often challenge the professors and their teachings. I was very outspoken about what I felt was wrong because what I believed college to be was a place to genuinely and authentically learn. And that is what I was trying to do.

I feel ashamed because in many ways I don’t think those classes was a place for me to learn authentically. They were also seemingly low energy. I felt ashamed because I was a naturally enthusiastic and passionate person and they were…dead…to me. They couldn’t function without coffee, they couldn’t open up unless drunk. I think I felt ashamed to be so open and happy and positive and passionate about my studies when the rest of the people I met were not. Or did not seem to be. The world there was too small for me. Speaking from the heart here. I really hated my time there.

I understand now that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I actually really cared about the content of the course and challenged the information and the teachers because I truly wanted to learn more. I was genuinely intrigued. And even though others might have an opinion about me that is not favorable, I don’t have to feel that it is indeed true for me. It’s about them. It’s about their expectations of me, which I don’t have to fulfill. It’s about what they think about themselves and the expectations they try to place on others and the world around them.

I don’t have to be afraid of the truth of myself. I don’t have to worry so much about every demeaning eye roll because someone wanted to convey a message. The truth of who I really am is stronger than that. For one: I did not die at Catholic University. 2. My ex boyfriend’s friends and family did not kill me. 3. I survived a horrible first clinical experience and got myself out.

Honestly, if it’s one thing I can say about myself it’s that I always always always speak the truth. And that’s what I think saves me every time.

Processing the Unprocessed: College Sucked

I didn’t do anything wrong. I know I need to let myself off the hook. It can be so hard to trust your heart again when it didn’t seem to give any indication that I was going to get hurt by the choices I made. I gave as much as I could.

The events that surround that time reinforced the idea that I was not good enough. And everything that came after that time was me hiding because I didn’t want the world to see and reaffirm that I wasn’t good enough too.

America is a racist entity. It is also a sexist entity. And if you vow to be different, if you say to yourself that you are not going to tow the line, that you will, with an open heart, do a new thing, there often will be backlash. Sometimes even the people who look like you, in your times of need, will be unwilling to offer you comfort and instead say, “I told you so” and imply that you were or are wrong when you really are in fact blameless. And it hurts.

Right now, I feel like Job in the bible. When you trust your heart and you keep God in your thoughts and attempt to be the light and you still get hurt or wind up with others seemingly rejoicing in your misfortune, or avoiding you when in pain, it can hurt. Sometimes you want compassion and comfort. Sometimes you want others to acknowledge that you are, in fact, blameless. Vindication would have been nice. But sometimes vindication takes a long, long, time.

Maybe one day I’ll write a book. And in it I’ll talk about the black people in my life who judged me (because they want to acknowledge the truth) and everybody else who didn’t want to acknowledge my feelings were valid. My feelings are still valid. My heart is broken, but I want to be healed.

I’ve been sitting with my pain. In college, I was in a theology class where the professor talked about how the Catholic church is the one true church and how the Catholic church has never changed. I challenged this belief. I wanted people to wake up. Maybe this was not the setting to do it. But I was passionate about this topic and appalled by the indoctrination of it all. My classmates completely disagreed and argued that that Catholic church has never ever changed. How could they not see it? What broke my heart most of all was that they honestly believed I was wrong, despite all the evidence, despite everything the professor had said in class about how the church changed their views and have become more inclusive, etc, they still felt I was wrong. All I could think was, “was nobody listening in class? Am I crazy?” But they were damn sure I was wrong and really set out to prove it and did not want to talk to me much afterwards. Oh well.

I remember nursing school. Sitting in the back of the class all alone. Not really understanding whiteness and why it is they were so clique-ish and unconcerned about inclusivity. I remember the first month approaching a white female in my class and trying to engage her in conversation. She power walked away from me like i didnt exist. She clearly did not want to talk to me. I remember wanting to join a dance club to salsa dancing and hearing, “we don’t have salsa dancing here but we do have urban dancing, your people seem to like that.”

I was angry at that comment because who is this white person that decided what a group of people, an entire population like? And I use to make jokes about painful events like this. But it hurt me so much that I wasn’t able to laugh or make a humorous piece on the crazy that is upper middle class white America and the people who cater to them.

I think I will write a piece on just that on day.

Multiculturalism Within The Self

All my life I have been trying to find some type of rule book by which to live by, that feel right and create a sense of belonging in my soul. And now I realize that there really aren’t any rules.

All my life, I have heard my family make comments and statements about Americans. Wanting to fit in, I think I decided to reject Americanism and its values, all while carrying several American values. I made myself a walking paradox. I didn’t realize this at the time, but the same rejection I openly expressed, was also an open rejection of my own self.

When I asked the question, ‘what’s wrong with me?’ I realize that the answer was in the objective view of the question. What’s wrong with me is that I think there’s something wrong with me. I embody a culture that for so long I worked so hard to deny. In doing so, I denied myself. And I made myself look foolish and dissected myself by lacking that true appreciation for a big chunk of a culture that allows me to be a great reflection of my true self. I understand now that part of my own internal struggles has been a result of the warring cultures within myself. Instead of embracing both sides as part of the tapestry that makes me who I am, I often placed them in conflict with one another. But I am both (or all three…depending on how you look at it).

The irony of this is that while I have always said that I don’t think one culture is better than any one, only different. My behavior and rejection of American values despite reflecting many of those same values has communicated that I really think one is better than the other.

Opening my heart to the realization that I am American, Trinidadian and Tobagonian, as well as Guyanese, and learning to embrace all the beauty that comes with each aspect of said culture is giving me have a better understanding of who I am.

 

 

Meeting The Shadow Self

While in contemplation, I asked to meet my shadow self. This is the side of oneself that has been repressed for buried down because it has been deemed “unacceptable” to the image that an individual tries to convey to society. I decided to take a moment to give this Shadow self space.

I am angry. I feel alot of anger and frustration towards my family for not being what I had hoped. For not giving me all that I needed to grow. They take advantage of my goodness and often look for ways to show me up. And I am angry at them. I am also angry at myself for allowing myself to do things I never should’ve done. I never should’ve gone back out with my ex. I know it was stupid of me but I did it anyways and tried to convince myself that things were good when it was not. I am angry because I often feel as though i am not where I should be in the physical as well as in the spiritual. I wish I had my own home and a career I genuinely liked. I wish I wasn’t in school anymore. I wish I was a more well-known and inspirational writer. I’m angry because in high school had a lot of “friends” I wish I had told off sooner and confronted. One of whom was blatantly disrespectful and honestly disgusting towards me. I wish I had held her feet to the fire when I confronted her about her behavior. I wish I had more confidence to stand in my own truth during that time. I get angry and jealous sometimes because I feel like my boyfriend prefers his sister or seeks her approval over mine. He did this thing the other day where her clothes were in the dryer for a week, so he took my clothes out of the basket it was in and dropped at the side of the bed and put her clothes in it. I was so angry and I wished he had been more considerate because he never would’ve done that if the roles were reversed. And I feel like acting petty sometimes. 

I’m scared all the time. I’m also really scared of being judged. I’m scared that others will see that I don’t really have that many close friends. I’m scared of being wrong. I’m scared that others will see that I really am, in many ways, incompetent. Sometimes words and statements and phrases go way over my head or make absolutely no sense to me. But I’m so afraid of being called incompetent or appearing ignorant that I say nothing or laugh it off. 

I feel like I’m chronically guilty. I feel things that I always reason I’m not suppose to feel. And I get angry at myself for that. I get angry and jealous when I see my mom taking it her family from the caribbean and treating me like I’m 2nd class as a result of it. I get angry because I realize that what is acceptable to them (having people move their stuff, living all under one roof, etc) isn’t acceptable to me. I feel guilty for being American or being called out for having “American” values because it always seemed like a bad thing. But then why are you working so hard to bring your family here? A better life also means acknowledging that some parts of this culture and its customs work without judging, belittling or putting that culture down, the same way I don’t think your customs and culture should be put down. I feel guilty and undeserving because often times I can’t stand my cousin who lives with me. I hate hearing about all her relationship foolishness or about her education and I really don’t want to drop her anywhere because I think she should know how to drive now and she’s just wasting my time. But then i feel guilty when something good happens to her because it feels like I’m wishing bad on her. I’m just so sick of her crap. 

I’m angry because I feel like my mom’s family pushed me out of the house I lived in for over a decade and my mom didn’t do shit about it. I’m angry because I feel like my mom chooses everyone else in her family over me, her only daughter. And I wish I could tell her to suck it to her face or ask her why she does this and get a genuine answer. But I won’t. I never will. I also feel chronically guilty because I really don’t want to spend much time with most of my family anymore. Whenever I go back to my mom’s house I realize how closed off and cut out from their lives I feel and I wish I had a home to go back to when I leave her place so I didn’t once again get the feeling that I just don’t belong. I’m always worried that I just don’t belong. That no one really, actually likes me, that I’m shitty at my job, that people think I’m weird or full of it, that they’re always looking to trip me up. I’m insecure. 

Sometimes I feel like I fake my sensitivities. This whole empath concept came to me when I first discovered this woman online who had this Chinese boyfriend. This was during the time I was conducting interviews trying to understand why so many black males did not like dark skin black women and often proclaimed they liked white and asian women more because of whatever reason they had. Of course the answer would always go back to “it’s just a preference” because how can anyone protest a person’s tastes, right? It was always ignorant bullshit to me but further affirmed the idea that i wasn’t good enough. Anyways, this woman and her husband, I just admired their relationship and the way she spoke. People seemed to love her and flock to her. She was so charismatic, enthusiastic and dynamic in her online communication on forums. She called herself an Empath and sensitive to energy. It was around the time that I realized I was an INFP which at the time made up only a small percentage of the population which made me feel lonely and special at the same time. The description didn’t fit me 100% because I wasn’t sappy. So I decided to try to fit the description of the INFP to a ‘T’ and researching and hearing about the Empath title, and wanting to be like this woman, made me decide to absorb those traits. Like I said, I really wanted to belong in my newly diverse environment where I felt completely out of place, disconnected from the Divine, and just all out depressed and not good enough. This woman’s portrayal of herself online became my Persona. It wasn’t actually real. But it did seem to work for a time. 

There’s a part of me that feels somewhat ashamed of myself because I wasn’t always honest, even with myself. I did so many things that I really did not need to do and I judged myself so harshly for not living up to others expectations. I wasn’t taking myself into account. I’ve had so many personal experiences that because they didn’t “fit” with the experiences of others I buried it under and sought validity for them from people who couldn’t understand because it wasn’t their experience. I judged it so much. As much as I judge myself. I just could not allow myself to feel wrong, angry, ashamed, scared, ignorant, different, unique, jealous, guilty, insecure, confused, vulnerable.

I’m working now to be whole, to come to terms with all of me and to give them spaces to exists.