Finding My Voice: Speaking The Truth

Yesterday, I did a good and wonderful thing. While I wanted to write about it on the day it happened, I instead decided to sit with the experience to allow it to process.

Yesterday, I went to Wegmans with the intent of buying a few ingredients in order to make grilled Galbi steak. It was a particularly…exhausting day. I had a Health Assessment exam and then went to a class I greatly dislike because it makes me hyperaware that I am an African American woman with Caribbean roots and it is highly ostracizing to experience this amongst white women who are constantly complaining about their rights and their children because for some reason it’s never enough. For some reason, they feel the need to be in everything. And yet, nothing that pertains to the African American community or minorities. Often comments are met with silence or changing of topic. Because in truth, when it comes to health care and healthcare policies, there isn’t much support or resources in place.

On this day, I gave up on white people. Again. This time I assured myself it was for good. Because in my heart, I don’t think anything good and uplifting can truly come out of “whiteness” when you’re labeled as “black”. In truth, the entire creation of the term blackness to identify a group of people is by definition an opposite/opposition to whiteness. I know, that in a society that tries to make me feel as though I have no history, that my history extends beyond and exists beyond slavery. I have roots. I have origins. I have a home and a connection to something greater than myself that can not be erased.

But on this day, I was particularly exhausted. As I walked through Wegmans, I felt the drain of sitting in a class of all white females and one middle aged white female professor discussing health policy and feeling like I need not be there. By the time I got to the register, I couldn’t even muster a heartfelt smile to greet the cashier. But I tried. She asked how my day was going.

In that moment, I wasn’t even thinking about telling the truth. I wanted to tell her that my day was going fine. I wanted to tell her that I’m feeling great and peachy and ask her how she was doing in return. But I couldn’t. I told her the truth of my feelings. The cliffnotes version though.

I call this truth telling a great and wonderful thing because for the longest time, I could not even write the truth. Let alone speak it. So to be able to open my mouth and say, even if it was just a few words, how I actually felt. To have what I say, do, think, and feel align, felt wonderful. It felt congruent. Because it was.

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Free Write: A Version of My Younger Self

There’s so many things I wish I could’ve said to my younger self. There are other ways to get closure. Don’t get back with that guy, his insecurities will only serve to stress you out. The people you thought were your friends are actually not a real match for you. Don’t be afraid to end a relationship that’s toxic to you. Trust yourself implicitly. The list goes on. But I would never say it because I would cease to exist and I don’t lament my existence.

Perhaps the one thing I would tell my younger self is that sense of purpose she feels in her soul, cultivate it and don’t let anyone or anything detract her from nurturing that fire within. Cultivate your purpose. Figure out what it is you like to do and do it well. Do it to the best of your ability because how you do what you do, no one else can do. There is only one you.

If reincarnation is real, I’d like to come back with the sole purpose of focusing on writing and cultivating my spiritual gifts. Falling in love with the Divine creation in the mirror is a lifelong task that I am happily engaged in on a daily basis. True love. A transformative love. I would pass this information on to my younger self. I have asked myself, “how would I say it so that I can get my message across to her?” Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Creation of the Divine,

Know that you are worthy and loved. Know that you are a beautiful reflection of the Divine because He made you in His image. God loves You, for You. There is nothing you need to prove or do that could add or detract from His love. You are not required to act like anyone in order to experience His loving grace and mercy. You are not required to be with anyone in order to experience His love and support. You do not need anyone’s permission to live your best and greatest life. Forgiveness is an energy that liberates the perpetrator and the forgiver. Forgive others, forgive yourself. In your forgiveness, you are not required to take anyone back, keep them around, feign niceness, or try to make a relationship work that you know is broken. Open your heart to new possibilities. Trust yourself. Love yourself for God loves you. Allow yourself to explore and discover who you truly are without guilt or remorse. 

Sincerely,

Your older self

The Divine Is My Shepherd

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I know who I am when I am in silence. I love it. I love her. My essence is Divine. She is calm, peaceful, welcoming, loving, forgiving, accepting, and honest. She is divinity connected to Divinity.

In silence I feel God everywhere. I know God is everywhere. In every breath, in every thing. God is great. God is wonderful. I feel Him. But I do not understand Him and I am often reluctant to misrepresent Him. God needs no explanation. I feel Him and he is unconditional love.

I ask myself: Do you know who you are? Beautiful reflection of the Divine, do you know whose image you are made in? Why then do you care so much what others think of you? You are loved. God loves you. God wants the best for you. He wants good things for you. 

I know this to be true. I feel this in my soul to be true. When I hear this, I know that I belong, that my soul belongs, to tI know who I am when I am in silence. I love it. I love her. My essence is Divine. She is calm, peaceful, welcoming, loving, forgiving, accepting, and honest. She is divinity connected to Divinity.

In silence I feel God everywhere. I know God is everywhere. In every breath, in every thing. God is great. God is wonderful. I feel Him. But I do not understand Him and I am often reluctant to misrepresent Him. God needs no explanation. I feel Him and he is unconditional love.

I ask myself: Do you know who you are? Beautiful reflection of the Divine, do you know whose image you are made in? Why then do you care so much what others think of you? You are loved. God loves you. God wants the best for you. He wants good things for you.

I know this to be true. I feel this in my soul to be true. When I hear this, I know that I belong, that my soul belongs, to the one who created me in His divine image. To the Most High. 


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.

 

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.