Regrettably, it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve blogged. But I’m glad to be able to blog now. So let’s get to it.
It’s November 2013. I cannot believe it. It seems like this year has flown by and the events of this time last year seem like they happened merely weeks ago. As we enter into the “season of thankfulness”, I believe that it is important for me to take the time to especially recall and be thankful for everything I have, everything I don’t have, and everything that I have become.
I entered into 2013 as a person who did not want to admit how immature she still was. I was grown but in many ways I was not willing to acknowledge that I had much work to do on myself internally. Three days into the New Year, a major emotional wound was reopened and set me on this crazy, seemingly downward spiral internally. So many of those issues of insecurity and low self-esteem that plagued my teenage years came rushing back, the issues that I thought I had buried because I had evolved into an educated and loved woman. I can’t even say what was harder – dealing with the issues or dealing with the anger behind me still having those issues. These were issues that I tried so hard to get rid of by any means necessary because, ya know, “don’t no man want no woman with tons of baggage.” So I tried to just cast them as far away as possible…or at least hide them under the bed, hoping that they would not come out and I be exposed as a fraud.
But when the said situation happened on the third of January, I could no longer pretend or hide the issues. The situation is what exacerbated the issues but they were already there in plain view before anything happened. The struggle of not being enough – pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, wise enough, woman enough – all attacked me with a vengeance. And I lashed out. I guess I figured that if I acted out of character and said things that were out of character maybe I would be taken seriously. I was grasping for something to steady myself internally and it was an ugly homeostasis process.
If I explained the whole story, it would be way too long. There were so many things that I was able to see about myself and others, some of which encouraged and some of which caused me to lament. I guess the biggest thing that this situation showed me was that I hid my love behind the guise of needing and wanting acceptance. This is not to say that I don’t love people – I do love people, especially my family and friends, very much. But much of what I did out of “love” was rooted in the need to have people accept me and love me and undergird me with a love that only I could provide to myself. So every time I was let down by someone I loved, I would go through this ugly process of self-degradation because my love for myself had been deeply rooted in how others loved me. And I would get so upset with people when they let me down; it was a consuming, unhealthy rage that allowed me to beat myself up with regret and beat them up with my passive aggressive behavior. When I was feeling loved, there was an undeniable high but when I wasn’t, there was an ugly low. And after seeing the toll it took on me at the beginning of this year, I knew something had to change.
It’s hard to say how I became this way, after all, I came from a very loving, affirming family. It is because of them that I learned how to love people for who they are. But somewhere along the way, being “loved” became an idol for me – whether it was loved by family, friends, my significant other, acquaintances, or the common man. I drew so much from how people perceived me and loved when they were able to “love” me back in a way that fueled my self-esteem.
I think I knew this before this year but I was not able to truly see until this year the correlation of loving yourself and your ability to love others. I am not advocating for cockiness but I am advocating for a surety of who you are, Whose (God) you are, and what with His (God) help you are able to offer. I am advocating for a belief in His creation in you, whether those around you understand or affirm it or not. That is what I lacked coming into this year – even with my degrees, my loving family, my supportive significant other, and my empathetic friends. And I had to realize that none of them could give that to me, no matter how badly they wanted it for me.
So I had to do the dirty work…and boy, was it really dirty. God allowed situations to unfold this year so that I could not have any more crutches on which to lean. I either had to walk with the wound (rehab it) or be permanently wounded. So I got up each morning, well aware of the work I had to put in internally, to rehabilitate. And that work is still happening everyday.
Some days I wake up and feel great and some days I wake up and want to turn back over in bed. But I am determined to face it head on and be strong in Him who gave me what I have and can turn what I do not have into something to bless me. As Ms. Kym Lee told us at the Charm.Beauty.Fear event in August, confidence is a day-by-day process and some days we’ll be better at it than others. But we must keep going.
And so today I am proud to be thankful to be a woman who is learning to love her perfectly imperfect self in a way that edifies me, profits others, yet glorifies God.