..."And Were You Good To Yourself?"...

…”I don’t think so. But, I forgive you, girl, who tallied stretch marks into reasons why no one should get close. I forgive you, silly girl, sweet breath, decent by default. I forgive you for being afraid. Did everything betray you? Even the rain you love so much made rust out of your jewelry? I forgive you, soft spoken girl speaking with fake brash voice, fooling no one. I see you, tender even on your hardest days. I forgive you, waiting for him to call; I forgive you, the diets and the cruel friends. Especially for that one time you said ‘I fucking give up on love, it’s not worth it, and I’d rather be alone forever’. You were just pretending, weren’t you? I know you didn’t mean that. Your body, your mouth, your heart, made specifically for loving. Sometimes the things we love will kill us, but weren’t we dying anyway? I forgive you for being something that will eventually die. Perishable goods, fading out slowly, little human, I wouldn’t want to be in a world where you don’t exist…”-Warsan Shire

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Last year, I ended a relationship and a friendship and spent the remaining part of the year trying to heal and purge the emotional and mental residue from my spirit. Since then I’ve regrouped and refocused my energy.  I had spent so much time and energy on the negative that I lost focus on my own goals and dreams.  Since then, life has moved fast. I’m working hard and I’m finally starting to see the fruits of my labor.  I poured all of my energy into people I love; my family, friends and slowly but surely, I began to smile again.  I was busy; working, running my websites, blogging, attending parties and blogging events and raising my kids. I was performing regularly, writing new music and poetry again. My plate was full. 

While keeping myself busy, I realized something was missing.  I wasn’t being good to myself.  I forgot to love on myself.  I forgot to be still. I was running and giving myself away in pieces.   You know how we do.  I was “on my grind” and wearing my superhero cape.   Sometimes busyness is just another mask we wear to avoid dealing with the pain.  The truth was deep down I was incredibly sad.  I was hurting and at some points, I was even depressed.  I had to slow down and be still.  I had to show myself some love.  There was still more emotional, spiritual and mental purging that needed to be done.

RESET…REST…REPLINISH…RESTORE

I was tired. My heart was broken.  I could still feel the loss of relationships that meant something to me.  Why was that so hard for me to just sit with that?  Deal with it and heal from it?  Black women are taught to be “Teflon strong” and it’s killing us slowly.  Instead of acknowledging and dealing with heartbreak, pain and/or trauma, we are expected to “keep it moving”.  Anything else makes us “weak”. It’s a lie that has been sold to us for generations.   Our strength and resilience resides in our DNA.    I was busy as ever but my spirit was empty.  I needed to be still. Life has shown me that my healing has always been found in moments of solitude, stillness and reflection.  I had to shut down, unplug and recharge.  I didn’t realize that in my busyness, I put myself and my healing on the back burner. I was physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually depleted.  I needed to show myself some “TLC”. 

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...SO I GAVE MYSELF PERMISSION…TO BREAK

I needed to treat myself better and that meant doing things that allowed me to rest, reflect, purge and release.  I got organized. My home was as chaotic as my life. I stocked up on a few self-care essentials and started to resume my favorite self-care practices and daily rituals. Things like meditation, detox baths, using my diffuser and essential oils and writing for myself in my personal journal instead of blogging.  I read more books and even enjoyed a few dates. 

I would look in the mirror and see my reflection.  It was harder, angrier, and bitter.  That wasn’t who I wanted to be.  I had to acknowledge and deal with the past and start living in the now.  I got so busy planning for the future by working so much, my life was passing me by and I was missing it.  I was stuck in an emotional and mental purgatory.  Enjoying the little moments with my children, watching their favorite shows, “The Flash and Blackish”, or the moments with my friends filled with laughter or even the newness of a first date…I wasn’t fully present.

I forgot to be good to myself. I forgot to forgive myself for loving the wrong people.  I forgot to enjoy the precious life I’ve been given and the incredible people I’ve been blessed to connect with on my life’s journey.  Once I stood still, acknowledging pain, hurt, heartbreak and sadness, my mind and heart became clear. I could feel my spirit being cleansed.   It was imperative that I shift and focus my energy.  I removed myself from toxic environments and people. I changed who I allowed into my space. I became very aware of what I was watching, listening to and experiencing.  I was still busy working hard and pursing my goals but I became more intentional in enjoying the moments and most importantly, I said THANK YOU for it all.  I found my emotional and spiritual release in being thankful for the lessons it taught and thankful for the blessings ahead. 

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I was so focused on who left me, who said this about me, who was disloyal, who lied, who gossiped, who betrayed me that I wasn’t looking at the beauty that was my life.  Toxic people were gone and my life was free of that negativity.  Once I switched my energy, changed my perspective and started showing myself some self-love, I raised my own vibration.  I had to make time, get real and deal with what was going on inside.  Sometimes saying, “I’m not ok” is just fine.  It’s ok to take the superhero cape off sometimes, and be good to ourselves.

After all, we deserve the love we so freely give to others, don’t you think?

Until next time, take care of yourselves and one another.

 

D. Sanders