The best thing I could have ever done for myself, is embody every essence of my story with pride, accepting my flaws and past failures, but not letting them define me. Our culture – or maybe just society at large – has a way of persecuting you longer than it needs to for your moments of weakness.
Yes, fornication may have led to an unwanted pregnancy, or maybe you knew that if you were to go at it unprotected, the chances were that you could fall pregnant. But you did it anyway because in that moment – of weakness - it felt right. Perhaps you married that guy who everyone warned you to stay far away from, and now he beats on you, and you have no way to cry out for help (if that’s someone, please do not be a prisoner of abuse; you can get help and we can find someone to help you if you speak up).
Maybe you spread some details about someone’s situation, trust was broken and now guilt hounds you with the rolling hills of time. Someone reading this may have pursued an affair with a married man, and caused heaps of hurt and are now left empty as the so-called lover went back home to wife in a repentant state. There are countless examples I can share – that form part of the fabric of women’s lives far and wide. All of us have that that one thing (or more for others) that we wish we could undo, but we can’t because we have allowed the past to rob us of freedom in the now.
I remember the first time I had to explain to my parents face to face why I had once upon a time, more than ten years ago, contemplated taking my life, and proceeded to down an entire bottle of pills as I sat at a gas station on Atlanta’s Roswell Road. I had no reason to. My rent was paid, I had a good job muDiaspora, saka chainetsa chii? (so what was my problem?). After surviving that ordeal, I wore the shame of having attempted suicide for years. I kid you not – there was a dark cloud that often times covered my sunshine, reminding me of all the things I was unhappy with that led me to a decision that could have changed the cause of my history, and the story of my loved ones today.
By GOD’s grace, and His sheer will for me to live and find a profound meaning to live, I can today tell my story of overcoming what I didn’t know to be depression at the time. I am here today, free from the affliction of what I didn’t know at the time to be fear-driven anxiety and a limited understanding of the fact that I was put on this earth for a purpose.
I love my parents for many a reason, but the strongest being that they never tore me apart when I was at my lowest. Parents get mad sometimes, and will have a set of choice words for you, but mine always came back for me – sometimes flying across the Atlantic to retrieve me - and talk me through what triggered certain behaviors and patterns.
I wish more women out there had the great benefits I enjoy – a safe haven, or many – wherein you can simply purge what you are feeling at any given time, so you don’t have to walk around with a rolling suitcase of mess every which way you turn. In addition to my family, I am blessed with a set of really awesome girlfriends I speak to daily, who put thing into perspective, and allow me to feel what I am feeling and say what I am thinking without fear of judgement. But sometimes, no matter how much of a great support mechanism you may have, there is that time before you shut your eyes to fall asleep, that you must give a sigh of relief – and thankfulness for who you are – and the truth - your truth - that will continue to chart you through your course of evolution.
There has to be a point in each day that you can look at your scars with pride, and smile at yourself having survived. Eventually, a time must come when you allow yourself to talk to the innocence within, and let your authentic true, stripped down self, know that you are on your way. In as much as the bible admonishes us to forgive those that have hurt us, you have to forgive yourself for the poor choices you made, that perhaps to this day, batter your self-esteem and make you feel so “unpretty”.
This write up comes triggered by the many women I speak to, who I can sense have gone through some things, but aren’t ready to acknowledge where the root cause of their struggles lies. I listen to their stories and can almost always relate – having been there once before or having walked with someone who experienced the same challenges.
The good news is, part of the road to freedom involves fully fledged introspection and forgiveness of yourself and those that may have hurt you in times past. Failing to forgive oneself (0r others) will hinder you from reaching your full potential, chipping away at your self love until there’s nothing left but to hate yourself.
Ask GOD to walk with you on this; you really do not need to suffer any longer. If GOD already bore the pain of your mistakes, what good does it do you to keep the wounds fresh and doused in salt ever so often?