Last year, I was approached by a fellow author acquaintance with an opportunity to share my story, my journey as a woman of color. I agreed without hesitation thinking, this is easy....all I have to do is share bits and pieces of my life from Hawaii to California and I'm good. Out of all of the projects that I have worked on thus far, Soul Deep forced me to dig deep within my own soul. You see, I have been on a healing journey of my own for the last few years (see previous posts) which has not been a simple walk in the park. It has been messy, devastatingly painful...there were days where I felt disgusted with myself, angry; there were days when I didn't want to get up the next morning let alone live to see another day. I've cried oceans of tears, sat in the bathtub with candles lit, my bare knees folded up against breasts as I buried my face in my hands and cried. I cried for the 6 year old me; the 12 year old me; the 16 year old me; the 18 year old me; the 21 year old me; the 30 year old me up until present months.
This project could not have come at a better time.
Over the last year I spent a lot of time reflecting on all of my past decisions: most of them going from bad to worse to what the fuck was I thinking? The worst of the worst of my decisions came to a head earlier this year which is reflected in a journal entry dated for March 7, 2021 7:01 am:
It's been 2 months since I made my last journal entry. There was too much going on emotionally at the time and I just couldn't bear to face my thoughts over D*. I thought it would take me longer to no longer feel the pain that he caused me . But no. It's been almost three week since we last spoke and a month since the last time we saw each other. Things are changing- rapidly. I have a new job that I will be starting in a couple of weeks,. I will no longer have to contend with the stress and anxiety of dealing with people who are just lost. I have come to the conclusion that folks will keep doing the same thing that they been doing. It's just that its time for me to find higher ground.
Another thing (a good thing) is that my book sales for House of the Blue Flame are now at %^% preorders (I was not about to reveal that information lol). That is the most money I have made in preorder sales. My book releases tomorrow and to be honest, I'm glad to be done with the Rise of the Elites series collection. That was a tough book to write and right now I just want to focus on other other projects...
When first sat down to jot down my thoughts for this anthology, I figured the other women participating in this project would focus primarily on their struggles with their identities as Black women and the way the world viewed them. And I tried to go in that direction, however after two sentences, I realized that wasn't my direction to go in. My journey in this lifetime as a Black woman was not plagued with reminders of the painful past of my ancestors. I've never experienced discrimination of any form; never felt stigmatized for having brown skin. As a Black woman, my struggles have always taken front row center when it came to love and relationships.
And that is the hard core truth that I had no other choice but to share.
As I dug deeper into my own psyche I found things, painful memories, distorted thoughts and the origins of my low self -esteem. I almost sent out an email declining my continued participation in the anthology because everything I had experienced in my adult life (from 2003 to present) resurfaced. I found the poison and damn near choked on it. I spent some nights crying as I purged away old memories that I thought I no longer felt pain from. I remember every word said, every emotion felt...I answered my own questions as I analyzed each scenario, each moment frozen in time as a mental snapshot where I was not heard, where I was abandoned; when I was insulted and reduced to a bite sized version of my self.
Here is the snippet:
Nothing I did really mattered. So, I accepted my fate of being overlooked. And when life decided to shift us all in another direction, I thought I would be able to reinvent myself, maybe … that I could become someone to be admired and sought after and intrigued by. When my mom sold our house a year after my high school graduation, I saw this as an opportunity for freedom: freedom to figure myself out free of judgement, rules, and limitations. As I stated previously, I succumbed to the understanding that there would always be a requirement to first seek out validation in others because it validates them; and second, the only relationships I would be able to acquire and sustain would be through my actions that would solely benefit others. I did not learn or realize until reaching my thirties just how wrong my thought process was and that the relationship that I had with myself was worse than any I could cultivate with another person.
Still, I would seek out a connection that was not only long term but aligned with my own self-deprecating thoughts. My daughter’s father perpetuated every thought and belief I held against myself. And for eleven years, I would suffer at the harshness of his words. I would succumb to his own inner turmoil, his darkness, his pain, his rage, and his personal instability would become my own. I was loyal because I wanted to still be seen as a “good woman”—what I was programed to be.
“Raggedy bitch,” he shot back in a text eight years ago.
“You horse faced bitch. Fuck you!” Another one of his verbal tirades recorded in a message almost five years ago.
“You just want my approval,” he scoffed one evening in 2016 as we sat in his car, parked outside of his mother’s apartment building.
And this isn’t even a full one percent of what I lived through whenever he sank into one of his moods. It is crazy how he could dig deep within himself to conjure the harshest insults, but I was the one who faithfully stood by him as he struggled to gain his footing in life. I was the one who paid the emotional price for all the women who abandoned him in his pain. I sacrificed more than just my self-esteem just so that I could be the one to prove that not all women are the same. I allowed this man to starve me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially for a decade until I was damn near a shell of the person I used to be. The truth is, I felt like I deserved it, so I took it- all of it. Yet, as I write this, I picture the young woman I was then, and I never want to see her again.
“You, as a woman, have to be good even if he isn’t…”says the world.
“You as a Black woman must be devoted and loyal and strong to a Black man because the world we live in sees him as a monster…” says the Black community.
“Give him your light even if it costs you your own just so that he can see himself”, my pathetic thoughts.
In the process of adhering to societal standards of what it means to not only be a woman but a good woman and a mother, I lost myself. He was broken and so was I. This relationship took a toll on my spirit and every day that I stayed with him, tolerated his gambling, his drinking, his inability to sustain constant and continuous employment, his excuses, his demands, I died a little. I did so for the sake of keeping the family I had created together, for my daughter, and honestly, to not have to come home to my mother. I did it all for the sake of everyone and everything else, except for me. Looking back, I allowed a man I no longer loved access to my body, my mind, my spirit, my emotions, and my finances, all because it was never okay for me to choose me.
Until I chose me…
Our relationship came to a nearly violent end after eleven years. Of course, he did everything he could to try to break me. He spam called me night and day. He sent text messages that I learned to ignore. He made threats against me and my family. And then, one day, he sank deeper into his dark space and made a threat against himself. There were a couple of times he showed up at my mother’s house and each time, law enforcement was called. But here is where I learned how to stand my ground. I just could not understand why I had to fight so hard for my freedom from a relationship that had never benefitted me. I then realized the importance of boundaries. I’d never had any, never considered establishing boundaries as an option. At this point also, I became intimate with self- accountability. He did what he did because I allowed him to. Rather than contend with any conflict, I allowed this man to destroy many parts of my life. However, in the process of rebuilding and becoming reacquainted with myself, I believed that he would be the only villain that would appear in my story.
Boy, was I wrong.
I have come a long way from those awful described moments of my past and thank God that is all they are: moments. Exposing my truth has allowed me to see myself in a way I never thought of as possible I realize that I am called to help heal. Until I am fully educated enough to where I can heal with my hands, I heal with my words. Some of us were destined to walk a path so that we can guide others who tread behind us. I have accepted myself and all that comes with it, my mistakes and my perfections. I hold myself accountable for everything I do or don't do and I try not to be too hard on myself because...well...
I'm only HUMAN.