But mostly I protested for myself…
When I was young, no one ever told me that loving yourself would be this difficult. Back then, thinking highly about myself was so easy. I was too young to understand that “out there” awaited a beyond that was destitute of an understanding of an intersection of beauty that was my home.
Now that I am older, I recognize the miracle of self love that breaks through the dense fog that attempts to suffocate my body.
I’m too black to be woman
Too woman to be black
Too fat to be beautiful
Too beautiful to be fat
Too smart to be appeoachable
Too approachable to be smart
Too much, not enough, unapproachable, unwanted, unloved
But I love all of me:
Uninhibited and unapologetically
I recognize the clarity of self love that evaporates the dense fog that attempts to suffocate my body.
No, no one ever told me that loving yourself would be this difficult. it may have been easier, but out here I am learning to dwell at the intersection of beauty that is my home.
Let down your hair and tell me your story...
1. You can't teach people to fly by carrying them on your back. You have to teach by example. You have to let them learn to fall, too.
2. Your emotions are deeply embodied. Should you forget this, your body will remind you by breaking down.
3. It is one thing to encourage, push, and have confidence in yourself. It is another to receive that from your community. You will always need both.
What began as a Sunday reflection of the week has now become a practice that is as easy and necessary as breathing. I am humbled to share with you some of my ongoing lessons. I hope that in reading them, you find the space to sit and to listen to what your life is telling you.
1. Sometimes you have to step back from the things you love so that your heart can mend.
We all want to be around the things, places and people that we love. We wish to fill our memories with them, so that when we are apart we can close our eyes and savor the glimpses we have taken. This is not a bad thing. But it is when those things cause us pain (that space that triggers us, that thing that is no longer good for us, that person who hurt us) that we must learn to walk away for our own good. This doesn't always mean forever, more often than not it means only for a season. But it is when we lie to ourselves ("I can handle it." "I just love being around them") that we hinder our hearts from mending. Like a cast or bandage; sometimes our hearts need protected space to heal.
2. We often use the phrase "treat yo'self" as if it is an exception to the rule. This is part of the problem. Self care should never be an exception.
"Girl I am so stressed, I think I'm gonna take the weekend and treat myself!" How many times have we said this? How often do we exclaim "TREAT YO'SELF!" in response to our stress, anxiety, heartbreak, etc.? Too often, we treat self care as pit stops when we are damaged instead of check ins that prevent our breakdowns in the first place. We are commanded to love others as we love ourselves, yet we do not do the latter. There is a proverb that states, "Never trust a naked person who offers you a shirt." We cannot give from what we do not have. Caring for ourselves should be as important as caring for others. If it isn't, then everyone loses.
3. When you name your friends too quickly, you give too much honor to people who present themselves as friendly but have hidden agendas and stipulations.
Not everyone who smiles at you and hangs with you will be there when shit hits the fan. We are social beings, and we enjoy being with people who make us feel good. But not everyone deserves the title of friend. Beware of giving away friendship too easily, lest you cheapen the real ones you already have.