Feel it. Exactly what you’re feeling now, feel it all. Because if you still feel it, then it’s still there. Those feelings of regret, guilt, shame, doubt...and how although each one can stand alone, they’ve worked better together to keep you right there, anchored so deeply where you are. Always waiting on the type of love you gave to be returned as the love you deserved. And maybe you deserved it, so say less. Though up until now, I didn’t. So, I’ll say more...
If you ask anyone in my very large circle of friends and maybe even some watching from afar, they may say “Sil is so amazing...inspiring...she has the biggest heart...I can’t wait until someone loves her in the way that she deserves.” And I wholeheartedly agree that just like many other beautiful souls out there, that I am now so deserving of a true and unconquerable love. Yet for the longest time, I didn’t receive love in the way that I loved everyone else. Why? Because I accepted love in the way that I so lowly loved myself.
Yes, very early on in life, I was cast in a role that I never intentionally auditioned for. The you’re too dark, too fat, too smart, the “you don’t act black”. I was the emotional one, the “homie”, somebody’s "poor thing", and my own “why me”. Obsessing over the constant comparisons that I knew I could never live up to although I tried and tried. I thought that the only way I could receive that “Woman’s Work”, that “So Amazing”, that “All The Man I Need”, “Real Love” type of love was to change the things that in hindsight made me, me. I journeyed through life so broken trying to find the person that was going to eventually provide the other half of me.
I can reflect on every heartbreak that I subconsciously played my part in. I remember each time someone said “you deserve better” and still can recall each friend of mine that reassured that. But again, did I really? Did I really deserve better?
I mean how could I expect someone to love me for me when I couldn’t even figure out who I was? If I was continually mistreating myself and giving myself away so freely, how could I expect someone to respect me and treat me like the prize? If all I was attracting were pieces then how could I push someone else into making me whole?
Recently, I sat down for a virtual book club and discussed self-sabotaging behaviors and exploring what that had to do with self-esteem. My response was this:
“We live (and love) at the level of our self-esteem...all of our choices are going to stem from that esteem---How you feel about yourself, what you feel like you deserve, and the lifestyle you feel like you deserve. Sometimes we don’t feel confident in ourselves and sometimes we think it can happen for everyone else, but there’s no way it could happen for me. So my choices are going to mirror what I feel about my life and what I feel I’m deserving of...” whether good or bad.
I have found that it’s all about that inner work though and about being honest with ourselves and within ourselves for once. For me, I was a good girl with a good heart that fell into the subliminal trap of the world’s labels and expectations for me. I became the girl that I said I never wanted to be. Sometimes I was a mean girl, sometimes I was loud, sometimes I was way out there, but I thank God for not being too far gone and for second chances to turn this narrative around. For you, well just try to ask yourself:
Are you the person that you truly portray yourself to be?
Do you treat people the way you want to be treated instead of trying to match how they mistreat you?
Do you honor yourself, your own body, your own spirit?
Have you put your own petty ways behind you?
Do you even know what you want yet?
Are you whole even when you are alone?
Now as a 30 year-old woman looking back on who I was and looking forward as who I am, I’ve done and continue to do the work so that I can truly embrace the amazing love and life that is coming my way. That “If Only You Knew”, that “If I Ain’t Got You”, “All Of Me”, “Sweet Love” type love, that I’ve fearlessly earned. Now watch me work and for you, you go and be the love that you worked to deserve...