The job was simple: Find me …and love the shit out of myself, and watch God work.
Earlier this year, I received a special gift from one of my sorority sisters – a brand new journal with, “365 Days of Visions, Dreams & Selah Moments” printed on the front. The smell of something new, clean pages, a fresh start – it excited me because deep down, I wanted that for myself. All new everything. I ditched my old journal immediately, throwing away the first couple of months of 2014 without any closing entry. I scribbled thoughts and quotes, inspirations for the day and blog ideas. When writing this post (which has been incredibly difficult to put together,) I went through the book and couldn’t find anything worthy of a Year In Review post. Sure, there was some pretty good shit that consumed those pages, but it didn’t encompass everything that was Erica’s Insane Life in 2014. I decided to clean up. I believe a clean house gives way to a clear mind but on this day, I came across that old journal, covered in dust, and it overwhelmed me. This was my lightbulb moment all over again.
I wrote a lot about domestic violence this year in many different capacities, but what my blog didn’t see was the content in that journal on self-abuse. I wrote pages after pages in a shaky calligraphy, crying during most of them, a crescendo of revelations as I flipped through it. I entertained a lot of bullshit. I condone a lot of unacceptable behavior. I allowed negative energies, behaviors, and habits into my life. I held the fuck on to a lot of people because deep down, I knew I couldn’t live alone. I didn’t stand a chance making it through the day by myself.
The more I wrote, the more clarity and the more I frightened myself. I had to let go because I was hurting myself. There were so many entries on being empty and feeling alone, and I read those words – mywords – this past weekend and sat on my living room floor and cried. Who was this girl? People hurt me because I hurt me and I didn’t even realize I was in a war with myself.
There’s something about saying things out loud – actually speaking something into the air, per se, that makes things feel more real. For the first time, I spoke to someone about my personal demons and Ev’Yan gave me a word that I’ll never forget – self-violation. I truly believe there is life and death in the tongue and on February 6th, that word killed something inside of me and manifested an incredible journey of self-exploration. I had to make this transition from self-abuse to self-acceptance. I was more than how I was subconsciously treating myself.
In route to radical self-acceptance, I needed to come to terms with some things, especially since I couldn’t escape these reoccurring dreams I was having. I felt like the Universe was letting me know there was some unfinished business I had to tend to and if I wanted to grow, it was time to stop running and start getting very fucking serious about situations.
Ev’Yan asked me to think about closure and that was probably thee roughest thing for me to do this year. In not knowing who I was, I had to think a lot about where I came from. I had to find the root to the problem.
“getting yourself together.
what about undoing yourself.”
the fix, salt.
I had an unhealthy relationship with myself; I had an unhealthy relationship with my mother. We hadn’t spoken in a year at that point and I thought I was okay, but the Universe showed me there is no closure if there hasn’t been forgiveness. She was who I kept seeing in my dreams and my spirit was so full of anger every time. Ev’Yan asked me to write her a letter to discuss my feelings since I wasn’t comfortable calling, saying, “the process would help with finding peace.” I side-eyed her through the phone and days later, I wrote it:
I forgive you.
Please do not contact me.
Yet, I never sent it off. Looking back at it now, I couldn’t muster up the strength to mail it because I truly didn’t mean it. I looked at myself and saw her staring back at me and I still felt disgusted. In a quiet apartment one day, I proclaimed something out loud: You are your mother and as I felt it, I heard it. I heard, “Good. Now you can begin the work,” so loudly in my ear, I scared the shit out of myself and turned around to face my own image in the mirror.
“grieve. so that you can be free to feel something else.”
nejma by Nayyirah Waheed.
Ev’Yan told me to write down these two questions and think long on it:
How can I love those same parts in myself that I loathe in my mother?
How do I avoid spiraling into the parts I dislike in her?
I reflected and the answers I found made me want to stop the sessions immediately. Introspection will do that to you though – make you uncomfortable – and I was reminded to see past the pain and look at the bigger point. “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got,” was the quote I referred back to for months when I didn’t feel like being the bigger person. When you have to talk about your issues out loud that have consumed you for half of your existence, and you haven’t even spoken to the person behind these feelings, you will crack. That tough act gets tiring and you will break. My ugly cry during these moments gave Kim K. a run for her money and having to run to the bathroom to fall apart 100 times over, exhausted me. I had to give it up.
Reconciling with these parts was to help me move on and after some time, I forgave myself for subjecting myself to years of abuse, living in denial, and not embracing who I am. Forgiveness for me was about release and acceptance. It entailed a lot of honesty and finding healing in responsibility. I let go of resentment and a few months, later I got ballsy as fuck and called my mother. It wasn’t for her, or ‘us’ more so, but I forgave for me. I was serious about wanting to grow and change and I knew I had found forgiveness when fearlessness dwelled in me. Then, shit got real.
Fearlessness + Finding True Love.
“If you’re afraid to write it,
that’s a good sign.
I suppose you know you’re writing the
truth when you’re terrified.”
Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
I wrote anyway. I finally came to terms with my experiences with people and with things that have happened and I wanted to share my truth. It’s taken a lot out of me looking back at it, but I cannot deny that it’s been such a liberating movement. I came in this year alone; I’m leaving with a legion of supportive women.
When What Binds Us Together: Our Stories was brought to life this year, the foundation of the series was rooted in fearlessness. It was for women who found the message in the mess and somehow, I underestimated how many of us there were in the world. For some of us, we were not supposed to make it. The odds weren’t in our favor, but there’s something about God’sfavor. T.D. Jakes described it as, “…things you don’t even deserve, but because you’re doing what God called you to do, He’ll make the pathway straight for you.”
This year prove one major thing to me and that’s dope shit happens when you let the Universe have its way. I relinquished control and I opened my heart, allowing myself to finally love someone new and the most important – myself. And it felt sooo freaking good. I found it funny how I’ve been with someone for ten years and never once experienced something as powerful as self-love.
I knew there was some major work transpiring within when people starting treating me different. When I noticed people respecting me more, I knew it was a mirror to the amount of respect I had for myself, and as I became more open – with my heart and consciously – God opened doors. It’s as if the more optimistic I became, the more God slayed on the opportunities.
But now, as I’ve expressed in previous posts, I am terrified. I know that there are people that expect something more of me and this space since the Black Weblog Award win. I know that there are still some stories that have to be told and it’s apart of my purpose to tell them. I cannot run from that. I cannot hide them in my journal anymore and throw my experiences away to collect dust again. I know that 2015 is going to get all up in my ass because I did some amazing shit this year and nowis the time to be stronger than ever. Coming into this year, I didn’t know myself. Leaving this year, I know that I am a force to be reckoned with.
I lost two friends this year that succumbed to illnesses and almost every day, I see and hear them. Their lives serve as a reminder that the greatest stories we could ever tell are in living our lives with a sense of purpose and in truth. I’ve thought about taking a mini-blog hiatus, but there’s so much more in me and this blog has been my biggest source of healing in 2014. For the first time in almost 28 years, I feel alive. I know I’m finally free. I would complain about not going on this journey of self-love sooner, but things happen when they need to and I am where I should to be.
There’s a quote from Eckhart Tolle that I love that reads, “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you has chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” I’m not fighting anymore. I’m finishing what God had me start… including that journal from January 2014.
For Rodney + Margaret