Literature and art as a whole has always enlightened me. One of my favorite poems is "somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff" by queen Ntozake Shange. Before the movie adaptation of "For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf", I had read that specific poem many times, and only related to the speaker on a surface level. I understood the voice, but I didn't have the experience to relate it to my own life. But like the old folks tell you, just keep on living! And I can assure you that when you have internal insecurities, it doesn't matter how gorgeous you look on the outside, you’ll accept things from people that you know ain't right.
My interpretation of the poem is that it embodies the angst of a woman who loses herself in a man she deems as her everything. While his actions chipped away at her already fragile spirit, he finally leaves for good. And she barely redeems parts of herself when that relationship is over. As Shange writes, "where are you goin wid alla my stuff?! this is a woman’s trip & i need my stuff". This man almost (ALMOST), got away with her most precious things, honey!
Many of us have had these experiences as young women, but some live it for the rest of their lives, and it manifests itself as bitterness or being forever unfulfilled. To live a life where you never redeem your "stuff" is disheartening to say the least. So much greatness has been stolen from some women's spirits via absent fathers, or the no good men thereafter, or hell, the ones currently (and undeservingly) allowed in their beds. What grown woman hasn't experienced someone who almost walked away with her stuff?
A friend, family member, or lover ('cause yes, these relationships can leave you broken too) who took parts of her soul that she never reclaimed.
Not dealing with the broken parts of yourself can leave you forever shattered. Maybe you find yourself going from one relationship to another, hoping and wishing for someone to validate you. You accept lackluster treatment because you don’t think you deserve anything better. Or it could be that you allow family to use you under the guise of "but that's my family". The scenarios are endless. Ultimately, if you are broken from it, somebody walked off with your stuff, Sis, and you are left holding an empty designer bag damaged from your own tears and strife.
In the timeframe before I met my husband (who is the God sent love of my life—yes I'm mushy like that, bare with me), I had to go through an ugly phase. I had to dip my toe into the murky waters of modern dating life, which was a monster in itself. That was over 12 years ago, and from what I’m told, it’s one hundred times worse nowadays. I learned so much about myself during that time. I realized pretty quickly that when you have a broken place, it will always be exposed when dating. That emptiness is like a hunk of raw steak hanging out for wolves to detect, and the slickest one will patiently hide in waiting, just to nibble at it little by little. Thank God my dad raised me to know how to bite back, chile! Lord knows it came in handy. But this is why I advocate to find yourself, heal, and be whole when you form a relationship with someone. And whether you're in relationship with someone or not, be whole for yourself. Show up for you!
Whole doesn’t mean perfect, of course, because none of us are that. Whole just means you are self-aware. You’re not blind to the idiosyncrasies that make you who you are. You are a work in progress, with more progress than work left to do. That way, if someone walks away, they don’t take your stuff with them, but instead, add on to what you had before they came into your life. Even if what they’ve added is simply you having a better sense of self. You will have gained insight, and at least you still have all of you.
I have been there. I've had to take my stuff back from previous toxic folk. Whether it's family, friends, or a lover, WHOEVER gets away with a part of you, leaves you with an empty space that needs to be nurtured. And the nurture has to come from none other than self. Where does self get it? That all depends on your individual spirit. I mentioned in my last blog that I had to seek God's direction first for the strength, which ultimately led me to a therapist. And please don't believe the old mindset that seeking professional help means you're crazy. I can assure you, most of the folks putting that label on it, are the main ones who need the help. Don't get me started on that tangent, because in my experience. . .
Y'all get my drift. That said, I'm far from out of my mind, and I still see a therapist to this day. She, too, is God sent and keeps me on my toes. After all is said and done, if you don't already have it gathered and tucked away neatly in your panty drawer—lovely ladies, please go get your stuff back! You'll need ALL your things to rise above future obstacles, and reach that level of peace that we all need. Happy gathering to all!
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