Thank you for taking the time to read EpitoME, in which I have high hopes of developing virtual sisterhoods with you all. Let me properly introduce myself for those who know absolutely nothing about me. Of course if you’re reading this then you already know my name. However, you may not know my story—even if you think you do. As a low-key, selectively introverted soul who loves to write fiction, I never thought I'd be blogging at all. Let alone sharing with total strangers.
But here I am, ready and willing to spill my inner-most thoughts and experiences, because what's the point in overcoming obstacles if we don't share, right? And chile, let me tell you, I have been through some shit in my young (yes, young!) forty plus years of living. I always say, I’ve lived a life that most women don’t experience until they are up in age. Some of my losses and lessons were beyond what my maturity level could handle at the time they occurred. That said, I’m definitely not here to provide a cup of chamomile tea for y’all to sip and curl up all comfortable. It’s quite the opposite, my beautiful people. My sole purpose is to help those who struggle with achieving peace and happiness, especially when you can't pinpoint the culprit of your affliction. And that, my new friends, can make us extremely uncomfortable.
The first time my therapist, asked me the generic question, "Who are you?" I gulped a long breath. Choked on the air I took in. Then, tried my hardest to produce a sensible answer. I hit her with all of my roles. “I’m a mother, a wife, a teacher, a listener, a go-getter . . ." Y’all get the picture. But truly, I had no idea who I was beyond those roles. It's so common for us to define ourselves this way. See, all of my answers had to do with what I offered and gave to other people—none of which were introspective. No wonder I was suffering from anxiety and restlessness.
I had nailed the art of caring for others, but I needed tons of help to guide me out of habitual, self-sabotaging thoughts, which kept me from finding my true self. During therapy, I realized that my trauma went back further than I even knew. As a child, I was always smiling. No matter how chaotic our household was, I remained visually happy. In hindsight, I, like a lot of us, was trained to go—TTG, baby! I was a pro at pushing on without dealing with issues that pained me. There was no healing—not even explanations given— for the mental breakdowns and trauma I witnessed around me. And I took that mindset with me into adulthood. That's just life, right? We are black women and we can handle anything.
Absolutely! We are amazing beings to overcome all we've endured, and that we continue to go through every single day. However, I had to face a hard truth that became the catalyst to my true healing: Often times what looks like strength is just a coping mechanism to keep from losing our damn minds. A real eyeopener for me, let me just say that!
That feigned strength made me numb to things I should've dealt with head on. As a young woman, I covered the pain I felt when I watched my first husband die from an overdose of promethazine and codeine, better known as lean. In addition to the prescription med, Zantac, or handlebars if you're street versed. Literally, I watched this occur. From the start of the drug usage to the untimely demise, I witnessed it all. And since I was eight months pregnant and thrusted into a spotlight I never wanted, I had to be especially “strong”. Underneath the smile, I was an anxious, depressed wreck, which I only bared at night when it was just me and my thoughts.
Did this mean I wasn't Teflon strong? That I couldn't take an emotional beating, throw on a pair of high heels and walk off unscathed? I soon realized that we wear the gold badge of "strong" around without dealing with the depths of our pain. We are told that MaDear and 'nem prayed about it and pushed on, and therefore, we should do that to. Never once realizing that prayer is often all they had. It was all that they were able to do, and now we can reach even deeper. We can talk to God, get his blessing, and heed his guidance right on to therapy.
Can you truly say you are unbothered by trauma you've experienced? Do you not have remnants of that pain that causes you to allow toxic people and things into your life? What about past experiences that have festered and made you unable to move forward to be your best self? I have been there, and as I mentioned, the premise of this blog is to help others find and maintain peace.
True strength takes the courage of being honest with yourself about you; about what you carry around on your day-to-day. It's a constant journey, but along the way, peace will be found. This, I can attest to as well.
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With all love and positive vibes, I look forward to connecting and sharing!