Back in the day, Salt ‘n Pepa sang about the realness of being authentic, and their song, Express Yourself, has been hailed as a great dance song… and anthem. However, today, I have a deeper appreciation for the message within the lyrics.
‘Respect and honor your past.’
‘Look at the people and situations with forgiveness in your heart.’
‘Let go and move on.’
Although, I had heard all of these messages several times from different sources in a myriad of ways, I always responded the same way!
“Yeah, right! Have you seen my past?!?!? Was it you who lived through those situations?!?!? Was it your heart that felt all that pain?!?!?!?!?!? NO!!!!! I was mine!!!!!!!”
I didn’t want to hear any of it! Instead, my inner child wanted to hear and feel what wasn’t said or felt during childhood!
For years, I chose not to put much thought into the majority of my actions, so it should have come as no surprise when I continued to get in life the opposite of what my inner child felt she deserved!
Through my attitudes and projections, I was magnetizing to me what I thought I wanted. However, I wasn’t what I was demanding from others, and my relationships were perfect reflections of what I was denying about myself!
In partners, I usually attracted men who were financially in good standing, but emotionally unstable. They were reflections of how I did and did not want to see myself. The importance of sexual, emotional, or even spiritual satisfaction was what I deeply wanted but not putting two and two together, always eluded me because I wasn’t satisfied with myself and the roads I had traveled.
In friendships, I attracted people who were good at heart, but emotionally needy. They had issues with self-worth and self-love, and I chose to not be a compassionate and empathetic friend. I allowed myself to be plagued by thoughts of how weak they were, so I would find a way to get away from “their drama”. What I failed to realize was they were lovingly reflecting back to me what I was emitting.
Everything wrong in my world was the result of the other people in my life. I expected other people to make me feel good. However, I didn’t feel good about who I was.
I had a body I had stopped loving.
I ate unhealthy foods.
I drank copious amounts of alcohol*.
I smoked way too many cigarettes**.
I was promiscuous***.
I had even done drugs!****
My outer mask covered my inner turmoil, and behind closed doors, that pain would be unleashed onto whomever was within “shooting” range!
The world knew me as the funny one—someone who’d missed her calling as a comedienne. I kept everyone laughing in order to keep them from getting to know me too deeply.
I thought if I could maintain the conversations on “seemingly meaningless stuff” then I wouldn’t have to expose my pain. I thought if I showed the real me—the scared little girl who didn’t want to be rejected and abandoned—I would get rejected and abandoned again.
I didn’t feel safe, and I wasn’t about to share much of anything with just anybody.
I also believed being vulnerable was a sign of weakness, and there was no way in hell I was going to come off as weak!
I believed if I showed my true emotions, people would think that I didn’t have my life together, and the jig would finally be up! I would be ruined and deemed a fraud!
So, I did my best to keep my defensive walls intact, and I became a warrior—capable of single-handedly defending my formidable barriers!
The Great Wall of China had nothing on me!
Needless to say, it was exhausting!
My old beliefs and repetitive negative thoughts had taken over my life, and I no longer knew my ass from a hole in the wall!
I was exhausted from decades of defending walls that never needed to be defended in the first place.
The more exhausted I became, the shorter my fuse.
I was “losing control” of all that I believed mattered. Income, relationships and my sanity. I was losing the Battle of Me, Me, Me!
So, in October 2012, I semi-declared my willingness to “let go” and “let God” lead me.
Okay, my income continued to steadily drop, and I needed a way to move through the intense moments of sheer panic I had begun to experience.
In the months that followed, I would slowly (and sometimes painfully) uncover the true meaning of letting go and letting God! I would discover that by letting go, I could reclaim what I had given to others, for years, out of fear—my power!
It has taken a lot of contemplation, emotional healing, crystal therapy, and other energy work like Reiki for me to be where I am today (a little better, still a work-in-progress).
I am now someone who feels a little safer expressing my feelings—in the moment they arise; someone who does her best to create space for others to safely express themselves; someone who tries not to beat herself up whenever she looks in the mirror.
I am learning to accept all of my “imaginary flaws”!
Are you living an authentic life?
If so, what helped you create this space?
* I used to drink to drown the sorrows and the pain. Nowadays, I rarely drink.
** I quit in October 2012; 25 years after I started (There was also those 27 months when I didn’t smoke… because I was seriously into bodybuilding then I got my pregnant with my prince. People who smoke during pregnancy should be lynched!)
*** I believed sex was love. Nowadays, I am really picky about who I allow in between my legs.
**** I had a fling with cocaine in March of 2000 (great abs… HORRIBLE crash). I’ve smoked marijuana 6 times (I thought I would eventually “learn to like it”. NO THANK YOU). I tried Salvia Divinorum once (Worst. trip. EVER).
As you see, I am willing to be vulnerable… which allows me to stay true to who I AM.