When I reflect on this past year, the first thing that comes to mind is 2019 WTF?! At 29-years-old, I was a mother of four beautiful children and pregnant with my fifth child. Although we’d been together for 10 years, my husband and I of four years were separated. As you can imagine, I felt lost because this was not supposed to be my story. I often asked myself, “Was I reliving my mother’s or grandmother’s life?”
No, this was all me, and I was not truly living. From childhood until now, I have always been in survival mode, and it was a harsh realization. I felt like a complete failure after I finally realized the mask I’d been wearing coupled with the darkness of my marriage. During the discovery of betrayal in my union, while still sitting in my pride and ego, people I expected to be angry with me for wanting to leave advised me to stay in that environment rooted in dysfunction.
I felt the pain of my 8-year-old self, which was the age my father stripped me of my innocence and hope.
Without a doubt, I became life’s punching bag. I thought I overcame my childhood sexual abuse trauma, but the reality is that I found myself deeply triggered. I felt the pain of my eight-year-old self, which was the age my father stripped me of my innocence and hope. It was the hope that I worked extremely hard to restore. Now in my late twenties, I was faced with heartache yet again, but this time, I was tired of living. I had two options. Either learn to live or continue to survive. It was a tough decision but my source of inspiration stemmed from the fact I had given life to four adorable little people who needed me.
Evolve or Repeat
Unfortunately, fear began to advise me because it was a familiar and trusted friend of mine. In my eyes, it was every woman’s story — a combination of pain, dysfunction, sacrifice, bitterness, and maybe a little appreciation. Repeating the stories of the women before me didn’t feel right, but taking the familiar route appeared to be the wisest decision. I slipped into my comfort zone of dysfunction because I told myself that I couldn’t do this on my own. I began pointing the finger at others for their actions towards me. In retrospect, actions, I was unwilling to believe I allowed.
At the time, I was still unaware of how I functioned and what I welcomed into my life. About two years ago, I was committed to regularly going to therapy. I knew my husband and I were growing apart, and I blamed myself for it. I believed that something was wrong with me because I made myself believe that I was a broken person. My ability to give the biggest, brightest smile during difficult times was not the definition of being a strong black woman. It was not quality. I discovered this game face as a kid because it was the only way I knew how to survive. Every day for seven years starting at the age of eight, I experienced violation, paranoia, mistrust, self-hate, unprotected sex, and shame, once my father began molesting me. As my primary parent, he often told me I was blessed to have him as a father. I experienced morning sickness from pregnancies by my father, followed by several abortions as early as 11-years-old. The daughter, my father, was building would soon become a woman who would need a lot of re-wiring.
All Grown Up
I received compliments my entire life, so I always knew I was awesome. Because of my manners, easy-going spirit, and kindness, whenever I experienced disappointment from anyone close to me, it saddened me to my core. I would make them pay by severing ties and cutting them off completely. But it would also leave me very confused with a bruised ego.
My pride told me that anyone I allowed close to me was lucky; lucky enough to know such a rare and loyal individual. I’m supportive, and I bend over backward for those I love. People would always tell me how amazing I am. So, how dare they take that for granted? What I failed to realize was how much I was reliant on every single compliment I received because I NEEDED the validation.
Spiritually, I functioned in complete darkness at a very low vibration.
The inner child buried deep inside, desperate to be the complete opposite of how I genuinely felt about my true-being. Worthless, stupid, ugly, and rejected were the words I would use to describe myself. As a natural result, I held on to the many compliments I received because it helped me hide what I felt inside. I created a false sense of confidence, and those who did me wrong saw me for who I was. I believed they saw that same little girl my father must have also seen.
Yes, I was well-behaved, respectful, and responsible, but I was not a good person. Spiritually, I functioned in complete darkness at a very low vibration. I couldn’t be vulnerable with anyone because I was suspicious of everyone. I had an extreme need to protect my children. I did not trust myself, so, therefore, I couldn’t trust anyone else.
I was a toxic person. I ignored the signs of my inner-child, and I took everything I learned growing up into the home I was building as an adult. I denied myself the time that I needed to acknowledge the many ways I was hurting. Not abusing my children didn’t equate to being better than my father because I was still repeating the cycle in my own way. I was still very much a victim and didn’t put any effort into trying to heal my past traumas. I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders and bashed those who hurt me in the process.
My father is another prime example. On several occasions, he opened-up to adults in his family about incidents of being sexually abused as a child. Unfortunately, it was downplayed and dismissed. But he was celebrated for losing his virginity at an early age. Sadly, his abusers were granted access to him throughout the rest of his life. Because he was given access to a child, as evidenced with me, he went on to inappropriately function in the same toxic, repetitive cycle.
A New Life
Fourteen years after my father’s sentencing, I was stuck in a cycle of misery and found myself dealing with a brand new trauma. But this time around, I knew I had to do things differently with some serious soul-searching. My heart aches for my father’s inner child because he was once an unprotected kid. Either I could live the rest of my life in sorrow and continue to take his abuse towards me personally. Or understand it wasn’t about me. His suppressed feelings of shame hurt, and pain caused his destructive behavior. Every day I’m choosing to break generational cycles within my familial unit. Establishing healthy relationships, spiritually, with myself and others has helped me to stand in my truth. I’ve learned by embarking on this journey of personal growth, and in my quest for happiness and inner-peace, healing past trauma is essential to establishing a fulfilled life.
I now recognize when a person is sad or functioning on a low vibration that I have the choice to either connect with them or leave. Honestly, they can’t do any harm to me that I didn’t allow because trust me; the signs are ALWAYS there. I’m also learning that daily inner maintenance is a REQUIREMENT and quick fixes to escape reality are not healthy. We listen to podcasts or one-minute motivational clips on Instagram and get excited in the moment: only to return to that feeling of unhappiness by the end of the day.
We attend conferences that encourage us and leave us on a high, feeling unstoppable. To then find ourselves home the following week, scrolling through pics saying, “take me back.” That high can last forever if you put daily effort into bettering your state of mind, which is what I have chosen to do. I’ve decided to make my reality beautiful.
Daily inner maintenance is a requirement and quick fixes to escape reality are not healthy.
We feed our physical bodies’ food to stay alive and energized. Not once a year, not now and then but daily, several times a day. We must feed our spirits the same. Refueling our minds when we’re feeling mentally malnourished because our mind, body, and soul can’t maintain on its own. Rewiring requires daily reminders and maintenance, and although fear had a stronghold on me for 29 years, now at 30 years old and a mommy of five, I am committed to exploring the unknown. I’m finally trusting myself in the process and shedding the baggage of my past.