I have spent the majority of this year trying to ‘do the work’ and the first thing I wanted to do was work on being my ‘authentic self’. That is always followed by “whoever that is” because a lot of times I have had no clue SIGH.
‘I wonder if it’s so hard for me to really define who I am because I’m afraid that in reality, I’m…nobody”
I had this thought while watching OWN. It wasn’t even a deep show, but just being on the channel brings stuff out (lol). Seriously though, I actually said that aloud to RG and you know what he said? That I was fine I was just so scared to be that person, I am just full of fear. I had to let that marinate because I couldn’t deny it, I have lived the better part of my existence on this planet either scared, fearful or a combination of both emotions.
It may seem like a broken record, but this is something that began in childhood and ultimately has haunted me up to well the last 10 minutes.
It began as a little girl. There was fear I wouldn’t be the perfect Muslim girl, there was fear that I wouldn’t be the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect sister, fear of well everything. I learned early on to separate myself from who I might have wanted or felt I was. I chose to journal all the things I couldn’t get off my chest, or verbalize etc. Then there is the whole being scared thing. Scared of the direction my family was going in, scared of what others would think, scared of the unknown. It’s actually kind of sad, isn’t it?
Everyone processes things differently and even if you came from the same experience, it might not affect you in the same way. My experience and the way I ingested and processed it is MINE. Looking back, there have been way more times in my life when I’ve felt voiceless, helpless, barren and cold. I remember when my journal was found and I got in trouble, I remember when it was time for the sex talk, it came in the form of books with a note that said, if I had any questions ask, I remember not a lot of hugging, touching, saying I love you, or being receptive to my voice. I remember never being able to explore, I remember being given roles that I might not have wanted, folks that I might not have wanted to know, parents that I might not have wanted to have, siblings that I might not have wanted to play with, secrets that I might not have wanted to keep etc.
These things affected me. It all made me afraid. Speaking again on my journals, they are filled with sooo much anger and angst and questioning etc. My parents for the most part, were just not emotionally available to us kids for whatever reasons and that has had a damaging effect on me and almost cost me my own child.
For so much of my life, the part of the life where you do figure out who you are, you experiment and you live in order to determine what type of life you want, I lived in a fog devoid of independence, voice or matter. Somewhere along the line I had become a shell of a person. I just did whatever folks told me to do AND I created this space where I never colored outside the lines, and I lived just enough.
I didn’t really start having what I would term some kinda life until I moved down here. That was the beginning of me developing a pulse. I could explore everything from my sexuality to my writing.
So here we are at the end of 2012 and I still deal with this I have really worked on the entire concept of FEELING. I became a lot of who I didn’t want to be or who I really am. I had to teach myself to touch and love my child, I had to stop picking emotionally unavailable men, I had to learn to cry. That alone, changed my personal life. It allowed me to reverse some earlier damage to my child and put us on the path we are on today one I covet and cherish. It opened the door for the kind of friendships that have given me more joy than I could have real friendship and connection. I can greet people with hugs and kisses, genuine and heart felt. It has allowed me to be the receptacle of more love than I could imagine from a man.
The magical part of being able to feel, is that you begin to distinguish what feels good and what feels bad and you begin to recognize what feelings you want in your life.
Being able to feel is the first step in having COURAGE and eventually living a FEARLESS life. I see courage peeking through.
FEELINGS and COURAGE told my mother that I was not feeling who she had become and did not like it’s influence in my life;
FEELINGS and COURAGE helped me through the first real bump in my relationship;
FEELINGS and COURAGE is allowing me to love…from afar;
FEELINGS and COURAGE means I can apologize and/or forgive myself…and others…. or not;
FEELINGS and COURAGE have allowed me to just say some things aloud (even if it was to the mirror) that needed to be said such as “you know what, it was and continues to be really fucked up that my parental lineage was held from me by so many people for so long because it’s fucked up a part of my life that I’ll never get back and really never feel right about. I can’t get back the past and I don’t know how to approach the present and that in the long run has totally fucked up that future”
Yet I struggle still. I’m going to continue to work hard because I’m ready to branch out from working on self to working on the next part of my life. I don’t feel that will become evident what that is to be until I can look fear in the face.
During the month of December, I’m going to delve deeper. Currently, I read quotes about Fear to make some sense of the emotion. I’m not really focusing on how it came to be, but how to overcome it. How to move forward, and how to handles things that evoke the emotion. It’s work people it’s work.
Circling back up to my initial thought, I’m eventually beginning to understand that ‘who you are’ is and can be ambiguous – there’s no set formula. I have nailed down that I’m organic, that I’m creative, I’m altruistic, I’m a sidekick and not a Hero and that I need people, places and things to feel whole. I’m going to start there and live authentically within that FEELING. The rest will come.
Some of my Favorite quotes I focus on:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain. Frank Herbert
I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.
William Allen White
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. ~Les Brown
Somebody should tell us…right at the start of our lives…that we are dying. Then we might live to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. ~Michael Landon
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
If a man harbors any sort of fear, it percolates through all thinking, damages his personality and makes him a landlord to a ghost. ~Lloyd Douglas