Disclaimer: If I sound very deep for no reason, it’s probably because I watched a speech by Tracee Ellis Ross before I wrote this and I enjoy her thoroughly and she gets me all inspirational and thinky.
As you may have read in the title head, my name is Princess. And yes, that is my real name, one that I got from my mom actually.
Finding the words for this piece was a bit tricky, because I wanted to sound cute but I wanted to be very honest. But before we begin, I want to give you a scenario.
Picture this: You are a young woman, who has walked through her life angry, bitter and heartbroken about the things she cannot change and the things she couldn’t control. You are also a woman who has struggled to accept herself and has long searched for validation from others, that has left her weak and brittle at the bones. You are also a woman who has hurt others because she didn’t have the strength and courage to take a moment to heal from receiving versions of love she didn’t deserve, from lovers, from friends, from family. And now, you are at a place in your life where you can no longer hide behind accolades you hang on the walls and feign confidence. You have to dig deep & clean out the mess so you can get the answer to that age-old cliche question – “Who are you?”
You might read this and think “yhu, that’s a lot.” You would be absolutely right, because it is. Before, my preferred ammunition for the situation was to bury everything and tell myself “I’ll get the degree and the job and the money and then I’ll be good.” I got the degree. I got two, actually. I got the job. The money part is debatable. But according to my math, I should be pretty happy right now. And I was nowhere near that. I was struggling to keep my head above water, because there were these weights I didn’t see or understand, pulling me down. But maybe I just need more money, who knows?
Despite my usual reflex to ignore the feeling, I recently took it upon myself to find out why. And, on this journey of rediscovery I’ve been taking, I’ve learnt that I didn’t like myself very much. But most importantly, I learnt that it’s because I hadn’t forgiven myself for anything. Whether it be a situation I put myself into or whether it was a situation where someone else took advantage of me. Choosing the wrong friends and lovers, the wrong friends and lovers choosing me, my treatment of others, other people’s treatment of me…all of it.
Forgiving others was never really the issue, forgiving myself and understanding that the things I’ve done or experienced don’t have to be the final say on the woman I am or will become was the issue. And we always read and hear about forgiving yourself is so important blah blah but I only am realizing its importance right now. At 23.
And I don’t know if I’m late or if I’m early for this train, but I’m glad that I’m on it. Having to face the pain and hurt surrounding that is no easy task though. You have to FEEL every last thing and you become so much more aware of your emotions. As painful and tearful as it has been, it’s also been rewarding. The rewards are showing in the way I’m handling others, in my interactions with close friends or otherwise, but most importantly, it’s showing in how I’m handling myself.
I’m still very much a work in process, but I’m no longer doing it by being my worst critic and tearing myself down. I criticize and dissect but now I use a kinder, more understanding voice. One that I have the big man upstairs to thank for. I’m nervous but excited for what is to come because something tells me only good things can come from the growth that lies ahead.
In closing, I leave you with a beautiful line from Tracee Ellis Ross: “Your fury holds lifetimes of wisdom. Let it breathe and listen.”