Nestled in the safety of my four-door sedan, parked outside of my home, I wept. A glance in the review mirror was only a metaphorical confirmation for what I felt internally: I wasn’t myself. Who was this woman staring back at me in the mirror? Whose life was I living? Whose body was it that housed my soul? What happened to my soul? What happened to me?
I so desperately want to write eloquently. I want to follow a format and find the perfect colloquialisms. I want this blog – the first in five months – to prove that I haven’t missed a beat. …but I have. Somewhere along the way, I missed a beat, a step, and eventually I missed myself. A rift with a friend morphed into a permanent silent treatment. Not feeling well turned into a painful diagnosis and a bit of hopelessness. The wrong move resulted in an anxiety-filled existence, and eventually my life spiraled and spiraled until it looked nothing like it did before. What was most appalling was how I spiraled and spiraled until I was unrecognizable. I traded genuine smiles and laughs for tears. My joy and peace were hostages of anxiety and depression. I began hating the life I lived and begging God to shower me with any kind of relief. I was living a new normal… one that I hadn’t asked for. To be honest, I don’t feel like swimming in despair and wallowing in the lows of life. I lived through those lows for months on end, and I’m tired of them. The point that I seek to get across is that somewhere in that pile of burning rubble, I got lost. I felt like I was rocked to my core. I didn’t feel like myself, and I felt I was living the life of a stranger. Worse than that, I felt as if the people around me could see the difference in me. I thought they could see the slight crack in my smile or hear the subtle tremble in my voice. I thought that if they looked intently enough, they could see the glare in my eyes and the emptiness behind it. Day after day, I cried and prayed and begged God to allow me to be me again. I just wanted to be the confident, charismatic, and optimistic Christen who I once was. I didn’t want to have a chip on my shoulder, an ache in my heart, anxiety and unrest that made me feel unsafe, or embarrassing scars that I felt everyone could see. “Who the hell am I now? Where the hell am I now?” screamed my inner thoughts. Those thoughts resonated until I could feel them in my fingers, toes, and everything in between. I was lost. Something to note: though I had hit what seemed to by lowest point in a very long time, and even though I had moments where I was upset with God, I never stopped praying. I never stopped asking God to help me. Truth is, I don’t really know who or what to turn to other than God, and at this point, God is my only option. If it can’t work with God, it won’t work. I’ve seen God do so much for me, and I figured at some point God would do something even if it wasn’t what I wanted. That is at the core of my belief. Somewhere in the middle of trying to find my lost self, I found me.
She looked in the mirror and examined the woman who stared back at her. She wasn’t very familiar with this being, but she liked her. She was strong and confident. She had a voice and used it. She was resilient, prayerful, and discerning. She was everything she’d hoped to be despite all that she was forced to be for far too long.
Somewhere in the middle of trying to find my lost self, I found me.
Anxiety taught me how to pray. Heartbreak taught me how to appreciate those who truly valued me. Rock bottom taught me how to climb. A life shaking diagnosis taught me how to value my body and take care of it. Being taken advantage of me taught me how to make self care non-negotiable. Wanting to die taught me how to embrace everyday of life and LIVE in every single area of my life.
My lowest point produced my best self, and she is more than I could have ever imagined. I spent the last four months so hellbent on trying to figure out what the hell happened to the woman I once was and how I could get that woman back, that I failed to acknowledge the new woman I was becoming. I WAS BECOMING! While I was “lost,” I made some of my most life changing decisions and learned to follow the voice of God in a greater way. In that time, I embraced the glory of my womanism on a higher level and found strength in the women before me who looked like me and overcame. Because I was forced to write again, my creativity – which had become completely dormant – was unlocked in a magical way, and I found validation in knowing my voice and words had the power to heal, encourage, and even change people. While being found, I accepted the woman who God created AND has been continuously using despite her (my) own frailties and flaws. I’ve accepted that many things about the woman I am now may not resemble the woman I once was. I loved her, but I’m not her.
Though I hoped to say more, that’s all I have to say, and I’m learning not to force words that aren’t there. The moral of the story is my lowest points allowed me to find my greatest self, and I love her.
I have mourned/am mourning what was lost, and I choose to celebrate the possibilities locked within the woman I have become. I am a new creature. Old things have passed away, and all things have been made new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Cheers to my future. Cheers to me never shrinking again or at least not without a fight. Cheers to me fully embodying God’s grace and walking forward in my purpose. Cheers to you loving and learning from the new me. What’s ahead of me is better than what’s behind.
More blogs soon. Maybe they’ll be like the old ones… maybe not.
I hope this helps. I love you with my whole heart, and I mean it.