Fast Blog: The Transformation Continues....Excuse me while I am a bit transparent
Fall Fast Blog 1: September 6, 2008
When I attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, I was so green. I had lived a very sheltered life as a child. And while I did a great job of living on my own while in college, my naivete somewhat hindered me in certain classes.
One class in particular was my African-American English class taught by Dr. Gloria Wade-Gayles, one of the most beloved professors on our campus.
I could never fully participate in class discussions because I did not understand the books that we were reading by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, among others. My life's experience was too limited.
However, there were a few things that Dr. Gayles said in the class that I have never forgotten and intergrated into the fabric of my being.
She said: "Always carry a book with you. So if you are held up you have something to feed your mind with." As a result, I carry a book with me at all times. I am an avid reader.
She also said: "Always have one or two quotes memorized in case you are asked unexpectedly to speak in public." I still remember the two quotes I memorized back then among others I have memorized since that time.
Lastly, I remember her saying as she looked us dead in our eyes: "You hate yourselves."
I remember laughing because I had never heard anyone speak so frankly on such a subject. At the time I was about 20 years old with one of the baddest perms around. I was known for having pretty hair. So when she said, "If you didn't hate yourselves, then you wouldn't perm your hair." That caught my attention.
I was not offended. I simply wondered if it was true. I truly loved my beautiful short and super straight Hallie Berry cut. I thought that I was the most beautiful woman around.
Eventually, I grew to the place where I did stop permming my hair and grew to love my natural, nappy curls.
But this morning as I awoke I thought to myself, "I hate myself." Now don't be shocked or even feel sorry for me. For me to admit that to myself is progress. Dr. Gayles was right back then as I am today. I do hate myself.
In the last week, I have come to terms with a couple of things. I am being guided to share these with you all in case there are one or two who need to hear this.
In stepping onto this journey into transforming my belief system, I was led to call a friend and tell her about what is going on in my life. We ended the call with me going to get a book that she recommended that I read called "Letting Go of Shame."
As I read the book, hmmm...I say within the first five pages, I found the root of my problem and the foundation of my belief system: SHAME.
I have had self-esteem issues for almost as long as I can remember. Though I have not always been sure why I have lacked esteem and self-worth, at the very least I have been aware of this issue.
So as I have read about and am understanding shame, I now realize why I think the way that I think, why I have only achieved so much in my life and why I feel like I hate myself. It is all steeped in shame.
The reason that I say do not feel bad for me is what I have decided to do is to face this self-hatred and shame dead on. At this point it matters not where I got the shame, but that I now replace it with truth. Truth for me is: All is ONE and the ONE is Love.
What I am doing is allowing the feelings of self-loathing to rise to the top. Though I do not seek to dwell on the memories, I am allowing myself to revisit moments of the past where I felt most shamed and made decisions about myself based on that shame.
Instead of stuffing these feelings and memories, I let them come to the forefront of my mind so that I can remember and release.
It hurts like hell. I have been crying like a baby for a few days now. But I cry with a purpose: a purpose of releasing.
The more I purge the more I realize that so many of my dysfunctional behaviors are to fill the void of self-love. I have desired that others love me where I have been uable to love myself.
I have loved others in a way that I should have been loving myself. And when I felt the void and feelings of shame, then I turned to food or other excessive behaviors to relieve the stress.
I am still deep in this "healing-shame" period so I cannot offer much advice. What I can say is that I am grateful to finally know what is going on with me and to be able to productively do something about it.
As I continue to heal, I am realizing that what I most need is self-love and to restructure my belief system around this new way of operating.
My desire for all of you is the same....deep-abiding self-love steeped in Truth: God/The Great Mother.
I will keep you posted on my journey.
Oceans of Love Tirra-Olufemi
N.B. I am not on this healing journey alone. Though, I have been doing self-healing work for years I still seek out assistance when I need it. For me it is from my spiritual community. I know many who have sought the help of a professional counselor. I also use teas and supplements to support my nervous system regularly, but especially during times like these.
If you are interested in what I use click here. Another friend has recommended the Sedona Method, which is proving to be exceedingly helpful.
My main point is that if you decide to take the very courageous step toward healing your shame, please seek help where needed. This can be very serious for most people and so many of us will need additional outside support to do this work. I leave you peace.