You open your front door and cross over the threshold as the energy of the day seems to finally hit you. Your home is your safe space, where you can fully experience the emotions and thoughts you didn’t allow yourself to feel while out in the world. You slough off your bag and step out of your shoes, feeling disconnected from your body.
Why didn’t anyone seem interested in my idea in that meeting? You think as you make your way to the couch, pulling your phone from your back pocket and automatically thumbing to Instagram. You can’t seem to shake the feeling that you’re not seen, or wanted, or respected at work. You hear a deep sigh leave your mouth and wonder when you inhaled to begin with. Repressed thoughts of dismissive words and actions from people in your life crawl to the front of your mind while your thumb engages in its daily aerobic workout: up and down, tap tap, and repeat.
You scroll upon a quote, at which you would typically roll your eyes, but you stop. This message had to be for you. “You are more than how others see you. You are more than how others treat you.”
Your spine tingles and your stomach rises to your chest. Woah. Your instinct tells you to take a conscious breath, so you close your eyes and immediately feel the weight of your head. Inhaling deeply, you can sense yourself wanting to cry – that feeling that starts deep within your body. In your too-full mind, you want to stop that feeling, to keep it right there where you don’t have to meet it; but your body has a different plan for you. As you exhale, your breath comes out in a staccato format, making you want to laugh, but the tears rolling down your cheeks remind you that you’re “supposed” to feel sad. For what exact reason, you’re not sure.
You open your eyes to see your journal practically staring at you and you feel compelled to reach for it. At this point, you’re unable to mentally reason, but if you could, you’d tell yourself you don’t have time to write, or find an excuse to continue to avoid your feelings, to continue to avoid connecting with yourself.
You turn to page two, the last place you left off a few months ago, and recall a writing exercise your high school English teacher swore by. Put your pen to paper, write, don’t think, and don’t stop until you feel finished. So, that’s what you do.
You write about how you feel alone, lost, and misunderstood. You write about how you were so excited by this new idea you came up with and how you thought your team would feel the same, but that they didn’t even seem to register any novelty in your idea. You write about how that makes you feel insignificant and how you often feel insignificant. Mid-pen stroke, you change course and write “It’s time to connect with me. I need to connect with me.” Shocked by what seems like words that came from someone else, you continue to write, eager to learn what more this voice had to say:
“People outside of me do not have the power to dictate how much I love myself. They don’t have the power to dictate how successful or aligned I am in this world. I think I have to clear my life of some people and things, and, definitely, thoughts that keep making me feel powerless. Yes! I feel powerless, and oddly powerful admitting that to myself. I know I don’t have to continue living this way. I can love myself more.”
As if briefly returning from a trance, a slight feeling of dread washes over you and you give your journal your feelings. “How the hell am I gonna do that, though? People always talk about loving yourself on Instagram and TV and everywhere, but does that even work? It just sounds like words to me. But I want to get there. What can I do? Should I talk to someone?”
And like the answer you beckoned for, you (but not you) showed up on the page: “Start by talking to me. I know you. I love you. You are already powerful. You have already arrived.”
You drop your pen and begin heaving, tears now streaming down your face. The one empty corner of your mind thinks you’re being dramatic, and for once you just let the thought pass. You bring your arms across your chest and hug yourself, surprised at how relieved you feel, at how clearly you were able to connect with your true, loving, honest self. In that moment, face wet and mind confused, you feel held.
You take another conscious breath and perceive that you feel lighter in your body, and that even some of your thoughts are beginning to dissolve. You close your journal and carry it to your bedside table, where you plan to write and release daily. Did I just plant a seed of self-love? You ask yourself, internally laughing at the Instagramability of it all.
Nkem is a human sensationally journeying her way through life. As a writer and writing teacher, she is fascinated by all things language, expression, self, and human relationships. Nkem’s life-passion is to help people help themselves through self-expression. As such, she hosts a platform dedicated to the thoughts and creative narratives of women of color: www.wellspringwords.love. She aims to facilitate WOC gaining a deeper relation to themselves, a sense of community, and more access to ‘aha’ moments leading them to greater personal and spiritual enlightenment.