Flourishing

"if they woke at their wake
they might not recognize that woman
in the front making all that noise."

-from “waiting on you to die so I can be myself”, Danez Smith.

For so many years, I’ve figuratively tossed and turned the idea of displaying my authentic self to the public. For too long, I have feared what people would think of me. During my childhood, I was raised to be a people-pleaser. Any time I showed my real self, I was shunned, teased, laughed at, or stifled.

As I grew older, I found partners who I changed myself for, whether it was the metalhead who liked it when I spiked my pixie cut with gel and wore black boots with mini skirts or the stoner who didn’t care what I wore as long as I smoked a joint with him and wore the hemp chokers he made me.

A few years ago, I met someone who encouraged me to be the realest version of myself. He told me what he saw in me and encouraged me to chase that idealized version of myself – the artist with paint on her hands and lyrics on her soul, the girl with eyes bright and sparkling. He encouraged all aspects of me: my screaming emotions, my fiery passions, poet, artist, tarot card reader, whoever I wanted to be.

He taught me to accept myself. To treat myself like I treat my best friends. “To delight the dreamers when they see you,” he had said.

I have learned about surrounding yourself with people who love the authentic you. That’s how you will be successful, regardless of what’s in your bank account or what’s written on your resume.

I mentioned on social media that I have a new outlook. I am no longer waiting on others to die so I can be myself. I’m ready to flourish. I’m ready to be my favorite version of myself.

Morning Meditation

Art therapy homework (original)

Today, I made an interesting observation while working on my self-assigned art therapy homework. I am doing a design of what it looks like when my Inner Healer and my Inner Artist emerge, hence, the words Healer and Artist in the bubble. This work is not finished by any means, but I paused because I had a moment of self-reflection that I’d like to share with y’all.

When I was making my dancer’s skirt, I was using an outdated thesaurus page as the base, and though it’s just an old book, I still find myself looking through it. When I glued down a specific piece, I saw it said “powerless, weak” as two of the synonyms for the particular word. I paused, thinking to myself how in the past, I could have seen myself as powerless and weak. Having a controlling mother and being in relationships with possessive and abusive exes took away a lot of my power. Recently, though, I have added a mantra to my morning one. The new mantra is, “I am in control of my life.” Pretty powerful stuff coming from someone who felt as though she was victimized for years.

So, this is where it gets interesting, in my opinion. Out of curiosity, I flipped the scrap of paper over to see what words were on the other side.

Lively.

Vivacious.

Frisky.

Showy.

Dapper.

Those are words I would rather associate myself with. So, those were the words I chose to face out to the world. But funny, if I had not chosen to look at things from a different perspective, I would have still been facing down “weak” or “powerless”.

My mother often comments on certain events would make good things to reflect on and meditate on, and as I was doing my homework, I was thinking about how powerful it is to change the script of what we believe about ourselves. Sure, I could continue to think of myself as “powerless” or “weak”, but instead, I chose “lively”, “vivacious”, “frisky”, and more.

Just something I was thinking about this morning.

Have a beautiful day, y’all.