Over my lifetime I have accepted so many different labels I’ve been called in this journey to “find myself”. Perhaps that’s the first mistake I made. I tried to find myself out there and not within. After I have been forced to look at myself on the mirror, I find it hard to define myself. Over the last few years, I have been asking myself “Who Am I”? I honestly don’t know. Every word I have been using to describe myself doesn’t fit. Or the words are not enough to capture who I am completely. I’ve used words that others use to describe themselves and I realize the differences between me and that person(s). I don’t fit it their groups or their cliques, and those who don’t fit into the puzzle are rejected. This forced me to learn to be alone. And I’m left, just looking at myself.
So here I am trying to solve my own puzzle. Trying to fit all the pieces together to build a masterpiece. Trying to create my own blueprint. Still I can’t find the words to describe who I am. Perhaps I need to study more words? Learn new vocabulary? Create my own vocabulary? I realize the nuances to who I am are based on my experiences. With every experience I discover another side of me that adapts to every situation I am presented with. Sometimes I don’t like the version of me that is exposed, sometimes I celebrate it. Either way I’m still interested in learning more about myself. I’m also curious to discover what else lies beneath the surface of the mask I wear everyday to blend into the world. Who else can Tanisha become when facing various situations?
Now I am at a point where I’m tired of wearing the mask. I want to expose who I truly am, but I have hidden her for so long, that I am afraid I won’t love what is revealed. Im so self conscious. I always picture a mirror held in front of me with every move I make. I’m always looking at myself. Perhaps I wore the mask, because I was scared of my own reflection. Perhaps I never got the chance to love my own reflection.
What do I see? A little girl surrounded by rays of sunshine that are blinding. A woman housing a fragile girl inside of her who constantly yearns for love and to be treated delicately. A little girl who is scared to be grown. Scared to fly. Scared to soar. Scared to leave the protection of her mother. Scared to navigate in a world after being abandoned by her father. I guess the best way to describe this is: A woman with an inner child who has been hurt. What I see is trauma.
Being a wounded black woman is dangerous in a world full of predators. I learned this at a young age after being prey. Especially a black woman without her father’s protection and the only protection she has is a wounded mother with a target on her back. Being in pain attracts demons that get full from your tears. Your wounds attract energy vampires looking to suck you dry of every ounce of light you have left. Especially if your light will make the sun envious. Being unprotected places a target on your back. How many black women can relate?
How does this make me feel? I feel RAGE. After my spiritual transformation I wanted to become the Butterfly. I wanted to be in paradise. I want to be free. I want to liberate the little girl inside of me. Then my sister was killed……..This lit a passion of rage inside of me. My grief led me into a state of depression for years, fueled by the rage of wanting justice that was never received. Another version of myself appeared. THE PHOENIX. I couldn’t find my light for awhile. I looked in the mirror and only saw red. My rage caused damages that I had to repair later on. I had to fight to pull myself out of the darkness. Now I feel as if my journey is becoming a Phoenix Rising from the ashes. I’m still resentful that my path to the Butterfly was disrupted. Every act of injustice triggers and activates the Phoneix, but I still have this inner need to release my inner child. That wants that inner child to grow into a beautiful Butterfly. This has become too much of a burden to bear.
So here I am today in a cocoon. After years of internal and external battles, I am healing, I am transforming, I am evolving. It’s been a slow and painful process that hasn’t been pretty. I am shedding layers at this point, and honestly don’t know what I will become. But here’s a thought. What if I will not become? What if I return? What if I’m letting go false beliefs, self defining, and returning to who I was before this world told me who I am? Then what will I be left with….. JUST TANISHA. And who is She? What will I do with her? I’ll just love her. Fiercely.
“I found God in myself, and I lover her Fiercely.” – Ntozake Shange
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