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Walking Away from My Shadow

I think life is unfair. It's full of people getting hurt and killed for no reason. I turn on my news feed, and now there is an innocent woman dead, a black kid wanted on one page, and the other dead. I keep swiping and then see wedding dresses, cute traveling pictures, and gender reveals. I don't know if I am upset or happy to see there is a set of people who look like me thriving and dying.

Something inside of me still feels empty.

How could I have this hot and cold moment? I once spent about five nights strolling my media because I couldn't sleep. Some say it is a knock at the door from my ancestors to wake up and talk; others say it's the devil. Either way, I turned over and ignored what felt like a call to wake up to listen. I want to sleep. No, I want to be happy. Scratch that; I don't have any "actual" problems, so I guess I should be happy, right?

I am always being told "I will okay." What is okay actually? Who actually defines okay for a black woman?

Is okay defined by the standard of America or my ancestors who suffered daily for their lives and were forced to "keep singing and going." No, thank you, I don't want to be okay. I want to be happy. I mean happy and not lying when I need a moment. I have spent many years pretending, hoping, avoiding, then hoping again that this relationship, this job, and this amount of money would be my happiness.

I have felt sad for quite some time now. I hid it well through my smile, education, and perfect selfies. I even had friends who hid it well, so being around others pretending made it easy until it wasn't anymore. I must have woken up every night in the wee hours, and just praying it away was not doing. It was almost as if I was being intentionally aggravated and challenged by something.

I must have woke up every night in the wee hours and just praying it away was not doing

I am sleepy. I look tired; my body has changed. I want to sleep. One night there it was, staring at me. I sat up in the bed, and just as bold as it could be, it was a shadow of me. It was on that very night I was forced to face it or keep living a lie.

I chose life. I decided to sit and have a conversation with the shadow of me. I felt ignored, abandoned, misunderstood, irrelevant to my family, undervalued in workspaces, and unlovable outside of what I could do for someone. I had had enough, so that night, I chose to look in the mirror instead of focusing on the dark shadow that hunted me each night. I turned, walked away from my shadow, and decided to recreate what happiness looks like. I set amazing boundaries with people and social media and committed to intense healing. I slept that night and walked away from my shadow. My shadow carried many stories of pain, childhood, and relationships. My shadow even had a diary of when the police ignored a hurting mom of a black son. My shadow felt afraid and protected the little life my son has. My shadow told me stories of self-sabotage, anger, dismissal, and emotional neglect. My shadow was a lot smaller than me. She was scared and wanted me to wake up and pay attention to all the pain so she could be held. She is safe now; no need to cry anymore. She, the Sh-adow, was all my dark secretive days and nights of pain. I learned a big lesson that night, and sometimes, I need to go backward to move forward in the life I really want.

To the woman or man afraid to live, sometimes you got to be willing to go back to come forward. You got this!

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