Updated: May 23, 2019
Today is not a holiday or any other day that would seem different from the rest. However, a year ago today my world stopped.
I remember the feeling just as if it was yesturday. A feeling of being sucker punched. A wave of shock, denial, anger, grief, hurt, and abandonment. A feeling of all the oxygen in my lungs being sucked out while trapped, drowning, as waves of reality set in. Life as I knew it would never be the same.
Since then, the journey I have taken to heal has felt like the longest year of my life. I lost my identity. I lost my ability to smile, laugh, or feel anything; all while feeling everything at the same time.
I have spent much of this year battling silence and noise; all while trying to find myself in between the two.
Here is my journey on how I found my identity after facing crisis and earth shattering adversities.
When you meet someone, what do you judge them on? Do you label their identity with your own assumptions based on bias, stereotypes, and past exposure?
Do you compare yourself? Do you desperately search for flaws or enter a silent competition with everyone because your ego and insecurities are constantly waging war on your own identity? Are you hiding behind an Instagram Valencia filter hoping that no one sees your mask is starting to pixelated because you are pretending your identity is something that it was never destined to be?
Are you the girl who speaks too softly, feels like she has no voice, and consistently remains in bondage over her own inner demons whispering lies in her ear? Lies that only chip away at your self-worth until there is nothing left but an empty, lifeless, shell of a woman who is moments away from collapsing in exhaustion from feeling the pressure of never feeling that she is enough?
Or, do you allow feelings of bitterness, anger, self-doubt, insecurities, and self-pity to attach their stain of vulgarity, manifesting like cancer into the innermost core of your thoughts and very DNA?
If we allow ourselves to continue buying into the propaganda of commercialized comparison, we are all going to end up on the same dead-end road that leads to nowhere, while being haunted by all the shadows that cast their darkness over the beauty of our true identity.
Societies commercialized marketing of what you “need” to "feel" like you are enough has victimized every single woman.
I can identify with all the real feelings and emotions of insecurities, lack of self-worth, pressures to be perfect, and not living up to what I thought was enough. We have all thought or experienced these very real feelings at some point; and many of us are still battling with inner demons that thrive on chipping away our identity.
We must deal with the root of the cause before we can eliminate the symptoms that hold us hostage.
You must stop running from dealing, hiding from healing, and pretending to be perfect; or you will never find the happiness that we all are desperately seeking.
We are faced with decisions that make us question our existence and lose our identity. It takes intention and dedication to the process of personal development to be able to find your own identity that requires no filter to blur our true selves out of fear of not being enough.
For most people looking in from the outside, they see me as a woman who must have had a charmed life and everything handed to her with a silver spoon. That I certainly must be disconnected from the wrath of life, scared flesh of failure, bruised self-worth from abandonment, broken from insecurities, crippled from heartbreak, haunted from lost dreams, suffocated by crisis, ached with grief, or experienced any kind of “real” pain. Privileged, right?
I came from humble roots, my family has always worked hard and created a beautiful life that has made a difference. Yes, there are many blessings that have been steadfast in my life. For those, I give all of the glory and praise to God.
Everything I do is centered around my faith. Without God at the center of my life, there simply is no story to be told. I am nothing without God. I would never have gotten through any of the giants I have faced without God shielding me, preparing me, protecting me, and fighting for me.
I am nothing without my faith in God. Yet, just because everything may seem like a white picket fence kind of life from the outside; it doesn’t mean that I have escaped from being haunted or stripped down by the hurricane hand that life has dealt me. I lived through hell until I realized that declining the rsvp was an option only I could make.
I have the same ugly cry tears caused by haunted emotional trauma I only revealed acknowledgment too in the security of isolation. I acted in denial, cloaked with a persona of a warrior mask, sharp tongue, and un-shook attitude. I couldn’t allow anyone to see the vulnerability of the little girl who was all still too afraid of the dark.
It took feeling like death to break me into a place of surrendering my own ego, pride, pain, grief, abandonment, and failures to create such a desperation to live.
Without the breaking process, I wouldn’t understand the value of what it means to live.
To understand how I got here, you first must understand where I came from and the process of being stripped of everything I loved to find my identity.
Crisis started showing up in sentences with my name before I even had my second birthday. To start, my father passed away at work from an accident after being electrocuted and hung to death. I was almost abducted by a human trafficking ring that broke into my hotel room in Philadelphia. I also ended up in a third world country ER after a botched oral surgery with not enough anesthetic; this putting my body in shock from not being able to handle the literal torture of pain for over three hours.
Each crisis taught me more about myself than I would have known without enduring the process of going through it. It challenged, my strength, my endurance, my drive, my faith, my stubbornness, and my fight to stay alive.
Just when I thought I was finally going to have my fairytale, crisis struck again. My Grandfather had a massive heart attack and passed away. He was my first love. My earthly father when I had none.
At this time, I was also engaged. I had a wedding shower planned that weekend.
Instead of a party, we attended a funeral. My life has always seemed to have that type of irony.
Two days after the funeral, my fiancée called off our wedding.
On top of this, my grandfather left me his ministry, World Missions Outreach. Overnight, the lively hood of everyone who depends on WMO, 15,000 mouths to be fed, now fell on my shoulders. Here I am, heartbroken, grieving, and completely in over my head.
There are no words to articulate the pain that brought me to my knees in such a violent, inhuman way.
I just lived through my fairytale turning into a horror story.
In all fairness, my ex-fiancée isn’t a terrible person. He did what he thought was best for us. At the time, I couldn’t see that. Sometimes I still struggle to see that. For me, love doesn’t come with contingencies, therefore all I want for him is the best. However, it took a process and a lot of choice words to come to that truth.
There is a fine line between love and hate. It’s up to you to use self-control not to let the lines get blurred.
Hate, anger, pain, and bitterness started to quickly manifest into my identity. I was having breakdowns, panic attacks, uncontrollable thoughts, and unhealthy emotion. I didn’t know who I was, why this was happening, where I was going, or how to rebuild. I hit rock bottom.
I found my identity in once being strong, level-headed, and fiercely independent. This is what people still needed me to be. I couldn’t let on that this wasn’t who I was anymore.
Each morning, I put the mask on and every night I cried it off.
The more I tried to pretend that I was ok, the farther I sank. My physical appearance started to change. I was diagnosed with a form of hyperthyroidism due to internalizing anxiety, stress, and depression. I lost 30lbs in a month. When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t even recognize myself. I only saw a fraud who was trying to hold on to the identity that I used to have. I not only lost my inner identity, but I was now losing my physical identity.
I began to lock myself in my room or drive aimlessly for hours while I cried. At least no one could see that I was a fraud if I started isolating myself.
Bitterness and hate started turning me into a person I didn’t recognize. I didn’t even like me. No way anyone else was going to like me while I continued to let bitterness define me. I wanted a quick fix; a remedy to the pain.
I didn’t want to be the girl who never recovered. You know, the one your mamma say’s, “Oh honey, bless her heart”, about. The girl who destroyed her own life because she never realized that she had the power to change her perception about her situation and start living up to her God-given potential.
We all have potential; it’s up to us to step out of potential and into our own unique purpose-filled identity.
However, like all good fairytales, this one has a hero too– Me, along with grace and healing through my faith in God. I took that glimpse of hope and heroism and ran with it.
Are you going to keep letting pain, heartbreak, grief, abandonment, anxiety, fear, failure, shattered dreams, sickness, or adversity continue to hold your identity captive? You have the choice to let the labels of your situation become your identity; or you can finally say, “My identity is not for sale.”
Stop hanging yourself on the clearance rack. Your identity is custom made and it will never go out of style. YOU are timeless. You may feel broken, you may be broken, but you are not destroyed. You are designed as a warrior. It’s time to show up to battle the demons that keep telling you that you aren’t enough.
Walk through the process of intentionally filling the holes with self-worth. Don’t stop till you mend all the broken pieces.
If you skip the process of dealing, you will never find healing. Love yourself enough to stop being victimized by cold hearts and self-doubt from your past failures.
Your self-worth is not reduced by your past, your identity is not marked down by failure, and you have not been returned because you weren’t enough! Whatever has set you back is only because it wasn’t the right fit.
Start dealing with the root. You can only hide it for so long before your whole mask unravels. It takes a process of intentional self-love. Just because that double tap on Instagram shows you a heart does not mean that translates into actual love.
“Likes” have no longevity in your self-worth or identity.
The unhealthy need for likes is only providing you instant gratification to fill a void you have been slapping filters on for too long.
The lust for instant self-gratification can give you a heart disease that will keep you chasing, wondering, lost, and bitter. Self-doubt will continue to consume your every thought, decision, relationship, and career choices.
Finding your identity is a personal investment. One that has no contingencies on what anyone else deposits into it or withdraw from it.
Stop holding your circumstances against yourself. Have your moments and cry yourself to sleep. In the morning, look in the mirror and speak life, focus on your purpose, and build a relationship with yourself again. Learn how to love every layer; the good, bad, brilliant, and ugly. Then eliminate the word ugly, because you are a woman of purpose that can’t own a word so foul.
Next, is a hard one! Forgive those who hurt you even if they never ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the hurt for you, not them. If you don’t forgive, then you let hate win ownership of your identity. Love yourself enough, to let it go.
Finally, stop avoiding the process because it hurts. Unless you go through the process you are going to repeat the same cycle of pain. Easier said than done? True, but that is why it’s called a process.
13 Steps To (re)Find Your Identity
- Allow yourself grace for the things you can’t change.
- That doesn’t mean you must lose your grit. It simply means that you decide to let go of the things you can’t change.
- There is no quick fix or remedy to the pain.
- There is a fine line between love and hate. It’s up to you to use self-control not to let the lines get blurred
- True beauty is an art that is mastered by loving yourself enough to start living a life of purpose, passion, humbleness, and grace.
- Cultivate authenticity by being confident without comparison in your own identity.
- Believe in yourself enough to understand you deserve better than staying complacent and stuck in your situation.
- If you skip the process of dealing, you will never find healing.
-We must deal with the root of the cause before we can eliminate the symptoms that hold us hostage.
- Love yourself enough to stop being victimized.
- We all have potential; it’s up to us to step out of potential and into our own unique purpose-filled identity.
- Likes” have no longevity in your self-worth or identity.
- Finding your identity is a personal investment. One that has no contingencies on what anyone else deposits into it or withdraw from it.
True change comes from within. Work on being in love with the person in the mirror. The girl who has been through so much, but is still standing. YOU are still standing and that is enough hope to start running with.
Be your own hero.
One without a mask; because your identity matters. YOU Matter.