Self-Love Series Day 7: Queen
I feel fully secure in stating with all certainty that women all go through hurt and pain on our journey to wholeness. That’s what life is about, I think. Getting to a point where we are whole in mind, body and soul. To get there, we have to go through battles that shape who we become. We don’t always pay attention to the lessons the battles teach, but don’t worry. They will come back around until the lesson is achieved- no matter how long it takes. Fortunately, when we are victorious, that battle will never elude us again. We become wise enough to avoid it. We can brush our shoulders off and keep pressing down the road to wholeness. However, we all have triggers. Words, actions, thoughts that send us back to a place of hurt and pain.
Triggers will either send you crashing back into the pain or leave you there, or it will serve as witness to how far you’ve come and help you rejoice in your growth. Problem is some women aren’t always familiar with those triggers and their actions give evidence of that.
It took me finding true love to be able to identify my triggers.
When I first met my husband, I was fresh out of an abusive relationship. I don’t mean kind of abusive. No, I mean, physical, mental, and verbal abuse. I was a walking ball of mess camouflaged as a party girl who didn’t really give a damn about men or relationships. I had no respect for men. I had no respect for love or marriage. I thought every man cheated and all they really wanted was to have sex. So, I decided that’s all I’d give. I could control that much. As long as I didn’t “feel” anything, sex was a breeze. I was always good at that part anyway. It was the emotional stuff that caused me strain and heartache, often. So, I would give none of my true self to any man. In taking on that mindset, without full awareness, I began to not love me. I didn’t pay much attention to self. I simply detached myself from my soul and carried myself through life in a way that didn’t truly touch reality.
I had no desire to love anyone, not even me.
My husband saw something in me that I’d lost sight of myself. He decided I was worthy of love. I’d lost hope of ever feeling that after being told I was nothing for 11 years and being beaten for 7 of those 11 years. But, he created a desire for me to know me again. All he really did was pay attention to me. He picked up on the things that upset me. He noticed the things that took me from a happy place to a sad place of depression. Then he called me on it. He demanded that I faced it and he promised me he would stay while I did. So, I agreed to dig in.
Once I decided to do that, I was able to commit to myself again. Then I remembered the good parts of me. Oh, I had long forgotten that I had good stuff in me. I remembered that I was smart and witty. I remembered that I had a beautiful smile. I remembered that at one point in my life I had friends who loved me and family who protected me. I decided to try loving myself again. If he could love me, surely I could love myself, right?
It was like preparing to write an essay. I was simply on the cover page. I had not yet even began to get into the gut of the issue.
I started writing again and healing began. I’d have great days and I’d have bad days. Some days my triggers would open the door for me to wallow in worthlessness and shame again.
Together, my husband and I discussed my triggers. I couldn’t hear the word fat, even if it wasn’t referring to me. The word somehow became my own and when I heard it, it stole a piece of me; held me hostage. To date, it still makes me uncomfortable. If I am ever made to feel ignorant or unintelligent, I’m triggered. I was often told that I was stupid and no one cared about what I had to say about anything. So, when I’m ignored or made fun of because of my opinion, I retreat to a very unhappy place. Once triggered, I come out guns blazing. There are no rules. Anyone around can get it.
My husband was the recipient of so much of anger created by baggage. Poor thing.
The abusive relationship was hard as hell. But trying to move beyond the baggage and not be triggered by remnants of the abuse has been just as rough, if not more rough. However, I have put in the work to learn who I am and how I am affected by being a victim of domestic violence. I decided to be better. I decided to let the pain steer me into positivity. Therefore, I am able to lend my heart and my love to other women who struggle the way I did. There is certainly not an easy way to move through pain. You must go through it; face it head on. But when you do, you can embrace the pain and use it without letting it use you or break you. Then all the things that could have broken you begin to breathe new life into you, and hopefully others.
Funmi F. Franklin is a native Mississippian who has dedicated her life to promoting progression in the capital city of Jackson and all over the state. She is Founder/Principal of HATHOR, LLC named for the Egyptian Mythological Goddess of the same name. Affectionately known as Queen, she is has accepted her life’s work and passion for bringing unity and development to women through the women’s organizations such as Sisters Increasing Positive Progression, Inc. (SIPPI) and Thick And Proud Sisters- TAPS. She’s a freelance columnist for the Jackson Free Press. Queen considers herself to be a lover of words, a spiritualist and a lifelong learner