I STILL STRUGGLE…

6 Sep

“I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.” – Joyce Meyer

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Self-Esteem as having respect for yourself and your abilities. The definition of Respect a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important etc, or feeling or understanding that someone or something important, serious and should be treated in an appropriate way…

Hmmmm, well, well! I knew prior to my Journeying2Free that I had major self-esteem issues, I masked it well, or so I thought! The last few months have been challenging, on one hand I’m amazed at how far I have come while acknowledging how much farther I have to go. Since January of this year, I have had numerous opportunities to speak to adults and children alike and with each opportunity the feeling of inadequacy emerges before the first word spoken or the first crack in my voice. The “Who, do you think you are?” The “no-one cares about what you have to say!” The “what qualifies you to speak to anyone? questions. I sometimes feel like an unqualified fraud, nevertheless, I know my story, I know my truth, and on truth I can securely stand because it’s my experience, lived and experienced by only me, however, I struggle…

Journeying to mental freedom I have discovered so much about myself, being able to ascertain truths about who you are can at times be pleasantly pleasing while other times the realization leaves you in a bemused state of mind. Being mentally and emotionally abandoned after being sexually abuse, you learns the negatives. Negative self-talk – when a person speaks, thinks and believes every thing negative relating to themselves. When a child is not supported, loved, protected, encouraged, reassured and/or worst forced to carry shame for the actions of another, the negative self talk begins. The negativity stems from lack of belief in self, doubting ones abilities, feeling inadequate, feeling worthless, feeling void of value and undeserving of good things. I felt this way for many years! Truth is, I still struggle… 

On three separate occasion this was evident. Thursday, July 27th, I was asked to facilitate an overnight retreat, I’m unsure as to if my nervousness was evident to others but I was so frayed, not only did I over-pack for an over night trip, but I questioned my abilities every step of the way! I worked myself up into such a frenzy that when it came time to present, I was mentally and emotionally wired. The first realization came when I boarded the bus along with 30 girls to Kingston. I was one of two facilitators on the bus, a bus I didn’t have to be on, but choose to ride in supporting the very young girls onboard. I was the only person that should up with a suitcase! The girls all had overnight bags and rightfully so being it was an overnight trip! In the morning I awoke to get dressed for the days event and while going through a fully packed suitcase, not finding anything to wear, It was only then I realized my being in such a frenzy had very little to do with the day’s event and everything to do with the fact ‘I am still not that comfortable in my own skin!’ I caught a glimpse of my self in the mirror, looked myself square in the eyes and uttered “child you are who you are, you look the way you look pimples and all and It doesn’t matter how you dress it up or try to cover it over with makeup  you are who you are and it is what it is!” In that moment having changed a couple times I did the Jamaican “kiss teeth” a sign of frustration, I threw on something and finally went out the door. I had an AMAZING day!

On Saturday, July 29th, I had my 22nd High School reunion. I intentionally planned on being late. I was asked only days prior to pray the opening prayer and immediately after being asked the anxiety began. I pray but apparently I had an issue with praying publicly, my nerves got the better of me. I ended up being late (Guess I really spoke that into existence!) My sitter got out of work late, I had no choice.  The venue was beautifully decorated, my schoolmates/classmates were looking oh so stunning, now being as late as I was my nerves ran wild. I grabbed the closest seat I could and sat down feeling so uncomfortable and out of place. After allowing my nerves and the voices in my head to run a mock for a while, good sense prevailed, I silently shouted at the voices inside my head to ‘shut up’ I mustered the courage and chimed back “Larissa (Rizzy) Rhone get off your ass, walk around those tables and greet everyone’!  I made a move, my nerves were shot and the voices inside my head screamed louder “ you better sit your skinny, ill-shaped ass down and not draw any attention to yourself!” I stopped, I was tempted to listen, however, I hugged the first person in my reach, then the next, then the next, until I greeted everyone nerves and all. When it came time for dancing the voices resurfaced, once again, I did the infamous Jamaican (suck teeth) and decided, It’s been a long month all work, no play, my children are safe, and that wasn’t about to change tonight, I broke loose, believing , so what if I’m judged, I deserved this moment right ‘ere’ and I enjoyed myself mingling, co-mingling, chatting and dancing the night away with my some old schoolmates, classmates, friends, associates, and friends of friends, even if some were just friends only on my head. I had an AMAZING evening!

Sunday, July 30th the mecca of tests. Placed in an uncomfortable situation where I alone made that decision to place myself. The voices inside my head screamed at this point. ‘What the hell are you doing Larissa!” It was one of those situation where you know better, but for whatever reason you decide to go with the flow, then reality hits. I know I deserve so much better and I should not have to settle for less but in a moment, in that moment, a moment of weakness, a moment of wanting to be loved, needed and accepted just the way you are… in that fugacious, fleeting, momentary, short-lived, passing phase I  could have and had placed me in a situation that I must have been only relying on one side of my brain, the not so rational part. Here again, I had to quiet the voices, I had to allow the rationale part of my brain to be dominant in ruling. I whispered (and yes, I do talk to myself) “Larissa (Rizzy) Rhone, it’s completely ok to feel vulnerable, to want  to be wanted, to feel like you are needed, to desire to be loved, but not at the expense of over stepping bounds you may not be able to come back from kid!”. I stepped back into the here and now, I was engaged and fully aware, being fully present I walked away from that situation feeling empowered and encouraged with my pride and dignity in-tact, knowing I did not come this far only to throw it all away for… It was an AMAZING night!

I am so tired of putting/placing the wants and needs of others before my own, sometimes at the expense of my own safety/sanity (something learned and imbedded from childhood as a result of being asked repeatedly to put my needs and feelings aside to accommodate everyone else’s) When a child is asked and expected to make compromises and accommodations for the adults, instead of the other way around they are taught and learn that their feelings, their needs and their desires takes a back seat to the needs, desires and wants of others. Again I say, ‘it’s ok to have and experience all these emotions, It’s ok to fall short, it’s ok to make mistakes and horrible emotion based decisions but you also have a duty to see these for what they are and rise above it all! Too many of us allow vulnerability and negative self-talk to override good judgement. Free will not happen overnight hence the journey, but as long as I/you remain open, honest and maintain an attitude of growth no matter how difficult or uncomfortable ‘you/I will be just fine!’ So, with a heart that’s not fully intact, being emotionally wired and mentally frayed it’s ok, Get up, Show up and get on with the rest of your life! I still struggle… BUT

Discovering, NO, knowing I have self-esteem issues I MUST continue on this path. I am fully aware of my lack of self-love prior to this journey nonetheless, I have been working on MYSELF and Yes, I Still Struggle in a few areas. I Still Struggle with acceptance, accepting and loving me, my gifts, my talents, my abilities… I know and now believe I am priceless in worth and pray my actions reflects that. I have come a LONG way and for that I am proud! For after all, I can truly say “I’m not where I want to be but I surely I am not where I use to be. I AM working on ME.

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