There was a time I was anxious for a change in my life. I needed something different and I needed different to be everything that “current” was not. I was sad and alone, despite my friendships and active social calendar. I was looking for an answer and I found that answer in Jesus.
But not the actual savior. I found my answer in the perception of “the good christian.”
I promised God I would never smoke weed ever again. I stopped having sex. I stopped cursing. I started going to church every Sunday. Praying. Reading my bible. I was committed to being a Christian. I was committed to different because that old life just wasn’t working for me anymore.
I figured that If I let go of my heathen ways, I’d find happiness. And I did. I formed amazing friendships through the small group in my church. Women who became sisters who became bridesmaids and aunts to my babies. I learned how to have fun without weed and partying. I distanced myself from my past by deleting wild pictures from Facebook. I learned how to discipline my body and my mind. I was perfect.
I got into a relationship with a man who loved all of that perfection. He loved the good Christian girl and I loved him because of it. We became inseparable and I became obsessed with who we were as a couple. I wanted to be around him all the time and I wanted to embrace his world. I started going to his ministry meetings and events. I started hanging out with him and his friends. I started to immerse myself in his world because I wanted to be everything we represented: A young, black, Christian couple in love.
Then I began to feel it, the indication of outward expression without inward change. The “old me” that I pushed away began to resurface just months after our wedding and I had no idea how to tame it. So I hid it. I started smoking again but I did so only when my husband was away. I cursed when no one was around. I started to do the things I used to do and instead of exploring who I was and why it was happening; I just tried to suppress it all.
After months of hiding it, I began to feel ridiculous. “I’m a grown ass woman,” I thought. “Why am I sneaking around to do anything?”
One day, I couldn’t hide it anymore. I told my husband. I felt ashamed. I rebuked myself and treated the resurfacing of my habits as a phase. Just a moment I was having. I didn’t think to look inward in order to decipher my feelings and actions.
In 2014 the war began. The war between my spirit and my flesh. My spirit — the inundated reminder of how I was created and my flesh — the carnal desire to be perfect, liked, and respected; my desire to be “right”.
It took two years of suffering, fighting, self discovery, reflection, depression and more to discover the truth about myself. Back in 2009, I thought my actions were the problem. I thought that changing what I did would change how I felt but that only lasted for a season. Like a temporary tattoo or false eyelashes, that shit faded over time.
In 2015, I started a journey towards authentic transformation. One day, I was writing in my notebook and I began a conversation with God.
“I changed for you. I did all the “right” things and I’m still right back where I was before.”
I was met with a very striking response: “
I never asked you to change.”
It wasn’t God who asked me to change my actions. I realized God never cared about my cursing, or smoking, God didn’t even care about my sex life. God cared about my wholeness. God cared that my spirit was in tune and healthy. God cared about my inward change, not my outward appearance. God even revealed to me that while I promised to never smoke again, that was based on my own understanding of why I was miserable. I thought I was miserable because of WHAT I was doing; I didn’t realize it was because of WHO I was pretending to be. I was insecure. I desired to be accepted and because my only reference point was church, that’s where I sought validation. I sought refuge in my religion.
It’s almost 2017 and I’ve finally figured out who I am.
I’ve finally changed the right things. I’ve changed my desire for pity and turned it into an acknowledgement of power.
I’ve begun to say yes to myself. I’ve stopped fighting life and instead, I’ve begun to go with the flow. I no longer seek validation from the high saints and super Christians of the world; I’m seeking life in God and following the leading of my spirit. I’ve changed my standards. I’ve changed how I handle conflict. The overall source of my happiness, is putting action to faith while learning to stay true to who I am at my core.
I’m crazy. I curse. I dance. I say ratchet shit. I love myself. I love people. and I really, really don’t care about what anyone has to say about who I am. I don’t need to be validated by anyone and I’m also not afraid to be wrong. I make decisions everyday the best I know how and sometimes, I get it wrong.
I’m OK with that. I’m OK with being human. I’m open to constructive, loving criticism. I’m open to growing in areas where I’m weak or wrong. I won’t apologize if I don’t change my actions immediately but I will promise to work on myself so that my actions are a reflection of true transformation and not a desire to please others.
The issue so many of us have is that we change our actions without actually experiencing a heart change. Changing your actions without actually changing the source of them will leave you in an annoying, repetitious cycle. We have to not only take the time to look inward but allow ourselves the grace and time it takes to experience change naturally and authentically.
Not everyone likes who I am. I’ve faced a lot of opposition from others around me but I’m happy.
I didn’t love myself until I found God. I didn’t truly find God, until I lost my religion.
and i’m not going back.