To the Journey of Unbecoming and Becoming

“I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

-Maya Angelou

They say, you can only live life progressively, but life is only understandable in retrospect.

Who exactly ‘they’ is, I’m not sure, but I do know that sometimes we get so caught up in past happenstances, that we live life in the retrospect, which ultimately cripples us from being present and creating a prosperous future.

Over the past year, I’ve felt suspended in a liminal space between creating a present that is aligned with my ethics, values, and gifts, while also manifesting a future that is not handicapped by past cycles of trauma and dependency; particularly in regards to relationships.  

Whether platonic or romantic, most of my past relationships weren’t meant to be for a number of reasons. Maturity, geographic differences, divergent values, varied lifestyles, etc. As much as I sometimes wish these relational differences had of revealed themselves earlier, only time and space can reveal incompatibilities.

However, in retrospect, I believe there were a number of times where those incompatibilities revealed themselves, but I didn’t want to acknowledge them because of fear.

Fear of feeling lonely.

Fear of being alone.

Fear of rejection.

Fear of having to be in a raw relationship with myself, and face my own inadequacies.

As much as these partners emotionally and psychologically used me and I, to an extent, allowed them to, I reciprocated their behavior and used them as a distraction from dealing with myself.

I am a firm believer that no man or woman is an island and community is needed to fulfill a number of needs and wants. However, sentiments of resentment are inevitable in a relationship when communication declines or becomes absent all together; especially when communication breaks down in the relationship with self.

Resentment is also fostered by an inability to accept that relational equality is a beautiful ideal, but equity is more realistic. There will always be someone giving more than they receive or vice versa, but sentiments of unworthiness within oneself can destroy the best of any relationship.
It was not until I moved to New York that I was afforded the space to unapologetically focus on myself and just be selfish. I realized that my sense of worthiness was not dependent on how others consumed me but how I digested myself.

New York is not just a geographic location; an island.

She is a person.

She is a tourist attraction. A site to see.

She is a beast that I adore and hate simultaneously.

She is a reflection of the woman I’ve been battling with for years; she is me.

Despite the battles that arise each day, I usually conclude the day with an understanding that my value must always be initiated from within or else I will always feel less than, and unconsciously gravitate to relationships where those feelings of inequity are perpetuated and commonplace.

I have suffered from imposter’s syndrome and survivor’s guilt for as long as I can remember.

It is only with countless counseling sessions, alcohol accompanied or absent conversations with peers and strangers, and maturity, that I’ve realized these intrapersonal sentiments are the result of an array of childhood and adolescent trauma, that I’m working every day to sift through and I’m not alone in those efforts.

For so long, I’ve focused on searching for pleasure and completeness in others, and in retrospect, I now realize that the quest to wholeness, despite all our brokenness, cannot be found in others until we first find it in ourselves.  

So many times I’ve panicked myself about being in the right place at the right time to find ‘the right one(s),’ Whether this ideal of ‘the one’ is true or not, I’m not quite sure, but right now, I’m enjoying the process of being ‘the one’ to myself, and becoming and unbecoming the person I need to be to obtain everything that is intended for me.

In the spirit of Angelou, I am unbecoming the intergenerational trauma that has hindered my matrilineal lineage regarding self-love and self-worth.

I am unbecoming the woman that either establishes no boundaries or allows those boundaries to falter in order to please other’s expectations.

I am unbecoming the woman that lends more compassion and kindness to fragile egos than the uplift of her own fragile spirit.

I am unbecoming the woman that idolizes partners as infallible, whether or not they portray themselves as such out of ego, or are forthcoming with their emotional inadequacies.

I am committed to becoming the cosmopolitan Nigerian woman my ancestors paved the way for me to be, while widening that path for posterity.

I am committed to being the woman that seeks equity in her investment in relationships and accepts nothing less than growth as a product of love.

I am committed to manifesting childhood and adolescent trauma into creative outlets that promote self-enlightenment and growth.

I am committed to the painful but beautiful journey of unbecoming and becoming.