“No matter where you go, you are what you are player,
And you can try to change but that’s just the top layer
Man, you was who you was before you got here…..” ~Public Service Announcement, Jay-z
I did a project on human nature back in college. We had to ask a parent about our demeanor as a child as compares to our current demeanor. My mother told me that I didn’t talk much, but one of the things I said clearly was “No, I’ll do it.”
She said that I was independent and the child that she knew clearly would get up and leave her. So when I decided to move away to Atlanta for college, she said that she was not surprised. And that she knew that I would not be back. She said that if I had stayed home in Baltimore, or chosen to go to college somewhere close like Virginia or D.C., she would have been concerned.
At 37, I had to come to grips with the fact that I’d lost that spirit. That girl that packed her things and moved to Georgia with nothing other than a plan to go to college and meet Usher and Andre 3000 from Outkast (he was just Dre then). I woke up one day and didn’t know where she went. Buried somewhere beneath marriage and kids.
Where the hell did I go?
I kept a journal from the time I was 10. I’ve always loved writing. It’s the way that I best express my thoughts.
Last week, I looked back at all of my journals and realized that for 11 years, I was silent. I did not exist. I did the one thing that my mother asked me not to do. Lost myself.
On the day that I got married, my mother gave me one piece of advice. One golden nugget.
Do not lose yourself. Always remember who you are. You were that girl before you were a wife and before you were a mother. Don’t lose her.
And before I knew it, she disappeared. Vanished.
Where in the hell did I go?
11 years of not writing in my journal? Not recording my thoughts and reminding myself of positive things?
11 years of what? Sure I wrote books. But where was I?
Truth, I was trying to be everything to everybody and I wasn’t worth much to myself. Everyone else was happy and taken care of and I wasn’t. And I didn’t know why.
For 11 years, I lost myself and didn’t even know it.
I lost myself to the point where when I came back, people didn’t even recognize me. They forgot that I was the type to just get up and go. They forgot because I forgot. And when you cease to exist, people forget about who you are and what you can be.
Funny thing is, the moment I decided I didn’t want to be a wife anymore, I showed back up. Stepped back on the scene. And I’m not the only one to recognize it. I can’t tell you how many people call me and say “You look so happy now. That’s the person that I once knew.” They ask me what I’m doing in specific that makes me so happy.
I don’t know if I’m built for marriage or if I just married the wrong person. It could be both. But what I do know is that you should be with someone who is encouraging about you fulfilling your purpose. Someone that never fails to make you laugh, and someone who sees the best in you, despite your faults. And when you find that someone, make sure you do all of the above for yourself as well. Because you have to be happy first within so you recognize happiness when it lands on your doorstep.
11 years was much too long to be away.
I’m back and it feels great.
Follow my Huffington Post Blog