Mask Off

It is my 55th birthday and I am celebrating in the Smokey Mountains. I have spent the last three days being pampered with facials, massages, body scrubs, yoga, fresh air, French press coffee and of course, wine. No television and limited social media. Just me and my thoughts. It has been wonderful – everything that I expected and more. I love taking this time to myself and I would highly recommend this type of trip to anyone just to recharge, reset and relax.

I needed this time. Not as an escape but as the entryway into a new way of life. A better, more peaceful life. During a session with my therapist, she asked me if I have ever allowed myself to be vulnerable with myself. I had to think about the question for a few days before I came to the conclusion that the answer was a resounding NO. I knew that being vulnerable with others was an issue, but with myself? I have never given myself permission to be vulnerable with myself – to be completely honest with myself and that was keeping me from being vulnerable with other people and quite frankly, it kept me from attracting people who could be vulnerable.

Another recent breakthrough came when I realized that I was still suffering from a heartbreak that occurred thirty years ago. My heart was not only broken, it was obliterated. At the time, I believed that sitting in that heartbreak would make me weak and I never dealt with it. I believed that not dealing with it, would make it go away. How many of you know that is absolutely not true? I had never dealt with what happened to me – I just kept it pushing like any “strong Black woman” would do. I didn’t deal with it and I never, not once asked God to heal my heart. I believe deep down, I knew that God would heal my heart and then I would open myself up to be hurt like that again. The truth is, I cannot be hurt like that again. I’ve already been there and done that and learned from it and I have since asked God to heal my heart and prepare it to receive unconditional love.

In thirty years, I have never given my heart fully to another human being. And in return, no one has given their heart fully to me. Whatever I believe the world is withholding from me, I am actually withholding from the world. It’s been a vicious cycle. The good news is, the cycle stops here and now on my 55th birthday.

I’m sharing things that I have never shared in the hopes that it will reach someone who needs it. I hear people say all the time that our stories are important, and we need to share them. I agree and I plan to continue to share, however, it is important to point out that I will also not allow the story to define me. I am moving forward as a better, more whole, healed Michele.

For me, moving forward means a few things:

  • Acknowledging what I’m feeling at the time that I’m feeling it. Telling the truth about what I’m feeling and what I’m thinking and not allowing negative thoughts or the fear of what people may think to stop the truth from coming to the surface. Thoughts are just thoughts – not facts.

  • Being obedient to do the thing that God has placed in my heart. I will concentrate on the “what” and allow God to take care of the “how”.

  • Acknowledging and accepting God’s unconditional love for me. Where there is unconditional love there is no fear.

After all these years, it is finally time to take off the mask and simply accept myself for who God made me to be. Better late than never, I suppose.

Happy birthday to ME.

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