I used to struggle severely with self-esteem. You wouldn’t know because of my world-class smile and seemingly confident walk. I’ve often heard that I “have a way” about me that draws others to me. However, even those who were closest to me rarely knew that I struggled with self-identity.
I was once told that I am a master of disguise. Meaning, I’m skilled at covering up what’s wrong with everything that appears to be going right. However, this skill cost me a great deal. It cost me so much that the trauma of remembering my former self–and sometimes current self–is intolerable.
I didn’t find out who I was until I allowed myself to be broken before God. In many ways I’m still broken but I’m functioning. There was a time where I felt that no one understood me. I often wondered if people knew that silently I was screaming for help. That I had suicidal thoughts and a failed attempt years ago. That I was so jealous and envious of every and any black woman, that I sought to tear her down by throwing shade or being mean. Unfortunately, I was hating on some of the very women who I wanted to emulate, but because I couldn’t find out how to be progressive, I reasoned that I would be an undercover hater.
I was once told that I am a master of disguise.
Looking back, this is a form of ill-health. It’s a sick process that I adopted in an attempt to be okay with me. However, it’s a very detrimental process, one that is hard to get out and even recover from. I’ve learned that the only way to overcome identity issues is to face the truth about myself: I was ugly on the inside, which caused me to project ugly actions, I hated to see successful women because I was struggling to find my sure footing, etc. I was projecting outwardly my inner turmoil at the expense of other people.
Today, I have to give myself prep talks. I have to continuously cast down hurtful thoughts towards myself because I’m naturally comfortable with destructive silent thinking. This a continuous task, one that takes large amounts of energy and dedication. Self-identity is major and cannot be taken lightly.
If you’re reading this and struggling with self-identity, I encourage you to sit in your truth and face those small things about yourself that cause you to stumble. You can overcome.