Born this way

I wish I could remember the exact moments I was birthed into this world. The strength of being detached from my mother and still thriving is where my purpose began. The vulnerability of not being able to communicate exactly what was wrong but still finding reasons to smile in a world I could not yet comprehend lets me know how strong I truly am. The many blessings that have manifested over the years are directly related to being able to survive those first delicate seconds, hours, months in this world.

I can admit that as life has progressed, the strength that I have possessed since before I could formulate words had been lying dormant and when fear and depression introduced themselves to me, I acted as if Ive known them my entire life. I spent many days saying I can’t and internalized any hate projected on to me, picking up reasons why I should not feel good about myself. Like a lint roller, every negative behavior and mindset in my path stuck to me. It is so easy for me to place the blame on everyone who told me that I was unattractive and undeserving, but I have been learning about accountability, and it is time that I take some!

You know by now that I have been a victim of extreme teasing most of my life, but that is not the entire reason why I once struggled with suicidal ideation. It goes deeper that just the words of people whose names I can no longer even remember. The truth is I liked being sad. In a strange way, I liked being teased. My outward appearance is not at all who I am, but the more focus there is on that, the less people focus on the true me. I did not have to worry about my toxic behaviors being called out or having to truly do some internal work. If a man lost interest, its because I am fat. If my friends gave me feedback on actions I have done that offended them, somehow I manipulated the situation to incorporate the struggles with being a fat black woman. This was my crutch and I loved leaning on it.

I also had an unhealthy relationship with food. I began binge eating in college because “Im fat anyway.” I would set an alarm for 4am, go to McDonalds for two steak egg and cheese meals and come back to my dorm, slipped back into my PJs and acted as if I was just waking up to eat another breakfast. Lunch was usually 1 whole medium pizza to myself and at dinner I would sneak a burrito and a bowl from chipotle in my car before having whatever my roommate cooked. I did this for about two years and the higher my weight increased, the more I could use my weight as a reason to not put in any work towards becoming the better me that has been inside of me all along. This was until one morning I woke up gasping for air. I knew I needed to make a change quickly, so I reluctantly did. I began a Weightloss journey. The more weight I loss, the more fearful I became that I would have to make a decision to change my unhealthy behaviors once and for all. I was not ready to do this. I wanted to climb back into my fat shell and never been seen or heard again. So I started sneaking in small meals here and there and found reasons why I deserved to eat and boom weight back on Im good again.

God has a funny way of letting us think we have control, but my purpose was right around the corner! I moved to LA and met women who have this amazing way of pulling out the real me. Besides my best friend, there are moments I have shared with them that I would not have ever dared to do with anyone else. I was goofy and sensitive and no matter how much I tried to sit in sadness or sorrow for my weight, they somehow made me not want to. An energy that I needed to want to become who I am becoming always filled the room as we danced and laughed and talked and encouraged and cheered for one another. I all of a sudden wanted to start to find myself and put in work to do and be better. Most importantly, I learned that the me that I was afraid of showing is liked and loved and trusted and I have no reason to not make her better for myself and anyone else I encounter. I came back home to realize that I was only hiding from myself and this same love that I feel with my girlfriends from LA I have always had from my lifelong family and friends. I knew that it was time to get it together. I also knew that it was going to take some hard work, but that I have already been equipped with exactly what is required to make it through.

I am just starting to tap back into my power. Self love and discipline can be seen as synonyms when it comes to becoming the exact person we are destined to be. However, practicing discipline is a little more difficult when choosing old habits, behaviors, and attachments provide an immediate satisfaction. I am learning that I am stronger than needing something right away that is nothing compared to what is produced after the process of becoming. Becoming whatever it is that made it so important I get here to this Earth…..from these parents…..in this body….with this heart and this mind. Becoming more than my professional self, although that too came with much sacrifice and discipline. But, also becoming the me that uses my life as a testimony for God’s glory. Becoming the me that can be a walking billboard for manifestation. Becoming a promoter of mental health, wellness, and healing. Becoming whole physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Do you have any fears of becoming bigger than your current self? Do you know that you too have a purpose far bigger than you can even fathom right now? Can you believe that although the journey to becoming your future amazing self will not always be smooth, you were born with the ability to get there? That is why you are still here. That is why we are all still here. Imagine if we all tapped back into the strength of our fetal selves. Think about what your life would be like if you cut the cord on self doubt and fear. What if you allowed yourself to cry when you feel a need to release, understanding that it is totally okay to not be okay at times. Imagine ending the cycle of poor relationships that privately define your self esteem. Imagine still believing in yourself like you did as a toddler when you had dreams of becoming an astronaut or the first at something.

Whatever your dream is, you can do it. Whatever part of your accountability journey you are on, keep working at it and know that even before you improve, YOU ARE LOVED. You are so important! You have something that this world needs to see. You have something that this world needs to hear. You do not have to go viral to have value. You do, however, have the power deep down inside to become the best you that you can be. You were born this way.

-Shai Mercedes.

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