How I Found Wholeness With(in) by Embracing My Pain

“Embracing the seeds of pain rooted in being black, and woman connects us to our divine nature of wholeness not just within ourselves but in the world around us.”

We have all experienced feeling powerless in our lives. As women of color this experience is coupled with the complex shame of being black. It isn’t until we embrace this shame that feelings of invisibility can transform into a beautiful sense of knowing. Knowing in our bodies that we are enough. That our pain is simply a pathway to discover the wholeness within our being. 

In my early twenties, I rediscovered the power of writing. At the time, I was searching for space to express my becoming. Transforming from a girl of color, to a woman of color and how this impacted my everyday reality. Little did I know at the time that these painful experiences along my journey would become lessons in letting go and finding joy in the everyday unfolding of life. I began to write a lot of poetry that discussed blackness, how this relates to the beauty of nature, and our relationship to spirit. A lot of these writings dealt with the reality of being black and how blackness is defined in society. I began to think about what it meant to be present in my body as a woman of color. How I would feel if I let go of every societal imposed limitation of never being enough. I always imagined that wholeness in a brown body was some conjured fantasy image on movie screens. There was always an underlying belief that, “someone like me can’t transform” or that “the only way that change is possible is by destroying parts of myself that I so desperately wanted to hide”. Admitting to myself that I didn’t feel love within my own skin was a painful yet beautiful journey that is still unfolding.

Apart of this unfolding requires a deep surrender to our emotions as they reveal themselves to us. It is important to be there with whatever we are experiencing, be it shame, guilt, sadness, regret, tension, happiness, etc. In trying to deny or reject the hidden parts of ourselves, we only drift farther into feelings of shame. As such, we deny ourselves of our complex and beautiful nature.

Through writing, I was able to work through feelings of shame that I carried with me throughout my life. The feelings of shame and guilt that I felt throughout my life challenged me to let go of the fear I felt about examining my blackness.

I was so deeply afraid of falling in love with myself as a woman of color because it wasn’t what I saw around me. As women of color, so much of what we internalize influences who we are. There are so many stereotypes and labels that can limit the world from seeing the truth of our existence.

If we embrace our power, we are seen as the aggressive black woman, if we are vulnerable then we are seen as weak and sacrificial. But, we have the power to re-claim our own existence by embracing the wholeness that rests within. Apart of accepting the many layers of who we are as black women is embracing all of the pain and fear that arises within us. When I first began to embrace my fear, it was very difficult. I felt so much anxiety about how others would stare at me. This was followed by a stream of worried thoughts, “is it because my hair is too big?”, “is it because I am black?”. Despite this anxiety filled monologue there was something inside of me that so desperately wanted to be heard, some soul force waiting to emerge from the depths of my heart. A wise woman, standing firmly rooted in her skin. She was there all along, whole, content, and beautiful. It wasn’t until I started tuning into my body that everything changed.

I started asking myself, “how does my body react when I am in public?” Often, my shoulders were tense and I felt the stress of others stares lead me down a path of insecure thoughts. In turning in towards my body I learned to accept the present emotions and greet them with an open heart of acceptance. Simply being with them in observance and allowing them to pass.

When I began to become more present with my body and process the emotions of shame that I felt within myself, I let go of fear and surrendered to my existence.

I began to notice how suddenly my shoulders were more relaxed in public. There was more space for me to relax and become familiar with what it felt like to be present in my body as a woman of color. It felt amazing, I felt called to inspire other women of color to feel whole and content within their own skin. 

Something that I have learned is that along with such moments of peace, becoming, and feeling inspired, there are still moments of fear, chaos, pain and uncontrollable tears. The journey does not end with the awareness of being whole within our bodies, that is only the beginning. The understanding that we can heal and are healing, and the feeling of being rooted firmly in our existence is the path. That we are the embodiment of what it means to love ourselves as black women Is the unfolding of truth, of who we are. 

In sitting with ourselves, there are some practical tools we can rely on to discover the beautiful blooming of our hearts. One of the tools that has helped me is to sit down in a quiet space with a pen and paper and ask myself, what are some everyday activities that light my soul up with joy? What is one small action that I can take today to live my truth? The answers to these questions reveal someone far more powerful than you can ever imagine. Another way that we can discover our bloom is by surrounding ourselves with things that reflect our essence. When outside, we can also think about the ways that our beauty is reflected in nature. In knowing who we are when we are connected to our true selves, we can begin to understand the reasons behind our suffering. It is when we engage in the activities that serve our highest truth that we free ourselves from fear. A beautiful truth unfolds to us. It is that the seed in which our suffering lies is the same seed in which our hearts can bloom and transform into acceptance, freedom, and knowing. Creating this transformation within ourselves is a liberation of not only our blackness, but a liberation of our soul that allows us to fully embody our unique essence. there is a profound understanding that there is a powerful soul force that has the capacity to expand beyond any race or class. That force is love

“The beauty of life begins to bloom within us when we realize that all along our imperfection is divine, a manifestation of god reflected in the flawed nature of being.”

During this deep embrace in which we hold ourselves in the arms of forgiveness for never being enough there is a realization that perfection is not the path to acceptance. It is our divine imperfection that wholeness rest. In discovering wholeness within ourselves, we begin to see it reflected back to us in our grandmother’s smile, the swaying of the leaves, or the bloom of a flower. 

So, to any women of color who feel confused along this path toward acceptance, say yes to embracing your pain and watch it bloom into a beautiful flower of love. 

And always remember, you are whole, you are blooming, your seed is rising! 

Leah islar is a Writer. Creator. Woman of color. A sunflower, sharing her story to cultivate seeds of healing for black women🌻🌿|Learn more about her  #herseedrising