How One Summer Changed My Entire Life

My journey to self has been one for the Black Girl Magic history books. My journey began with what should’ve been a fatal blow to the chest: finding out that my boyfriend of five years had been in a relationship with another woman for the last two. Imagine curling up on your sofa every Monday night to tune into Love and Hip Hop, watching the chaos of another woman’s life unfold, only to discover that you were the star of your own melodrama! As distressing as this realization was, I immediately decided that I wouldn’t let it break me, and I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Can you imagine being freshly heartbroken, going to see Beyoncé and screaming along to “I Ain’t Sorry” at the top of your lungs? Even still, the breakup anthem of the year didn’t make the journey any easier. Devastation forced me into overdrive, because yeah, my heart was broken, but I still had shit to do.

I had a year left of college, had already had a few rough semesters, and was taking two of the most difficult subjects in my major during the summer because I was determined to graduate on time. So long story short, I had no time for games. As women, too many times we allow one occurrence in life to knock us down, and we never get back up. And to be honest, not having the luxury of laying around in misery was the best thing for me. Failure was not an option. Falling any further behind on my journey to becoming the woman I needed to become wasn’t going to work for me. Life forced me to actively seek out my healing. I couldn’t just lay down and allow betrayal and pain sit inside of me. I started to focus on my mental health and found a personal trainer, and before I knew it I had become this genuinely happy person that I didn’t even recognize.

Once my classes were finished, I traveled the world. I literally channeled my inner Eat, Pray, Love, and made heart break my bitch. Traveling allowed me the time for necessary reflection: my physical journeys facilitated my mental and emotional journey. And although my travels did provide with me with new insights on life, and new eyes to look through, still, I won’t pretend to have found all the answers on how to heal and discover your best self. But what I have discovered is that the woman I am now was always there deep down inside of me, waiting for me to find her. I just had to do the work to get to her. The woman I am now, she knows that making peace with her past is vital to growth, and that holding herself accountable for choices made is not an act she can opt of. Most importantly, she knows that her best self, is who she is by herself, without the guise of a relationship to hide behind, or a man’s love to define her. Perhaps my greatest achievement since finding myself has been realizing my passion for writing. I started my blog, and through that I joined a community of women, all on their own journeys, centered around unapologetic evolution. By documenting my struggles and the lessons I’ve learned from them, I have been fortunate enough to not only find my voice, but I've been able to encourage other women to discover theirs. And I truly believe that even through all my growth, I’m only beginning to tap into who I am.

If I could offer words of advice to any woman who’s facing adversity, all I would say to her is “Hold on to YOU.”

I recently watched an episode of Red Table Talk, and Jada Pinkett-Smith shared that the greatest loss she ever suffered was herself, and I thought “OMG, YES!” I’m sure that there are many other women in this world who can relate to that, but what in this world could be worth losing sight of yourself? For what would you be willing to miss out on you? Life itself is challenging enough, and we will experience enough loss, so don’t add yourself to the list. Discover who you are, who you’re truly meant to be, and hold on to her no matter what. Once you do, it makes the healing process so much easier.