“Free”

I learned very quickly that people can’t stand to see anything that’s truly free.

As if anything in its unabridged state is a challenge. Whosoever deems themselves worthy of tweaking or changing all in the name of “taming” makes it their life’s work to disrupt wild perfection and to make it fit into whatever compartment they deem appropriate.

Not many things are left in their natural state anymore; not the trees towering over us, not the grass under our feet. It’s almost heartbreaking when that thing that is free is a living breathing human.

A woman. It’s heartbreaking when that thing that is free is a living, breathing woman.

Ladies – each of us was born unconventionally perfect. We are only “too” to those who were not intended for us. We have imperfect interactions and imperfect associations that make us think that we should seek a tamer instead of nurturing our freest traits. Myself, for example. I learned very quickly that I have a strong mind. That I have a connection with words that not everyone can claim. That when I say things, people listen. That when I speak, I can change things. I think that there is something beautiful in that – being a wordsmith. But how beautiful can it really be, when people are constantly telling me to be quiet? I let outside opinions send me in search of a tamer. I stopped being a wordsmith; I started being quiet.

Don’t tell my business, they said. Women are to be seen, not heard, and when they’re hurt, they’re to crumble alone in their own little corners, because taking mistreatment quietly is an outward display of strength, even if it tears you up inside. And, of course, if you’re torn up inside, well, there’s time. Because according to all of the know-it-all tamers out there, time heals everything.

But what if I told you that it actually heals nothing at all? That if misused, it simply gives your brokenness time to ferment, ages it like wine so that it’s more potent? So that you become used to it; so that it’s almost sweet? So that you become dependent upon it; so that your brain learns to work around it to the extent that its disruptive presence becomes your normal?

Last summer, after I lost my second child, I spent a lot of time in bed. I remember one day spending 18 (eighteen) consecutive hours there. There was no TV on. There was sporadic Facebook scrolling. There was a lot of crying. When I told my ex fiancé about this in passing (as it was normal to me, at one point) he told me that it was basically solitary confiment. Repeating this regimen in smaller increments didn’t heal me. It broke my brain to the extent that it scared me.

I’ve been damaging myself. I’ve been trying to tame myself for a long time.

I linked myself to a man that I had no business even connecting with at the age of 19; I married him at 22. We had the same overall goals – Black Excellence. A family with two parents. A six-figure household. I married him. I lived in a luxury apartment. I watched as people went from looking at us as the two black kids that probably used fake ID’s to book the appointment to ma’ams and sir’s when we showed proof of our joint earnings. I spent every day locked in that luxury apartment with the spa bathroom that I still talk about to this day and I felt my life force seeping out of me. I felt my light dimming. I was unfulfilled. My life was a corset pulled so tight that I couldn’t breathe. I was voluntarily suffocating myself – for what? For society? To prove to everyone that I could do what they said I couldn’t?

It is from a place of painful experience that I say the following:

Baby girl, don’t let them tame you. Don’t let them relax those wild edges. Don’t let them silence the warrior in you.

Don’t live the life that “they” say you can never possibly live just to spite “them”.

Because in spiting “them”, you will very quickly lose yourself.

It will become a game of hide-and-seek, with you having hidden your true goals in order to seek eventualities that you only want because you’re supposed to, and losing sight of the things that drive you. An unfulfilled soul will leave you hollow, and a hollow heart is not one that you can love with. No amount of friends, families, or suitors can fill that hollow space, and once you allow the ditch to be dug, you will lose sight of how to fill it yourself.

Surround yourself with those that find an oasis in your wild landscape. Those are your people. And anyone that can’t cope with the untamed beauty around them should be deported.

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