This piece was originally posted on nikkiskies.wordpress.com in honor of Women’s History Month. Please visit her site all month long to read pieces for women by women.
I’ve never seen a weak woman. I’ve seen the strength and the faith of a strong woman tested, but never a weak woman. We fight, survive, and repeat the process.
Our viragos nature is expected yet our warrior spirit is attacked and viewed as a character flaw. The androcentric view of weakness is humorous as we manage our families and careers while dealing with sexism and racism. We are nothing yet we are everything.
The burden is heavy, faltering in our duties is frowned upon. Because of expectations, women often forget to take care of the most important aspect of the perfectly built superwoman, ourselves. Self-care becomes secondary to everyone else’s needs.
I forgot about self care for years. I was determined to be the perfect mother. I could teach my children to be decent human beings but I had to provide for them as well. I sacrificed my hopes and dreams and fell for the lure of the TV colleges. They were promising me a career. They were practically handing me one. In the end I have a bunch of credits for career goals that I don’t even care about now and student loan debt for the rest of my life.
Still thinking of my children, I set out to find a husband and provide a stable home. I continued to fail at life especially in the love department. I fell into a funk. It all came crashing down at once. I had no love, no house, and no income. I gave into the depression I’m prone to.
My mental health went unchecked for so long that a nervous breakdown threatened my well being. I was overwhelmed and drowning in emotions. My fight to surface taught me more about myself in a few months than I was aware of before.
I remembered my high school boyfriend. He was a great love that I’d left behind. I thought him immature for his insistence to follow his dreams. He became part of my motivation. No matter how awkward and unpolished I was determined to embrace me. I would liberate myself from the expectations of others and follow my heart at all times. Most importantly I vowed to take the time to see about my spiritual, physical, and mental health on a regular basis.
It felt good to say “no” and know it is a complete sentence without the need for explanations or excuses. To be unapologetically selfish with my time and mind space. It felt good refusing to feel guilty about even the smallest gestures of self-indulgence. I no longer begrudged other women who were smart enough to have learned the value of self-love during the years I spent muddling through it. I got stronger. I was finally happier than I’d been in years and I was ready to dream.
I began to falter. My fight wasn’t as feisty. I began to question how worthy I was of happiness. Then I saw it one of my Twitter favs spitting knowledge as only she can.
I love Me, first.
A call for the acceptance of self-love The most valuable self affirmation. That one tweet stopped me in my tracks. I promised myself that I would do better and make some real changes. I decided to write out and start making changes on my 35th birthday.
One of the most important “Me Day” resolutions is: Practice more self-love and care. I plan to do this without guilt, no reasoning, and I certainly will not be defending my actions.
There were more but all of them revolved around me loving me unapologetically. I won’t lie and say that I’m always content. I do feel better. The self loathing comes less often. I can say that I am happier in finding more of myself.