I am so relieved. At twenty something I am finally meeting Makanaka. It is only now that I am truly certain that I have grown into myself and met the woman I always knew I was going to be.
It all started when I woke up one morning feeling so heavy and so lost. From the outside looking in, everything about my life was dare I say, “perfect’. I am a graduate, was about to start my Masters degree and I was working in my dream job. My personal life was lit, I was in love with a magical man and socially I was either pub crawling, eating at high-end restaurants or travelling. While I loved my life and was full of gratitude for everything I had been blessed with, inside I was broken.
Events from my past that I hadn’t dealt with came to haunt me and I found myself spiralling out of control. I didn’t want to feel pain anymore. I didn’t want my past to continue to influence my behaviour. I didn’t want my past to control the way in which I dealt with things. I just wanted to let go. I was in tears – a hot mess.
To outsiders I looked like I loved myself. I truly thought I did. It wasn’t until I learnt that loving yourself isn’t only about being content with your physical appearance it is about practicing self-compassion and self-care. I evaluated my behaviours, my actions and the things I said; I couldn’t believe that some of the things I said were so fuelled by dislike of myself, that some of the things I did were a result of masked pain. As someone who feels everything deeply and intensely, I was also my worst enemy because I would evaluate everything harshly. Instead of celebrating the mini milestones along the way, I was always quick to analyse what I could’ve done differently – constantly pushing myself over the edge.
They say it takes a single event or circumstance can move a person to change, to love themselves and to evolve. For me it wasn’t a single event, it was the occurrence of events. When you are on your spiritual journey you are met with tests. I reached a point when I was like “yaaaaaas I have conquered self-love” but I found myself in a situation were I thought I was making the right choices then the question of “why is it your well-being is secondary”. At that time, I thought I had self-love on lock but I didn’t. It was then that i had to make a decision that saved my life; literally.
I chose to fall in love. I fell in love and I felt a love that was so pure, so genuine, so understanding, so compassionate, so raw and so real. I feel in love with this phenomenal woman who responds to the name Makanaka. During this self love adventure, I realised that when we speak of love, or when we are taught of love it is always about romantic love which you share with your chosen lover, the love you share with your family and friends etc. but we are NEVER taught to love ourselves.
One of the quotes that stuck with me on my daily readings was – “you deserve the love that you so freely give to the world”. How can you love purely when you do not love yourself? How are you supposed to know what love feels like?
When I started loving myself, I did the following:
- listed and celebrated what it was about my character that I loved
- observed my characteristics that required growth
- identified what had caused ill-feelings of myself and
- started listening to the things I said about myself and how they affected me.
Another aspect of self-love was embracing the blackness that is I. Its no secret I had always loved being a descendant of the Shona people but this time it was different. In the past was about embracing in the revolutionary and rebellious manner – wearing my hair naturally and incorporate an Afro-centric flavour to it. This time it was about fully embodying the spirit of a warrior woman and taking it back to the roots. Thing is the bodies of women of colour has been so sexualised that we don’t even realise the magic that is in us. I did some research on African women leaders, queens and warriors, as I learnt more and more about our people I became more and more comfortable to walk in my skin and to be proud of who I am at the core of my being.
Seeing the words in black and white I wouldn’t change a single thing. Every single thing that happened to me in my past was all part of the plan for me to be the person I am today. What keeps me motivated is my promise to myself – to always be authentic and to the true essence of my being.
Trust me I have days when I doubt myself and days when I just can’t be bothered. Thankfully, the doubt doesn’t last, the bad days don’t last and the moments of sorrow don’t last, joy is just around the corner. In other words stay true to your authentic self. There is no harm in doing you boo boo just as long as you are not hurting anyone or doing you with an egotistical mind-set, think Kanye.
Love yourself wholeheartedly and do not be afraid to go after what your heart desires. Life is too short to be mediocre.