Healing is one of my hobbies. There was a time I thought I was a complete weirdo for it but hey, it’s the truth. Healing is a constant, rewarding, freeing journey that our souls incarnate to experience. The experience ultimately completes something that has been incomplete in this lifetime or maybe even past life times. Healing from past trauma that you were not consciously aware of is numinous, both exhilarating and exhausting. Right now I have a ripe and potent opportunity to heal my relationship with the male species.
A few years ago my sister went to Oprah’s Super Soul session, she purchased Iyanla Vanzant’s ’21 Days of Forgiveness’ book for me. The book guides the reader through 21 days of forgiving yourself, the people in your life, and the world. The meditations are guided and it uses Emotional Tapping Technique to release trapped emotions, it is a really powerful tool. When I got the book in the mail in 2014, I was not ready for it. I thought it was a nice gesture but it seemed daunting and unnecessary. I thought to myself, “I don’t hold grudges, I’m good.” Fast forward, three years later and I was drawn to revisit that particular book, of all the books on my bookshelf. Oh my, has it been a journey. I’ll share in more detail about my experience with the book in a separate post. I really want to talk about the new Mary J. Blige album and how it intersects my healing process.
April 24th. 21 Days of Forgiveness. Day 13. I forgive men.
I forgive the men that hurt my sisters, my girlfriends, my aunts, my cousins, my mother, me. I forgive them and I set them free.
Day 13 was intense, I woke up at 5:15am pretty excited to tap myself free. By now, I was getting into the groove of 21 Days of Forgiveness. I was feeling lighter, I had levity. As I’m writing my forgiveness statements I realize, pretty immediately that I had feelings of anger and frustration toward men. I was holding a lot. I was holding anger and frustration from every unfavorable interaction I had with a man. From every girlfriend that ever called me crying, every story I’ve ever read about domestic violence, every seemingly unfair situation I saw from the outside. Somewhere in all that I decided that men can ultimately be the demise of women—self-esteem killers, trust destroyers, greatest betrayers—just dangerous to woman’s sanity. It was heavy.
April 28th. Mary J. Blige’s new album ‘Strength of a Woman’ released.
I’ve listened to this album, replayed, listened with friends, read through the lyrics, and repeat.
‘Strength of a Woman’ in its entirety is the anthem for the warrior, the Queen, the healer, the forgiver, the collective. It is not your typical damsel in distress, it provides no opportunity for you to sulk in the emotion. The emotion is there and it’s accompanied by fluid movement through the space. It is not ‘f*ck n*gg@s’, although there are moments when it would be warranted. I mean come on “he had another woman in her home, taking trips with her money” #SETMEFREE. I think any human being experiencing betrayal on that level can find justification in any behavior they choose to cope.
Mary offered us something invaluable–she offered us raw, authentic vulnerability. She offered us the opportunity to heal with her. ‘Strength of a Woman’ is honest, its mature, it’s forgiving, and it’s a melodic ode to the staying power of women. It is the essence of SHE. It is Black Girl Magic, the manifestation of that glitter, and gold, and the very sparkle in the magic. Mary reminds us in #SMILE that she is no stranger to pain. For those of us who are fans of her music and her story, we know that she has been through some things. So much so that people crave “Hurt Mary”, I too have been a fan of Mary pouring her soul out. I actually sent a message to my girls when I heard of the pending divorce saying that this album would be great. I expected to have a glass a wine and collect more evidence on why men are horrible. That’s not what she gave us, Mary gave the collective an outlet to heal while she heals. ‘Strength of a Woman’ is the soundtrack to go with a cup of hot tea and my journal. Indestructible is a part of my morning affirmation. I can not listen without thinking about how valuable I am. Mary took us hand in hand through the spaces of healing… a few months ago Beyoncé brilliantly took us through the stages of grief with Lemonade. Mary began to answer the question I was left with ‘Why do we give up our power?” I don’t know the why yet, but I believe the why pales in comparison to the how. The how is the moment we love another more than we love ourselves. The moment we believe our happiness or security depends on another. The moment we ignore our intuition. The moment our yes to another is a no to self. These are the moments we begin to give up our power. It is not even a linear thing, it’s more of an in the moment decision that diminishes our power.
I’m letting go of the notion that men are horrible. I’m letting go of what they ‘did’ to me, and to my girls. I am focusing my energy, attention, and healing toward self-love. I am considering that MAYBE just MAYBE these lessons will continue until we honor our power. I like that stance better, gives me more levity, more freedom, more space for love, and kindness, and peace, and all those good things.
Mary, Thank you. Thank you for sharing yourself, your story, your struggles, your hurt, your life. Thank you for reminding us to love ourselves, to heal, to honor our life lessons, to honor those that provided a space for our growth, our testers and our teachers. Thank you for reminding us to live in reality, the reality where true colors show themselves. You will always have a listener in me!