Journaling

Damaged Goods

I am damaged goods. It’s hard to admit that, but I am. I’m the dented soup can at Jewel-Osco. I’m the slightly torn sweater at the top of the shelf. I have been through so much, at this point, it’s starting to feel like novocaine; numb, a grand loss of feeling. I have opened up about my pain, and I have had a mix of reactions. This vulnerability has jeopardized friendships. It hurts when a person looks at you a different way. The conversations are no longer there. They are nervous around you; they think you’re a ticking time bomb. This admission has pushed “what could have been” relationships in my head. After being told everything under the sun about his life, I decided to share a little of mine (after asking if it was alright of course)…only to be told that I was “too much.” Whew! I can only imagine if I told him the rest of my story. He might have filed a restraining order against me. Jokes aside, that crippled me on the inside. I started to think that I didn’t deserve friends. I started to think that I didn’t deserve love. I started to think that I would never be able to reach a sense of normalcy. Will I ever heal? Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually…will things ever be at peace?

I am damaged goods, but so are you. Now wait…wait, don’t get upset. I know that isn’t something that someone wants to be called, but it’s true. Everyone is or has been damaged in one way or another. If a person tells another person that they are damaged, they need to find the nearest mirror and say the exact same thing. Everyone has been through something, no matter how big or small it may seem, we have all been through something. Whether it’s as small as failing a test, or being molested as a toddler, neither one of us is perfect. As an extremely Type A individual, this is the hardest thing to take in. I am not perfect. I am not this all mighty being. Now, I am nowhere near average. I am extraordinary, I am powerful…I have so much strength, I haven’t even unlocked all of it yet. However, I am still human. I mess up, and so do others. I messed things up for myself, and people have messed things up for me. I’ve tripped over rocks in the road and fallen into craters, but I didn’t stay on the ground, I got up and kept walking.

After throwing my own pity party, cake, party hats and everything, I decided to search “damaged goods” on YouTube. A little online self-soothing can do the soul good sometimes. I came across this video by Pastor Michael Todd. He has a whole series on being so called damaged. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says (I don’t consider being gay damaged), but some of the points he makes resonate. In the first video of the series, he used this very clever visual to let his audience get the picture. On the stage was a nicely wrapped present. It had a nice shiny red bow on it; if you saw this present underneath your Christmas tree, your eyes would probably be attracted to it first. As he continued to talk about life taking over, he began to defile this box. He cut the wrapping paper off of it. He scratched the cardboard underneath it. He poked holes in the box, poured chocolate syrup on the box…he just messed this box up. Looking on the outside, no one would want to choose that box now. It’s less than perfect. It’s dirty, it’s tattered, it doesn’t look like how it used to. But inside the box? Inside…nothing had been touched. Inside of the box was this expensive pair of tennis shoes; not a blemish on them. Tye Tribbet did something similar. The video actually went viral a little while ago. He had offered one of his church goers twenty dollars. He bent the bill. “Do you still want it?” The woman that he was offering it to did. He then started throwing the twenty dollars around, stomping on it every way that it goes. When asked if the woman still wanted it, she did. No matter if it has been stepped on or ripped…it’s still twenty dollars! It still has value. You still have value. The outside is so over hyped. A lot of people try to make the exterior look pretty and flawless because they’re afraid to put in the real work to fix the inside. I know I can say for myself I was like that. Going back to the shoe box scenario, on the outside I may have been through something, but on the inside, nothing is touched. The pain, the agony, the suffering…it cannot penetrate the soul. It can’t pierce my heart. It is not the definition of me.

That guy that told me that I was too much, I wish him well, but he was wrong. Being “too much” is just enough for me and the ones that are meant to be in my life. He wasn’t meant to be, and it hurt…it hurt. I cried, questioned my worth, almost thought of begging him to reconsider and try…TRY to love me. How pathetic is that? I’ll answer that for you…VERY! At that time, I thought that this person was going to be it for me. I thought we were going to grow as one and so on and so forth. When it comes to healing, sometimes you have to get down and dirty with yourself. I am hurt in my love life after putting my trust in people who had no business handling it and having it fail. I have a bad relationship with my body. Ever since I was a child, I have never felt my body was my own. Yes, I might think I look nice in that body con dress I bought from Pretty Little Things, but that’s just the surface level. How do I feel about it on the inside? I’ve been told that I was too chubby as a child, later going on to have people use my body and violate it. I feel a detachment with my body. I feel a detachment when it comes to my own emotions. I feel a detachment when it comes to myself. It’s like there are two of me, but one, they two halves will be a whole. You might not want to do it, and you may be a little stubborn, but once you pinpoint the area in where you are “damaged,” the healing will only come that much quicker.

Finding pleasure in pain is no way to live, it’s not. I’ve been holding on to so much anger; what people used to say to me, what people have done to me, what they said I wouldn’t do…that change is rooted in me. It’s time to push that stubborn spirit aside, and say enough is enough. I’m comfortable living in fear; struggling while trying to live my best life. Let’s dissect that sentence; struggling while trying to live my best life. Struggle? Best life? The two do not belong in the same sentence. When your best life comes, there will be no struggle. Now the journey there, well that might be a different story. We are constantly changing, so our “best lives” will always be changing. Whatever hit or miss that comes into your life may nick you, and it may leave a little scar, but it does not touch the soul. The soul is untouchable.

The soul is untouchable.

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Journaling

And I’m Holy…By My Own

Give me today my daily bread

Help to walk alone ahead

Though I walk through the darkest valley

I will fear no love 

Oh my smile, my mind reassure me

I don’t need no one

I’m not lonely…. I’m alone

And I’m holy, by my own 

Those are some of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, Holy by Jamila Woods. I was thinking about this song recently after scrolling through my social media. Social media can be an escape from boredom, but it has plagued my life all too much, and I really need to cut back from it.  It’s great to get a good sense of reality. I glimpsed and spotted a Snapchat story from a man….excuse me…. boy I used to talk to. At the time, I had feelings for this person, and I guess after this little incident, some still linger. I saw his video; him angling his phone as if it was the prequel to the Blair Witch Project, making hand gestures to some G Herbo song, with a slim thick, pretty girl perched on his lap. He was kissing her neck; she was grinning from ear to ear, deepening the dimples in her cheeks. First off, I’m wondering why I am still following this person’s Snapchat. Why do I have his number? Why does this person have a way of accessing my life again? Anyways, I couldn’t help but ponder how he went about approaching this young lady. Was he a gentleman? Did he take her out on dates? Did he open her car door for her? Did he respect her from the beginning? I internally asked this because when I conversing with this guy, he didn’t do any of these actions. Every conversation that spurred resulted in a sexual conclusion. Initially, it was him practically begging me give him the goods like I was some X-rated grocery store (that was a lot more clever in my head). At this time, being the insecure and self-conscious sister that I was, I thought that this is how I deserved to be treated by a person. There was no respect in anything that he did for me. He saw me as this sex toy; an object of his personal desire. I was thankful at this time that he wanted to pay attention to me. I couldn’t fathom that someone would want to be with me in any type of way. Before I began my third year of college, I had a brief fling with him again (stupid….so stupid). I was holding on to a fantasy of him; what he could have been. If it isn’t a reality, you need to be moving on with your life. Don’t dream someone up a certain way when they’re doing the exact opposite….WAKE UP! Welcome to the real world. I should have paid more attention to his actions, but like I said, the fact that he wanted to be around me was enough at the time. He used me as his potential cheap thrill, meanwhile getting into a serious and meaningful relationship with someone else. It hurt my feelings, and when I expressed them to this person, he flat-out did not care. He didn’t even have the decency to really listen to me, and he sure as hell did not apologize. I wanted to blame him for everything; all the pain that he caused me, the lies he told me, and so on and so forth. However, at some point, I did have to take accountability. I let him do me that way. I didn’t think that I deserved to be respected and treated like the QUEEN that I am.

I feel that men have been walking all over me. I put up with too much and I settle for less. In my first and only relationship, I did everything for that kid. I paid for his movie tickets, his bus fare, his food, and catered to his needs (well, whatever needs a seventeen year old thought they required). Not to sound braggadocious, but I was the best girlfriend that he has had thus far. I’m going to be the better person and wish him the best of luck. This person was not faithful to me, he demanded quite a bit of me, and he was way too focused on having a sexual relationship with me instead of an emotional and spiritual one. This began the countless unfortunate events that I have had with the opposite sex. I’ve gotten lewd text messages from guys that had an interest in me and vice versa, starting off the conversation with sweet nothings until it melts down to the real thing that they are in it for. I had a friend that I have known ever since I was 11 (he was 19 when we first met) admit to me that he wanted to do some pretty provocative things with me…before I was of legal age to do it. Because this person had been in my life for so long, I didn’t really know how to go about the conversation. To be honest, I wanted to call Chris Hansen and ask if he could make a pit stop to his location. The messages became awkward, and I was hurt. I knew him for years. He was a mentor and a confidant, and he still saw me as this sexual opportunity.

Recently, I was talking to a “friend” that I had met on the social media platform Twitter. A few nights prior, I had Facetimed him and had a conversation with him. I was wearing a robe; a fuzzy, pink robe. Out of all the things to rev up a person’s engine, I wouldn’t think that a robe would do that, but hey, I do not know everything. He had let me know that I looked “delicious” on video, and that looking at me ensured that he would masturbate to the thought of me later on. I didn’t even know what to say. My mouth was agape. Did he really just say that? I had to read the message over and over again. That was the last straw. I couldn’t believe that a person thought that they could say that to me. I thought it was extraordinarily disrespectful. I was tired with putting up with this.

Since so many men were comfortable with treating me like a little play thing, obviously there’s something that I’m doing wrong. It’s apparent that I am doing something to attract this toxicity into my life. While evaluating the guys that I talked to, I also had to evaluate myself. When I’m with a person that I have feelings for, I will do anything for them. I remember walking across campus in twenty degree weather, late at night, in the snow, to go and visit someone in their dorm room. I bought a guy chicken noodle soup and orange juice when he was sick. I gave a guy medication when he had the sniffles. That same guy owes me a hundred dollars….why? Because I lent it to him like a dumbass. I was so afraid of this person leaving me, that I did whatever I could to make them stay. Sometimes they would ask me for these favors, but a lot of the time I would do it for them because I wanted to. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? They used me because they could. The saying is as old as Jesus Christ, but will always be the truth. They saw my niceness and they took this for granted. If I would confront them on how they were acting, they would gaslight me and tell me that I was out of my mind! That it was further from the truth. Oh really? Why are you trying to get into a serious relationship with someone else, but texting me to come over at one in the morning? Something just doesn’t seem right.

One thing that I learned about myself is that my self-esteem needed a total 360. A man would be happy to be with me. I have a big heart, I’m adventurous, loyal, and I’ll treat my partner with the utmost respect….but only if they reciprocate it. I’m tired of being “wifey” to men who only see me as the homie, or even worse, the girl that they can sleep with. I have had pieces of my heart stolen away from me, and I will never get them back, but I can fill them with the parts of my personality that I need to build on:

  • love for myself
  • respect for myself

I need to start putting my foot down more and set stricter boundaries. I need to stop being afraid of people leaving my life that don’t need to be there. At the time, I might want them to be present, but God is removing them for a reason. I need to stop being afraid of being….lonely.

Loneliness is crippling, but what I am is not lonely. I’m alone. Those last two lines of those lyrics to Jamila’s song are words of wisdom that I had to learn the hard way. I’m not lonely, I’m alone. I might not be in a room full of people, but I know whose got me, and I’ve got them. Loneliness and being alone I use to think was the same thing. Loneliness is a feeling; being alone is a state of being. I might be the only one here now, but I know that I have my friends, I have my family, and I have God. During the darker times in my life, I wrote off and forgot about them being there. Depression and sadness can plague a person and make them forget who’s in their corner. Even when there is no one in your corner, you’ve got yourself, and until you build that relationship between you and your soul, that’s all you’ll ever need.

Sometimes being alone can bring a lot of things to the forefront. When I was by myself, I was able to self reflect and cleanse myself of past pain that I have experienced. What did they do? How did it make me feel? Why did it hurt me? What did I deserve in that moment in time? How can I prevent myself from going through this again? Is having that companionship worth being disrespected? I had to ask myself those things. There was anger. There were tears, but this is all apart of the process when it comes to moving on. I’ve got to move on. A man is not going to guarantee my happiness, especially one that doesn’t do anything to benefit me. I am not going to be that person that is content with the fact that I have a man, and let him treat me like shit. A relationship would be nice, but it isn’t worth it if it’s going to be giving me heartache.

Help yourself first. Treat yourself first, take yourself out on dates! Learn to be respectful towards yourself. You know what you want for yourself, and if you don’t, take some one on one time to figure it out. It may take a while, so don’t grow impatient. It’s like a courtship. How can you have a wonderful relationship with someone else, but have a faulty one with yourself? You can’t.

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