“The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I was always instructed to live life to my fullest potential. The voices in my head were not imaginary; they came from actual people who saw greatness even when I did not myself. For a young age, I knew that I needed a plan, or rather plans. If Plan A did not work, I was always prepared for Plan B.
My mother led the support pack followed by my grandmothers, my long-time mentors and many more women who I have worked with and befriended over the years. Even at the age of 25 my support group comes to me at random for updates on my progress ink life. Being content is not an option; it does not create progression.
I needed to know answers for the following questions:
How have I succeeded today that will make me better tomorrow?
Once I graduated, what study was I going to pursue next?
Living constantly in the future was negatively affecting my life. I had to match my supporters drive, which often seemed out of reach. I have reached the point where I could no longer decipher my standards from their own. The confusion caused me to spiral out of control. Moments of anxiety and depression were frequent in my life before I made the decision to take over. It was commonplace for me to sit in a room in my home completely drained from others’ expectations. Although I valued my support system, it is as if each of them forgot that life was filled with trials and errors; no form of assistance was going to protect me from that fact.
They were ruling my world. My support had guided me, even when their attempts were mentally and spiritually unsatisfying. I am successful for maybe and I appreciate their influence on my life. However, I yearned for mental and spiritual satisfaction.
I do not recall when I felt myself start to break away from their expectations to pursue my own; I know it started with a book. The bookstore is my secret place to get away. While searching for a new book to add to my collection, I discovered and purchased Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self Recovery by Bell Hooks. I soon found myself pouring over each and every word, seeing my life mirrored on each page. I highlighted and flagged pages as if I was trying to pass life’s final exam. I felt like I woke up. I became obsessed with the idea of black love and how we love on each other. My support system was filled
with black women who loved me, but were loving me in ways that they felt were acceptable.
Their love was mentally and spiritually draining. Their love taught me that the I needed to love myself above others at all times. Situations such as friendship and love were not necessities in their visions for me. Young love was foolish and friends were temporary. My view on life contracted their ideas. I loved people. When I lost friends because of moments that pushed us a part I would cry as if I lost a love one. I could not love myself and disregard the feelings of others; they could not understand this, but I could.
I decided to start changing how I mentally perceived situations and soon started working on my spiritual being. I grew up Christian, but became agnostic in college. My mother always allowed my siblings and I to connect with what we felt was real for us. I began to study various spiritual practices and rituals, implementing those that spoke directly to me into my life. Goals for my inner being were created. I wanted to project positivity in every moment of my life.
My changes were first met with reluctance, but everyone’s inability to deny truth and positivity resulted in acceptance.
My mother cannot deny that I am happy.
My best friend cannot deny that I am at peach.
My grandmother cannot deny that I am balanced.
I learned that if I am striving for happiness, then my desires will materialize. In my research I have also learned to live sole for myself and my passions. At the end of my life, I want to know that I lived each day fully and openly. My goals that were once scattered have become structured. I am okay with the fact that I may not accomplish my goals immediately and that until I do I will live and enjoy life as much as possible. Living in the past and future caused my anxiety and depression, so I strive to live fully in the present. Each day has so much to offer than the unknown future and known past. Realizing this created mental and spiritual satisfaction which created a space for happiness.
And we all know that happiness is the key to life.