Monday, January 04, 2010
”This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
- Shakespeare - Hamlet -
As a woman, who is African-American, it is acceptable that I take care of everyone– children, grandchildren, boss, or parents. As a single mom, there wasn’t time for me – I kept my sick time for kids’ illnesses, my vacation to get them to medical appointments, no time to take off – I needed my job. I encouraged my children to participate in sports, but I didn’t exercise. I stretched my dollars as far as I could which didn’t mean the healthiest meals. One minute I’m 160 pounds and the next 250! What happened? I didn’t take care of myself – it’s as simple as that. Always putting off exercise and medical care, anxious, not sleeping, or eating properly. I’ve heard many negative comments about the overweight woman that I never thought would link to me.
Michael Jackson’s, “The Man in the Mirror,” is one of my favorite songs. Throughout my life, I put on so many masks for so many roles for so many people. The word personality comes from the Latin root persona, meaning “mask?” What happens when I look in the mirror? At first, I can’t believe I let myself go – depression. Reality settles in and the truth is it’s done so I start the slow process of reclaiming myself. I begin the process of communicating and journaling to know who I really am. This is where I discover losing weight is only part of my problem. So, I begin to embrace myself by starting to love and take care of me. Loving me is hard because for years, I haven’t been focused on me. Now that my children are grown, I have time to focus on me and I don’t know what to do! I don’t know how!
This is the start to being true to me. Being true to me, is about reclaiming myself through empowerment, it’s about taking care of me and moving beyond what others think of me and coming into acceptance of who I truly am.