CR GUEST FEATURE BLOG
Some experiences, moments and seasons of life aren’t meant to be shared with others in depth. There are those that are simply necessary to be felt, to be endured, and to be overcome by you. Not everything can be explained.
I wanted to adequately describe my latest “Valley Experience”. I wanted to provide the next woman who finds herself in the valley with ways to help deal with how she felt. I wanted to be able to equip her with instructions on how to come out better than when she went in. I wanted to provide ways to help her pass the time. But what I realize is that the feelings must be addressed per personal experience and cannot be ignored and time cannot just be passed. She must endure for however long just as I did. That is not something you can teach. That is something we have to choose.
In the valley is where you grow but that growth isn’t always apparent immediately. I’m still not sure I fully understand how I’ve grown from my experience yet. What I am able to share is that I felt three very real emotions during these past few months in ways I hadn’t in quite some time, if ever.
First I felt low.
As a woman I’ve felt low before so it’s not a new feeling. Only this time it wasn’t due to heartbreak or some disrespectful comment made about my appearance or a condescending remark regarding my capabilities and achievements or lack thereof. I felt low as in helpless. I was far away from any hope of overcoming my insecurities. Weak in spirit is what I was. That pretty much sums it up. I was trying to rely on my insufficient ability to lift myself up by means of coercion and tension. There was no progress being made. If anything I felt lower and lower until I realized that I had to embrace those insecure moments if I were to ever rise above them. This is no quick fix. It calls for intentional efforts continuously.
What I felt the more frequently was lost.
Constantly, asking myself, how did I get here? There wasn’t any one incident in particular I could recall that brought me to this place. But I was there and I had no clear direction on how to get out. So I stopped trying. It’s as if I set up tent and accepted that this was my home for a while. Though not a physical place literally, mentally I was in the valley and my mind needed resting. My heart needed settling. I didn’t panic no matter how hard it got and there were times when I thought I wouldn’t make it. I was able to find comfort in knowing that this experience was a part of my journey. I was reminded that what the Lord commands he enables. This may have single handily kept me in an operable mental space. Sounds dramatic huh? Well valley experiences can be just that surreal. Your mental health requires examinations just as much as your physical health does. As women of color I hope we begin to realize the importance of this.
Lastly, I felt unloved.
This was hard to realize. Once I did what I had to accept was that this feeling of being unloved was a lie that I told myself way too often. If we tell ourselves anything long enough we’ll believe it without a doubt soon enough. But who didn’t love me, and why not? Jesus loves me. My family loves me. I have dear friends that love me. The truth was I just didn’t like me. Like and love are not the same but because I was unaware of how much I didn’t like who I was, it felt as if I was not loved at all. I didn’t like how I was allowing myself to be taken advantage of and almost bullied in some situations, simply because I didn’t want to be misunderstood. I didn’t like how I was shrinking when I should’ve stood tall. I didn’t like how those who so called knew me best were treating me as if they didn’t and I said nothing. The truth is that people prefer to use your less than appealing moments to infer that they know you so well. I didn’t like how I was just being a wimp in life because that I am not. I resented myself for all those reasons.
I came out of this experience what seems like suddenly but it was anything but. I cried every single day for a few months. I do cry easily but these were tears of desperation. I just wanted it to be over. I wanted the pressure to be lifted and the anxiety to go away! Instead I remained present. There were days when nothing made sense. Those around me were being used in ways they clearly were unaware of but nevertheless they triggered things in me I still cannot explain. God knows.
What I often see is so many women looking for guidance on how to live their individual lives. As if a generic step-by-step guide is enough. No one wants to feel, endure and overcome these uncomfortable, inexplicable experiences regardless of how unavoidable they are.
But I’m here to reassure you that the time you spend present in the valley will reveal to you things about yourself that no mountaintop can.
I created Bubbling Brooke to share words of transparency. This platform is not only an outlet for me, but for all women who regardless of accomplishments may be on the same journey of freedom from the veils we hide behind. While the answers may vary, the questions we need to ask ourselves in order to grow are universal and continual.
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