No one wants you
You’re not good enough
You’re not pretty enough
You’re not smart enough
YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH!
These are phrases you would think you would hear from a bully or someone with a real negative view of another person, right? WRONG
At some point, every child has been teased, but the few negative words spoken about my “dark skin” created an identity that shaped not only how I viewed myself most of my life but also how I thought others viewed me as well. These daily affirmations caused me to limit myself from excelling in who I could be.
In the ‘70s, dark skin wasn’t celebrated as it is today, so to be teased for it made me believe that something was wrong with me. I wasn’t pretty. There is a scene in the hood-classic “School Daze – Good and Bad Hair” that pretty much sums up the battle.
Anyone who knew me growing up could tell you I always tried to stay in the background. I faithfully “played the role” given me, as a student (good grades), a daughter (doing everything [most of the time] I was told to do), an employee (giving 100% and above at all times), and in ministry (the note taker, intercessor, first to arrive, and last to leave).
Unfortunately, I began to create an identity for each of these areas (or gardens as I call them), that I lost who Marietta was. Thinking that I had to meet others' expectations and how THEY SAW ME gave me a blurred view of who I was destined to become. I could not see past the ugly I thought of myself.
I dressed unassumingly (dark colors, dresses to the floor two sizes larger) to not bring attention to the ugliness I felt about myself. I thought it was modest, but looking back, I didn't want to draw attention to myself because maybe, just maybe, others wouldn't see the ugly that I saw.
There was always something inside me wanting to express so much more, but I didn't know how to silence the voices that at times spoke louder than my own. There have been studies on the power of what we say about ourselves.
Affirmations are words or phrases used to affirm something – speaking it into existence if you will. Many people practice affirmations without even knowing what they are.
"Affirmations help you focus your mental energy on the positive things that you want. [As] you start to work on actualizing them actively, your actions start to be more conducive to these positive messages that you are giving yourself," said psychotherapist Judi Cineas from Living the Dream Inc.
Just as “positive” affirmations form who we are, negative ones do as well. I believe negative ones cause more damage because we begin to live our lives in a way that years later we ask ourselves, “How the hell did I get here?”
It wasn’t until my 10th-grade year in high school that the self-hate cycle began to be broken.
I joined a club at school call DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America). My marketing teacher, Jules Goldman, pushed me to participate in various projects and competitions, forcing me out of my comfort zone. He saw something in me that went past my outward appearance. At this point, I finally saw what he saw and ran and won the election for President of the State of Michigan chapter of DECA during my high school senior year/freshman year college. This role allowed me to travel not just all over Michigan, speaking to high school students but also across the country. This positioned me for my destiny!
Having to sell myself as the best candidate forced me to look at Marietta and see the beautiful qualities I had, starting from the inside out. Self-love must begin from within because the outward beauty changes over time, but the core of who we are on the inside is the foundation that can’t be moved.
At this point is when I began to confront those false identities I created of myself. WHY AM I NOT GOOD ENOUGH, PRETTY ENOUGH, SMART ENOUGH? I was more than just a student getting good grades; I had and can gain knowledge to create a legacy for future generations.
I was more than just an administrator; I have the skills and abilities to contribute to whatever I put my hands too, causing things to prosper. I’m in the position to influence change.
I was more than a church member; God anoints me to minister His love to others. Knowing that the pulpit or a church building isn’t the only place God visits, but He uses His children to bring His word to life through our daily interactions with others.
By my first year of college, I walked and talked with confidence, so much so, people would say my very presence changed the atmosphere of the room. Not one of arrogance, but a person assured of who I was as a child of God first, then as a woman of color.
Even today, I must silence past affirmations that crippled me. To combat that, after prayer, I look at myself daily in my bathroom mirror to remind myself that my identity isn’t based on my past, other’s assumption, and, in some cases, not even my expectations, because I can be my worst critic.
I've concluded that my worth has to come from within and not from others' outward opinions. I may ask for advice from those close to me, but at the end of the day, I've learned to trust the Spirit of God within me. This life can sometimes look boring from the outside looking in, but at the end of the day, I am who I am, and that's GOOD ENOUGH!
"My BLACK is Beautiful" is a reality to me now, not a slogan!
As I walk into 50, I do so with my head, and my heart lifted with boldness and confidence in who I am, fearfully and wonderfully made!
I encourage you to DAILY, silence whatever voice you may have, speaking negative declarations over who you are. Recognize your worth comes from within and not from the outward opinions of others, not even your own when it disagrees with what God has said about you.