How do you fully live within your power when you aren’t proud of who you are? From the moment I transitioned from a girl to a woman, I realized that I was embarking on one of the most challenging chapters in my life. As a teenage girl, I would spend hours planning my “grown up” life with my best friend at the time and we’d fantasize about what our ideal womanhood would look like. Finding myself as a black woman, has been lot’s of ups and downs due to me studying womanhood from a general point of view, but our experience is very trivial, lacking of resources, support, and love. We don’t have the same experience as many women in the world, simply because we are the least supported in society.

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Ever since I’ve turned 25, I’ve been going through a downward spiral that consists of lot’s of loss, stress, and transformation. The transformation has been more humbling, rather than it being elevating which has caused me to feel less optimistic or excited about the blessings that do show up in between. Almost 90% of my friendships deteriorated, my relationship with my parents are non existent, I fled to Texas for the second time to get away from my overbearing mom, and I haven’t been mentally stable enough to maintain a job. All of these experiences made me live with regret in so many aspects. I wish I wasn’t so particular about my friends, I wish I was more forgiving, and I wish I was able to put my emotions aside to maintain my finances, but I didn’t so here we are. This year, I turned 28 and I wasn’t excited about this birthday at all. It didn’t feel exciting to be alive, to see another year, nor to have to live through the reality of having such a shitty quality of life currently.

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I haven’t felt uplifted in a while because the women in my family aren’t inspired. As immigrants and first generation American women, we’re all struggling to get by. There hasn’t been a blue print nor have we came together to build a better life for each other. Everything has always been about what one person can do for another just to throw it in their face. The lack of togetherness, community, and understanding has set my family back so many years, to the point where nobody can truly help anyone because so many bridges have been burned and we’ve never built the habit to genuinely grow together. Recently I’ve spoken to a handful of women in my family and it’s been heartbreaking to hear that we’re all at square one with no guidance and no community. It’s hard witnessing the women in your family struggle because it makes me feel like this my final destination as well.

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I wish I could say that I’m proud of who I am today but let’s face it, I’m a cashier working for $11 an hour, making less than $500 every 2 weeks. There isn’t much to be happy about anymore outside of my partner and my cat but when you’re not happy with yourself, nothing matters. I told myself for my birthday that I’m going to keep fighting for a better reality, a community of people that truly love me for me, and to feel good again. It’s been so hard to smile, to dream, and to fully live in the present because honestly I’d rather live in a virtual reality at this point. After experiencing so much rejection, it made me appreciate when I was accepted in the past, when I took life for granted.

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When I look in the mirror I like the way I look but I don’t like the way that I feel. I feel incomplete, I don’t feel supported, I don’t feel understood, I don’t feel myself ultimately. It’s so interesting seeing how time can change the way you feel about yourself based on your experiences. You begin to second guess who you are and your capabilities because you’ve been disappointed so much. It’s a very common feeling but I think a lot of women cover it up with makeup, sex, drugs, surgery, and sometimes having children to feel complete. I’ve pondered on all the above but everything costs money that I don’t have. But more importantly, I don’t want to put my insecurities in spaces that aren’t going to truly heal me. In all actuality, I want a better life not temporary fixes.

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The woman I aspire to be loves herself and her journey. The woman I aspire to be is filled with gratitude, patience, and faith. The woman that I aspire to be can afford to take care of herself, plan trips to her country to see her family, has loving and meaningful relationships, and is truthfully content with the flow of life. The current me wants to just fast forward because it’s safer to be numb than to be present. The woman that I aspire to be is consistent, and creative, and social, but I haven’t been her for a long time. I want to be able to look back at this and see how far I’ve come from an elevated point of view because this is a new low that I’ve never expected for myself. Even in the moments where I’ll push myself to do things, I’m always critiquing how I could have been better. Although it hasn’t been easy for me, I thank God that I’m able to see another day, I hope that one day I wake up, things will be different, but until then I’m figuring it out as I go.

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