Welcome back my avid followers, and welcome to all of you that have just joined this journey of self reflection, self development, loving yourself flaws and all, accepting the past, embracing the future, living in the now and everything that comes with digging deep inside and finding who you truly are. I am happy you are here with me following my Journey so far and thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog.
Before I start, I want to remind you all that this is a blog that Journeys some of my experiences, even though we all walk our own very different journeys, there are some things that I talk about that may resonate deeply with you. It may trigger memories or bring uncomfortable thoughts and emotions to the surface. I can only say that you must prepare yourself for this and if any such thoughts or feelings come up try to deal with them in a way that is most suitable to you. I would urge you to explore these feelings further, in a safe place as sitting with your feelings is the best way to understand them and to get through them. Your safe place maybe at home alone, with somebody you trust or in a professional setting.
One of the first steps in healing is to establish a safe environment where you can start exploring your thoughts and feelings.
Understanding your feelings will help you to regulate them. Thoughts dictate our feelings and our feelings dictate our actions.
It is also important to remember that wherever you are on this journey that it is okay because, the journey belongs to you and none of us are the same we will all heal at different, times rates and places in our lives.
The healing process is not a linear one and there will be good days and bad days, so do not punish yourself when your negative thoughts start telling you that you should be further along the road than you are. One of the habits I developed over the years was constantly comparing my life to others, it appeared on the surface that their life was always better than my own. They were pretty, happy, had a exciting social life etc.I now choose to live my life at my own pace because after all this is my life and I am in the driving seat, as are you in the journey of your life.
I remind you of these things because, although this Blog is only three weeks in, it has brought up many difficult emotions that I was not expecting to feel. As I took one of my many bus rides this week (gone are my luxury car driving days). I considered the fact that this may impact my readers in the same way it has impacted me. I must say that all of our feelings and emotions are valid and require our attention, exploration and our action. We make time to socialise with our friends and family, earn money, go shopping feed ourselves, fix other peoples problems EVERYTHING BUT making time to look inwards at ourselves. This is important work and as I have said to you before, when it came to looking after me, that was never even on the agenda.
This week I struggled with the reality that I was abused, mentally and emotionally abused. I could not connect with the fact that this was actually my life and that I was actually that naïve. I knew this but something about writing last weeks blog and getting feed back brought to my attention that the abuse was real and that this really was my life. Although I know that it is my life, I had detached myself from the depth of this abuse. The reality was I had handed control of my life to Mr Man, he was defiantly in the driving seat! I was riding in the boot of the car just like the disposable bags we all carry in our boots until they no longer serve us a purpose. As I said to you all from the moment I met this man I did not want to let him go, as long as he was by my side I was worthy (at least that was what I thought) This weeks revelation prompted me to look at what kept me in this situation, what made me stay, instead of saying enough is enough. Some people end relationships prematurely, however others like me stay in relationships even if they are damaging to us.
There are different vulnerabilities that I had before I met Mr Man, I realised that my beliefs systems where developed in my childhood long before he came along.
As young child I feel initially I was a pretty confident child. I can remember one particular summer when I was around seven or eight years old. It was a really hot day and I was outside playing. Where we lived there was a real community feel , all the kids on our street knew one another, and our parents all communicated. There was always some one to play outside with and people coming and going up and down the street. People would play music out of their cars or bedroom windows through the speakers. The summers where hot back than and I remember being with everyone on the street outside the front of my aunts house. This particular day someone had suggested having a dancing competition. I was only small but my older sister used to go to dance class and I would watch her and learn the dance routines she made up with her two friends. I was in actual fact in awe of my big sister (I don’t know if she knew this) she could do anything, when I say anything I mean anything she was strong always the person to go too when the coke bottle lid was screwed on too tightly. She was protective if anyone even looked at me sideways she was there to defend me, she was smart and artistic if I ever needed Micky or Minnie mouse drawing she could do it, she could walk on the walls and ceiling ( later found out this was not true) she was beautiful everyone said so and she had the best style ever wearing Dr Martins, thick socks and short skirts to school! On the whole she was just so cool and she was my hero!!!!! I wanted to grow up to be just like her. Now don’t get this twisted when she was ready to be mean to me she would be mean (this did not in any way change the way I felt about her, outside of my mother, father and younger sister she is the person that loves me unconditionally). I can remember she would say to me quietly and firmly so as mom did not hear ‘don’t dare ask mommy to come with me because your not coming!!’, she would at times laugh at me with those two friends of hers. They were actually the first people I can remember calling me skinny, ‘blacky’ or pointing out that my nose was big. These as you will note are some of the things that developed into big insecurities for me.
Lets get back on track with the story at hand, as I said someone suggested we have a dancing competition and the confident child I was meant I was up front and centre in this competition . My sister had taught me how to do the shuffle, running man and a dance she called the basketball (I don’t know if anyone else is familiar with this dance). I had a large crowd around me and I was not shy at all. I had no thoughts in my head about how I looked, my complexion or my nose. I had no doubt in my mind about the fact that I was going to win this competition hands down. So I done a few dances and the crowd where cheering me on as they do ‘Gooo Sadia Gooo Sadia is all I could hear, on my last dance I pulled the basketball out of the bag! None of the other kids my age where doing that dance and the crowd went wild ‘ohhhhhh ohhhhh, Gooo Sadia Goooo Sadia Goooo Sadia. I loved it!!! I kid you not as I am writing this I am right back there in the hot sun with a big smile on my face. My confidence was soaring, and that makes me warm inside and brings that great big smile back to my face today.
My big sister and her two friends had no idea that there words would lay the foundations of my low self esteem. I do not place any blame on any person for these insecurities not even myself. I now identify that these experiences were some of the foundations for the negative belief system I developed. Please understand that I could have took this in a completely different way, I could have held onto all the confidence soaring moments such as my dancing competition, but for some reason as human beings we hold onto our negative experiences much tighter than we do our positive experiences. As I got older I would look for evidence to reinforce my negative experiences, for example, boys don’t talk to me because I’m not light skinned enough.
I use this example only for you to understand that our belief systems are developed at a very early age, and that we have to look back at how our belief systems were developed before we can change that system.
When I left prison, I moved into a women’s hostel and really took a look at my belief system along side, Therapists, Support Workers, Life Coaches plus plenty of course for self development (all of which were free). I took all the professional help I could get, but my learning curves came when I sat in my room by myself and really reflected on my life. I asked myself these three essential questions. I worked hard establishing the answers to these questions and I can assure you it is not an overnight job I continue to work on them today.
1) What do I believe about myself, Do I believe that all the negative thoughts about me are true. Is there concrete evidence to back up these negative beliefs? and do I need to continue to hold these negative beliefs about myself? Can I leave some of these beliefs behind and pick up a more positive belief system. This is not always easy to do because as described above I have held these beliefs from early childhood but with practice they can be changed. You can challenge them.
2) What are my Values? I realised that your values are extremely important, these are the standards that we set for ourselves to live by, They are our moral compass and will always keep us guided. I took on someone else’s values and dropped my own, I did not know the weight that our values hold in the decisions we make for our lives.
3) What do I want to stand for and why? when I leave this world what do I want my legacy to be? Is it that I handed my life over to others and allowed them to rule my life? No! This question was a difficult one to answer because I did not feel that I had a purpose. I felt that my purpose was to please others.
This is not the case today, but please don’t get me wrong Mr Man is not completely out of my system, well I should say the effects of that relationship and my childhood experiences are not completely out of my system, but I am a long way away from the girl that I was. Firstly I am back in the driving seat of my life. I am living aligned to my own values and beliefs and I feel liberated enough to tell my truth.
My advice is you sit with yourself and answer the three questions above, even if you feel your values and beliefs are all in order, there is nothing wrong with reviewing this, you do not know what you will find! In addition to this look back to your childhood, to establish what wounds live back there and require healing. Take a look at a time in your life where you felt you were happy confident and just being you. I would hold onto these happy memories and use them to remember what it feels like to be completely happy with yourself. Let these feelings grow inside of you until they become the prominent feelings you hold.
Make time for yourself and enjoy your week xxx