I was tasked, in February, with writing an update on my self-love journey. Well, I couldn’t find the words. I was empty. I felt empty. I kept asking myself, “Who Am I?”
How could I write about a journey that had been derailed? I was now questioning everything. The woman I was becoming was a fraud. I was living the life everyone else had defined for me. I was living a life of fear. Aggressive, angry, sad, anti-kids, bully, void of smiles and affection, confrontational…the list goes on. These are words used to describe me by family, friends, co-workers and strangers. Instead of correcting them and my behavior, I accepted it as my identity. Everything said about me, I internalized and made it mine. I owned it, in hopes of quieting it.
But I was never able to quiet my thoughts.
So, now its June 1, and I’m ready to write. I’m ready to claim my identity, one that is defined and molded with the guidance of God.
When the isolation started…
I was coming off one helluva 35th birthday celebration. I was floating on a cloud. I danced all night, enjoyed good company. I was excited about the new year of growth. New relationships, opportunities and celebrations. Life was GOOD!
NYE arrived and I ACTUALLY had plans. The first time in 35 years, I had plans that required me to put on my fancy sequins and leave the house (peep the pic lol). You couldn’t tell me nothing. The night was great! The food, entertainment and company was awesome! The DJ screwed up the countdown but who cares, I was out and it was perfect. I was going to enter the new year sending good energy to attract more.
So, I thought.
I received a text from someone close to me. Our conversation that day, caught me off guard. I was confused. I was hurt. The tone had been set for the next 5 months. Isolation.
Things were not the same. We tried to pretend things were good, but the elephant was sitting at the table with us.
After things did not improve. I had to remove myself. Over the next few weeks, I felt isolated from life; my life. It was as if someone had voted me off the island in a game, I had no clue I was playing.
How could this be? I was experiencing the best and worst time of my life. I was dating. No, being courted. I mean 6 dates in a week, flowers and more. People in my circle was thriving. There was good news all around.
However, on the inside, I felt alone. A part of me shifted, I was not the Brandi everyone knew me to be. I didn’t recognize her in the mirror. It was scary and confusing. I kept asking, “Who Am I?”
I tried to keep myself busy. Business was booming but it was not a distraction. My relationship was good, but it was not a distraction from the pain.
Between dates and hanging with friends, I’d lay on the couch and cry. Then went to bed and cried most nights. I had never felt rejection and loneliness in this way before. For once, I was not strong enough.
To deal, I started doing everything I disliked. I began to control and manipulate to get my way. I became overly emotional about everything. If something went wrong, I reacted as if “the world was ending.”
Clearly, it wasn’t, but it felt like mine was. My identity was intertwined with this torn relationship.They were my influencers. I looked to them for approval. But, they are rejecting me. Isolation.
When I started coming back around, it was only a shell of myself. I was present, but it felt as if I was looking through a glass of myself in the room. I was in a sunken place, like Get Out. I sat in silence and observed everyone else interact as if life was great, while my eyes called out for help. Isolation.
Eventually, the control spilled into my love life. What I didn’t anticipate was someone calling me on my bs. He was holding me accountable for my actions, my happiness and my fears. God needed me to see how I had been my own worse enemy all of my life. This new relationship was putting the mirror in my face, exposing me. I was irrational, emotional and angry. I couldn’t escape.
How did this guy know me so well in such a short time? How dare he see me for who I was or pretending to be. This made me vulnerable and resentful. To get backup, I talked to my girls, but they didn’t side with me. God was using him.
One friend would send messages or tag me in posts that was always relevant, without knowledge of my specific struggle that day. She’d leave the hashtag, #preparation. I’d laugh with her in agreement but wasn’t entirely convinced I could change. God was using her.
Jump to May 1:
A tug on my spirit to change grew stronger. I was asked again, “Who am I?”
Would I continue to embrace the traits I disliked? Would I continue to choose pain because it was comfortable? Would I continue to be confrontational? Would I allow myself to slip further into depression? Would I continue to isolate myself or define new boundaries that allowed me to be present while protecting my peace? Would I be affectionate around others? Would I build healthy relationships with those around me? Would I embrace the task needed to become the woman I wanted to be?
These questions played in my head, constantly (my mind fucks). I began to lose myself, further. I was torn between letting go of the person had been for years and the woman I yearned to be. A part of my identity was dying and I was in mourning. Isolation.
For a moment, I was able to relate to those that are suicidal. To wake everyday with the same problems with no resolution in sight; while dealing with identity issues and having to present to the world that you are ok, when you’re not. It was mentally and physically exhausting. I cried one morning, “I see why someone would want to leave this earth. This is draining.” Isolation.
No, I did not want to harm myself. But in that moment, I understood the reasoning. That was the start of the breakthrough.
From the start, my guy kept telling me to pray, fast. I said ok, but ignored the act. In this entire recap, I was attending church and doing devotionals, but my faith was stagnant. I couldn’t see how this situation would get better. That’s because my focus was not on the right things.
If I were honest, I had not prayed over my situation in a way that would change me. I prayed for others to change, for the situation to change.
One night, after acting out on my emotions, I called another friend and confessed, “I’m depressed.” She ALSO recommended that I pray. We made an agreement to never allow each other to get that low. We would love on each other until we were good. God was using her.
After our call, I prayed to God to change me; to allow me to grow. I cleansed my home with sage to remove my negative energy. Burned traits about me that I did not like. Wrote in my journal to introduce positive thoughts. Started reading extra devotionals that focused around isolation, fear and forgiveness.
God showed me that I had to gain control of myself, not others. I was responsible for my actions. To change my circumstances, I had to choose to let go. May would be the longest month of life… I had let go of who Brandi used to be and embrace the journey of answering Who Am I?
I had never apologized, sincerely, for any of my actions. I would act a fool, give half of an apology then flip it to “I only did this because you…” This day, all of that changed. I still have some apologies to give and relationships to mend, but it felt good to own up to my mess.
I woke up feeling great. I was able to release emotions. Suddenly, my praise returned. I hadn’t acknowledged God’s presence all year, event while in church. I isolated myself from Him too. BUT GOD. It felt like being welcomed home with a warm embrace. I was myself but new.
I still have work to do and relationships to redefine. Things may not be the same and that’s ok. All of this was needed for me to grow. I am starting to answer the question, Who Am I?
I am sweet and feisty. I am quiet and opinionated, when asked. I am shy and the life of the party on the dance floor (bring the battle). I am vulnerable and protective of my peace. I am a survivor. I am professional and hood (when the beat drops). I am affectionate and loving. I am nurturing and understanding. I am funny (in a dry, matter of fact kinda way). I am compassionate and empathetic. I am romantic. I am creative and passionate. I am hopeful and happy. I am God’s child. The list goes on, but most importantly, I am a woman in constant preparation for the life God has for me…
Thank you, God. More, please.
If you know someone that suffers from depression/anxiety and may be suicidal, please get them help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday