Mirror To Self || Note to Self
Photo By: Evan Sumlin
It was last week, about 9:15ishpm on May 29th, 2018 and I had just finished my weekly bath. Before my bath, I set my vibe with either my oil diffuser and oil of choice or a favorite go-to: my H&B NO.09 Vetiver Lavender & Rosemary Soy Candle . I also either choose an album I want to listen to in its entirety, an episode from a favorite podcast, a visual to watch, or I choose silence. This time, I chose my soy candle and to catch up on the few Black Girl in Om (BGIO) podcast episodes I’ve managed to pile up in my queue because: life. Also, if you are a stranger to BGIO (IG: @blackgirlinom or check out their website www.blackgirlinom.com), I urge you to get your dose of breathing easy with this bomb community for women of color founded by the lovely Lauren Ash. Anyways, I was led to the episode entitled “Womb Wisdom: Healing from the Inside Out” with Danielle Lyles Barton, an all around amazing spirit and creator of Healing for Her.
As I listened, the dots that have been floating in my own little world since the beginning of this year connected. I encourage you to do a full, uninterrupted listen (maybe even a few listens to catch these gems of life) of this amazing episode. Click here and get yourself ready to feel.
I won’t spoil anything for you but I do have a major takeaway that was discussed between all three beautiful ladies (Lauren Ash, Deun Ivory, Art Director of BGIO, and Danielle Lyles Barton) that is STILL resonating with my soul and reflects a little of where my growth is currently at now.
The sentiment that struck me the hardest from Danielle Lyles Barton was this concept of “dying daily”. She said it began to take on a whole new meaning when she realized she was grieving the loss of her old self, which included the trauma of heartbreak, depression, hurt, and more as she was guided to her purpose. When I heard her speak with such vulnerability about her journey, I instantly got hot. Like physically hot. My eyes prepared for a waterfall of tears as my body stayed outwardly still. My ears were pressed to every word. At that moment, I FULLY realized that 2018 Dana is no longer this pained mind, body, and spirit from 2011. Yeah, I knew I grew tremendously since then but I hadn’t had a moment of complete realization like that at all. And this unfamiliar but exhilarating space I have been living in since the start of 2018 has shown me that.
I no longer have to think and act like “2011 her” because though that is APART of my narrative, that’s NOT who I choose to be NOW.
Or as my therapist has explained to me: “not what my front cover looks like anymore”.
Honestly, it wasn’t until 2016 that I truly made that decision to no longer victimize myself. I felt that particular breakthrough led to a more intentional healing. I can also say that in 2016 I wasn’t living in the environment where I experienced the trauma that totally shifted my world.
I had to be isolated from everything I thought I knew + wanted to gain everything else that was on the other side of the fear I had in letting go and *actually* healing. I had to kill off this idea that living in that hurt and fear felt better than actually living the life I deeply knew that I deserved.
At that time, it was SO hard to choose me because I was in my own way. Crazy. I knew that this girl had to die daily in order for me to live in truth and freedom now but at that time I didn’t know exactly where to begin. I had realized quickly that it would take a mindful daily effort from me to want to be well.
Also, at that moment of stillness during my bath I realized not only that I wasn’t “2011 her” anymore but that the woman I am today is still dying daily to live out the purpose I’ve recently been given. Since I announced the creation of Scripted in Black: A WOC Reading Series , I’ve mentioned on numerous accounts that this passion project has brought such a newness to my life that I’m grateful to experience. Yes, it’s been beautiful but it’s revealing a woman I haven’t met before and that communion with her has been something y’all. Chilling, to say the least, because the *2011 her* would have never thought this version of Self was an option. BUT MY GOD!! I’m laughing as I type this because that’s really the only description I can give for what this ride has ALREADY started out to be. Lol.
See, creating a space for WOC to be free, transparent, honest, and gentle with themselves and their stories, to find their own healing through fellowship and accountability with other WOC, and to lift up how special and beautiful their womanhood truly is has RADICALLY nudged me to practice consistently what I encourage others to do. God basically said, “My child, you do know you’re not exempt from this, right?” And I said nothing. Because #WhyWouldIEvenDare. I knew that another shift in growth was coming but who knew it would be revealed LIKE THIS through my gift.
At the most recent Scripted in Black gathering a few weeks ago, I decided that the theme for the reading + Sister Chat would focus on the concept of Self-Communion. A concept that I simply defined as the act of putting the mirror up to self and whatever is revealed, we begin the process of acceptance through gentleness, love, patience, ease, and gratitude.
Fun Fact : I never know what theme I will choose for that month’s gathering until it’s revealed to me. I just allow Divine timing + alignment to do its thing. And that’s exactly what it did when I paired up with A. Slate , the featured writer for May’s gathering. I can go on and on about this phenomenal woman and her writing but the one thing I will say is that I am very sure we were brought into each other’s healing paths because of our gifts.
Photos By: #shotbyBJ
The power that each rehearsal held still fuels my days and creativity. The work around each piece we chose to create from is embedded in my soul’s script. Our time together allowed me to die daily, creatively and personally. I was challenged creatively to allow her truth to set the pace and not my expectations. It was about HER personal Self-Communion in those moments and not about my creative ego. Being able to let that go strengthened my ability to be present while opening up space for connectedness between our stories. Personally, I felt myself dying daily through the power of choice in defining my narrative today. I was inspired by her as we sorted through her repertoire of work. She made bold decisions in what pieces she felt served her NOW. It wasn’t that she ignored pieces she wrote in her past that reflected dark times in her life, it was that she didn’t allow herself to go back and be a prisoner to those moments. She chose life, moving forward. That motivated me to consistently work to kill the thoughts that aren’t breathing love and light into my life.
Photos By: #shotbyBJ
During the Sister Chat, I was moved by the conversation we had in discussing why it’s so important to make time for Self-Communion, especially for us WOC. One response that resonated is that it’s important simply for survival. Not only for ourselves but for our following generations of WOC. We have to preserve our mind, body, and soul through the intimate exploration + revival that a Self-Communion provides. We have to dig through those not so pretty parts so that we can accept them and then let them die daily to live easefully. You can check out the Sister Chat discussion by hitting on this link:
To me, Self-Communion is apart of the act of dying daily and as I remember those moments of shedding in that bathtub, I never felt more alive.
I deserved that peace and joy to actually acknowledge previous growth and healing while appreciating where it has placed me today to be open to greater evolution. And so do you. So take in those moments of acknowledgement and gratitude and don’t feel bad about it. You need to celebrate how far you came without shaming yourself on the strides you have to go.
I’ll leave you with the beautiful words from A.Slate's piece The Life of a Poem which ended May’s reading for Scripted in Black:
“For she had been hiding inside of a poem
Living beneath a rainbow
Creating the key
She stroked the canvas of living widely
She is the rainbow
She is the sea
She is the sun and the moon
She is the paper
She is the poem
She is a painting in vivid colors
Here at Scripted in Black
Life, is a poem”
I wanna know: How are you acknowledging your growth today? How does that fuel you to continue consistent evolution? #DieDailyForABetterYou