Allowing people to follow your journey means being vulnerable at times. So, here I go.
Exactly two years ago I ended what was an extremely toxic relationship. As much as I would like to say that it was my choice, it was not. For the first few months I questioned what I ever did wrong to make someone treat me so poorly. I went back and forth about how it was their loss, not mine and “maybe if I would have done something differently.”
I thought that after over a year I had completely forgotten all the awful things that had been said to me throughout the past five years. Life had been nearly perfect thus far, why would I remember them?
Some of my work at LSNA has been to inform people on Democracy Ambassadors, the Bluest Lie campaign, TIF Surplus and now sanctuary schools. Meaning, I’ve had to do more public speaking than I am comfortable with. After every presentation, I would criticize myself. Either my Spanish was too choppy or I got nervous and didn’t mention something important or I didn’t know my information well enough and that’s why I forgot. I would go on and beat myself up. Every….single….time! Lety, an Education Organizer at LSNA, mentioned to me how she wanted my voice. She was amazed at how I projected my voice in a manner that I was able to draw people in and keep the attention of my targeted audience. I was shocked. I let her know that was something I thought I needed to work on.
Nancy, the Executive Director at LSNA, offered me a ride home during a rainy evening. On the way home she just let me talk. I talked about my family. I talked about being in love with what I am doing, but I didn’t feel smart enough, or good enough for the job. I didn’t realize how negative I was being about myself until she, in her angry motherly voice said, “Okay! Enough of this ‘I’m not smart’ talk!”
I reflected on that conversation a lot. I began to realize the stuff I was saying to them and to myself were merely the things I’ve been told I was. Years of hearing “You’re a dummy.””No one wants a fat bitch” “Gladys is stupid. You think I would want to be with her?” “You’ve always been bad at public speaking” you begin to believe it.Even though nearly two years had past those words STILL had an effect on me.My confidence and self-esteem may have gone up, but clearly I still didn’t feel valuable, important enough, or worthy of the respect of others or the work I was doing.I always knew who I was, I just forgot. And these two women I barley knew at the time reminded me.
This obviously didn’t just go away because I realized where those negative thoughts were coming from. I still beat myself up sometimes. I still hurt. I’m just trusting the process of truly healing.
Until next time.