I have a beautifully worded tweet as my cover image on my Facebook page that contains the words, “The glory of God is Black people alive.” When I first saw it, I drank in each word of the sentence. Memorized each curve of every letter. I often share and fall in love with beautiful statements such as these. But too often I don’t live my life as though I’ve included myself in those phrases. I want beautiful life for others, I provide for others, and I cultivate and hold space for others to pursue the greatest things in their life, yet frequently cut corners on things connected to me.
Last Sunday a Black women’s group I’m part of met together in-person for the first time, surrounded by the beauty, joy, and life, of a Black Sanctuary Garden. In that sanctuary we shared about who we’re becoming and what we’ve triumphed and are triumphing over. One woman spoke about abundance, and how she was leaning into allowing herself to seek abundance for herself. That journey of allowing myself to feel abundance, to accept good and great things for myself, to stop cutting the corners on the things that are for me, is hard for me. And it makes it hard to let others help me. As my friend Amber says, it’s not even about putting on the oxygen mask first, it’s about saying I need a mask. And accepting it when it comes to you without feeling like I have to give it back tenfold.
I still recall two years ago, tears running down my face as I prayed over myself with my small group and asked that God would help me to believe that I was worthy of the same rest that I provide for others. I’m still praying, God.
I’ve been holding on to a lot of anger lately. It’s been a heavy load to carry. Angry at myself for convincing myself that the little voice at the back of my mind that said something was wrong wasn’t right because everything new could be explained by the pandemic. Angry at myself for grinding away day after day, while sharing messages about rest and healing. Angry at myself for not knowing how to stop all that now. When I went to see one of my specialists, the ancestors paved the way for there to be a last minute cancellation that allowed me to see a Black woman who would normally be booked out for months. She was kind and comforting, as we are to one another. So when I told her that I should have known sooner, and she came close to me and looked at me with earnest eyes and said that I had done my best and I had done all I could with all I knew at the time, it was the first time I believed those words.
I went for my first infusion on Monday. There’s a moment when the dark, rust-colored iron meets the saline solution and forms a beautiful amber color. I have to meet myself in the middle. Make something better now out of all of this.
Somewhere between the words of my doctor and laying in a hammock under the sun surrounded by Black women and nature, I forgave myself for who I couldn’t be for myself last year.
I won’t hold that anger any longer. I release myself from it.
I am here now. And that is okay.