My Journee to Self Love

To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.

Robert Morely

In 7th grade English my teacher gave out assigned seats. My assigned seat was in front of this young white male. He began throwing small balls of paper at me during class. I turned around to tell him to stop and he advised me to go back to Africa. Annoyed by his ignorance I quickly reminded him that America would be boring without black people. He laughed and agreed and made a snarky comment about black people being entertaining. I rolled my eyes and turned back around in my seat and he continued to throw paper at me. Finally after an hour I picked a few paper balls up and threw them back at him.

Our English teacher yelled at me and gave me dentition. I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t understand why the guy who I’ll call Liam could make racial comments and harass me all class, but I ended up with detention. The teacher told me if I didn’t react I wouldn’t have gotten into trouble, acknowledging that he knew what was going on but still chose to only punish me. The teacher also moved Liam from behind me to across from me to the very next row over.

After the my initial encounter with Liam I really disliked him. He annoyed every fiber of my being. The next day in English class Liam told me that he thought I was beautiful. Liam was confusing, but he was also the first male to tell me I was beautiful. I didn’t say thank you to Liam because I figured he was joking but a part of me oddly felt good. I felt happy that someone other than myself appreciated my beauty. Someone didn’t think I was the weird fat black girl.

From the first time he called me beautiful I started developing strange feelings for Liam. He was tall with blonde hair and blue eyes your typical all America boy. From the first time Liam called me beautiful he never stopped. He rubbed my arms and held my hands during class. I made sure to always wear a short sleeve shirt to English. Then one day he told me he loved me. I didn’t say it back because I was afraid to and I didn’t understand my feelings. Honestly I felt liked I loved Liam too but we were kids who knew nothing about love. I knew nothing about expressing myself or my feelings.

One day I dropped my pen and asked Liam to pick up the pen for me.

“Call me master” Liam said jokingly

One of our other white male classmates overheard Liam and advised him that his comment was too far. I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe that Liam actually said that to me. I was so hurt and couldn’t believe I allowed myself to be apart of his slave fantasy. I felt so ashamed and so stupid. I left out the classroom and refused to come back. I did not care about the consequences.

The English teacher wrote me up and I was sentenced to a week of detention and a week of in school suspension at lunch. My parents also punished me by grounding me for a week and beating me. I felt so dumb the consequences didn’t matter to me I was numb and heartbroken.

After I healed from the beating, completed detention and in school suspension I was right back in English across from Liam. However I had nothing to say to him. He apologized profusely but I hated him.

Then one day a few weeks into me ignoring Liam like he never existed to me he stopped me in the hallway after lunch. He apologized again this time he looked me in the eyes. I felt like he was hurting and sincerely apologetic.

“Baby girl I’m sorry. I love you” he said and then he hugged me.

I melted in his arms and laid my head on his chest. The moment was perfect. I didn’t tell him I loved him but I did. I didn’t tell him I forgave him but I did. I loved him calling my baby girl. It made me feel special.

I didn’t think he was racist at the time I just thought he was a product of his environment. Living in a predominantly white area sometimes people used racial slurs or said racist things they would later apologize for and I was used to that. Honestly we were kids, and even at a young age I realized kids aren’t born racist or hateful. Kids are taught those behaviors. My parents would have died if they knew I was in love with a white guy. We were kids and I told myself he had to be taught that behavior. I didn’t blame him I blamed the word. I still blame the world.

That strange dynamic between us lasted all the way through high school. One day I thought he cared for me and the next day someone was telling me he said he would never date a black girl. I would be hurt or sad but I never stopped loving him. He was the first guy to make me feel beautiful.

Fast forward to present day I discussed Liam and the roll that he played in my young life with my therapist. I told her once again how Liam made me feel. She paused and said “let’s be clear Liam said some pretty awful hurtful racist things to you. Let’s acknowledge the toxic role he played in your life”.

I felt so dumb once again. I credited Liam with making me feel beautiful and helping me love myself. I never really acknowledged the toxic role Liam played in my life. I found that since Liam I continued to gravitate towards men who hurt me or men who are mean to me. I attracted men who were prone to anger. It’s almost like I think I deserve a man who in one breath will tell me I’m beautiful and god’s gift to the world, but in the next breath tell me I’m worthless.

I am a work in progress and I realize that I have to 100 percent love myself before I can expect anyone to love me. I realize my worth and I have made a promise to myself to heal from past traumas. I made a promise to myself to always know my worth and never settle for less. It’s so cliche but love isn’t supposed to hurt you or break you.

My First Heartbreak

I remember it was a Thursday morning and I woke up extremely late for school. I was rushing to get the bush, and I needed to brush my teeth before I left the house. I would have skipped the whole day, before I left the house without brushing my teeth. When I went to brush my teeth the bathroom door was locked because someone was showering. I waited and I waited for the person in the shower to finish until I couldn’t wait any longer. I grabbed a spare toothbrush and toothpaste and quickly brushed my teeth in the empty kitchen sink before running out the door. I barely caught the bus, but I made it to school on time.

Later that day I came home from school and my father was sitting on the couch waiting for me to arrive. He asked why I brushed my teeth in the sink, and I explained that I was running late, and someone was in the bathroom. He was upset and explained how nasty that was and how inconsiderate I was for opening new toothpaste. I really felt like he was blowing the situation out of portion. Yes, I shouldn’t have overslept but that did not warrant a massive argument. My father started ranting and I started daydreaming about whatever teenage girls think about at that age.
Halfway through my daydream my father started choking me. I felt his hands wrap around my neck and I couldn’t breathe. I fought back trying to get him to let go of my throat. I don’t know how long it was before he let go but it felt like forever. He let me go and I ran out of the house never looking back at him. I ran to my best friend’s house who lived up the street and called my aunt to tell her what happened. She came to get me immediately and I stayed over her house.
Once I got to her house, she called the rest of my family and explained to them what happened. My whole family was in a complete uproar and wanted my father punished.
I was at my Aunt’s house for three days, and I couldn’t miss anymore school. My aunt finally talked to my mother who advised her that my father denied choking me.
“I need you to tell me exactly what happened and this is serious so please be completely honest” my aunt said.
I explained to her the situation once more, and my aunt advised me that she believed me. Knowing that my aunt believed me made me feel good. Knowing my mother seemed to believe my father made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t understand why my own mother would choose not to believe me. I would never lie about something so serious.
After five days my aunt advised me that she couldn’t keep me any longer. She advised she was taking me back home, but she would get me on weekends and the situation was far from over.
I went home and went straight to my room. I didn’t want to talk to my father, but more than anything I didn’t want to talk to my mother . For some strange reason I hated my mother more than my father. My mother was supposed to protect me from danger even if the danger was her husband . I felt like my mother should put me her child her first born first but instead she chose to believe her “man”. I vowed to myself never to be that kind of woman. The kind of woman who would let love or a man control her life. I vowed that day to always believe my child over anyone else.
Almost three months later I was talking to my parents about an issue. I don’t remember what exactly I was talking to them about, but I vividly remember blurting out to my father that he chocked me. I remember that without any remorse my father blatantly admitted to choking me.
“I choked you to get your attention” he said nonchalantly.
Shocked that he finally admitted that I looked to my mother. “This is her moment” I thought to myself. She couldn’t deny or ignore the fact that my father admitted to choking me. She had no choice but to react to my father’s shocking admission.
However my mother did not budge. She didn’t make on sound and acted like she wasn’t even in the same room. I hated everything about her. What kind of woman wouldn’t protect her child? What kind of woman could know that her child was abused but not care? It appeared my mother only cared about being married and staying married. I guess that’s what a good wife does. It was at that moment I told myself that I never wanted to be married if that meant sacrificing my self-respect, dignity and womanhood just to please a man. My parent’s marriage made me never want to get married.
Fast forward many years and I find myself sitting in my therapist office talking about my current day situation. I explained to her how even after my son’s father Jhavier girlfriend witness him punching me in the face in front of our three-year-old son she stayed with him and defended him. I explained to my therapist that even after Jhavier attempted to commit vehicular manslaughter and hit me with a car while her child and several other children were in the car she stayed. It was as if having a man meant more to her than standing up and doing the right thing. I hated her and I couldn’t understand what type of woman would stay with a man who showed no regard for life. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t feel like she deserved so much better. I pondered was her fear of being alone so great or was her self-esteem just that low?
My therapist asked me if Jhavier girlfriend’s actions upset because she reminded me of my mother. I realized I didn’t hate Jhavier’s girlfriend I hated what she stood for in my life. She was another woman willing to sacrifice her self-worth and respect for a man.
Present day I have a much better relationship with both of my parents. I love them and they are awesome grandparents. My childhood molded me into the strong take no nonsense person that I am today! My childhood made me vow to myself never to accept piece of a man because I deserve a whole man that will treat my son and myself with love and respect.
I would encourage all parents to trust and believe their children. Take action and protect your children at all cost!