In 2009 I was fed up with life! I was tired. I had no motivation. I lacked the will to continue living the same miserable life day in and day out. A couple years before this I decided it was time to work on myself. I started seeing a therapist as I tried to reconcile my life with God and myself. In a moment of truth, I resolved if my life was just going to be the same way it had been, God could take it right then. Most people wouldn’t think my life was too shabby. I was working in Corporate America making more money than I should have with just a high school diploma. I had a nice apartment right on the lake. I drove a nice 2 door sports car. I was living the dream, right? WRONG! In retrospect I must admit I was denying my truth, even without knowing what it was.
Lost and dejected. Spiritless and broken. The list could go on and on. I was a bad daughter and an awful friend. I was hopeless. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for me because to me there was no end. The tunnel, in its infinite darkness, was my life and there was no way out. Can you imagine? I’m sure some of you can not just imagine, but empathize because you’ve been there before as well. I wish I had known then I was denying my truth. It would have been great perspective, but I guess hindsight really is 20/20.
A really long story short: I quit my job. I lived for three years with no income. I tried to get jobs with no luck. I relocated thinking being in a different place geographically would heal my broken and wounded spirit. I began pursuing a relationship and discovery of God outside of the confines of religion and denomination. As a preacher’s kid, I must tell you this was no easy feat. I begin to peel off the layers of doubt, lack of self-love, uncertainty and began to learn how to love God, myself and others. I no longer allowed fear to be my guide. Instead I learned how to trust God, have faith and be hopeful. I learned how to smile again instead of constantly frowning (yes there was a permanent crease in my forehead). Even though I still hadn’t found my whole truth, I began to follow wisdom on a journey of living in the truth I would eventually ascertain. I let go of everything I felt was hindering me and enabled me to continue to deny my truth. This included what I thought to be my truth but in reality turned out be a false perception of it. Fast forward to May 2016.
I’ve been back on the coast for 4 weeks now. Been back? Yes, I actually left. I found myself feeling trapped by my own accord. I originally got to the coast in September 2014. I was full of life, spirit, hope and love. I knew my heart, my spirit, my internal compass ( I call it the Holy Spirit) was leading me to a place I’d never known before. I could really relate to the story of Abraham in the bible. God instructed Abraham to leave his home country. Abraham had to let go of his family, his friends, associates, and acquaintances. You name it; Abraham had to let it go. Everything familiar gone. Everything secure released. Abraham was able to walk away from everything except his truth. Abraham’s truth allowed him to trust God in the unknown, insecurity and uncertainty of living in faith. Abraham’s faith didn’t waiver. He moved and trusted God to tell him when he got to the place where he would eventually settle; a place unknown to him. I thought my life was parallel to Abraham until I realized once God brought me to a new place, I began to deny my truth.
[Before I move on, I want to say this is not a passive aggressive way to preach about God. This is my journey and God is a great part of it for me. Without God, I’d still be denying my truth. So please, if you have reservations about religion, trust that I do to and rest assured this is definitely not about religion. I’m just sharing personal experience in a personal way.]
I came to the coast ready, willing and able to live in my truth and my purpose. I have passion for God. It’s not something that came easy. I’ve had to sacrifice and struggle to maintain my faith and hope in God. I pursued God relentlessly until I stopped. After moving to the coast my authenticity was challenged. My truth began to feel more like trouble. In “religious” circles and not I slowly began to ease out of my truth. I didn’t fit in much around my new environment. Being different was beginning to seem like a pain in the… It was so gradual at first. I didn’t even recognize the signs. Life was moving forward fast and furious. I was a new girl in town. I won’t place as much emphasis on me being one of the 0.01 percent of people of color in the area (talking about race makes a lot of people uncomfortable).
After finding my way on the coast I continued to deny my truth (unbeknownst to me). I was meeting new people; growing in a new community. As I hadn’t lost my whole truth I was still able to represent bits of it, a little at a time. I was afraid too much of me at one time might intimidate people and I wouldn’t be welcome into their circles. My internal spiritual light began to go dim. I don’t blame this on other people. I totally take responsibility for my thoughts and actions which led me down this path of denial. I started to care too much what people thought of me without considering just maybe my truth was just what was needed. Again, I’m not talking about bible thumping, street preaching (even though I did do worship on the beach) and condemning sinners to hell. As I left the small spiritually community I’d connected with and began to take root on the coast, I lost my faith along the way. I never stopped believing God exists, but I did start to wonder if I had been mistaking my love of God (and truth) for a fantasy only to come true in the pages of a book I’d never get to write.
So, I did what fear does to me. I went back to old habits and rekindled a love affair with doubt, despair and destruction. I had some bright spots along the way. I had amazing opportunities to share my truth through cooking soul food for almost a year. I got any job I applied for. I didn’t have ideal housing, but in a place that is plagued with not having affordable and ample housing I was able to keep a roof over my head. But each place I landed, everywhere I went, I denied a little bit more of my truth. By the time I left the coast six weeks ago, my only truth sent me spiraling downhill in depression and defeat.
Early last year as I was trying to find my way on the coast I met a pastor. One day he asked me what was I running from. My response was for the first time ever, I wasn’t running from anything. How wrong I was! I was running from my truth but I hadn’t realized it yet. Denying my truth killed my spirit! I was living such a different life I didn’t recognize myself. It saddened me to look in the mirror because I could no longer see my truth. My spirit died on the inside because I could no longer feel my truth. I’ve tasted the bitterness, lies and deceit of cigarettes and alcohol. I teetered in a relationship because I thought it would make me feel better. In truth it only helped me to keep denying my truth. It wasn’t him, it was me. I stopped going to church because of a couple bad experiences. If you would have ever told me I would deny my truth after moving to the coast I would have never believed it! (Reminds me of Peter denying Jesus 3 times.)
I’m back on the coast and rediscovering my truth, why it is my truth and what happens when I deny my truth. I’ll share with you what I’ve learned. Remember how I described my life in the beginning of the post: Lost and dejected. Spiritless and broken. As I began to deny my truth this is how I felt, once again. Add in there shame, self-pity and depression. People saw bits of pieces of my truth, but the death I was feeling inside could only come from denying it fully and wholeheartedly. The truth about denying your truth it that is sucks. It’s detrimental and I believe the difference between life and death. Once we discover our truth it is our responsibility to live in it. I totally threw my convictions to the wayside to “fit in” because around these parts there is a “spiritual” movement that sometimes doesn’t have anything to do with God. I live in a small town, and [sometimes] small minds. We’re all supposed to think alike right? WRONG!
I’ve written all of this to encourage you to live in your truth! Once you find it, hide it in your heart. Never let anyone, including yourself, deny you your truth. Live in it because your life depends on it. It might seem like you’re on a sinking ship. You may think you’ve lost your mind. People will call you crazy and talk behind your back. Folks will steer clear of you. Still, live in your truth. What’s worse than living in your truth? Denying it! Fight for it, it’s your right and duty. It’s my right and my duty. Don’t continue to live in a false sense of reality. That is when we suffer. Don’t quench your thirst for life. Live in your truth. Who cares if it’s never been done a certain way before? It’s okay to be different as long as you’re living in your truth. The world needs your truth. The people around you need to see the benefits of living in one’s truth. Be empowered to live in your truth when the world is full of deception. Once you find it, fight like hell to keep it. Give yourself permission. Embrace your truth and live in it. As for me, I’m no longer denying my truth. I’ve fought to find my truth again and I won’t ever let it go again. Won’t you join me?