This I Believe

Valencia - Los Angeles, California
Entered on August 8, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the power of self-acceptance.

It was three years ago I lay crying in the fetal position on the floor of my bedroom. For the first time in my life I began to doubt a life-long held belief that said I could handle anything. However, it was painfully clear; I couldn’t handle this – the spiritual transition of the woman who personified the concept of unconditional love – my maternal grandmother.

I wasn’t sure what caused me more anguish – the loss of my beloved grandma or my feeling sorry for myself in the wake of facing for the first time in my life that I truly was not in control of everything that happened. Either way, both were very hard pills to swallow.

It hurt. I hurt. And I was mad as hell.

Crying uncontrollably on the floor of one’s bedroom can be quite a humbling experience bringing much introspection. Here I was – age 36 – and along with the death of my grandmother – I was forced to deal with this loss – combined with all the other drama in my life – alone. My life had not quite turned out as I had expected. For there I laid – a mere shell of myself – questioning all the things I once was so sure of. What on earth was wrong with me? Something had to be wrong because Lord knows there was nothing about the way I was feeling that was right.

A single mother of one, college-educated, owner of my own business, and without a companion – a love to call my own who I fully expected to be available during such a time as this; to say this is not quite how I pictured my life would be an understatement. Yet, I was alone; feeling pathetic and sorry for myself and angry with the Great Almighty. Clearly, I was depressed.

There. I said it. The infamous “D” word that I never before dare to speak. For as a strong, Black woman I did not have the luxury of being depressed. I was far too busy proving I could succeed in life despite whatever negative images about me existed outside Oprah Winfrey and Condoleeza Rice.

So now what? Where was I to go from here; without the encouraging strength of my darling grandmother?

With that, as I bathed in the shallow end of my self-pity, I decided I desperately needed to simplify my life and in doing so, I realized I just needed to give myself a break. And as with any great epiphany, it became crystal clear. I had been far harder on me than anyone else could ever be. The only way out of this funk was to begin the process of loving myself; right where I was. Unconditionally; just as my grandmother had always done. For what better way to honor her, than to honor me with the love she imparted so selflessly.