Becoming a wife and a mom redirected my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Because of those roles and the constant learning experiences associated with each, I am able to do difficult things with ease and grace…this is true.
On the other hand, I have sometimes found myself suffering silently when it comes to daily tensions. I’m not talking about the top of the morning when I’ve read my Jesus Calling and my dad’s inspirational text message that comes through in the 8 o’clock hour…
I’m talking about after the professional/work day has been conquered and mom/wife returns home to provide the physiological, safety, love/belonging, and esteem needs of her family (and sometimes extended family). You give and give until what was once a spiritual quest becomes running for your life.
You never really experience a loss of God, but indeed a loss of self. The issues that arise in the aftermath of identity disappearance have been confidence-draining and sometimes brutal in that I end up doubting God’s love for me. This brings me to the first segment of a three-part Serenity Sunday Series where I will unpack the bags I’ve accumulated in this particular season of my life. Bag 1:
Somehow, I have led myself to believe that I can only operate in the world if others who are near and dear to me are being self-actualized. This essentially means I am often at the disposal of my husband, children, students, and/or community. I am on a journey to figure out how this need developed in me. I’m pretty sure its rooted in childhood: wanting to make sure everyone was taken care of, “scanning” people to figure out their emotional needs and then giving to them no questions asked, my fear of disappointing people, or wanting to meet the great expectations people had for me…
To fix this: I will learn to live independently and commit to being well within. If I am well, my environment will be well…my people will be well.
Actions I will take: I will learn to meet my own needs without over-relying on external systems. This includes making practical decisions without my spouse that can sustain our home, family, or future. I’m smart, and I can make solo moves. I will not become agitated when loved ones desire personal growth or change, but I will speak out if their evolution creates unjust patterns. Lastly, I will figure out what truly makes me happy (since that is ultimately the responsibility of the individual) by creating a lifestyle that I personally enjoy– that’s also inclusive of friends and other vital women. I will retreat more often to write, reflect, and pray. Finally, I will continue to help others without losing myself, my mind, my values, or my faith.
End of part one.
Clinnesha is a writer, wife, mom, meta-artist, and social entrepreneur who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families. Her work is at the intersection of arts, culture, innovation, and community.