Last week on Facebook, I posted this picture in a moment of brief grief, remembering how I was pregnant with my son Jordan who died shortly after birth on July 18, 1996. I wasn’t seeking sympathy or “likes”. I was talking out loud. What I realized was that I was having a “real” moment and sometimes, when you are a person who is in the public eye, people can view you as “superhuman.” I am the first person to tell you I have no special D.N.A. and every piece of fight in me is because I HAD to fight. Without giving you my autobiography, I think it would be fair to say that I have had my share of challenges, my share of breakdowns and my share of sorrow. Actually, right before I got pregnant with Jordan, months before my ex husband and I were wed, I was suicidal. It all seems so trivial. But as I look at the weight in my face and remember that season in my life, I can remember that familiar feeling of needing to be the “strong” one, to say nothing was wrong when EVERYTHING felt wrong. And the more I internalized it, the more I suffered, the more weight I gained, the worse I felt about myself, the more I ate. And then after my son died in my arms, I spent the next year in a haze. I did eventually get pregnant and graduated with my degree that year but my marriage suffered and eventually ended and I took so many anti-depressants and sedatives and gained so much weight that I cannot even remember who Tasha really was.
Sometimes I wonder if I know now.
As a child, I experienced/saw some very grown up situations and I often kept those emotions in for fear that I could not be seen as “weak”. And it’s a behavior I have carried for longer that I should have. It seems to be something women specifically seem to adapt early and easily. We take in the problems of the world, we give out to the world and we don’t replenish because we are the ones who have to uphold the universe. Outside of the scientific facts that we cannot argue with (men do naturally have more muscle mass and therefore faster metabolism), we seem to have the most weight problems. We become addicted to the pleasure food offers us because we are too afraid to step up and say we are miserable in other facets of our lives. It’s unfair to say how miserable we are or even acknowledge it because if we step away, then we are giving up and weak. And what REAL women does that?
One that is TIRED of wearing that cape. Because the truth is, there is NO REAL POWER IN IT. More than a cape, for most of us, it’s a cover. We want to feel needed to cover for the fact that we need and we don’t feel like we deserve to be cared for because we have always been the caregivers. It’s a heavy price to pay in more than one way, emotionally and physically. Erykah Badu said it best, “Bag Lady, you go’n hurt yo back, draggin’ all dem bags like that.” That includes capes and extra weight from not letting that stuff go. She goes on to say, “I guess nobody ever told you all you must hold on to is YOU, is YOU, is YOU!”
It’s time to set it down so we can take care of our bodies and our minds. It’s hard to focus on going to the gym or eating healthy food when you can’t even think straight to get out of the bed or make time to go to the grocery store because your life is wrapped up around everybody else. It’s not being selfish. It’s being self-full. You can serve others when you are at your best.
Take your cape off and put your tennis shoes on instead. Let’s get moving towards surrendering the need to try to change lives by our self given super powers. Your power is in your letting go.