Who am I?
Who am I? That is the question.
Many people search for the answer throughout their whole lives. Some get it within a short time span. Whilst, the rest of us are still looking for that answer well into our late 30's.
It's not that we are incapable of bettering ourselves or pursuing our goals. It’s just that as we become older, we put ourselves under pressure especially if we are not in a place where we intended to be by a certain age. Which means we feel like we have failed, because there are so many things we haven't done and the thought of failure makes us feel lost. But, all we have to do is surround ourselves with positive individuals who will push us in the right direction and help us filter whatever we need to figure out.
In my younger years, I thought I had figured out who I was and what I hoped to achieve. I was strong, ambitious, fearless, creative, open-minded to change and ready to take on the world. Whether that meant accomplishing my personal goals, or achieving change towards women through my actions. I wasn't a feminist, but I believed in equality.
Being head girl at secondary school encouraged me to have a voice. It gave me the opportunity to see what my leaderships skills were all about. I yearned for the excitement, only because I had so much energy bursting inside.
I wanted to travel the world, learn about different cultures, experience different ways of living and on that journey, learn about my roots, my culture, my background and where I came from. I knew my mother and father were the reason for my existence and I was born into a country that I had no choice but to live in. But, I was aware that the nature and beauty of my background would be in the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Jamaica. Places I had never been to or knew anything about.
These were the islands I had always believed weren't for me because I was British.
In fact, there was more to me than I had realised. I had family in these beautiful islands whom I'd never met.
So why was it that I never travelled to those places? Was it the lack of money available at the time? Had it not been the right time in my life? Or was it the fact that I didn't have the right company to accompany me in my Caribbean adventure?
But I guess, growing up for me back in the days was about living, getting a good education and finding my feet. I wanted to plan the direction I was heading, rather than focus the person I was to become, which should have been just as important. I wanted to be in a good place once I settled at a later stage. That meant owning my own house, running a business and living my life like it was golden.
Like many people, my life took a turn at the age of 25 when I became a mother and at that point I was a mum and no longer Danielle. I was limited in what I could do. I missed out on a high paid print design job that was promised to me before I fell pregnant. I was living alone miles away from family and friends and my bundle of joy was relying on me to give him the best possible upbringing. So, I of course forgot about me, my wants and my needs to fulfill my role as a parent successfully. I focused on being the best mother I could be and at that point in time, that was my only purpose. I had to make sacrifices to survive.
Who was I? I was a protector, a guardian, a provider and I was doing my best.
The disappointment in myself grew after I had my second son. I was a single mother with two sons and I felt that I had failed them for not giving them the fathers they deserved. I questioned why I was still making mistake after mistake and not learning from previous errors?
What was I becoming? Was I now this single mother who had nothing going for herself? Was I a loser? Was I less of a woman for not being able to hold down two relationships? Was this the kind of person I was always going to be?
In 2011, I overcame depression, the same depression that had consumed me for years to the point that I felt I was worth nothing. I picked myself up over a period of time, because I didn’t want to end up being a nobody. I was better than that. I had to remind myself of my strength. I had to convince myself of who I was. I was a fighter. If I could go through all that I had and still come out OK, I could go through a lot more. So, I published two books, started and shut down a clothing label, started blogging, mentoring and vlogging. I spoke at seminars for women who suffered domestic violence. I organised motivational seminars to motivate and inspire other women who may have needed uplifting. I focused my attention on mothers who were possibly in the shoes I was in many years before. I felt everything I was doing was from the good of my heart.
Who was I? I was a strong independent black woman, who had put her past behind her to give her attention to others. I was a mother, I was the person people looked up to and the woman everyone came to for help and advice. But, a part of me still felt lost. I still needed support for myself. I was happy, but I wasn’t complete.
I made many more mistakes over the years and the more mistakes I made, forced me to become even more lost. I was continuously living in a cycle that drained me. I felt like I was in a hole constantly struggling to raise both my children regardless of all my efforts. I kept questioning whether I'd be alone for the rest of my life. Would I then be a bitter old woman who was rocking in her chair once her children got older? I couldn't trust men because the men in my past life had always let me down. I didn't have the answers to everything that was going wrong in my life, but I was trying to find them in more ways than one.
Then one day, I met someone who made me question who I was again. In his eyes I was in not in touch with my true culture. I didn't know who I was and that is why I was struggling so much with life. I feared change and I was living in fear.
This man believed that whilst I may have thought I knew who I was, I was living in a Westernised mindset that wasn't going to work for what I was destined to achieve. To open my eyes, I had to open myself to other ways of life. I had to become unconventional in my way of thinking. I had to wake up and reject all the negativity that had been embedded in my mind. We are so accustomed to failure, that we believe we are destined to fail. When in fact, every failure leads to success.
At first, I was hurt. I felt like I was being put down. I was under the impression I was being criticised for all my efforts. I was in denial, mainly because I never thought there was anything wrong with me. How could I transform so easily when living in the western world is all that I have ever known? How could I embrace a culture I knew nothing about? After all, culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. I was raised around British culture.
Understanding my heritage and culture would require more than reading and gaining knowledge. I would have to experience it.
It took me a while to grasp what I was being told. I realised I had to be the change I wanted to see in the world. I had to live in balance. Be able to manifest what I needed, when I needed it. But first have appreciation and gratitude for the things I already had. I had to be true to myself and live in the moment.
‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment’. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Change takes time and loving to embrace the inner me needs total commitment. Something that I am happy to work on.
Learning to deal with challenging experiences has tested my levels of sanity. It hasn't been easy, but I have survived. For me to know what I am destined for, I have to go through many trials and tribulations to learn what I am not comfortable with in order to make that change. Knowing what to except and reject. It’s about focusing on what I enjoy and get fulfilment from. It’s about believing in myself. Only I know what I want and need. It’s just how much am I prepared to sacrifice to get what I need from life?
Life is a learning experience. I have been a mum waiting around for life to happen. But I pray that the universe will guide me to be happy within, so that radiance will shine brightly outwardly. If my dreams come true one day, I will feel blessed. If they don't, I will be happy being me.
I am going to do whatever I need to do for myself and my boys so that we can all be happy. I have focused too long on what everyone else expects me to be. I have felt disheartened by other peoples opinion of me. I have tried to live up to other peoples expectations, but the only person I need to satisfy is the person reflecting in my mirror.
Today the 9th of November, I remind myself of the person I am.
Who am I?
I am a Queen, a mother, a warrior, a lover of life, a hard worker, a creator of memories, an unconventional woman, who is beautiful both inside and out.
I am grateful for all that I have.
I am kind.
I am Danielle.