One of my favourite sites besides The Smoking Section is Chan-Lo.com – I came across her site after TSS’ wrap up on their #HoopXHang Basketball event at SXSW this year and have followed her on twitter since. She has a whole bunch of cool stuff going on over on her site – Chicks n Kicks, free music mix downloads and all sorts …. In amongst it all I found this really cool section on her site called Press Praise and I think I spent one whole morning going through all of her Press Praise posts before I went to work! I’ve really wanted to do something similar here but me being me, I’ve procrastinated on it for most of the year and couldn’t come up with another name for it blah blah and then I remembered I used to email my cousin all these scripture references and inspirational quotes and I’d just title the emails “Soul Food” so I thought hey! Soul Food is good enough lets just roll with that.
One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is self worth and not feeling like I’m “good enough” – one of the main reasons I procrastinated so long on doing one of these posts on my sites was because I didn’t think I was “good enough”, I was like uh hello! you barely make it to church on time or at all so what makes you think you can write one of these? Uh yeah, I missed church again this morning btw – mah bad! Next week!! And yes, Jesus still loves me …. 😛
Probably the biggest example of having no self-worth and it all coming to a head and having to deal with it was being in a really abusive marriage. I stayed in the marriage way longer than I should have mostly because I told myself stuff like ‘You deserve this, you didn’t listen to your parents, this is what you get – its karma for all the times you jumped out of your window and went partying when you were a teen, you deserve this, you deserve this, this is what you get’ and it actually took me hitting rock bottom before realising that actually no, I didn’t deserve this and I didn’t want my kids to grow up thinking it was OK to treat women the way they were seeing me being treated. Long story short Alicia Keys ‘Womans Worth’ (and my parents prayers) saved me – #truestory – I realised I obviously wasn’t married to a real man because he didn’t know my worth, so I got out and divorced his as$ lol
A few years later, I started going to church again (Equippers – I still go there now) and I joined their dance group – I know, don’t laugh, I wasn’t very good (I think I’m way too lanky to be a very good hip-hop dancer lol) Shouts to Cara Graham for letting me join and my good buddies Ashleigh & Jesse Elliott. The first dance I performed with them was Kirk Franklins Imagine Me (it had just come out back then) and I remember listening to it on repeat for about a month! The words really hit me aye?
Letting go of all of the ones who hurt me, cos they never did deserve me, can you imagine me ….
Saying no to thoughts that try to control me, remembering all you told me, can you imagine me ….
Being strong , not letting people break me down, you won’t get that joy this time around, can you imagine me …
In a world, nobody has to live afraid becos of your love fears gone away, can you imagine me ….
The intro always got me too ‘Thank you for allowing me to see myself the way you see me …. thank you’ and I think hearing this song was a real lightbulb & break through moment for me because I saw how God sees us – as a father who loves his kids even with all their imperfections and flaws and we don’t have to be ‘good enough’ for him to love us and that because of this love we can let go of all the feelings of failure, pain and not being good enough.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out all fear
About a year and a half ago, I went over to see my cousin Thomas (the same one I used to send my Soul Food emails to) crying about my latest life fail lol and he listened to everything I said and for once didn’t say much – he usually has a lot to say lol – I think he told me I’d lost too much weight and to go put on some meat or something lol!
But a couple of days later he gave me a call and asked me a simple question “When was the last time you felt like you were truly happy” – we had a few laughs about fun times we’d had and then he said to me something like ‘I always thought you were really happy when you were dancing’ and at first I thought he was taking the piss because he used to mock me about being a 30 year old dancer all the time but then he said ‘just get back to that place Penz, get back to when you were dancing because the thing with you is you condemn yourself & beat yourself up when you f#$k up but you need to let it go’ I thought about what he said a lot and it took me back to when I was dancing, Kirk Franklins ‘Imagine Me’ and the line in the song where it says
Letting go of the past and glad I have another chance and my heart will dance cos I don’t have to read that page again ….
And I got it! Instead of beating myself up over my latest fail, I needed to acknowledge it, give it to God and let it go …. and my heart would dance. I was able to take it back to when I was dancing! I’ve also had to do the same when people have hurt me or done me wrong too, just forgive & *TD Jakes voice* LET IT GO because it’s only then that you can actually be free …
Imagine me being free, trusting you totally, finally I can imagine me
I admit it was hard to see, You being in love with someone like me
Finally I can imagine me ….
* I did visual arts for a bit after my hip hop dance career ended lol and we had to keep visual diaries. The first project we did was ‘Me, Myself & I’ and I’d actually written the whole song out for myself. I hope the song speaks to you as well 🙂