Happy Sunday, my Bellas!!! Today is the day that we get up early in the morning, put on something presentable or Sunday’s best, and head to church to get our weekly dose of sanity. There are those of us who don’t go to church every Sunday or even at all. Are we wrong? Are we missing out on a key part of our recovery? Well, I have heard both sides of that argument and I have been impressed but not totally moved because spirituality is NOT one size fits all. (and I’m not sure if we weren’t raised in the Bible belt the argument would be as strong)
Spiritual health in our lives is just as important as physical health but usually there is not as much emphasis placed on it by mainstream society. Some of us are physically and financially fit but still feel that something is missing. There is still an emptiness. Well, let me share my story with you, Loves.
I was raised Catholic and growing up there was no other “right” religion. I even went to Saint Simon & Jude in Pittsburgh, PA. The nuns wore traditional, dark, looming habits and walked around with brandishing rulers while singing Ave Maria. (LOL… I am still traumatized when I hear that song to this day!) I had all of my sacraments (in Catholic Church…rights of passage as the Catholic matures) on time until I was about 11 years old and my world was rocked by my parents’ divorce. I never doubted who God was or where he belonged in my life until then. For some reason, I felt like the pain I was experiencing could never be taken away. I wondered why God would abandon me and my family. My first heartbreak. Well, as I matured and grew up we lived with my mother who wasn’t big about getting me and my sisters to church on Sunday. I remember my dad picking us up EVERY Sunday without fail. Because of my father, I received the rest of my Sacraments and was even “Confirmed” as a Catholic in the 8th grade. There it was, my foundation for spirituality had been laid. It was a rocky foundation but it was a foundation that I can say nearly 25 years later that has saved my life. As life continued, just like everyone else, my faith waxed and waned. I was hurt, made poor choices, my own fair share of mistakes, and was diagnosed with a mental health diagnosis (more than one actually). I became pregnant with my first child at the age of 19. It was a terrible situation and a total disappointment to my Nigerian family. I didn’t know where to turn. I cried and cried night after night asking God to “fix it”. He didn’t. Instead, I went to a deacon at my church and asked him what to do. He told me to go to a home for young pregnant women in Minnesota, give birth to my baby, and put him or her up for adoption. I was mortified! The deacon stared at me, his eyes scrutinizing my every move, and said, “You better because no one will want to marry a single woman with a child.” I didn’t return to church for 5 whole years and when I did I chose to attend nondenominational churches. At these churches I could feel God and only God…not a whole bunch of rules and judgments (how I perceived it). As time passed, I was able to impart to my daughter the same foundation my father fought so hard to impart to me as a child. To this day, I’m super proud of that. Things were good for a while….
THE STORM THAT ROCKED MY WORLD
At around the age of 25, I began having worsening depression. I had been sad before, but this was different. I just couldn’t get it together. For the next 7 years, I fought to complete anything. Miraculously (and with the support of my family), I was able to hold a few jobs for short periods and get my Nursing Degree. I also had so many suicide attempts and near misses that I’ve lost count. Finally, two and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 1. I was totally freaked out! I felt that I had been labeled crazy. I couldn’t tell anyone…. they would all judge me and leave. But, the doctor’s were right. I would spend days upon days with no sleep, barely eating or eating everything, spend all the money I had earned within days, and gone out to clubs and done who knows what with no recollection of any of it… Life was a blur. That’s when it happened when I started to feel ashamed. I felt that I couldn’t ask God for forgiveness because I was “too bad”. I mean everyone knows that SUICIDE is not something that God is cool with! (right?) I couldn’t tell anyone my secret including God. Besides, I knew what people thought about “crazy” people. Society and the media have done enough to ensure that no one with mental illness feels comfortable in this world as it is with stereotypical portrayal of mental illness. God couldn’t possibly want me anymore… I was wrong….
THE CLEAN UP EFFORT
Yes, I was wrong. As you Bellas know, I am a single mother to two beautiful children, Brie and Brice (15/10), and I have accomplished so many things in this last year which has undoubtedly been the most difficult year of my life. I have one Master’s degree and am on the way to my second one! I have learned something about my spirituality. I have learned that I cannot survive separate from it.. I believe in God… He is my spiritual anchor. Everyday, I get up in the morning and give Him thanks. I ask Him to give me the strength to get up and out of the bed. I ask Him to help me “ROCK” my day. 100% of the time He is with me and never leaves me even when I feel lonely. He is with me US when the world feels like the storms of life will never end. I am not proposing that I know that your spiritual authority is God… but whatever your religion… You have to find a way to center yourself EVERYDAY! There is too much flux and turmoil in the world for you to ignore your spiritual health and self-love. I do not go to church every Sunday. I used to beat myself up about it all of the time….sometimes I still do because I’m human. The bottom line is your spiritual center lives within you. It is up to you to protect it and nurture it…. and grow it.
Bellas, get spiritually centered today. Your life depends upon it. Your life depends on your ability to be still and realize that when you look in the mirror the face you see before you is perfect, good, and in love with you. Heal your heart by accessing that deep quiet place within you. You will be surprised at what you find there. Love it, heal it, and share the love you get with someone else.
Okay, Loves… that’s all of my time. I’ve been up since about 4am…but sharing with you guys never gets old! Remember, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL (BELLA) EVEN WHEN YOU ARE BLUE!!! Put on some jeans and pour a glass of wine (or juice) lol and meet me here!