Stories are past events that we have already experienced and decide to share with others as a way to release, teach, or just to keep relevant. Many times our tales are only seen under the spectrum of happiness, happy black girl, Afro-Latina, or whatever you classify as. All we see today are the smiles, good vibes, and vibrant colors within a story. Where are the words of sadness, faces full of depression, the story of her struggle; the finding of self.
At 21 you find yourself sometimes drowning into the teenage syndrome of “this is it”, you become comfortable with what is and has happened. You trap yourself in a bubble believing all of the words being thrown at you. Considering that the universe is looking out for you, you become stagnant. Stuck in everything you’re not doing these things begin to consume you. You let it. The universe is going to look out right? Yes of course. The universe is testing you and will hand you the same test a million times until you figure it out and there you sit. Stuck.
This story is about a girl, a seed whose growth took years to be physically seen. Nineteen the year the seed was planted. Naïve, this girl met a man. She was lost with no sense of self being mentally and emotionally abused in her past life this seed would soak in whatever liquid seemed like water in hopes of maintaining life. Twenty. Another year with you, when she found out about your infidelities. Spreading herself thin she made excuses and even lied to herself to cover up for you. Finding out about the other seed(s) you’ve been watering was her birthday gift from you to her. Happy Birthday. Liquid didn’t seem to be the only thing helping this young seed grow. Knowledge helped her sprout. Blossoming with a sense of self and what she thought was a sense of worth. This girl, the seed believed that loving unconditionally meant shedding her petals, piece after piece. This went on for years. Naked. Bare. Alone. Every petal on her stem was plucked to insure that he was kept alive. Her stem left bare, she was unable to feed the insects/animals, unable to transport her pollen to the others. Dead. She felt.
You might have taken the petals off of her stem but the roots, you were never worthy of. The universe said, “before I make you great let me make you strong.” This story is about me. You. Us. Although it may seem as if everything was taken from me this is something we once wanted. This was a blessing disguised as a lesson. I took on more than I bargained for, I believed spreading myself thin was me showing you unconditional love. In reality, loving you unconditionally would have been me ending this before it got too deep. I tried to love you into loving me. I stuck around, stuck in my “this is it” mentality. This is it I thought I was the seed that was never meant to blossom. I overstayed my visit.
My departure was long overdue, it was better this way, the lies, manipulation, your words, actions, I was mentally and emotionally mistreated. Society says I should hate you and tear you down with my negative words but understand this, I am a flower and queen who’s known her worth and her power. My growth might have not always been above surface but my roots... my roots are deeply rooted into the ground. I am unshakeable.
Photographer Andrea Harden