April 1, 2022
And the part of my brain that’s clinically trained and emotionally in tune recognizes this as flawed on many levels. However, fierce independence is deeply embedded into the fabric of who I am.
Black woman. Raised by two fiercely independent parents in the Air Force. Staunch believer in the “hard work yields results” mantra. Observer of what it means to be a woman of color in a white world — translation, I have to work harder and be better than everyone else in order to get ahead.
I’ve cultivated the idea that asking for help is for those who can’t do it themselves. And I’ve always been able to do it on my own.
From working my way through 12.5 years of schooling to making cross-country moves from Texas to California to Tennessee to launching out alone on an entrepreneurial journey, I know what it feels like to do for myself.
If I’m honest, I prefer it this way. With no external barriers or conflicting interests to consider, the path is easier in many ways. Growing up, I became affectionately known as “Butterfly,” a description that perfectly captures my life’s ebbs and flows in accordance with wherever the wind blows. Free to emerge from my cocoon unhitched and unafraid. My wings dutifully have carried me to the most beautiful of places, even if only for short seasons.
December 9, 2012, the day my beloved mother died, however, marked the first shift in my flight pattern.
Despite many attempts to awaken my wings, they lacked zeal. I no longer felt capable of flying.
Given my obsession with butterflies, I considered the array of reasons a butterfly may not be able to fly. And here’s what I discovered …
So you may be wondering how butterfly inactivity relates to grief and seeking out support.
Well, friend, navigating the grief process isn’t easy by any means. And given the brokenness, bitter cold, and storms experienced along the journey, it makes perfect sense that your wings may lack the fervor they once had.
Trust me, I get it. For all the reasons shared here, intentionally placing yourself in a vulnerable, receiving stance may seem overwhelming or even frightening. Own your feelings, and challenge yourself to take small steps towards others.
I’ve learned that what may feel like a small stride along grief’s path can actually be a giant leap. Whether it’s texting a close friend to share your need to talk or saying “yes” to an invitation to receive support from someone, that’s huge.
Today, explore what it could like like to glance at your wings and consider how a trusted supporter may help you take flight again. Remember, you have the capacity to withstand the breaking, endure the bitter cold, and journey through grief’s storm.
I love you, my friend. Feel free to share your thoughts below.
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