― Harriet Tubman
My morning fruit continues….
If you looked at me from a distance, I appeared to have it all together. But looks can be deceiving. The truth lying beneath the skin was that I had been struggling with anxiety and depression. It was what I was used to and I had become a master at masking it while out in public. My marriage, of almost 10 years at that time, was unhealthy at best. My three children (sons) were most important to me but I felt as if I could never be enough for them. In my effort to alleviate the way I felt, I drowned myself in work. I was an optimist and believed I could turn things around but I was in desperate need of a change because my ship was sinking…. sinking fast, and even optimists cannot breathe under water.
Workaholics anonymous couldn’t have helped me if they tried. I was in deep denial because I had convinced myself that I was doing the most good. I worked to make a difference, to improve our quality of life or at least, that’s what I told myself. The truth was I had a serious void I was trying to fill. All of my effort was to avoid being home, alone with my discomfort in my own skin, my unhappy husband…far from looking myself in the mirror and to escape the sense of unworthiness I carried ever since I was a child.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” Anais Nin
That night in February of 2008, I was asked to come see a play being put on in honor of Black History month. It was about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. It was a free show offered through a local community church. The invite came from my husband and I reluctantly agreed to attend. “He has been acting unusual” I said to myself. He had been less angry lately and offering to do things he hadn’t done in over half a decade, like buying me flowers, which he did early that day. “I think you need to take a break and the kids are here, they want to see you too” he said. He knew he could use the kids for leverage… I would do anything for them. I was convinced there was a hidden motive though. Perhaps he was cheating on me… trying to cover his guilt with being pleasant and acting like he was pursuing me when really he was receiving fulfillment elsewhere. That is what I was used to, so it is what I expected.
I learned about the art of deceit at a pretty young age. Growing up with infidelity strewn throughout both sides of my family, I gained the understanding that people stay until they are no longer happy or they find something better. As time passed, my perception became my reality. Worth and value were heavily dependent on what I had to offer. Hence the need to work and have the ability to get every and anything I thought we needed to stay a happy household. To maintain a lifestyle of constant happiness is exhausting. I didn’t realize the toll it was taking on me until that night at The Underground Railroad.
The woman who played the main character of Harriet Tubman, in her last line, said “I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person now I was free.” and then shared her own take on being a slave that was set free. Free from her self-harm and self-inflicted nonsense. Her anxiety and fear over everything she could not seem to keep from slipping through her hands about her future… her marriage. Every word resonated with me. It was as if she was standing in my shoes and speaking out everything written on my heart in secret. I was exposed but for the first time, in a room full of people, I didn’t care.
A man came up after her, his own mic in hand and although I don’t recall everything he said, I didn’t hesitate to respond to his words with a lifted hand. He said, “If you want to be free, If you don’t want to be bound to your sin anymore, there is one that can set you free. His name is Jesus.” With a lifted hand and a prayer, I asked for and received salvation.
There was something that changed that night, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Going home and looking in the mirror again, just like the quoted words I heard of Harriet Tubman, I looked at my face to see if I was the same person, now that I was free. Who did I see staring back at me? It was still me. And tomorrow is another day.
So, at first glance, I hope you see the change. Tomorrow is here and it’s time for tea. There’s a new day on the horizon.
Thank you for joining me to indulge in my morning fruit!