This weekend, I returned to my past – in terms of my hair. Over the last almost nine years, at least twice hundreds possibly thousands of dollars left my pocket to maintain a particular hairstyle.
In my youth, chemically processing seemed the only option but as times changed a large group of people of African heritage decided, “Enough!” We were done trying to fit into a model that was not natural to us. Being as particular as I am about a neat appearance when it comes to hairstyles, my options are only two – locs or low-cut. The latter is what I returned to on Saturday.
Returning to the past can hold its benefit. However, some say that looking back at the past is a waste of time. For me, it is something in between. George Harrison describes most eloquently my feelings about looking back:
It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it, and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
Aside from my haircut, this weekend my attention also returned to an old article of mine. It is one of my favourites as it speaks to women with a past. Today, with some editing and updating, it is shared with you. Included are a few book recommendations. Check them out and maybe buy one through my Amazon Associate link.
The Year Was 2008
Torn going to the grocery store or writing this post – my final decision is obvious. It was another Sunday morning waking up alone if you did not count my then pet, Angello, blowing into my face. If he was not sick and was slowly leaving my life, the scenario would probably have depressed most. Who wants to wake up to a dog every darn morning?
In my late teens, there was a particular Jamaican folk song that I really loved. At the time, the lyric’s significance did not truly resonate with me. That would gradually change later in my life. All the words escape me now. The vital ones, however, are: “Before me go married and go hug up mango tree…mi’, mi’ will live so mi’ one!”
Despite the seeming ‘sadness’ of my waking up to my dog – as the song says – it was much preferable to being ‘married’ and unhappy!
I have always had a tendency and a propensity to read several books at the same time. Three were on the go at the time. All three are available through my Amazon Associate’s Store.
- Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self by Sarah Ban Breathnach
- The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz
- The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen R. Covey
Woman With A Past
Of the three, the first two I had read at least four times. In 2008, I was reading Covey’s book for the first time but all three books had a common theme. It is one that I recognised as applicable to being single.
There was a time when it was a horrible thing to be single. Women over a certain age (20) without a partner (read as a man) were considered ‘spinsters’. Such an awful word!
Until the advent of the pill and the later sexual revolution – a woman of my age and status would be put out to roost. Thankfully, this has changed for the most part. Women like me, especially those 40 plus years old, are now celebrated for their independence. That made excited by Breathnach’s book. It is why I recommended it back then and now.
The entire book, a collection of essays, is a treat. However, it was the one on “Becoming a Woman with a Past,” that had me saying “Amen, Alleluia!”
I am a Woman with a Past and so is every one of you who have survived life challenges – in their various forms.
There is nothing more alluring, intriguing, and romantic than being perceived as a woman with a past. Except, of course, knowing that you are one, which makes you glorious. Magnificent. Powerful.” Sarah Ban Breathnach
Your Past Will Scare Many
The thought and more so the knowledge that you are a Woman with a Past is so empowering. Yes, it can also be scary. It is indeed more so for others who meet you, especially when you are over 40. Well, that has been my experience at least. This is true if you are on the dating scene. Potential dates do not know what the hell to make of you as a Woman with a Past! What do you do or say to a woman (or man for that matter) that enters a room knowing that she is glorious, magnificent and powerful – wounds and all?
My experience varied – in person, on the phone or through internet dating sites. However, several things are common. And this is where Ruiz book comes in. He calls the negative reactions to you as “poisoned arrows.” They try to change you in some way from their place of fear and brokenness. They, however, would never admit this.
“You are too … .”
“You shouldn’t say … .”
“You should be like … .”
These are just some of the opening lines they will shoot at you. They would like to convince you that you have no right to be glorious, magnificent or powerful.
Ruiz advice to us women with a past is simple.
You have to accept yourself and love yourself just the way you are. You are what you are, and that is all you are. You don’t need to pretend to be something else.”
Do Not Fall Into The Trap
A few months after stepping back onto the dating scene, as a woman with a past, there were many opportunities fall back into an old trap. That is the one of distrusting who I am meant to be. As a single person on the proverbial market, everyone wants to have a piece of you – in more ways than one.
I remember a minister of religion asking what will you have left for yourself if you gave everyone a piece of you? “Nothing,” would be my response. Being single or even dating as an older woman does not mean compromising yourself. In fact, the opposite is true. It is your past and who you have become that has probably made you single. It is also what has made you a priceless.
My lesson in this regard is – do not sell yourself short! Do not settle – because you wake up to your dog on a fine Sunday morning!
Covey wrote his book largely with a management focus in mind. However, as he noted, the principles can and ought to be applied to daily living and relationships. I read it slowly because of this comprehensive approach – figuring out how to “walk” these principles in all areas of my new life. His point about expressing one’s voice is key. He wrote that you must find your own voice, your own style of expressing your uniqueness – then help others to do the same.
Living By Your Conscience
You do this by living by your conscience. It speaks to you through that still small voice. This is what Covey wrote:
“People who do not live by their conscience will not experience …internal integrity and peace of mind. They will find their ego attempting to control relationships. Even though they might pretend or feign kindness and empathy from time to time, they will use subtle forms of manipulation and will even go so far as to engage in kind but dictatorial behaviours.”
Reading that, I first had to admit to myself – “been there, done that.” Then, I had to release the negative energy of being in that place. Forgiveness of self was next. Only after taking those steps was I able to see how Covey’s words played out in my life. Now, I am able to ‘suss’ out those who entered my space whose true purpose was to test my will to become the best human being that I can be.
Again – Pay Attention!
As a woman with a past, you have to be so attentive to these “players.” Their talk is sweet. They pretend as if they have it all together. They would like you to think that you are a nincompoop because you speak your truth openly and without hesitation. Their wish is that you just do as they say or recommend.
My question to them has been – “Who told you that I want to be a mini-you?”
And so, my wish for all women with a past is that you never let go of who we are. Quoting again from Breathnach to close. “…Authentic success is something much, much more” than surviving the betrayal of someone loved and trusted. “Authentic success is …. surviving the betrayal of someone you loathed and tormented. Yourself.”
How do we stop betraying ourselves? “By stopping it, that’s how just stopping it. Today. By praying right this moment for the courage to learn how to transform the self-loathing into loving every day through your passionate choices.”
My passionate choice is to be the glorious, magnificent and powerful Me. Despite, in spite and because of my past.
What is yours?
That is the question of the week. Until my next weekly article, do visit with me on Facebook as well as on Twitter. You can also get one-on-one coaching with me here. Do check out my Amazon Associate’s Store for all my recommended books and more!