Comforting Words: Celebrate Who You Are!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Celebrate Who You Are!

I was partially naked and so too was she.

Neither of our semi-nudity was of any concern as all the other women of various sizes, shapes and skin colours were totally naked.

This was our second time at the pool – my daughter and mine – and I had just told her all happenings of my week.

Mummy, I know this might sound bad but it is the truth,” she said.


“I must say that since Aunty J left your life, you are such a different person!” she remarked. “You are doing all these things for yourself, you have lost weight although not in a healthy way but you look fabulous!”

“Thanks babes,” I responded with tears welling up my eyes.

“No seriously,” she continued. “You’re doing T’ai Chi, therapeutic massages, we come swimming and do the sauna each week, you are going out with your woman-friends, you lover you job and you are laughing so much!”

My baby girl was right – she usually is. My personal physician only the day before (Friday, March 9) had confirmed what she was saying (although, understandably so with all that is pending, she still would not take me off the anti-depressants and tranquilizers).

“Claudette," my physician said, “we got the results back from your blood work up and your diabetes is well, well under control for the last three months.” The results from the lab was showing that not only has the diabetes been under control for the last three months but all of my other results surpassed anything my doctors, including my diabetes and other specialists, had imagined would happen without my going on insulin and other radical treatments.

This is as a result, first of the depression and not having any appetite for a few months since October 2006 and then in January 2007, I made a conscious decision to stop eating certain foods. For years I have been trying to cut out sweets, eat more fruits and eat smaller portions without any success or real support. Now, through the "gift of goodbye," but more so the Grace and Will of God -- I have done it!

Thursday, March 8 was International Women’s Day and as I sat in the gymnasium at work, where a special function was being held in honour of women, I contemplated what the theme meant to me - “Celebrate Who You Are!”

Almost six months ago now, I could never have imagined myself being alive much less celebrating who I am. The guest speaker, former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, in her presentation asked the question how many of us women in the room had any interest in entering politics. About five of us raised our hands and mine was among them.

As my baby girl commented on my well-being, I remembered raising my hand in that hall filled with women with stories of travail, trials and triumph – each in her own way. I too have my own story; it is one that I first started to share on this blog and with anyone who would listen.

Listening to my daughter, as she continued to compare, in her recollection, how I was for the last sixteen years with now and particularly in the last few years since we migrated to Canada, I received another affirmation of my life’s purpose.

Yes, I am one fabulous 161 lbs, black woman!

Yes, I am both a woman of strength and a strong woman.

Yes, there are still challenges (financial, academic and legal) ahead of me in the next few months but guess what?

I feel victorious!

My beloved minister, the one who I have not seen in months because I have not been at church – depending instead on a very private and solitary journey of prayer, rituals and thanksgiving, which has been ably supported by my Spiritual Director – has this saying:

“People know when they are tolerated, welcomed or celebrated!”
Looking back, for sixteen years my daughter and I were tolerated – and that is okay. I bless and thank the people who have finally come into their truth and can honestly hang up their telephones on us both even when we call out of good will. Their gestures have taught me how not to be in this world and for that I am truly grateful!

It is now time to celebrate who I am (and who my 6’ tall, beautiful, wise and strong black daughter is).

Serendipity has brought Lance back into my life when I needed that kind of support most. A couple days ago he challenged me to get out more – “Girl from your photographs you have not aged one bit since I last saw you twelve years ago. In fact, you look more fabulous now than every before! Hit the clubs, socialize, get out there and show off that gorgeous self of yours!” he commanded me.

Reminding him that that is not my style nor scene, I however promised to “get out more.” My not doing so had nothing to do with the lack of “fish” biting but more because I have no intention of walking blindly into another relationship – without sorting through my 'baggage' and making sure that “the other” has done the same.

Who wants to repeat – for sixteen days, months or years – what I have just, thankfully, come through?

In her book, “What You Think of Me is None of my Business," Terry Cole-Whittaker writes, "To the degree that we can take a really good look at ourselves and see ourselves objectively and lovingly, we are able to participate more fully in this life.”

I have been looking in the mirror, for several years now, but now I have one behind, beside, underneath as well as in front of me – unmasking every secret that would cause me to ever again tolerate being tolerated!

My friend Anni says I am glowing and she has re-named me Blossom! I love it!

My Scripture for this week puts it in greater perspective. It is from Ezekiel 34: 25 – 31. The verse that explains that glow is verse 31:

“You [Claudette and you dear reader] are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture and I
am your God.”

With that in my heart – why would I (or you) not be celebrating who I am?

Blessings as you “Celebrate Who You are,”


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