I lived in fear.
Fear is a powerful force. Fear coupled with a society that, consciously or unconsciously, imposes its standards on you, without regard for your individuality, can be debilitating to the psyche.
For so many years I suppressed my dreams and desires. I feared rejection and failure. This fear made me work hard to live the way I thought the world wanted me to live. I excelled academically, I worked hard, I tried to make everyone around me comfortable. Periodically I would rebel against societal standards by acting out. While these acts of rebellion gave me temporary relief from the sense of suffocation I felt, they also gave me a false sense that I was living my life fearlessly. The reality was I was moving further and further away from figuring out who I was and what made me happy. I was being self-destructive.
Unfortunately, I am not alone. There are so many women and girls that need a safe space to just be able to figure themselves out. I often wonder what my life would look like today if I had that space. AS A RESULT OF MY thoughts and experiences, I want to ensure that I am doing my part to create a safe space for women and girls to figure it out. I also want to encourage others to create safe spaces. the harmful effects of our failure to do so is apparent. Why do women feel like they must be silent about abuse? Why do women feel like female friendships are too complicated? Why do women feel alone? Why do women feel they have to work so hard to prove their value? Why are women so unsure of themselves?
I hope my book Vibin’ With Tonza is a step in the right direction. If I am able to convince one woman to be okay with her feelings of vulnerability, I consider that a success. If I am able to convince one woman to choose kindness in a world where cruelty comes so easily, I consider that a success. If I am able to convince one woman that her feelings of insecurity are normal, and the failure to acknowledge insecurity is where the harm comes in at, I consider that a success. If I am able to show one woman that she is not alone in her quest for a safe space, I consider that a success.
…An Excerpt From My Book, Vibin’ With Tonza, Affirmations and Activities to Encourage Women on Their Path to Empowerment…