During an interview, Oprah Winfrey once said to Maya Angelou, “Just listening to you now, I’m thinking, ‘What is it about Maya’ I think it’s that you know yourself.”  To which she agreed.

Oprah: You know that you are supported by something bigger than yourself. That you are loved. That you have the right to stand up for yourself. And that comes from knowing who you are.

Maya: And I not only have the right to stand up for myself, but I have the responsibility. I can’t ask somebody else to stand up for me if I won’t stand up for myself. And once you stand up for yourself, you’d be surprised that people say, “Can I be of help?”

Since coming across that interview, I’ve become obsessed with the project of learning myself, as I now believe that is the key to achieving the level of big dick energy that I aspire to, and to attracting the kinds of people I need and want in my life.

Most of my life, I’ve been really preoccupied with other people’s thoughts and opinions of me.  So many of my decisions were the result of living out other people’s projections of who they thought I should be.  You see, I just wanted to be viewed as “good.”  It just used to seem like good girls were so much more well loved than girls like me who are loud, boisterous and opinionated, but that’s such a futile pursuit.  Not only because you can’t be everything to everybody, but also because most people don’t even know what they truly want in their own lives, and you find yourself shooting at a moving target whilst losing yourself over and over again.

There’s a legitimate correlation between how you feel about you, and how others treat you.  And others have treated me…not so well, because I didn’t fully know myself, and what I knew I tried to reject, because no one else was like me, so I thought something was wrong.  The very things that made me special, and bore my gifts are the things I tried to diminish to make other people comfortable.  I am finally releasing myself of the burden of other people, and learning who I am at my core without anyone else’s projections, and how to honor who I am in order to be the best version of myself.

The first step was finding a great therapist, who I speak to weekly.  Therapy is not limited to discussing childhood traumas, but more so about discovering patterns and behaviors that don’t serve you, and finding strategies to unlearn and break them.  One of those strategies is checking in with myself when I get overwhelmed and want to go to the dark place.  The dark place is where I believe all of the negative things I think about myself to be true.  So I have a mental list of things that ground me, that help me to run at full capacity.  If I can check off everything on that list, and I still feel low, then I know that it is depression, I can call it what it is and release it.

  • Are you hungry?  No one is a good person when they’re hungry.
  • Did you eat something beneficial?  Honestly, this is a no more often than it should be, but I am a work in progress boo boo.
  • Are you thirsty?  Scientifically speaking, we mistake hunger for thirst often, so I have to be sure I’m not actually dehydrated.
  • Are you tired?  Not white woman tired (they seem to be endlessly and inexplicably tired) but genuinely tired?
  • Have you taken your vitamins?
  • Have you meditated?
  • Have you prayed?
  • Have you written?
  • Is your hair done? I know this sounds shallow, but I am honestly just a better me when I like how I look.  Judge me.
  • Is your vibrator at full charge?

Now, your check in list can be different from mine, because girl I don’t know your life.  Maybe you feel great after a bubble bath.  I find those to be disgusting and counterproductive, but learn and do what works for you.  You don’t have to memorize this list obviously.  Put it in the notes app on your phone, or a post it on your desk (sans the last one if you need it).  The point is that before you allow someone or something to disturb your peace, ask yourself, is this really because your vibrator isn’t running at its optimal frequency?  Or whatever your equivalent is.