I was really struggling with why I couldn’t get peace about a relationship that ended several years ago. I put my heart, mind, and soul into creating this partnership with this brother and I was crushed when it abruptly ended. The final tipping point came when I couldn’t be there on a day when he really needed me. I tried my best to find other ways to support him, but my absence in his eyes was simply unforgivable. He ultimately ended our relationship a few weeks later via email by saying that I was unreliable, undependable, and emotionally unstable. Ouch.
I recognized that our ending was still a sore spot in my heart because I felt terribly misunderstood and I was uncomfortable with having our entire relationship distilled down to one moment in time. I tried in vain over the years to have a final conversation with him, but he’s been unwilling to respond. At the end of the day, I recognized that the pain was living with me not him, so it was really up to me to do the work to seal up that crack in my heart.
I was convinced that I would just have to be content with living with this fracture in my heart until I my soul found this beautiful window of clarity this past weekend. I attended a writers’ workshop on Sunday morning and our focus for the day was about writing from different points of view. Our writing prompt for the session was to write about one incident from the vantage point of three different characters.
As I started working on my character sketches, something suddenly shifted in my understanding with my former boyfriend. I got that it’s possible for one person to be seen from several different points of view. I’d been mercilessly banging my head against a proverbial wall trying to get him to see me from another vantage point. But for him I will always be the unreliable, undependable, emotionally unstable girlfriend who was unwilling to make herself a martyr for his ego. And there’s nothing I can do to make that anything but the absolute truth for him.
As I sat with that realization for awhile, I started thinking about my three-month old goddaughter, Xola. In her eyes, I’m just another big person who loves and adores her and my only flaw for her is that my breasts don’t pump out milk like her mama. After that I started reflecting about Xola’s mom, my good friend Malika, who loves and trusts me enough to be a part of her daughter’s life. Then my mind went to my honey and how he views me as his American goddess who unconditionally loves and supports him.
As I live my life out loud in Brooklyn, I’m fairly certain that one of two thoughts run through people’s heads as they see me—
“Wow, she’s loud, beautiful, and awesome. I wonder how I can get to know her better.”
“Damn, that’s a loud bitch. I wish she would shut the hell up. And why is her hair blue?”
And each and every one of those vantage points are completely valid. At any moment of the day I can simultaneously be a bitch and a saint. However, It’s not up to me to change someone’s point of view on who I am. My only job is to BE ME. There are people in the world who believe I am the best thing since free Wi-Fi. There are other people who are incredibly intimidated by how self-expressed I am. But ultimately it’s my choice to decide which vantage points I give energy to.
My heart started to get some healing around my former boyfriend when I realized that most likely I’m still unreliable, undependable, and emotionally unstable in his eyes AND it’s no longer my job to convince him otherwise. But instead of focusing all my energy into someone who missed out on the greatest gift that Howard and Ida Mae Lakins ever created, I get to now focus on who Leah is for the rest of the world. I’m reliable, lovable, amazing, flawed, sensitive, trustworthy, beautiful, empowering, and inspiring and those are the vantage points and the viewers that are worth putting my heart into.
Regardless of someone’s point of view on the life and journey of Leah Lynette Lakins, my job is to ensure that I stay on my mission, my path, and my purpose for what I am here on the planet to do. I’m not so blind as to only look at the points of view that make me feel good and boost my ego, but I also get to choose which vantage points I pay attention to and why. For those who welcome me in as a flawed, ever-evolving saint in this classroom called life, I thank you for choosing to see me with light and love.