My self-sabotage was invisible or I tried to make myself think it was., but I could see the mechanism I used to sabotage myself. By mechanism I mean behaviors that I saw, I was taught, or I internalized. This particular learned behavior enacted itself all over my life, whether it's outcome was ending up with the same types of people, in the same types of friendships or avoiding opportunities. A moment that left me with a lot of resentment going into my junior year of high school shook me. I really loved cheerleading, but I was scared.. so, I didn’t try-out for my school's cheerleading for the first two years. My perceived understanding of womanhood, compassion and my mechanism of self-sabotage was to pause my “things,” and pour myself into helping other people in their “stuff.” My mechanism of avoiding my fears and potential was by not making myself a priority.
The summer of my junior year of high school after moving back to Kentucky, and going through a second divorce; I decided I was going to try out for my school’s cheerleading team. After the first day of try-outs I got a phone call from my dad, his mother passed away. He was sulking, and laying a lot of his “stuff” on me. However, her and I weren't close nor were he and I. He was great at pulling the Dad love card with no receipts… literally, and I needed a reason to not make the team. Self-sabotage tapped me on the shoulder to “do right.” I rescheduled the rest of cheerleading try-outs, and went to New Orleans.
At the funeral, he sat in the reserved seats with his wife and her daughter, while I sat in the back with my mom. After laying the body in the grave we went to the repass… where he briefly acknowledged me, and spent time crying with his wife and leaving early. I had to share this story because I committed self-sabotage, I don’t fault myself for it but I have to acknowledge it. There were a few things that were at play:
- I was afraid of cheerleading try-outs, and not making it
- I was trying to show love to someone that didn’t know love
- I didn’t know how to choose myself, and I let a selfish person have control
This reflection may seem a little harsh, but I realized that I had to acknowledge how these patterns came up early in my life to address them in my womanhood. Continuing for years into various unproductive relationships — intimate, platonic and even inter-emotionally; I ventured to understand what I was put on earth to do. There were two inherent options to stay the same, or change. I've decided to continue the work of picking up the cross so that my children won’t have to, or will have less to carry. Some of the mindset changes that this came with were:
- Making myself a priority
- Going into unfamiliar territory and being ok with failing
- Knowing it's ok to be alone [this is beyond intimate relationships]
These were things I had to choose. To learn to live in my blessings and happiness. My choices won’t be perfect, I will mess up and that’s acceptable, but it's unacceptable to be on the back burner of my own stove.
Some of us are better at surviving in famine than living in blessing. - Pastor Steven Furtick