I am super excited to post the very first excerpt of my first book Twenty Something!
Over the next several weeks I look forward to giving you a sneak peek of the content of my book. I hope that you are inspired, motivated, and educated from my real life experiences.
Chapter Ten: Take The Cape Off; You Do Not Always Have To Be Superwoman.
Every time I hear someone say, “Carlissa you are like a real-life Superwoman” I cringe. I understand that it is meant to be a compliment considering all the irons I have in the fire and my outward ability to balance them all, but I cringe because I do not want any woman to ever think that Superwoman status is the goal. I have to admit that in my early twenties I wore that “S” on my chest with honor. However, in my late twenties, I found a new attitude that did not include me carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
My awakening was a part necessity because I spent the majority of my twenties trying to be everything to everybody. I worked so hard to please everyone around me that I should have been paid a salary. I did not know that it was okay to ask for help.
I did not know it was okay to not be okay.
The truth was that I placed value in seeing myself as Superwoman. I valued being an independent black woman that did not need anybody to do anything for me. I thought that made me special. I thought pretending to be Superwoman was my superpower; but I was wrong, it was actually my kryptonite.
While in college, I was a working student, an athlete, involved on campus, focused on getting into law school, a girlfriend, daughter, sister, and friend. I was involved in so many campus organizations that I can not even remember the names of some of them. I felt obligated to give my all to everything that I did. I’m not sure how I balanced so much but I managed and with a certain amount of grace at that. I wanted to do it all and have it all. That was not necessarily a bad thing because I learned a lot of valuable life lessons by having a lot of irons in the fire. By the grace of God and God alone, I may have been singed a couple of times but I was never burned.
During my junior year of college, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and I immediately jumped into perfect daughter mode. My school was nearly three hours away from home. The first thing I asked my parents was, “do I need to move back home?”. Of course, they said no but I felt so guilty not being able to be there every day. I would drive home every other weekend and sometimes consecutive weekends and attempt to do EVERYTHING that needed to be done for the next week or two in a two-day span. I did that without complaint because I felt that was my duty as a daughter. During this same time, I had a 40 hour per week internship at the legislature, two-night classes, and would work some weekends at a call center on campus to supplement my income because I did not feel comfortable calling home for money. Not to mention that my boyfriend was a major student-athlete and I felt I had to support him during basketball season and “help” him with his homework. I was dog tired but I did it because I was Superwoman. Superwoman does not get to rest or complain, she just gets everything done that needs to be done.
Post-college not much changed. My Superwoman complex just grew and I became Superwoman. By this time my complex had grown so big that it was basically my identity. When I moved back to Memphis for law school I immediately began to jump into all types of obligations. As a law student, I basically ran a full-time ministry at a megachurch. I did everything I could for my ministry including taking in a child. I worked multiple jobs. I contributed to my school community. I was the primary transportation person for my grandmother to run errands and go to the doctor. I picked my brother up from school. Lord, I really can’t think of what I did not do but eventually, I started to get tired. I became very overwhelmed. I immediately went to counseling services and talked to a counselor. Even in my counseling sessions, I remember how important it was to me not to show any signs of weakness. More than anything, it was most important to always appear strong. I thought that I would always be able to handle everything with a little prayer and a lot of Red Bull.
I carried the weight of that cape on my back through my entire twenties. Then, at 28 I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I had a very rough pregnancy. I was sick from month 2 until month 8. I could not keep down food or water. I felt terrible but I went to work every day and attempted to smile through my nausea. During my entire pregnancy, I was still being Superwoman. I was convinced that it was my job to save the world. Having my daughter changed my life in a lot of ways, but above all, she is the person that forced me to put up my cape. Having her required me to put things in proper perspective.
I finally truly understood that the world is not mine to save.
I did not have the strength or energy to deal with my newborn and the rest of the world, so I chose her. And in choosing her I chose me too.
One of the many things I learned while pretending to be Superwoman is that people will abuse and misuse your strength. When you pretend to have it all together people believe you. In that belief, people will intentionally and/or unintentionally abuse your strength by giving you more tasks honestly believing you can handle it. That does not make them bad people; it just makes them human. Human beings will treat you the way you ask to be treated.
Visit us next week for more from Twenty Something.
Official launch date: 12.8.18