In my life, I lacked follow-through and quit too quickly or jumped blindly.

One area of consistency was substance use.

It wasn’t until I was sober for two years that my parents surprised me with a new car and covered payments until my second marriage. 

With Tank, my new husband, I thought I wanted marriage but mostly I longed to feel secure. Before meeting him, I’d been abstinent for almost a full year.

Flashback to 2002, a vibrant woman electrified my workplace. Her company was called ‘Catch Life’ and boy did I want to! She became my fitness trainer and eventually invited me to church.

She was an anomaly, she positively glowed.  I wanted what she had.

One day while working out I shared my repulsion surrounding being intimate with my fiancé. I felt trapped trying to please people, anxiety patrolled my psyche…

Why wasn’t there a safe shore for me?

It was wisdom I lacked as Kat looked me in the eye and said, You don’t have to.”

I felt my soul rejoice as I rehearsed silently:

You don’t have to.  You don’t have to. You don’t have to!!!

I’d never integrated that I had an ability to choose;

“I don’t want to…_____________!”

Even after years of counselling, my free will had never been forged.

Hard to believe, isn’t it?

The questions we ask ourselves ultimately determine our quality of life.

I hung “You don’t have to…” in the storefront of my mind

until I integrated the truth that I could choose.

Beliefs are powerful, and because of my experiences, I never assume people know anything. A person may have never been exposed to another healthy human mirror identity to them or been shown respect or love.

How can we know, what we do not know?

Critical life skills can’t develop without bonding, eye contact and permission to know yourself. Ask yourself: what would you like to do? You choose.

The feelings you have; yes they are “your feelings.”

Yes, I hear you. You are separate and distinct from me. You’re allowed your thoughts and rightfully should have wants all your own.

A couple years earlier, I’d given myself to a two-year counselling program that took almost four years to complete but didn’t feel that I had earned it.

I absorbed little positivity regarding myself.

My brilliant teacher offered me a teaching position but my negative programming drowned the opportunity. I held it under water until it was lifeless!

There.  Maintain status quo. Stick with the reality I know.  Sense of control.

We can have all the talent in the world, yet if we cannot [won’t] believe it’s true, it won’t be [for us.]

I invite you to believe in you.

Do it now, don’t wait another day. It may feel alien to extend love to your ‘self.’

To love who you are, but I promise it will get easier and eventually feel natural.

We all deserve love.

Believe it.


Written by Nattolie Chilton