As today is the final day of this year’s National Poetry Writing Month, I am posting my last poem for NaPoWriMo, honoring the truth and acknowledgement stage of my spiritual journey.

If anyone knows me even kind of or sort of, you know that I am an extremely private person. I don’t share my personal life, feelings, thoughts or experiences with most people I know. You could legit, know me almost my entire life, and honestly, know very little about me. In fact, I’m sure that any person I know personally, that might have read or come across my last post, testifying about my experiences with abortion, miscarriage and motherhood, is absolutely shocked! There are several folks out there, turning whole heads, trying to figure what rock this new Shaquana, just crawled from under. Haha! I know. I get it.

There are two distinct reasons for this. The first is, I have conditioned myself, in the past, to only show sides of myself that I am comfortable showing. So, though I am always in my own skin, I don’t always invite people into the experiences I have in my own skin. I am completely able to enjoy my own, completely different experience from others, while spending time with them, and never include them in on it.

I could come up with my own jokes, stories and fantasies at the same party you’re at, while conversing, dancing and having a good time with you, all without you knowing about my alternate, simultaneous experience. I have inherently, become a master at choosingly allowing people to see me for whatever they want to see me as, while clandestinely being who I really am, without them ever knowing.

Which leads to my second reason. People feel very comfortable with categories, labels and boxes. We are socialized to box things, people, thoughts, ideas, experiences into and out of places. We box ourselves into quintessential women, men, children, students, employees, friends, partners, people. And we box out all things considered adverse to our socialized definition of said quintessential beings. So, when people meet me, a very vivacious, all powerful, divergent and non conforming personality, to say the least, they are often overwhelmed.

It has absolutely nothing to do with me, and most often, everything to do with their own stuff. But, people don’t often like keeping their own stuff to themselves, especially when it feels so much easier to throw it on others. So, to compensate for insecurities, lack of self love, spiritual disarray and just straight up wickedness, people try to put me in a box. They attempt to place boundaries, limitations, walls and ceilings on me, what I am and what I am capable of. It literally happens within minutes of meeting absolute strangers.

So, in testifying my truths, I am giving life to the existence of who I really am. The woman, that I often hide for the sake of the world. Much of my hidden identities lies in the truth about my body and my body’s story. In making peace with my past, forgiving myself and solidifying this stage of my journey, I must first, acknowledge my own desecration of  my body.

Much of my testimonies and confessions, in this beginning stage, will center on my forgiveness of my body, my restoration of my body and my love of my body. As I wrote, in What My Body Has Taught Me, I am aware now, more than ever, what it truly means to say my body is my temple. The first attack we, as individuals, launch against ourselves, in some form or another, starts with our bodies. You don’t realize it. It’s often easy to miss. But, our bodies, more than anything else in our life, take the hugest hits when we abuse ourselves.

As you help me discover and explore my confessions and forgiveness of wrongdoing against my body, consider yourself in all of this. Your body. Your life. Don’t read my story like book, but instead see it as a mirror. Spirit brought this website, this blog, this post, into your existence today for a reason. Read the writing on the wall. You owe it to yourself.

Enjoy my last NaPoWriMo poem, inspired by the similar titled Art of Noise album, “Dear God, What Have I Done With My Body?”

 Dear God, What Have I Done With My Body?

Dear God, what have I done with my body?

The holes in my heart

The wrinkle in my eyes

The stumble in my knee

Dear God, what have I done with my body?

Shredded and mutilated

Desecrated thee

Dear God, please, I need to know

Who will redeem me?