Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is not blind. Love does no harm. Love holds no hate. Love is bold. Transparent. Bright. Light. Golden and pure. Love doesn’t hurt.

Fucked up love is blinding!! Fucked up love is toxic. It is poisonous and dangerous. It’s murky, dark and muddled. It clouds images of everything it comes in contact with. Including you. The fucked up love disease functions like cancer, but worse. It is invisible. Like HIV almost. Infecting your healthy cells as a disguise, while duplicating killer cells.

Fucked up love can, and too often does, take real lives in real life. But it has no diagnosis. Not even doctors can acknowledge it exists. Because it’s that blinding. The quintessential emblem of ‘The Emperor has no clothes.’

In order for me to let go of fucked up love, I must first acknowledge where it is coming from. In order to plug a leak, to stitch a bleeding wound, to repair a faulty appliance, wire or structure, one must locate it. In order to fix something, in order to know how to fix something and what needs fixing, you must know where it is broken.

In order to fix my life of broken love and hearts, I must locate where the problem is. And I have. The problem is me. I am the source of my fucked up love.

I keep giving myself fucked up love, while begging others to do different. I am openly inviting people to treat me the way I treat myself, while hoping they won’t. Similar to a “pay as you will” policy. You can get anything on the house in the world of Shaquana. We just ask that you leave some sort of tip. If you can (aka if you will) of course.

I mean seriously, with that kind of business policy in my life, no wonder I’m lucky if I have a dollar and a dream by the end of the day. In order for me to let go of fucked up love, I have to start somewhere. So, here’s the first three steps of acknowledgement that I’ve chosen to start with. Adopt them at your personal leisure.

  • #1 Getting Real With Myself:

I am still holding onto fucked up love. And pretending that I’m not. Starting with the way I love myself and leading to the love I invite and accept from others. I’m still rejecting the love and protection God is offering me, all the while pretending that I am reaching out for it. I sit back doing no work toward fulfilling unconditional love of self. I stand completely still, hoping no one will notice. All the while cursing God out for not “allowing” me to move forward.

I’m posting quotes and articles on my blog that are really for me. All the while lying to myself, telling myself that I am posting them for everyone else. I am hearing messages. I am translating codes. All the while, ignoring the truth being revealed in all them. I am still lying to myself. All the while, telling myself that I am being honest. I am lying to myself right now probably. It won’t be until later that I figure out what about, though.

I must confess that I am a liar. I am pathological liar. Straight up. Spiritually, at least. In real life, what we typically call the physical world, I am one of the most honest people you’ll ever meet. Like brutally honest.

Yet, for some reason, everyone in my life is a LIAR. Like, a “I make up stories no one asked to hear, just so I can hear myself lie” kind of liar. It’s just plain sad to watch sometimes. And believe you, me, that’s all I do. Watch. I never internalize. I never observe critically. I never face the facts. I just watch.

As if my life is a movie on tv, and I can’t change the channel from it. As if my life is, was meant to be and will always be, the worst train wreck in the history of the world. The crash that’s so bad, you’re praying to God you find the strength to run away from. To walk away from. To call for help. To at least friggin’ close your damn eyes before the collision. So, you don’t have to see what’s about to happen. Because, well, there’s nothing else you can do. Or I can do. But watch.

So, I watch. I watch people lie their way into my life and lie their way out. Over. And over. And over. And over. It’s tragically pathetic. And yet, aren’t I the great, Shaquana Gardner?! Aren’t I the Queen I declare myself to be? Aren’t I so damn powerful? So why is my life so damn pitiful?!

Because I am a liar. And a watcher. I am not a doer. I am not honest. And thus, I am not powerful. I am pitiful. Or rather, I was pitiful. Twenty seconds ago when I wrote that line I was pitiful. And as soon as I chose to be honest with myself. To be aware of self. To accept and acknowledge self. I became powerful. Or rather, I remembered how, why, and who really is powerful within me.

The new me is powerful. The old me is pitiful. I keep coming across the phrase/ logic/ motto, “you can either be powerful or pitiful, but you can’t be both.” And since then, everyday for the past two months, I have woken up asking myself, as soon as I am conscious of still having breath and life within me, “will you be powerful or pitiful today?”

Before I thank God for waking me up. Before I reflect on what was yesterday. What will come today. And what I hope for, for tomorrow. I ask myself the most important question I’ve ever truly had to answer. “Will you be powerful or pitiful today?”  I start out that way because my answer will determine how I give thanks to God. How I reflect. How I move. How I think. How I act. How I am. That question consciously brings my daily tasks into awareness of my daily purpose to be powerful, in each and every single thing I do. It’s a start at least.

Anyway, because I am choosing to consciously be powerful. To physically being powerful. To truly being powerful. I am going to be honest for once in my spiritual life and confess that I am a liar. I confess that I still haven’t been showing myself love. I confess that I still invite people to not show me love. I confess that I have looked and longed for love in all the wrong places. I confess that I have failed myself in my journey toward love, because I won’t admit that I have failed myself. I confess that just because I have failed, DOES NOT mean I will continue to fail myself. I confess that I am deserving and worthy of holistic love. Of wholly love. Of Godly love. Of love, love.  I confess that I am letting go of fucked up love.

  • #2 Acknowledging Where I Was (Before Today): Holding Myself Back

I’ve been pissed! Cursing God out like nobody’s business. I mean, seriously, my life is rough right now, to say the least. I am broke. I know I keep saying that, but like, for real. Most days I don’t have two coins to rub together for good luck. Visiting people and going to events that aren’t walking distance requires means beyond imagination. Walking distance has become and continues to remain, anything I need to get to but don’t have another way of getting there (i.e. either I walk to Brooklyn, or I don’t go).

It was last month when it hit me. When I finally got real with myself on my dominant role in the process I view as holding myself back. My cousin attacked me. I mean like physically attacked me. Pushed me. Punched me. Threw water on me, on some reality tv, Jersey Shore type shit. Cursed me out like a dog. I mean, about as bad as this sounds, is as bad as it is. If not a little more.

The damage, though worse than ever before, was relatively minor. I ended up with a broken big toe (s/o to him for helping me attain my first broken bone), very bruised knees, and a large rug burn from sliding across the tiled floor. Compared to my mom’s broken jaw stories, and my own personal blackened eye past, I feel like I kinda faired out well.

Which is the problem. I am able to calmly make sense of being attacked by a 45 year old man, that I thought was my family. Because it’s normal. Like really normal. To me at least. And people like me. I’ve been fighting boys/ men in my family, since I was a little girl, fist fighting with my younger brother.

How can I work toward sustaining business clients if I can’t sustain food, housing, mental and even physical security in my life. I can no longer keep lying to myself. I can’t keep telling myself that my physical situation will change my spiritual situation. I can longer pretend like my backwards psychology makes sense. If my physical ain’t right, my spiritual ain’t right. That’s it. Nothing else to it.

There’s no reason for someone as intelligent, righteous, blessed and loved as me, to be living the life I’m living. There’s no reason for me to be the only reason I continue to live this life. There’s no reason for me to keep lying as if that’s going to change my life. It just doesn’t make sense. And enough is enough.

  • #3 Acknowledging Where I Am Now (After Today): Moving Forward

On some real stuff, what business person, woman or man, could you take serious, that told you that they needed to reschedule your meeting because their toe was broken, following a domestic altercation? I mean, of course you’ll have concern and all that good stuff. But once they quickly thank you for, and then blow off your concern, highly indicating their personal normalization of this type of life, (where people attack them and they sometimes end up with random/ not so random broken toes), what do you do? Do you still take them seriously? They’ve been attacked and they clearly think that shit is normal? Do you work with someone like that?

Now, consider this without the judgemental hat. With a real person to person hat. Who wants to do business with a person whose life is so out of control, they can’t even figure out what days they’ll be able to walk on two feet or take pictures without black eyes? Not because they’re a bad person. Not because they’re not worthy of doing business with. Not because they’re better off forgotten. But because there is something standing in front of their ability to conduct business on the highest professional standard.

So, what do you do? You can ignore their blatant troubles and do business anyway, waiting until their inevitable drama becomes so intrusive, that you must cut all business ties. You can reach out and try to help first, then focus on business. Or you could do what too many people do. You could just cut ties immediately. Ignore their clear pleas for help. You could sever business ties immediately, leave their “drama” with them, and keep it moving toward your own stuff.

This last consideration is much of the reason people who experience lives like mine, keep them secret. You don’t want people to judge. Because they don’t know the whole story. You don’t want people to think less of you. Because your circumstances don’t dictate your worth. You just want people to see you for who you are, minus all the really bad stuff that happens behind closed doors. Because you’re more than that. You’re better than that. And you know it. You just don’t know how to make your life show it. So, you cover up the blemishes, highlight the assets and keep it moving.

That’s what I’ve been doing all these years. Covering it. And lying. Pathologically lying. To myself and everyone I see and who “sees” me. Until now. Because that’s not love. Lying to myself and the world is not love. Protecting the oppressor, while reinforcing the oppression is not love. This is not LOVE.

Love is truth. Love is light. Love is love. It feels like love. It looks like love. It smells and tastes like love. It sounds like love. Love is love. And fucked up love, is not love.

I’m truly ready to fully let go of fucked up love. I am ready to embrace real, authentic, unfiltered, unbinded love. LOVE, love. I am ready to be FREE. I am ready!! I pray you are too <3!!