Today, we have a contributing piece from Akilah S. Richards, who we’ll be learning more about in an upcoming feature! Consider this an appetizer before the meal. Bon Appetit!
How Not To Lose Yourself
Words by Akilah S. Richards
Ever see those “letters to my younger self” projects where we are encouraged to pass on our wisdom to the versions of us that survived in our earlier years? This is kind of like that. But in reverse.
What if your Inner Little Girl had access to you right now? What if we took the Sankofa route and went back to our past to better design our future?
What might that younger self want for you? What dreams did she have? What might she inspire you to start doing? Or to stop doing?
How would the single-digit-age version of you react to some of the choices you’re making right now?
What follows is my account of how my Inner Little Girl saves me. May it inspire your Inner Goddess Child to speak up on your behalf more often.
runaway Not lost
I stared at the box she was in, but couldn’t understand what I saw.
She was so full of things, yet she was empty, and her eyes did not smile when she saw me.
I think someone told her a lie. A lie about me. I think someone told her that I had gone somewhere far. Too far for her to try to reach me.
And it feels like they told her it would be best not to even try and find me. And even though she didn’t think she would, she eventually believed them.
She believed them, and so she became too busy. Busy with paper things, and electronic things, and things that were supposed to show the liars that she believed what they had said.
But I did not go anywhere, and after she got so busy that I almost lost her scent completely . . .her scent somehow got stronger. When she would take a few moments to be with herself, to care for herself, to sink into her feelings—she permeated her space with a scent that would lift the corners of my lips upward into a smile.
And when I smile, she feels me. And when she feels me, she cannot help but sink into me. I, like her feelings, are deep enough that all of her can sink in, swim good, and drink her fill.
And when she is full, she is less likely to try and plug her round spaces with square blocks that poke and tear at her form and force her to stretch in ways that have nothing to do with growing. Those square blocks are clever, and they know how to look important.
But if she is here, seeing my words and letting them work through her soul, the liars have failed. She may have distanced herself from me, but neither she nor I are lost.
I hope that she still remembers how I want to feel, and I will raise my voice, smile my smile, and follow her scent so that neither of us ever really gets lost.
Akilah S. Richards founded The Life Design Agency to guide women through a process of self-inquiry and unfiltered exploration she calls RADICAL SELF-EXPRESSION. Through Akilah’s workshops and coaching sessions, women address urgent issues in the areas of their lives where they feel muted and out of alignment. The Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) and international speaker has authored several books—including the Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller, How She Got Free. Her work has been featured in Essence, Clutch, and Real Simple magazines, and online at MSNBC’s Today Moms, RollingOut.com, CNN.com and EverydayFeminism.com. Akilah blogs at radicalselfie.com.
Stay tuned for an amazing upcoming feature on Akilah and her works!