the fight against labels
by Kiera Ford
When I was in middle school I was a little bigger than the other girls. I was teased and I was bullied. Soon I had become the target and everyone's favorite punch line. That is when my insecurity began. But then there was this awesome thing called puberty in high school, and a shift began to happen. I developed faster than other girls which caused me to get a lot of attention from boys. It made me excited, I felt wanted, felt worthy, I felt like I was enough. Feelings that I had never felt before, and was hooked.
So then I met this boy and just like high school romances go I instantly fell in love with him. He made me feel special, but the relationship was not healthy. Like Doctor Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, he would have these mood swings where some days he would be amazing and loving and others he was so mean and hurtful to me when he didn't get his way. But I was attached to him. I placed a crown on his head. A crown that I should have kept for myself. I sacrificed pieces of myself so that I can make that boy feel like a man. He used my heart as a pedestal that his insecurities could stand on.
Back at home, my parents were going through a divorce. Dad moved out, my siblings spent most of their time at his house. My mom found another chest to lay on and practically another house to live in. My house was no longer a home. And for 5 out of the 7 days a week, I was home alone. 16 years old insecure and lonely. I had a void in my heart and I was so desperate to fill that void. So I allowed my relationship to go on for longer than it should have. For me it was a band-aid, a hand to hold, something that made me feel better. So I settled for him.
During that time, I became the turn-up queen and slowly became numb to the pain I was feeling. I always knew how to walk into a room and make everyone look at me. I can make the stone cold heart light up with laughter. When that beat dropped, I dropped it like it was hot. I was the life of the party, but to be honest I dead on the inside. So I was labeled the funny black girl. Only good for entertainment. And when I did raise my voice and demanded to be taken seriously, they called me angry black girl. I was so angry because I was HURT. Sometimes anger is easier to show than actually admitting we need help. So I allowed those labels to stick on me and define who I was.
My boyfriend would verbally assault me calling me things I don't even want to repeat. My parents left me feeling ALONE, literally and emotionally. People would call me FAT. My friends said I was too LOUD. The parties didn't numb the pain anymore. I was the ANGRY BLACK GIRL. I was a JOKE. I let the LABELS placed on me define me, And those labels wrapped around my mouth stealing my voice and stifling my confidence.
That's when I had it. I hit rock bottom and I decided I had left that toxic relationship.I knew my search to find out whether I was enough did not begin and end with a relationship with a man. But it began with a relationship with the King of Kings. When I decided to break up with him I ran to Jesus. And he didn't turn me away. He had open arms and eyes full of grace.
I HAD TO LEARN TO FIGHT INSTEAD OF ACCEPTING LABELS, SO I CAN HIDE MY VOIDS.
I fought it with the grace of God. You see beloved, it is not wrong to desire to feel beautiful, enough accepted and loved. But when we expect a man, a platform, a drug or an addiction, to fill that place, you are only placing a band-aid on a gunshot wound. It wasn't until I let Jesus fill and heals my broken places that I started to understand what beauty was.
Jesus taught me how to live WHOLE. Every time people try to label me or my own emotions threaten to chain me in a cage, I pick up the only label that runs deeper than tape. A label that carries truth. A TITLE that no one or thing can ever remove: ROYAL, ACCEPTED, LOVED, DAUGHTER.
I haven't always been open to discuss this part of my testimony. Because the Kiki most people know is fearless, joyful, bold, funny and a powerhouse. NEVER ALLOW FEAR, PEOPLE, AND LABELS, SILENCE YOU.
So I'm here putting my private fight on display. I am here today, to own my story. When I was left alone I could have stayed silent. When my ex broke my heart, I could have stayed silent. When I was bullied I could have stayed silent. But I refused to not show up to this battle. I choose to swing against societal standards of beauty, heartbreak, and my not so perfect past.
My voice, my story, my renewed joy, and confidence is now my biggest weapon. Out of my suffering, a purpose was born. So whoever you are reading this I want you to know that you're Royal and there's a powerful God who loves you wants you to pick up your crown. There's a savior who wants to stand in the middle of your voids and brokenness and be your bridge to healing.So smile and flip your hair for the haters.Own who you are! Slay your fears and doubts. And trade your shame for a story.
This is my story, and it's my weapon. So let's never stop talking.\