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Curly Nikki

Self- Concept Thursday!

By January 27th, 202110 Comments

by Ejiro of The Mat and I

The past few weeks have been spent in a different kind of funk. The kind of funk that takes all the bad from the past and replays it over and over again in my head non-stop. At some point I was over it but didn’t really know what to do about it, so I just let it sit for a while, let it fester since that was what it seemed to want to do. The funk festered, ha. I went to Walmart to get a safe with the hubs, and the safes were right beside art supplies, and for some reason I really wanted some art supplies. So I got brushes, a pack of canvases, acrylic paint, sketching pencils, alphabet stencils, and some plastic paint containers and went home with that and the safe. After lollygagging for the evening, and after the hubs had gone to bed, I decided to get at it.

I ripped open the stencils and had the inspiration to write down as many disparaging words that had been used to describe me on a piece of poster board. When I started grabbing the letters to make the words that immediately jumped to the forefront of my consciousness, I realized that everything that had been said, and that I had internalized, centered around four words: SELFISH, FAT, LAZY, GREEDY. From, you are never going to make anything of yourself (LAZY), who is going to marry a woman who can’t cook (LAZY), why won’t you share your clothes with your cousin (SELFISH), do you really have to eat all that food you are done for the night (GREEDY), to, no wonder you are so fat with all the food you eat (FAT).

Self- Concept Thursday!
I was a child at the time that a lot of these scripts were laid in, and I felt that it was my fault because the only time I heard these was when I made a conscious decision to step out of my nuclear family unit to visit a distant relative, or when I went back to boarding school. After a while, I realized that exploration, voluntary or involuntary, resulted in some spirit breaking, ergo exploration was overrated.

These scripts have stuck with me for so long, and they are never far away from my heels. Instead of making decisions based on what I needed or wanted, I made most of them out of fear of embodying any one of those words. On Saturday night, I realized that I was done letting those words rule, I was done letting the fear lead the way. It could stay, but I wouldn’t let it lead.

So I stenciled out the four words that I have let define me for so long, and I stared at them long and hard. I realized that even though I had written them down I had the choice whether or not to give them color, whether or not to arrange them coherently, whether or not to give them life, whether or not to internalize them. Heck I could redefine those words, add on letters or take away where I wanted. So I did just that, I looked at those words and pondered words that could more accurately describe who I am and where I’m at, words that have always been a part of that, but that I’ve suppressed for so long because I believed the script, and here is what came up:

* Great: I, like every human being, is capable of great good and great evil. We choose everyday what to manifest, and being aware of this fact makes it easy for me to be compassionate to myself and others when a slip happens.

* Embodied: I’m solid as a rock, it doesn’t matter if I’m fat or skinny as those descriptions are relative based on the constitution of the general population. So I say, irrespective of how I look, I’m embodied.

* Self Centered: This was one I heard so many times that I remember asking my sister once, “Oke what does self-scented mean,” yeah I was so young I couldn’t even say it right. Miriam Webster defines this word as “independent of outside force or influence or concerned solely with ones desires, needs, or interests.” This word has come to be synonymous with selfish. There is nothing wrong with being self centered, when you are centered in yourself you can better make decisions that are in your best interests and the best interests of others. When your definition of self is independent of outside forces, you don’t feel threatened when someone asks you to give of yourself for a cause- whether it’s time or money- you don’t feel the need to win at the expense of your fellow man. Most of all, when you are centered, you can fully take care of you, and when you are taken care of you can more efficiently take care of others. How can one have compassion for others when there is no compassion for yourself? How can you accept others for who they are, when you haven’t done that for yourself? How can you objectively tell a friend they are beautiful when you find something new to criticize about yourself every morning? Being self centered to me is about taking care of myself so that I can more efficiently see to the needs of others.

* Grounded: You say greedy, I say grounded in my needs right now. I need an extra bowl of rice because my body is existing in scarcity mode, if I eat at the expense of my brother then I agree, I’m being greedy, but if there is enough to go around well I’m just fulfilling my current needs.
Self- Concept Thursday!
This exercise has been extremely helpful for me, essentially what I did was transform words that had a negative meaning for me into words that I could better relate to.

Do any of you guys have exercises that are great for rewriting self-defeating scripts? Please share!


  • Lauran D. says:

    This was a blessing to my life. Thank you.

  • Anonymous says:

    I read through this thinking "This Is Me!" The words might slightly differ but the situations were too familiar. Reading this gave me a jolt Its funny how you conform yourself to other people's definition of you, and let it shape the person you are. I admire you for having the courage to conquer these words, I struggle with conquering my words everyday. :(

  • luvmylocs says:

    thank you very much for sharing!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this post because it was much needed. I heard ugly a lot when I was growing up. To the point where I went a period without looking in a mirror, or I would glance quickly. I was told that if someone said that I was pretty that it was a lie, and that they were just after something or they were not genuine.

    It still struggle, but God is good and has made the difference, which is why I love Psalm 139. At 40 I think that this has kept me from being in a relationship. But I believe that 2011 is a year of change and restoration.

    Thanks again and I note some positive words.

  • Rae says:

    Wow this is really something i needed to see b/c i've been up, down, here, there, alll over the place lately. I'm about to break out the colored pencils and markers. Muchas Gracias for your openness =)

  • mina says:

    i didnt even see her name, and when i read those comments, i was like i bet her family is nigerian or atleast west african….. Yes she is nigerian, we used to be roommates in boarding school

  • Anonymous says:

    Selfish, Fat, Lazy and Greedy…
    These words seem to be arising from judgement of others.
    Selfish: by whose definition? and why am I listening? what do I think?
    Fat: Yes I know it and why are you interested.I truly want to know how you feel about me.
    Lazy: Yes I know it and this too will pass. Lazy to long means no place to stay and perhaps no one I wish to take care of me.
    Greedy: Eating from pain. It's not about the amount or the extent but about not facing the pain underneath; I call it "burning". Go towards the burn next time you get the urge, go through the pain and soon the "bonfire of the vanities" will turn to smoke and clear away.

    Know thyself and the truth will set you free.
    Paint, journal and sent in contemplation about why you think you're selfish and lazy. Go to the heart of the matter and face the dragon; but don't slay it.

    The truth will set "YOU" free. It doesn't matter what others think. What do you think? and Why do you do it? That's it. Who are you really? and what are you willing to give up?

  • Shakirah says:

    Wonderfully put. I am a big advocate of art therapy.

  • Anonymous says:

    I really really needed this today. Seriously, you have no idea how bad I needed this. I've got some similar ill feelings from childhood im still trying to get over and living in an environment that's not helping me to do so. I think some serious changes are in order for me. Thank you so much.

  • Anonymous says:

    " you are never going to make anything of yourself (LAZY), who is going to marry a woman who can’t cook (LAZY), why won’t you share your clothes with your cousin (SELFISH), do you really have to eat all that food you are done for the night (GREEDY), to, no wonder you are so fat with all the food you eat (FAT).
    i didnt even see her name, and when i read those comments, i was like i bet her family is nigerian or atleast west african…smh…i got it too.

    i love the positive words she wrote in color though…i have a blank board in my room and i've been thinking about what to put on it, and i think i'll do something like this

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