My Soul Look Back


How I got over how I got over
How I got over how I got over
My soul look back and wonder how I got over

Sometimes, it pays to look back. 

Over the last few days, I’ve been struggling personally and professionally. The reasons for these struggles are not important to this conversation. What is important is what is currently coming out of the struggle.


Soul-searching. It’s something I often do, especially when things are hard. I look inward, at me, before looking outward at what other individuals’ roles are in said situations.

This time, however, purely by coincidence (and anybody who knows me knows I don’t believe in coincidence), I ended up looking back almost 19 years.

While sitting at my desk, quietly pondering my current state of disequilibrium, I decided to go to the basket of journals I’ve been writing in over the past several years. I picked up my “I Am! journal, thinking, “I really don’t remember writing in this thing!

Opening the pages, lo and behold, I was reintroduced to my forty- year-old self. And guess what? She was one confused hot mess! Now, I don’t remember being that confused hot mess, but there she was… in my handwriting, my thoughts. Ya’ll! I don’t think at all in the same ways as I did when I was forty! I’ve changed in ways in which, until now, I didn’t, or perhaps, couldn’t acknowledge. 

What has not changed is that I have always believed in my family and have always loved them beyond description. But, my love for myself?  At fifty- nine, I love myself in ways in which, at forty, I didn’t know to love.

Things like… I love the fact that I think kindly of myself. Not so much when I was forty… I believe that I am the mistress of my fate… not so much at forty … that I am unapologetically powerful… and strong… and worthy… and rebellious… and… THICK… and that all of that is GOOD! I can’t believe that I didn’t either notice or celebrate those things about my forty- year-old self!

You know the lyrics from the old gospel song, “How I Got Over?”

How I got over how I got over
How I got over how I got over
My soul look back and wonder how I got over

As I write this, I know that over the next few days, I’ll be thinking about this question.  “How did I get over?” Why? Because finding answers to how I moved from such an unsure, insecure place, at a time in my life when life was, to be frank, a lot easier, to this place of self-love and self-assurance, when things around me threaten to crumble, will not only teach me more about who I a really am, but, as I share my story, hopefully, will help others move more intentionally toward greater, stronger, more confident versions of themselves.

I want to thank forty-year-old Clavis for showing up today. Yes, she was a hot mess, but she was as honest as her tender heart allowed her to be. She was asking herself hard questions, and she grew up. And survived. She showed up today just to remind me that I DO get over whatever comes my way and that I DO have faith. Not only faith in God, but faith in me.  Forty-year-old Clavis wanted me to know that I AM blessed. And worthy. And good… and that I have grown to love myself even more, in spite of adversity and self-doubt. So, to steal lines from that old gospel song…

I wanna thank her
Because she brought me

I wanna thank her 
Because she taught me 
I wanna thank her because she kept me

‘Cause she never left me 

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