By Nia Calloway. Photography by Deun Ivory.
What if you woke up every morning to say I am rooted? What if the first thought that swims through your mind as your eyes flutter open is, “I am rooted”? Think about a root. Think about how the limbs of a root anchor in the sometimes soft, sometimes grimy soil. Think about how a root stretches far and wide without needing to know where it’s going. Think about how a root takes up enough space in order to remain whole, fulfilled, and on a journey of growth. A root expands, learns, and traverses unknown territory, yet stays grounded, sticks to a steady pace, and searches for the deeper meaning in its growth. The depth of a root reflects its bravery to travel in the unpredictable murk, find home, and develop trust in the Earth and itself to create magic. Yes, I am indicating that we are magic.
Rooting means taking back the power in your dirt. Reveling in the mess of your mud. Feeling bold in your blemishes. We have to explore our mud and dirt in order to rise; In order to plant any kind of seed worth growing. To explore our dirt means not only embracing our imperfections but being wildly creative with them. In order to get wildly creative with our imperfections, we need to develop a deep sense of trust in ourselves. Soon, those imperfections will become blessings, essential tools, or our greatest superpowers.
To rise means to use the perfectly equipped tool boxes that we have in order to grow and step into the next phase of conscious being. We slow down our growth when we compare the contents of our toolboxes with someone else’s. Not having trust or faith in the foundation, the very beginning of our development, primes us for how much trust we have in the next stages of our personal development. What happens to a building if it has a weak foundation? It eventually falls, collapses, or shatters, making it nearly impossible to detect where things went wrong or even what went right. By then, mistakes and triumphs bleed together, because mistakes have been given too much credit and triumphs not enough.
We live in a society that reinforces the rhetoric that downtalking yourself and self-deprecation is a sign of humility. It’s not. It’s a form of self-abuse. Honesty is humility, and honesty does not have to equal psychological sadism. There is a way to have an honest assessment of our journeys without the self-flagellation. Being honest with yourself is an imperative way to build trust in yourself. We lose trust in those who are not honest with us, and the same loss of trust happens when we are dishonest with ourselves. For me, dishonesty looked like justifying why I didn’t deserve a certain job, salary, dream, desire, passion that could bring me joy and fulfillment, as well as justifying not needing to work so hard to attain something worthwhile. It has looked like justifying isolation with the belief that not needing community makes me a better person, as well as trying to fit pain or fear into “I’ll be fine.” I know I’m not alone. In a society that constantly finds ways to gaslight women, especially Black women’s wants, needs, and desires, it’s imperative that we stand with unwavering belief that we are deserving of the best quality of lives. Therefore, we should be the first people to tell ourselves yes. That begins with trusting our skills and abilities, trusting in our power, and trusting that we know what we want.
Trusting in oneself is not an overnight process. It has taken me years of trial and error, and I am still traveling on this rocky road called growth. However, I have learned that my intuition is my most sensitive muscle. With sheer conviction, it can be the strongest muscle in my body. With the slightest neglect, it quickly begins to atrophy. It takes bravery to listen to our intuition, but like with any important decision, every voice matters. The practice of listening to intuition in the grand scheme of trusting oneself, makes the long journey to growth less rocky in the long run. So build trust now. Create soil worth rooting in. Find healthy companionship in oneself. Do not try to escape yourself. Be the hand you want to hold into eternity. Have the sense of humor that will carry you through the dark times. Stay gentle so that you will always have the most welcoming arms to fall back into if and when you fail. Be the hand that greets your failures with a high five, not a slap in the face. Be your own best friend who celebrates your wins, and alleviates the pain of your losses; One who couldn't possibly bear to judge you. When you give yourself unconditional love and permission to grow, you build everlasting trust and courage to try, grow, stumble, rise up, and try again.
To truly rise, we must take into account how every drop of water, ray of sunlight, speck of pollen, speckled leaf, and emerging thorn made this journey possible, and use that beautiful combination of elements to flourish. This year in particular, I experienced an extraordinary flourishing of self. After choosing to be alone with myself rather than lonely by myself, I granted myself permission to explore what it means to embody freedom. Embodying freedom means breaking out of the chains I had placed around my body, mind, and voice for years. I began creative writing again, singing again, which lead to song writing, poetry writing, performing at open mics, taking up dance again, getting to know my body in a conversational way rather than in a judgemental way. Ultimately, I trusted myself, my abilities, my curiosity enough to take up space. I rose. I’ve never in my life felt so fully and contently myself until this year, and the journey is only beginning. I still get to rise higher, brighter, and louder everyday. So to that I say, I am rooted in trust, and I rise in self-love, self-appreciation, and self-liberation.
Nia Calloway hails from Austin and Houston Texas. She contributes to BGIO because BGIO's wellness mission has inspired her to have one of her own. BGIO is the catalyst for her to get honest about her personal wellness journey and live her best life possible. Her go-to wellness practices include smelling nature, laughing, and yoga. You may connect with her online on Instagram, Twitter, and her website www.niacalloway.com.