By Shaqualah Gooden
Hey guys, I hope you are having an amazing day, and if not I’m sending positive vibes and love your way always. If no one told you today, let me be the first. I’m proud of you and you are capable of greatness. Okay, so. I was asked to write my story and for weeks, I wrote, rewrote and wrote some more. Each time more grandiose and more detailed than the other. When today it hit me. Why don’t I just tell my truth. Let’s be clear, my truth may not be your truth, but the one thing we will have in common I believe will be perseverance.
I have done so much in my 38 years of life. I have been a teacher, master barber, a dancer, stand up comedian, an actor, a columnist, a host, a producer of content and events, a promoter, I started my own program for young men and women who come from impoverished neighborhood like myself, I am also a purpose coach, I have partnered with amazing organizations, like Connect, Pillars, PAL, Hip Hop Film Festival, etc… I’m not here to toot my own horn, but I have been blessed to say that I have met some amazing people who have supported me along the way.
With all that being said. I’m going to bring you into my life. I’m going to share with you, the things that I had to push through that have tried to break my spirit and stride. Why? Because I want to make clear, that it’s not about how many times you fall. It’s about how many times you get up and the lesson you learn from each fall. So, here it goes. Here’s my story.
Hi my name is Shaqualah “Qualah” Gooden. I am a single mother of a beautiful daughter who is about to make me a grandmother. I’m finally starting to get excited about it. At first, I felt like I failed as a parent. My daughter is one of the most amazing young woman I have ever had the chance to know, and the fact that she’s my daughter is an extra bonus. I had to learn that her life isn’t mine. I’m just her provider and guide through this thing we called life. She will go out in the world and learn what works for her, all on her own, like I and everyone in the world did. As a parent I wan’t to protect her from everything but then I would be robbing her of her lessons and experiences that will shape and mold her into who she is destined to become.
I am a also a daughter to a the most colorful mother there is. I watched my mother struggle with her addiction, her shame, her heartbreak, her guilt and her want and need for love and support my whole life. Does this mean she is weak? Heeellll no! She is the strongest woman I know. She has challenges just like everyone in this world. The difference with her, is she never gave up pushing forward, I watched her high as a kite, then watched her walk across the stage getting her degree.
I watched her cry herself to sleep over breaking up with a man she thought loved her and she loved, and then realize she is a queen and she deserve to be loved better, so she chose single-hood over settling. I watched her mother 5 children the best way she could. Yes, she didn’t have much but the love in heart was some how was all we needed, She has been the reason I love the way I do.
I have also been a victim now survivor of domestic violence. The reason I use victim then survivor, because I’m here typing this. Sharing my story with you. From the comfort of my room. There was a time when, all I did from the comfort of my room was sit in a corner and cry. I used to believe that the love I had was big enough to fill the void in his heart. I learned that no matter how much you love someone, you have to love you first. You can’t heal anyone els’s wounds, voids, trauma, etc… All you can do is love them for who they are and support them in who they are.
You at no point are obligated to parent a grown up, because they never had one, or be a martyr in hope that he/she will change. That’s not a thing. You are enough. The love you give is enough, the way you laugh, smile, think, dress, talk, walk, etc…. is enough. If you are with someone who makes you feel like you are’s enough, guess what. They lied. Your love may not and shouldn’t be big enough to put band aids on someone els’e wounds and broken heart. That’s not your job ever.
I have also been a victim/ survivor of rape. Yes, I know. I keep getting darker and darker. But to be honest with you. This is my truth! I don’t share my truth In hopes of sympathy but in hopes to show others. No matter how dark it gets, there is always light at the end of that tunnel. It doesn’t and won’t stay dark forever. When I was raped. I felt hopeless, scared, hurt, ashamed, guilty. I thought that I brought it on myself both times. Until I went to therapy and and talked to my friends and family, that I learned that, what happened to me and other countless people, isn’t because we did something to make this situation happen.
I had to understand that there are some very hurt and mentally sick people in the world who feel like getting help for their darkness is a weakness. So they don’t go. When in reality, it is the strongest thing you can do. I was a victim, because that person was a victim to his own issues. I am not to blame and neither are you. The attackers need help to deal with their issues and let’s be honest. Some people may never seek that help or put themselves in a position to be able to seek that help. I can only work on myself and heal from my issues, by giving myself grace, understanding, forgiveness, patience and love. Take time to relearn myself and move forward.
I had a hysterectomy in 2017. It was the best decision I ever made to. I felt so much pressure as a woman to be perfect. I felt like I needed to have the white picket fence and 2.5 kids and a dog. I learned later in life that, that is not who I am. Having the American dream isn’t who I strife to be. I have a beautiful daughter. I’m straight. I have children within my community that I love and support like they are my own. The struggle I faced with having multiple pregnancies, then. Having a hysterectomy was that if Shame and guilt. I felt like, I was this terrible person when I’m not. Did I want another child. Hell yes. Would I have another child with my given circumstances at the time. No I wouldn’t. To me a child is everything that is great about life.
This world needs a deep clean, like a colonic before anyone else decide to bring life into this world. Humanity has become a lost art amongst humans. Which I would never get. But okay! I say all of this to say. Yes, it will be hard at times, yes, you will feel like giving up, yes some days all you have is getting up to brush your teeth, but guess what, “ you got this. With everything tha has been going on in this world. I want you to remember that you got this. You are greatness and you are and will always do great things. No don’t misquoted me. Your greatness will vary day by day, but each day that you take a step is a great day and is an example of how great you are. Through stay positive, stay loved and stay safe.