By Sade Champagne: I grew up under a heavy cloud of labels. Always trying to prove and defend myself. People-pleasing and over-achieving, Wanting everyone to like me. Full of jealousy and insecurities, I was so exhausted and didn’t even realize it.

These are some of the labels that followed me: blackie, oreo, nigger, nappy head, sellout, wannabe, fake, prude, geek, gay, freak... and on and on they went.

Seems as if everyone had something to say. And I listened to it all. I inhaled every word And began to filter my life through other people’s thoughts of me.

There was no peace in my mind Because all my time was spent being a perfectionist: striving, performing. Whatever it took to silence their taunting.

Sometimes I even joined in and spewed out labels on others. It seemed to get the attention off of me for a few minutes, And give me a little time to breathe before I had to kiss up some more. Shame, guilt, condemnation and resentment were my closest companions.

Since 2008 I’ve been on this voyage to inner and outer healing, Learning how to silence the noise so that I can hear clearly, Receiving restoration in my heart so that my vision would no longer be distorted. I couldn’t go on the way I had been living. It was a slow and VERY painful death.

Here I am today. Now becoming comfortable in my own skin. No longer a prisoner in my own soul. No longer a victim, but standing as a victor.

I will not be defined by human logic, Or squished into a box. I may bend, but I will never break. I don’t give a rip about my reputation anymore. I am free to be myself, receive love, and give love to ALL people.

Labels do not define me.

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