By: D Thea Aldridge

The last few years have absolutely been the hardest of my life.  I felt great despair, this ‘LIFE’ was NOT what I wanted, and I was totally OVER IT! On Feb. 25, my ‘life’ ended abruptly… Where do I start?

Enter 1970, the year of my birth – the beginning!  I was born in October of 1970, my mother was a 19-year-old college freshman at Prairie View A & M University and my father was a 28-year-old married businessman from Austin, Texas. My last time to hear my mother’s voice or feel her warmth was before my birth, after she couldn’t bring herself to touch or speak to me; you see she was forced to give me up and could not bear the pain.  As a day-old newborn, not properly welcomed in the world with skin-to-skin contact, I had to learn to adapt to extreme loss quickly so that I could survive. 

How one survives the abandonment of a birth mother (no matter the circumstance) can vary from case to case.  In my life it included: an extreme practice of pleasing people, accepting less than I was worth to not be discarded, and reckless behavior and addictions.

For the next 50 years, I would live a life of full of rejection and misuse at the hands of the people closest to me: MYSELF, FAMILY, the people in the CHURCH, FRIENDS, and the workplace. I was slowly learning how to DIE DAILY. Every day I went above and beyond in all those areas just hoping someone would recognize my value and my worth.  I would serve any and everyone, big or small, with all my heart, so that THEY could BE, HAVE, and BECOME whatever they desired. Laying down my life for a friend or stranger was not uncommon and it gave me joy … UNTIL it didn’t.

Now for those reading this that know me personally, I am pretty sure what I am writing comes as quite a shock, and for good reason.  You see, YOU were the recipient of everything I had. I poured into each of you until you were full, even if that meant I was left on empty. I showed up to every occasion with a radiant smile, words of encouragement, and unconditional love. I answered EVERY call, talked with you for HOURS, and filled your heart and mind with words of healing.  And I served in ministry, showed up six to seven days a week, gave tithes and offerings, and with great gladness.  You see, each of YOU said you needed me, and at all costs, I was not going to fail you. I had become a LIVING SACRIFICE, laying down my very life for those around me. Why, you ask? So that I could be ACCEPTED.

Enter 2020, the year of PERFECT vision. When the world came to an abrupt stop, somehow that jolt caused me to start to awaken to the TRUE me. Quarantined, and in my second-floor apartment with no balcony, I sat in the window day after day, looking out like an inmate contemplating freedom.

As days turned to months, and months to years, I found myself going through a major shift in emotions followed by new revelations.  I was beginning to see things clearly for the first time. I was discovering who I ‘REALLY’ AM versus who I ‘THOUGHT’ I was! 

In July of 2020, after being asked by my 94-year-old grandmother for assistance, I moved to Austin.  When I arrived, to my surprise, not only did my grandmother ‘need me,’ but so did my biological father. 

By September, my daughter and grandchildren had moved to the area, and she ‘needed me’ to manage the kids. I was in the perfect place: NEEDED; however, little did I know, a QUIET storm was brewing!

For months, I attended all doctor appointments to advocate right care for my seniors, supervised care for three grandchildren, with car line pickups and full aftercare program, and worked to build a brand with a childhood lifelong ‘friend.’  By the end of 2020, the seniors were back to normal, daughter back on track, and the business didn’t get off the ground, and I was left alone. Discarded and treated with disregard, I was no longer needed.

Enter 2021, the year of transition. The first transition I made was to my new apartment. I needed a space to be comfortable and free from judgement and surveillance.  I didn’t have the money to move, but I also didn’t have the strength to stay. I was belittled, talked about, lied on, and abandoned by the ones I served. NO one could understand how ‘Deirdre’ can be having any trouble, she is the ‘FIXER.’ I was being judged openly, while I was dying in secret. 

I was angry, hurt, embarrassed and SUICIDAL in silence, while screaming out loud at the same time. But NO one heard me. However, unknown to me, something else was happening at the same time. 

MY anger was turning into righteous indignation; MY hurt was turning to hope; MY embarrassment was turning into ‘SELF LOVE’; and MY suicidal thoughts turned to strength and determination to LIVE. I was TRANSMUTING and TRANSFORMING. I felt better mentally, whereas my physical world was getting worse.  Everything that I knew to be fact was slowly turning into fiction. 

Enter 2022, the year of the rebirth. The day I wrote this article, I had not slept in 24 hours, the night before my 2014 Chevy Captiva was repossessed.  I had PAID OVER $21K, and only owed $2034.  I had explained what my circumstances were, asked to speak to someone to explain my circumstances, but to no avail. All I needed was $250, and I had NO ONE TO ASK (at least that’s what I felt). When I look back over my life to the $100,000’s I have given in gifts, unrepaid loans, tithes, offerings, plus the intangible gift of time, I recognized: “Deirdre, we have a problem.” My Life’s work of service could not provide a $250 need. 

In that moment, I wanted to take my life, and I did it!  I took my own life, the life I had created in my mind.  I KILLED the CONCEPT of MYSELF that brought me pain and anguish.

I committed a triple suicide — first, I killed the LIE that lived inside me that told me I was not enough and needed others to validate me.  Next, I killed the LIE inside me that said I was not valuable, and I wasn’t worthy of respect and honor. Lastly, I killed the LIE that said I wasn’t EQUAL to all! 

This death comes with the end of an era. The self-sacrificing Deirdre of yesterday is NO more. I have RISEN… like a Phoenix out of the ashes… I have risen to a new level of RESPECT and LOVE for myself. 

You see, this letter is a LOVE letter to anyone contemplating suicide. You do have the right idea, something must DIE: YOUR perception of YOU! How you see the world, and how you see yourself.  Recognizing that those around you are your teachers reflecting to you the issues of your heart.

You see, NO one can DO what we DO NOT allow.  I didn’t realize that the way I thought about myself gave people permission to treat me the same.  If I placed my value at $1, why would someone give me $100?  If I disregarded my needs for someone else, why wouldn’t someone disregard my needs? We teach people how to treat us by example.  I once read the book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen and it taught me about the power of thoughts.  I recognized that if my thoughts could shape a world of chaos, my thoughts can CERTAINLY shape the world of my dreams.  I discovered who I ‘REALLY’ AM, my ‘REBIRTH.’ I am now born from within, secure in WHO and WHOSE I AM.

Dear reader, YOU are valuable, and YOU are worthy. If you have come to a place where you desire to end your life, DO THIS: END THE LIFE OF LIES to yourself about WHO and WHAT you are. KILL the DECEPTION, and LIVE in the TRUTH! YOU AND YOUR CREATOR ARE ONE; not that YOU ARE GOD, but that YOU are MADE with The VERY essence of your Creator’s BEING. KNOW that WE are ALL CREATED EQUAL to ALL, and that ALL things are possible to YOU! Know that you can be with people and still be ALONE if they are not your tribe. Know that out of the 8 BILLION + people in this world, your tribe is out there, NOW go find it!

I may not know how this part of the story ends for me, but I can tell you where it begins for me: TOTAL LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE OF MYSELF… a love of self that is PATIENT, KIND and FORGIVING. A love of self that speaks good to ME with no judgement.  A love of self that recognizes that it is up to ME to choose whether I WIN or LOSE, so I CHOOSE to WIN.

Thank you MJB, because of you I am here today looking in the mirror and saying: GOOD MORNING GORGEOUS!

Need some Mary J. Blige to boost you up? Here you go!