By: Monique DeBose
"When you own all the parts of yourself, only then can you truly be free."
It is a guiding principle in raising my two boys, and for when I feel myself shrinking into mediocrity to make other people feel comfortable. It’s my source of courage when I feel like I can’t accomplish what I’ve been put on the earth to do. As a singer/songwriter, social activist and coach for women who are choosing more for their lives, I am challenged each day to "own" all the parts of myself.
God made us exactly as we’re meant to be. Let me repeat that- for you and for me- God made us exactly as we’re meant to be. To me, this means the parts I love about myself and the parts I really struggle to accept about myself are all perfect.
I grew up a mixed race woman in Los Angeles; my dad is a Black man from North Carolina and my mom is a white Irish woman from upstate New York. I’ve always lived in spaces where there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me. Both sides of my family had differing viewpoints, different social and economic outlooks and I often felt like I was riding a wave of ‘fitting in’ wherever I found myself. Figuring out the formula of being "Black enough" for Black people and being "safe enough" for white people is a fool’s endeavor. Spending energy trying to fit in, "erasing" parts of yourself, is perhaps a short term fix, but it is definitely not a healthy, long-term strategy for success, happiness and peace.
This leads me back to my guiding principle.
When you own all the parts of yourself, only then can you truly be free. What I find in my work is that people are hungry, dare I say, desperate to welcome all their parts to the party.
The bubbly side.
The side that others have deemed "too much."
The insecure side.
The edgy side that likes to cut up from time to time just for fun.
The extremely vulnerable side.
The sensual side.
The list goes on and on.
I’ve found that to own all parts of ourselves, we are required to have a bravery like no other -- a strength of heart that pulls us across the line from being paralyzed by fear to surrendering our desire. As I collect the parts of me that I’ve abandoned or shamed into the shadows, I am clear that choosing more of me is key to me feeling more alive, which is a requirement for me living my best life.
Here are some practical tools to ease you into owning all the parts of yourself:
Set the intention to do so.
List out what you LOVE about yourself and speak out loud, "I love my _____ (quality) and am so grateful this is me."
List out what you WISH WAS DIFFERENT about yourself and for each one, ask the question, "What if this ______ (quality) was my greatest gift and was here to serve me?"
Acknowledge and celebrate ALL of who you are because God doesn't make mistakes.
What if the qualities we’ve deemed shameful, embarrassing, ugly, were some of our greatest gifts? We as Black women are beautiful, creative, intuitive, clever, intelligent, resourceful, strong, courageous and so much more. Let’s own all the parts of ourselves now.
Monique is a mixed-race woman who spent most of her life oscillating between two worlds, that of her African American father and her Irish American Mother. She has spent so much of her life doing the internal work to embrace all the parts of herself, to shift from living life in black and white to living life in full color, accepting and loving who she is as a whole and not one or the other. In addition to music, she has channeled these tools and what she has learned about living an authentic life into a rewarding and successful career as a coach. Working with people who have a vision for their life and feel that they more them to give, to find their authentic voice.