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In this life, I chose to be a Haitian, African American, suburban black woman. I’m a millennial. I was born in Boston and raised in Tyrone, Georgia. Just a month ago, I was still a student. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. There are so many labels that can be used to describe me, and all these labels come with judgments and expectations.
As a woman, I am expected to express my femininity a certain way and to do or not do certain things. My Haitian side of the family and my African American side each have their own set of expectations for me. As a 23-year-old recent college graduate, people ask me “have you applied for graduate school yet?” or “where are you gonna work?”
I often have my own expectations of myself too. There are times that I’ve questioned the validity of my own identity. How can I claim my Haitian heritage if I can’t speak creole? How black can I really be if I didn’t grow up in a black community? I don’t always look or act too feminine; maybe I’m not a ‘real woman’. I was having an identity crisis during my last semester of college because I didn’t know who I was outside of being a student. Now that I’ve graduated, sometimes I think to myself, “OMG I’M ALREADY 23! I ONLY HAVE 7 YEARS LEFT TO GET A GREAT JOB, TRAVEL, BUY A HOUSE, GET MARRIED, AND HAVE KIDS ALL BEFORE I’M 30!” These thoughts can get overwhelming.
Yes, all of the labels I listed are aspects of who I am. I would be a completely different person if I was a different gender, race/ethnicity, economic class, and so on. I love and appreciate who I am today, and I wouldn’t change any aspect of my identity. However, sometimes I get so caught up in the labels and expectations of my identities that it takes me away from being present in my life
In addition to individual identities, we have identities within relationships too. So far, I’ve come across three different types of soul connections that are often talked about in spiritual settings.
The topic of soul connections or soul ties is a bit controversial, so I you encourage to take this information with a grain of salt. Feel free to do your own research. Do I believe in them? Well… I’ll write another blog post about that. Here, I am sharing what I initially learned and believed about soul connections.
These are the people in your life where it seems like you always have problems. It’s rarely easy. And though they’re very tumultuous, they can be very addicting. It could be that toxic partner you can’t let go of, a family member that you seem to never get along with, or it could even be someone who you barely know, but for some reason, y’all can’t stand each other. Karmic relationships/partners are placed in our lives usually to teach us specific lessons. In my opinion, they’re not meant to be long term due to its nature. If you believe in past lives, a karmic connection may be an opportunity to resolve an issue you had with that person in a past life.
Soulmates are not just romantic partners. I believe we have many soulmates whether they are family, friends, or lovers. Soulmate connections usually go much more smoothly than karmic ones. These are the kinds of connections where you get along with them well, and you may have similar characteristics and interests. You guys just “get” each other and feel a strong sense of love and belonging with them. They happen to come into your life at the right time. Some soulmate connections are long-term and others are short. Soulmates also bring lessons, however, unlike karmic connections, these lessons are more often learned in peaceful, pleasant, or neutral conditions. They are less likely to be learned through dysfunction, toxicity, or even abuse and trauma. I like to call soulmates the people in your life who help you “level up.”
Twin flame connections
After all the information I’ve gathered, I would personally describe a twin flame connection as somebody who is your “mirror.” They’re everything you are and also everything you’re not. Some people describe twin flames as your divine counterpart; they’re the one soul who you’re destined to love and be with time and time again in every lifetime. One soul (regardless of gender) embodies the “divine masculine” energy and the other is the “divine feminine” energy. Your twin flame is supposed to show you all the parts of yourself that you run away from so that you can face it and stop holding yourself back. Your twin flame helps point you towards your life path. However, one person runs while the other chases, and you guys play this game of cat-and-mouse for weeks, months, years, or even DECADES until both of you guys get it together, and you aren’t afraid to love each other anymore. Then, you guys are in a deep love, you two are supposed to be an example of a sacred partnership for the rest of the world. Sounds romantic, right?
Last year, I became obsessed with the topic of twin flames and whichever man I thought was my twin flame at the time. I wanted to find mine so desperately. Every guy I fell for, I was like “OMG IS HE MY TWIN FLAME?” I would try to find aspects of our connection that fit the twin flame narrative just so I could feel like I met this person who I was destined to love and share my life with.
I tolerated emotional unavailability, lying, disrespect, abandonment, and just general toxic or even abusive behavior from men, all under the guise of “he treats me like this because deep down he actually loves me, but he’s broken and acts out of fear.” All the running, chasing, and heartbreak was supposed to point us towards our shadow aspects so that we could heal. Break and heal, break and heal, and break and heal again until we were finally ready to have a loving and even “divine” relationship. If we kept going through the cycle, that meant we weren’t good enough to experience divine love yet.
But this is not love at all. Love is not supposed to be painful. Love should not be begged or fought for. You deserve love just as you are, flaws and all. You don’t have to be near perfect to deserve love.
Finally, I had enough of all the twin flame mess, and I just decided to give it all up and take a break from dating for a little while. However, a couple months later, I met ANOTHER guy. I wasn’t expecting anything to go anywhere. However, when we met, we fell for each other quickly. We were both nervous about getting into a relationship so soon, but we decided to do what our hearts were calling us to do. Though I had denounced the whole twin flame thing before, in the very beginning, I still found myself questioning “oh, what if he’s my twin flame? Or maybe we’re soulmates.” But as the relationship went on, I found myself not caring. We had a lot of great times together. We felt comfortable to freely express ourselves and just be who we are without judgment. It was the first relationship where I felt that I had genuinely loved a man, and he also genuinely loved me back. Then I finally thought, “well who gives a damn what we are? We’re having a great experience.”
Though the relationship was short and came with its own issues, there was genuine love between us, and it was an overall positive experience. I learned a lot about myself, and I was taught some life lessons. Amongst many other realizations, that was when I finally understood that labels don’t matter. It’s all about the experience that you’re having with people.
And it goes both ways. Are you having a positive experience with this person? Great! The label and the preconceived notions you have should not matter. Just surrender to it. If you are having a negative experience with a person, then it’s time to reevaluate the relationship and take appropriate action instead of trying to make the relationship fit the narrative or beliefs you have about how it should be. I promise you’ll be much happier letting go instead of resisting change.
This doesn’t just apply to the labels we put on relationships; it also applies to the labels we put on ourselves. It doesn’t mean that certain things have to happen. Just because you’re black or you’re a woman, or an office worker, or you’re 43, or a father, or a painter, or whatever doesn’t mean that your life has to be or look a certain way. Sometimes we have to detach ourselves from our identities and the identities of our loved ones in order to have healthy experiences and connections. When we detach, we give ourselves a space to live and love authentically, and to allow others to do the same. Teal Swan has a great article that goes more in depth about non-attachment here.
Becoming unhealthily attached to our labels is what blocks us from authenticity. Don’t limit your potential for greatness by trying to fit yourself into a box. Love and accept who you are, who your loved ones are, and how your life is at this moment. We are the way we are, and that’s okay.
Here’s an exercise I created to help practice non-attachment:
(This activity is best done in small groups, but I still encourage you to try it on your own)
Pick at least 3 options from the list below to describe yourself. But here’s the catch: you cannot use labels! Instead of using labels, you can say something like, “I am experiencing _____” or “I have the experience of _____.”
- Relationship status
- How you’re currently feeling
- Qualities about your sun sign
- Love language
- Anything else you can think of!
Some examples: A barista could say “I have the experience of making coffee for a living.” A mom could say “I am experiencing motherhood.” If you want to describe how you’re feeling, you could say “I’m experiencing joy/tiredness/etc.” Get creative with it!
If you’re doing this in groups, also pay attention to your thoughts when listening to your partners. If someone says “I experience managing an office” try not to immediately think, “Oh, they’re an office manager!” Accept their answer for what it is without analyzing or judging it. And don’t be afraid to ask questions or allow the conversation to lead to other avenues. Just be sure not to use labels when describing yourself or others!
Some post-activity questions to consider: Was it easy or difficult? How did it feel? Did your perspective change? How can we practice this more in our daily lives?
Thank you for reading. Let me know your thoughts below!
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