In early September, I arrived in a city I've called home for 10 years--Portland, Oregon. The past few magical months in New York were some of the best I've lived. Although Portland was home, in some ways it felt like I was starting over.
Sure, I was excited to have a group of people awaiting my arrival, anticipating stories about the Empire State and most importantly, my family couldn't have missed me more. Well, at least that's what they told me.
I had packed four big bags--one for shoes and the other two were filled with business clothes. Now my last bag, well, I saved that one for my worst enemy.
The moment I stepped off the plane and retrieved my bags from baggage claim, there she stood alive and in super-size form. Yes, super-size! I threw her bag in the trunk, saved a seat for her in the car and allowed her into my house. Before I knew it, she had a seat at my dinner table, accompanied me in business meetings and even shared my gym membership.
One night as my boyfriend extended his arm to hold me, my worst enemy was caught between us and even he could not remove her.
Exasperated by her presence, I jumped out of bed, grabbed my enemy by the arm and ran down the stairs with every goal to "take it outside" and settle it.
I'd finally cleared the space to confront her and I realized I was surrounded by a cold, wet, dark atmosphere. I wrestled her to the ground, hoping to place myself at an advantage, sitting atop, I yelled, "Why won't you leave me alone?"
As an echo rang in my ear, I glanced at her and there she lay, silent and still. Not a word was formed for delivery and not once did she fight back. Across her mouth was a seal that refrained her from speaking. Every brilliant idea, innovative concept and word of wisdom had been sealed shut by her doubt.
Covered in sheer film she lay, like a caterpillar awaiting to fly. She allowed the fabrics of insecurities to convince her that she indeed, was never good enough. Not for her family, friends or even her career.
But of course, how could she see herself clearly when her eyes were hazed by envy. She continuously wished for what she did not have instead of counting her blessings.
Everyday she submitted herself to tragedy; the chains that wrapped her feet like a prisoner limited her every step to move forward. Not once did she take a moment to think that the key of hope was in her possession all along.
I quickly ripped the seal of doubt from her lips. As she gasped for air, I unraveled her insecurities and together we unlocked the chains of tragedy that kept her bound. As I brought her to her feet, our eyes locked and instantly, I recognized her.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to become our worst enemy--an illusion of our self-inflicted traps. Filled with doubt, we bite our tongues because we are afraid of what people might think, decreasing the chances of our words changing the world.
There is a plague of insecurities that has taken over my generation, preventing us from accepting that our authentic selves are the best versions ever made for us. With entitlement, we've envied the financially rich and famous instead of valuing love, loyalty, discipline and hard work. We allow tragedy to cripple us, when in fact it can be the very formula that fuels our passion to make a difference.
It's needless to say that if we took one moment, just one moment, to save our worst enemy--we could possibly save ourselves.
This post was originally published on ZaneleMe, Zanele Mutepfa's blog.