Exhale, Self-Doubt: New Year, Better Ri



You once wanted to kill her, remember? 

That little, menacing girl named Self Doubt. The one who used to run around inside of you, stomping on your heart, screaming "catch me if you can!" She thought your soul was her playground. You used to fantasize about the day you'd chase her down, and make her take her last breath. End her life for good. "I'll show her" you'd say, “when I get my hands on her, she’ll never be able to doubt me again.”

If only you knew, you could never catch her this way. 

With time, you stopped feeling this way about Self-Doubt. You stopped chasing her, you stopped scowling at her, you stopped hating her altogether. you were so tired. You actually learned to love her. You learned to cry for her. You opened your arms, got on your knees, and begged her to hug you. Told her she would be safe, told her that you loved her unconditionally. Told her she could stop running now. That you knew she was tired. That you knew she was broken. That you knew she needed love. 

And just like that, Self-Doubt stopped running. She stopped screaming. She didn't walk towards you just yet. She just stared at you with her big, weary eyes. You'd never looked in her eyes before that moment. You couldn't believe it - they were filled with so much fear and trepidation. This made you cry and beckon even more. But she wouldn't budge. 

She needed to know you meant it.

She needed to hear those three words, over and over again. After a while, her body surrendered and she started inching towards you. Step by step, waiting to see if you’d take back your offer, if you'd change your mind. When she couldn't take it anymore, she fell to the floor. She never felt love like this before. She crawled towards you and collapsed into your arms as you hugged her, sobbed and kept saying "I'm sorry." You didn't even know why you were sorry, you just were. You were so, so sorry. You both cried together. You sat like this for hours. 

That little girl named self-doubt is learning to love now. They say she's even cracked a couple smiles or two. She stopped stomping on your heart. She stopped taunting you with toxicity. In your embrace, she’s learning to be whole. It will take time. She will still hurt you as she tries to unlearn "the old way." You tell her it's okay, that you know she's trying her best, that you'll never leave her. you hear a deep exhale as She sighs of relief - she believes you. there's no going back. the day is nearing. when she, too, will embody Self-Love. 



This was the theme of my 2017: I learned to love every single part of myself. Even the parts I was trying to get rid of. Even the parts that couldn't love me back. even the little girl named self-doubt. Especially her. She needs it the most. She will learn to love me in 2018. She will learn to exhale.

This new year, I’ll be a better Ri. 

i dont want to be a new me. I love me. I have worked so hard to get here, why would I ever leave?


I'm still struggling. Somewhere through all of my self-love showers and personal pep talks, I realized I was still so in need of love, in need of a reminder of who I am, where I've been and where God is taking me. I've been trying so hard: To stay true to myself, true to God. To love more. To be the best version of myself to date. But truthfully, that little girl named Self-Doubt is still a part of me, she still hurts me from time to time, she still tells me that I'm not good enough, smart enough, that I'm not cut out for the life I want to live. I'm not mad at her anymore, but I'm ready to let self-love change her. I'm ready for her to exhale. 

Below is my love letter from my self-love to my self-doubt.

When you read it, think about the Self-Doubt that lives in you. Personify it. Empathize with it. Suspend your judgment. Try not to assume any intentions on its end, just speak to it like you would any friend in need of some love. It is a part of you, after all.  

My Loves,

We have come such a long way. Don't you remember? Sometimes I think you forget, so let me remind you. I used to be like you. as a matter of fact, I was you. I used to be afraid of expecting too much, of being let down, of coming up short, of letting my light shine. Don't you remember? I do. Those fears are very real. They used to keep me up at night, too. And so I doubted and doubted and doubted until I turned numb. I know. You're not alone. I was there too.  

I'm not here to tell you to stop being afraid. I've never stopped. I'm not here to tell you that your grief will go away. each new experience will bring about a new depth to what you're feeling. I'm not here to tell you that the pressure you feel is imagined. I'm here to tell you that love is greater than fear. I'm here to tell you that God is greater than grief. I'm here to tell you that pressure is potential, passion and purpose in disguise. 

And if there's one thing you have baby, it's pressure: It's potential. It's passion. It's purpose. I've been trying to channel these strengths, my love, and I've been able to pull us up from under the ground. Remember that #roadtogroundzero? It was a gamechanger. We're standing on our feet now, but why settle when we can fly? We're ready, I just want you to fly with me this 2018.

I know you cringe when I call you my love. I know you think I'm playing a game, that I'm trying to sway your thinking. This is partially true; I pray every day that you could learn to love yourself like I do. You would pray for you too, if only you felt like I do. But more notably, I want you to know that I've always loved you. This is the truth. Even when you hurt me intentionally. Even when you tried to block my blessings. Even when you flooded my thoughts with self-loathing speech. Even as you try to distort my body image. Even as you try to persuade me to give up. My love, when will you ever understand: Even as you hate yourself, I love you. This will never change. 

Anyway, you won't last long this way. There are too many of us here now. Love is infectious. It spreads like wild-fire. You will catch fire soon, with or without your consent. Please understand, this is not a threat. Love doesn't threaten, love speaks the truth. It even beckons when necessary. Even at your worst, love sees you at your best. I want you to make this decision on your own. I want you to meet me half way. Remember that quote? "Love will find you, even when you are strategically, specifically hiding from it." It's true. But why hide?

My arms are open for you should you decide to accept my embrace. If not, just know, we will meet again very, very soon. 


Self Love


this 2018, stop waiting to exhale

I have been waiting to exhale for a while now.

everything i've written about - my New Years resolution to be more connected and present, the 20 things I committed to keep in 2017, my addiction to a toxic relationship, the 5 things you should stop apologizing for, etc. - tie back to a battle I've had between my self-love and self-doubt. and when you're caught up in a battle, when you're trying to maintain control, you get tense, you get stiff, you hold your breath. but I'm done fighting. I'm done waiting. I'm done holding my breath. I've learned so much in 2017, but most importantly, I've learned that love truly conquers all. I'm going to shower my self-doubt with love, because she will eventually return my embrace. 




only love,