My Feelings of Brokenness Led Me to Discover My Wholeness

Words by Brittney Jenneford

Photography by Deun Ivory

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The year 2018 hurled me into a season with more ebbs than flows, and it wrecked me. I entered into a relationship with grief, and it became my quiet companion—following me everywhere, demanding to be seen and heard. I felt vulnerable, silenced, and unworthy. These feelings were deep-rooted.

At age five, I learned that I was an object I didn’t own the rights to—a Black body always at risk of exposure. College made me well versed in the illusion of consent and told me my voice held no power. Adulthood showed me that my value was rooted in what I could offer and was determined by those around me.

These internal narratives had been unearthed, and I felt more than broken—I felt ground to dust. I had been told one narrative my entire life, and had been confronted with an opportunity to choose a new story: one I longed for. I’m learning to acknowledge my past, accept my present, and be hopeful for the future, while honoring all that I’ve gone through and celebrating how far I’ve come.

But this healing process isn’t magic. It’s slow and patient work. My trauma is deep-seated, but I’m finding that the God within me runs deeper. I’m connecting to the things I once fought to detach from; I’m in a constant state of learning how to walk in awareness, move with intention, and abide in truth. My feelings of brokenness have led me to discover my wholeness and shown me that my experiences are unqualified to name me.

I’m now choosing the story I tell through my life, and now know that nothing can change my intrinsic value. Since the Divine shapes my totality, every other narrative has no actual weight. I am learning how to embrace what I never knew I needed, and am experiencing joy in the most unexpected places.