a new year is upon us and it’s been 18 months since some of you have sat down with the writer version of myself. Unless you-yourself is a writer or creative, I doubt I can come up with a reasonable excuse for my absence. When you last knew me I was single, depressed, and lost at life. I don’t know that I can say much has changed.
It’s a merciless feat to write the personal trials and tribulations of your life. It becomes even harder when your voice doesn’t belong to just you. People will stretch your voice to the tiniest of murmurs when it comes from a group of marginalized people. My words were challenging what it meant to be a whole, strong Black woman. I was creating a map to an emotional labyrinth of the darkest arenas of my life and retracing the paths with each reader. Rarely, was my writing or opinion accepted with open arms; I was labeled the lonely, love-hating, angry Black feminist who wanted her sadness. I know how dangerous it is for Black women with the thoughts and dreams I have in this society⎯no one protects you. At the same time, I had to scarf down the vehemence and exhaustion that came with the Sandra Bland’s, Freddie Gray’s, and the defense of Heathcliff Huxtable. The destruction of the gift of not only Blackness but womanhood. As a depressive, empath (see also: member of the X-Men) this was dangerous for my psyche, so I stopped writing. Life while becoming bountiful was only growing harder as I tried to ignore the tool the uni-verse gave me to add abundance to the world.
I read over 75 books. Still, I became a recluse so that I didn’t have to explain to my inner circle how fatality loomed over my day-to-day. I accepted a promotion. Yet, I created a conflicted workspace, where I continually battle(d) with my own moral compass. Am I adding to the problem that I so badly want to fix? I fell in love, a challenging, growing, safe love. But, my insecurities still tell me it’s slowly seeping through my palms. My bond with my mother became as strong as welded steel as the abandonment of my father’s void grew to fill the Grand Canyon. I beat 2014’s suicidal thoughts, only to loss two people to its suffocation. I spoke to God daily with fears that he never heard the whispers of my thank you’s as clearly as my cries of agony.
My life is a seesaw of duality. The only way to control the picture is to write words that paint the vast oceans of complexity and cast sunshine on the shadows of dreary emotions.
This year I write for you, her, hurt, healing.
Life, in all of your beautiful madness.
When you are young you develop a system of values and beliefs that will likely guide you into conforming to the norms of society. Here is where you learn who you are. Or it should be where you learn the good and bad parts of yourself so you can decide which parts you will allow society to see. Many people hide aspects of themselves to fit into groups, jobs, or moments that are dictated by other people.
When I was younger while my family taught me a lot about values and beliefs, I never had the necessity to fit in. While they instilled in me cultural views of the world, what they failed to realize is that a child learns most through mimicking behaviors. Having repressed much of my childhood memories who I was/am came through what I connected with most. I knew that I liked my solitude: I liked music. I liked art. I liked to learn. These are all things that I still love today. At the core, I have always known whom I am and what I was meant to do. As life happened and I have been forced to learn to survive in a society where my individual person must adhere to groupthink, who I am has always been questioned and challenged to meet the expectations of others.
Life has become a fun house – a set of deceiving mirrors – by which I began to hide myself. The interesting part about these mirrors is that you see the parts of yourself that the people closest to you think you need to change. These are the bad qualities that outcast you and make you different. Most people are afraid of what makes others different because they are afraid that you will be exiled, they are intimidated because they themselves don’t have this quality, or they find something wrong because they cannot fit the otherness about you into the labels they have aligned for their own lives. For me, these reflections started to become who I was because I believed that you were who other people perceived you to be.
Not realizing who I am at the center is a beautiful contradiction of all things – something that is hard to be labeled. I became scared of who I really am because of what others chose to pine on about. I’m too angry and men don’t like aggressive women. I’m too curious and forthright in sharing things I learn and no one likes a know-it-all. I’m too sad and I have all the space to count my blessings. I cloaked the dirty parts of me or at least I tried to but hiding them only made them scream louder.
Never once saying to myself, you’re more than people see you to be.
At a moment in time it was easier to accept this view as true but in the process I stifled the beauty of my true self. I became comfortable in all the traumatic things that happened to me. I was scared of the person who came out of those experiences because to others she did not display beauty but instead she became threatening. Those skewed images of myself swallowed the honesty that I have in writing because the mirrors began to present themselves in this space as well.
Then someone comes along who sees your flaws and who relishes in the complexity of your being. For me, two people came along at the same time. The uni-verse most have realized I’d disappear had they not.
Mirrors become tricky when your livelihood isn’t based on appearance.
Writing is how I survive. It is how I can rehash all of life – the uncertainty, the fear, the hardships – without the judgment that I somehow deserve the darkness because I can’t will a happier place into existence. It can be the safe place where I realize that in order for me to be the person I am today, I have to be different, I had to go through the darkness and feel all the things I am ashamed of; because these are the things that not only shaped me to be who I am but my expression of these moments can save the one person who is struggling to regain his/her self.
In continuing to honor who I am destined to be, I have to face who I was and share some of the things I have been through. I also need to clear the smoke and mirrors, and surround myself with people who realize that perfect is a fantasy. My past has jaded parts of me to make me stronger and to allow the real me to survive, not for myself but for the sake of others.
If that is to happen then I have to say fuck it to all the mirrors in my fun house because depending on the day they see what they want. Mirrors momentarily show you just one glimpse into a journey of who someone is becoming, with no recognition of what the image was before. This creativity was never about me and the perceptions of others say more about who they are and their view of life, than it does about the object they are gazing at.
Mirror, mirror on the wall it’s time I see myself for all of me even if that means losing people who latch on to see better parts of themselves.
P.S. Thank you to all of you who take notice that my words flow to the cadence of music or that nearly all of my titles are based on songs. Frank wrote the hell out of this one and Brandy did a great job covering it for her last album but this on takes me to another planet.