I was talking to Triple Threat about the reason for this blog and my reason for writing period, and it’s so I don’t go bat shit crazy. Writing became my savior around 1990 where as a kid I used to write for fun. However only a few years later I began to write for therapy, survival and as an anchor to reality because my brain was moving too fast always. Writing poetry, short stories and several blogs over the course of my life has always been about catharsis. I write things as I genuinely feel them and I believe that those feelings probably resonate with many people because our circumstances are quite similar.
I digress. I spent ages 13-17 being silent. I spoke obviously, and I was eloquent but I was silent about my thoughts. In my home I was not allowed to tell MY TRUTH therefore I told many lies because my truth was met with punitive repercussions. I did not have the room to be my authentic self because it was stifled under the pillow of what I should be and I was weighed down by being compared to others who fit the mold of what good daughters do. I honestly could do nothing right and even when I thought I was doing what was expected of me, it still wasn’t enough and I was met with disappointed and angry words on far too many occasions. Constant and consistent critique of ones being leads to a very dark place. I was there but I wasn’t there. I got lost in the characters of my short stories and I became the perfect child in my poetry. I had a life that made sense in my written world, it helped me cope with the darkness of my everyday existence.
That part of my life and my upbringing was necessary for me to arrive at who I am today. It was not ideal but I blame no one. I think that given the circumstances the adults in my life did what they could, to the best of their abilities and that’s just that. I believe that what I’ve learned is to be compassionate with children who are having a really hard time in life because most likely something is suffocating their light. I believe that I made it this far in my life because I had some very amazing educators who loved me so purely that they made me feel validated and seen. There were educators who saw the struggle and the pain through my smile and they reached in to inquire about me. They encouraged me to write, encouraged me to dream and encouraged me to be my most authentic self because there was no judgement. They heard my pain through speech and they wanted to make sure I knew that my pain wouldn’t last forever. That was very necessary for my life at that time. Those educators saved my life quite literally and I am returning the gift of being a nonjudgmental and loving adult to the youth who need it the most.
Years spent in complete darkness prepared me for a life of being a light bringer. Despite the fact that I was confined in a space that was meant to keep me tame, I had to break out of that box of expectations. I had to get out of that small, dark and narrow place that was created for me because that’s not who I was at all. I started realizing the glow I had inside of me while speaking to others and sharing my writing with others. I discovered that what I had to say and share was actually really relatable and that gave me the confidence, courage and responsibility to share publicly. I know that as an immigrant, as a black woman who was a black girl and as an academic I was supposed to be many things for many people. However the older I got, and the more I bonded with other black women and other immigrants of color, I realized the formula was to not give a fuck. Not giving a fuck about the labels, expectations, hopes and dreams of what I should be doing for others. I honestly have come to a place of peace about other people’s expectations of me because that’s on them. Their version of who I am is their business, whether good or bad because it has nothing to do with how I live my life. I am open to being challenged for my growth and my well being. I am not open to anyone telling me what I SHOULD be doing, wearing, writing, speaking or any of that restrictive shit because in my narrative I’m the executive producer, director, star and everything in between.
I am walking in my truth at this moment and it actually is liberating. I spent so many years trying to please people and change so I could be loved or seen in ways that are more acceptable. Guess what? None of that shit made anyone love me more but really more importantly it didn’t make me like nor love myself more deeply. I had to really strip away all that I thought I was and really create a version of myself that was acceptable to me and only me. This blog opens with an Audre Lorde quote and the header is Take Me As I Am and I mean that shit. I am who I am and everyday I do my best to be the best version of me. I like to be challenged about what I say if it has hurt someone or harmed them because that I do care about. I need my life to be full of authentic connections and to do that I’ll have to learn to issue apologies when I’ve blundered. I am now someone who is able to bring light, be light and embrace the light BECAUSE it’s a light that grew from my darkness. My darkness was filled with fear, rage, sadness, shame, smallness, devastation, pain and despair. In that darkness I learned about the parts of myself that were vulnerable and that needed to be healed. I learned how to thrive in my darkness, I learned how to become one with my darkness because it’s all I had. It was what became familiar to me and I embraced it. I embraced the solitude and the silence which is why I crave silence and solitude now. However now, I can do all those things in the light, in the open and not feel any shame but embrace who I was and celebrate who I’ve become. I write these words for me, but it’s also an ode to that young, nerdy, quiet, girl who needed love, acceptance, light and positive affirmations. These words are for my daughter who will surely find her own darkness but I want her to know that her darkness will never be wrong, and it will never be a place she needs to remain because I will honor who she is and who she isn’t. I also write for all black women and girls who don’t think they are enough because of the boxes people try to put us in and have us live there. This is for anyone looking for their light but is consumed by darkness. The light is within you, you’ll find it, be patient and grow the light from within. You notice it when you believe that you are worthy. You are. I am.