For the past month I have been in Texas, centering my career-self and my-self and it has been wonderful. I feel as though I have shed a lot of feelings and habits that were clouding my mind. Actually, I often feel like these negative feelings of anxiety or jealousy or what have you, are not me, I say to myself, “this feeling is not you, it’s going through you. Let it pass and move on.” I often say to the feeling, “No thank you, I’m good.” And it’s wonderful. However, recently this fear has been creeping around corners. “It’s great that you’re nice and centered out here in seclusion, but what’s going to happen when you return to civilization? When you leave this cozy little nest? What will you do?” This fear speaks to me. But, I am determined to take my life in a new direction. I can grow. But, first I want to acknowledge the fears that I allowed to plague my existence in the first place.
In Philadelphia, I was always of afraid of not being seen. That people couldn’t or wouldn’t see me for who I am. They see color, they confuse my maturity for stiffness, they are used to a limited idea of a person that I don’t fit and most importantly that I don’t want to fit. This fear of not being seen, kept me from being myself. I was always concerned with why people didn’t look me in the eye, they’re looking everyone else in the eye, why aren’t they looking at me? Why is it so incredibly difficult to get a drink at this bar, but if I send my white friend to the bar, they can get a drink immediately. I was always comparing, which is possibly, the most unhealthy thing to do. I was surrounded by people whose wit did not match mine and i would find myself frustrated that they couldn’t even comprehend that what I said was a joke, but they laugh at almost anything, whether it be funny or not, that others said. It was the most confusing thing. I felt I couldn’t be seen, like I was in the twilight zone.
My feeling of invisibility led me to allow myself to be consumed with jealousy. Why can these people be heard and understood and i can’t? I want that. Why did they compliment that person and not me? Why wasn’t I greeted with the same enthusiasm as that person. I allowed this to cloud my mind every. single. day. And it was not healthy.
For so long, I was making the same mistake with men, over and over again. I liked a guy. He sort of liked me. He was resistant. I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. He eventually saw how great I was. I eventually began to resent him for the things I allowed him to do to me up until this point. I hated him. He loved me. So many times, I let that play out. I was always afraid that because I’m black, men didn’t consider me a sexual being. For the most part, I was surrounded by white men, who, for the most part, dated white men. And I let it get to me. Over and over again.
I was constantly surrounded by people who called themselves my friends, but weren’t. These people took their frustrations with my honesty and straight forwardness out on me, in different ways. I remember I had a conversation with a “friend” about the fact that when they start a conversation on a subject that is relevant to everyone, they will begin the conversation when I’m in the other room, even though it directly pertains to me and I, after hearing that this is happening have to interject and find out what is going on. These people would speak to each other and completely leave me out of conversations, when I’m present. They would tell each other things that were going on and I would find them out when I finally asked, “Where is so and so” and “they left for japan a week ago” would pretty much be the response and i would think to myself, “how they fuck does everyone else know this and I don’t? I’m here as much as everyone else.” I was excluded and when I tried to discuss it, it was like no one heard me, they didn’t want to understand, they didn’t want to believe. They didn’t want to be called out on their shit and so they excluded me more and more to spend time with people that don’t call them out, mostly because, nothing is being done to them.
Since November or so, I have been working to release these patterns from my life. I have learned that what other people think of me is none of my business. I have been reminded that… I love myself. I think I’m funny. As a matter of fact, I can sit alone all day and enjoy my own company. I make myself laugh. I love the way I look. I know that I am caring. I appreciate the talent I have. I love me. And I am not other people’s thoughts of me, whether they be good or bad; it can be so hard to live up to what people believe you to be, this great thing and it can feel like a burden when people have and share with each other negative thoughts of you. It can feel like a weight you must carry. You think to yourself, “I’m a bad person.” Before I left Philadelphia, I stumbled across an electronic exchange between two people I know, who apparently had been discussing me on a regular basis, referred to my conversations about how the group could improve and be more inclusive as “lectures” and one of these people smiled in my face every day and it hurt me to know that this is what I was surrounded by. No wonder I don’t feel loved, no wonder I feel alone. These people are smiling in my face while the other aims a knife at my back. But, I have learned that it’s none of my business and frankly I shouldn’t have read what I read in the first place.
For so long, I lived by this idea that I had to endure and that if I didn’t, I failed. Every bad relationship, I had to make it work. I had to, or I was running away from it and I didn’t want to be that kind of person. But, now I know. If it doesn’t serve me, I can let it go. You become what you pay attention to and I don’t want to pay the capital, that is my attention for a product, that is negativity and consume it, day after day. i will focus on the things and people that serve me. I don’t have to be upset. i can let things go. If someone wrongs me, I make the choice to acknowledge that it has happened and not let it rule me, it is my responsibility. I want to surround myself with people who have drive, who want to do things in life other than sit back and lounge on their privilege and surround themselves with people who look just like them, and congratulate themselves because of all the causes in the world, they’ve picked one to “stand by” and that makes them a good person. I want to be around people who are accepting, who try to understand others, people who are genuine. And those moments that I can’t be around those people, I’m fine by myself. I have learned that I would love to date a man at my maturity level, who loves and takes care of himself and appreciates me. Someone who truly values me and I, them. And in those moments when that isn’t what’s happening, I’m fine by myself. I love myself. I love taking myself to movies. I love going for walks alone. I love sitting in my room and working on music. I love running and clearing my mind. I love taking care of myself. And I want to surround myself with that energy; love, and those who have that for me.