I didn’t know what I wanted when I started this blog; I just knew that it was finally time for me to write–not for work, but for me.
Sporting a short afro, with large earring, Ms. Burke, my fly 2nd grade assistant teacher at Hampton University’s Lab School ignited my passion for writing. First, one day, she bent down, put her and on my shoulder and told me that I was a talented writer. After that, I wanted to write all of the time– illustrating the power of positive reinforcement from a person that you respect. Second, Ms. Burke took all of us kids’ poems and published a book that was then sold as a fundraiser. I wrote this poem for the book:
Bedtime, bedtime right at night
You can’t see nothing in sight
Everybody all tucked in their beds
Sometimes they have dreams in their heads.
My seven year old self was already quite proud of the poem—after all many of my classmates poems didn’t even rhyme, I thought. But something magical happened when I saw my poem, my words, printed inside of a book for others to read. I knew then that I wanted to one day feel that feeling of pride again. I knew that I wanted to be a published author one day.
As I got older, my dream played a game of peek-a-boo with me—sometimes popping up when I least expected: “Remember me. You want to be a writer.” But I would become distracted by life’s practicalities, look away too long, and the dream would slide back to it’s hiding place.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to consciously allow my dreams to be present in my life. It seems so simple; but something about adulthood makes some us to quit believing in dreams. I also knew that I stopped believing in myself a bit.
The night I went “live” with this blog, I cried real, hard tears—full “ugly cry” mode. I hadn’t felt such fear in at least 20 years. I felt naked, vulnerable, exposed. What would the 15 people I told about the blog say or think?
Not much has changed, honestly. I don’t do the ugly cry when I post but this my stomach is still doing a combination of the tootsie roll and the wobble every time a post. The last 8 months have been a true journey.
Along the way, I have learned the following:
- Watch who supports you and who doesn’t, and then surround yourselves ONLY with those who actively “got yo back”. When I started the blog, I asked around 15 people whom I respected or were my “peeps” to please look at the site and let me know what they thought. I had one or two who didn’t even take a moment to look. These are women whom I had supported through divorces, kid issues, jobs, etc who couldn’t spend 15 minutes looking at something that meant so much to me. Let’s just say—they won’t be asked or invited to anything ever again—including my friendship. On the other hand, I have had people whom barely knew provide such loving support.
2. There is NOTHING more terrifying than putting yourself out there. I’ve written for clients around the country for years, but then I was sharing information, not sharing me. Every time I publish something, I am prepared for others to judge me. It’s scary, especially because I’m presenting where I am at the moment. My opinion oftentimes changes by the next day or next hormone surge.
- I’m still a pleaser. I thought that when I “got grown’ my need to please had died. Wrong. I feel bad when I publish what I want to write when I know I have some people who are waiting for a follow-up to a certain story.
I’m still learning. I still don’t know what I want this blog to be. Thank you so much for your support. Thank you for your patience as I learn and grow. I can guarantee you that I’ll always present to you my honest, raw self–even when I’m scared.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more