Healing is uncomfortable.
This year I make my 30th trip around the sun. I’ve grown and changed in so many ways, taking shape as the person I need myself to be. I have to remind myself that, as scary as life can be, I am powerful and capable of tackling it all.
“You give the best hugs” and 20+ different compliments to shower the lovely people in your life when reconnecting during the pandemic.
My “best” looks a lot different right now. It’s not an old friend I recognize in a crowd. It’s a new friend, one that I am weary of, one that I am questioning, one that feels conflicting. My new best arrived during an incredibly unprecedented tumultuous time, one that my system has never experienced before. A time that does not have a clear end in sight.
I may not have been able to travel this year, but I found myself exploring places in my mind that I had not ventured before.
As a therapeutic exercise, I wrote a letter to my younger self, offering career advice and kindness on the long, professional road ahead that would await them. It was a reminder to myself to be compassionate about my choices and to keep my mind open to the possibilities we have yet to encounter.
This year, as chaotic as it’s been, has allowed me time for introspection. Today, 7/27, is my birthday; I have a lot to say to my younger self. They should be very proud.
I’ve been weird all my life, not fitting in and feeling pressured to do so. I have a new appreciation for weirdness and being a weird Black kid; this is my love note to all the others.
Permitting yourself to be authentic is beautiful, but it takes practice, trust, and safety. We hear over and over that we should be ourselves, without the warning that it needs to fit someone else’s design.
When I disappear, it’s not because I no longer wish to write. A scary, familiar feeling makes its way back into my mind; the first sign of its existence is when the writing stops. These words are a reminder to keep trying.