With all the information available from trained professionals and humans sharing their lived experiences, I’d like to think folks are gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and others. However, with all this information and reflection, I am growing concerned about one term that has been on the tips of people’s tongues, and that’s the word “toxic.”
“I don’t recognize you anymore.”
Her words floated across the table, making their way to my ears, clashing with the sound of rain hitting the tall windows of the cafe. We haven’t even said hello, I thought to myself. I sat silently for a moment, stirring my coffee, carefully making sure the spoon didn’t hit the edges of the mug, a brief distraction. Dark gray clouds were parading across the sky, dimming the natural light shining through. Rain could be a good sign; rain is healing. I pictured this scene many times in my head, mentally preparing for the conversation that would inevitably take place. With a deep breath, I looked up to meet her eyes, “Hello, mother.”
I used to feel so torn apart by the idea of friendship because it never seemed like I was doing it right. How could I form these connections and still feel like something was missing or off? What’s wrong with me?! I wasn’t nurturing the very first friend I made, myself.
Imagine a demon hag with sunken eyes, a deep black hooded cloak, and long boney fingers following me around, sounding alarm bells, and making me second-guess my every move. That’s how I pictured my anxiety and our lopsided relationship. Something needed to change.
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.
Love is abundant; there are infinite ways to demonstrate your feelings. Physical closeness is only one of the many ways to show our affection for each other. It’s not the only way.
“You give the best hugs” and 20+ different compliments to shower the lovely people in your life when reconnecting during the pandemic.
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.
Black womxn are at the crossroads of all social issues; poverty, racism, sexism, homelessness, homophobia, reproductive rights, and classism are only a few examples. The experiences and stories of Black womxn are unacknowledged and erased, yet, they are expected to bear the emotional and physical labor of pushing these movements forward.