(Learning to) Let Go

I am a notoriously private person. Those of you who know me, know that within a confined group of friends, I am an open book. But, Even if you know me, I’m always somewhat of a mystery. Just when you think you got me figured out, you’ll find that all you’ve done is unlocked the next layer of my core, and discovered more parts of me that are like water and oil, that don’t really mix, but coexist in the same state.

I’m like those Russian dolls; every time you open one up, there’s another miniature one inside. Though, I’d like to think that I too am opening up different versions of myself as I mature and grow.

I prefer not use my social media as outlets for emotional outbursts. My close friends can sense when my energy is off, and they check in on me. But, as far as social media is concerned, I’m balancing the world gracefully on my shoulders, without a sweat, at all times.

I say all this because I am struggling to maintain a private-public balance while writing this blog. I’ll begin typing a post, then feel like I’ve said too much. I’ll erase my thoughts and start over, a bit more reserved. Then I’ll read my new draft and hate it for its lack of authenticity. I’m stuck somewhere between treading lightly and diving in head first.

I know exactly why I’m protective and private about my words, thoughts, and ideas. I’m operating out of fear. I’m not one to say I’m scared of anything. But I am one to acknowledge when I am hesitant to live my truth. I am open to debate, and I stand by my decisions (even though I am indecisive af). But for me, my privacy is something that’s in my control. I’m controlling my image, my content and my brand.

I fear that while writing this blog I am losing control because I am no longer private. I fear I am losing my power over myself. When I write it out, it sounds crazy. If anything, speaking my truth is empowering. But with great power comes great risks. And all risks have an element of fear.

Let’s backtrack a bit.

When I was arrested, I was on the front page of a few NYC newspapers. My business was exposed and upon my release, my attorney advised me to stay low on social media. In these moments, I was not in control of my story. Imagine, reading about yourself in the newspaper, reading comments online, from people tryna tell you about your character, your thoughts, and your life. Then imagine not being able to do anything to change it, speak on it, or challenge people’s perceptions. Imagine all that and imagine being 17 while going through it. I was completely powerless in authoring my own story. Needless to say, that experience took a toll on me, but that’s another story for another time.

I became private for my own protection. I hated that I couldn’t say what I really wanted or how I actually felt, in fear that it was being monitored or it would be used against me. But me being the rebel that I am, I found a way to maintain my control by throwing hella indirect shade. I was creative with my expressions; The high school me posted subliminal statuses using song lyrics or fake deep posts that could be interpreted several ways toward different people.

I look back at those Facebook memories and LOL, at my growth (and amazed at how much lyrics can really convey so many messages at once. Shoutouts to Drake. He the subliminal lyric king).

When you throw a well-curated a sub and it lands on the person it was meant for.

But eventually, privacy became a habit and a trait I admired. As I matured and began hanging out with friends who were all about making moves instead of announcing them (& who checked me for my petty FB statuses), I started using discretion as a powerful tool to use to my advantage. Privacy is how I took my power back.

I found it liberating to be the one in control of my own story, the author of my destiny, and to possess the confidence to control what I wanted the world to know about me. I felt like an exclusive book that so many people wanted to read, but few understood what was between the lines. Soon, I was barely posting on social media, sharing my business, or thoughts unless it contributed to my image. I felt completely in control, comfortable, and safe.

All that being said, I prioritize my privacy. Which is difficult when writing a blog about my life and thoughts. I’m not afraid of judgment. I’m not afraid of disagreement. I’m not afraid of screenshots. I am afraid of letting go of this illusion of control (cue SZA’s album, CTRL).

A journey of self-discovery is filled with several emotions, wins, growth, evolution, happiness, setbacks, heartbreaks, fuck-ups, and failures. I started this blog to document my journey, help others through my anecdotes, and have a creative outlet. I also wanted to speak my truth to power, through my writing. Yet, I fear that by making my journey public, by letting go of my privacy, I am exposing my vulnerabilities. And by doing so, I am allowing myself to be viewed as “weak.”

The truth is I am comfortable with the perception that the world has of me. I am comfortable with the “strong, independent, Black woman” trope. But I am also a prisoner of its’ boundaries. And I also hate putting myself in a box (cue millennial stereotype).

Yet, I find myself turning that box into a comfy little home. I find myself taking pride in my perseverance, independence, and ability to have it all under control on the surface. I encourage emotional vulnerability, and I am an advocate for therapy. But I still want to maintain an image because I know, despite the progressive beliefs, as a Black woman, I have to be a rock. I have to inspire. I have to maintain appearances. We can’t let them know they get to us.

We all say we don’t care what people think of us. But half the time spent on social media, we are curating our profiles to what we want people to think about us. I’d be lying if I said I don’t care what other’s think. But I am learning how to decipher whose opinions I care about, and whose go in one and out one. And as I put my writing, my thoughts, my perceptions, and experiences out there, I am hesitant because I know once I hit “publish” it’s open to interpretation forever.

There is liberation that comes with authoring my own story in my own words, but the thought that it will be immortal is terrifying. All the more pressure for me to be perfect, to be consistent, to live up to expectations. And all those things are OK, as long as I am doing it for me. And as long as I am maintaining my integrity and speaking my truth. The main inspiration for this blog was for me to write and discover my truth. And as they say, “the truth shall set you free.”

I am reminding myself daily that if I don’t value what I think of me as the highest opinion on the totem, I will constantly crumble at the criticisms of others.

I am reminding myself daily that change don’t come from being comfortable.

I am reminding myself daily that it is possible to be both vulnerable and strong.

I am reminding myself that when I was 17 my story was used to humiliate me. Now I am using it to inspire. I’m not a petty 17-year-old who throws shots at her situationship via drake lyrics. I’m a slightly petty, somewhat grown (because once you grown-grown people stop giving you money. So if there any family members reading this: I. Am. NOT. Grown. This for yall financial aid people too, for future reference) woman who attracts and responds to energy focused on uplifting my people.

Actual footage of Financial Aid Departments

I’m writing this for anyone else who is considering creating a blog, writing their story, feeling a writer’s block or a spiritual block or just blocked. I’m writing this for those who feel the pressures of living somewhere between boxes, and nowhere within themselves. I write this for those tryna find their power, reclaim their power, and use their power. I’m writing this for my current self and my future self, to serve as a reminder for me to take risks with my writing. As you can see, I haven’t given any advice or any useful tools to overcome these emotions.  I’m growing through it, as I go through it and I will share what I learn along the journey. In short, IDK the answer.

And as a self-proclaimed Know-it-all, it feels pretty good to say IDK.

I used to want to appear as if I had it all figured it out. But that’s a lot of pressure. And I don’t have it all figured out. I’m a constant learner. I’m always evolving. And it feels extremely refreshing to admit that I’m learning as I’m living, and IDK what I be doing half the time (but the other half I do because, self-accountability).

Initially, I started this entry with  “I’m sorry it’s taking me so long to write…” but then I said, “fuck it” cuz I was writing with other people’s perceptions in mind. In 2017, I had the goal of creating a blog for a whole year, and I finally took the initiative to start it at the end of December (still did it in 2017 tho so #GetatMe). Truthfully, I’m not sorry. I’m happy that I stuck to my word and put out a blog. I’m still learning as I go, and learning to let go and I can admit that.

I’m a private, perfectionist, procrastinating wordsmith. I write connected to the flow of my words as if my fingertips extend from my heart and pump perfect prose from my soul. Imma Artist. And I’m sensitive about my shit. And if my shit finna be on the interweb for a min, Imma make sure my shit is on point. Feel me?

In conclusion:

  • The tighter we grasp for control, the more it evades us
  • These posts finna take some time, but they gon’ be worth the wait.
  • (learnin to) let go.