It has been almost one year since I have written my last blog entry and I must say it feels good to be typing this. But it was not easy getting to this point. I woke up this morning and among the many things on my mind, I asked myself "Why did I stop writing?" I have always loved to write in different forms; I was a journalism major for crying out loud. But I realized my hiatus was much deeper than I thought. In one of my last posts I wrote about transition at the time I was in the midst of going through one. I switched job positions, moved to a new state, embarked upon a new leadership journey and was working to find the right work-life balance. I then became very overwhelmed with the thought that I made the wrong move; the thought that I may have failed myself. The only thing that felt right was that I was spending more time outside of work doing things that I loved; traveling, dining, reading, and being filled with the love and joy of family. However, everything else felt off, including my job. I then found myself feeling less than perfect...screw that, I felt less than mediocre, at the very things I have advertised I am really good at doing. For some reason I convinced myself that it was not okay to not be great and it was hard to write about things I did not feel I was doing well. Even more so, it was hard to write about my inadequacies.
Here I sit at my dining room table and I will admit, I may only feel 25% better than I felt one year ago, but I realized a couple of truths that may bring me back to at least 85%. The first truth is that black women (and minorities in general) have been told for far too long that we must work twice as hard to be just as good. I actually believe this to be true in some odd and inconvenient way. Don't blame me, blame societal norms. The truth is, when you internalize this reality and find yourself living it, writing a blog feels trivial and with the stroke of each key you are re-opening a barely healed wound.
The second truth is I care more than I would lead someone to believe I do. So many times I have convinced myself that I can walk through this world not caring what others think about me; my leadership, my work ethic, values, beliefs--need I go on? The truth is, I do care and I have to care. Unfortunately, I am susceptible to the stereotypes and assumptions people can make about leaders who are young, female,in high-ranking positions, of color, etc. There is no way for me to fully walk through this world not realizing those aspects of my identity are noticeable and noted. For that reason, the cognitive space that is consumed day-to-day knowing that the person next to me, on the phone, peering at me through the video conference camera is equally aware of these things as I am makes the 9-5 hours more than exhausting.
The third truth is all of the compounded experiences that I have had makes me a stronger and more talented leader. The fact that my brain at 5 am is actively thinking about how I am going to navigate the day in lieu of my identity, strengths, short-comings, perceptions, hair texture and style, and voice tone is no easy feat. And yet everyday, like clock work, I awaken to a bolder, fiercer, more dedicated woman. Need I say more?
I will spare you the fourth, fifth, sixth, and twentieth truth and end with this...Today, I recommit to pouring into myself and also hopeful that I can inspire someone else. This blog will serve as my leadership mantle, one that carries photos and keepsakes of truth, love, joy, pain, inquiry, and strength. Cheers to the person who started the call to "Rise & Grind"!
Peace. Love. Light.