Like most millennials today I am often challenged with how to use my voice. How to remain culturally relevant, spiritually aware and current enough to have brunch worthy conversations with the homies.
In a world filled with over exposure, all access everything and the need to people-please, who are we becoming? Without question, being black in America is LIT AF right now but how are we handling that responsibility? The need to indulge in this life can sometimes leave one empty. When I speak of emptiness I speak of not being fulfilled or enriched on your journey through life. I learned a long time ago one cannot give from an empty well. To quote India Arie, “…life is a journey not a destination. There are no mistakes just chances we’ve taken…”.
Emptiness can oftentimes develop through a feeling as if you don’t belong or the millennial favorite; who I am vs who I POST (online socially) to be. Getting caught up in being unauthentic can be toxic to your wellbeing.
Keeping up with the times can leave one drained. Am I WOKE enough? Am I being effective in my community? Am I holding my peers accountable? Are my ancestors proud of me? If you’re like me, you put a ton of pressure on yourself to be great. How can I be impactful and use my voice like the “greats” of yesterday? Well, let me dead that quick…you can’t. You can only be as great as you were designed to be. For example, I adore Debbie Allen, but I cannot be as great as her as much as I would like to because that is not my design.
By day, I am a Dean of Students at an elementary school on the West Side of Chicago. I have the awesome pleasure of setting the culture and climate of the school. I am blessed enough to have a Principal who lets me do that my way. Finding my voice in the workplace took me through many emotions and challenges. It took me learning myself under pressure and adapting to many circumstances that my students from the community faced. However, what I found and learned was what they truly needed was me to be me. Unapologetic and authentic in my approach; they didn’t need another imposter. What if I was the only example of black girl magic that they see? They forced me to be real and taught me so much. Through that teaching it even prompted me to undergo self-discovery during my summer break which led to the birth of this article.
Authenticity and Relevance can sometimes work against each other at least in my life it does. I struggle with the idea of “cool” or “dope”. Now understanding in my late 20’s that I set the definition. It is defined through my lens and perspective. I am challenging myself in this stage to give the same attention to my personal as I do my professional. Sowing into me so that I can reap the best reward.
Brothers and Sisters, on your quest or journey to become I challenge you to elevate your acceptance of black excellence. Set your own tone on the world, leave your mark through every conversation shared and paint the world with your fingertips through the lives you touch.