Loud. Very Black. Funny. Introverted. Genuine. Emotional. Intuitive. Empathetic. Authentic. Over the last few years I’ve forgotten a lot of who I am outside of my ‘designated roles’ or who I may be to others. I didn’t realize until recently that I had become so focused on being desirable or chosen in various regards, ranging from gainful employment to personal relationships, that I had forgotten who I am at my very core. While I’ve reached a much more stable space in my life as a whole, I had forgotten the very characteristics that make up who I am as an individual, & coming to terms with the realization forced me to remember the parts of me that don’t always get to see the light of day.
As a woman, based on the way we’re socialized, it’s easy to forget who you are when you have so many ‘designated’ roles directly attached to the validation &/or emotional well-being of others. Sometimes, when you sit back & assess who you are, it’s easy to jump to these roles because, socially, they are where a majority of your emotional weight or personal validity may lie. Sisters. Best Friends. Partners. Daughters. Support Systems. Mothers. Co-workers. Head of Households. Aunties. Grandmothers. Nurturers. Matriarchs. Wives. Girlfriends. All roles that people depend upon & cross various boundaries in our personhood, but without other people who are we? And who are we to the most important person in our lives? Us individually?
I remember back when I was in Grad School, I was a completely different version of myself. I was loud, deliberately funny, very black, certain, authentically all of me 24/7, & above all unapologetic about it. I didn’t let the ivory tower, people’s perception of me, minor spats & others’ insecurities influence who I was or change how I felt about my presence. But as I moved into the real world & sought out employment, my very survival (seemingly overnight) had become weighted on others’ approval of me. As my life shifted in various directions, employment-wise, love-wise, relationship-wise (nearly everything-wise), I felt myself becoming smaller & smaller for the sake of others & a check. And this survival tactic somehow translated into my personal relationships as well. With every personal encounter, I compromised who I was & found myself feeling the need to be desirable or chosen more & more as I began to lose track of my sense of self just to hold on to people, places, & jobs.
After about a year & half, when my life finally stabilized, I sat up a 2 months ago & realized I couldn’t remember things about myself outside of what I had been to people. It happens to the best of us, but it’s important to pinpoint it & take the time to remember yourself. Upon realizing that I couldn’t remember certain innate characteristics, I sat down & made a list of all the things I knew about myself. A Believer. Confident. Unbothered. Kind. A Writer. Compassionate. Real. Introspective. Critical Thinker. Cool. Innovative. Music Lover. Fun… The list went on & on, & in that moment I was able to remind myself of who I am without needing to hear it from anyone else.
Life happens, & I didn’t chastise myself for forgetting, I merely remembered, wrote it down, & made it a point to remind myself going forward. So, no matter where I go in life I don’t forget quite like I did before. We can get so caught up in life that we forget about ourselves, but our personal well-being depends on remembering who we are as individuals. So make a list of the key things you know about yourself, write it down & read it until you remember, whether the list is long or short, use it as a reminder & point of reference for yourself. In remembering who you are, you choose you & eliminate the false need to be desirable or chosen, knowing who you are is already enough. Nothing should cost all of you, & no one knows you better than you do, so it is important to always remember who you are at your core. Life, things & people may make you forget, but deep down you always know & you can always remember…
As always, hope this inspired you, until next time…
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