Representation matters so much. Seeing art, success, and passion come from other black women makes me feel like I can do and create anything. I don’t feel so inadequate and insignificant when I see those who come before me doing great things (but it’s also just as important to see people who look like me do mediocre things and it still be ok and celebrated like when it happens to white people. See 90% of television show plots).
I recently finished the book Black Girls Rock!: Celebrating the Power, Beauty, and Brilliance of Black Women, edited by Beverly Bond. This collection of essays from some black women who definitely rock inspired me to write the reasons why I rock. Sometimes I don’t always remember, so this will be a good reminder.
Going to light my Heart Chakra candle because I need some self-compassion and some self-love as I write this post.
I don’t actually know why I rock. I’m young enough to have not accomplished much, but I’m old enough to have not accomplished enough that all the greats have. The legends have been pursuing their passion since childhood or early teens. I was drinking some internalized racism Koolaid and feeding into problematic systems. I wasn’t making a difference then.
And now that I am in this fight for justice late to the game, I haven’t accomplished anything yet. I haven’t been working in a career very long. I don’t take to the streets to protest. I haven’t been a part of any cool collaborations or coalitions. Everything cool I want to do hasn’t happen yet.
But I don’t want this blog to be me shitting on myself (definitely figuratively and not literally) in every post. I know the other one ended up having a positive spin, but I’m not sure about this one. It’s really hard thinking about reasons why I rock that aren’t very regular.
I mean, yeah, I have gotten two degrees. I’m not the first one in my family to do that, although graduate degrees are very rare in my family and in general about 13.1 percent have a master’s, professional degree or doctorate. I worked hard, but honestly not that hard because school has always come pretty easy to me (not that makes me a genius). Not impressed.
And if only technically, I have been working in my career field for 6 years, but 5 of those years were working internships. Do I have the authority to call three years of cutting stickers and stuffing envelopes being in the field (I did other meaningful tasks during my three years too, haha)? One of my most inspirational professors counts her time working in nonprofits at 19, so why shouldn’t I? It’s framed on my LinkedIn that way.
I guess I do also have locs and tattoos after years of trying to fit a certain (read: white) aesthetic. If you would have told me when I was 16 that I would have locs and tattoos, I would have laughed rudely in your face (but not really, I would have politely chuckled aloud while questioning your sanity quietly in my head). Do you know how hard I worked and still continue to work to reject traditional European standards of beauty to accept myself just the way I am and express myself on my own terms???
Ok, and I’m nice to people in that way that second graders write essays describing themselves as “kind” and “friendly”. That’s like a default description people use to talk about positive attributes about themselves. Although, I do make it part of my life’s mission to center people’s experiences and stories to treat everyone with dignity and respect (sometimes to those who don’t even deserve it). I genuinely care about people and not for the purposes for other people to like me in return or to have a certain image.
I have come to the conclusion that I rock because I am doing the revolutionary act of striving to be my authentic self, even if that means I am for the most part a “normal girl”. SZA wanted to be a normal girl and that’s good enough for me.
Whether you are a black girl or nah, let me know why you rock.