It has been officially 1 year since I created Femme Noir, and my comfort in living out loud, in being my bodaciously blackity Black self has evolved in ways I could never imagine. It’s no secret that to unlock the hidden levels of joy, I dance around my apartment in my panties and body roll in the mirror. This has been me all morning:
A year ago, I was in an overwhelmingly extremely dark place. I had gone from thinking depression was consuming me, to a place of defeat: there was no crawling out of this well. The bags of trash, overflowing with takeout and practically vibrating with the buzzing of fruit flies, with failed peel and stick wallpaper, with printed self-help quotes and crumbled up toilet paper, with soiled clothes with pee and strange ammonia smell fully seeped in were all around my studio. I barely had a path from my bed to the bathroom to the door, and it got to the point I was sleeping on the couch because there was no space on the bed. I would plan dinner dates and invite people over, thinking it would motivate me to do a deep-cleaning. Rejected relationships and situationships out of embarrassment of people seeing (and smelling) my apartment. I was fully drowned at the bottom of that well, a sheet-rock of ice fully blocking my outside view.
It’s an isolating state of being, being numb and I realized even being angry at myself required the capacity to feel. It required cognizance of other humans and their impact on me. I was so inside of my own head that for years I couldn’t even acknowledge that.
December 2018, I was tired (TIAHD!) of not showing up for myself. So my bloggy blog came to fruition, and was birthed from a place of darkness and a quest to let my ignored inner girl live fully. A challenge to myself to feel all the feels unapologetically. To take up space when I’m dejected, frustrated, confused, and to do so boldly. And why not let some other folks join in on the ride? My goal was no code switching, no suppressing. Just to show up as I am in that moment.
Some of the main things I’ve learned over this past year of exploring my identity and healing from trauma:
- Childhood trauma is not a right of passage: People who say ‘it made you stronger,’ I disagree with that notion. I didn’t need to be stronger- I was a child; I needed to be safe. My foundation was supposed to be stability and structure.
- I can acknowledge my past self but it’s not my only self: Childhood me, teenage me, early 20s me, they will always be integrated into this multiplex tapestry that makes me who I am, but it’s not my full identity. A piece of fringe? A whole panel? Who knows- that I’m still learning.
- Trust my own thoughts: Seriously girl. Being inquisitive or trying to unlearn ignorance doesn’t automatically make me wrong, stupid, or whatever other adjective people have used against me. Continuous gaslighting affected the way I process and talk to myself, but ultimately I trust my own introspection.
- Showing up for myself: That’s going to look different, depending on the day and my needs at the time. Can’t deny there are still times I over-explain my rationale, fumble through a longer and longer explanation as a trauma response to the gaslighting. When I realize, instead of being angry I go back to #3 with a ‘it’s ok girl; your truth is valid. You said what you said.‘ It could mean ordering Door Dash because I’m too emotionally drained to remember to turn off the eye on the stove. It could mean refusing to work late and going home to blast Lizzo, Nicki Minaj, or shaking my laffy taffy.
Also, a special shout-out to the bloggers and authors that have influenced me: Ntozake Shange and Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Terry McMillan have been my inspirations since I was around 10. I discovered blogger (now blogger, New York Times Best Selling author, Ted Talk giver) Luvvie Ajayi Jones around 2011 or 2012 and through her blog AwesomelyLuvvie.com, she has long been someone I’ve looked to to write with my authentic voice and embrace who I am as a writer. About a year before I started my blog, I learned more about and started engaging with Black Girls Heal on Instagram and reading founder Shena Tubbs’ emails like gospel. After the free master classes, I would read back my notes on breaking the cycle of unhealthy relationships and how to feel worthy of self-love.
And a heartwarming “I see y’all” to everyone who was read, commented, engaged with my little corner of the online writing space. When I see in my analytics things like, 4 people used these search terms on Google to find your blog, your blog stats are booming, your site is getting more traffic than usual, as the subscriber count grows with intention, the warm fuzzies fulfill me. Y’all found me from Instagram, Twitter, search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing), and the Word Press Reader, and came to stay. Not gonna lie, it’s still nerve wracking to put intimate details of my private life on the Internet, but I can’t imagine stopping any time soon. It’s not lost on me that strangers online can reject me with a quickness, and it’s special the way some accept me as I am and continue to evolve to be. My blog has been read internationally (lil ole me is international y’all!) in:
- The United States of America
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong SAR China
- Puerto Rico
When I started this journey, I never imagined that there would be over 1,000 views from 36 countries, that I would embrace healing publicly, boldly, and continuously. This challenge to myself a year ago kickstarted my growth, and has made me a more healed, more evolved, happier person. Wowza- I’ve been able to feel joy from within again.