I’ve been journaling in some way, shape, or form since I was about 8. Sometimes, I would jot thoughts down on the back of an empty envelope, in magazine pages I would then rip out, anything to get the confusion out of my head and on to paper. Most of the time I journaled, the bound book and its aged parchment smell my most prized possession.
Anything from elementary school stressors, classmate recess squabbles, and seeing a grown man masturbating made its way to my diary. Not wanting to be a burden, thinking that my life couldn’t be this dramatic, I was just a kid how was it this weird, I internalized everything and kept all the thoughts in my head. No one would believe me anyway. Don’t tell em. I created a universe inside of me, complete with a different language (somewhere in-between Pig Latin and adding random prefixes to words, a quasi-gibberish whose building blocks made perfect sense to me), new family members with their own backstory- mainly being that they would play and frolic around with me, politicians with clumsily stapled signs in muddy holes, relaxed teachers with warm, matronly smiles. I talked to everyone, chatting, laughing. I was seen and heard, held tight in this universe. To make that planet a little less fake I put ink to paper and let my imagination skip ahead, thoughts running faster than I could pen.
Over the years, I tucked that universe inside of me and mainly wrote poems and songs, not about my life but about a fictional girl. I usually envisioned myself a trapped singer, surrounded by people that loved her and she all the more lonely. I named her Chanel, and all my poems were about Chanel’s desires, a projection of the trauma I didn’t know where or how to begin to process.
I stopped writing as a teenager and young adult, thinking I was too busy. It wasn’t making me any money and ain’t nothin happenin but the rent. As quickly as I used to scrounge for loose paper, I dropped the habit without realizing what I was erasing. If it wasn’t school, work, or social media posting related, I didn’t write anything again until I started this blog at the end of December 2018. The creation of this blog came from a deeply depressed state: I was in an extremely dark place that had been consuming me for over a year. I had turned numb to any outside interactions- friendships, romance, microaggressions- I had stopped allowing myself the capacity to acknowledge other humans and their impact on me. I wasn’t showing up for myself. Continuously feeling like the ugly duckling, the odd black speck in a sea of white elegance was wearing me down in ways I had never experienced. Microaggressions and macro assaults at a former workplace were another notch on the belt of you don’t belong here. Most of the outright discrimination was because of my Blackness: my hair, the way I dressed, the cultural examples I used. Even when I said nothing, the disdain for my skin was there. Other intersections floated in: being a survivor of mental, sexual, and physical abuse that was constantly minimized or outright denied, my mental health weaponized against me, weight gain the third point of the triangle that defined my ugliness.
I was too unapologetic: I stopped packaging myself in a palatable way and society reminded me that I would have to pay for seeking such liberty.
My blog was created and I began to write again, jotting down thoughts on how I didn’t fit into the Box of Acceptability. It was the baby of my Self Call to Action and Cry for Help. I was searching for another human who also believed there should be more representation when it came to healing from trauma, to navigating blackness, womanhood, identity.
I write to create a safe space for people from marginalized groups to live out loud (boldly! Bodaciously!)
Acknowledging that I think toxic positivity can be harmful, I don’t want to say solely “it’ll get better.” But, I want anyone reading to know: I believe you. Your trauma is real, your experiences impactful, feelings valid. I see you. This shit sucks sometimes. It’s emotionally exhausting trying to survive in a reality where you’re being told that existing as you are isn’t enough. It can make you numb pretending to thrive as a shadow of yourself, never fully letting yourself just be.
I see you. Your difference is equated with wrongness. I write to give voice to the human experience that there is a way to process those emotions, know your triggers, and still be able to live fully.
I write for my younger self, for the other Niques out there that believe their identity can only find a home in a fake universe because there’s no space for her in the real world. I write so we can live out loud together.
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