Hey y’all. 2 years ago, Femme Noir was birthed on the couch in my old studio, hands clammy, underboob sweat forming as I decided to choose myself and choose living out loud. A year ago, I wrote an anniversary post to commemorate the first part of this journey.
This second year has brought on something greater than joy: a sense of comfortability and confidence in self. When I read and write about identity, about existential impetus, more puzzle pieces lock together and I realize more who I am. A coming into my purpose.
I truly believe my purpose is to be a storyteller. This second year of blogging has reminded me of a poem I wrote about a year and a half ago:
my truth will be the foundation my legacy
is built on.
My story will curl over and unfold as I’m
When I started my blog, I hadn’t really seen portrayals of Black women in media where their mental health was one part of their identity and not a story trope. They might have fleeting situational depression (like after a break-up with someone’s big headed son), but didn’t see the realities of living with complex PTSD affecting relationships or working through abandonment issues. Being depressed making them call into work sick every day. Anxiety living in their body and causing physical health issues. I wanted to see someone like me, where it’s ok to be depressed and angry and confused. Not villainized or the brunt of a joke. I wanted mental health to be realistic for Black women and women of color, instead of often stigmatized.
Some things I’ve learned between years 1 and 2:
- Engagement comes in many different forms. While my blog has gotten more views than last year (a 38% increase, to be exact), I was focused on certain things such as how many comments or likes there are. But I’ve been able to connect with folks in other ways: Instagram DMs about how to start writing and comments about finding the courage to talk about sexual assault. Being able to affirm for any survivor that they are valid, that they are not wrong for wanting their own agency is priceless, something I will never take for granted. I also started a newsletter on finding joy within. Sending periodic notes to the handful of eyes that read it on how I invest in myself and my own internal joy is the engagement that matters to me. Being able to reinforce that being vulnerable and joyful can co-exist.
- I now move out of love for myself. No longer move focused on the fear of what other people think. I don’t want to live in the shadows or live in fear that who I am, as I am, will be rejected. I’ve been lifting my own voice up because I have learned if I want to hear my own voice I have to be the one speaking.
- It’s ok to take breaks. I used to feel guilty that I didn’t stick to the Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday schedule I created in my head, but no longer. I need to be accountable to myself and my needs, and part of that is listening to my body and listening to when it needs rest.
And a sincere thank you and “I see y’all” to every pair of eyes that has read a post or two or three. As we as a community continue to evolve and be ourselves, bodaciously and authentically. Y’all found this little corner of the online writing space from Instagram, Twitter, search engines (Google, Baidu, Bing, duckduckgo), the WordPress Reader, Facebook, Reddit, random ads on other blogs, and came to stay, even if just for a moment. We’ve been read internationally in 31 countries:
- The United States of America
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
The most popular post was the first in the Titty Talk series, where I began to delve into how past trauma continues to make me feel uncomfortable, unsafe in my own body. It’s not lost on me that my most popular post is one of the ones I was most apprehensive about writing. I was nervous to say “I have dysphoric thoughts sometimes, my body has never been for me, but has been for the pleasure of others” and be rejected and unseen again. There were probably some folks who didn’t like the series, who didn’t get out of it what I had hoped. However, it also led to those before mentioned IG DMs from folks who found the courage to name their sexual violence. That’s what story telling is for- to be a cultural archivist, to affirm a survivor centered narrative can exist to help others on their healing journey.
This last year has certified my purpose as a raw, vulnerable, mentally disabled, Black, queer woman of a storyteller.
To year 3 and unlocking more super powers.
Sign up for my NiqueNotes, my newsletter on healing from trauma and defining my identity to find join within