I’m coming down from a high – a revolution of the mind that has shifted my identity on a molecular level. It has been a slowly gathering avalanche of self-actualization and empowerment that brought peace, understanding and energy in a way that I didn’t think possible. Let me explain.
So if you follow me on Facebook, you saw my post yesterday about a few recent epiphanies… and these are realizations that apply to humans, not just people with my intersectional experience.
1. The people that love you may only conditionally support you. You have to decide whether or not you can (or will) change those rules or leave.
Leading up to this week, I have been thinking a lot about who I surround myself with. Who is in my corner, who’s off to the side, who flits in and out as they please. And who is a vital part of my life. I’ve had to take a step away, reach back into my memory, and take painfully honest snapshot of my “crew”.
I was a Shakespeare nerd growing up and in my favorite sonnet 116 he writes,
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
Translation: love–true love–is not conditional. It doesn’t change when you do something they don’t like. And similarly, those that really, truly love you are ride-or-die supporters of you. They believe in you and will support you even when they may not agree. The only condition that transcends that kind of love is one that threatens lives. Seriously. And even then, there’s movies about the moments when they love you to the end.
So people who love you but only want to support when you’re doing something that they get or they can emphasize with are people who are only conditionally in your corner. When your support group, your friends and family and acquaintances and mentors and whatever are conditional, you need to ask yourself if you’re okay with that.
You need to decide whether or not you can hack it if they’re not there when you may need them, or if they are there, they’re only there to make you feel lesser. (Think: the “I told you so” crowd.) If the answer to that is no, or maybe not, you may need to think about whether or not you want to address it with them or leave temporarily. Or permanently. Self-love, self protection is key and you need to figure that out.
2. When you’re on the right track, you’ll see signs. you’ll have validation, you’ll develop camaraderie with others.
This past week, I was gifted a comp ticket to Big Omaha, one of the biggest conferences in the entrepreneurship space in the Midwest. I got to tell my story, pitch my inclusive communications business and talk about my favorite topic – social constructions and society. I met people who were highly successful, people just starting out, people who have no idea what they want to do. People who live on the road and people who live in their office. I talked with the presenters from all over the world and didn’t stutter or sound like a loser. (Seriously, I did a happy dance a la Jennifer Garner in 13 Going On 30 after meeting Tanya Menendez from MakersRow. She’s really awesome by the way.)
The thing is, I explained my story and they got it. Immediately. Not only did they get why I wanted to do this inclusive communications work, but they also got why it matters. Since starting this blog 4 months ago, I have yet to have to explain why the work I’m doing matters. At Big Omaha though, I had people who not only got it, but bought in, literally and figuratively. There is a movement for change that is building momentum and I want to build a team that can help influence it. It’s time that we internalize compassionate and empathetic inclusion instead of institutional oppression and the fragility that comes with it. This week, I met people who are 100 percent, unapologetically on board.
3. What you have been told is the right track is not always the track that was made for you. Clinging to it could mean missing out on the life that you were destined for.
I was told to focus on school, and then get a job, and then set aside money, and then, once everything is set, once you’re solvent and you’ve got your ducks in a row, then you can do what you want to do.
Life hasn’t worked out that way. And honestly, I’m starting to realize that it wasn’t meant to.
Holding onto what society, friends, family, etc. has told you should be your path is literally denying and blocking the path that you may have been destined for. Let your spirit free to do what you are meant to.
4. Loving yourself is hard. Be patient with yourself in the process.
Society will tell you, you are not enough. You are short, or fat, or slow, or lesser because of your skin, your religion, your gender, your sexuality, etc. That’s crap. I know you know that, but knowing it and owning it are two different realities, and navigating from one to the other is hard, it’s time consuming, it’s draining. Be patient with yourself. Treat yourself with care, love and compassion.