Confessions of a Pretender

¨The 3 C´s in life: Choice, Chance, Change. 
You must make the Choice, to take the Chance, if you want anything in life to change¨
-Unknown

The trouble with becoming this new version of me, who actually goes through all her feels, is going through ALL the feels. Granted my emotions may be a tad exaggerated because I´ve been swerving and dodging through anything that gave any slight indication that it would make me vulnerable.

Why is it so hard for me to admit I am in a vulnerable state without feeling as though my strength is being questioned? Why is it so hard to speak on my struggles without having to put on a fake strong front.

The last couple of months of my life have revealed some fallacies in my character because as much as I appear to be carefree, when things that I care about go wrong, I care PLENTY. Yes- I have the ability to detach easily from situations that threaten my peace of mind, however, that superpower does not work as effectively when it involves my whole heart. In instances such as these, I struggle with the intensity of my concentrated emotions in ways I don´t know how to articulate. The only option I feel I have in these moments, is to pretend. I pretend so well that often, I also believe my pretense that when my authentic feelings show up, I am taken back and desperately scurry down deeper down the dark hole of pretense.

Where does this need to pretend come from? Is it because as an African woman, I inherently carried the fear of imperfection that is passed down from generations of exemplary strong black women? How can I let you know about the sadness, anxiety and melancholy that dwells in the depths of my heart if that then softens me and doesn´t display me as strong. I ´Instagram filter´ those things and pack them up in my box of untouched realities.

Do I pretend because as a black woman, the struggles we face, force us to live in a state of defense and defiance. Constantly fighting for our right to be treated as something more which inevitably leads us to avoid the potential harsh truths which lay in the admittance that our situations and circumstances make us prone to being victims of mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder or something seemingly less daunting but equally important – anxiety and panic disorders? How can we seek help for something we work so hard to distance ourselves from?

According to the US HHS OFFICE OF MINORITY HEALTH;

  • Adult Black/African Americans are 20% more likely to report psychological distress than adult whites
  • Adult Black/African Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness than are adult whites
And the worst of all
  • Black/African Americans are less likely than white people to die from suicide as teenagers but Black/African American teenagers are more likely to attempt suicide than white teenagers. (8.3% vs 6.2%)
After reading those statistics and seeing an increased number of young people opting to end their lives –  I don´t want to pretend anymore. I want to be able to share my good days and bad days because some pains are worth telling and also you never know who you are helping or inspiring. 
I experienced two hard losses simultaneously – a death and a break-up. 
Although time has passed, I´m unsure where one ends or where the other begins. The feelings that this breakup has aroused are so interconnected with those from the death that I could not tell you which one I currently grieve more for.  I am exhausted from the emotional, spiritual and physical aches that both these losses have brought. 
Death: She is gone. No laughing. No crying. No random texts. We talk about her in the past now because she no longer WILL be anything. 
I am grief-stricken.
Breakup: At some point of every day, I still feel that heart dropping roller coaster feeling when certain songs play that trigger memories, or when I watch the trailers of the new season of ´Power´ and realize I have to watch the remainder of this show without him. 
I am heavy-hearted.
No pain is little pain and all pains should be dealt with not suppressed. We owe ourselves the same care and love that we give so freely to our loved ones. As I peel through my layers, I like the fact that I am getting stronger and ripping off the band-aids that make my pains look pretty and letting time and love heal the wound. I´m in search of that kind of strength that thrives where my vulnerability resides. Let my canvas not be a misrepresentation of flawlessness, but rather a beautiful piece of work that contrasts my strengths and fallibilities in such great harmony, that my canvas speaks volumes for being a reflection of my untamed truths.

¨Please think about your legacy, because you are writing it everyday¨ – Gary Vaynerchuk

2 comments

  1. Are you familiar with Glennon Doyle Melton & her books?? Her storytelling, like yours, speaks to my soul. Her description is that as little girls we are told what we should & shouldn't be. As a result, we create a “representative” of ourselves that is covered by a suit of armor. It's looks like you, my friend, are beginning to shed yours. SO CRAZY HAPPY FOR YOU ������

    Like

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