How do you get out with your soul intact, away from your family who maybe loves you but wants something different for you, away from friends who want to sit still, away from mindsets that want to hold you close, close you off, defend shallow thinking, defensiveness.
you can let life happen to you, or you make it your own. please make it your own.
i remember when every sentance I said, I wanted to apologize for. when I thought I was so stupid, and half my struggle was unlearning that. Learning things helped. learning physical things that I could feel confident in - like how to fix broken radiator hoses, how to use a chainsaw. learning history helped, understanding that it was not just me, but a world based on keeping us stupid feeling, keeping us wrapped in a silence of competitiveness and gossip and feeling never enough.
When I was too shy to talk, I used to copy articles I liked, political essays and poetry, and put them into little pamplets with beautiful covers and set up tables at anarchist gatherings, selling pamplets for donation. Sometimes it seemed like there was so much talking and not enough poetry, and no one reading black women's words, and I wanted to change that.
As much as there was too much talk and not enough poetry, I remember how amazing it felt to be around lots of people wanting to change things, lots of people who thought along the same lines as me, and it gave me strength to go back to where ever I was from, where I couldn't find the right people. It gave me hope that I would find them someday.
I remember when I started to take more responsibility for my life - when I saw how my self-hate protected me, kept me from challenging myself in fundamental ways. And I knew I had to take these chances - to learn to say what I thought, to learn to say what I felt, to learn what it was that I thought and felt outside of what I thought I should feel and think because I thought that's what someone else wanted me to feel and think.
if that sounds convoluted, that's because it was. that's how my mind was. how a lot of our minds are.
to take responsibility for yourself. deep self-reflection. deep self-forgiveness. taking on a daily practice of become human and strong and fragile. stop hanging out with people who don't want to go beyond shallowness. start risking real conversations. learn. teach.