When it was time for me to take control of my life there were many things I had to address and one of the biggest was telling myself it was ok to be me. Somewhere along my journey I learned the lesson that I was wrong. Me. The person I was did not meet conventional standards with respect to my perceptions about people and life and where I fit in. You see I’ve never fit in. While it hurt as a child I see it now as a blessing as I give no credence to societal norms about my place as a woman who is black. But, now what to do with the scars left. For a long time I was hypersensitive and lacked confidence because who I was was mocked and ‘othered’ by members in the “community” in various capacities. A change was needed.

My first step toward changing this was acknowledging missed time and opportunities. I acknowledged my regret over what I missed. Its all about being truthful with yourself ladies. I then went about adjusting how I engaged with the my environment. Too often I had been reactionary and non-proactive and found myself in other folks’ spheres trying to gain my footing or fighting to have a voice. With my new found attitude, I was clear about what my goal was and this created a calming effect on me. I began to neutralize environmental micro aggression’s which serve to slowly chip away at your peace and serenity. These are not only naysayers (which I’ll address at length later) but the stress of paying bills late, a cluttered home, under-employment, bad living arrangements, unhealthy, overweight, non-affirming imagery, not finishing projects, etc. Just all kinds of ‘quality-of-life-lowering’ issues.

After I neutralized the micro-aggressors what I found that aided me was creating what I called a “calmness” in my environment. I believe there was an interview where Oprah said you have to “be still”. This helped, still helps. You have to remove yourself from the insidious noises that are always in the background. I even find myself muting commercials due to the loud and unstable nature of most of them. This quiet stability helps me think about what I need to do and plan the steps necessary to get there. At this point outside influence on me is minimal to none. The word “no”. Learn to use it. Learn to love it. People go as far as you allow them and you have to learn to stop them. I don’t need to wax poetic about the no concept, its pretty straight forward.

Getting to this place was not an overnight event, it can take years for some to throw off the yolk of society and have agency. Whatever the length of your journey toward this end I strongly urge my readers to begin the work, its well worth it. If you’ve begun, continue it. After I got through this stage, I found myself (where I am today, thank goodness) in the ‘EFF IT’ stage. I am so non-concerned with what others feel I should be doing or who I should be, its bordering on sublime.