“Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” – Carol Moseley-Braun
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”– Audre Lorde
I took one last look in the mirror, prayed OUT LOUD! Basically skipped out of the car and then cautiously entered the building. As I open the door 5 faces not like mine gazed at me in stares that screamed are you lost young lady? After what seemed like eternity, really about a minute, 1 of the 5 women begrudgingly instructs “the therapist is 2 doors down to the left.” Thinking this woman is obviously the poor man’s Carrot Top, she must be desperately trying to be funny; I giggle and smile as to not embarrass her in front of the others, after all I had the burden of impression. NOPE she was as serious as serious could be, so I awkwardly introduced myself as the new Head of Human Resources. My expectation of jubilant salutations and exhilaration were demolished by nervous laughter, looks of despair and flat out shock. It was then that I realized my education, experience and professionalism meant nothing to “The TEAM” my melanin disqualified me.
Feeling a bit dramatic, my friends voiced echoed in my head “Everything is not a race thing Tee”, I internally questioned; should I be surprised? Was this unusual behavior? Were they wrong for their shocked looks?
I couldn’t answer myself fast enough because reluctant welcomes began to fill the air and before I knew it I was being whisked off to my office and bombarded with new-hire paperwork; then just like that the day was over.
Over yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was unwanted and didn’t belong. I instantly made a goal to prove that I was not only up for the job but seriously good at it. I begin to encourage myself with the wisdom taught to me by the women before me…
You have to work 2 times harder, 2 times smarter and 2 time longer to be equal.
WHAT???? That’s not wisdom at all; you’re telling me I am 2 times behind before I even start? I have been inadvertently taught my whole life that I am not good enough because someone won’t view me as such.
When the truth is most melanin-deficient at the “top” have no clue what they are doing? Nepotism got them there, they BS’d their way through college, they converse in slang, they have dysfunctional families, they definitely have creditors (or the IRS) calling them and brothers in jail. Sound familiar? I spent my adult life learning to maintain creek-like dialogue (Dawson’s that is) and hiding my family secrets. Only to find out that socioeconomic standing has ZERO to do with REAL life. I’ve been bamboozled, hoodwinked, led astray (Denzel’s voice), I thought those kind of trials cease to exist outside of “our” community!
As long as I believed that I wasn’t enough, I behaved second class and second rate. Is there racism, prejudice and injustice YES, but some of it start with us. I had to tell the Little Black Girl inside me they were right about her and reassure her that she knew it all along she was not just good enough! Not because people thought that of her but because she believed that about herself. Enough is a ridiculous goal anyway, are the melanin-deficient striving to be just enough? NO! And why? Because they are taught they are born enough.
LBG you were born good enough! By the time you learn to spell your name you morphed into incredible!!! Seriously, taming your mane is a talent in its self lol.
The hustle wasn’t all a loss, however because I then realized the hard work I put in didn’t make me equal it made me better. I went to work the next day, Young, BLACK and Proud…Fist up, BLM T-shirt, Angela Davis resting face Proud! Put a sign on my door that read “I am not here to be average I am here to be Awesome”, my very subtle professional protest, only then realizing…
I crushed good enough a long time ago!
Until next time Whims if you know your Worth no one can depreciate your value!