Still Beating Voice

Dearest Friends,

My mother was always so encouraging.

And she always listened to me.

Even though I could happily speak for hours.

And this was after she taught 25+ 1st graders.

And then made my sister and me dinner.

And even after homework and sports, there wasn’t a night where we didn’t have a conversation. 

Though my voice was partially silenced while growing up and working in majority white spaces, I still knew my voice mattered.

My mom told me so.

So it had to be.

I knew Abba created me for Him.

I knew I mattered.

And when one silenced me by making fun or attempting to control me into being quiet, I remembered that. And I learned to not use my voice with them, for “do not cast your pearls before swine, shake the dust off your feet.”

If someone devalues you, realize it’s them not you, and move on. But knowing and implementing are two different things.

Because I was used to being a people pleaser by nature and for survival, I would sometimes fail myself and feel like shit. I believed everyone deserves a second chance, but wouldn’t learn until much much too later, that the second chance wasn’t my responsibility.

We all deserve grace and mercy, but, not at the expense of harming yourself for another in the name of love. That love was already cast down. We are no one’s savior, and that’s great.

That’s too much pressure.

Once I realized this, so much seemed clearer. It is not loving to let people walk all over you.

Just like in our young state we need loving adults around us setting boundaries for our sake, as adults we have to realize we are now the ones needing to set boundaries between ourself and the world.

I didn’t know how to put up a boundary–mine was more like a traffic cone, so people were just strolling on in. And I was left standing there fuming, watching them, and hating myself for not being able to stop them. 

Though I believed in my voice,  it had been silenced so often I couldn’t always call on it. Sometimes it would get me into trouble because white authority was over me. This conditioned me to believe I had to submit to white “authority figures” everywhere else in life.

Fortunately, I always bucked against forced leadership, because love and kindness was what I expected to receive if someone wanted my respect.

But nonetheless, I became conditioned into believing I didn’t have the power to make certain people treat me the way I wanted to be. And in some ways that ended up translating to all ethnicities. The devaluing of the Black woman starts heartbreakingly early.

Thank God for His mercy and patience.

Thank God for Ben.

Thank God for growth.

I am happy to say I now have a rotating door with a guard. 

You can come in, but you can also go right back out.

Gaining boundaries is such a life upgrade.

With them in place you see people more clearly, and you’re able to make wiser choices to ensure your joy and health. With them in place you have more time for self-reflection, because you’re no longer looking at others, you’re looking at yourself.

This helped me become better focused on what truly matters most to me.

I have always wanted to work on bringing people together, to be a visual artist, to write, and to work for myself.

The world showed me the likely route was to start at an entry level position, works years to climb the latter, and then land in a copywriting role where I could actually work on social justice campaigns.

So I did that, and without months at job I endured for 15 months, I was just another over-worked, under appreciated, silenced Black voice at my advertising agency in San Francisco.

And despite all that I brought, the few who claimed to be for me, fell away when I needed them to keep their promises.

This, coupled with knowing my voice matters, showed me that was the world’s path. A hierarchical path that was built into our society.

I needn’t squander my time and talents in a space that wouldn’t provide opportunity or listen to my voice, I’d follow my spirit’s path.

I am a self-employed visual artist.

I am a paid artist working for a grassroots organization of formerly incarcerated beautiful souls, who bring forth and teach healing. 

And now, my words are spoken to and written for those who seek and appreciate them.

Sincerely,

A Woke Woman 

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Published by Prncsslyssa

Big heart, big hair, big smile, big dreams

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