Having been so used to being hidden it’s been a big shift adjusting to the reality of consistent visibility. Being raised to constantly lie in wait and be on the lookout has resulted in this pressing need to ensure safety and security. In addition being a young black nerd I often felt out of place and misunderstood. Thus the attitude of hiding began. A shell created out of thick skin with the attempt to cover and protect myself was established early on. It has been hard to shake. Still going through the process.
As far as I could remember I always had a curious mind. There’s always been pressing questions I have sought out answers to. No one around me seemed to view the world in the same perspective as I did. To consistently be told to keep quiet whenever I would inquire or mad fun of in school for sounding too which has done a number on me -a shell, my introversion developing over time as a means to protect myself-one which I am still learning to make peace with.
Now as an adult, one who’s recently come out and has been performing poetry for some time it’s been really uncomfortable. The reality of visibility has consistently made me feel like I am on the chopping block-there’s clear standards and conditions that which I must apply in my life or perhaps that’s just inherent respectability politics that has been ingrained in me. I guess it goes to show it takes time to rid oneself clear of the consistent brainwashing one is raised to believe as true.
I am learning to utilize my moments of adulthood to reparent myself. Making my own choices. Deciding what beliefs and what actions I’ll take and what I’ll have to part from. Getting back to taking my own inventory- keeping a consistent practice of writing and mindfulness- have brought more clarity with regards to who I am and how I should should up in the world.
I am learning that it is okay to be seen. It can be scary at times but mostly it’s not, just a matter of me overthinking and feeling hella self conscious.
Being quiet and hidden, serve as a good self defense mechanisms to prevent from receiving harsh criticism when the body is operating under a survival mindset. In the same vein remaining hidden functions as a detriment blocking the means to make friends, engage in a community, and ultimately achieve new opportunities for growth.
So how do I move forward from this? This fear ? I have been taking it one step at a time. Doing different things that empower me to strengthen my voice and my sense of self within my body-returning to swimming, recording myself reading my poems, painting, attending occasional art events, write and share my work in various means- all while having been uncomfortable.
Doing what is seemingly uncomfortable on a cerebral level usually turns out to be a situation that I can handle and am well apt to manage.
It has been made clear for me time and time again that there is no need to hide myself and my light out of fear. Running from myself and intimacy only hurt rather than help.
Moving forward I have been reminding myself that I am exactly where I need to be in my body. I know just what to say and how to move. In my body is a good place to me. My voice is important. What I say, feel, and experience has meaning.