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Friday, January 12, 2018

Being Different/My Moment Of Doubt

There's this thing that happens when you're different. Everybody does it at some point in their lives; everybody feels it at some time or another--this act of tailoring oneself to fit in with the masses; fitting in so that your differences won't stick out, won't be apparent, won't offend...

 I've always considered myself a confident person. I haven't always been the most genuine version of myself in the past, though, and I'm sure that there are moments when I still struggle with that. I am a big proponent of "whatever makes you feel good," so if you genuinely feel good straightening your hair, wearing a weave, spray tanning, skin lightening, getting injections, I say you do you, boo.

 This need to change oneself only becomes problematic when you're not doing it for you. When you're Americanizing or anglicizing your name to sound more fit-in-able, when you're downplaying your heritage, your natural features or who you are inside so that others feel more comfortable. This is when such behavior becomes pathological; unhealthy; dare I say, even sometimes disordered. The good news is that you can change! I'm not talking about changing to suit others or to tailor to their comfort level, I'm talking about changing to be more genuine, more organic, more naturally "you." There is a beauty, and, I find, a certain lightness which comes to us when we are at peace with ourselves, warts and all (not literally, of course. Being 100% real, if I saw a wart, that shit would be removed so damn fast lol!). It just feels right. Living your light, your life and your truth authentically and respectfully (to both yourself and others) is a beautiful thing, but there are barriers to getting there. Here are some of mine. I experienced one such barrier today while getting ready for a YouTube video for my channel and as I was moving out of that feeling of discomfort, I felt strongly that this was a moment that, although extremely uncomfortable, needed to be shared, so here goes...

 I just legit started crying after seeing my hair in a video. Relax, I told myself, you're fine. It's always bothered me that I can't get my hair to look "white" enough. I feel like every other aspect of me could pass as any of the various mixture of backgrounds in my heritage, but my hair. The white hair dressers and waxing salons have a hell of a time cutting and styling it and even getting color to stay in it and the ethnically friendly joints make it look too ethnic--way more textured than it actually is as well as offering services that damage the hair shaft like permanent straightening and Brazilian blowouts. I rarely talk about this kind of thing in our current political climate (yes sir, I am a straight, white woman! Yes ma'am, I am a heterosexual, highly gendered automaton with only one heritage--WHITE--I'm only half kidding btw. I was planning to tell you all a little bit more about me WHEN Hillary won, but that plan was definitely canceled amid all of the attacks and recriminations which took place after 45 came into office--and yes, these are personal decisions, so no shaming and no untoward questions, pretty please and thank you), but that old feeling of not fitting any standard creeps back up on me at the weirdest moments. It's like 'oh, you though you were comfortable with yourself, well HAAAY GURL, I'm back! Don't get too comfy.' I hadn't heard that ridiculous inner voice in the longest time until tonight. But why am I sharing if I'm so uncomfortable? Well, that's why in a nutshell.

 When I'm uncomfortable with something, that tells me I need to talk about it. I also have the sneaking suspicion that there are quite a few people out there who feel similarly who also push it down. Rather than shame anyone, least of all myself, or say "stop thinking that way/stop feeling that way," I'm going to say this. Feel however you ARE in the moment. I'm serious. Feel it. Our feelings are here for a reason. Our feelings don't exist to make us comfortable, they exist to tell us when it's time to change, when it's time to move forward and to give us hints about what will and will not allow us to move into happiness or at least unconditional acceptance of who we are. It takes a lot of energy to push away unpleasantness, so I say, if you are feeling like I'm feeling or if you are feeling any type of way about yourself at all in this moment, meet that feeling where it's at. How does it manifest? Does it come to you as a tightness in your throat? A sinking sensation in your stomach? A tightness in your chest? Do tears fall? However this feeling manifests, sit with it. Don't sit IN it, but sit WITH it. Don't get lost in it, but do experience it. After I was done taking my moment with this feeling and the thoughts it brought up, I thought of all of my beautiful mixed race, immigrant, transgender, non-gender-conforming, LGBTQ friends, family and associates. I thought of the wonderful examples they set and of the power and beauty they brought to the universe and to the lives of those around them just by being them. So if you're feeling down, FEEL IT. If you're feeling scared in this current climate, OWN IT. If you're feeling misunderstood, FEEL THAT. It's okay to do so. You are not alone. None of us are. And no one and nothing should ever make any of us feel that being ourselves is not okay. So join me. Feel it, know it, live it and then get up, get out and make a difference. Own you. Own whatever it is that makes you "different." Be whatever your spirit tells you to be, because you are unique, you are divine and you are one of a kind. Don't ever change!

 As I felt my own moment of doubt, I thought about the many other people out there who were sure to be struggling with similar issues. This convinced me to discuss this ubiquitous topic, as uncomfortable--even painful as it may be. I needed to turn my own pain into a teachable moment--something that, as awkward as it is, others could identify with. This is why I'd like to invite you, gentle readers, to share your moments of doubt and pain; the things your brain tells you aren't good enough, aren't conformist enough, aren't culturally appropriate enough, are too unique. This is a safe space. Please feel safe, comfortable and welcome discussing below at your leisure and within your zone of safety and comfort.