I have been in therapy since 2019, and it revealed quite a few things to me, about me, that I’ve never truly explored before. I’ve realized how reactive I could be in different situations. I gained a ton of insight in how I viewed myself against others — it was never jealousy, but I would set goals for myself based on where others were unknowingly. But the biggest takeaway I had from therapy was thinking that I had to shrink myself to accommodate others with my existence.
I’ve been in a relationship with my partner for the past 10 months, and during that time I have most definitely leaned in more in regards to what makes me tick. Simultaneously, I began a new job here at Think Rubix and was hit with a response at dinner one night that I haven’t been able to shake ever since it left the lips of a friend.
“I’ll tell you this,” he said. “I’ve never seen an artificial plant grow…have you?”
When he said it, of course, everyone at the table was in silence as he dropped the bomb — leaving the table as we all waved our napkins, chimed in with the egging on of oohs and ahhs followed of course with the “Amen!” and “Preach preacher!”
It wasn’t until I got into my Jeep, drove the twelve minutes home, parked in my garage, and just sat there that this question really sunk in.
Many thoughts crossed my mind. Being human, of course, naturally we jump into questioning everything in a provocative statement like that — is that what I am? Is that who I am? Am I the damn plant? How am I artificial? All rhetorical questions one would assume, until I got in the door, took a shower, and sat down with my journal and answered myself.
At that moment, I made a decision. It was time to “face the fake”.
If there’s one thing very clear across the board, it’s that we ALL want to live a life of love, success, happiness and fulfillment, creating and being in space where you can show up authentically as yourself. The gag is…you gotta stop lying!
I’ve always prided myself on being real. I was honest to everyone, no matter how hard the truth, but always kept it tactful. But working in the media industry, as a personality, you have to hold your own and have a thick skin.
From the time I punched the ON button when I was working, I was a personality with a persona, and when the OFF button was hit, the persona went off like the switch. At appearances, events, concerts, sometimes even in interviews, I would be myself with a small side of whatever else fit the occasion. It became so second nature that after a while I never paid it any attention — until now.
I never realized how impactful my broadcasting career was to my being. The way I dressed, wore my hair, spoke — all of that came from the radio. I was a star in every market I touched, where girls and young women loved me, men were intrigued by me — meanwhile, I was still trying to just be me. During that time, I was constantly put up against a number of talents across the country who sound better, look better, have tailored their brand better, etc. I spent so much of my time trying to be at times what others expected of me, rather than just figuring out what the best me even looked like.
When I lost my job in Detroit and moved back home to Arkansas, I stayed locked upstairs in my parent’s house because I didn’t want to go out and listen to people ask the dreaded two-worded question, “What’s next?” Especially when I didn’t have a damn answer.
Then, my mentor No Name, put me back on the air. Even then, I loved it of course, but I had begun teaching again and was now the high school teacher that wouldn’t let her radio dreams go because of how everyone might see her. I felt as though I was a failure in so many ways because I had all this crazy success in other places, just to come back home and have my broadcasting work appear as a side hustle. All the while “faking” that I was at peace with how my life was, when I definitely wasn’t. I would wake up in the morning, excited to see and teach my kids, giving so much of my energy that I had none left when I got to the station, where I really wanted to be.
It’s so crazy how much time has passed with so many things only just now clicking.
Knowingly and unknowingly, we shape these narratives and tell these stories of who we are, — what we like, how we work, where we’ve been, who we know, etc. — when in all actuality, we are showing up as representatives of disparate parts daily in our own space, in our own lives. We repress parts of ourselves and emphasize others according to other people’s expectations, moods, and lifestyles to fit in and keep the peace. It’s as common a practice as it is, ultimately, harmful as hell down the line.
This type of behavior consistently breaks us. It takes away bits and pieces of our true self confidence, ability, skill, responsibility, accountability and authority. I realized then why I was so sick of this habit. I want to show up as my authentic self no matter the space I’m in, because that’s the only way we can grow as humans. So that night was the end of that part of me.
I realized that although a space may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable, there’s no need for me to perform. No need to seek approval. No need to be anything other than me. No matter how left out of the conversation I may feel, no matter the use of vocabulary and vernacular that I don’t know and never have heard. No matter the feelings and opinions that I have yet to shape on issues and matters affecting our day to day.
This work, in this life, is challenging and no one said it would be easy, so my boots are shined up — just as my militant dad did his boots for work my entire life. They are strapped up and ready to attack each day going forward with a new fight of me vs. me.
I approve of myself, in all my different dimensions. I’m walking boldly in my newfound validation and appreciation of self. I’m all the more excited to break away from my artificial roots, water my authentic seeds to continue to grow and bloom, all while being rooted in the soil that makes me THINK — and surrounding myself with true gardeners that love, care, uplift and challenge me.