Not too long ago I worked at a place, and the place I worked at had a public image it needed to protect. I wasn’t very good at my job, because I was overwhelmed by the amount of work that I was expected to do, while being called a Volunteer, but doing 40+ hours worth of work.
In that job, / volunteer position, I was harassed, bullied, went on a trip, harassed some more, this time sexually, emotionally and racially, and arrested.
It was not the worst experience of my life, but it wasn’t the best, and that’s why I will never go back.
In that same job, I also didn’t support the things I do now, not because I was naive, but because I was too wrapped up in my own opinion of the world, to change the way I saw things.
I will never forget having a conversation about BLM, and saying I didn’t really support them because I didn’t really at the time – understand what they were about. All I was being shown was violent rioting and abuses that forced me to check out from the world for awhile.
I was in my own little bubble and I was comfortable there. Being arrested changed everything.
I no longer accept being treated like shit by anyone, I’ve learned to say no. I’ve learned to have some semblance of respect for myself and the woman that I want to be, and she doesn’t take any shit anymore.
A lot of people have questions about what I want to do with my life or where LMBG is going, and I don’t have answers for them, because for the first time in my life I honestly don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of me.
Some days I do really great and I shower and I show up to my “home office” ready to work, and other days all I do is sit at the computer playing Facebook games. Some days I show up to work, ready and willing to do the writing, but I haven’t showered, because the words in my head are coming so fast I need to get them out before I forget them.
Either way the work gets done.
The point is that where I am now in my life, I realize I will never go back to a world where I let my skin color matter more than who I am as a person. I will never again allow people to make me feel less than I am, because of the color of my skin.
Being arrested for no reason changes your life, having a White cop scream at you in your face just inches away, so close you can feel the spit from his mouth as he calls you a “loud mouth little bitch,” changes everything about who you are as a human being.
It was the catalyst for change that I needed, but that doesn’t mean it should have happened. It made me realize and really take a look at the way the world sees me.
It occurred to me that most people don’t see past the angry Black woman demeanor, they see a strong Black woman, and they are genuinely afraid of my fiercness. I will never forget when one of the Volunteers/staff asked if I could be less of myself to make him feel more comfortable.
I told him no, but it made me realize as much as the job/volunteer position was an amazing opportunity, it was one that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice so much of myself to have. At least not in that organization.
I still want what I want and I will get there, but I am not going to be less of myself for anyone ever again. I don’t have it in me, I wouldn’t even know how to go back to being quiet and shy and silent when I am abused. I wouldn’t know how to remain soft spoken and to shut down my own inner light anymore.
Once you flip that switch you can’t just go backward and turn it off again, it takes a lot of effort to go back to being nice when everyone’s treated you like crap your whole life and that’s just not the kind of work I want to do with myself.
There’s part of me that says “you’ll never get anywhere if you aren’t willing to sacrifice parts of yourself to make your dreams come true,” and while that may be true for some, I’m calling bullshit on it. I think that there are plenty of people who have stuck to their morals and ideals and made huge successes of thmeselves.
I plan to be one of them, while simultaniously attempting to hold onto my soul while I’m at it. Do you know what I mean? Am I the only one who feels people expect me to be less of myself to make more room for them? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
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