You know that nagging voice inside your head that tells you that you haven’t gotten where you are “supposed” to be yet? That voice telling you that you’re behind and that your voice, your art, and your work belong to someone else, because a conversation, a look, or even a moment with them, reminding you of something that sounded cool, that you then turned into something else?
That imposter syndrome bullshit? That’s actually kind of useful in a really positive way and I sort of just figured that out today.
Colin Kaepernick did a show called Colin in Black and White, and I had to stop watching halfway through the first episode. I didn’t know that the reason that Iverson was hated so much was because of his blasted braids.
The thing that said to the world “I AM A BLACK MAN,” and the more that I think about all the projects that I am preparing to manifest for Loud Mouth Brown Girl, the more fucking terrified I am.
There is so much hatred out there, so many people from my past who have stories about the person they thought they knew, or the person that I let them get to know, that in discovering who I am today in 2021, I am fucking exhausted of what they might say.
The thing about this show is that in watching it, I’m seeing the actor Colin’s mom ask a couple of Black folk where to get her kid’s hair done, and I just wish my mom had asked.
I wish my mom had had, someone to ask, where to get our hair done, because when I got braids for the first time I screamed, and yelled for 3 hours before passing out. I was 3 and a half.
BUT WHO CARES RIGHT?
To the average person, Black hair isn’t that big a deal, but to those of us who HAVE Black hair, we straighten it, dye it, and change it in every way we can in order to feel good about ourselves, and the only reason that we spend so much time trying to feel good about our hair, is because of the sheer volume of people who feel the need to comment on it.
So as a Black content creator, I am constantly, and consistently, daily, thinking about what other people think of me, and the person that I am putting out there. I don’t wear makeup, I don’t shave my legs or my armpits, and I don’t fucking put my hair out because I never want people to comment on my God blessed fucking hair.
Black music started more than one movement throughout history, from our drums to our dancing, from our dancing to the melodies, the clothing, the hair, all of everything that we are, is either embraced because we’re Black and therefore cool by extension, or we’re hated because we’re Black and people actually believe in celebrating us.
People, who celebrate Black folk, Creole folk, are hated, immediately, because why do we matter? Lightbulbs, car parts, travels to the moon, were all discovered, invented, and inspired by Black folk, who lost out on trillions by white people who capitalized on everything that we could have been.
So now here I am trying to follow in the footsteps of everyone who came before me and there is a part of me that is afraid of what’s to come, and that’s where the preparation part comes in handy.
Are You Ready?
When I was growing up, I didn’t have the energy to pay attention in class, I was too busy trying to hide my shame, my secrets, trying to be an ordinary kid, while being raped and abused in every area of your life is really fucking difficult as a child. It’s scary, it’s sad and it’s lonely, and so you don’t do the things you need to do to be successful, because while other kids are learning how to be successful, you’re learning how to just get from one moment to the next.
This year I put a lot of work into LMBG, but I also am putting in a lot of work for 2022, I am preparing to enjoy the year, I am preparing to actually create, making plans, which is not something that I am used to doing because I’ve never had time before.
The questions I’ve been asking and answering myself are:
- WHAT is your why?
Why are you doing what you’re doing? If you’re a content creator, then why? Why does this particular future career matter to you?
In the past, I would have said that my “why” was because I wanted people to know that I existed, that I am proud I survived my abusers. Today it’s because I am proud of my roots. I am proud that I am sitting here watching a show about one of the most famous Black men in the world, whose life, resembled mine in a lot of ways.
I want to write something, create something, that makes another Brown or Black girl out there feel heard. THAT is mine why. That will ALWAYS be my why.
- WHAT do you want to do?
I have a list of seven things I want to absolute accomplish for next year, and I only started really writing it down today. HOWEVER, out of those seven, reasonably there are probably only four that I will actually start on and three that I will fully be able to actualize before 2023.
Knowing what I want to do is 1 thing, understanding that between time, and my own sanity, I won’t be able to finish everything on the list, prepares me to know that I am going to have to work hard, but I am also going to have to be easy on myself.
Just because I could probably do all 7 things on the list doesn’t mean that I won’t be interested in altering my plan in the future.
It also doesn’t mean that I HAVE to get everything done next year. It’s good to know that these plans can be adjusted and that they can be saved for later when and if necessary.
We covered when, so let’s go into HOW:
HOW Are you going to get these things done?
The only way to accomplish my 2022 goals is to work with others. Pulling from my digital community I have found really wonderful people who are interested in doing the podcasts, the live sessions, and the on and on and on.
These are people who are skilled, powerful, and all of them are women, who care about me, who are white, Black, and other creeds, nationalities, and races, who want to see me succeed, and who want to be a part of the journey WITH me, instead of FOR me.
Knowing that the support I need to accomplish my goals is available is a huge game-changer, and so for those of you asking “well where the fuck do I find mine?” the answer is your search. You make a concentrated effort to pull from people who inspire you, challenge you, and push you to be your best self, by taking the time to get to know who YOU are.
If being a quarterback was Colin’s dream, writing is mine, and so we take what we want, and we use it to get where we want to go. You say quarterback, but in the back of Kaepernick’s mind he was thinking, “hero, icon, artist, creator,” and now he is all of those things.
I am going to get where I want to go, even if I have the occasional identity crisis, even if I have to cry and scream and yell, and remind myself that while I was struggling, while I was whining and crying about being alone, so were and are other brown girls just like me. I’m not special because I found a way to keep going, I am not special because my success will never be measured by how much money I make. I am successful because I decided what I wanted.
So the only question you have to ask yourself now is WHAT DO YOU WANT?
You wanna be famous? Why? What do you want to do with your fame? What do you want it to mean to those who know your name? WHY DOES BEING FAMOUS MATTER IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO DO SOMETHING GREAT WITH IT?
What the fuck is that you want? Figure the answer to that, and everything else falls into place.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall