“I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned throughout my journey that perfection is the enemy of greatness. Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable.”
Yesterday, a memory from two years ago popped up on Facebook showing my new ‘do. I had just cut off my beautiful Sisterlocks because they were making me hot. So hot that a lady in church had me convinced that I going through the change early. After calling my mom crying, I knew it was time to cut my thick head of locks. Little did I know that one haircut would symbolize great change, not realizing I stood on the edge of the precipice. Just days later, my life was turned upside down as my dad and all my uncles dealt with major medical illnesses. I stopped asking what next or how much more as we wondered if my father would make it. My father pulled through, but one uncle is now resting in paradise.
In the midst of this, there was our umpteenth reorganization at my job. I was home with my family, but my coworkers and my boss tried to keep me updated. As the date neared closer to our reorganization meeting, I knew that I was on the chopping block. Many tried to tell me that it would not be me because out of my cohort, I had been at the company the longest, and I got one of them promoted into our equal position. Nevertheless, I had a feeling this was not going to happen. I knew I was on the chopping block because I was no longer the token black girl. During our previous reorganization, our department had merged with a larger department and they had two black female managers. I was no longer safe. As soon as that occurred, I knew I had to redefine myself within the company and outside the company.
My efforts to redefine myself within that company were not fruitful, but I am blessed to say that my work outside of the company were. I started using the talents that I had honed since high school to help others write their biographies and other written pieces. I began to learn the process of working in the literary world, as well as the pain of being a ghostwriter. You know there is a great story there, but you cannot force a person to sit with you to create it. As I continued to redefine myself, I expanded my offerings to social media because that just made sense. If you know me, you know I may be slightly addicted to social media. I just enjoy all that it can bring to the world.
Well, lo and behold, I was laid off. I was upset, but I was prepared because my company was already formed and ready to go. No longer was I somebody else’s employee; now I owned my company and I made the rules. Redefining yourself, however, is not limited to just your career. Redefining yourself also takes place in your personal life. What you may have decided you want in high school may no longer fit you now. I think Janelle Monáe’s quote is beautiful and fitting because we are not here to be perfect. Could you imagine if you were living your idealized perfect life that you imagined when you were six or even 16? I would be married, a First Lady in the church…not in the White House, with two sets of twins, who was running to be the first woman president. The timing is perfect, but I could not imagine trying to run against Donald Trump right now, or during the racial tensions that are rampant throughout this country. Furthermore, my views may have negatively affected my family because Super PACs would have taken everything I had written and exaggerated it. They would have me as a pure socialist. Honestly, I do not know if I would have the ability to write because of my position as the First Lady. The church has become more open and accepting, but I do not know if my husband’s career could outlast my writing, my posts, and definitely not my tweets. I would have been muzzled.
Life is a journey. I am learning to embrace who I am more and more each day. When people ask who I am, I generally say, “I don’t know,” or “That’s a hard question to answer,” because I am constantly evolving into a better form of myself. Who I am today is different than who I was when I was 17. I wish I could have been like this at 17, but I know people could not have handled this version of me. Who I am today is different than who I was this time last year, or for that matter last month. Each experience molds you into who you are. Have no regrets…live life to its fullest (even if you are the only person having fun).