Often times we look at others taking in to account only their outward appearance and form the opinion that things must be going pretty good for them. I mean she looks happy, right?
I know this to be true because I’m frequently looked at in disbelief when I share parts of my story, partially because people only see what they want to see, and partially because I’ve gotten really good at wearing a mask. (side note: I’m doing A LOT less of that these days)
And because of that, I frequently find myself asking, do they see me. Really see me. Not the photos I share on social media of me laughing and smiling with my family and friends, but the real me.
Does my family see me? Do my friends see me?
If I’m honest, most people don’t. I was actually offering some words of encouragement to a friend some time ago, when he (in the middle of my encouragement) said,
“Yeah! that’s easy for you to say! Everybody doesn’t
live in a world filled with pink tulips and butterflies”.
What? Are you freaking kidding me? Yeah! I was clutching my imaginary pearls at the tone and the implication.
I’m not sure if he was implying that I lived in some kind of altered reality or if he thought everything was perfect in my world, but whatever the case was, I found his words hurtful and offensive.
My initial instinct was to defend the insensitive words he blurted out. But, then I thought nahhhh….whatever…. (another side note: I don’t do that anymore)
I let it roll off because some people in my circle don’t know my struggle. They don’t know because I don’t share it unless I know it’s safe to do so.
So, in hindsight I didn’t say anything because my soul knew that he didn’t know me like that. He REALLY didn’t see me.
He didn’t see the many nights that I cried myself to sleep, because I fed my children the last of the food and I had no idea where the next meal was coming from.
He didn’t see me begging God to rock me to sleep, but not to wake me in the morning because I just simply didn’t have the strength to fight another day.
He didn’t see the few times I had attempted suicide because God chose to ignore me pleading and begging Him not to wake me.
He didn’t see me screaming out to God for help because my bills far outweighed my income.
Although we had known each other SEVERAL years, He really didn’t know me like that.
And because he didn’t know me like that, he didn’t see me.
So, I guess my question to you is, do they know you? Do they see you?
As Black women, we’ve become so accustomed to wearing the mask and faking the funk, that we’re afraid to let people in.
I’ve found that living in that space makes for a very lonely and miserable existence and it wreaks havoc on your mental and emotional health.
If you find yourself constantly in a place of despair, I want you know that it’s okay to let them see you. It’s okay to let them know you like that.
Now, let me be abundantly clear. I’m not saying tell your life’s story to everyone you come in contact with. I’m saying share parts of your journey with those you love and trust so that you’re not keeping the pain and trauma bottled up.
Besides, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by continuing to pile pain on top of pain, and I know you love yourself better than that.
So, find someone that you trust and release some of the ish you’re ashamed to talk about. You only need one person and you don’t even have to share everything…baby steps, sis. Baby steps.
Alright, I’m outta here!!!
Here’s to letting ONE person know you like that.