3 Things I Learned about Speaking My Truth
I’m still thinking about the reactions I have gotten to a piece I was fortunate to have published by Public Source. There were so many details I thought I would reveal in that piece. I kept timelines and documentation over the last three years of work because mama didn’t raise no fool, ok? Ok. But in the end the editors helped me tell the story in a way that centered the most important and relatable elements of my story. My intention was to let fellow marginalized and minoritized people know that they were not alone. I also wanted to let allies know that their support was appreciated. I have learned so much over the last ten days. I thought I’d share just 3 of them here.
1- Remember that your work speaks louder than your title.
I have had an absolute overflow of kind and supportive messages from folks who read my piece. Solidarity, collaboration, and virtual tambourine shaking abound! Not one of the people who have reached out to me has said a word about the titles I held when we worked together. They recall the work. They tell me how it felt to work with me – what they learned, what they taught me, and what they saw in me. When your work intention is transformative first, the transactional part can come from a variety of settings. Academia is one. There are lots of others and you may even find some of the same folk standing right there next to you. I am excited about the opportunities that have come my way. I’m leftcoasting it as I write this and working on an exciting new partnership! The work is still here.
2- Be careful of people who want you to heal them while you hurt.
I named no names. But of course, some things will have hit certain people anyway. They will know it was them or even suppose it was because what I recounted was in their character to have done. Some of them may even reach out or passive aggressively act out. They want me to heal them while I hurt myself all over again. The physical toll I already paid in this process wasn’t enough? (I didn’t put my health business in the piece because it wasn’t my focus. The truth is I almost paid for these experiences with my LIFE. My body began to close doors on me. It took a stern talking to from my PCP and a vascular surgeon for me to get that this was serious.) They want me to stew on vague texts and severed social media connections. So they can heal. Nah. In the words of Nikole Hannah-Jones, I decline. Also, I forgive them. This has only happened once so far but just in case, I’ll stay clear.
3- Don’t worry if you lose count of blessings. The ones you received will keep manifesting and the ones you gave will come on back to say hello.
I was not prepared for the outpouring of support from parents of former students, students, former students, colleagues, people I rode the bus with as we headed to or from work, and so many others. Do your work. Be a learner and a teacher no matter who you are with and stay gracious. I was counting my blessings and keeping my gratitude journal but I could never count them all. They are showing up now and it’s beautiful. Somehow through all my imperfections, I seem to have been a blessing to some folks. And all I can say is that’s it. That is the tweet. That is the point. That is all.