It has been many, many moons since I have written here and for that I am truly sorry. I got to this place where I was depressed, unfulfilled and dealing with my many chronic illnesses. And so, I took a break from the one thing that brings me so much solace and joy; the one outlet that fully allows me to relax, relate and release. Why is that? After months of introspection and wonderfully beautiful souls coming into my life, I have “found” the answer.
Writing, for me, is where truth is. Writing would force me to address, face first, all those things that I couldn’t give words to. It would demand me to confront my deepest fears, acknowledge my failures and create a plan to move forward. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to admit that I didn’t have answers, I didn’t have strength, that I needed help. And so I went into a place of deep contemplation, a place of hope and faith. We had a Diversity & Inclusion specialist speak at our all-hands meeting last week and she had us do this ADDRESSING framework.
We identified and accepted the many group memberships and cultural identities that we have and addressed our privilege, along with how we’ve used said privilege to our advantage and at times to the detriment of others. I was confronted with my own privilege and more so my lack thereof. I was thunderstruck and left breathless by the realization that I downplay my own accomplishments and shrink myself to make others comfortable with who I am. I do all of this to ensure that I remain gainfully employed and out of the spotlight.
When you are centerstage you are more open to and apt to receive harsh and undeserved criticisms. In a moment of vulnerability, I gave voice to this in public, in front of (virtually anyway) my coworkers and colleagues. And while it was cathartic, it was painful and I did what I normally don’t do… I cried off camera afterwards. They were tears of frustration and a cleansing flood of brokenness. Mind you this was the same day that Netflix launched Homecoming by Beyoncé. I am a proud graduate of Texas Southern University (HBCU in Houston, TX) and seeing how hard Queen Bey struggled to get back to her authentic self gave me inspiration. Seeing and hearing a full band and Houston music (UGK, Bun B, etc.) gave me LIFE!!
And today on a video chat with a co-worker, a friend, who is transitioning out of the company that we both work for, I inadvertently gave voice to all that ailed me, while regaling him with hilarious tales of how I came to be who and what I am. I found my voice again. I rediscovered my shrinking self.
So I am back to my most authentic self. I’m writing short stories and screenplays, I’m back blogging, I’m doing all those artistic endeavors that bring me joy and contentment. I’m acting, making jewelry (as recently seen on the Grammys red carpet and American Idol *eek*) and loving on those who love on me. Only He knows what happens next but I will face it with my head high and in truth.
Peace and Blessings
Don’t Put Your Labels On Me – Part II
Here we are yet again… *sigh*
I’ve had multiple instances in the past couple of weeks where someone (in this case WASP / White Anglo Saxon Protestant female manager bolstered by another authoritative WASP woman) automatically assumed I was lying and tried to “catch” me by offering up what they saw as “proof”. I had to write detailed explanations of the circumstances, justify myself and provided my own absolutely irrefutable proof that I was indeed being ethical and truthful from the very beginning. (I.e. I shut this mess down quickly with perfect tact, professionalism and screen grabs.) This was followed by the most insulting five words I’ve heard in recent memory, “Thank you for your honesty.”
Thank you for your honesty?! That insinuates that you assume that everything I say and/or do is fabricated until you feel you have sufficient proof that I’m telling the truth. This coming from the same non-POC people who, when the tables are turned, and I KNOW that non-POC has glaringly lied through their perfectly veneered teeth, tell me to “assume positive intent” or that I “misunderstood” what they said/did/asked/instructed/demanded. I am positive that it was intended to make me out a thief of time, a fabricator of salacious falsehoods and unethical to boot. Nothing there to misunderstand.
To compound all of this and add insult to injury, the earlier exchange is later followed by a backhanded compliment of a recorded WebEx presentation I did 3-4 weeks ago saying, “… it was very professional and easy to follow. I was very impressed with your presentation skills…”. There again are the micro aggressions.
It is automatically ASSumed that we are lying. It is automatically ASSumed that, despite our experience and education, we don’t have the same or better skill set than our white counterparts. And when we prove we ARE telling the truth and we DO have the knowledge and expertise, they are “impressed” with our professionalism and presentation skills. You ASSume because of my milk chocolate hued skin, my Afrocentric name and my love of head wraps that I couldn’t possibly be poised and polished and able to lead, teach, and inform the masses, let alone the white masses. I have to prove to you beyond what is expected of my white counterparts that I AM and that I CAN.
This is what it is to be black in Corporate America. This is what it is to be black in America, period.
#staywoke #resist #DiaryOfAMadBlackProfessionalWoman
Posted by grahamcrackercrumbs09 on October 21, 2017 in Social Commentary, Work Life
Tags: Corporate America, Culture, Diary of a Mad Black Professional Woman, Life, Micro Aggressions, Opinion, Race, racism, Reflections, Resist, Social, Social Commentary, Stay Woke, Tanesha Graham, Work, work life, Working While Black