Contributed by Khalilah Jones | All photography credit: Jenaé D. Harrington
Recently, my sister was telling me about some frustrations she has been confronted with at work. Something had happened and while it wasn’t directly anything to do with her she was basically getting reamed by her supervisor who’d been snarky, extremely unprofessional and, to be honest, just nasty to her. I sat there listening to her vent, thoroughly perplexed by what I was hearing. My overwhelming thought was “Don’t they know how selfless, hilarious and thorough you are? Don’t they know the untethered Black Girl Magic they have in their midst?” What I saw was a phenomenal woman (by anyone’s standards) who inspires me to do my absolute best and supports me when I get overwhelmed. This woman navigates and negotiates the world with such style and her own razzle dazzle. I rudely interjected “…do I need to tell them who you are?”
As I was getting ready this morning and fashioning my textured tight coils into a fauxhawk, I reflected back on that conversation. It’s almost second nature to see the best in our loved ones. I’d even venture to say even when they may be undeserving, we tend to see the gold where others may see dirt. But I digress. The point is, I feel pride. I appreciate their spark, their individuality, the special unique stuff that makes them uniquely them. I know of their trials and tribulations and I also know their testimony! How they are wonderfully and fearfully made and completely human. I wouldn’t want them to be any other way.
So, as easily as all of that rolled off my tongue why can’t I think about myself in this way?
I have moments when I do. Fleeting ephemeral moments when I catch myself thinking “that was alright” but they are so few and far between. I have never thought of myself as amazing let alone have the unmitigated gall to utter it out loud. If I’m being honest, I even opt out of repeating my positive affirmations out loud, instead, replaying them back in my mind.
But there’s definitely something to be said for the quiet confidence in knowing that I deserve my own kindness, too. I deserve my own respect. Don’t I deserve my own appreciation? Not bravado. Not ego. Just simply being okay with liking who we are! We work so hard and we do so much for others. Now, don’t get it twisted there are a fair share of people who do not like me but for the most part I know that I am loved. I’d even go so far as to claim I have“ favor” like my Grandma would say. So, why is it so hard for me to extend that level of grace and love to myself?
I’ve been pondering on this a lot recently. I have never done anything halfway. But when I take a truly introspective look, I have to acknowledge that the “anything” that I try always has something in common. They are things that I knew I could do wearing a blindfold with one hand tied behind my back. Never really a challenge. But when it comes to the book I have been gradually working on (when I say gradually I mean as slow as molasses) I cannot seem to muster that Khalilah “confidence”, enthusiasm and fervor. Working as an independent wardrobe stylist and image consultant, I know my stuff. Yet I question my skills and my own credibility in the industry. No one else has voiced any dissent in regards to my talent or credibility. Only me. A few years back, I coordinated a fashion show as a fundraiser. The theme of that show was Always Rock Your Invisible Crown. I felt that was a poignant and timely message for the mentees we were working with at that time. It’s become bit of a mantra for me lately. Not because I want to sasahay around like an entitled princess. It definitively reminds me to recognize my power, harness my Black Girl magic and be proud of what I’m doing and most importantly who I am.
Always rock your invisible crown.
I’m rocking mine…do you promise to wear yours, Sis?