I Choose Me

 Photo by  Kanya Iwana

Photo by Kanya Iwana

Living is an intricate process of twists, turns, dives, and climbs. I've fought through anxiety, depression, and self-doubt, knowing that I need to move past ghosts I've let sit on my shoulders and any negativity that could hinder me from living my best life. Some of this might be surprising to people who are looking in from the outside, because I do try to keep my head up high and carry a positive demeanor. But I'm also always going to be honest and show you my other sides because life is tricky and complex for all of us. I think sharing our truths can help us relate to each other and work through more difficult times. Whether my darker feelings have been self-imposed or triggered by others, I try to not let them overpower my light. I'm very aware people have more troubling and stronger demons than me, but in this moment between you and I, I can only speak for myself.

The spirit of a new year makes it my favorite time of year. I love new beginnings and change, even if they're scary at first. After 2016 truly tossed me in the air and let me free fall through a tumultuous series of events, I was eager to jump into 2017. As much as I tried to leave the past in the past, some of the pain, confusion, and stress followed me into this year. Even when life was going really well, there have been pangs of anxiety, hesitation, and sadness. Despite being hurt or disappointed by people, society, and/or circumstance, those lower moments throw me into times of self-reflection and remind me to move forward with the most impactful action I can make use of, and that's choosing myself. I live by these wise words from SZA:

 

More often than I like to admit, I get caught up in the white noise of other people's lives, from their interests, philosophies, and behaviors. I'm a fan of influence, but with too much concentration on this white noise, I've tip-toed a dangerous line of a loss of my voice, my truth, and my individuality. 2017 has been a wake up call for me. I've been breaking down and building myself up again to live my truth and do more of what I feel. I've been empowered.

From a young age, I've felt conflicted by my biracial identity, a non-traditional family structure, and normal insecurities, and have sometimes lacked acceptance of myself, missing out on the beauty of what it means to be ME. Now, I choose me. I choose my natural, curly hair. I choose my small chest. I choose my scars. I choose my blackness more than ever before. This is the first time in my 25 years of life when I've been genuinely accepting and happy with what I've got, and GOD DAMN, get ready to watch me be proud and work with what my mama gave me. 

 Photo by  Kanya Iwana

Photo by Kanya Iwana

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