How else can I begin this post, but with the cliché, “time flies”. I have been a Tennessee resident now for just over a year and have slowly began to see just who I really am. My childhood shaped me. College molded me. But moving to Nashville has since caused me to become undone. It has exposed me to, well, me. The past year has forced me to come face to face with where I place my identity, what defines my character and exactly who I really am.
I am a servant of Christ. Honestly, if I could do anything for the rest of my life it would be to share Jesus through my life, through music and through social justice. It is all that I desire. I am imperfect. I struggle like crazy with lust, pride, insecurity and patience. I can justify cold-heartedness towards the men I’ve dated while being speechless when I think about the grace that has been given to me. I am skeptical and cautious yet vulnerable and longing to feel accepted. I love everything about urban culture and absolutely despise the suburbs – like, more than you know. I’m a basic girl, but only in the Fall & Winter, so that makes it okay. I’ve learned how to say ‘no’ and take time to focus on me. I begin reading 5-7 books each year and finish only one or two. I’ve had a pregnancy scare in the past 5 months. I understand and do not understand Romans 5:8. I do not fit the American-Christian cultural mold, and am coming to realize that that is okay. I live my life trying not to be perfect, because it will only perpetuate my struggle with pride. I spend a lot of time listening. Through this I’ve learned much about the people around me. I hate talk of politics, but wouldn’t dare say so in a public setting. I’ve started keeping a journal for the future husband, however, if he does not exist, I have started writing a future New York Times Bestseller. I withdrew from college due to anxiety, but never told a soul until 2 weeks ago, and often contemplate whether or not to return; having a successful, and enjoyable career says ‘no’, but the pressure to be an educated Black woman says ‘yes’. I wonder if educational success only comes from finishing a Stats class that I absolutely hate in order to receive a piece of paper that declares me to be a sociological genius. I’m emotional, but few will ever see me cry. I abhor small talk and long for bypassing the awkward get-to-know-you stage of new friendships/relationships. I overthink everything from when I’ll get to move to NYC down to which brand of Earl Grey tea I should purchase. My mind is rarely at rest, I am random and fearful that if I talk too much, people will judge; so I call myself an introvert, when in actuality I have tons to say, just not about the subject at hand. Other times my brain is just taking forever to make clear, articulate sentences – hence why I enjoy writing letters that outline my thoughts, rather than speaking them at a moments’ notice. I’m not very witty. I think I’m hilarious. The best praise/worship happens when I’m alone in my car; which is why I may show up to a friends’ house/church/work/etc. a little horse – I’ve been singing like heaven is already here. I like writing letters more than talking on the phone. Actually, I hate talking on the phone. Ones’ company, conversation and presence will always be much more appreciated than any material thing; aside from a letter. I’m actually not the greatest cook in all the land, but I’m not the worst and I’m still learning new recipes. I expect too much out of people. I’m learning how to love without expectations, but also without becoming heartless. I haven’t found that balance yet. If you talk to me, I will listen. That’s enjoyable 80% of the time. I’m too nice to let you know if you fall into the 20%. I found myself on the brink of an emotionally abusive relationship this year – while still working as an advocate to end domestic violence. Despite it all, I’ve found myself praying so much more. My “list” has been brought down to one item – ‘Loves and serves God more than he loves and serves me’. I’m going to marry my best friend, who, to go along with how much I love urban culture, will be a sanctified thug – it’s a thing. I’ve come to terms that I’ll probably never marry. This may not be such a bad thing since I’ve learned how to have much more meaningful, honest friendships both near and far. My new mantra is “vulnerability is the antidote to shame”.
The list above is not full of wonderful things about myself – reasons why I should be your bestie or employee, daughter, niece, cousin, sister, friend. Not by any means. I’m human, too. And I say that for myself. I’ve always seen myself, and possibly been seen, as Superwoman, an overcomer, strong. This past year has caused me to become much more aware of my own sin and my character, and despite discovering all of these new things about myself, I know without a doubt that my overall identity – flaws and all – is still in the cross. I’ve become undone. I stand as naked as can be. I’ve stripped away every thing that I thought was good and noteworthy about myself and have truly found something better. I’m free to make mistakes, as I have and as I will. I don’t have to be a superhero. I don’t have to fit the mold and look like everyone around me. And while this may at times feel isolating, I know I’m not alone. I’m daily being pursued and it’s clearly not because of anything I have done.
Until next time 🙂 In Christ,
Photo credit: Kayla Horton (taken at Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, October 2014)