Never mind that you probably have no idea what I’m talking about or how I could’ve possibly let you down. In my head, the whole story has already played out, with me playing the role of the major disappointment.
Let me explain.
Like so many others, I don’t necessarily need to hear confirmation from you or anyone else to believe that I’ve done you wrong. I’ve already internalized enough of those messages about not being good enough or doing enough, so I hear that confirmation all on my own. For me, this means I have those messages framing myself as a disappointment playing through my head all the time.
For me, it can also mean that a negative self-image can influence how I show up in the world. So, whether it’s writing a new blog post or a new poem or picking up the phone to call a friend, I sometimes feel convinced that it’s too late, that I’ve let too much time go by and now nobody will care about what I have to say.
This post was triggered by this morning’s news about the passing of Karyn Washington, blogger and creator of For Brown Girls and the #DarkSkinRedLip Project. Her suicide is shocking to me partly because this 22-year-old woman spent so much time cultivating black women’s self-love, apparently all while facing her own struggles with depression.
Already, several blogs and black news sites have recognized Karyn’s life and work, sparking conversations about black mental health, suicide, and stigma. Already, so many black women have picked up the torch from what Karyn created to share their own stories, and to encourage their sisters to unite as a community and to reach out for help when we need it.
I’ve seen this in the blog posts themselves, and in comments from community members on posts and links about Karyn’s story. These wise women’s words remind me that it’s never too late to speak my voice. Thank you for having my back, and for hearing me.
This post is dedicated to Karyn Washington, and to anyone else who’s ever believed that they weren’t enough.