A more accurate title for this blog post would have been When I Die, because, I mean…should I state the obvious? But in an effort to be the least morbid as one can be whilst posting a self-obituary to the internet, I settled on the latter. In any case, I’ve been feeling immensely emotional & acutely aware of myself since that little TikTok I posted and I began this “self-obituary” as a cluster of thoughts that has turned into what I want you (whomever you are) to know.
It all started with a Tiktok video I created that was emotional in a way that was both heartbreaking and inspiring. I cried for several hours after I filmed it and something about it has lingered with me ever since. Like (many) others, I assume, some experiences I’ve gone through have caused me to develop a tough exterior, so I sometimes struggle with “feeling” my feelings. Even more ironic perhaps is the fact that I often struggle to (verbally) articulate my feelings even more, thus the reason I end up with words on paper, at length.
I don’t feel that I’m like most people. I don’t smile a lot even when people say, “You should smile more”. I don’t often enjoy talking to people and it kinda bothers me that I feel like they think it’s because I’m sad, mad, or in a bad mood. Most days, I’m not, but it’s exhausting to try and convince someone otherwise, especially when they already have their minds made up about who they think you are.
I am someone who simply enjoys the presence of having people around. Just not always so close to me, in my personal space. Sometimes I’d prefer to just be a fly on the wall. By all accounts, I’m antisocial, yet I have a strong desire to be seen. And by seen, I mean understood. Loved. Accepted, just the way I am, without having to change while also feeling like I need to change because change, for the better, is growth. But more than anything, I need to come to peace with myself for not being like everyone else & knowing that’s okay.
I feel like a lot of people jump on bandwagon shit and use words and phrases like “trauma” & “I didn’t even know this childhood experience was affecting me…” and I’m not suggesting these are VALID reasons because honestly, I’m working through trauma that I didn’t know was affecting me right now but still…I don’t want to make excuses for myself. I just want to feel better. I want to be better. And for me that looks like…being present. I also understand that because I’ve…gone so long doing it the wrong way, continuously dismissed people, shut people out, resisted the effort & deprived people I love the effort, the decency, and at times, even the kindness to show THEM that they matter to me in a real way, it’s going to take time & effort from me. And from YOU (the people in my life). That means you may have to [gently] remind me that I’m doing it again…it may also look like you reassuring me that you recognize I’m trying. For me, it’s going to require me to be patient with myself as I recognize that I won’t always get it right. That it’s going to take some time for me to remember the value of simply looking someone in the eyes when they speak, taking time to listen to them tell me about their day, so they can feel seen, understood. Sometimes, it’s going to look like prioritizing my relationships and my TIME with people over trying to meet a deadline or make a post. I’ll need to be patient as I learn how to be — in the moment, in the present, in the presence of someone who matters, whether we’ve known each other for a couple of seconds or lifetime.
It’s important for me to, at least try and understand where this stemmed from and I believe somewhere…it originated from my equation of = if I don’t care then it doesn’t hurt me (which was established at an early age). I feel like I took on a role of “If I can make it seem insignificant to me, then I don’t have to waste time feeling sad or bad about it and I can move on and focus on ME“. But I think, over time that mindset shifted to where it comes off as I ONLY care about me and you don’t matter. And I want to make amends for that. Because you do matter.
But it’s just so easy to take things for granted. To take people for granted.
Imagine being admitted to the hospital for Covid, going on a ventilator because you can’t breathe on your own, then making a miraculous recovery. I would imagine you’d have a new appreciation for air —but it would probably be short lived. You see, we feel like air is just supposed to be there, even though we can’t see it. And I think we sometimes feel that way about people too, especially the people we love.
The more days I see go by, the more I realize that a lot of things in life really don’t even matter. We’re all going to die one day so it’s crossed my mind what I want people to say when I’m no longer alive. What will people remember about me? Not just the day people will observe as my memorial, but I mean for years to come…Of course, I’d love to be professionally recognized as “The Real Black Carrie Bradshaw,” but aside from that, what do I really want people to say? What do I really want the world to know about me? I’d want them to say that I was a giver. And I’d want them to say that I was passionate. I would want to be remembered as a lifelong learner. Someone who was committed to learning and growing. I’d want people to know that I went after EVERYTHING I ever wanted in life and I never gave up. I want them to know I stared directly into the sun and caught the stars in my hands. And that I loved. That I was both gentle and strong. That I was unwavering in who I was…and that if I was with you, then I was present. In the moment. Looking you in the eyes. Right there with you because you, too, mattered.