On Allowing Myself to be Seen


I do this thing where I cut off the connections of a thing - a conversation, a look, an explanation - so that I don’t feel its full impact. Feeling its full impact now holds me responsible for introducing and cradling this thing, this sentence, this ideology and anyone’s emotions towards it. At least that’s what my brain says. I was raised of the headspaces of “everything is your fault and nothing is your fault”. How people receive me is my fault. I must be so effed up beyond distinction that I am solely responsible for everyone’s feelings. I am the sacrificial lamb. I am the ram in the bush who just wants to be heard. In lieu of making anyone uncomfortable, I’d often apologize for my existence. I’d cut my eyes in time so you wouldn’t feel the full breadth of me. In my mind, although unbeknownst to me, I was protecting the world from me.

On my podcast, My Depression’s Got Jokes, Montrell and I spoke recently on Imposter Syndrome and how we actively navigate the spaces of our own healing while trying to assist those we’re called to help. “How can I, a real human person with mental ashiness, possibly help and affect others whilst looking like I beat the final boss flawlessly? Do I have to? Who told me I had to? How can I seek and save the broken while being broken myself? Somebody messed up the guest list. I don’t belong in this space. Someone will find out I’m a fraud soon. Because I can’t be both broken and healing.”

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During the rehashing of a breakup I’d been healing from for the last ten months, I allowed myself to be seen. I was in my favorite tea shop Calabash on 7th street in DC standing in line holding back everything and barely put together. They make homemade herbal shots and tinctures and I asked if they had a blend of grief. The man behind the counter came to hug me. He saw me about to fall apart and, honestly, I was okay to fall to the floor in that moment. He paid for my order. I excused myself and broke down in the restroom. He asked me was I okay and I said I wasn’t. A wound that was healing was ripped open again and I didn’t know if I had the strength to resume my own triage. Instead of continuing my brave face, I removed my mask. And I let it fall. And I let me fall. I heaved and wailed again a few days later.

I know what you may be thinking. I also know it’s me projecting my interpretations of what you may be thinking. Here she is, preaching on healing from outside the club. And you may be right. But what I can say is that my intentions are pure. My desire to heal and be healed come from a place that’s deeper than me. It shoots past my bones to my ancestors who left this plane desperate to be seen and heard. Desperate to share their hard-won wisdom but because they came in a package not centered with expectation, they were viewed as frauds. I do this because it’s the only life plan that keeps finding me, so obvs the Universe must be up to something with lil ole broken me. Ase’.

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I’ve learned it’s okay to send for help. That it’s alright to say the words you may not believe at the time in the hopes that something will drop down from your lips, hit the concrete of your heart and soul and grow anyway. Sometimes, it’s necessary to say “go on without me”. And instead of hiding it, letting all of you be seen. The ugly, bold and beautiful. If it makes people uncomfortable to see you live your truth, then you’re doing it right. Doing it right by you.

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