Enough Light for Us All
Scrolling through Instagram today, I stumbled upon a quote that resonated with me deeply. The words of Warsan Shire seemed to pierce my soul.
"Be careful of those who admire you deeply, think you're brilliant but resent your light."
Wow. I soaked this all in and it is almost as if my breath had been taken away from me in one swift action. I think society has sold many of us short and as a black woman, I sometimes feel as if I have the extremely short end of the stick. For years growing up, I felt as if all my black girl magic was nurtured and loved up on. People loved my 12 year old ambitious self but they didn't realize what would eventually become of me. They didn't realize that one day this black girl magic would transform into a black woman who had this magic oozing out of every single pore. My well meaning teachers poured into me. They told me how smart I was, they told me how I could do anything, they told me I could take over the world but then something happened. My light started to shine so bright that it was intimidating. My light was so bright as I began to blossom that it began to show how dim they were in comparison. It began to show that they were afraid of their own creation because one day I'd no longer need their words of wisdom or their blessings for me to have a good life. It had already been written long before that my life would be great.
As I grew more into who I was, my circle seemed to diminish. People who had once been so close when we were neck to neck, slowly started to drift away. These were people who had supported me, cheered for me when I was down, and gave a helping hand when I faltered but suddenly they were gone. It hit me that there are 3 types of people in your life and it is so important that you know exactly who they are.
- Those who support you unconditionally.
- Those who support you as long as you're not doing better than them.
- Those who won't support you regardless of what you're doing.
I appreciate the first type of person and even the third because they are very clear in their intentions. Person 2 is scary because they are well meaning but usually do more damage than good. They come in the form of friends and family members who love you but have always felt a little jaded by your perceived success and ample ambition. They come in the form of teachers who always pushed you to the next level but not so much so that it pushed them out of a job they had never truly loved. It comes in the form of significant others who never chased their own dream but hate the fact that you were brave enough to go after yours. These aren't your true supporters, if anything, they see you as nothing more than competition- a road block to their own best self.
Public Service Announcement: There is enough light and room for us all.
The world has set us up to believe that our community is dog eat dog and only safe when you're the strongest alpha individual. I've had the opportunity to interact with so many great and genuine people who were not once intimidated by me. The reason being is that just like a moth on a summer day, I was attracted to their vibrant light and in search of a place of warmth and belonging. These people were so confident in themselves and the skills and talents they possessed that not once did they think I may come seeking to do them harm. Not once in the midst of me building myself into the woman I am have they ever looked back and said, "Darn, she stole my shine. I should have never given her advice." No, these people were welcome to the idea that our world needs more people like me, more people like you, who are willing to shine without apology. We need people who are willing to speak up in a quiet room, willing to voice that unpopular opinion, willing to stand alone in hard times, but most importantly...someone willing to be their complete self.
As you move through your busy day...take a second to think just how much better the world is because of you. Take a second to reflect on just how powerful you are in this moment and how this power will only grow over the years. Take a moment to shine as loudly and brightly as you can because you never know who is in need of that light.