“If you ain’t got haters, you ain’t doing anything.” (Katt Williams)
“Eeerbody ain’t gonna be happy for you.” (My Momma}
The most unnerving thing I’ve ever done in my life is to start this blog. Yes, prior to this blog, I started a 10-employee business, moved across the country to a state I had never lived in before, had kids, and traveled to different countries; but writing so others can read it, sharing myself so openly, allowing others to judge me, and tackling topics that many don’t want to discuss, sometimes frightens me to the point of tears, paralyzes me so I can’t write for a day or two, and keeps me up many nights.
I’ve known that I wanted to write since I was seven years old. However, it took me all these years to finally honor myself enough to do it – to finally block out what everyone else, mainly mainstream society, told me that I should be doing. It was a huge leap to switch from making good money, and having a prestigious title on the corporate track, to doing exactly what my soul ached to do. I considered this blog a success before I even had ten followers because the accomplishment was in honoring my true self – and finally trusting and loving myself enough to do it.
I reckon that’s what life is all about: discovering exactly who we are and having the guts to honor that person. So, when we begin to do so, you’d think it would feel good; but I’ve learned that with growth comes growing pains. My biggest hurt through this evolution has been the loss of people whom I thought were friends.
I lost my first friend, Melissa before the blog even went public. I had only told a few close friends about the blog; and asked for their feedback before I made it public. Friends read my few articles, checked out the layout of the website, and quickly provided honest impressions. Week after week, I kept asking Melissa (for whom I had been that ride-or-die, do-everything and go everywhere friend, as she went through a painful, long divorce) if she had read the blog. She hadn’t. She never did. I couldn’t believe that after all I had done for her, including helping her with her resume when she had to go back to work, giving her a job at my company, listening to a zillion hours of stories and crying spells, etc.), that she wouldn’t take five minutes to read my blog when she knew what a huge deal it was for me. It made me realize that while I was her real friend, she wasn’t mine.
Similarly, I have many friends who know about my blog, but won’t follow it, even though it doesn’t cost a thing (you can even like a page and block the posts if you don’t like the content). In other words, it’s easy to support (no money or time involved). This despite the fact that I have supported them by buying products, attending launches, and supporting their fundraisers, etc. Hell, I follow a landscaping company, a bakery, a tantra movement, and a dog grooming service, that are all located thousands of miles from me simply to show support for my friends’ ventures. Yet, they don’t ask me about my blog. This is telling, as I believe that friends show interest in whatever is important to you (kids, jobs, family, vacations, etc.).
At first, I couldn’t understand the lack of support. Technically, the blog has left me with significantly less money, time, privacy and prestige. While, it is my heart-song, it is nothing that I’d think anyone would “hate on” me about. Outwardly, it’s the least prestigious things I’ve done, so I was confused and quite devastated by the lack of support from people I considered friends.
But then a close friend helped me realize something: most people don’t pursue their dreams or even do what they genuinely want to do. Heck, it took me half of my life to become strong enough to do what I always wanted to do. Most people stay stuck (as a matter of fact, “my friend”, Lisa still isn’t officially divorced). It is so hard to do what is unexpected, to begin changing from who you are to who it is that you’ve always wanted to be. It’s actually easier to do what society, family and friends expect of us. When we start thinking about making a change in our lives, we oftentimes stop because of what we think other people’s reactions are going to be.
Girl you have lost your mind!
Oh, so you’re single now?
How will you live?
You are just going through somethin’ now.
Girl, you are too old (young) to be…
Truth is: you will hear negative things and not receive the support from the people you expected to when you make a major change in your life. Don’t let it discourage or stop you. Don’t believe that the lack of encouragement from your “good friend” means that you are making a mistake. Continue to trust you, your voice.
When people shun you after you walk away from a painful relationship, start a new job, apply for a different job in a new field, quit a job where you were miserable, changed your eating habits, moved to a new city, started practicing a new religion, a new exercise regimen, or in any way answered your spirit, you must understand that some people will not be happy for you.
Of course, they will not announce that they aren’t happy for you. Instead, they will refuse to actively support you, they will discourage you along the way, highlight every obstacle; give you funny looks, talk badly about you behind your back – not because what you are doing is wrong, but everything that you are doing reminds them of what they aren’t doing. You had the guts to go get your happy. They feel better with you when you aren’t doing better; and they unconsciously fear that you will outgrow them.
The fact is, you already have. You’ve already outgrown them because you’ve decided to honor yourself, listen to your voice. Real growth is loving yourself and listening to yourself first. You become stronger because you’ve stepped into yourself; your spirit is realized when your intentions and actions are working as one. So, you will lose some friends. The blessing is that you will gain new friends, those who are comfortable enough in their journey to support you on yours. Most importantly, you will gain the best friend you’ve ever had – yourself.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more