We live in a world saturated with images telling us we aren’t good enough.
The magazines tell us our skin is the wrong color to be considered beautiful; that we’re not thin enough to be sexy.
Pictures on social media tell us our butts aren’t big enough if they don’t drag on the floor when we walk.
There are pictures of “relationship goals”, which usually consist of some perceived financial success. There are professional goals, which usually consist of the same.
Articles on how to love your kids better, telling you too much of “this” and too little of “that” will make them permanent residents of a therapists couch in their 30s.
There’s religious pressure. “If you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior you’re going to hell!”
What the hell!?!?
The newspaper is plastered with stories about bad people doing bad things to children, leaving you scared to death of letting them go outside to play on the front porch, let alone down the block.
History reminds you that, as a woman of color, it wasn’t long ago that your body was not your own, but a tool used to tend fields and your “owners” deviant sexual desires.
There are roles you assume within your family. Some of us are caretakers, taking on everyone else’s problems as our own. Some of us are punching bags, taking the hits for younger or lesser equipped siblings. Then there are our friends. “You’ve changed. We never hang out like we used to.”
There’s so much.
It all piles up sometimes, the pressure, the expectations, the perceptions about what you’re supposed to be and be doing and it clogs up your pipes. And sometimes the blockage gets so bad that nothing can get through. Not even hope, happiness.
The sun could be shining, right in your face and you still wouldn’t be able to feel its warmth.
And these are the times when it seems like it would be easier throw up your hands and say “Fuck it!”
But be still. Be still and listen to the world inside you – not the world around you and its biased, contorted view.
You have to fight harder. You are good enough. You deserve better; better than you can ever begin to imagine.
There is meaning.
Meaning to it all.
And while it’s not your battle to fight to discover the truth.
It’s your battle to fight to live your own truth.
Find what makes you happy.
Then do it again.
Then do it every day for the rest of your life.
Even if it’s as simple as listening to your favorite music …
Or playing in your hair …
Or staring at the sky.
Keep doing it.
Happiness is subjective, self-defined, a picture you paint yourself.
Praise yourself for creating such a unique piece of art.
Erin T. McMillon, MSM entered into the publishing industry as an advertising copywriter. She has written for numerous magazines and online media outlets in the U.S. and abroad, including an award-winning music magazine.
Her short story, Writer’s Block was featured in the summer 2014 of The Horror Zine. Erin is also the author of The Becoming of Us, Vol. I: Love and The Becoming of Us, Vol. I: Lust and What’s Hiding in the Dark?: 10 Tales of Urban Lore and They Eat: An Episodic Zombie Thriller.
Find her on Facebook at facebook.com/theladywrites82 and on her blog at http://www.theladywrites82.com.