THIS IS OUR STORY.
The journey of self-discovery for me wasn't necessarily an easy one. I struggled with accepting the fact that I was beautiful, not only physically but everything on the inside as well. I would get told that I was beautiful all of the time but never believed it. I always felt as though I was different growing up, I didn't look like the girl next to me nor did I act like her either. This uncertainty of self lasted for years and I began to feel as though things would never change. It wasn't until' I began to fall in love with having the ability to write my thoughts out poetically around the (age of seventeen) that I started to truly believe that I was someone special. I wrote the crevices of my heart out every second of the day in hopes that someone would hear my cry for help. I didn't care to impress anyone. . I just wanted to have the ability to express myself the best way I knew how. It has been a blossoming and evolving seven years since then. I now have the ability to go after all that my heart desires without apology. I now have the ability to see myself as though I am a strong, intelligent, beautiful, and loving black woman. I now have the ability to overcome every obstacle that is within me. After all, it was all inside of me to begin with.
My journey to self discovery + self love was not an easy one. It was inspired by pain and repeated lessons. I've always been a giver, a healer. I've been in situations where people took advantage of my kind heart repeatedly. That bothered me for so long, made me question my self-worth and my talent. But after being down for so long, I just got to a point where I had to put my foot down, I refused to allow those people/situations turn me cold. I want to be someone's light. I’ve always knew that my passion was helping people for as long as I can remember but it took me a while to find “it” inside myself. It, being the perfect way to do just that. I remember being in the 8th grade just thinking about my future which inspired my very first poem titled “dreams”. I was overwhelmed by my ability to freely express myself. The instant relief I felt after penning the chaos that took over my mind amazed me, it was love at first pen stroke. I found inspiration everywhere.. Once I gained the courage to share my work with the world I discovered that other people not only enjoyed my writing, but they felt it too. I wasn't alone. I healed people, as I healed too. My passion in life is to heal as many people as I can with my words and just continue to spread love because so many people need that love and support.
My journey of self-discovery has been a long one and it is far from over. We are forever growing and evolving. Therefore; the discovery of one's self will never truly seize. However, I believe it gets easier once you finally accept who you really are. I was recently reminded of an old version of myself and the struggles I faced during my journey by two old faces. I appreciate all parts of my journey but I in no way wish to return to the place. It was not healthy and I was broken and constantly in pain. Unbeknownst to them, they had a role in hindering my growth with constant judgement and ridicule. In their minds they believe they were helping me but in reality they were hurting me.
My life thus far has been revolved around trying to do and be what others wanted me to be. I constantly battled with being myself and a perfect replica of their ideas of who I should be. The battle always left both myself and others displeased because there was always a small part of me that simply wanted to BE. I'm happy to say that now, although I'm still learning who I am, I no longer feel obligated to be what people wish to force upon me. Whether it be the way I speak, dress, act, write, etc. I'm finally at a point where I no longer wish to break myself in half to please everyone else. If who I am is not good enough for them then oh well. I was not placed on this earth to be anything but myself.
I am in no way perfect and I do not aspire to be perfect. I simply wish to be the best version of MY-SELF. I've noticed since making this revolutionary act people have disappeared and I am 100% fine with that. If those individuals can't accept me for who I am then they need not be in my life. If they wish for me to conform and be what they want me to be as opposed to getting to know the real me then they do not belong in my life. Since coming into this realization I have faced many adversities, both internal and external. I do still have trouble dealing with these issues but I am more equipped to handle this aspect of my journey in a better way than before. I have experienced pain in many ways on this journey but it has taught me a lot. It has helped me grow into myself and love all that I am; a multi-dimensional young intelligent Jamaican born Black Woman of African descent. Again, this journey is far from over. I am forever in bloom, just watch me flourish.
My name is Angelica King, I am 20 years of age and from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently I am a junior attending college in Vermont. Where I am from youth often fall victim to trying to be accepted even if it means conforming to ideas and ways of life that are contrary to their own. Traveling from Philadelphia to Vermont has allowed me to realize many things about myself in terms of identity and race. My regional background partially contributed to shaping my identity. I was once an individual who would constantly seek acceptance. I lacked self-validation for many years and would turn to other people to assure me of my worth. That lack of self-validation caused me to constantly question my beauty, ethnicity, worth, power and beliefs. Ultimately that is what broke me because I didn’t have that strength to assure and love myself.
Often people tend to wear a “mask” and plaster smiles on their face to conceal their pain. I believe this because I once put on that mask to convince others to think that I was okay when really I was going through so many internal battles. I always had trouble vocalizing my inner conflicts because when I attempted to open up my pain was disregarded and swept under the rug. I found myself internalizing my problems which only brought further damaged. I found myself alone, struggling, depressed and in what felt like a very dark place. I had to find ways to console myself to avoid the thought of others being burdened. Eventually I had to learn to unlearn those detrimental consoling methods. I began to share my battles with people again and found that they shared similar personal obstacles. Through those conversations, I as well as others was able to heal and transform.
I believe when we vocalize issues and allow ourselves to be vulnerable we begin to heal. We have to continue these discussions in the black community about depression and self-esteem. When we sweep these topics under the rug and turn our back on one another it not only destroys individuality but also weakens our community and creates many barriers. It is pertinent that the black community have these conversations to become more cohesive and begin transcending past the barriers that are currently in place.
Hi, my name is Latasha Brooks and I'm a 21 year old writer looking to publish my first book, Mirage: A short story collaborative, later this year. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa to a family of seven and began writing when I was six years old. Throughout my life, I've been through many struggles both internally and externally which, in turn, molded me into the person I've become today. Writing has become my means to cope, communicate, and exist within society. Past experiences provided me the strength and prosperity to push through any storm I may face ahead. Because of my pain, I am able to stand strong and share my stories both openly and honestly, unapologetically. I write in various styles and also have a passion for art. My upcoming team JURNE|X, also an upcoming business and movement, plans to make a difference in low-income neighborhoods throughout various communities by giving the people helpful and informative resources, classes and by opening their minds to the knowledge they have within themselves. I have a few donation pages that will provide funds and information on some of the projects we look to do this summer in collaboration with the In My Skin Campaign! Currently, I am in school studying psychology and physics. Besides writing and art, I love to meditate and expand my horizons by keeping my mind free and clear - I hope to share this knowledge so that everyone can live in their truth without fear of judgement.