it has been a minute – nearly three weeks to be exact. that is the longest i have gone without writing a blog post since my very first one back in january of 2019. it is also the most inclined i have felt to truly take a break for the first time in my life without needing to explain or justify it. acknowledging my own growth and evolvement in this particular department is one that is important to me. it came on the cusp of something unexpected – my last blog post + instagram live.
as with all of my instagram lives, i answered any questions that were submitted on the spot. for the first time in 18 months, i was asked questions about race. there was no way i was going to ignore the questions asked and i was going to answer them honestly as i would any other question. here is what i wasn’t prepared for:
- a plethora of dms, text messages and calls from people who felt attacked (this is even with me being sure i did not attack any particular group in my responses)
- just as many people reaching out to express guilt over their own lack of awareness about the racial injustices black people face day to day
- friends questioning our closeness because some of what i shared on both my blog and my live was new information
- losing followers, likely because they think i am getting “too political” or “too liberal”
- the utter exhaustion from the aforementioned
on the brighter side, here are some revelations i have had in the time i have had away from blogging:
- if someone felt attacked when there was no language whatsoever that could be described as such, it is probably due to feeling like they fall into the category of people who are part of the problem. and guess what? that is not my problem
- it is not my job to hold space for the guilt of others, even my friends and family unless they specifically ask if i have space to do so AND have a plan of action regarding the work they will be putting in to make the shifts necessary to not only be guilt free, but anti-racist
- i am close to a variety of people for a variety of reasons – maybe we bonded over grief, childhood trauma, being working grad students, being women in male dominated workplaces, love for music, etc. – just because we have not gone deep about race does not mean our relationship is not deep. however, if that is something you would like to dive into, ask me if i have the space to do so and let’s get to it
- while i lost followers for simply speaking both the truth and my truth, i gained more – if there is one person who learned something, that is a win in my book
- i have slept more in the last week than i typically do in nearly a month. typically, i would apologize for it or at the very least, attempt to justify it. with where i am in my life, i don’t feel like i owe anyone other than myself an explanation for taking time for me. i do not think i have ever allowed myself time off to simply process what it means to be black
then, it hit me. i do not think i have ever been unapologetically black.
artwork by a.b. — gifted to me by hillary conlin
there are lots of things that i am both bold and unapologetic about in all spaces. being a woman. being passionate about my work. being an advocate for marginalized groups. being an absolute nerd when it comes to all things psychology and philosophy oriented. being plus sized. while all of these things are important to be bold and unapologetic about, some of them come easily to me.
that being said, how bold was i really being? have there been times where i have minimized myself to make others comfortable with my blackness? the answer (unfortunately) was yes. it won’t be any longer.
so often, i am one of the only (if not, the only) people in any given space that looks like me. with that often comes this pressure of being “the perfect black” because of my awareness that so many people in that space may have no other context than what they have seen on television as a representation of all black people. and while there is a piece of me that is happy that i may have changed the minds of some ignorant people, there is a bigger piece of me that is disappointed in myself for ever muting or minimizing myself. i can think of times i was angry and deserved to be but stayed quiet or calm because heaven forbid coming off as “the angry black woman” or “the ghetto black woman” – in my quest to be my most vulnerable and authentic self, this has to be acknowledged. it has to be changed.
for all of my friends and followers who were surprised by my last post, i would like to reintroduce myself as kristin – the counselor, the daughter, the sister, the friend, the intj, the monopoly lover, the quality time and acts of service fanatic and most importantly, the unapologetically black woman.
one thing i will continue to do (when i feel up to it) is share things that i have learned or discovered. as someone reading this blog, you can do with it what you wish. one thing i will no longer do is make myself smaller or quieter to make others feel more comfortable. that is not my responsibility – it never was.