Stand In It!
Can you think of the first time you felt unseen? Where were you? How did you react? Do you think being a girl /woman had anything to do with it? Do you think your ethic background had anything to do with it?
One of my first moments were I felt unseen occurred in my 8th grade year in middle school. I had recently migrated to the United States from the Caribbean. I spoke differently from my peers and was also a tad bit darker than the average Black student in my school. My English Language Arts teacher was a white female who (now reflecting) had a few unchecked racial biases.
Whenever I was in her class I surely felt unseen. I felt as though my presence was an inconvenience. I also felt that my voice and what I thought did not matter.
This became crystal clear in the assignments that she would hand back to me blanketed in red-ink. Every word, sentence, and paragraph. Dismantled. These papers that she returned to me no longer resembled assignments worth revising because the “corrections” with out actionable feedback were far too many for a new student to the eighth grade, school, and country to process repeatedly.
As I became older, the feeling of not being seen manifested itself as issues with my self-worth. As a result, one behavior I subscribed to regularly was the act of apologizing as a way to pardon my presence and stating my opinion. Although, studies show that women generally apologize more than men, we know that nothing done in excess is ever “good” for us. As a matter of fact, excessive apologizing indicates lack of self confidence. In reflecting deeply, this I see clearly.
Feeling unseen shows up as lack of self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence impacts how we respond to ourselves, others, and the society in which we live.
It is time to Stand in it. While you may have felt unseen in the past or maybe even now, I am here to tell you that you are worth seeing, hearing, and being.
Own it . . .
In my early years as a public school student, I knew that there was nothing admirable about shrinking to make others feel “good” about themselves. Knowing something and acting on something — as you know — are two very different things. It took work to tap into the realization that I am worthy, qualified, and enough. To be honest, I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy. However, I am further than I was regarding my personal development than I was in those vulnerable teenage and young adulthood years.
Today, as a Modern-day Shero, I enthusiastically encourage you to OWN your brilliance. You will no longer go unseen once you allow yourself to stand in your own light. Marianne Williamson reminds us that “when we allow our own light to shine we unconsciously give others the permission to do the same.” It doesn’t matter if your light is a bit dim right now, the point is that it is there!
Stand in it . . .
You are whole. I see you. We are one of the same fabric! After you have identified that moment, that first moment where you felt unseen and not heard, tap into the feelings that pour forth.
Then, move on to list how those feelings currently manifest in your ways of being (how you act and react toward yourself, others and the world). Are your ways of being contributing to your happiness or chipping away at your joy, your peace of mind, or your ability to achieve your goals?
Sit with this. Reflect on this. Find yourself a mirror or use the front-facing camera on your phone and repeat the following statement three times. Three always is the magic number.
“I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.”– Maya Angelou (Revered Shero)
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