Dear Family and Friends,
To be honest, I wrote so many crappy version of this month’s letter. Believe it or not, I actually don’t like my own writing. Sometimes I look back at an old letter I wrote and think to myself, You should be embarrassed for: 1) actually writing this, 2) not proofreading as closely as I should have, 3) actually thinking that it was good, and so good that I, 4) actually sent it to other human beings.
This is not a pity-seeking tactic to covertly solicit you into telling me how much you like reading my writings. I’ve read enough books in the course of my lifetime that I’ve come across amazing writing, beautiful bold voices, and intriguing plots and characters. When I read other professional authors and storytellers I appreciate the time they dedicate to mastering their craft, their art. Unlike me, they spend more than a couple of hours perfecting their gift to the world. The reader gambles their times in hopes that the book isn’t a complete bust. There are some of us who will read at least three chapters before determining that the rest of the book isn’t going to get better.
If you made it this far into the letter you may be one of them.
I feel like I write about the same thing each month. Once again, another letter about the ups and downs of going through life. Blah, blah, blah…
I don’t want to be redundant.
However, these letters really feel like therapy. I’ve never been to therapy- and I know I should go- but I think this is what a good therapy session should be like. You talk about something over, and over, and over again until you finally are able to face it and call it by its real name.
If you have a good therapist, or have a friend that listens and engages well, or have a dog that believes you are the greatest human on earth, or you write really long letters each month then maybe one day you’ll be able to figure out what is at the core of what you have been avoiding.
My issues with these letters, and by extension myself, is that I don’t have problems. I’ve never gone through some major adversity. I have things that challenge me, but they are not really problems. To me, problems are things that have the potential destruct the tenants of survival: near homelessness, fear of deportation, some major adversity of some magnitude. I just have challenges. Can I pass a class? Can I meet a deadline? Can I navigate this contentious relationship successfully?
I get disappointed and let down. Sometimes I am the disappointment and I’ve let others down. There have been times when I felt unsafe and/ or unsteady. There are things I working to achieve; and, I’m trying to live up to my values, morals, and expectations of the person I want to be along with healthy, thriving relationships. I have a lot of internal and external pressure. I get really down sometimes.
Obviously, the title of this month’s emails is reclaiming bounceback-ability. I started to free write, but it didn’t feel authentic. I don’t really ever have negative thoughts when I’m writing, but this time I did. What is it that I really ever had to really bounce back from? What is it I’ve been trying to sell my friends through all of these letter. What version of me I’ve been trying to sell my friends through all of these letter.
Also, on the flip side, reclaiming bounceback ability feels extremely authentic and something uniquely my own.
I don’t remember what early adulthood, first world, angsty, ‘my life is over’ spell I was going through at the time that made me think that the course of my life was headed towards turbulence and destruction. To be fair to my (not so much) younger self, my problems of yesterday felt as deadly as my current problems; and my current self feels that my problems of today are malignant to my future; and my future self will agree because my problems of tomorrow will be lethal to all my hopes, dreams and aspirations just as my past and current problems were.
(There was no succinct way of writing that sentence- I tried- and I have no intention of taking it out.)
Anyways, life seemed as if it was over and I was telling my friend, Amon, about how my life was inevitably about to shatter to pieces. Honestly, I’m sure something I was hoping for or trusting God for didn’t work out at that time- there was something real there. My friend Amon told me not to worry because I have bounceback-ability.
I’ve been claiming it ever since! Well, ever since up until yesterday.
I was listening to a finance podcast about the emotional aspects of paying off debt and building wealth. The host and the guest shared how they felt guilty for the positive things in life. The host was able to hustle and scramble and save an enormous amount of money in a short period of time, but she started off debt free because her mother paid for college. The show’s guest had a successful clothing boutique, but she just didn’t feel like she struggled enough.
Just like both women, and maybe because we are women of color, I question my offerings, especially these letters.
So, I used to claim bounceback ability. But, I just gave it up. So, for this letter I’m going to reclaim bounceback ability.
Here’s my list of why I gave it up
- What in life, beyond age/ developmentally appropriate obstacles, have I ever bounced back from?
- I feel like an imposter. I’m thinking about some of the people who are reading this right now (maybe rolling your eyes) and the things that you are have triumph over and/or still battling.
Reasons I’m reclaiming
- As far as I’m concerned, ‘bounceback ability’ is mine and no one else on the history of this Earth has never lived to the full extent of bounceback ability like I have .
- I may not have been struck by lightning and lived to tell about it, but I have done things that inspired others. I’ll spare you the long ancedote.
- Because life hasn’t beaten the living daylights out of me, and I have surmounted many formidable challenges, I have just enough emotional capacity to give to others and enough experience to be of some actual help.
Sometimes I think about qualities I used to flow in more effortlessly on a consistent basis. I used to pray more fervently. I showed up to Friday night prayers at the church. I have my old prayer journals.
I’m reclaiming that as part of bounceback ability.
These are just my thoughts for the month. This letter is getting really long. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.