In my experience, transformations are rarely pretty. Growing hurts. We like to imagine ourselves blossoming one fine morning like a flower, but in reality, transformations can be painful and scary.
Last year around this time I was working at a nonprofit in Manhattan. My blog was becoming a full-blown passion but was determined to keep my 9-5. The summer of 2016 was unbearably hot and racial tensions were palpable. It seemed like every morning there was news of a Black man being shot down by police. When I suggested at work that we issue an acknowledgment of the deaths in our social media, as so many relevant brands were doing at the time, my boss accused me of calling her racist (I didn’t, but if the shoe fits…).
When I left the office that day, I never came back. It finally sunk in for me that I was disposable to these institutions. I was sick of being paid pennies compared to the CEO, sick of hoping for advancement when I would always be seen as the secretary. I felt the need to take back my life, to put myself in charge.
If I could dream up my own, idealized version of my future what would it look like? Building and growing with women of color, creating partnerships, embracing my full creative potential, living my life fully and on my own terms. None of these things come for free. None of these things are earned overnight. My spirit is still growing to match my dreams and I embrace this. In order to live the life that I have imagined for myself, I first have to go through personal transformations. I have to shed my old ways and allow myself to grow even in the face of uncertainty.
Some days I feel grounded and at one with myself. I look in the mirror and I call myself beautiful. I celebrate little victories and brush off my doubts and worries. Other days, I can feel the growing pains, they scream “Impossible”, “You’ll never”. Doubts are loudest when you’re close to your goals. I let the brightness of my potential scare me. I question whether I truly love myself.
But then I remember that transformation ain’t pretty. It will take you down sunlit roads and dark, chilly passageways. You can only hold on to your faith in the universe and trust that the seeds you plant will bloom.
Keep transforming, friends!