Lately, I’ve been thinking about changing things up. As I am constantly pushing toward what I know I’m meant to do, I’m always reevaluating what that looks like, and (if I’m honest) how I can make money from what I already do (a sista gotta pay rent yall). As I’m moving into these spaces, I am learning two very important lessons. 1) You can’t do this without community, and 2) community is complicated.
Did your mama ever tell you not to tell everyone your secrets? You can’t talk to everyone about your dreams? Well, my mama did. And she was right. Not everyone can hold your dreams, or understand your vision. And most times, we have to learn to sit in silence with what we have. We have to learn to cultivate it, let it resonate within us before sharing. I am learning that everyday. Today as I think about and appreciate the community I have, I also realize the complexities that make community beautiful, and frustrating. Today I want to share with you some of what I’ve been working through as it relates to my vision for my own life, and the vision that others have for my life.
There are three types of people who I’ve encountered when sharing vision: people getting to know you, people who think they know you, and the people who really know you.
People who are getting to know you will let you surprise them: I’ve encountered these people most at conferences and gatherings where I am speaking or participating. I always love the new energy of excitement that people bring to what you share. It reminds you that you do have something to bring that is unique and valuable. They are usually full of encouragement and questions, and I often try to use these encounters as a way to sharpen how I speak about my ideas. Oftentimes, they also have resources, and I have made some really great partnerships from these interactions. Now, what about the people you meet who have stereotyped you, who put you into a box without knowing you? We’re not going to talk about them, just know they exist and are always jerks. Don’t tell them shit. You can show ‘em better than you can tell ‘em.
People who think they know you best try to limit you to who they know you to be: And once again logic overpowers the imagination. These are people who often feel closer to you than you are to them. They think they’ve figured you out and now they are the ones who have a plan for your life. They consider themselves your “mentor” or claim to have offered you some sort of wisdom that has led to this new venture you are doing and thus now they own a part of your vision. But these are also the friends who have figured out who you are to them, and can only register you in that understanding. You are the one who always does ______. The moment you decide to switch it up… “why would you want to do that?” “you never told me you did that.” Listen sweetie, we friends and all and I may have shared some things with you, but I don’t owe you all the details of my life. Just because I haven’t told you doesn’t mean it isn’t truth…my truth.
But the people who really know you will give you space to become who you’ve always been: These are your road dogs for life. They are the people who know you better than yourself, not because they have any claim to you, but because they choose to journey with you, to see you, and to give you the grace to evolve. These are the ones who are never surprised by a new venture, but are usually the ones who respond with “its about time.” They have always seen who you have the power to be and have been patiently journeying with you as you discovered your own power and truth. Keep these people close.
So the lesson for the day is this:
Watch out for people who so easily fit you into their vision. They always have to trim you down to do so. They don’t limit you to harm you, they limit you to make sense of you.
Hear me when I say: who told you that you have to make sense? Who told you that you have to fit? Your conformity helps no one. You only limit yourself and the imagination of others.
BONUS: Oftentimes, it isn’t others who limit us. We limit ourselves. We forsake our own imaginations and give into logic alone, cutting off an arm and leg as a cost no one asked for. We conform to stereotypes we’ve concluded we should fit into when we are actually meant to break those stereotypes. We were meant to be larger than them.
Be unfit. Be ill fashioned. Surprise yourself by being who you are meant to be, not who you were conformed to be.