I can remember while writing my dissertation, I would go to my favorite coffee house, Northampton Coffee every Sunday morning at 8 am and sit in the large glass window facing the early morning quiet street. I would order a chai tea latte, iced or steamed, depending on the season, and treat myself to a reading of the Sunday Styles in the New York Times before diving into the work of unearthing new knowledge and facing the inevitable struggles of writing a dissertation about internalized racism.
Sitting in that window, week after week, month after month, I pushed against old internalized patterns of fear, inadequacy, not being "black" enough, believing that so many others had much more, and wiser things to say than I did. I kept coming back, believing and telling myself that each movement, each intention that I set - just by even showing up some days - would get me closer to that goal of crossing that graduation stage.
Such has been the same with the accomplishing of this website and blog - surely the intention and showing up and writing has been there, but so have the old internalized fears, frustrations, inadequacies, and beliefs that so many others have much more and wiser things to say than I do. And a voice keeps pushing me to show up, anyway.
In fact it woke me up this morning at 4:30 am telling me to get up and write. Telling me to share the piece of information that was implanted in my soul to share with the world. Telling me to unselfishly offer the contribution that I was assigned - to take it and offer it the world. To forget the stories in my head, to forget my fear - and need for sleep - to forget those internalized thoughts, frustrations, and inadequacies.
And so here I am.
And that feels like authenticity to me. Recognizing that risk is not the balance to reward, but it is actually just the precursor to it. Our willingness to share ourselves, our gifts, our secret worries that we think no one cares about or has ever faced what we face will almost always be met with welcome by someone else. We just have to keep risking to show up authentically. Someone will come along and prove to us that we are not alone - and that connection, that building of community, will be the reward that we've been waiting for. The even greater reward will be the recognition that we are living into our full being - fear and all.
What is the contribution - not monetary, not material, not even time - but rather what is the contribution that lives in our very being that we are withholding and what's holding us back from offering it?
And so here I am - offering my contribution - willing to take the risk and believing in the reward - and knowing that the greater reward is already here.