I started the year as most do—ambitious, bright-eyed, and ready to get to work. Though well intentioned, I quickly remembered that the world’s flow just doesn’t align with my own—and that’s OK. My intentionally slow January gave way to a slightly more active February. I figured that by March, I’d be ready to pick up the pace and run full-speed. I even announced publicly *cringe* that I would be doing a 100-day creative challenge. I successfully made it to day three when I decided to drop it completely *super cringe.* What started as a ‘fun little project’ unfolded into something of an existential crisis. FOLLOW ME, HERE. I’m all for creating for the sake of creating; however, I recognized that I was building a pattern of creating “work” to distract me from my actual work. Can you relate, or are you one of those people who is perfectly successful at having tunnel vision? If the latter, give yourself a pat on the back for being God’s favorite, then teach me your ways. Anyway, I quietly stopped the challenge just as loudly as I had announced it, and like I always do, I decided to go deeper into self-inquiry. There were several QTNAs, or questions that needed to be answered:
What was I avoiding by stacking irrelevant tasks and projects on my plate?
Why was I so obsessed with being/appearing “busy?” Who was I performing for? Where had I learned these patterns?
What were MY goals, outside of influence or even public gaze?
Is this the life that I imagined when I decided to step away from corporate?
Was my art, in and of itself, truly enough?
I had to sit in silence—lots of silence– with my swirling thoughts, my Black Girls Right journal, and a steaming cup of my favorite Adjourn Teahouse blend, examining myself and my motives. The verdict: I WAS DOING IT AGAIN. “IT” was the limited mindset habit of attempting to force myself into someone’s box in order to fulfill somebody’s label by attempting to follow someone else’s formula. Oof. Every time I’ve found myself here, I also find myself frustrated, hyper-critical of myself, insecure, and just plain frazzled. But when I allow myself the time and space to flow into my own rhythm and energy, then ask for what I truly want, that’s where the magic happens! I prayed, meditated, and virtually stood completely still for a period of time, careful not to invent or begin anything new. I stopped the negative self-talk and got rid of everything that gave me an excuse not to do MY thing, and this is where I’ve landed:
Resolute Rose is extremely personal to and for me. It was created for self-care and community care, especially for Black and Brown women and girls. The name itself was inspired by my own personal traumas with bullying, subsequent struggles with identity and confidence, and a combative romantic relationship from my past. Resolute Rose represents the journey that I am on as I bloom into my unapologetic, most authentic self. It is the space that allows me and my community to feel valued, seen, and heard. My art allows me to process my own experiences, connect with my people and amplify my and other voices that have ever felt stifled or minimized. THIS is what I had in mind when I initially started Resolute Rose. I’m looking forward to moving more intentionally in that direction, sans the useless distractions.
In my moments of honesty, I had to become okay with understanding that my art isn’t THE thing, though it is a vehicle for THE thing. THE THING is my story. The thing is my journey back home to myself. The thing is realizing that neither my gifts nor my story is just for me. The thing is recognizing that my gifts allow me to speak life into myself and my community. Genuine community comes with sharing—not hiding, and not bystanding. I have done a disservice to all of us by avoiding the thing. Still, I’m grateful for the version of me that allowed us to arrive right here, right now. It’s still right on time, so I shall proceed.
You may be wondering what all of this means, and in some ways, I am too. What I know for sure is that I plan to be and do exactly what I have set out to do no, no matter how scary or huge it may sound. I plan to operate abundantly. I will no longer hoard my gifts, attempt to hide, or fit into spaces that were never intended for me. I will no longer distract myself with work that does not belong to me. I plan to take up space— lots of space. You know why? Because I AM EXPANSIVE, AND IT IS MY BIRTHRIGHT TO TAKE UP AS MUCH SPACE AS I PLEASE. And you are, too.
Until next time,
The Resolute Rose
Yewande K. Davis