I get out. I get out of all your boxes. –Lauryn Hill “I Get Out.”
        My homegirl Mo asked me to write on this topic a while ago. & While it might seem to her that I only half-heard the suggestion, she has no idea how the suggestion plagued me. I say plagued because it wore  on me. Whenever I get a suggestion I feel like I have to come through on it. I have to come around and answer the question. Perhaps I won’t be on time. Perhaps it’s not when they need it… but it’s written when I feel most comfortable. And that’s the most beautiful thing about my having this blog –I’ve never been more comfortable. 
      Truth is, whatever you read on here is always delayed. IF you think I’m in love, I’m probably not. If I was upset Im probably over it. It’s just… written. Freely and openly and sometimes that’s hard. Ashley texted me the other day and congratulated me on finding “Mr. Right”.  By the time I responded to her, he was “Mr. Right Now” and as of now, he’s Mr. Thursdays. My life moves fast, man. Sometimes I can barely keep up with myself.  Worse though is trying to keep up with people keeping up with me.  
      My blog is a lot of things. But one thing it’ll never be is my everything. I do this for fun. & I think I do it well, because… I allow myself to. &  the readers have allowed me to. I try to be open. I try to be honest. But that’s one of the toughest things to do when everyone is a critic. Everyone has advice for you and everyone thinks you should listen. & the reason I understand that it because I’m one of those people. I always think I’m right. Even when I’m wrong. I rarely admit defeat, but I can if I need to. But in order to do that graciously (and rarely) is to take part in few of those situations. The comments part of blogging can be a bit hurtful, and I mean the blogs can be hurtful to some as well. But really I think I have the right to express myself in a venue that I’ve created. And people are welcome to have their opinions on my thoughts but they must not forget that key ingredient to those thoughts is me. 
      People expect you to hide yourself. To be ashamed of yourself. They see things about you that they deem as qualities they’d rather not have and assume you’d feel the same way. For example, I’m materialistic. And many of my posts are clear evidence of that. I like nice things. I am motivated by money (hence, why I go to work everyday.) Some people might see that as a poor quality, but it’s what drives me. & It’s my truth. There was a time when my friends would call me a gold digger. Until the day they got caught up with a broke man and they finally saw my side of the story. The first thing you have to do with your “poor” qualities is accept them. Some people think you should change, but I argue you are you who are… and some of those things, those things that make you doubt yourself and make you feel like less than the people around you, you can’t change anyway. 
      I hated me. I hated my hair. I hated my skin. I hated my clothes, my weight, my family, my school. I hated a lot about me. But many people would have never guessed. A lot of these feelings came from outside of me. I focused on what other girls looked like. On what the boys seemed to like. On what other’s people’s families were like. On what, from the outside, appeared to be signs of happiness. I wanted these things. Eventually,  I realized that I wasn’t the only one putting up a front. We all do. We all pretend to be happier than we are. To be more content and satisfied than we are so that no one can think we’re going through it. But in reality we’re each as insecure as the next person. There are  a lot  of things about you that you cannot change. For example, your hair, your skin, your family, your mind — and these are things you shouldn’t want to change. 
        I think the reason so many people (girls in particular) have such low confidence is because we take every struggle so personally. We pile them up one on top of the other and decide we’re terrible people. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself… but finally, I’m not afraid to say how I used  to feel regarless of if it was due to my peers., due to my socio-ecominic issues at home, due to my cultural upbringing, due to the poor school system, due to societal pressures and “norms”, due to racism, due to poverty, due to sexism or elitism….It doesn’t matter what the root of the issue is. The problem is that I felt I couldn’t break out of it –even though I very well could have. Because in the moment, I could have never admitted to how I felt. How dark the world was. How uncomfortable I was with myself no matter how many shoe boxes I piled into the back of my closet –and I piled a lot. The white patent on pink canvas were my favvv. But I got them in a 5 because that was the only size left knowing damned well I was a 5-and-a-half but I didn’t want to have “big feet” as my friends used to say… But check this: Now I have the hottest heels they can’t fit into cuz my feet are too big 🙂 Suck, eh? How could I have told my friends –light-skinned with long curly hair –that I wanted to look like them because boys liked them more? How could I tell boys that in preferring girls like that they were tearing me down from the inside out? Or even admit that the little white girls outfitted in UGGs, North Face jackets & juicy bags in the fifth grade ate away at me because I knew exactly how much that stuff cost and knew I could never even beg for that kind of stuff for Christmas. How could I explain all that to people? Even more difficult; how could I explain that to myself?
         You’ve got to accept yourself and realize that you are an individual.  And this is who you are. In one of Lauryn’s Unplugged intros, she says something along the lines it makes no sense for us to be alike. How is it that God (if you believe) created each of us as unique individuals, yet we’re expected to fit into a mold? She’s right. That makes no sense. Better yet, that’s stupid. You are you and perhaps you simply haven’t been able to see yourself clearly is all. But you should embrace that which is you. And if the rest of the world doesn’t like it then fuck them. Trust me, there will come  time when your true friends will come to light and you’ll see with clarity that they were sheep in wolves’ clothing. And those who loved you in the beginning will still love you in the end –through the turbulence. 
        And you know who else will be there when you finally start to love yourself? You. Because you know you the best. And as much as you might have done to yourself. All the pain. All the self loathing, you’ll still be here. And it’ll be a beautiful day once you finally see yourself for who you are. There is someone who loves each of us. All you have to do is see what they see.  & If you think no one loves you, well fuck it. Ella loves you.  No bullshit, I promise. I know this sounds corny, but forreal, fuck the world. There was once atime when I felt alone and abandonded but I’m living better now. YSL lipstick now. So I’m not sure how much validity the world actually holds. You’ve got to stop listening to the world and listen to you. That way you are responsible for everything that occurs, whether good or bad. No “Thank Mom” or “Thank God”, no… Thank Me. Life is tough. Tougher than some people know. Tough enough to make me the most religious atheist on the block. I’m religiously on my side. I don’t let anyone put me down or tell me what to do because I have faith in myself. Sometimes, when I asks friends questions I hear their responses and I know why I rarely ask. Sometimes when I’m going through it, I plan to call someone and let all my emotions out but then I realize that I’m here for myself. 
     You can’t rely on people. Not for the good and not for the bad. You don’t need anyone to help you to the top and you can’t help them guide you to your demise. Start loving yourself. Trusting yourself. Believing that you will make the right decision. And if it fucks up in the end, oh well. Try again. Tomorrow is another day. I hope… nowI know, that one day, you’ll get where I am. In a place where you can appreciate and love yourself enough to accept you for you. That day, you’ll realize that everyone else should love you for you, too. And that’s why I’m selfish. That’s why I’m self-absorbed and needy. Because I’ve realized my worth. And if the rest of the world doesn’t see it, then they have some straightening out to do. 
I encourage you to feel the same way. 
Hate it or love it, the underdog’s on top.