do you know who i am?

i work with someone who once stood before a group of veeps and verbalized “if you’re asking who is responsible, i guess that means i’m not doing my job.” this person later stated, “i don’t have good ideas, but i can implement someone else’s” and went on to indicate that project management is not of interest, rather “taking minutes and following up on action items” is the preferred path. earlier this week i was told this person is considered emerging talent.

are you speechless? scratching your scalp bald trying to understand this foolery? i was. still am. i was then told that the focus is on those under 30. more head scratching. i’ve been noodling on this topic for the past two days trying to make sense of it and more than that, trying to get out of my feelings.

you see, it’s easy to fall into the trap of perceived inadequacy when someone next to you is average at best and yet is elevated above you. when you watch white male colleagues promoted into positions they are wholly ill-equipped to hold and they both recognize and acknowledge this fact.  when you see other colleagues underperform and you are instructed to “be patient with him, he’s in a new role he’s never done,” then later a position is custom made for him. these actions, quite common in corporate america, can lead you to question yourself, your value, your worth, even your intelligence. when my mental car heads for that cliff i must burn out my brake pads – full stop – and while sitting there hunched over the wheel tell myself:  there isn’t a damned thing wrong with me. i am greatness personified. my talent shines bright like a diamond and is unparalleled. there is no one who can compare to me because i am one of a kind.

is there another sbf with my signature million dollar smile? who else can rock an afro puff, navy blue menswear inspired loafers, and sit on stage with her company president and coo and respond to the question: how do we create value through partnerships? when i show up, i show out. it matters not if i’m going to work, church, or the grocery store. that, sisters, is the tape that must play when the enemy of our mental image paints any picture other than pure fabulousness.

television, instagram, and facebook are filled with freeze-framed photos of people with perfect bodies, beat faces, fresh manicures, styled locs, and lightning white dentyne smiles. i need go no further than my sofa to see images that will light the fuse of my insecurity. but here’s the deal, if i allow those images to sink into my grey matter, to jockey for position against the pictures i have carefully hung in my mind: me at my size sexier on a book tour, sitting on one of oprah’s leather chairs, standing before crowds of women who support singleblackfemale.me and who have been emboldened to speak their truth, images of young women climbing ladders they built, watching them rise higher and higher knowing i had a part in their ascent because it i have decided it is unacceptable for any sista to fail; when something disturbs those images i painstakingly crafted i must tear them down, crush them, burn them and let the owners know exactly who and what i am. i am a child of the most high GOD, an sbf created in HIS glorious image, i am protected, covered, delivered, and promised.

sisters, we cannot let the falsehoods we see around us tarnish the riches of the silver, platinum and gold precious metals we carry. our dreams are precious. our experiences, personal and professional, are precious.  if no one has told you, let me pass along the message i was given:  you are fearfully and wonderfully made. you were fashioned by the hand of the CREATOR, you are the apple of HIS eye, you have a purpose, a plan, and a future. nothing that is said or done to you can steal any of that.  let that be a song you put on repeat and when a thought, act, or person rings the insecurity bell in your spirit, remind yourself that you are second to none. you have a right to be here, and your time to shine is right now.

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