Updated: Nov 21, 2020
This past week I had a life changing experience. It was the kind of experience that some would explain as an “ah-ha” moment but for me, it went much deeper than that.
If you read my first blog post, you learned a lot about my childhood and how it has shaped my perspective. I shared how a traumatic incident involving my mother being taken away right before my eyes still pains me to this day. Towards the end, you also witnessed an intimate moment of liberation, as I embraced what I refer to as “black privilege” and stepped into a newfound confidence as a black woman.
Confidence. For the sake of this blog, I took a moment to research some of the most common definitions and this is what I came up with.
noun. the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
noun. the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
noun. a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.
As I read, each definition felt very familiar. I’m sure I’ve felt each form of confidence as it’s defined above however, I’m not sure if I could honestly say that my sense of confidence over the years has been pleasant or even healthy for that matter. I’ll explain.
From as far back as I can remember, I’ve had to fight. I’ve had to fight my family! I had to fight my friends! I’ve had to fight for my position! [I pause this post to observe appreciation for one of THE best movies ever made! If you don’t know it, google it.]
Before you all begin sending me referrals to therapy or anger management let me add that I’m not a hands-on fighter. I’ve never been the type of person to physically fight other people. In fact, it truly does something to my soul to see violence. Most times I shut down however, for the right reason (my husband, my children and my family) I can get a little rowdy.
But neither here nor there, I don’t condone physical violence. What I’ve learned about myself is that I’m an emotional fighter. I often filter my perception of people and situations by how they make me feel. My response or reaction mirrors that feeling and more times than not it manifests itself in the form of defensive confidence which is often loud and proud at the wrong time and in the worst moments.
My confidence has been on defense for years and your girl is “tied”! I’ve lost friends, bruised relationships and prolonged opportunities that could have likely launched me into the right rooms far sooner than now. A lot of times, my intentions are blurred by my delivery and doing the work to unpack my actual message is exhausting to say the least. During my “ah-ha” moment this past weekend, the question that I had to ask myself was “April, girl why are you like this?”
That question sent me on a trip down memory lane. I thought back to my childhood, being the youngest girl of three and the middle child of five. I had a point to prove. I thought back to growing up in a rural town with heavy roots in segregation where during high school it was “cool” to be a black guy who dated the white/light-skinned girl. I had a point to prove. Ten years ago I graduated high school as the Student Body President 6mths pregnant. I gave up my plans to move to the city to go to college on a full ride scholarship to instead realign my daughter’s future. Listen, I damn sure had a point to prove!
I would go on to fight my way through the political ranks of the workforce using every bit of skill, experience, wisdom and favor that I had to help reach those glass ceilings that I’d always dreamt of smashing. Oftentimes, I was the only female on a team of all males and this certainly did NOT help my defensive confidence at. all.
In every aspect of my life, I felt that there was something that I had to prove, that my voice had to be heard and that I had to be seen! This was hardly about the “other person”. Oh, this was very personal. It had everything to do with me overcompensating for the times when I was overlooked and underestimated by someone. The crazy part of it all is that sometimes that “someone” was me.
I’ve been on a mission to draw deeper into myself, marriage, children and friendships and in doing so, I’m gaining such self awareness which I think is a virtue. Aristotle said it best, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” and chiiillle listen! Truer words have never been spoken. I’m learning my authority, my safe space, my center. I better understand both my triggers and my diffusers. I give myself permission to calm the hell down and just relax.
I’m coming to know what healthy confidence looks, feels and sounds like for me and that is the key! I used to jump from one end of the spectrum to the other, from being overly defensive to not defensive enough. What I know now is that my heart is not my friend, lol! She will have me out in these streets looking a hot mess. My mind is a little more reliable but takes more time to analyze a situation. For example, I instantly know how I feel about something/someone but it usually takes my brain some buffering time to think logically through a situation, consider my feelings and then respond appropriately, lol!
In short, if you’re like me and you’ve been living life on defense, friend… let’s not. Relieve yourself from that rollercoaster of a lifestyle and consider a different approach. This does not necessarily mean that you let your guard down. It simply means that you choose to maintain control of yourself and or the situation opposed to using aggressive force to accomplish your goal. I know the struggle of deciphering between the two which is one of the main reasons for the Modern Mom Fix Blog.
Through sharing my life experiences, good, bad or indifferent, I will absolutely help you FIX ( Fuel Innovate and eXecute) all areas of your life. That statement comes across pretty strong but if there’s anything that I’m going to put my “defensive confidence” in, it’s helping you build a lifestyle that is suitable for you and your family to truly thrive.
Thank you for reading my post! Be sure to go back and read my first post “Black Girl, White Privilege” and subscribe below. Remember to fight for all of the right reasons!
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