To be True to yourself is the highest form of self-love – Hannah L Drake
I am a naturally private person. I would consider myself an introvert. Many people do not know this about me because of the nature of my work. I am often seen with a microphone in hand, under a spotlight speaking truth to power. But writing is a singular and lonely profession. I spend many nights, similar to this night, alone in my bedroom, typing, researching, reading, and typing some more, trying to speak truth to injustice in the world.
A few years ago, my poem Formation went viral. I never imagined in a million years that anything I wrote would reach the masses, but it did, and I was overjoyed. I had been writing for over 20 years, and just like that, God took me from obscurity to fame. Messages poured in from all over the world. God did exactly what God promised to do and what I prayed for and enlarged my territory.
While many people would embrace this newfound fame, I met it with apprehension as I discovered people that I did not know were scouring through my social media, commenting on things I had posted years ago. I immediately understood this was my new life. People that I had never met wanted to know me, experience me, be in contact with me. This was a unique experience for me. In my mind, I was just Hannah. Hannah, with a lot to say.
I had served years as an administrative assistant to someone who had the spotlight on them. I welcomed the back, the shadows. I even wrote a novel called Views from the Back Pew, The Back Pew being significant because it was where I always sat- hidden, obscured, in the cut. I remember once this woman came up to me as I was sitting on the back pew, and she asked, “Are you, Hannah?” And I said, “Yes, I am. How did you know I was Hannah?” She said, “I was looking for you, and someone told me she has braids, and she is always sitting on the back pew.”
My brand was being made. I was the woman that loved to be hidden.
But true to form when you have a purpose in life, somethings can no longer be hidden. And I knew my destiny and where God was taking me could no longer be hidden. And I left my job.
Then Formation happened, and the spotlight was on my life.
People were digging, searching, looking. But I was just me. Hannah. Quiet…Secluded…Private. I was quiet outwardly, but inwardly I KNEW, I had something to say. And my art started to change. My voice began to change. I wrote, and people listened. Finally, I was heard.
I used my voice to amplify issues impacting Black people. However, I would see issues that impacted LGBTQ people and thought, “Hannah, you should say something.” I didn’t. I was silent. Someone else would be the voice, and I would amplify them. I didn’t have to be the person.
And it gnawed at me. It bothered me. Hannah, you are lying to yourself.
And I was.
I called my mom, and mom knows her child, and she told me one thing, “To thine own self be true.”
BE TRUE TO ME! Please don’t lie to yourself, Hannah, because the worst kind of liar is someone that lies to themselves. And finally, I was in this space as Hannah on my own terms. Hannah that wanted to be the Hannah she wanted to be. The Hannah she should have ALWAYS been but didn’t understand or hid it. I was finally able to be Hannah with no permission needed.
I was done hiding. Done pretending. But still, I was silent. Until I asked myself is your silence for privacy, or is your silence to hide?
I knew the answer.
I was being silent because of fear. But I am fully grown and ready to live my life, fully as me. Truth be told, if I had this freedom years ago, my entire life would have been different.
I write this blog today as a Black woman that identifies as a lesbian.
I write this blog today as someone that is part of the LGBTQ community.
I write this as a woman willing to stand in her truth, not knowing the fallout of speaking her truth but ready to deal with speaking her truth.
I write this as a woman, a Black woman, ready to live and ready to love.
TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE!
Categories: Thoughts, Musings and Reflections