I love me some Tara-Nicholle Nelson if for no other reason than she can tell a story. She is also the queen of transformation. I’ve signed up for her writing challenges on more than one occasion, and on more than one time I didn’t follow through. In my recent attempt to get my writing mojo going I looked up the first writing prompt for one of her 10-day challenges, and it was the Game Name. It’s based on the Game of Thrones, which I’ve never watched and, and how she keeps adding to her name. Well, with this challenge I was supposed to name who am I’m now. I was stumped.
I couldn’t figure out how to name myself. I know it sounds weird, but I’m in the midst of figuring myself out in a whole new way. For so many years I’ve been uncomfortable with who I am even though I like who I am. Crazier I know. Let me try to explain. I have a loud laugh when I find something funny. I love to laugh, but I don’t want to draw attention to myself. I have a loud voice when I talk, but again I don’t want to draw attention to myself. Now while I have no problem with these qualities in others, I have a problem with them for myself.
I’ve never been one to want to be the center of attention but stepping out on my own brand, now I have to be. I have to expand that comfort to let others take a closer look at who I am and who I’m becoming. For so long I named myself by my physical attributes I ignored everything else. I was the girl tall girl with the big nose, big feet and knock knees. The names I was called as a child were the names I held on to for way too long.
Years have passed, and I’m comfortable with my height that short folks continuously ask for. My knees haven’t straightened over the years, I’ve learned to be grateful that I have legs to walk. Cute slingback shoes by J. Renee in size 12 help me get over the big feet thang, I learned to be comfortable with all those things which took away the old names. I never seemed to replace them with new ones that were positive and meaningful.
I’ve been writing most of my life yet I’m reluctant to call myself a writer. Why, because I’m not yet successful at it? Is it because I have no formal training? If no one likes my writing, then they can’t say I said I was a writer. I hesitate to call myself a motivational speaker yet I go to various high schools in Los Angeles County trying to motivate this coming generation to chase something more than money, stop comparing their lives to others, stop weighing themselves down with the negative labels people try to put on them.
I’m afraid to name myself because I’m afraid I might not live up to the name. Knowing I’m a wife does not mean it’s obvious I’m a good wife. Being a mother doesn’t mean it’s obvious I’m a good mother. Trying to name yourself after 53 years is gonna take more than running off the list of wife, mother, daughter, sister, etc.
I think another layer to the madness is naming myself in a digital world. Trying to get recognized in the era of social media at 53 is a tough row to hoe. Most folks under 35 won’t even know what hoeing a row means. In a world a youtube stars and social media influencers if I’m not ballin’ out of control or shouting my political views across the moor then it seems my name has no value.
It just occurred to me, I'm still carrying the old weight of how others saw me. For years I worked in an administrative capacity. Even after I returned to school to get my degree, they never saw me as anything more than an educated secretary. Deep down I think I still see myself that way as well. I negate my successes and shoo them away as if they were nothing on the BS wave of being humble. I can be humble and still be a success. Well DAMN! What an epiphany!