Another moment of thinking out loud.
The narrative I was raised with…told me, that to matter in the world, I needed things and beauty…a college degree, a resume with important positions on it, a sexy body, a pretty face and money.
Plain and simple.
Last night I was on a panel at a Leadership Charlotte event. I shared with a room full of people that I needed to feel safe to ask questions, to express my fears…when having these tough conversations on race. I honored a couple of close friends in the room who had patiently walked me through that process many times.
Joe, a member of the audience…asked me point blank, “Why do you need to feel safe?”
I thought about it for a minute.
I wanted to give an honest answer.
“Because I am afraid you will reject me. You will not love me.”
I’m not gonna lie. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about his question. Our encounter left me shaken…emotionally thin…feeling vulnerable in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time.
On the surface, it would appear that talking about race and religion and politics should be an easy ask of us.
I’m learning though…that it’s the murmurs underneath that provide the real barriers.
For folks raised with the same narrative as me…these conversations strip away the things I was told gave me my worth and get to the heart of the matter…Why do I matter really? If not my things…then why?
That moment I humanize MYSELF…recognize, see and truly know that I matter, not because of the things I’ve acquired, the titles on my resume, and the car I drive, but because I exist…is the moment I realize you matter too…that you matter because you exist.
But letting go of that stuff…that baggage…that mindset is scary. It requires a complete shift in perspectives on power and worth…both at the individual level and at the societal one.
I’m wondering as I write this morning…if what we have happening in the world is a massive awakening to The Truth.