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  • Brilliance Jones

A Face Card that Never Declines

I can look at this picture and immediately feel the low vibrations. I was struggling to keep my head above water, emotions intact, and the ghost nausea from a devastating miscarriage a secret while smiling and giving face at every possible moment.

One thing that's probably clear by now is that I've been faking it for years. I am a pro at giving folks the impression that all is well, hell- better than well, even when I'm at my lowest. I can admit now that this had a lot to do with the demise of my relationship. It's easy to name the ways I felt he didn't show up for me, but the whole truth is that I never really let him in to see where he belonged as my partner. I was faltering, cracking, and constantly overburdened by choice. 90% of the time when he asked if I was okay, I lied. My assumption was that even if I wasn't he couldn't or wouldn't help so there was no sense in even addressing my feelings of burnout, disappointment, and neglect. My past traumas were in the diver's seat and heard nowhere fast. I was committed to being underserved, unconsidered, over-responsible, and misunderstood because it's what I'd assumed was just my lifelong penance for being Brilliance.

For the past 6-7 months, I've been working diligently at honesty. Now, don't get me wrong- I still be lying... I'm a libra and therefore I can't help it, lol, but I have made it a point to be honest about how I'm feeling, even when that means revisiting a topic or conversation a few minutes/hours/days later to replace a previous lie with the truth. This practice of vulnerability has given me space to experience the softness I've seen Black women reference in recent IG posts. I've found that when I'm honest about being tired, I don't feel (as) bad for waking up late, and when I'm honest about having chronic pain, I don't feel judged when I backtrack on social plans or cancel a client meeting. When I'm honest about the depth of my present and past grief I don't feel as judged when I go for the second or third glass of wine on the couch watching horror movies back to back, and when I decide to be quiet, not smile or put on lashes, I don't feel like that means I'm letting myself go.

This new practice of transparency is allowing me to slowly but surely release myself from my past decision to take on perpetual disappointment and burden as a casualty of the "Black American Girl Story", and I feel myself accessing my inalienable right to live as a human, inexplicably powerful and yet fragile in nature. Not super, not magic, just stardust wrapped up in brown skin, soft curves, and a pleasant personality.

I am finally becoming free.

I am finally living a life where my word is impeccable.

I am finally showing up as myself, in whatever shape that may be.

...and although I am changing in a multitude of ways, I know I still got a face card that'll never decline.

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