New Beginnings

I just felt like I had to be real because life happens and I sometimes suck at dealing with it, and I love airing my business out anyway. This past year, almost to the date, my life was shifting faster than I could handle. I had just gotten back from Haiti, and that trip honestly left me broken. I was angry at God and confused at what the hell I was doing with my life. I looked for answers in my church community but learned to hide my pain by pouring all I had into the local church. However, my bitterness for the church began to grow, and I isolated myself and felt like I lost all my “church identity” when I stepped back from what I’ve known my whole life.

My family was crazy as any family is, but I didn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with the drama and lashed out more than what I’m proud of. It wasn’t until the panic attacks came that I knew I was in trouble. The long nights, the nightmares, and the chest pain were suddenly part of my life. But that wasn’t my breaking point. Not until a month ago, when I couldn’t pep talk myself out of my sadness, I couldn’t pray away what was plaguing me, and I couldn’t find that Bible passage to flood me with peace; did I finally take my mom’s advice to go see a therapist.

I remember the night before beating myself up because maybe I wasn’t trusting God enough, or I was less of a woman because of my inability to handle emotional stress healthily. BUT surprisingly, therapy has been a Godsend in more ways than one. I’m still a mess, but a mess that is seeking help and can’t lie anymore that I have it all together and that I read my Bible and pray all the time. Cause I don’t. There is a stigma around mental health that makes me scared even to post this, and I’ve gotten some backlash for even admitting that I’m even seeing a therapist. All I can say is Jesus knew I needed a little extra help and therapy will only help me grow into the healthy young woman I’m called to be.

What Are You?

“What are you, anyway?”

My whole life I’ve been told that I should be a white girl or for a black girl I act “too white.” In a way I’ve been conditioned to just laugh it off and ignore people’s ignorance. But recently a question that has caught my attention is “what are you?”

First of all, the question is degrading. I know the person who asked didn’t mean to make it sound rude, but to me it implied that I was somewhat less than because they didn’t know what category to stick me in. My conditioned response was that I was black, but they wouldn’t take that as an answer. They then started peppering me with questions: “No, you aren’t mixed with something?” “How is your hair that way? Black people hair isn’t like that.” “Why do you talk like a white person?”

At this point I found myself shutting down. These people were relentless. I mean children are dying all over the world and your main concern is if I’m black enough to be black. It’s insane. Anyway, I honestly don’t even remember how the conversation ended but I remembered how it began.

What are you, anyway?

What am I? Well, I am a black young woman. My mother is mixed and my father is black, but that doesn’t mean I’m less black than the next black woman. My hair lays a certain way, but that doesn’t mean that my hair is any better than the black woman with supposedly “bad hair.” I speak well and I even have a hint of a country accent, but that doesn’t mean I’m not black because I “talk white.”

Besides all the things I just listed, I am Bayli. No matter what color I happen to by mixed with; I am human. I am a child of the Most High God. I have special gifts and talents that God has blessed me with to bring glory to Him. I am a successful young adult. I have potential to do great things on this earth. I can make decisions, and I’m wise enough to ask when I don’t understand or when I need counsel. I have hopes, dreams, plans, and I know I will fulfill each one of them by God’s grace.

That is what I am. Who I am. What I have been made to be.

I am not the black girl who talks white. I am not to the black girl mixed with some white. I am neither dark-skinned or light-skinned.  I am no better than the girl who’s fully black and I am no less than the girl who is fully white.

So what am I, really?

I am a young woman named Bayli.