I used to be brave.

In my youth, I was fearless. I was also very loud and somewhat confrontational, but that was merely a defense mechanism born out of the hurt and trauma people inflicted upon me. But as broken as I was, I was brave.

When I left Chicago and moved to New York City, I was an #ArmyOfOne. My parents were dead. I have no siblings. It was just me. My dearest friends were just a phone call or email away. Internally, I was dying in Chicago. Through all my success, I felt the loss of my parents daily. It weighed on me for years. I couldn’t find a reason to stay and I wanted to escape the hurt. I braved the unknown for a chance to feel free.

I was brave.

There have been so many points in my life that I have felt fleeting freedom. See as a Black American, you are never ever free of racism, colorism, and anti-Blackness. However, there are moments in life that you can create the bubble of safety for yourself. And so I was brave enough to try. I was brave enough to see the world and have a second youth, even though the world didn’t want me to have that joy and happiness as a Black woman.

I was brave enough to love. Over and over again. I’m not good at that and even when I find someone special I seem to fuck it up or they fuck over me. … But I was brave enough to try love.

I was born brave.

I was brave in my youth.

I am brave in this phase of life where wisdom and empirical experience says to try, but self preservation keeps me somewhat safe.

Be brave.