“I’m so elevated, thank God that we made it
Manifested every dream and answered all my prayers
Every day, I, stay high
Say hi to my haters on my way up
Ain't no way that you could ever get me down
We ain't the same, I'm movin' different now
I'm in the midst of an ascension now
Lifted and I'm driftin' on a cloud” (Lyrics from Down Again by Jhene Aiko)
In continuing to build off the foundation of self-reflection and the main self-reflection question of this month’s blog: What does Being Black mean to you?, we realize that being Black is not a monolith, yet Being Black comes with this common, underlying experience of struggle, of trauma, whether it be mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, relationally, physically, psychologically, and/or sexually.
Presently, we still very much carry the wounds of our ancestors and we still carry the experiences that are deeply rooted in the systems we call home or work, like sports, teams, and dynamics between team owners and administration and Black coaches and athletes.
Those experiences of trauma regardless of how loud or quiet the trauma is or was, regardless if the trauma was acknowledged and forgiven or swept under the rug, regardless if the trauma was normalized, the trauma is still present. There’s something about traumatic experiences and how they have embedded within them the complexities of loss and growth.
For at times, we rise and we elevate in accomplishing goals because of the fuel of the pain of our ancestors, previous generations, and those who have passed the torch of changing the trajectory of our family lineage to us. The opportunities to excel are abundant, yet they require a sense of disruption, a breakup with familiar, a shift in mentality, and a desire for healthy.
As the torch was passed to us to change and impact past, present, and future generations, we can also be tasked with managing guilt, impostor syndrome, self-doubt, worry and fear that sometimes comes attached with succeeding and excelling.
We can celebrate that we can move different to obtain goals and create a different life for ourselves and others and also grieve the familiarity and predictability that comes with the comfort of chaos and struggle and escape mechanisms that we became accustomed to.
Both celebration and grief can exist at the same time;
Create space for both cause if not, one can become a hindrance to the flow of the other.
The other side of excelling is releasing grief attached to old versions of you, old triggers, old mindsets, and old unhealthy habits. May that grief fuel you to attach yourself securely to the new version of you, new mindsets, new healthy habits, and new ways of managing triggers.
What does excelling mean to you?
Is it your present reality, and if not, what small change can you make to get on the right track to be Black and Excelling?
Written by Kheri A. Corbin,
For those who are creating space for excelling unapologetically,
For Those Black Athletes
The Ones Who Genuinely Love them