I have not blogged in 16 days because I have been truly tired and uninspired. Quite frankly, I have been busy climbing out of a deep hole of perfection that I dug and then dove right in to. It's been an exhausting, yet beautiful process.
I worked incredibly hard to attain the confidence that I have now. I earned every moment of my self-esteem. While it fluctuates from time to time, it has grown in a powerful manner and wins more than it loses. I am proud of me but must continually monitor myself because while I am a great gatekeeper, I am human and life inevitably makes it's way in.
This is normal. This is life. This shouldn't be denied or disguised but from the moment I started my blog, I felt an overwhelming sense of portraying this perfect existence that is completely unrealistic. Not so much in my words, but in my photos. I started scrutinizing every pixel of the pictures. My weave had to have the perfect wave, never revealing the transitioning curls underneath the cap. My makeup had to be on point, with any unsavory blemishes shopped out. Every piece of clothing was painstakingly pressed because that is how it is in real life right? I was chasing a faux goal and it was making me rot from the inside out.
Enter social media.
The Internet's shallow ways sucked me in. I became a sucka for the gram and started comparing my photoshopped images to other photoshopped images. I was fighting fake battles that created real stress. Bit by bit, that confidence that I fought so hard to attain was crumbling and I blindly blogged right through it.
I started praying about it and God really began to show me in little-big ways how silly I had been and presented opportunities to face the fear that I had created.
One, was taking my weave out. Now listen, I am all about changing your hair. Hair really is another way to express your style. If that means adding to it, or taking away from it, please commence. However my weave was not a form off expression, it was a safety blanket. Instead of a compliment, I used it as a form of completion and that had to stop. I was enormously uncomfortable and had literal anxiety attacks but it was something that had to be done. Taking my weave out and rocking my natural curls has stretched me in countless ways and continues to do. While you will see me change my styles up, I can say that I will not depend on one, nor hair in it's entirety, to define me.
I then stopped aggressively photoshopping my photos. I still play with light and clean up the background but for the most part they are raw. The last 5 style posts reflect this ongoing change.
Dating completely transformed. I realized this perfect blog life had spilled over in to my relationships. How can anyone bond with you, when the real you is concealed in unrealistic expectation? While there were many contributing factors, I pinpointed that even my longest relationship wasn't completely authentic. I was so busy trying to be perfect that it was impossible for him to fall in love with me. No more.
And then there was Felicia.
Listen. My Felicia appearance this Halloween was a statement of complete growth. I had no makeup on, my hair was braided up in to 4 very shrunken braids and I was picking Friday wedgies out of my crack all day. That's as raw as you can get. To be honest, it all started because I didn't want to do my hair but it ended up being far more significant for me.
Felicia was my second Halloween costume. My first was a chic interpretation of Prince. I walked in to the Purple Rain party with my makeup, curls and curves poppin. She did that! You couldn't tell me a thing. I felt completely comfortable and powerful.
While I was crafting the jacket for the Prince costume with a friend, I was simultaneously air drying my braid out for the curly doo that would polish off the look. We snapped the scene for another friend and when she brought the phone over to include me in her story, she said BYE FELICIA! It was funny but I was lightweight mortified. How could you compare me to this disheveled character? My friend suggested that I actually rock the costume at work on Monday and my immediate thought was you must be out your mind.
But then, like all of the other little ways, God conveyed that this fear of being Felicia in public was also silly and that I had to conquer it. So, I swiftly went to Goodwill and found the costume in 10 minutes for under $7. I washed it, cut the collar, braided my hair up and BOOM...Felicia was in the house.
The reactions were hilarious. A broad spectrum of who the heck is she supposed to be to that is the best Halloween costume I have ever seen. Walking around the office naked was a great feat but that social media realm was a whole other story. With this one Felicia post I would exterminate the perfect existence that I had crafted for years.
So with anxiety in my chest, I did my best Felicia impression, captured the photos and posted them. For all intents and purposes, I was frolicking nude in a field of followers.
And guess what. It got WAY more response than the Prince costume. People recognize real and they respect it. That was the realist Alicia they ever known. Applause.
It all comes down to this: The Alicia on the left is the same Alicia on the right. You must rock with both to be truly authentic. Both portraits are beautiful together and beautiful apart. Neither of them are perfect and it's impossible for them to be. Every unique aspect is an imperfectly picked accumulation of the real you that should never be suppressed out of necessity.
Those are commanding, true words that I am on a mission to live by. I won't be this strong every day, but with every fear I overcome I get closer to living in my purpose and being the person that God created me to be. The person that God built to be loved in her entirety. The woman that won't let perfectionism block her from her blessings.
You will certainly see pretty photos adorned with variations of hair and makeup on this blog but the most beautiful thing is, there will be absolutely nothing perfect about them.
Say hi to Felicia and all of her gorgeous imperfections. She's here for it. She's here for it all.