U.O.E.N.O: Southern slang-styled onomatopoeia for “You Don’t Even Know” (in case you don’t dig trap music).
I meet a lot of women through the work I do. Oftentimes, women who become part of my world—either through my online articles or my events—comment about how rich my personal relationships seem to be; and (at the risk of sounding all showoff-y) they are right.
I am so very privileged to have several healthy personal relationships. I’ve got longtime friends who love me hard, and let me love them no matter what. And my big, fat, Jamaican family has my entire heart. Several of my love-loves are part of weekly rounds of Whatsapp chats, FaceTime meet-ups, in-person chilling, and sometimes, emergency phone calls to snot-cry together and vent about our beliefs, our baggage, our babies, our bodies, and our businesses.
I know I need women. And they need me. Because we get each other, and when we’re real in our connections, we help each other thrive. Unfortunately, so many women don’t have thrive teams like I do. They might be able to squad up to hang out, or drink wine, or see Maxwell in concert (Yussss!).
But when it comes to vulnerability, honesty, accountability, and real connection, many women sit at home and pray for that. Or they pay for that when they invest time and money in healer-types and truth-slingers like me.
Today though, through protest, self-expression, perseverance, and perhaps prayer, there is more space for more women to be themselves more fully. As coaches, my Radical Selfie sisters and I embrace a sense of responsibility for nurturing that necessary shift. We want women to benefit from both squad and circles, so we created that space and named it Radical Self-Expression Sessions.
Personally, I’m doing this because I want other women to experience the levels of community listening and small group strategizing that I’ve been benefitting from all my life. And this post is my way of risking expression by showing more of my Me-ness to you in circle (not squad) style.
So….*drumrollllllllll*… to officially bust the doors of these communities wide open, I’m sharing five things about myself that I’ve never addressed in detail online. I had to dig deep, because I…um…okay, lemme stop stalling…
5 Things UOENO About Me
1. When I get upset, I stay upset for ridiculous amounts of time.
When I cross over from annoyed or offended to full on upset, it can take days (like 4 or 5, son!) before I can reach my un-upset self. It’s scary, actually. It’s like I separate from myself and spend days trying to find That Me who knows how to move on. Even when I want to move on, I feel I don’t have access to the pearly gates of Move-on-dom. Thankfully, it takes a lot for me to get upset. Annoyed? Easily. Offended? Sure. But upset takes big stuff, and it usually has be with someone I care about a lot. Jane Schmain can’t really roll up and piss me off, because who gives a shit about Jane Shmain? But my family? Or my circles? Or my man? Dude…!
2. I speak a second language called Profanity.
I reject the term “curse words” wholeheartedly. The privilege of being able to utter sounds that beautifully convey my exact emotion is a blessing, not a curse! Certainly, there are environments were some words and actions aren’t a good fit, but that has nothing to do with my right (and responsibility) to choose how to use my throat and my mouth to express what I want to convey. I use a lot of profanity; like, a fuck-ton. So much so that my daughters are probably desensitized to it by now. Miraculously, they don’t walk around hurling profanity at the world or each other; they know what it’s for, and they know their mama. I refuse to mute myself or choose words that fit into other people’s ideas of rightedness or politeness. If I followed that train down the tracks, I’d still have a perm in my head, stockings on my legs, a “respectable” profession, and well-schooled children. None of those options feel like the real me, so I skip them altogether, because fuck that shit! (It even feels good to write profanity!)
3. Jesus is not my father.
I know this one is gonna be tough for some to digest, but I’m pretty firm on it. I was raised a Christian, I have many Christians in my family and social circles whom I love and respect, but for me, religion isn’t a viable option. God and I communicate directly; no intermediaries, soul-savers, or holy textbooks necessary. Curious about my rationale? I wrote a bit about my non-Jesus-ing here. I’m open to discussing it too, just be sure to see items 1 and 2 (above) before approaching me.
4. I seriously considered being a stripper.
After second semester of college, I got a job. And I kept one, plus internships, and a full course load throughout my four year matriculation. I had to work to pay rent and buy food. My mom had two sons at home to care for, and I had passed up a full scholarship to a state university to go to my dream school, Clark Atlanta University (Go, Panthers!). I don’t regret one second of my time at CAU; I was nurtured, challenged, and spiritually fed far beyond my expectations. And I thoroughly enjoyed Atlanta when it was my home base. But working my way through school was hard. So hard that when I found out freshman year that some dancers made $2500 a night, I put some serious thought into headin’ to da Pyramid to stack some dough. I even looked into rural towns where I’d be far away from folks I saw every day, but close enough to drive to work three or so nights per week. Ultimately, I decided against it because no one could guarantee me that I’d be that off-limits dancer in a cage high up in the ceiling, instead of the one having to booty-pop on drunk dudes in the champagne room. I was trying to get in the door with several stipulations, and clearly, there were far too many stipulationless (new word!) girls out there for club manager to even entertain my wannabe stripper ass. Alas, I settled for call center gigs and freelance everything instead. Whew!
5. I’ve got mad emotional shrapnel from past failures.
Sometimes (fine–oftentimes!) it crosses my mind that my life’s purpose is to remind the world that savvy, smart, ambitious people can still fail at everything, all the time, and not die. I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost a decade, and I don’t consider myself successful. The way I see it, just about every aspect of my life unrelated to business is flourishing. I’m happy. And loved. And wildly in love. And I’m close with my family. I have the type of friends that make me wish I knew them my whole life. But when it comes to my business, I feel like I reach the world and her mama right at the core of their souls, but I can’t meet my goddamn simple goal of consistently netting $4000 per month from writing gigs! I’ve even envisioned people talking about me when I die (of old age!) saying: She never did quite get there, but she was brilliant at trying. And at sharing what she learned. And her writing was decent too. Real talk, I believe that I was born to bring my family to a particular level of financial success. And that my personal blessings are meant to shelter me while I build that financial legacy. But sometimes I fear I’m gonna fuck that up, and just be hella famous, but not hella wealthy.
Okay, whew—I need a glass of white wine and a Vybz Kartel CD to combat the shakes I got from writing this out. Thanks for being here for this!
Did anything surprise you? And are you willing to sit in circles with other women who want to hold sacred space to either get vulnerable or be there for other women while they do?
Let’s talk about spirituality.
Let’s talk about relationship healing.
Let’s talk about fitness, food, and bodies.
Or, let’s talk about writing a bio that’s more aligned with the realest, truest, you…
Head over to radicalselfie.com/community for details and sign-up links.
Let’s risk expression together!