On Voice and Dissonance

Can you trust what you see in your mirror?

Yesterday, I was prompted to reflect deeper on Who Hana Is and Why she does what she does - from the most unexpected source. I had sought the assistance of a personal branding consultant with the intention of executing on goals I have set for 2021. Maybe I knew that personal branding delves beyond beautiful selfies and orchestrated photo shoots but that knowledge was superficial. 

Within five minutes of the virtual meeting, there was a disturbance in the atmosphere of my heart. The swelling in my chest gave way to emotions welled up for:

1) the chronically homesick twenty-something African girl who was forced to work as an au pair for a single boss lady mom of a precocious five year old in Englewood, NJ;

2) the thirty-something year old wife, mother and (finally) college graduate whose dreams were still on hold;

3) the forty-something year old pre menopausal with emotions hovering a few centimeters above or below reality; who took a year off the 9-5 job to found a non-profit whose mission was to liaise between creatives in America and Africa - an arm of the art gallery I grew up in, a project abandoned and doomed for lack of cooperation from a key family member.

4) the fifty-something year old with newfound grit and determination after a spiritual awakening and the securing of mental and physical health.

Today, this blog post marks the beginning of my process of peeling away the perceptions that each decade with its realities (aka life's wear and tear) my brain has reconstructed about me.  Limiting beliefs, self criticism, self disbelief, all of it.  The breaking down of the lies I have allowed to permeate and get me to this point of Dissonance (the unresolved conflicted ideas about myself, etc.) 

There are some pain points and so I will take it one step at a time.  There are also lots and lots of celebrations and wonderful milestones to share. 

But I will slowly unpack the incarcerated dreams.  For for twenty years I lived the life of an immigrant under the radar, my Voice subsumed by survival mechanisms.  

A simple example: not leaving a job because you did not want to go through the rigmarole of explanations of how you first landed in New York City on the hottest day of July in 1985 on the worst visa. Thus, making-do with uninspiring work and falling into the comfort of it. 

My story is not unique but I will go tell it on the mountain. I am giving myself permission.

aka Mama Shujaa (did you know that means "Mother Courage" in Kiswahili? I named my blog that because I wanted courage to consume me.)


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