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All Hands On Deck

Natasha Nicholes

My brain works in a way that seems chaotic for many people.

I can have all of these ideas and plans and pull them off in a way that seems effortless.

Except it’s not.

It’s often lonely, and frustrating, and tiring.

Natasha Nicholes

My bougie Black girl persona though? That’s who I am inside and out. Expecting a certain level of behavior from those who say that they love and appreciate me. As a kid, I was very forward with things I was thinking. I got in trouble a lot. Imagine that. I was labeled too smart for my own good, too hard to keep up with, and “fire” by a relative of my husband.

It takes a lot to consume what people think of you and continue to keep moving forward. Knowing that you are blessed by the best, and a force within your own right, but aware that you’re not welcome or appreciated in the circles you often find yourself in.

Not appreciated until you’re needed. Your brand of personality and loyalty only used when the big guns need to be brought out.

Natasha Nicholes

But there are days, oh there are days where your journey is very lonely, so you do things like schedule a photoshoot for headshots and product shots to keep your mind busy. On the surface it looks like you’re planning ahead, like an entrepreneur is supposed to do. However, you’re looking for every excuse to erase the memory of the last professional headshots you took because those are the ones your brother helped you pick out and your brain can’t deal with seeing them one more day.

Happy and sad go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Vanity and humility as well. I can look at this picture and KNOW that as a descendent of greatness, I look AMAZING and still to this day realize that I need so much help to feel the way that I look.

Did I need a pro photo to share this with you all? Nope, but you stopped and looked, didn’t you?

I’m saying now – I need your help. I am struggling daily to show up and this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Show up for me. Willingly get up daily and choose me to fight for.

I don’t feel like the strong Natasha from many moons ago. Facing uncertainty with grit and determination. Every single day, I feel like I’m fighting for everyone else. My community, my family, my friends. Not me. I fill days with writing cute little notes to the people I love. Scheduling social media for a job that’s pretty amazing, and taking photos as I flit about to and fro until my body tells me that it’s okay to shut down for the night.

I share boundaries and rules. I whip out witty comebacks to folks on social media, yet I go to bed feeling so alone because of trauma. I’m jealous of people who can have loved ones die and honestly be okay because they realize that with life comes death. I’m genuinely jealous of that characteristic. But the deaths of my loved ones seemed to give me no reprieve. My Granny Blackburn when she was 64, my sister when she was 18, my pastor, my uncle who was murdered, my grandfather (which didn’t hurt as I expected, but still), my other grandfather, my other uncle who died at the hands of a drunk driver, my baby brother when he was 32. I don’t deal well with death, and through talks with my therapist, I’ve come to realize that I have PTSD – and I don’t want it.

What a statement to make, huh? I have PTSD and I don’t want it.

I worry whenever anyone gets in a car. I worry about traveling together as a family and dying together and causing grief to the loved ones I leave behind. I worry CONSTANTLY about my oldest child being away at school and my husband any time he has to leave the house for an extended amount of time. I worry about my dad, my last sibling. I worry and worry and no matter how much I pray or talk out my feelings the worry doesn’t go away.

So you all get the Natasha above. The one who ties her fears and worries into a bag for the day and ventures out into the public to do whatever she has to do to survive. The one who hides her disappointment when friends fall through on phone calls which she treasures or attempt to get her to gloss over the intense feelings of loss of siblings and a future with them because it makes them too uncomfortable.

And even though this unloading of words and emotions in blog format, she’ll continue to show up, because not only is she still a fighter, she’s stubborn as all get out. She’s just tired and needs all hands on deck to make it through.

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