I was always the brain before the beauty. My beauty never made me feel beautiful. It was only superficial: light skin and long hair. I knew there were so many who would kill for the privilege I had going for me. But still, it made no difference. I always wanted to first be seen, to be known as human, as feminine. I was only ever an idea to those around me. No one really getting to know me, the girl, Anissa. No one knowing that the brain was gifted to me. A gift it took too long to learn to appreciate. Those who saw the beauty, the girl, rarely ever got to know Anissa. It wasn’t until college I learned to let go of these holds. I decided to define my beauty and my womanhood.

I have been charged to think about the existence of a woman. What does it look like for a woman to find herself? There is this air of misconception that a woman is already whole. Equipped to handle all that men and society put on her. That women were created to fix, nurture, build, and support a broken boy into a man.  All while juggling personal and professional. A woman’s happiness is the happiness of her man/children.

Somehow, that’s how it’s supposed to be. What about the inside of the woman screaming: my brokenness, my healing, my emotions, my journey to me! I found myself feeling inadequate because boys didn’t want me the way they wanted other girls. It was first copy the math homework, write a paper, then slowly progressing into a secret desire. As the middle school days transitioned to high school, there was shift to the days of “cool guys” being interested. It was too late, I knew all too well how shallow people were. It was solidified at this time of my life.

But I still fell. I gave into the peer pressure, to the scam of being wanted. I allowed myself to be used. I allowed myself to be lied to. I allowed myself to be the second option. I allowed myself to be caught up and whisked away in an artificial reality. I started to believe that everything would either be temporary or I would have to accept what was given to me.

There never seemed to be a case where are the men were patiently and faithfully waiting on a woman to find herself. Why can’t he be whole while I am half? Where are the men who can bounce back from cheating? Where are the men forgiving a woman bringing a baby into the middle of the relationship? Where are the “just one more chance” chances for the women? Why are these scenarios rare for men but routine for a woman?

When and why have women fallen into whatever role society has placed her in? Whether it be beneath or beside a man, why can she not be her independently? Why can she not be her authentically? Regardless if men or society will ever change, I have found in my self-discovery, it all starts with you. Coming to terms with what you look like. Coming to terms with whatever type of woman you want to be (from the Lisa Bonet’s and Erykah Badu’s to the Kim K’s). Come to terms with your passions. Step into your purpose. No longer be pressured to fit into place. No longer stifle self-expression for the comfort of others.

Instead, offer you: past, present, and future. The past to remind and remain understanding of the lessons learned. The present, to prepare the foundation for the future. Sowing the seeds to start up the roots to the riches of life. To the future…I’ll let your mind write those words for you.

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