This weekend was long, strange, and very emotional for me.
As a newly published author, who had partnered with a friend to embark on a new professional adventure for the both of us, I found myself in a position of feeling forced to separate my work from my friend and publisher.
I’m a muddle of emotions still. Did I act too quickly? Jump to conclusions?
Did I ask for something perfectly reasonable but that didn’t consider any perspective other than my own?
For much of my adult life, I couldn’t figure out how to answer the question of what was my greatest fear. And yet I carried around with me the anxiety that often comes with being Black in predominantly white spaces.
With time and reflection – and counselling and antidepressants – I realized that my biggest fear was having my voice silenced or stifled. And what I had done for too long in these predominantly white spaces was to stifle myself, thereby inflicting my worst fear upon myself.
When I took up blogging again, when I left jobs that accepted my labor but didn’t want to listen to my voice, and when I wrote this book, I was finding and using my voice.
So when this sensitive situation arose just a few days ago, sitting silent and waiting for the other party to address the issue wasn’t a viable option for me.
Put simply, I couldn’t write about doing the work of unlearning racial bias and then ignore what appeared to be a microaggression from the publisher of my book.
I probably won’t stop second guessing and analyzing the situation for a long time. But neither will I look back on this decision and regret having stayed silent when I saw something that didn’t look or feel right for me.
I couldn’t talk about it and then not be about it.
Doing so would make me a hypocrite and a liar.
Now, I find myself needing to figure out how to rebuild, redistribute, republish my work. And I don’t know what any of that will look like.
It’s scary and new.
This new development isn’t some distant cyber-conflict resulting in some cancel culture casualty.
It’s us. It’s our real lives and the livelihoods we were trying to build together.
And I want my friend and business partner back and our relationship intact. And while that may happen eventually, I don’t think it’s happening soon.
So I have to find another way to keep doing this work.
I hope that my book will continue to remain available, with its message intact and its author reliable, at online retailers and what I hope will become a growing list of independent bookstores.
And I hope that you will keep meeting me here, to embark upon the journey of becoming ever more truthful, more earnest, more vulnerable people, and to continue building more peaceful homes and communities, one piece at a time.
And as Brene reminded us when she announced this weekend that she’s indefinitely pausing her Spotify podcasts, stay awkward, brave, and kind.