To Be Continued...

I don't do much. 

Read for a few hours today. This book called "Intimacy with God" that I found at the free book drop-off on Broadway last Sunday. Curated my closet. Prepared 4 bags of vintage clothes to sell at the Hunting Ground on Falls. I need that money now more than ever. Then took Tay for a walk to Urban to return a jacket I bought a month ago and still haven't worn - clearly don't need it - got a nice store credit to use when their Spring/Summer line drops. 
Now, I'm in Barnes and Noble. Picked up my fav mags and Zadie Smith's "Swing Time"... It's just me and the books for the rest of the night. Who am I kidding? It's always just me and the books every night!

I didn't go to the women's march in DC today because I don't like being in big crowds. The last march I went to was for Trayvon. We protested from 14th to 42nd. That was fulfilling but I don't know, for whatever reason, it just wasn't in my heart to be there today. "Avoiding the crowd" is a scapegoat. To be honest, I'm still in my solace-silo and these books I've been reading aren't giving me the push to get out of this place of transcendental peace that I've wandered into at all.  

In that intimacy book I read this morning, it said, "Jesus said to clean the inside of the cup before you clean the outside." Im not a Christian anymore but the words of Christ still resonate with me. Initially, I took a sabbatical from social media to cure my madness - which was brought on by the self-inflicted pressure to publicize my craft (that I felt was deteriorating into a means of branding myself instead of building the consciousness of my peers) consistently enough to perpetuate an instrinsic motivation among my "followers" to get active in the struggle, from an informed stance. 

I was known for posting content that encourages others to self-educate themselves, so that we will be fully equipped in the face of our oppressor, but in my personal life, I felt far from effective in my ability to accomplish such. The classroom videos made my job look great! I was inspiring many young people to get into the classroom and impact at least one child but in real life, when the cameras were off, I was losing every battle against those that were upholding systematic and structural racism. It was breaking me down so much that I lost my creativity, my clarity, and my sense of purpose. Or maybe I was victorious by definition of my ancestors; for them, standing and speaking their truths was a death wish. But in the moment of my despair and anguish, I felt nothing but loss - loss in my confidence to teach my babies, to lead them out of the chains that have kept us disenfranchised, and to be a model of service. I was no model. I was tired and weak and quick to respond, rather than strategic. It's funny, my opponents labeled me explosive but in actuality, their blows left my fuse burnt out. They muted my voice, silenced my weapon, and enabled my strength, leaving me confused as to who or what I was even fighting for? Those answers weren't on my Instagram feed or my Twitter timeline. So, I had to leave the world. It was impulsive but what else was I supposed to do? Fake it? No way. 

Off IG, FB, and Twitter, I was out of everyone else's heads - which I would enter every time I sat down to choose the posts that would get the most "likes" from them ... I have fasted from social media before but this time was not like any other break from the silent noise that echoes from my phone screen through my eyes to my ears. I truly was not expecting the level of anxiety I felt when I had no choice but to live in my own mind... 

Sh't was scary.... I would think about my social media more than anything else. Questioning, should I go back today? Should I post this book or that video clip? It took me about a month and a half to finally tell myself to stop thinking about it. To live with the decision that I was off of it and not to return until I knew it was time. I had to get comfy with answering people who would ask, "When are you coming back online?" with, "I really don't know, yet." I hated not knowing. Not having a comeback plan. But the sabbatical wasn't a branding measure - on some Beyonc√©-log off for weeks-then return with Lemonade. It was a real time of self-exploration, during the most difficult period of my life. 

So many essays were written, so many words that I still don't know if I should share. Anger, mostly, about what was done to me. What was done to us...

But at this point, I ask myself, am I addicted to self-care? If I am always in healing, will I ever actually be healed? 

I'm about to get kicked out of Barnes and Noble...


  1. "Off IG, FB, and Twitter, I was out of everyone else's heads"... False. I've been visiting your blog daily. Waiting for the next post because your words have been a part of my own healing. It's funny you mention the need to brand yourself left you overwhelmed, because I thought of you in this very context the other day. How is it that people with less life experience, less education, less substantive words to say- feel so confident packaging their thoughts and ideas together for public consumption? Meanwhile those who are too humble, and in a sense, too genuine to feed into the self-promoting digital age we live in, force themselves into silence... Aren't these the very voices we need to hear?

    I found your blog this past October during a period of unemployment. A time where I sunk into another episode of depression. One where I was forced to face the wounds left over from growing up with a mentally ill and abusive mother. Your words led me to try to mend the relationship. Was it successful? No. But in the midst of her excuses, she managed to reveal a lot more than I expected... Abuse passed on from generation to generation. Mental illness, depression, schizophrenia. Regrets, anxiety, fear.

    I say all this to say that- stories like yours need to be told. While many, including myself, love watching the tortured artist from afar, I had to respond. I hope that one day you publish your words- whether it be a collection of poetry, a memoir or a self-help book of your own. Your words are needed and I would imagine, that there may be others who begin to feel guilty getting free healing from your ability to be so transparent about life's despair. I admire your ability to self-reflect and make sense of depression, but I'll tell you what my therapist once told me told me... Live life gently. Valencia, you deserve it.

  2. Valencia, your words. If I could draw a heart with a light shining through, this is what I would do.

  3. I am a researcher and educator. I just found your blog and it has impressed me and motivated me to push my own work further. You are a gem. The impact of your work is not always apparent right away, especially since youre in the thick of it on the daily. Trust me, you are changing the lives of your students in ways that you aren't even aware of it.

  4. Love reading your post and can relate to a lot of your perspectives from being young single n Christianity as well as the effects of social media. Thank you for sharing!


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