If you haven’t seen Girls Trip yet, I’m not really sure where you’ve been or what your life’s been about for the past month. GO SEE IT.
I have to admit: when I was at Essencefest and the cast was there promoting the movie, I did do a heavy sigh. Another movie promotion. Another black movie being pushed. However, after leaving the movie theatre, I realized that Girls Trip had nothing to do with race, for me. It had everything to do with loving who you are, accepting who you are, and wishing you could be more of the person you were before others told you who you are.
Ryan Pierce, played by Regina Hall, is a super successful businesswoman whose invited to be the keynote speaker at Essencefest. On the surface, she has it all: she’s beautiful, intelligent, hair always in place, clothes always tailored, and has the “perfect” marriage. On camera, she says the right things–she perpetuates peace, transparency, and freedom. From the outside looking in, you want to be Ryan.
Immediately, I saw myself in Ryan. For years, I’ve been “groomed” to what I am today: the girl who seemingly has it all, who does it flawlessly, and has it all put together. And while I must admit that it IS in my nature to be a perfectionist, I slowly learned that Ryan’s life, and inadvertently mine, was being sucked away by trying to live a life of no fault.
SPOILER ALERTS!! Ryan literally is willing to sacrifice her happiness for the upkeep of a “picture perfect” marriage. And honestly, how many of us have sat and literally lost ourselves just trying to make sure that others don’t see what’s truly behind the scenes? I’ve been quite candid about various parts of my life and the truthfulness behind it, but at some point, you get caught up in trying to make it appear as if you do have all the answers. You don’t want to be judged by others, you want people to continue to depend on you, and you don’t want to look foolish for asking for help.
I sat there watching Ryan choose to cover up the pain her husband caused her just to continue to look complete in front of her fans and audience. Though it was a marriage in her case, I was left to wonder how many times I’ve done things, said things, or lived in a way that didn’t make me happy at all. I was just doing it because it “appeared” right.
As someone whose also put a lot of work into understanding holistic medicine and sickness, I started to also see that the small choices we make everyday, when added to by tension and stress, aid in us continuing to be and stay sick. Setting yourself up to appear perfect only puts you on a pedestal that requires you keep peddling to stay on top. The fall from a grace so high is one I’d wish on none.
The reality is, I’m a weird chick who prides herself in her weirdness. I’m learning to be proud of the fact that I am a classical pianist but also love Migos, I’m the friend who will either swing from chandeliers or sit at home and read a book, and whose IG photos may be poppin but in real life I actually am pretty darn clumsy. It forced me to realize that whoever I am, whoever God made me, was good enough. I didn’t have to accept other things just because that’s what’s expected of me. My peace comes from knowing who and WHOSE I am.
Those that can’t accept you for the truth that you bring are not deserving of inhabiting the same space as you! I have lost friends, clients, potential sponsors, and probably even employers off the fact that I have progressively learned that what I like and what I want are somewhat non-negotiables (not being a jerk, but you have to be true to YOU). Little did Ryan find out that once she owned her life, her truth, and her story, she reached an ENTIRELY NEW demographic of people who needed to hear that someone else in this world was going through what they were as well. YOUR truth, your story, whatever it is that YOU carry with you…THAT makes you you. I tried to apologetically hide that I talk with my hands, that I DO have an accent (hello, DC), or that I am sometimes more on the wild than tame side. I’ve tried to make it seem like I never have an off day, I never trip, my skin stays perfect, and hair always in place.
None of those things are true, and that’s okay. Own whatever truth it is that’s inside you. Your story and testimony can set others free. At my WEEN graduation, I spoke about moving to NYC with only a couple hundred dollars and a dream to make it in publishing. Afterward, I was bombarded by people who said that they were moved by my speech! If I had held my story in and chosen not to share it with others, who knows the ramifications? Who knows who needed to hear it?
Girls Trip was a reminder that sometimes you just gotta rip the band-aid off, show your scars, and let others know that you’re there with them. Sometimes you will find yourself after you’ve been through the fire, and instead of appearing like you never went through, testifying how you made it out. And while I still have so much to share with others as I continue to build in this journey, I am forever grateful for the one’s who stop me from living in the “superwoman” syndrome us black women face on the daily.
To all my Ryan’s out there, it’s okay to want excellence, fame, money, and blessings right and left. However, the front of perfection isn’t one that liberates the soul, and at the end of the day, that’s what we will take with us when we leave. You can be polished, but know when to strip. You can be put together, but know when your truth matters more than what others want or think. Know that NOBODY can do what you do, so why hide behind it? NOBODY can make you any better than who God has destined you to be. THAT’s the legacy that will resonate on people. When you embrace life for what it is and share your life lessons with the world in a unique way that only you can provide, that’s it, that magical factor that aligns your purpose on this earth with your skills.
Girls Trip is certainly a trip. But one we all should destine to make.