Loving All of Yourselves: Embracing Who You Were Then & Who You Are Now

May 30, 2012  |  

I was a loud teenager: A vibrant hoodie wearing, air force ones with matching skateboard and voluminous greetings on the edge of her tongue. In a small poetry café on the incense-smelling east side, that girl blossomed into a hipster: dashikis and dunks, gladiator sandals and leather journals; conquering the stage one verse at a time. After four years of college and professionalism, I emerged from a cocoon of stability. I was a blazer and slack wearing, note taking, organizational fiend. In short, I was a tumultuous evolution.

As I wrote the initiation to the article you’re reading now; I shivered at some of the memories that I should be too unwilling to share. However, in journalism and writing alike, you’ve got to bare your vulnerability for relation.

That flamboyant teenager was a sucker for love. She met her first on a busy street in some busy place, her hair freshly blown by the Dominicans and gear just copped. Her crazy friends trickled behind her like summer rain, inconvenient but comforting all the same. They were scouring the scene for boys with baggy jeans and aspirations of college, an anomaly in their neighborhood. When they would find one or something remotely close, they’d make sure he noticed projecting their voices into the surrounding area.

Damn he’s fine.
You see him?

I kept these thoughts contained during my hipster years. Instead, I’d envelop those emotions into stanzas. My fellow lyrical comrades would accompany me on the trains, we’d spit guerilla style for the onlookers. Some would roll their eyes, annoyed we’d disrupted their silence and others would applaud ferociously. We were conscious of neither, lost in the pentameter of our hearts.

Now my cellphone fits perfectly there. Under the breast pocket of my suit, that same muscle pumps with aspirations of not-for-profit work, education and Banana Republic Sunday sales. My planner and MacBook have become extensions of my limbs. I am a woman of the workforce.

I am unaware of what my next stage will be, but I am aware that it will play a vital part in my motivation, reasoning, prowess and social identity. Via this notion, I prefer not to taint it. I would like to immerse myself within my experience and arise a butterfly of my own understanding. My selfhood, as will yours, will constantly be in review:

The best friend: I miss old you. Kick wearing and sarcastic Riv.
The relative: Oh you’ve moved on from that rhythmic stuff, this is more substantial writing. Grounded.
The associate: You write so much fiction/journalism now. Where’s the poetry?

Although I politely respond, I don’t owe anyone an explanation and neither do you. Change as you please. Every fiber of your past is an affirmation. We are our ups and downs, tribulations and beliefs, mistakes and triumphant moments. We are constantly evolving, but I plead with each and every one of you to look for the positive in your negative. Our experiences shape us. Don’t let your additions become amendments, but uphold them as the guide for a molded social identity.

On Friday, I sported my aqua SB dunks and skinny jeans with a hint of professionalism; a blazer over my collared shirt. On our half days, Kortney (a fellow co-worker) and I debate loudly on the B train towards Brooklyn. Seasonally or whenever I feel up to it, you can find me adorned in sandals, journals and poetry readings; before or after work. I am a ceasing revolution, but I’m still known to battle with my inner self every now and then. Sometimes, I let her stare out of my eyes and use my lips to relay stories to onlookers who can’t believe I used to be her.

What they are unaware of is that there is no used-to-be. She’s still at the tip of my pen and lodged in my throat. When she is tired or uplifted, she’ll cascade through my voice box and remind the world she is still here.


We are revolving doors and witnesses of our former selves, but we should never shun them.

We should embrace them whole.

Selfhood is all about reflection. Throughout our successes we are “fly.” We flitter about, forgetting the components of our wings.

The losses.
The celebrations.
The pain.
The joys.

They are what make us….us.

“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.

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