So this year, one of the goals that I set was to read 12 books by 12 black women. The first book I sat out to conquer was that of Jenifer Lewis, the proclaimed "mother of black Hollywood". I was familiar enough with the work of Ms. Lewis to think that I would gain some valuable wisdom and insight, along with some laughs along the way. I was prepared for her candidness, but I was not prepared for my response to some of her messages, experiences and overall outlook on life. Coming to terms with her bipolar-disorder meant that Jenifer has to take a long hard look at her behavior, her childhood and how they influenced who she is today. As black people, I think many of us often overlook emotional trauma from our childhoods as sort of part of the game, or a way of life. By doing this, we let problematic behaviors go unaddressed, and wreck havoc on our personal lives, professional lives, and internal perception. Jenifer's story is one of many in how she was raised, the interactions she had with adults who were supposed to look out for her, and the challenges she faced. Often times we try to wear our trauma as a badge of honor instead of addressing the fact that we were hurt and we need to work towards behaviors that address these demons and change how we act.
Change, a word so many people actively fear and try to avoid. There's always that internal battle of "good vs. evil" when we're faced with change. Some of us try to face it head on, just to get knocked down because we weren't as ready as we thought we were. Maybe we never will be. After finishing Jenifer Lewis' book, I thought long and hard about my own behaviors, past relationships and interactions, and how it set the stage for who I am now. Her book was uplifting, it was scary, it was jaw dropping, and it was insightful. I challenge everyone to purchase it and let her words work within you. It might help you find out some things about yourself as well.