Sharing the story of where much of the inspiration and courage of finally beginning this journey came from is no easy venture. Some may think, 'ughhhh, another blogger...here we go,' and I've finally come to the place where IDGAF because *insert my Gwen Stefani trill* it's my life to live.
Being lost in the noise of the internet as just another article has never been appealing. However, the altruistic thought of advocacy most certainly has always been captivating to me.
Limiting imaginative beliefs is stifling, and imposter syndrome can be a bit of a joy kill. When you think you can't you can't. Admitting, then recognizing where you have and haven't grown takes learning, and great courage. Anyone who's experienced even the slightest form of anxiety or depression can understand the struggle, and sequence of events that may come with those. Even those who you think might never struggle with mental health do, and for global health, it's important to recognize this on greater and as many levels possible.
“People struggling with imposter syndrome often feel like a fraud and often live with the fear that at any moment others will find out that their success is unearned,” says Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, the founder of Therapy For Black Girls.
Initially, when I wanted to start a blog (years ago), I thought I'd be writing about, to some extent, the subjects this space will encompass. I'd seen the impact and success that others had accomplished simply through writing. It wasn't always perfect, and it wasn't always even something I was even super interested in, yet that didn't still stop me from reading. I thought to myself: "There are hella people out here impacting the world just being themselves…I can do that! I'm entertaining AF.”
This is one of my firsts posts. In that period, I have traveled to a few new places, moved and moved, and explored life a bit. The whole time, I was putting off building and writing this. There were so many technical things I just thought I couldn't do. That, combined with the thought of research, public perception, and how much time I felt I didn't have to write, kept me discouraged.
Even with the encouragement of many, insisting 'Karyn, you can write!' or the validation that 'blogging is a real medium for writers,' the idea and sense of imposter syndrome left me transfixed with the impossibility of it being a success for me.
Somewhere along the way, I became familiar with the story of Karyn Washington. She founded For Brown Girls, a website meant to combat colorism and a generally positive, inspirational space for black women. Karyn was behind the campaign #DarkSkinRedLip, sprung from a controversial celebrity statement.
Karyn committed suicide at the age of 22.
My mind has always come back to this woman with my name and what she started throughout life. I think of her life, her name, and the things she was able to accomplish. Stuff I've sometimes felt as though I could never achieve. She didn't grow up far from me, and just reading about her, I feel like there are many parallels. Every time I would put off writing, come back to this beginning, start, and be reminded of Karyn, it was almost like being reminded that it's not over for me yet. It reminded me that I could give; I could keep the spirit of Karyn alive within me and the world. I can come alive through sharing and writing.
I've never seen ForBrownGirls.com in its total capacity, and I'm not sure that I ever will. However, I've seen the results of the impact of Karyn Washington. I hope that whatever I can create and share here can be uplifting for someone else as well. There have been so many times (more than I ever care to recount) when I have felt unable to be a carefree black girl, and many would have been none the wiser. If I can share something positive with anyone, anything from this space (including myself), then this will not be time wasted.
I never knew Karyn, and I can only imagine the suffering she was going through. Through the words of others who were lucky enough to experience her life (Ty Alexander + becoming yumnah najah), I feel connected.
Karyn Washington helped inspire this creative space.
In a way, I wish she were alive today, to see it would be all right. This may be a selfish thought, because all the while, the reality of the state of world in the last seven years has been impacted my own anxiety and health.
In protest to mental health stigmas, this space is a rebuttal to anything and everything holding me from my most entire self, speaking the truth, and living life because my happiness and joyous existence in this world is a radical act in itself.
This work is meant to serve as an inspiration and reminder to someone else.