“Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” -Carol Moseley Braun
This has always been my favorite quote. I came across this quote in high school and held on to it for affirmation. I was a black teenager growing up in urban Philadelphia. Even at that age, I knew what that meant to others. Others may have expected me to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and listen to a certain type of music. Therefore, I was very conscious of how people fell into certain roles because of what was expected. Equally, there were others who attempted to go polar opposite of expected roles. Yeah, I was one of those teenagers. The irony is that in both cases you are still being defined by others.
Well, years later, I am still figuring it out. This affirmation still pops in my head as I make adult decisions. Asking myself questions such as “Is that what I really want? Or is that just the narrative in which I can see others attributing value to me?”