Diasporic Realness is a Guest Writer’s Month dedicated to US telling our stories!
By: Moriah Holmes
I realized I was different when I was five years old. I was that incredibly small, weird girl who always had a book in her hand, who knew she was smart and hadn’t quite learned humility yet so I wasn’t afraid to point out when others were wrong. I was rarely ever afraid to be myself, even if it meant people didn’t like me.
I’m not sure why, but I learned who I was at a young age. And though there have been times when my confidence was more so along the line of arrogance; I have always been sure of my identity…. And it probably has a lot to do with the fact that I learned whose I was at a young age.
I grew up watching VHS recordings of Eyes on the Prize, “Roots,” and Mississippi Burning. Stories of the Civil Rights movement. Walls of books on Malcom X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and even Mandela and Stephen Biko lined the shelves of my Dad’s library. My sisters and I would listen in awe as our Dad would explain these things to us and what it meant to be Black during those times.
That history always stuck with me. And I was so amazed at the resilience of my people. I knew we were regal from the moment I learned of our strength in facing injustice and overcoming oppression. I think understanding where I came from played an integral part in learning who I was and being confident in that. I know for a fact that those stories fueled my drive in life and even my pursuits in education – studying social & cultural anthropology and later social work.
What have I learned about being confident? As a woman. As a person of color. As a believer?
Be authentically you.
I feel like we live in a world where people are all trying to fit into the same spot. The same style. The same “it.” Whatever “it” may be for this microsecond of a moment in this fast-paced, global, social media focused world.
I think being confident is in part, knowing where you come from. Knowing your history and allowing that to provide insight into who you are and what you have to contribute to this world.
But I also think being confident is learning who you are and being completely unafraid to simply be yourself.
Imagine a puzzle made of a million pieces laid out waiting to be completed. All of the pieces are uniquely shaped and they can’t just fit anywhere. They have a certain spot, an exact “fit,” and they all work toward a complete picture.
Know that God made you uniquely you, and that no one else can fill your role. No one else can bring to the table what you bring to the table. So don’t even settle for fitting into a single, cookie-cutter spot. There’s no such thing.
And I mean really…you can’t fit a puzzle piece into any other spot than the one it is meant to fill, without compromising the shape and fit of that puzzle piece. The person that you are meant to be.
I think that is especially important. As a person of color. When people seem to want us to compromise who we are. Our authenticity. Our message. Our rights. Our freedom. Our beliefs of fighting injustice. And challenging oppression.
Being confident is knowing that you are crafted in His image. In knowing that God made you sort of like a piece to a puzzle. And that there is an exact “you-shaped” gap that you are meant to fill in this world. That you have something unique and incredible to offer. A gift…that only you can give.
I think knowing what makes us confident can point us toward exactly what role we are meant to fill.
When am I most confident? When I am advocating for other people.
When am I most confident? When I think of the strength of my people. My Black. And brown. And indigenous roots. I see such royalty in the skin of my people.
When am I most confident? When I rest in His unwavering love. When I think about the amount of time and care He spent in creating me. In shaping me. In refining me.
I am a beautiful design. Crafted in His image…and so are you.
Moriah Holmes is a social work professional, advocate, (and music enthusiast) who seeks to improve educational outcomes for young people of color through youth development programming and public policy. Raised in Waco, TX, Moriah grew up singing with her sisters in church where she developed a passion for working with youth and giving back to her community. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. She currently works in education serving students and families of East Austin. And she sings here and there too 🙂 You can keep up with her on her blog or on instagram.