We only really see people from the outside. In fact, we only see what they want us to see. Whether it’s the barista at your local coffee shop or your friendly co-worker that always says, “Good Morning” with a huge smile on her face, what’s presented to us is never as telling as what’s on the inside.

Specifically looking at the prevalence of performative emotions, we as women, often find ourselves most guilty. We armour up and present ourselves as having everything together while “feeling great about everything”! Making sure not to come across as too assertive. In fact we often try to do it in a humble and respectful manner. All in efforts to impress and please others. For example, when we bump into someone, what is the first thing we think to say? “Oh, I’m sorry.” Or when someone hurts our feelings? “It’s OK. I accept your apology.” When it’s possibly not OK at all. But why? Why are we programmed and socialized to shield our emotions? Why does everything have to run like water off of our backs?

These questions came to me after I watched Nikki Thot’s most recent video. I first discovered Nikki through her family YouTube channel that she created with her husband Jamie, and I have followed her over this past year. I watched, like so many others, as she separated from her husband and embarked on her journey of creating a new life for herself. Understandably, during this time, Nikki has attempted to put on a good face for the camera, as going through a separation and broadcasting it online leaves little place for vulnerability. But in this video, Nikki sheds her emotional armor and explains how her journey wouldn’t have been what it was if she didn’t trust herself and God. Tearing up and asking herself if she did the “right thing”, I began to do the same. Since I began to watch Nikki and her family in 2015, I had never seen Nikki cry. And in an instance, through her pain and vulnerability, I immediately began to empathize.

I, like so many other women, would rather put on a brave face than actually confront my emotions. Growing up I thought that was normal. I rarely saw my mother cry. Hell, my mom almost cut her finger off one time and she drove her MANUAL car to the hospital to get 10 stitches in her right index finger. Consumed by the fear of looking ‘thin-skinned’ or ‘too sensitive’, we too often ignore our true feelings and rely too heavily on a sexist heuristic.

For me, I wasn’t able to realize the consequences of this denial until I went to college. During my freshman Spring semester, my mom was diagnosed with stage three cancer. She had a 50% chance of recovery. Being 18 and an only child, the weight of this was crushing. Trying to juggle my schoolwork, social life, and personal life, I decided to put my emotional armor on and “keep it moving”. Surprisingly it wasn’t until my Sophomore year that I had to actualize my fear to truly heal. I, at the time, was called to be emotionally available for a friend and found that the only way to do that was to trust myself to be vulnerable.

Though I set aside my fears for my friend, I found out how important it is to show up for yourself. Too often we feel comfortable in a certain situation or mindset, ultimately neglecting ourselves in the process.

So as I write this today, I challenge you. To Stand in your power. Stand in your fear and trust yourself.

Do it with me. Inhale. Exhale. Cry, Scream, Laugh. Do what you need, because once you are able to do that…You will be unstoppable.

author

emma calhoun

Digital Marketing Specialist – Summer 2020 Intern

Atlanta, Georgia

Emma has always had big dreams. Wanting to be a ballerina, the President of the United States, and a catering chef all at the same time, she’s a strong believer that no journey is impractical. Being able to grow in a world where women fight to be unapologetically themselves, she knows she is up next. Believing in the importance of resiliency, community, and a little bit of girl power; she has joined Wildernest in hopes of making a difference.