I am extremely hard on myself.
This is not an overstatement. I am the type of person that can be told by 27 different people that I did a phenomenal job on something and I will still pick apart the tiniest thing that I believe was bad, and then judge the entire thing by that one little portion.
I am the type of person that will plan an entire Black History Month of celebrations for my school and cry if a streamer falls out of place.
I am the type of person that will self-talk myself into the pits of despair if I forget to make copies before I leave work.
This is exactly what I was doing one day when four of my students decided to show their tails with me one day. Here’s some backstory: four of my babies attached to me very early on in the school year. This became rather unhealthy - to the point that if I wasn’t sitting in their faces they would get into worlds of trouble and do absolutely no work whatsoever. So, in true Ms. Logan fashion, I went to my office, imploded, and cried.
I cried an ugly cry. I cried until I had a headache, then I cried more because I felt like I was overreacting and making myself sick. I cried until it was impossible to hide; my eyes were red and puffy, my makeup streaked and my hair disheveled from the hugs of a loving coworker. I was a mess.
Then, my principal came in, and she has a way of giving advice that she doesn’t even know she’s giving. It comes to her easily, and it comes out almost haphazardly.
She blew into the room - our shared office - and saw me, the mess, sitting forlorn at my desk. Without even having to ask what was wrong, she knew what to say. “Forgive yourself. You cannot be everywhere all the time. You cannot fix it alone. Forgive yourself.” She then grabbed an apple off of her desk and blew out of the room just as suddenly as she’d come in.
She was absolutely right.
A lot of my self-loathing comes out of believing that even though I did a lot, I could have - and should have - done more. I constantly second-guess my ability not by what I accomplished, but what I did not do. I realized then, as the door closed behind her, that what my principal said was the most profound thing I could have been told in that moment.
Here’s the thing. My babies - although they can be awful at times - have the ability to act as if all of their transgressions are forgotten within two seconds. Although this is probably a terrible idea, I could absolutely learn something from them.
My best is my best, and even though it could be better, I have to learn to be okay with the mistakes that I make, and not be mean to myself because I made them. I don’t do everything right, and if I did, there would be no learning or growth taking place. There would be no change. There would be no bad days, but there would also be no amazing ones, either.
I learned that day that forgiveness is not just about the other party, especially when it’s me against myself. Forgiveness is about your own wellbeing, and being able to let go of the transgression so that you can continue to be whole.
When I talk negatively to myself, I slowly tear apart who I am, piece by piece. Forgiveness allows me to put myself back together and move forward.
Dear Black Girl, you are your biggest critic. Be your biggest fan instead, and forgive yourself.