This is my first post for Brown Girls Out Loud (BrGOL). Asia and I have been toiling away to deliver amazing, uplifting, and authentic content. The process has been cathartic. Right now, every place I turn, I’m seeing brown girls devalued and diminished.
I see erasure and my sisters making themselves smaller. Why? We are magic and we are beautiful and even when we are #teamtoomuch as my partner loves to put it, we are always just enough!
I want to live life out loud. To be bold and unapologetic. Also, I want to be enough. Enough woman. Enough mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister…I want to be enough.
Especially as a writer! I’ve carried my dreams about working as a writer like one of my children, labored long and hard for it, then birthed it through blood, sweat, gritted teeth, and endless tears. It has been a trial by fire to be here right now, in my truth, writing to the most important audience, I have ever and will ever have. Fellow women of color…you will know when I’m fake, you will see me when I’m insincere and you will check me for it…so to get to this moment, to stand before you all and say, I am a writer, my voice matters, and I’m more than what I’m perceived to be, is a big deal.
My career is important to me. I worked twice as hard to earn half as much as most others. It also took me some time to realize, the hire wasn’t always about my talent or what I could contribute. I was often seen as a token, an obligation to diversify the team.
Regardless, I grew my experience both for my craft and for dealing with white supremacy in the workplace. I got tired of being benched, sidelined, and side tracked by prejudice. Which is why I am here writing this, I know I’m not alone. Women of color should be seen and heard and compensated accordingly.
This awakening did not come easy.
I interviewed with a hiring manager last year. They were looking for a staff writer. When the discussion got around to salary, I gave my numbers and they balked. “The most important thing is to get your foot in the door and then negotiate from there,” I was told by the recruiter making the connection.
I’ve done an extensive amount of research on the many hats I’m asked to wear as a web or copywriter…my rates are status quo. Yet, somehow I was expected to accept less than I’m worth just to get my foot in the door. I wonder how many men have been asked to settle for less just to become part of the team?
Scenarios like these makes me question my confidence. I doubt my talents in these moments. I need to work too and shouldn’t I deserve to get paid to do what I love?
The reality is, I can’t afford to settle. Especially when I have to consider child care, x6 and all the other myriad costs of keeping myself gainfully employed outside the home.
I refuse to play the “prove your worth” game with these corporate lackies.
My body of work is solid and I’ll put my professional track record against any one in my field, doing my work. I believe I am enough. I don’t have to prove my value. I am valuable.
I know this because colleagues and conspirators are constantly trying to wrestle the credit (and compensation) for MY efforts. This is what it is to navigate any work place as a woman of color. Constantly told you are lacking while also constantly having your best ideas stolen and repackaged.
I can point to dozens of examples of this in my own career.
On top of it, the compensation I do collect is always considerably less than my white counterparts. Hiring managers, head hunters, and editors are constantly trying to negotiate my wages but, my wages are in line with industry standards, so….pay me what you owe me.
You know why? Because, I am enough.
I have always been enough. I have always been bright, focused and talented.
I’m fully exhausted and totally done with being made to feel like an impostor in my own skin. We do not have to make ourselves smaller for anyone one else’s consumption.
WE ARE NOT SMALL – WE ARE ENOUGH – TOO MUCH EVEN!
Either way, we are exactly what we need to be. I refuse to settle for less for the sake of white progress.