Owning My Name


Today was just a beautiful-ass day.

There was no rhyme or reason to it. But I feel like I got a little closer to all the things I desire and dream for in this life. And I feel like I got a little bit closer to the center of myself today. And that’s all that matters.

This morning, I got to work at 10am. I usually get to work at 10am. A few weeks ago, a co-worker made the observation that I’m a night-owl, based on when and how often I post on Facebook. It’s taken me damn near 24 years to realize that she’s right. Usually, every morning I feel guilty that I cannot be at work at 9:00am like normal people do. But then I realized that for the past year, I get to work by 10am and no one is sweatin’ me about it. So, maybe, 10am is my “on-time”. And maybe, when I’m pursuing this self-determined path next year, I stick to what I know about myself.

I’ve been in-between feeling guilty that I’m Not Doing More to prepare for the Great Leap in August, and also knowing that things take time… and I usually do my best work when I’m under pressure. I want to push myself, to light a fire under my ass that keeps burning through the next year or two (and hopefully, my whole life). I have the tendency to get down on myself, which then turns into shame-spiral of not being productive and berating myself for not being productive. It’s all bad. So, I’m trying to find that balance between working everyday towards this thing that I want and see and know for myself… but also, appreciating the fact that it’s summer and I currently still have a full-time job. Today, I leaned into the vulnerable, scary space a little. But I also allowed myself to breathe.

And so, I’m writing tonight. And I had some beautiful thoughts come to my head. And I read a really great article on LA Magazine’s website. And I just don’t feel too bad about very many things in this moment. You know, I’m living the good life and I really do appreciate just how good it is.

I think the most important thing I did today is realize how far I’ve come in this journey of owning and embracing myself. I think the journey really started sometime between the summer before and the summer after my last year of college. The summer before, I spent a lot of time alone, with myself, in New York City. The summer after, I spent a lot of time re-calibrating who I was and re-learning the language of Home. And in the space in-between, I was a senior in college—loaded with all the angst and dreaming and faux-intellectualism that entails.

But it was during that time, I first started to hold up  and revel in this name my mother and father gave me. Michelle Denise Jackson. I started realizing that for the most part, that’s all I’m ever going to be—and all I’m ever going to be happens to be quite a lot. Before, my name was usually something I shied away from. I always wanted a nickname growing up, an alternative moniker that I could be known and held up by. But besides Shelly (and I’m not Shelly), there’s not much you can do with Michelle or Denise or Jackson. I think the closest thing is MJ, which is how I often sign e-mails. But even that is still my name, purified and abbreviated.

Even when I attempt to lean it down, I still know the weight of it.


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