I do not remember the first day I stopped believing in myself.
In fact, I am quite certain many of us cannot trace our dance with inferiority to a single tune.
Those of us who struggle to root our inferiority complex within a single moment recognize that it was not a single event but, rather, a series of moments that, together, conspired to extract every grain of confidence and assurance from our bodies.
Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat.” -Jesus of Nazareth
I do not remember the moment I ceased to believe I could conquer the world.
Perhaps it occured on a playground filled with classmates who sneered and pointed out the off-brand label on my t-shirt and the fact that my teeth were stained brown.
Could it have been the moment I realized as a child that my home could not serve as a proper respite from the troubles of this world?
Could it be that I was born into a world that was intentionally constructed in the demonic hope that I would never find beauty, power, or divinity encapsulated in the catacombs of my racialized frame?
“You should ask yourself who taught you to hate
being who God made you?” -Malcolm X
While I cannot remember the precise moment I began longing for someone else to stare back at me in a mirror, I most definitely can identify the consequences of living a life riddled with self-doubt and plagued by perpetual fear.
The consequences include sojourning the world convinced I was an imposter who was under the constant threat of being exposed as ignorant, ugly, and devoid of sacred worth.
“I'll tell you what Freedom is to me.
No fear!” -Nina Simone
and lived fiercely
I want to see myself in 2018
-James Howard Hill, Jr.
James is a doctoral student in American Religions at Northwestern University where he is currently studying the intersection of religion, popular culture, necropolitics, and race in the Americas and throughout Atlantic geographies (Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas). He is also an avid Golden Girls fan and a connoisseur of 90’s R&B, Black films, and sitcoms.