Hiding Who I Am

Tomorrow, July 17th, family friends that I haven’t seen since 2017 are coming into town. Not only do I have to hide my alcohol, but I also have to somehow hide my tattoos and piercings.

The good thing about their visit: it gives me motivation to finally finish Jamilah-fying my apartment. Of course, I documented the entire process.

When I visited these particular family friends in New York five years ago, I remember sitting down at their dining room table and getting a “lesson” in why tattoos and piercings are bad, based on a cherry-picked Bible verse. I now realize how much Christians hand pick Bible verses and morph them to support their ideals.

Here I am eight piercings and five (soon to be six) tattoos later.

Considering only five percent of my family actually know who I am, I am used to withholding myself and several aspects of my life, especially my struggles. However, my family still knows about my low key love for tattoos and piercings. Hopefully no one spills the beans tomorrow.

I fully plan on walking into church covered head to toe with a black hat that will hold my protective shield of hair into place and my blazer that will hide both of my arm tattoos.

Considering this is my one opportunity to see them, to see the people who stood by my side while I endured years of mental and emotional torture, I am hiding who I am out of respect for them.

Also, it’s good practice for my next phase in life. With my now heightened trust issues, I am learning how to hide even more of every facet that makes me Jamilah, and this will be good practice.

Of course, I’ll engage in conversation and catch them up on the past five years, but I fully plan on hiding things I know they won’t approve of, like I do with the other ninety-five percent of people in my family.

Thinking about tomorrow has me feeling both excited and icky. Excited because I know how much joy and love I will be surrounded with the second I give them a hug. Icky because I feel like I’m reverting back on my journey to being comfortable with fully expressing every facet of my being; plus, my mental and emotional wellbeing is all over the place right now, which is a topic for a different day.

Since being back from California, I seem to already be in hiding. After the July 15th I just had, I want to hide and disappear even more. Honestly, I want to erase most of my life since August of last year, but regretting gets you nowhere; I know I can’t change the past and have to deal with the present to move forward, even the icky moments.

Again, a different conversation for a different day… or maybe one I need to have in person with someone, but I don’t really know who.

Anyway, it is now time for me to revert back in time a little bit and hide even more of who I am, at least for 24 hours.

about the author

Jamilah is a college graduate in her early twenties who wants to live and learn and love herself while fighting the anxiety fight.

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