SHIAVON’S JAWN: The art of not feeling good enough

Shiavon Chatman, Opinion Editor

A jawn. Pronounced jôn. Noun. A person, place, thing, or event that doesn’t need a specific name. An indescribable, but memorable entity.

I’m Shiavon and this is Shiavon’s Jawn. (If these two words don’t rhyme, then you’re saying my name wrong.)

Have you ever felt not good enough? I don’t mean a few moments of doubt, but I mean truly not good enough for whatever you’ve been working so hard for. 

I took the longest break I ever had from writing – a month – since I started my first diary in sixth grade. I felt like I was suffocating, but honestly I felt like a stranger to my craft and to myself. 

The hardest part of getting up everyday to work at a job you hate and spending thousands of dollars on a degree that you’re not totally sure will secure you a job when you’re finished – isn’t the possibility of failure. At least not for me. 

The hardest part is that I’m already failing.But that failure is masked as being a learning student who can afford to make these mistakes. What about after I graduate? What about when I’m not less than 100 steps away from advisers? What about when the sounds of my friends’ laughter in the newsroom isn’t drowning out my silent existential crisis? One that is not evident to anyone but me?

Lord. I’ve been told to just pray on it. I pray and make 11:11 wishes everyday, but Black people’s reliance on religion and not action, is the greatest downfall of our community. OK, next option. 

I could continue going to therapy. Yes, it helped for a long time but it’s expensive and I’m scared to be completely honest with my therapist because I don’t want to find myself in a white hospital gown in between the four walls of a mental institution. So, I tell half truths and pretend to have breakthroughs that I already had alone, by myself, as a teenager. 

Wait…you mean to tell me I have abandonment issues? Wow, thank you so much. Please take all my money.” 

I can open up to my friends (the best possible solution here) but my abandonment issues pair beautifully with my trust issues, and this prevents me from opening up to people. I also feel terrible for using people I love as emotional dumping grounds. We are ALL (hi, Victorious stans) struggling and I don’t want to burden my friends. Ever. 

So naturally, I took the most unproductive option and I gave up. I gave up on doing what I love and I gave up on putting an effort in anything that wasn’t completely necessary (or what I deemed as necessary). This included my job, my school work and my relationship.

I went through a breakup a couple years ago and I thought my world was ending and I remember my dad told me something I’d never forget: “You can be sad. You should. You can hit rock bottom but don’t stay there, you’ve got things to do.”

And baby let me tell you – that woke me up. I DO have things to do. We’ve ALL got things to do. When I hit my rock bottom recently, I thought back to what he said but I needed a further push. 

I would love to lie to you and say I read some book or listened to an Angela Davis speech and immediately bounced back to the G that I am. But no. 

I was watching old episodes of Real Housewives of Atlanta and I was thinking, “Wow, somebody should write about how these women rebranded reality television.” And then I remembered that I’m a journalist and I have that power. Stay tuned. So, thank you Kenya Moore for teaching me that life twirls on. 

Whether you’re a first generation college student, someone still trying to figure it all out or somebody who needs a nap and a hug — do what makes you happy and stop living for other people. Take mental health breaks and stop killing yourself for a job that would replace you before your funeral.

Capitalism is the devil and Real Housewives of Atlanta is holy water. Douse yourself in it. 

This is my weekly column where I’ll keep you updated on my straight-to-DVD life, my hip-hop snob opinions, being uncomfortable in this political climate and being a Black woman in predominantly white spaces.