Reflecting back on my White House experience especially during the application process I think to myself “ WHAT WAS I AFRAID OF? “ Like why did I doubt myself so much? In fact I doubted my ability to be competent in the program so much that I thought about not even applying. After a lot of pushing from a professional mentor, Dr. Karla McLucas and a close aunt I decided to press forward.
Yes, I Shemiah Curry doubted myself. Hard for some of you to believe … I know. I thought that I wouldn’t be as prepared.. I didn’t think I would have the best skills. I thought my vocabulary wasn’t as big as it needed to be… I was afraid that maybe my HBCU experience hadn’t prepared me as much as I needed it to be for this Ivy League world when in fact I was better prepared because I did attend an HBCU. And honestly I was scared.. scared that change would allow me to lose opportunities I had in place for the next semester , relationships , and personal resources. I was scared of being forgotten and losing almost everything I worked tirelessly to establish on the campus of Bennett College.
I was afraid of being seen as inadequate in a world that seem so much bigger than myself .I mean we are talking about the White House – the most prestigious institution in this nation. Had my public education in the city of Chicago really prepared me for this experience? I kept thinking to myself “ God am I ready????!!! God am I ready ??? !!! “ I know I have a tremendous support system and people think the world of me, but can I be honest? I was afraid that my intelligence was only considered intelligent around black and brown faces…that maybe my academic confidence has been built on a lie. .. I was afraid that they would stereotype me as the angry black woman, but from the south side of Chicago. That my natural hair would invite conversations that I really didn’t feel like entertaining. That I would have to always defend myself for simply being a black woman.
In my crazy head the odds seemed against me. I was siking myself out. I was selling myself short. Everyone else could see this thing had my name written all over it BUT me.
I was afraid that every relationship I had worked so hard to develop at Bennett would slowly dissolve. That although I worked so hard to gain the trust of so many girls that I would eventually end up losing it. That no one would pay close attention to those girls like I had did. That unfortunately someone would leave them hanging and that they wouldn’t feel loved. Through them I found a small piece of my purpose and I couldn’t understand why God would remove me when I was just getting excited about my purpose. When in fact , he removed when he did so that I could understand that the girls were just a piece of my purpose and not the entire picture. I got happy too quickly and was about to begin limiting myself.
I was afraid that I , Shemiah Curry wouldn’t be good enough. That my deficiencies would somehow seep through and become apparent to everything and everyone around me in the White House community. Lord, at the end of the day I was scared of being great. Countless times, I’ve had one-on-one conversations with women and men about their greatness and there I was being oblivious to my own.
Had God really prepared me for this experience? Did I really deserve to be at the White House? Why was my mindset so focused on losing everything when really I would be gaining so much from this experience?
The truth is I deserved to be interning at the White House just as much as anyone else. The truth is I was just as competent as my counterparts and even more prepared than some of them. My HBCU education provided me with the example and the tools on how to be a stellar professional. My childhood and teenage years spent in Shekinah Chapel reminded me of the unfailing God I served, and my love from my parents, family and closet sister-friends challenged me to see the leader in me that they always bragged about. My love for my baby sisters motivated me to accept the fact that this was my journey and no matter how I felt, someone was always watching. The truth is …I had to push through those emotions because there was really no reason to be afraid. The truth is.. God removed me from comfort zone just so I could realize how unhealthy I was being to myself. As a public servant I was taking good care of everyone else but myself. The truth is.. the reason I was so afraid was because I was crowded. My brain was clouded with everyone else’s greatness but my own. I needed time to stretch myself, to get to know God for myself…I needed time to reflect. I needed peace , balance and I had to start practicing preservation. God knew what he was doing.
The truth is I gained two new awesome support systems at the White House—friends that I’m sure I will carry with me for a lifetime . The truth is I learned so much about God’s love , protection and prophetic word just from being lost in the world by myself. The truth is everything I thought I was losing, he replaced it with a double anointing . I left the White House with a greater sense of self and a piece of comfort from God that I had never known.
Like every other intern … we were “the cream of the crop” and we deserved to be there. Out of thousands of applicants every semester and every year we were blessed to be selected to intern at the White House.
I realized that my “deepest fear was not that I was inadequate , but that I was powerful beyond measure. “ I know it sounds cliché , but its true. When Marianne Williamson wrote that poem she somehow knew we would all get to a place in our lives were we doubted our greatness simply because we couldn’t wrap our minds around the fact that God would package so much inside of us.
I pray that after you read this , you feel empowered to live beyond what your insecurities tell you. And you fear not what your flesh is saying, but disobeying God. That every blessing that comes your way , you run with it because God has ordered your steps and you have divine favor.
That you won’t become attracted to my spirit because of my accolades, but because of the God in me. That you see yourself in me and feel motivated to fully pursue every blessing that comes your way.
Thanks for reading …Until next time. Pics are below ..Feel free to leave comments.
– Shemiah K. Curry