This was a curious post for me. Not only did I have zip zero problems with NOT trying to hide my blackness in undergrad and grad school, but I don’t do it in Corporate America either. You either like all of me or none of me. Of course I have definitely had my fair share of “blahzay blah” moments where someone didn’t understand something I said. I thought it was common knowledge, and I turned out to be dead wrong. I’m still perplexed by the guy who said, “I don’t know what gang sign that is” when I threw up the deuce as I walked away.

Quite frankly though, if someone wanted to know what “blahzay blah” meant, I wouldn’t be embarrassed if they stopped to ask. I would be irritated if they just started using the term like it’s the “in” thing to do though. That used to happen when I’d say “that’s my zujh” our “put some zuhj in it” (meaning that’s my style or add a little flavor/pizzazz). I had a boss who decided she wanted to say it, too, and it sounded so ridiculous to repeat during a company meeting. Oddly enough, a biracial employee was completely embarrassed and told me to stop doing “stuff like that.” And me being me, I told him to be embarrassed on his own f — king time. I’m me regardless.

Interestingly enough, I’m also constantly accused of being the Grammar Police and live and breathe Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day. I think once you’re really comfortable in your skin, you develop thicker skin when people judge you. I still have “thin” moments, but about 90 percent of the time I’m Iron Woman.

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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