2022 Portfolios


Matthew Nelson



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“Wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” - Brené Brown

This quote replays in my mind as a constant reminder that every day I am building up the courage and power to fully embrace my imperfections, vulnerabilities, mistakes, and failures. In return, I will transform all these “undesirable” qualities and reflect on them, utilizing them as a learning tool rather than condemning them completely. I know I cannot be perfect, especially in a world where perfection is never equated to Blackness. Perfection, beauty, fortune, fame, and recognition are all such strong descriptors that, once again, is a rarity in addressing Black love, success, culture, bodies, and people. It took me twenty years of my life to cast perfection aside. The misconstrued ideas and fantasies in our society that push for an unattainable self, a simulacrum of the human experience, only exist in fairytales and fiction.

I am me and you are you. Instead of running away and pushing back the parts of ourselves we do not want to see, let alone show others, we need to embrace vulnerability instead. Being able to love yourself despite what society may label a flaw is a true gift and power we should all seek. Once a person can extend love, care, and forgiveness to themselves, those acts are then reflected tenfold in the way they treat others. Self-love and love for others should not present itself as a power struggle; they both deserve to be on the same playing field. In every meaningful interaction you have with someone who may be battling the ugly side of the human experience, extend your grace, your listening ears, and your patience. Be each other’s peace during these unprecedented times, and understand that through it all you are worthy, loved, and a gift worth fighting for. As I open my heart and mind in these reflections, I encourage you to take what you need from them and pass along your own interpretations of my words, actions, and feelings as I traverse this expedition called life.


Behavioral Sciences

Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Degree Program

Social Work

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2022


Fontbonne University Archives


St. Louis, MO

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

2022 Honors Portfolio



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