Ten Significant Truths My Mother Could Not Tell Me even if she wanted to because I had to learn them on my own!
My life does not have to be twice as hard because I am a Black woman. While I understand the context in which I was born, live and negotiate my life, I am not constrained by what I see. The only limitations on my life are created by the perceptions I believe to be true.
I do not have to NOT depend on anyone because I’m the only one that will take care of me. The converse – “You betta learn to take care of yo’self ‘cuz you can’t expect nobody else to” – is a sad refrain I heard too much growing up. It was born out of the anxiety, frustration, and depression that come along with embracing victimhood. I am not an island; I do not stand alone. If I’m going to live boldly, freely, effectively and victoriously, I must strive for interdependence within my independence.
I am still a valuable woman even if I don’t want to be a wife or have children. I’ve made a choice for my life, no more, no less. It is not a political statement, social critique, or religious criticism. It is, completely, individualistically, purely, my choice.
I’m not every woman; it’s not all in me. I am an expression of the Divine, created to be uniquely human. I am all of me, not all of what anyone wants me to be. Fully inhabiting all of my being-ness is more than enough of a job for one lifetime.
I am not the mule of the world. While I appreciate Zora Neal Hurston’s observation, I do not accept it as a forgone conclusion. I exist because of my legacy; however my future is not determined by it. I am only a doormat if I let you step on me.
I am human first, and whatever else I desire to be afterwards. In order to experience the full range of my humanity, I must disconnect from the socially prescribed/sanctioned trappings of my gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion… In order to accept myself as myself, I must embrace my humanity over all else.
I am a mother even if I don’t have children. My ability to produce offspring is not constrained by my biology. The fruit of my life is produced in those that choose to follow me; therefore I must be thoughtful, purposeful, mindful, and intentional with my words, thoughts and deeds. What I produce will be a product, consequence, or the aftermath of my collective choices.
Well-behaved women rarely make history. Thank you Pulitzer Prize winning author, historian of early America and women, and Harvard University professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (She coined this phrase, first appearing in a scholarly article she wrote as a graduate student). If I want to make a difference in my life, my community, or my world, I can’t be concerned with what other people will think. Every time I act upon my beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, preconceptions, convictions, illusions, inspirations, choices, I operationalize the power to make history.
I don’t have to do it because no one else will. I am totally and completely comfortable, content and satisfied with the knowledge that if I don’t do “it”… “it” either will or will not get done. Enough said!
Copywright 2011 Kimberly J. Chandler
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