Growing up, I had two personas: who I was at home and who I was in public. At home, I was outspoken and opinionated. My family knew I’d attend law school before I knew what being a lawyer really was. (The only lawyer I knew was Matlock. And who wanted to grow up to be Matlock?) Yet, at school and with friends, I was quiet and played the background a lot. I was a target for bullies. (I know how hard that is to believe.) I hated confrontations and tried to avoid them at all costs because I was too afraid of what the repercussions would be. It didn’t matter to me if people liked me, but it definitely mattered if they did not.
Then, at 14 years of age, I was raped. Before you imagine a Lifetime Movie with me being held down and fighting for my life, it looked nothing like that. I didn’t fight. I didn’t say no. I didn’t say anything actually. Because I was afraid of what the repercussions might be.
This isn’t a post about rape. Those preceding sentences are merely an anecdote that led me from being this quiet mouse to the loudmouth I am today. This fear I had of what could possibly happen if I spoke up made me ripe for being taken advantage of. In some ways, I pretty much volunteered for it. Had I spoken up, had I valued present me higher than potential me, had I known my opinions matter more than anyone else’s. Had I, had I, had I.
But like I said, this blog isn’t about that experience. It’s about the courage in me it unlocked. I remember when one of our star high school football players asked me to spend our lunch break at his house and I snapped on him. He then replied by telling me that I used to be nice. And I laughed because I was still nice, I was just intolerant now. If being a meek wallflower didn’t keep the horrible from happening, what did I have to lose by making my presence felt? If there is anything I want women to take from my writing, it is the courage to be unapologetically yourself. If you are hurt, be hurt. Cry, whine, wail. If you are angry, be angry. Scream, curse, fight. If you need to make a spectacle of yourself to get to happy, DO IT. Just get to happy. No one has any right to dictate what happens along your journey.
Do Not allow people/places/things to happen to you. Allow yourself to happen to them.
I’m not always right. I am actually wrong quite a lot. But I’m okay being wrong. And I’d like to say it’s because I learn to not make the same mistake again. Let’s not lie. I absolutely will. If he got a big D and knows how to use it, I’m definitely going to make that mistake a few times. It’ll actually probably take a 2×4 to the head before I realize God is saying no to something to which I am desperately seeking a yes. I’m okay being wrong because I had the courage to try for right.
Yesterday, I lay in bed thinking over the past three years of my life. In that timeframe, I slept with three men. (Okay, 3.5. I’ll have to explain that .5 another time.) And I’m no closer to the altar than I was when I was slutting my way through my twenties. Marriage is a strong desire of mine, and I offer no hesitation in that admission. So when each of those events ended, I was devastated. Not because he wasn’t going to be my husband, but because my feelings were hurt. I was disappointed. My self-esteem took a hit. And for awhile, I fucking hated him regardless if the end was my fault, his fault, or Obama’s. The shit hurt. Maybe you’re thinking I should have cast a wider net. The infrequency of my bed partners is not due to a lack of willing participants. It is because of how precious my heart and my vajayjay are to me. So when I discovered that my essence was not as inestimable to the man who was in possession of it, it disrupted me.
Am I weak to admit that? Am I less of a confident, independent, black woman because I admit that when a man does not want me, it honestly has an effect? It is okay to be disrupted. It is okay to concede defeat gracefully or not gracefully. It is okay to throw a brick through his window or cry yourself to sleep at night. We are either afraid of doing something that may offend him or afraid of revealing that we care. We worry about what other women will say if you leave or if you stay with him. We worry what it says about us if another man walks away. That’s far too many fucks. Your only fuck should be for yourself and your happy. You tried and you failed. So fail loudly. Damn him, his mama, and his fantasy football team. Give yourself the freedom to feel, to react, to force this world to acknowledge your existence. We must be aggressive in declaring our worth. No one else will declare it. Given the opportunity, they will underappreciate and take advantage. If you allow such continuously, you’re a volunteer in your own unhappiness. I had no say in if those men chose to value me, but I definitely had a say in how they chose to undervalue me. And I guarantee they remember the exact moment I finally had that say.
When you disrupt your undervaluing, you disrupt your stupidity. And the harm is not in being stupid; it is in staying stupid.
Don’t stay stupid.
Today’s Soundtrack: Adele-Rolling In The Deep