“If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself. That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.” – Paulo Coelho
I’ve been thinking about this quote for a while now. So many conversations are leading me to discussions about what we endure or are choosing to no longer endure.
I wrote that quote out during one particular discussion regarding the reasons why women stick things out. This is an overarching topic and I’m not just speaking about relationships.
We stick it out in jobs where the microaggressions become macro in a heartbeat trying to show folks our loyalty while failing to be loyal to ourselves, we stick it out in friendships when the knife is fresh in our backs because “people need a second chance” or “h/she is going through a lot at the moment”, and yes, we stay in romantic relationships because “I’m not a quitter” and “I believe he can change”.
Chatting with my BFF recently, I was struck by how often we stay. So much of what we do is a projection. It’s Coelho’s quote. I know that for the longest time, up until…checks watch…I have done this. I have continued to put out grace and diplomacy, I have been patient and understanding, I have extended olive branches and humbled myself even when I had no reason to. All in the name of treating someone the way I want to be treated in the world. My head has ended up as an entrée many a time because of this assumption.
It’s also learned behavior. I remember telling my girl that a great deal of times we stick things out because our ancestors did, never understanding that they did it so that we wouldn’t have to endure the same bullshit they dealt with!
Read that again. I’ll wait…
My mom’s passing gave me an understanding of what I needed to not allow in my life because I got to see first-hand what she dealt with and how it ate away at her spirit. She shrank herself for someone that never had any intentions of growing. And for a while, I did the same.
It’s taken me a lot of years to solidify the foundation within myself in order to take an outward stance. And even then, I sometimes fail at it. Opting for peace during those times, rather than the hell that deserves to be unleashed on those that take advantage and show me no mercy or grace, no respect, no reciprocity. I’ll be the first to admit where I fall short. But more and more I’m understanding how I am not only standing up for myself and showing my daughter to do the same but, I’m fulfilling dreams that my maternal line might not have gotten to do themselves.
I am grounded in a foundation of prayers, hopes, dreams and bones. Stepping into the power they prayed would come but maybe never fully manifested in them. Taking the mantle that was stomped at their feet to the point where they did not recognize what it was or where it belonged.
Yes, I have been called difficult. I have been labeled as mean. But I realize that it doesn’t much matter how I am being labeled, so long as I am on the right path. When you decide you won’t put up with shit anymore, suddenly everyone sees you as the problem.
At some point, if you are truly going to take the responsibility of living your purpose, clearing the generational curses and walking in truth while not allowing others to walk over or gaslight you, you’ll have to make peace with the fact that not everyone is going to like that.
And that’s okay. You see, the women whose shoulders you stand on put up with too much shit for you to sit up here and do the same.