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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectPersonal Freedom
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=5901&mesg_id=5952
5952, Personal Freedom
Posted by Nettrice, Sat Mar-01-03 08:52 AM
I was messing with my supervisor (an older Black man) when I told him I had to leave early because I had a "date". In fact, my date was with the eleven year old girl I mentor but I left out the details. The supervisor said, "You need to get permission from us before going on a date." He was waiting on a reaction. I just shook my head at him like I was admonishing a child. 'Nope, I'm not going there with you.'

This old fogey thinks it's okay to joke around that way but looks stunned or confused everytime I do something that doesn't fit his perception. He acts like the concerned father when it looks as if I am doing my own thing (being entreprenuerial). He calls it spreading myself too thin. I call it not putting all my eggs in one basket. He seeks control of me as far as my work. I decided to break out but not in reaction to his intentions. My life is not a reaction to his perceptions.

I use this story to say that although I encounter sexism (and racism) almost everyday, only I choose how to live my life. I've decided not to live it in reaction of my male (and often female) peers.

It's starts with that first attention, that first message we get when we are babies/children. Then, it becomes a war against negative perceptions for the freedom to use our minds and bodies, for the freedom to be the architects of our own lives, and design the lives of our dreams. My earliest message was that I had no chance to succeed. Like my father's mother, I was expected to get "knocked up" by age 15. I also learned that Black people did not do well outside of the neighborhood/family, esp. around white people. I was taught to fear white people and limit my prospects. My first attention was mental poison.

In order to transform my perceptions and my life I decided to transmute what I call mental poison by the power of intention into intelligence by simple stating I will use the poison as fuel to do something different, to break my domestication that kept my enslaved by fear.

The Newsweek article(s) is bullshit. The whole premise is that by choosing to ascend, Black women are making themselves unworthy of love (marriage, motherhood). It submits that ascension makes Black women unlovable and undesirable.

Personal freedom is often viewed as selfishness as far as Black women are concerned. With the first attention we learn from the external world through all the cues sent our way, to learn what is acceptable or standard. With our second attention we choose what to accept or believe and we can choose to toss all the garbage out. We live in the same world as before but the difference is we can choose what to believe or what not to believe.

At some point in my young life, I decided that my father's messages were poison but then my whole world expanded and it included lots of other men's (and women's) negative opinions. If these people call me by my name I look to see that they want from me. Those people tell me what they want or expect and if I am interested or agree then I am there. If they call me out of my name or I am not interested then I detach and put my energy into other things, go another direction.

Black women have a right to decide on their path and not follow what is accepted just because they fear they will be unloved or not accepted. Love begins within. Low self-worth is often at the source of our emotional pain but we can transform ourselfs through intention, attention, action and repetition.

If you tell me that the only way to receive my father's love (for example) is to agree with his poison then I will tell you to go to hell. I love myself more than that. I know my worth and I've chosen to live my life on my own terms, damn the consequences. There are no regrets...not about my hair, my lifestlye or my career.