these hills are mine, green
mounds of love bearing burdens
of a lost people
these hills are mine, green
mounds of love bearing burdens
of a lost people
About two years ago I found myself overwhelmed and over-extended. I had too many activities, and not enough time. I had leadership roles in everything, including as Chair of the Board of Directors for a large non-profit organization in my town. This dilemma was complicated by the fact that I didn’t really like the people I was surrounded with, and it was pretty clear that a number of them didn’t like me. So, over the course of the last two years. . . I’ve quit.
I quit the Board. I didn’t step down as chair- I quit the entire thing. After being harassed, and bullied by the president of the organization, who refused to work equitably with me, and insisted upon treating me as though I were an incompetent child, I left. ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS I MADE LAST YEAR.
You know why? Because by letting go of those things that didn’t serve me, I opened up the room in my life for the things that DO serve me.
I discovered yoga. Rather than spend my time working on projects with people who aren’t pleasant, I’m working on my business plan, and toward starting my own business. I can focus better at my day job, free from the craziness of constantly running around to meetings. I have time to practice yoga, and spend my precious Saturdays with my baby girl, rather than sit in meetings where I endure passive aggressive comments, one-upmanship, cattiness, and leave mad.
I joined an organization that my mother and grandmother joined before me. I now have another connection to my mom and Grandma that is very special to me. I attend meetings and do community service with my mom, and I get to work with mature, professional women, who are encouraging and appreciative of my contributions.
Sometimes, the best way to connect to the things that are truly important to you is to identify those things that do not serve you and get rid of them. Just like that. Quit that group you hate. Walk away from that job that is causing you health problems. Stop speaking to that toxic ass “friend” who is always trying to see what you have going on so they can hate; or who draws you into gossip.
What’s keeping you from living a life you enjoy? Do any of you have activities or people in your life that may be keeping you from making the meaningful connections that can really improve your quality of life? How are you coping, and have you thought about just quitting? Sometimes, the answer is just that simple.
Leave the bad relationship.
Quit the bad job.
Drop the negative friend.
Pull back from activities where the environment is toxic.
When you make room for the things that honor your true self, you raise your vibration. The universe can’t help but to respond to that. Like attracts like. So, if you were waiting for permission to get out. . . here it is. DROP IT. No need to have long drawn out conversations about why. When your body, and mind tell you that something is not good for you. Listen.
And let it go. . .
Lady in Yellow
Walking to Shawnee park, avoiding cars, unsupervised
Running to get the merry go round to go really really fast
Fleeing neighborhood dogs
Purchasing candy, (or a hamburger) from Andy’s-which is no longer there
I remember walking around campus with my beautiful mother. I thought everyone’s mom was called Doctor.
I didn’t drink koolaid. No sugar in my cereal
Just hamburgers and milk- and chocolate chip cookies…
My dream for you is
The sky is the limit, and
beyond my darling
(c) Lady in Yellow 2016, All rights Reserved
I had a bad day. (I know. . .it’s been that type of year.)
I got angry, and wanted to quit. But, after speaking with my mom, I realized . . . it was just a bad day.
I am here for a purpose. I often think it’s crazy how I got to my current position. I find myself constantly surrounded with people who are “officially smart.” (And know it. . . and don’t want anyone to forget it.) Those who do what I do generally had the best grades in law school, and were real standouts.
Not, the girl who just gets by academically, (at least my first year- my grades improved significantly after that, but the funny thing about law school is that your whole trajectory is often determined in your first semester, and cemented by the second) spending her free time with her boyfriend and at the school’s dance studio, taking all the dance classes she can fit into her schedule.
I was literally Elle Woods from Legally Blonde (minus the blonde, privileged, sorority life- and the good grades in law school)- I woke up one morning, decided I was going to law school, and then, I went. I had no idea what I was getting into, or really, what I was going to do. That lack of focus followed me into my first year, and the results were less than stellar- but nonetheless I finished law school, graduated, and started a job as an assistant prosecutor in my hometown.
So, here’s my point. We don’t always know why we are doing the things we feel compelled to do. Sometimes, along the way we find ourselves having REALLY bad days, having to re-adjust our goals and our focus, and we may ask ourselves, why am I here? Why am I doing this? Well, I believe we are where we are for a reason. That everything comes together for our good and for us to cement our purpose here on earth.
Literally, every experience that I have had from law school- including the experience of not getting great grades, has served to help me help another person. I can explain to students that I know what it’s like to study really hard, and still struggle- and how I overcame that experience. I used to explain to clients that I understand what it’s like to make a stupid decision- and look up and realize the consequences took me down a road that I never anticipated- where I hurt others- and was called to the carpet to atone for my actions. I can look back to where I was, and where I am now, and realize that I never imagined that this is where my life would take me- but I am so blessed and fortunate for it all.
So, I’m still finding my purpose. But, I move forward optimistically, and with flexibility- on purpose. I purposely strive to be a better me- every single day. Even on bad ones. . .
Lady in Yellow
I am not less than because you violated me.
What once was freely given now drily observed and consumed
I have no voice, screams dissolve in deaf ears, muted by rough hands and a baritone voice making it known that resistance is futile
I am not less than, but I am not the same.
Forever stained with the knowledge
that my will is not enough
my no is not enough
my heartbreak is not enough to stop hands that would take from me that which is most sacredly mine to give.
I am not less than because I tried to pretend it did not happen, going through motions until I collapse under the shame and pain- the gargantuan weight of the memory
of rough hands that would take
that which is not yours to consume.
-Lady in Yellow
(c) Lady in Yellow, 2016, All rights reserved.
What makes me angry?
I’ve lost weight. I practice yoga three or four times a week, sometimes at the studio, sometimes at home. People started commenting, “you look good! What are you doing? ” “Yoga” I would say. “Lots of it, you should try it, it’s awesome.” (I was a yoga convert, fully engaged in my yoga evangelism. Yoga for everyone!!!! ) Often the person would smile and say, “ok.” Or, “I tried yoga back in the day.” But, too often, the response is, “Stop losing weight.” My response:
Excuse me? I like my body. I like myself big, and I like myself small. I’m at a healthy weight for my somewhat petite frame. My clothes look good on me. I’m not dieting. I split oreos with my two year old,(and I shouldn’t but you see, she likes the icing and I like the cookie, and we fit together perfect like that, me and my Nay) more often then I should. I drink Dr. Pepper every. single. day. I do not, and have never counted calories- even when I was at my biggest.
And that paragraph above? That right up there. . . is a part of the problem too. Why do I have to explain to someone who does not pay my bills, medical or grocery, about my own body? Why do I have to justify my body to my “friends.” Look, when I was bigger, people would make fun of me- sometimes outright, but mostly little comments and digs. They would comment on an old picture that I don’t look like I used to, (all skinny and stuff), or they would make subtle digs to imply that I wasn’t as fine as I thought I was. . . (like I said, I think I’m sexy regardless of my size. . . can’t tell me nuffin). . .
Now that I’ve lost weight I’m still getting digs, “When are you going to stop losing weight?” “Why are you losing weight?” “Don’t lose any more weight.” And it’s really ticking me off.
Why is it okay to comment on another woman’s body to their face? No, really? Why is it okay to say to a bigger woman, “You need to lose weight. You aren’t healthy.” I’ve seen it happen- in public. Why is it okay to say to a smaller woman, “Don’t lose anymore weight.”” Why are you getting so skinny? ”
And the commentary doesn’t stop with weight. Before I was married I was constantly asked, “when are you going to get married?” Then, we married, and I was constantly asked, “when are you going to have a baby?” and, “Dang, Bunmi, You don’t have any kids yet?”, Then I had a baby, and now its, “When are you going to have another baby? You know you need to give Nay a sibling.”
My sweet, sweet girl gets the ownership thing right. She is quick to tell you, “No, my hair.” When she doesn’t want her hair touched, and “No, my hand.” when she doesn’t want her hand held. She will not kiss you just because you ask. She will not hug you just because you ask. She will not speak just because you speak to her. (Okay, I’m working on the last one. . That’s just rude. . but baby girl knows herself, and what she’s about, and she ain’t studying most of y’all.)
She is just learning that she is her own person, and that she doesn’t have to sacrifice her body or feelings just because someone else would prefer it. She speaks up for herself, but I wonder, how long until she gets the message that as women, in this country, our bodies are not really our own?
You see, in our culture, women are constantly placed on pedestals of scrutiny. Not only are people who are relative strangers often comfortable commenting on a woman’s weight, appearance, or intelligence, women are often judged and admonished for the choices we make.
Wear a short skirt and something bad happened to you- You shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt. You are advertising-What can you expect?
Wear a hijab- You’re being oppressed! How dare they make you cover your hair!
There is a lady I follow on instagram-Amber the Activist. Amber was traveling in South Africa to raise awareness about rape, and invited a “friend” to take a shower with her. That “friend” raped her. The response- How dare you take a shower with a man, and then complain of rape!!! You don’t have the right!!!
So, rather than condemn her rapist, she is blasted for her choices. As a woman, how dare she believe that she is free to be herself, and to have a non-sexual consensual nude encounter with another person. I say, what the hell is wrong with society?
Why can’t women be free? Free to be whatever weight I want. Free to love whoever I want. Free to be free from unwanted touch and commentary about our bodies and choices?
Have you had this experience? What’s the loving way to deal with someone’s overt judgments about your body, or your decisions?