I’ve missed two essays now. I’m trying not to focus too much on that aspect and just keep telling myself that if I can just sit still long enough to write, it’ll all be worth it.
In the past two weeks some major things have occurred in my life. One: I’ve left the bank. Two: I’ve started driving Lyft again. Three: I’ve interviewed for and gotten a job pending a background check based on a referral (who you know; someone who kept a promise). Four: I’ve taught 5 cooking classes and enjoyed every moment of each. Five: A suspended relationship came to a head and an end in the matter of a day and half. This latter and the foremost items have held me captive and silent. Because what if they find out how miserable I was at the bank smiling everyday? And what if this person finds out that I’ve written about my experience with her?
Today I came clean. My silence was not protecting me. In order to come clean I cleaned house. Because of the business, I had been accepting friendship requests haphazardly to be able to communicate with folks and complete business transactions. What this led to was my silencing because I didn’t want to offend anyone. So tonight, I cleaned my FB friend list. Made a bunch of people acquaintances and deleted 700 people. There were folks on there who had requested me and never said a word to me. What I realized as I cleaned house was that I really truly only have a solid handful of friends who I’d like to share my life with. I was accused of sharing too much and being off-putting or making others feel obligated to help me so I left my house with only those who truly had proven year after year to care about my well-being, who would reach out and give me what they could or share that they couldn’t but would pray for me or introduce me to others. My aunt used to tell me I had given orchestra seats to everyone and some people need not even be in the theater, so tonight I refused entry to a lot of people. I am toying with the idea of creating a work profile but then I think that’s what Linkedin is for, no?
People are selfish, myself included. People are petty, present company takes front seat. People are racist and sexist and all the ist out there. People know how to shame others and make them feel guilty for the very things that are part and parcel of who they are. People like to tell us about ourselves. They know how to lay on the guilt and spread the shame and for most people they do this without thinking of the human being on the receiving end. What would happen if for one moment we chose to think how our actions would affect the other person instead of our own displeasure or discomfort with telling the truth, voicing our limitations? What if we put ourselves in their shoes? What if we were honest with ourselves and with each other? Would we all have a better experience at doing life? On the flip side, my therapist has been telling me that I am one of the most self-aware and honest people she has ever known and that most people are not there yet or will probably never get there so maybe I need to cut them some slack.
A week ago Friday someone I thought was a friend said something rather unpleasant to a potential client. Luckily for me this client came clean and shared the details. It made me feel worse because the supposed friend had chosen to tell another white woman about me, the Black woman, instead of voicing her displeasure to me directly, probably assuming her fellow white woman would keep her secret. The biggest question I’ve been sitting with for the past week is #why? Why would anyone be malicious when all I had done was be myself? Why would anyone think it was ok to hurt another human being like this? But today I came to the conclusion that I was not seen. I was a service provider and that was it. I didn’t deserve the courtesy of feedback, especially an honest one. I didn’t deserve critique for better or worse.
People keep telling me not to have expectations of people, particularly of White people. They will always let you down, they tell me. I have chosen to ignore this rhetoric and welcome everyone until proven wrong but that means I get hurt so often because in reality, my elders are right; they do let you down. But sometimes I ponder if they let me down any more than my Black siblings do. It’s hard to live in a world where no one carries expectations of the other. How does that work? If I function this way then none of the rejections we’ve had come our way since we started this business 20 months ago mean anything because people were bound to let us down anyway so why would we “expect” them to keep their word. Shaking on something with a Black person probably means little to them. I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt only to have my elders’ words proved right.
A close friend of mine told me about the impermanence of things and getting attached to things that will pass away inevitably. Like this pain and regret for trusting yet another white person. She explained that if all things will pass away then it makes no sense to let it consume us as much as it usually does. I think as true as this is, it’s still difficult to live by it because we as humans are conditioned a certain way. Will my non-attachment prevent me from this feeling right now?
Expect nothing and you won’t be hurt. How does that work, y’all?