Have you ever felt that who you are as a person is solely dictated upon where you are or who you’re with? Do you feel that at times it is mandatory for you to dim your light, not only for others to shine, but simply to be loved or maintain peace? It is a very visceral feeling to have who you are, and what you love, is indicted on a regular basis because you don’t fit the mold. Fit the mold of an ideal, family, community, denomination, religion, or expectation. This can lead to trauma and mental anguish because you aren’t free to be yourself. There can be an overwhelming feeling to sacrifice yourself on the alter of peace. To create a version of yourself that appeases the spaces necessary so that things can flow a bit better. Sistah that will only work for a season, if you can survive that long. There is a pressure that will begin to build; with every offense to your authenticity cracks will begin to form in that façade you’ve crafted.
Peace is not something that can be maintained with lies, and deceit. You nor I meant to lie to a soul nor deceive anyone…we just wanted to be loved and accepted in the spaces that mattered to us. The problem is the first person we lied to is self, and there is no love that can come from that. The people around you that encounter the false you won’t understand the pipes busting when your facade can no longer withstand the pressure of the lie you’ve created. There comes a time when you must defy what it means to behave if that will offend the nature of who you are at your core.
I’ve decided, and maybe you should consider it, I do not behave. Being what is considered a “behaved” woman is a kin to being put in a cage that clearly doesn’t allow growth. If one isn’t careful, while in that cage, you can lose track of who you really are. Heaven forbids the cage is within your marriage, because there is a risk that the union won’t survive your emancipation from that space. I remember questioning if I was capable of being loved, if intelligence would be the death of me, or does having a voice kill my womanhood/femininity. The question itself was completely out of line because it wasn’t coming from a place of prayer, nor self reflection. These concerns were book out of making men and women uncomfortable when being myself. How am I less of a woman for speaking truth? Why should I be ashamed of intelligence that I worked to earn? Why have I walked away from the things I love because I now see them as troublemakers in my life…verses the things that keep me liberated? I knew something was wrong when my spirituality was questioned, and I interrogated myself. Everything in my life appeared to flow correctly as long as I was silent…as long as my voice was on mute and my spirit along with it. How can I demand a respect from others that I don’t give myself? The hypocrisy of the day was my loving others in truth, and in their truth while not demanding the same for myself.
This will be uncomfortable, but you have hidden long enough. Don’t behave, be real. Realize that, after God, you owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself. Go back to the books you read, the music you love, the conversations that stimulate you…whatever is authentic to you. If you want to engage on a matter, and you know you are factual in the truth you speak stand by that position. Don’t let anyone from the spouse to the clergy and everyone in between shut up what God put on the inside of you. You have a right to walk in authenticity without the mind games of having things dear to you weaponized. Standing in up for yourself, or speaking truth to power, in a room of elder men or woman doesn’t make you less of a lady. Having a voice, personality, and mind of your own doesn’t make you led than [or out of your place] as a wife. Realize those are all smoke screens used to put you in a box that is nor of your making…and not for you. Don’t behave. Walk in your fullness everyday of your life bodly.
This post was previously published on ThySistas.
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