What does it mean to“come to yourself.” Or to be“woke”?
Airing Dirty Laundry
For Aunt Vi, in OWN’s Queen Sugar, when she asked her niece – Nola to “Come to herself” she meant in the simplest terms Don’t display your [family‘s] dirty laundry. In fact she implied, there was something wrong with telling what happened within their family, even if it meant helping others struggling with the same issue.
It’s more than hearing about a cancer diagnosis, a failing grade or a circumstance in which anything negative occurred. It’s more than saying “Oh, that’s so sad.” It is about understanding things on a different level.
I think it’s about trying to understand how can I use this, how can I learn from this, how can I grow, how can I help or move beyond what has just occurred to me or others. That my friend, is one of my greatest struggles.
I thought about this I was watching “Killer Curves: Bodies to Die For” on BET last night. There were several women explaining what they did to their bodies and how it nearly cost them their lives or at best how it was detriment to their health and what they learned from it.
What we do to ourselves is the result of how we see ourselves in our own mind. We can’t really let other people judge what’s good or bad for us! Click To Tweet What we do to ourselves is the result of how we see ourselves in our own mind. We can’t really let other people judge what’s good or bad for us! And even though the ladies (in Killer Curves) did this to themselves they didn’t anticipate the killer body they sought would go so horribly wrong.
First, let me applaud them for speaking up and sharing their experiences. To forewarn others about this is brave.
Second, too often we don’t share what we know. Sometimes it’s due to embarrassment or fear of shame. Other times, it’s not wanting to admit the real reason It happened. (What might your reason be?).
Third, this is a call to be conscious about what we think. It’s a call to understand how what we think connects to what we do.
Yes, Virginia, there are some things going on now that we can get mad about. If that anger does not move us to some sort of action – writing a letter, sending donations, calling our representatives, protesting or doing something to show concern about (wage gap, climate change, violence, mass incarceration, ignorance, etc) then that anger had no useful purpose.
As Marianne Williamson said “There’s a lot to be depressed about and just taking a pill won’t take care of it.” There is a reason we are depressed and anxious. We can’t just get rid of a symptom, we’ve got to get to the root of the problem.
And if we can’t make it better for ourselves, at least we can make it better for the next generation.
Up And Down
Maybe it’s like Aunt Vi said on Queen Sugar “[Sometimes when we get so caught up in living our paycheck-to-paycheck lives, we just don’t know what to do when things get better for us.]”
And that ‘better’ can be more time, money or happiness. I know that better shouldn’t change our perspective that much. Maybe it should expand our capacity for doing good.
We have got to stop thinking I don’t deserve it or I need more or I need to look better or I need to lose weight (okay, that one I do need – decrease cancer reoccurrence, etc). Anyway, I don’t need to change my hair color (at least not lately). But I don’t need to do anything to make myself acceptable to others. All that matters is how I feel about me and if I want to change, I’m changing for me.
Let’s not kill ourselves to look good for others. I know I need to watch what I put on my skin, what I eat, control what I see and how I spend my TIME!
Yes, there are things I can’t control. I’m sure exercise, drinking plenty of water, loving God, my family and friends aren’t among those things. There are things I must say and do that only I can do to make a difference in this world. “I can only do that…” my husband reminds me, “if I take care of myself first.”
“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” Maya Angelou