YES! I CAN! I REALLY CAN!
Why do you talk like that?
You are so opinionated!
Do you ever wear dresses?
You always have something to say?
Women aren’t meant to be that tall.
You sound like a man.
Your expectations are unrealistic!
Your standards are too high!
This is how life is.
Without money you are going nowhere.
You don’t have a degree.
Look at yourself!
You need to lose weight!
Gosh! What are you eating? Who eats that anymore.
You are so loud!
Sit like a woman!
You are stupid like your mother.
What’s the point?
I prefer women who feel slightly intimidated by a man.
You can’t even keep up.
You are just one person what can you really do?
The list is endless. These are just a tip of the iceberg. People have said all sorts of things to me. Some of these were stated matter of fact or implied over the years and defined my perception of myself. Some may have been stated in a none threatening manner, and at times out of cautious optimism, but it shaped a self-perception of inadequacy. Soon enough after sufficient verbal beating, the noise won. And the noise shifted from an external bombardment to an internalized one which was more dangerous.
Who am I to want anything?
Who am I to believe I can amount to anything?
Who am I to make a difference?
You should be grateful they gave you a chance, you owe them.
I can’t make it on my own.
You don’t have a right to want anything. Take what you are given!
I felt inadequate and unworthy to want or pursue anything of my heart’s desire. My story is not unique it is the reality of every human being. We live in a society with constructs and belief systems. These belief systems may have been based on real experiences, tried and true. But the reality is, even though we live in a community we are unique in our own right. Society beats us into a mould which we genuinely do not fit in.
As I read Road Map each day, I realise just how much I can do, and how important it is to unlearn and re-define life as Rose. I have been meandering trying to define who I am and what I really want out of life. And I finally got a breakthrough yesterday. I finally felt like I had the permission to be me.
“PURSUE YOUR INTERESTS- NOT AN OCCUPATION”; the title of Chapter 8 spoke to me.
I can choose who I want to be based on my terms. From my interests, I can develop a life that is just for Rose. How cool is that? I need to pause a little longer to internalise that…
Wait! I have actual control of my destiny? MIND BLOW-ING!
It is one thing to hear this, it is another to internalise the power of these statements. When your existence has been dictated by school, extended family, government, a horrible boss, money, a job and the obligatory bill paying, it is hard to feel a sense of control when the external factors seem so strong.
Knowing that I can construct my reality and find fulfillment is just…well…POWERFUL. I need to digest this some more.
This song just came to me to celebrate this moment. Thank you, Jimmy Cliff!