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11.11.2009

Things We Don't Apologize For - Being Happy

I was going through some old e-mails yesterday and stumbled across one I had saved. It listed 25 things a black woman should never apologize for. I think they're things no one should apologize for and so I want to share them with you plus my own commentary.

The first one...

Never apologize for pursuing what makes you happy. Even if you need to quit your job, transfer schools, or move across country, always do what you really want.

There's a story I tell frequently when I discuss why I'm ready to go back to grad school. When I was 14 and in the 9th grade, my mother quit her job at a fairly stable snack cake company to go back to school. Everyone thought she was crazy. How would she afford my schooling? How would she afford her mortgage? Bills? What in the world, they wondered, was she thinking?

During that time, my mother told me that when she graduated from high school she had dreams of becoming a model. My mom could have(hell STILL could) absolutely been a model, but, she told me, no one encouraged that dream. It was pie-in-the-sky, baseless and not realistic. Instead, she left home and moved to New Jersey and worked in a plant there for a year. She hated the city she lived in so she moved back home for a while and then to a city where 4 of her brothers lived. She initially enrolled in college, but took a job working at a snack cake company; she intended to work for a few years and go back to school. 25 years, 1 daughter and many life changes later she finally went back. The lesson for me: what you are passionate about and what you desire to do with your life trumps all else. She admonished me to be sure that I followed my own passions, no matter what. "Don't wait, do it now" she said.

There's nothing easy about what my mom did. Plenty of people still think she made a mistake, but she knows she didn't. She knows it was time for her to quit worrying about what other people thought and start doing what she wanted to do. Good friends are important. It's nice to have people in your world who care about you and want what's best for you, but sometimes our friends allow their own insecurities to leak out into our space. We share things we want to do with them and instead of hearing the promise, they hear the fear they have for their own dreams and that's what they let come out instead of support.

My friends do things I fundamentally disagree with all the time; however, I try to be careful not to let the fact that it's not something I would do affect my support for it. When necessary, I point out my reservations, but I always try to emphasize that as long as it's safe for them, I support what they want to do. Sometimes, I find myself encouraging risks my friends don't actually want to take :).

I don't apologize for the things I want for myself or the way I want them and I try not to put the people I love in a position to have to do that either.

Tomorrow:
Never apologize for using proper English. Keeping it real doesn't mean speaking Ebonics.

Author's note: If you need one more reason to pursue what you want, check out OneChele's list of 5 Workplace Villains.

3 comments:

Shawnta said...

Good post! I agree; finding & actually doing something you want to do & enjoy is priceless.

I can tell already that I'm really going to enjoy tomorrow's post. ;-)

SpkTRUTH2Pwr said...

Great post. I can't agree with this more. Sometimes things that seem so critical are really temporal and excuses we use to limit ourselves are just that...excuses.

Akirah said...

Amen! I just want to be happy. I want you to be happy too.

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