I had a great discussion (and run) with a former colleague turned friend. She’s going through a divorce, and although it’s been difficult, she’s realizing just how unhappy she was and that she was always making excuses for her should-be partner.
It struck me how angry she is with herself. She knew for decades – decades – that she wasn’t happy with her husband, but she justified the problems and continued to shape her life around his. She convinced herself it was good enough.
It seems like too many women, especially women of color, are just too accepting. Even before we’re born, stretching back for centuries, we’re held to a lower standard. We’re told that we’re pretty for a black girl or smart for a Latina girl or whichever form of degradation the pitiful observer chooses to share with us. I have been told you’re … for a black girl several times from teachers, peers, and men, and they all really think it’s a compliment! Then, of course, we have the onslaught of conflicting media messages to sort through. Add in a general lack of healthy relationships in our community, and we end up making excuses and settling for whatever, and whoever, makes us the least miserable.
It may sound selfish, but we need to think more about what we want, believe that we deserve it, then put in the effort to get it. Whether it’s a career, a mate, friend, or a dream, thoughts like “It’s ok because…” or “I’m happy but…” or “Maybe one days things will…” or “I can’t…” need to be controlled and changed.
My friend and I talked about women supporting each other, and ways we can help empower young girls from explicitly talking about goals/relationships to different groups that work with girls in Boston. (From what I see – our future is dimming daily). It’s good to know some other women struggle with these issues, too, and to be more conscious about what I’m allowing in my life.