I Absolutely Refuse To Be What Others Expect Me To Be

In Closing Out 2020 and All It Has Turned Out To Be...

I really got a chance to think about this year and the experiences throughout my lifetime. As if each year isn’t filled with adversity, change, uncertainty, and confusion, this year has been the proverbial “hot bed” of challenges. We are rounding the corner on the end of 2020, and it gives me an opportunity to recognize the value on my desire never to accept what others simply offer to you.

We talked about titles before. As women, we carry a mirage of titles, titles that covers our position at any given point in time. Mom, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Friend, Patient, Manager, Trainer, Teacher. I mean the list is endless. I have never wanted to shy away from the titles that were bestowed upon me especially not those titles I take the greatest comfort in.

As I peruse over the relationship with The Man and I, I can’t seem to recall every being his girlfriend, his fiancée, his Baby Mama….we have always just shared this knowing presence of one another without the need for a label. I think it was Steve Harvey in his book,” Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady” where Steve says “A man will profess, protect and provide…” Well, I don’t think I have ever not felt The Man’s desire to present the 3 Ps in our relationship. There was just never a clear label, but always a knowing presence of what we represent in each other’s lives.

I think the reason I tell this story is simply my desire to deny the labels and rules that have always been placed on my life as far back as I can remember. As if the roles defined the person within you. I was the little sister and because of that I wasn’t allowed to do some of the things other little girls were doing or expected not to be in that same realm. As the daughter, I was expected to adhere to specific standards outlined by my parents and within their realm of how a daughter should behave. As a student, I succumbed to others around me and followed that pattern of behavior. Then of course, there is the mother, the employer, the spouse….and so on. The list is endless and not necessarily a representation of who you are. These are titles that fit a certain standard of expectation needed to categorize what you are doing at those points in time. They don’t lessen your value or your importance, but they represent a role that needed to be filled at that specific stage in your life cycle. At least, that’s what it represented for me. In those roles, I found joy, happiness, acceptance, belief, and I was able to establish an ongoing standard for myself. You know, a base?

As I look back over the last 50 years or so, I think about those roles that were thrust upon me to satisfy the needs of others. Ultimately, some titles and roles were

representation of accomplishment…Suma Cum Laude, Director of Operations, Community Leader, Master’s Degree Recipient, etc. Although grand in sound with a sparkle of perseverance, they don’t necessarily provide the luster of my life. I mean, its all about someone else’s perception of who you are or who you should be.

I think the millennials are getting it right. Although slightly less glamorous in characteristically determined qualities (which is exactly my point), the millennials identify life differently, not fulfilled by the titles of their ancestors. They aren’t impressed with the “gold watch” story. The millennials don’t bend to the expectations of others but are able to openly display who they are without a filter designed by someone else’s opinion of them.

In closing out 2020 and all that it has turned out to be, I recognize what my expectations of the next half of my century will begin to look like. It’s just me. Unchained, unhindered, uncategorized, unexplained, and without limits. Now, I realize that is much simpler said than done. I know I have responsibilities that will often fall within line of those previous roles mentioned. That’s perfectly acceptable as I honor in my position in the lives of others. Therefore, those titles are acceptably exciting. This life. This beautiful space that we are sharing with one another is an opportunity to be without the limits of others. Regardless of what your space looks like right now, know, like I do that you have absolutely no boundaries that prevent you from being or doing or existing in any manner in which you choose and whatever manner that makes you feel your very best. Refuse to be what others limit you to be. I absolutely refuse.

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