Lately, I’ve been in a flux of realizations because I’ve been beating my brain of questions why..Why are some of my soon to be former coworkers trying to stay in touch with me? why do people tell me their business whey they don’t really know me? Why do some people get excited when they see me? and I hadn’t really thought about these ever until now I’m a week and some change out from leaving my job.
A few months ago I went to a meet up group. It had been the first time in my life where I actually went to socialize and the second time I actually attended a meetup. We were all there to discuss topics that were near and dear to my heart (Racial inequality and self love through it all) . Excited to attend, but in my life was so used to being the black sheep because I speak very openly and honestly about issues that bother me, I’ve always been this way and when he-who-shall-not-be-named won the presidential election I began talking very honestly about my fears of whats to come and very often. I had lost a lot of friends, but also turned out to be very very right on my predictions (more legalized racism and oppression). I speak honestly not because I want to shake the boat or to seek attention; I do it because I refuse to live in a world where I lie to myself about how things are really going in this country, I refuse to believe that I’m working class because I’m not trying hard enough, I refuse to believe that pointing a finger at myself all the time is the answer to all systemic issues that have been enacted in place long before I was born and will be here long after I’m gone. I speak honestly because I’ve seen the outcome of being silent and silence in discomfort benefits only the person who oppresses you. I speak up to protect others who are and aren’t like me. I have many more reasons why, but the reception isn’t usually the warmest. Simply because I’m a black woman who does so.
That usually pisses people off because how dare I, a black woman speak honestly about her oppression? How dare I know anything? How dare I speak of the duality of my oppression both dealing with racism and sexism. How dare I not snap my fingers and do a neck roll to make light of this situation? I’ve been called all sorts of names, I’ve been pushed out of all kinds of circles, and told “I’m divisive” So, with that being said. I was not expected to be actually be liked. Even as a young girl to adult I expected it. I would go to parties where I was picked on by other girls, told I was ugly by boys, and ignored by my so called friends. I would have deep conversations with my peers about how to make the world a better place only to be met with eye rolls or accuse of thinking I’m special or knowing too much. I’ve experienced parties where women wanted to fight me and I had no idea what their name was, never spoken to them in my life, and didn’t know why they wanted to fight. I just assumed that I was so hideous I was unworthy of respect or love.
I am so used to being disliked. 20+ years of it! the possibility of being liked never once occurred to me. Until, last semester. When I occasionally ran into classmates who I never really talked to .Whom looked excited to run into me. What the hell was going on? I just went back and forth with you last week in class about unconscious bias and assimilation. Yet, people were excited to see me and even some hugged me! Treated me as if I was an old friend! In the past few years I’ve never thought of myself as likable. I mean yes I’m cool with the homeless people on the street, the shoe shiner in the sky way, the convenient store clerks, the janitors, the delivery guys, and some of the attorneys at my job. Yes, I get a long with other people who work on other floors and talk television shows in the elevator on the way back up to work. Yes, I meet strangers and we hug like we were family after we’ve had deep discussions on the importance of love and support. And yes strangers have been confessing their sins to me since I was five even my enemies did so, but I never once though it equated to being liked.
That was until I attended a meetup. Usually I wait until a third or fourth date to spring out my anti bullshit attitude. I initially struggled to leave the house. Fearing that no one would possibly like me that I would not come out with a single friend, but for the first time in my life I didn’t care. I had a startling encounter a week or so prior in class that helped me determine that I was a brave person and many people were cowards. I had reached that point where I did not care if I was liked accepted. I ended up actually being liked. Which was the most unexpected experience. I talked to my therapist about it and she smiled. There I was scratching my head and wondering why? Why was I liked? I was only being myself.
Again, I didn’t have this realization until people I worked with whom I never really had conversations with wanted to keep in touch with me and wanted to do things with me!. I was beating my brain for a while on this one. Wondering why the hell are they inviting me to shit? Why the hell did they want to keep in touch? Suddenly a light bulb went off..I’m likable!! People don’t invite people they don’t like to things. They invite them to have deep conversations or want to help them by providing references if needed. I guess I have always been likable all along and this realization feels not only confidence boosting, but reaffirms that there are people out there for me after all… I just have to continue to stay true to myself.