Take a seat, and let’s talk about insecurities. Let’s also talk about how people impose their own insecurities on others. Get ready, y’all; this story is eye-opening.
I was in the 3rd grade, and my aunt picked me up to take me to her house. I always got excited to go to any of my cousins’ homes as a kid.
I sat in the back seat of the car with my sister, enjoying the ride. The ride seemed like an hour (it was only like 30 minutes; time seems longer when you’re young). We bopped our heads to the WBLS old school R&B jams.
My aunt turns down the music to make conversation midway through our journey to her house. She says in a hard Haitian accent, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. She takes a glimpse at the rearview mirror to glance at us.
My sister shrugs (She usually shrugged when she was younger). My sister didn’t speak when she wasn’t too fond of the person. She usually only talked up a storm when she was around people she was comfortable with.)
“Come on, talk to me,” my aunt says.
“A teacher, I guess,” she responds quietly. I could tell my sister was perfectly fine, only listening to the music and not making small talk. (WE BOTH HATE SMALL TALK TO THIS DAY)
“Oh, that’s good, that’s good. And about you, Rachel?” She says, amplifying her voice. I know she was expecting me to make more conversation (“And about you” is how some Haitians say how about you).
I fix myself to sit up taller in the seat of the car and perk up my chest and pride and say, “A Lawyer or a Businesswoman.”
She starts to laugh and mimics what I say (I was unsure what was funny).
“You can’t be a lawyer or a businesswoman. You are a BLACK WOMAN. No one is going to trust you with their money or their issues. Just go to school for nursing or be a teacher like your sister.”
Suddenly, I sink back into my seat, and my once perked up chest deflates. In my head, I was thinking. I CAN do it. I’ll show you! I also felt a sense of hurt and shame in myself, my abilities, my gender, and of course, my race. I felt so shut down that I couldn’t speak. My dreams crushed; I AM ONLY A 3RD GRADER!
I, a little black girl, was advised by another black woman not to do something due to the limits of my gender and color. Needless to say, this stuck with me forever. I continued to live my life with doubt in my abilities and my goals. It always went back to that moment. I remember the day of “You Can’t,” a lucid memory that I often speak on.
I know you’re most likely super angry at my aunt for saying this. But I, for one, am not. As black women, our elders sometimes say things to project their own insecurities on to us. They did not have the tools or the ability to sort through their own shit. That’s when it falls on us, and we inherit some of that baggage (generational curses).
I am trying to unlearn this myself. If I faced failure in an experience, it doesn’t mean it will be the same experience for another person. Imposing your own insecurities on another person can leave an imprint so deep. It can have such lingering impacts on their future. So, it’s best to SHUT UP!
As I go through this journey called womanhood, I will uplift future generations of younger girls. There is value in speaking life into the younger generation. Of course, we should continue to hold them accountable, so they learn. Yes, it’s okay to talk about the truth and be real with them, but do not shatter their dreams.
Let’s use our voices to speak security and not reflect our own insecurity.
2 thoughts on “The Tale of the Naysayer”
𝚐𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚝 𝚌𝚘𝚗𝚝𝚎𝚗𝚝! I am proud of you. You write so freely. It’s refreshing! I am definitely tuned in.
Thank you I hope you come back for more!