Does It Count if We Didn’t Suffer?

I’m having a moment that I’d like to unpack with ya’ll. So I’m reading some Iyanla because…well, shit if you don’t know WHY I’m reading Iyanla, you better ask somebody. Ok, so like I said, I’m reading some Iyanla and I come across this passage:

I had trained myself to push up the mountain rather than take the lift. Things only counted if I suffered.

-From “Peace from Broken Pieces”

These words rattled me; something was tapped into, and it got my brain going. I paused and ran through the highlight reel of what I consider my achievements: my babies, my faith, my degree, my work. I’m proud of these, but I absolutely “suffered” for these. In one way or another, often in multiple ways at once, I had to bear down, claw away, melt down and build back up before I reached these goals. But after really considering Iyanla’s words, I asked myself, do I own achievements or successes that didn’t leave scars on of my soul? Can I just accept and enjoy a straight shot to yes, an easy win?
I feel like my identity as a black woman is a multitude of smaller identities, a living collage at once warped and perfect. As I walk through my internal museum, I gaze at their faces, feel their pulses, try on their dreams. And I am struck by the one who speaks to me most often: the Principal. She is connected and responsible for it all; she controls and even overrides every string on the puppet. The Principal is the warrior, the constant, and unfortunately, she can be the most negative. She’s the spiteful heifer who reminds me that only hard-fought wars are worth recognizing. What is that?! Propaganda tells me and mine we must fight for our right for every damn thing: equal pay, respect, dignity, the hair do I want, the right shade of makeup, my children protected, honesty without retaliation. However, it’s been my unwise choice to accept and live in to that crap. Even more, I think it reinforces that rule of Black folks having to be twice as good to get half the acknowledgement or accolades. Yes, there’s only so much push back we can do until the power quotient shifts, BUT I’m talking about the way in which I can posture myself to “take the lift,” as Iyanla puts it. My heart simply can’t sustain a reality that doesn’t feed it. My mind is chock full of tasks, obligations, worries and purpose. Unfortunately, many of my pursuits are driven by a defiance, and desire to prove “them” wrong, and power up the mountain. That leaves my heart in need though; for my heart’s purpose doesn’t have a damn thing to do with what I have to overcome. It has everything to do with what I already am, the light I choose to step into. I am honoring the gift of this life by elevating my heart over my head; letting my soul control the day’s agenda instead of advancing in the name of exceptionality. Frankly, our exceptionality is a fucking given, and the assholes that don’t get that become less and less important to me. The jacked up part is that those are the imbeciles that often sign our paychecks. Another not-so-gentle reminder to get ours and raise up our own, amass our social and economic voice.
I can’t wrap this one up in an organized way. I don’t have any encouraging final words. I want to resist the pathology of struggle though, at least not where it’s necessary. Hell, not everything needs to be Women of Brewster Place or Color Purple, right? Our trials do make for amazing stories, but they are NOT our only stories.
Let’s take the lift, ya’ll.



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