Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Would Have Been Burned at the Stake

I'm pretty sure that if I lived during any other time in history I would have been burned at the stake. Of course that's not something I'm proud of, but I realize that I've never been the one to sit demurely in a corner and let a man make decisions for me. I remember when my husband Lynn and I got married I struggled with the teachings from the pulpit suggesting that I had to submit. It was just something I could not do because I had an image of having to sit passively in the corner as he made all of the decisions for me. Boy did I have it wrong! I tried that for maybe five minutes and Lynn saw that I was about to bite my tongue off because I just had to say something. Finally with Lynn's help I realized that being submissive wasn't about giving my power away but it was about understanding that as the husband he covered this family and allowing him to do so.
As a young black girl raised by a single mom I was instructed to always use the intelligence God gave me and to never put myself in a position where I was dependent on anyone else. I shudder at the thought of what could have happened to me if I had not learned at any early age to speak up for myself (and others) and to question those things that just did not sit right with me. Although Lynn and I are raising our children together, I've paid special attention to the messages we've sent our daughters. I've told both Tai and Lyndsay to always speak their minds and to feel comfortable going against the grain. I've told them that their bodies belong to no one else and if they wish to tattoo and pierce every inch of it that is their right, but thankfully they have not chosen to do so. I've also told them that a marriage is supposed to be a partnership. Just because they are female doesn't mean that they have to wait around for someone to take care of them. They may or may not choose to work outside of the home when and if they marry but what I'm referring to is about so much more than an occupation. It's about living their lives and fulfilling their dreams and not waiting for the approval or permission of a man.
One of my favorite quotes is "well behaved women seldom make history." Throughout history it's been the bad-asses that have spoken up for equal rights. It is these women who gave the finger to the establishment who we remember.

"Ain't I woman?" asked Sojourner Truth.
"So what I'm poor and black.Watch me build a dream on a city dump, educate others and advise some of the most powerful men in our country," said Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
"I cant fly where?" inquired Amelia Earhart.
"I'm going to tell my story because I don't like the way you're trying to tell it," said Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Terri McMillan.
"Heck no I'm not giving you my seat," proclaimed Rosa Parks.

When I'm gone, I want my girls (and my son) to remember me as fearless. I want them to know that I used every moment of my life trying to make a difference. Thankfully they won't have to watch me burning on a pyre to realize that I was like my mother, and her mother, and her mother before her. Women who weren't afraid to ignite a fire.

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