In exactly twenty-nine years you’re going to find yourself at the middle of a mess that you unwillingly helped to create… You’re going to be the topic of a discussion about women on a national level that won’t be one of your proudest moments. And as large as your life may be at that time, the truth is that you’re going to feel painfully small.
You’ll look through the rearview mirror of your life and see a mountain of mistakes. You’ll realize that although it appears that you’re living out a dream, your seven year old self could never picture this near nightmare at thirty-six. You’ll remember the days when you drowned out the fighting and drama in your own house and the negativity of the women you loved who ultimately shape who you will become. You’ll recall the moments when you sat in front of the television each day after school in search of someone positive and found Oprah and wondered if people like her would ever be a part of your life, or if you’d always have the jaded ones you watched on Jerry Springer.
You’ll make no excuses for your actions, as a matter of fact, you’ll find yourself in tears at the Ah-ha moment Star Jones forces you to have. Beyond what you’ll initially perceive as a malicious attack by Star, lives a hard truth that will shake you to your core. YOU are the little girl, she’s talking about. And it hadn’t dawned on you the effects that your grown-up actions were having on the next generation of little ones who watch negative and abusive moments unfold on television.
It’ll take the moment when you see and hear your future step-daughters pretending to be “you” after watching you behave badly on T.V., that you’ll actually feel real shame. Knowing that the self image they were imitating was the very ‘image of self’ you will so desperately try to escape. In utter embarrassment you’ll find yourself explaining your unacceptable behavior to them, reaching for the imprint of encouragement felt by Star, Oprah, our First Lady Michelle Obama and other positive women of color that have gone before you and that are prayerfully standing behind you…encouraging you…willing you to stand in the space God will so graciously provide for you.” It’ll be the wakeup call you need.
Until now, you’d never put a race, or face or even an age to the eyes that idolize you or see you as an example: be it good or bad. And although, conscious now, you’ll carry the fear of failure with you each second because deep down, you’ll realize that you yourself had never been taught better.
I cannot promise you perfection, Mija. I cannot say that overnight, I’m going to get it right every time. What I will promise you is that I will always remain conscious that little eyes like yours are watching me and because of that, I will try to be better.
Learning To Love You More,