Shout out to the days when I was younger and NOT easily influenced. Like that time in middle school when all of my friends got drunk and then decided to go on a walk and got arrested. I decided to walk to see my mom at the hair salon instead. But, this wasn’t always the case. Even though I was raised to make good choices and I most often did, I was also unknowingly being taught by society that sometimes I didn’t have a choice or a voice.
I like to think I had a really good head on my shoulders as a kid and young adult, but in many cases I was very easily influenced and not much of a leader, so I didn’t know how to stick up for myself and make those smart choices. Or, I thought I didn’t have a choice because people were telling me that I didn’t.
This played into my life a lot when people would tell me what I had to put up with, especially as a young adult.
I was in a long term relationship from the age of 16 until I was 23. Somewhere along that road we grew in different ways and things got rough. I was 22 years old and had just moved across the country with my then boyfriend to start our life together. Marriage was in the talks. We had been together for so long, it just seemed like we had to do all of these things as the next steps in our lives.
I clearly remember his mom driving me around one day when she was visiting and telling me about the things I would have to put up with if I married her son. Things like, sometimes he may want to go get a massage and be offered a “happy ending” and that should be ok. Or, sometimes he may want to go out with co-workers to a strip club after work and that should be ok. After this relationship obviously failed, I was in another relationship with a heavy drinker (can you say rebound?). A co-worker would tell me that her husband drank a lot and would do ridiculously unacceptable things (in my opinion) and that should be ok. I have had friends tell me that I have to let my significant other watch pornography. That I’m the one in the wrong for thinking pornography isn’t good. I’ve had friends upon friends talk so much garbage about each other and bully each other so bad and they all would tell me (you got it), that should be ok. I have been told in the work place that I should be ok with sexual harassment, or that what was happening wasn’t sexual harassment, even though it sure felt like it. That’s just how things are and it should be ok! It always amazes me as a young woman what we are told we should put up with. My list could go on and on.
I have often in my life let things go too far when people are telling me it should be ok and deep down within myself I clearly know these things are NOT OK! It’s a culture that our society has made and it is unacceptable to teach our daughters that they should put up with anything that they are not ok with. I hope I can instill in my daughter that she does have a voice and it is perfectly ok to use it, especially at her first instinct that something isn’t quite right. So, pay attention to your inner voice. Stick up for yourself and what you know is right. I am a work in progress in this matter.
And with all that said, I leave you with a quote from Oprah because I know I need to pay attention to the whispers.
“I say the Universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers.
And a whisper in your life usually feels like…
“Hmm, that’s odd.”
Or, “hmm, that doesn’t make any sense.”
Or, “hmm, is that right?”
It’s that subtle. And if you don’t pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder.
I say it’s like getting thumped upside the head.
If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head.
You don’t pay attention to that, the brick wall falls down.
That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people’s lives.”