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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Power of OKAY

Last month I learned the word Okay. Yea it sounds stupid but it was a meaningful occurrence. Since I was a child I always had people telling me what to do, what to think, how to do things, what my preferences should be, etc. I was always quiet, respectful and listened even though at my core I wanted to rebel. It didn't matter who these "authority figures" were in my life. I always wanted to say "fuck you and the way you do things". One time I took my mother's dark red lipstick and wore it in the 3rd grade. I wasn't a fool to walk out the house with it on, I put it on when I got there. Mrs. Kantro immediately looked at me with a furrowed brow and said "Michelle, we don't wear that in here, please go to the sink and take it off". I was pissed, like "how dare she...who the fuck does she think she is telling me what to do?". Again not foolish enough to say it or act on my temperature rising, I walked over to the sink and took it off.

I'm not sure when enough became enough, but it was like overnight I didn't give a fuck about what anybody thought anymore. I said whatever I wanted to say and did whatever I wanted to do but within strategic reasoning. If I was talking to family members I was never disrespectful but I always made my point. I always had the last word. I was 13 years old with bursting hormones and emotions. My body was a dime, my father had passed the year before and my mother was so strict you couldn't even sit outside on the stoop by yourself. I couldn't go anywhere. I started making my point across by her telling her that if it's lies she wants from me, it's lies that she'll get. A bold and daring statement I always gave as the advice to my friends. Kids will do whatever they want anyway, and you will be the last to find out. I was doing her a favor by telling her that because that's the last thing a West Indian parent wants to hear from others. Nobody wants to be the last to find out and to be lied to all along, much less people talking about how you don't even know what's going on in your own house. So I made my story simple. If I say I want to go to the movies, then don't make me tell you some BS story about how I have a project and I have to go to the library. There we reached a mutual understanding...we had to trust one another. There is where I gained autonomy.

Later on, I became so disgruntled for a variety of reasons. I didn't even care to get to that mutual understanding with people. I said what I had to say, I argued back, got into confrontations. I was aggressive with words even if they weren't expletives. Last month my blood boiled in a situation which might be considered trivial, and I started working my mouth again. When I spoke to a friend, she asked me why I couldn't just say okay and do what I want. I don't even know why. I don't know why I have to explain, and confront, and assert myself so much, but that thought never crossed my mind. If you want to keep a good relationship with people sometimes you do have to just shut up and say okay. That's the bottom-line. It took me 27 years to learn that lesson that when another situation arose, I just said okay and moved along. I have to work on my girls, because I see it in them as well. Not everybody is going to understand you, or even try. So just say OKAY.