Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Be Bold

She told me to be bold. I’d reached out to her for a bit of advice in navigating a professional matter. It was pertaining to a workshop I’d been asked to facilitate and when the conference organizers sent me a deal letter to confirm my participation, there was no mention of payment or even an honorarium. Trust me, I know I should have inquired about payment earlier in our discussions, but I didn’t and I’m trying to figure out why?

Most who know me, would probably think my needing to be reminded to be bold is a bit funny, because for the most part, I am pretty bold... forthcoming… frank, etc., but if I’m really honest, I am much more at ease when advocating on someone else’s behalf, rather than for my own. Somehow along the way I’ve gotten very good at identifying and staying well within some perceived parameters. I’m coloring within my own life’s lines, not rocking the boat. I can see now this is where I need to do a lot of self-work.

It may be a woman thing, or even a Black woman thing; because we are often taught/conditioned to take care of everyone else first and place ourselves at the very bottom of the totem pole. My parents didn’t overtly teach me this, but I learned by my mother’s example. She too often went without or put her own self-interest on the back burner to accommodate either my dad or me. She now sees me following this same pattern, calls me on it and tries to set me straight. It’s not always easy.

Now I recognize a boldness in Miss Olivia and I love it. I want to teach her to trust and follow her own voice. I witnessed her boldness on Sunday afternoon. We were hanging out at the pool and she was itching to swim in 11ft, but the club’s rules mandate that all children pass a swimming test before they’re allowed to jump off the diving board or swim past 5ft. Olivia felt ready and without saying a word to me or Loverman, she marched right over to the lifeguard and asked to be tested. She had to swim the width of the pool from 11ft. to 5ft. back and forth and tread water for 2 minutes. By the time I even realized what was going on, Olivia had passed the test and was about to jump off the diving board. I cannot tell you how proud I was of my girl. She didn’t wait for me, her dad or anyone else to tell her she was ready. She knew she was ready and she handled her business.

I want more of this for both her and Yannick. Hell, I want more of this for myself. I need to protect and promote my own self-interest unapologetically... boldly.


Lise said...

Yay. I love watching your mind work...especially when I figure in, albeit tangentially.

Mango Mama said...

And I'm eternally grateful for our friendship. You may have come later in my life, but I'm sure happy we finally connected!

Tamara said...

I love it! That Olivia is a bad mamma-jamma! I want my own little girl to have that kind of boldness. ( I do see the signs.) I want her mama to show her the way.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

My husband and I have really worked with Viva to show her how to be bold, how to stand up for herself, how to take initiative. It's an ongoing process, and actually you just gave me something to blog about! I have noticed that she has become physically fearless but mentally/psychologically, not so much. It's harder to teach, and it helps to model it yourself. I guess you and I have similar issues of not speaking up for ourselves.

I know you were proud of Olivia, and rightfully so. She spoke up for herself and did what she had to do in order to do what she wanted to do. That takes some serious self-confidence!