Just like many other Black women I have inherited the spirit of doing everything within my relationships and making sure that a person never wants for anything while my needs go unmet. I go to my job to be overworked, stressed, and underpaid and come home to be overworked, stressed, and tell myself I also have to cook and clean. This is honestly an inheritance of bullshit and I believe it to be one of the generational curses that I have to do my damnedest to break. As I sit here, typing angrily, I realize that I have to let some things go and let some people drown themselves. I am often torn by this because I'm so accustomed to bailing people out of their own shit at my own expense. As much as I want to let it happen, I end up folding because my heart breaks when I watch knowing I could do something, but don't. At the same time, I understand that as long as I am there as a bailout, I will be utilized as such. Not just that, I'll go from being the fallback, to an integral part of the routine. I cannot ask other people to respect my boundaries when I constantly go past them. Chile. I am the master of not taking my own advice and I am fed the fuck up with myself. ENOUGH, Sis. Capital S for me because I'm the shit.
I have seen the way my Mother does everything for everyone yet has pause doing for herself because it seems selfish. For instance, not buying expensive things, not because the money isn't there, but because there is guilt about "could I be using this for someone else" or "what if someone else needs it and I squandered it". I speak so confidently because I have the some of the same guilt. IT BRINGS ME MUCH CONFUSION. We have grown used to ensuring that everyone else has an abundance while we eke by with the bare minimum all the while accepting the here and there from everyone else while they essentially walk around with their arms outstretched waiting in expectance for the things they know we are conditioned to give. The things that we saw as the reason relationships work, the expectation for mothers or how a good friend should behave, etc. We give our time, our headspace, our money, our bodies, our advice, our everydamnthing and ask for nothing in return. If a friend came to us and said they'd done what we consistently do, we would be so disappointed and probably go on a rant about them treating themselves better. But we accept it for ourselves?
Make. It. Make. Sense.
I want this spirit of habitual over-giving, the conditioning, the you're-not-a-good-*this*-if-you-won't-alwaysneglectself, to go away and never return to anyone. I do not want to encourage one single woman in my life to do as many generations have done. Not with my actions, words, or otherwise. I want us to not only set boundaries, but also enforce them with everyone. Especially self. I want better for me. Shit. I'm mad I even have to have this conversation yet I am grateful I can recognize and try to get ahead of this. Still mad, tho. Damn.
Anyway, I'm off to scream into my pillow so I can wake up tomorrow and pretend everything is okay.
My people who have experienced this, I want to hear from you. Is this an area you struggle/used to struggle with? How did/do you deal? This is a safe space! I want to hear from you and learn from you in the process. Until then, goodnight, don't let them negús bite.