As a woman born and raised in the South, you hear tales, myths about the legendary women who broke the mold. Women who challenged the limitations placed on them by religion and society. “The woman who could tell you what time of day it was by looking at the ground” or “the woman down the street with all those cats, stay away from her, she not right” simply put these are the women your mother warned you about. And although, you did your best to stay away and not ask too many questions; you still found yourself drawn to knowing more about these women. When I was ten, I remember being told the story about a family friend who “killed her husband’s girlfriend with Kindness” at first, I thought, is that possible? But as a ten year old you pay those stories no mind or at least, place them in the back of your head until you got the courage to ask more questions. So, I did, one Saturday, as I settled in for my weekly “press and curl” ritual, I asked my Aunt, “why you friends with the lady that “killed” someone?” Well, you’d thought I’d told the best joke ever because this lady was consumed with laughter, so much so that she caught my ear with the hot comb. Now, after her tickle box had settled and butter was melting on my ear, “Teka, she said, “Margo” didn’t kill the woman literally, She just showed the woman who she was, by showing her what she wasn’t!” The questioning had tickled my aunt so that she put the hot comb down, fired up a cigarette and grabbed a beer from the fridge.
She sat there sipping her beer from the left side of her mouth while the cigarette hung from the right side, peering into me as if I were an open book.
Pulling the beer from her mouth, she said, “If you want to know I’ll tell but you won’t be the same afterward!” I nodded after a small pause not really sure if I wanted to know, but I couldn’t resist. So she began the story with “Teka, you can’t control anything that anyone does to you, the only person/thing you have control over is you; Find and Be the best you that there is; that is what she did.” My Aunt went on to weave the elaborate tale of how “Margo” had a new boss that gave her the hebbie jebbies, her initial thought was to not trust her. She didn’t follow her instincts and after a year or so she considered her “friend.” Only to find out that this “friend” was the woman she’d caught her husband with years before. She didn’t remember the face, just her spirit. Well at this point she did, what any respectable woman would do, nothing. She continued to be herself.
I repeated to myself multiple times “nothing, she did nothing.” Only to have my aunt get tickled at me again, this time she stopped herself saying,
“Teka, she didn’t follow her first mind and because, she called her “friend” she couldn’t break a rule she’d made with herself to not mistreat friends so, she treated her just like the rest of her friends if not better at times.”
“That was strange”, I uttered.
“ No, that was kind”, my Aunt replied.
She went on to share, that this “friend” eventually took a promotion and moved away to another city, but not before proving that it was possible to “kill” someone with Kindness. She knew that “Margo” had been overlooked for a promotion three times, for lack of experience. But they all knew it was because of her lack of education. Well, before she left she made sure “Margo” got that promotion to Center Manager, giving her a salary of four times her current pay and double what her husband’s salary was, now how sweet was that.
For years I thought that story was about a woman and her cheating husband, I even felt like the “friend” was trying to compensate for the grievance she’d caused but as I began to grow spiritually, I realized it had nothing to do with her husband or the woman but everything to do with who “Margo” had chosen to be. “Margo” loved herself more than she loved the idea of what people thought about her.
She was “Authentic” the same in public as she was in private and because of that authenticity I have learned a few things:
- Trust the Gut. Regardless of the outcome.
- Self-compromise is not an option. All you have is your WORD, HONOR IT!
- Love the “YOU” that wants to take the long way home. There is nothing wrong with going the route others resist.
- The ‘woman” your mother warned you about is the woman we all want to be but won’t cut the cord to get free.
- You don’t have to put someone else’s light out, to make yours appear brighter.
Shaunteka LaTrese Curry is a Poet, Writer, Blogger, Teaching Artist, AuthorBlog: http://www.southerngirlantics.blogspot.com
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Love Reign (Summer 2015)