No one never told me that growth was so… painful. Well more so extremely uncomfortable—and let’s not forget awkward. As a kid, I glorified being an adult. They could come and go as they pleased and they didn’t have a bedtime. But no one ever spoke about the “growth” we had to experience as we become adults. I guess maybe it’s because people don’t like talking about things that would force them to be vulnerable— another thing we learn as adults.
Coming into your own especially as a young adult is fun, it’s an adventure. Although it’s exciting, what about the times when it’s painful, uncomfortable or awkward? How do we handle those situations? Can we avoid or prevent them?
This week, I had two extremely awkward and uncomfortable situations. First situation, long story short, my fitness trainer said that the reason black people put on muscle so well is because of slavery—
Mind you, she said this to her friend/roommate who is half black and me, 100% negro blackity black black. But Wait there’s more! She white (european cuban but more white than anything). Roommate wasn’t too happy about that and said something like “Maybe I just worked fucking hard to look like this.” Side note, roomie is bikini competitor. Then she walks out. After of 5 minutes of awkward silence I didn’t want to say anything but God was like say something… side note: I’m working on being less passive. I just don’t like confrontation. I went ahead and said, I understand where you’re coming from but I don’t agree with that statement.” Internally I just wanted to throw up, my anxiety was through the roof. I felt like was about to take a dump right there…. I couldn’t deal.
But I proceeded to say that basically black people are just built that way. It’s not because of slavery. It’s in our genetics. Look at our feet compared to a white person’s feet, it’s two completely different things… that’s why we’re faster. Not because of slavery. The my trainer said, “My mentor told me that the reason black people put on muscle so well is because of slavery.” And I asked if her mentor was black and she said “No, he’s white.”
And I said “Exactly, no black person would ever say some foolishness like that.” Then she said she didn’t agree with his statement. But what threw me was how she said the statement. She said it so confidently, as if me and her roommate was going to be like “yup that’s true!” Lies the devil told ! She told me that her roomie gets sensitive anytime someone mentions something about her being black. I didn’t agree with that either. But I hope that in that situation she understands from now on to not allow a white person to tell her about black people. He will never be black, he doesn’t know what it’s like to be black, to have our genes to eat, sleep and breathe black so don’t take everything he says as gold, because it ain’t. And he made her look ignorant and a little racist too. He’s your business mentor, take the business advice you need and go. Everything else, take with a grain of salt.
For me, that was extremely uncomfortable. Race is such a sticky subject but it’s my subject—it’s my life. I had to say something. My anxiety went from 5 to 500 in 50 seconds, not 60 but 50. But before I said anything, I had to think about what I was going to say and realize who I’m about to speak to. Once I said it, If she left the situation without understanding what she said was wrong, that’s on her but I said what I needed to say. Granted, I was internally screaming the whole time but I spoke.
Sherlande told me recently, “You need to learn how to pick your battles.” I wasn’t going to make that situation a battle but I sure did slide in with the soft check. That’s another thing, baby steps. Say your peace but if you don’t know how just do it softly and take your time. Ramble if you have to! Nonetheless, say what you need to say. You’ll feel better afterward and proud of yourself too.
Second situation, this is a classic awkward black girl moment. Imagine going to the movies with your friend and ya’ll get to the front of the line and the cashier says “is it together or separate?” and you and your friend both say “seperate.” And you pay and grab your ticket and your friend throws you a 5 and says “spot me” and you do without hesitation but as your watching the movie your friend orders food to eat and swipes her debit card without an issue.
That was me yesterday with a good friend of mines. But after the movie was over and we walked to her car, I didn’t want to say anything but if it happened again, I couldn’t get mad because I never said anything the first time. I don’t mind helping my friends at all. But how do I explain that to her without making it seem like its not a big deal? side note: I overthinking ev-er-y-thing! Like I said, I don’t mind helping my friends, it just took me off guard when she order a five course chicken tender plate.
But nonetheless, I did bring it up to her and it was awkward as fuck and I wanted to crawl into a whole and hide. I explained to her how it looked but I thought the $5 was all she had. She apologized but for me it was so hard to even bring it up. But honestly, I guess I was on a roll because that whole slavery thing happened that same morning and then this, now I have to speak my mind again? I really felt like the Lord was testing me. But I passed.
Needless to say, it just takes small steps and a few balls to just say what needs to be said. The more you do it the easier it’ll become, well at least that’s what I tell myself. I also might be lying to myself about that, I’m not sure. But I do know that growing, whether it’s about speaking up or shutting up, it takes a lot of wisdom and guts to do it. Pick when it’s best for you to say something. And if you feel like you should, no matter how scared you are, don’t let fear take away an opportunity for your voice to be heard. Also understand that in some situations it’s best to not say anything at all.