So, here’s the thing…I mean well. We all do
(well, most of us). And I still mess up. Despite being a perfectionist in just about every area of my life, I am a flawed friend. And I am painfully aware of that. Through unrelenting processes of critical self-awareness, I have learned to admit my flaws in friendship; however, I still struggle to let folks know when I have been affected by theirs.
Most of this struggle comes from my upbringing in a very Southern, Black, Christian family. “Be polite and only show kindness to others. That’s what Jesus would do”.
And for most of my life, I have done just that. I never talked back or became unruly or let anyone (particularly folks that I considered to be my friends) know that my feelings were hurt. However, this self-silencing has never actually stopped anyone from hurting my feelings, whether they intended to do so or not. And until only recently, I have just taken it. Be it misplaced anger, undue frustrations, or just the residual “I don’t care” attitude jabs, I have taken it all in friendship.
However, I have grown sick and tired of being the take it all friend. Yes, I am a counselor by education and training. Yes, my very nature is empathic and I feel everything. Yes, I want to be more like Jesus and understanding of your journey.
But I get tired too, sis.
And I get annoyed. And irritated. And at my wit’s end with all sorts of chaos. Just. Like. You. Life is hard and unfair (especially for Black women who are rarely given their just due), but I am out here trying to make it, just like you. And in my journey towards making it, I am also a firm believer that, in spite of our very human flaws, we CAN be there in sister-ship for each other, without either of us feeling like our presence or gifts or talents are being taken for granted.
I am grateful that I have a spirit that draws folks to me for support in one way or another. I believe that this drawing power (as my granny would call it) is one of the many reasons that God created me. With this awareness, I support you in your frustrations and want to help you heal. I do not, however, want to be your verbal punching bag or your emotional target practice. I will take accountability for my actions and my actions only. I will admit when I am wrong and when I could have done better.
I will not, however, allow folks to treat me any kind of way because I have just taken it in the past. I’m not taking that anymore and neither should you, sis. Tell your folks when enough is enough before it goes too far. You deserve a break, too.