It’s fall now (well, for most people. I live in Texas and it was 90 today but kudos to the rest of the country). I like fall. I like the fall lines of most of the major nail polish companies. I like the full sweaters with creative necklines and corduroy pants. I like the non-white cups at Starbucks that start in the fall. I like the cooler temperatures that fall brings. I like the fall candle line at Bath & Body Works. I like fall because the leaves change color and start to literally fall onto the ground.
This week, I want to talk about divestment. Just as the leaves start the process of divesting from their branches, I think it’s important for people to make sound divestments as well. We have all put up with situations and things longer than we should have at one point or another. We stayed at a job too long. We kept a friendship too long. We sat in a relationship for too long. We knew that we were past our expiry, but we held on because we thought walking away would cost us too much.
Little did we know that not walking would cost us much more.
Women, for all of our innate gloriousness, are particularly bad at divestment. We dig in and take on burdens that simply aren’t worth the effort. Of course, the social, familial, religious and other varied pressures that insist we perform the mental and emotional labor of everybody and cause us to hate ourselves when we don’t (or at least don’t want to), are the battery packs that make us keep on keeping on.
We are shamed into thinking that it’s wrong to put ourselves first. We are told that it’s “not nice” to stiff arm people for our own reasons. We are made to believe that we shouldn’t expect a standard of care and ought to be grateful for whatever positivity we do get from the people around us. We are convinced that our most precious gift, our intuition, is just paranoia. We are admonished to “let go” or “not harbor” negative feelings from the past.
I think it’s time for us to stop.
It’s time to stop the advocacy for people who don’t do the same for us.
It’s time to stop jumping into pseudo-philosophical e-arguments to defend people who would sooner throw us to the wolves.
It’s time to stop protecting the very people who physically harm us.
It’s time to stop entertaining people who have proven day in and day out that they simply are not worth the legwork.
It’s time to stop pretending like our family members are evidence of a pretty picture that doesn’t actually exist.
In that vein, it’s time to stop pretending like our family members aren’t a part of the ugly picture that does exist.
It’s time to stop believing that if you have the 3rd, 12th and 49th heartfelt conversation with people about the same shit, hoping it’ll get better. It won’t. They aren’t that stupid. They know better. They just don’t care.
It’s time to stop not putting people in their place when they fail to honor you or your wishes.
It’s time to stop being nice when it’s not organic to the situation.
It’s time to stop picking up spiritual hitchhikers. They’re on the side of the road with their thumb out for a reason. Leave them there, lest they hop in your back seat and slit your throat while you’re rescuing them.
You’re getting tired and worn down and wasting time and they are reaping the spoils of your travail; calling you crazy while they eat the cake you made.
And the icing on the cake is that we’re told we need to seek help by the very people who are the reasons we need to seek help.
Christmas is coming early. I’m Santita Claus. I’m using this season to make my IDFWU list and check it twice…and keep adding to it as necessary.
Is it wrong to care? No.
Does everybody deserve your care? Hell no.
I’ve long disabused myself of the need to take the moral high road. Letting people transgress your boundaries and acting like it’s okay doesn’t make you righteous, it makes you daft and secretly hating them with a smile on your face is a YUUUUGE waste of energy.
Save yourself and be willing to rid yourself of anybody who thinks you shouldn’t save yourself.
Throw your car in gear and peel the hell out.
As for those fallen leaves, they eventually become the nutrients that the soil needs to regenerate more lush plant life and, perhaps more relevant to the topic at hand, help choke out weeds.
While I get that physical divestment isn’t always an option, the one thing you can control is your mind and you can most definitely protect your spirit. You may not be able to control when the city comes to collect the trash but you can sure as hell make sure the stench doesn’t cloud your space and put it on the curb.
Lastly, to the people who will read this blog and whose foolish nature will compel them to try it…..