One of my favorite William Shakespeare plays is Orthello. What intrigued me most is not the interracial relationship between Orthello and Desdemona. I was taken in by the character Iago. Iago is an emotionally manipulative person who looks out for himself and is full of lies and deception. At the end of the drama, when he is called to account for his actions, he says, “Demand me nothing.” That is to say that he will not explain.
Although Iago meant that phrase for his benefit to cover up and not be held accountable for his actions, I assert this is a phrase the rest of us should use.
I am an honest and direct person. I do not sugar-coat my words. I say what needs to be said, and I do not use euphemisms to make people feel better. Although I know I clearly articulate myself to be understood by people as young as preschool and as old as people who would be considered senior citizens, unfortunately, some people, have twisted my words. To be sure I was clear, I would go to great lengths to explain myself and my actions. I would explain how my actions would benefit my mental health and the stability of the family unit I chose to enter into with my husband and under God’s blessings.
I have done so to the point that I wanted to scream and break something. I was a ball of rage engulfed like a meteor on a crash collision with Earth. I was not interested in a crash landing and breaking into a million fiery bits. I wanted to survive AND thrive.
I decided that I’m done explaining myself to people who are committed to believing what they want to believe. I have decided that I am restricting access to people who have nothing to say but negative things about me, but want to stay up in my business for kicks, I guess.
One tangible action I took was decreasing my Facebook friends from 152 to 140. What is sad is that a few dead people made the cut to stay my friends but 12 living people got the boot. Social media is one window into a person’s life, and if you think that you know everything because of a few posts, it shows a lack of critical thinking. Additionally, I stopped responding to people who are overly critical of my choices. I was raised by a Marine, so please trust me; there is not anything anyone could say that could match my Dad’s direct and pointed critiques. However, his critiques were rooted in unconditional love, and they made me the woman I am today. He helped me become a smart, independent, talented, unapologetic woman who will speak her mind whenever and however while being a God-fearing daughter, wife, mother, educator, and businesswoman.
I’m co-owner of a publishing company and full owner of an education consulting business. I write over 100 unique articles a year. I will be finishing my doctoral program in 2023 or 2024. I’m conducting a research study this summer. I work at two universities. I edit. I mentor. I coach. I read every single day. I write three to four times a week. I garden and make videos and write articles for people to follow and learn how to garden. I am on several committees to benefit the community. I go to church (and I tithe 10%). I am reading through the Bible with my kids. I am planning my husband’s 40th birthday party for this year, my sister’s celebration for her birthday (which is on New Year’s Day), and my 40th party for next year. I am teaching myself photo editing. I have been making intentional efforts to go to the gym and exercise weekly. I am staying focused on my mental health, implementing one solo activity a week, and going on date nights with my husband twice a month. I also am trying to be the best mother I can be even though these two 11-year-old boys be testing my gangsta on the regular.
I just got tired from typing that last paragraph, and that’s not all of it. All that I have mentioned brings me joy, and joy attracts more opportunities. I don’t have time to explain myself when other people are misrepresenting me or being like Iago and saying “the rest is silence” to avoid explaining what they have done or are doing to me. I simply do not have time to be in situations that bring me no joy and situations that further infuriate me because I know what it really is. If you have lived with a situation for decades, no one can waltz in and fix it nor do they have the right to judge how you chose to live. Furthermore, new opportunities take more time to tackle, so do I tackle drama, or do I focus on what drives my joy?
The only person I am responsible for is Shawnta, my husband, and the two minors in my care. I cannot take responsibility or ownership of other people’s unwillingness to see the light or the truth. Each person has to choose healing and joy. No one can choose it for you.
“Demand me nothing.” If you don’t hear from me, it is because you are not worth my time to explain myself to. You can catch bits and pieces from my public life.
If you are reading this and you have people in your life that always want you to explain and chastise you, just say, “demand me nothing,” and move on.
I won’t be focusing on those people or situations anymore. They know what they need to do to be right by me. I’m not budging or backing down in the way I deserve to be treated. Elders stay telling youth to stay in a child’s place and you can do what you want when you are grown, but then when you get grown and you are doing the damn thing (and doing it quite well), here they come and say, “Not like that.” The people I admire are the people who did not tell me to stay in a child place or told me I talk too much or that I am too opinionated. I appreciated the elders that listened and respected my decisions when I got older even if they did not agree.
Adults who tell children to stay in a child’s place are fearful of who that child will become when they are grown. I have come to accept that I might be some people’s dream or I might be their nightmare. No matter how you take me, I living good, G, double O, D!
When I think of my unit of four, my husband, sons, and me, I think of these lyrics from 24K Magic sung by Bruno Mars:
We too fresh
Got to blame it on Jesus
Hashtag blessed, they ain’t ready for me
My dad always told me that I was not like everyone else, but I should love myself and be me no matter what. That’s what I’m doing the best way I know how, and I want to focus on my blessings. They have been so numerous this year.
Soon … I will have some announcements I can share!!!