I had a good conversation with my hypnotherapist on Sunday and it got me to thinking a lot about what it means to be Black in society today. Our conversation was around money and we looked into the different ways that my family has viewed money. In our conversations I really struggled to explain some of the cultural views around the relationship between hard work and money; further more, to put into words the feelings of being confined by how society imposes feelings of poverty on the working class and especially on Black people.
In our conversation I realized that both of my parents taught me to work hard for what I have, yet neither of them ever had more than they needed to survive financially. Both of my parents mirrored for me that hard work gave enough to live but not to enjoy living. Even my grandfather showed me that working helped to define your life, your choices and what you get to enjoy financially. All of these messages, combined with those I live and see everyday, challenge me to think about opportunities that are outside of the mundane world and outside of the cultural restrictions of the middle class or of Black people.
What does it mean to live outside of society’s expectations? Each person’s perceptions of the road they have been placed on could dictate his or her choices and often they do. When do we truly get to look at our lives and choose what we want, redefine our relationship with things like money or even with people? When do we get to redefine the relationship we have with ourselves and in life? These are all questions I think we all begin to answer when we are ready to face being accountable for what we can become, without limitations or restrictions.
I don’t want to raise my kids with limitations, I think the world attempts to impose enough on them already. I truly believe that society forces (conditions) us as African Americans to take what we can get and not to expect more. The time comes for many of us to relearn who we are in relationship to the world around us and I think being a Black woman has been a defining part of who I am, while also limiting my ability to believe in a equal and fair society. If I have the power to change my relationship with money, I think I should do so.
I don’t want to be the person who works all her life and has nothing to leave to her children, or the person who never gets to travel or enjoy life. I don’t want to lose chances to be with my children because I am stuck to a clock that still doesn’t pay enough spend quality time with my family.
If we are not bound by the limitations that society has put on us, we could make choices about where we want to grow to. Where are you growing to? I think I am going to try and figure that out for myself this year.