"Supposed to Be..."
I think we become hyper focused on where someone else belongs... What is your place? Where are you from? What is your station? Who do you belong to? Where “should” that person be based on the opinion, perspective or expectations I have for them...
For centuries, some narratives have seldom been told by the person living them, but by those who stand to benefit by offering a convenient story, by dictating history, ideology, standards, roles.
We look at people, and whatever we can sum up from what we see right then and there becomes who they are entirely. (more often than not)
It’s okay to be surprised as we learn things about people. There is no way to know everything about someone instantly and learning things about people is good, exciting, & human. We know this...but there IS A WAY to not limit individuals, to loosen grip we tend to form on what all someone is or could be, to leave it “open ended”. There is a way to not put a cap on what all someone might be, do, or know.
Black people have been reduced for hundreds of years, intentionally (>>>) and unintentionally. It is the way of thought, speech, and action in this country. When we are more, excellent, needed, exist outside of sports and entertainment, it is interpreted as surprising, a phenomenon, a rarity, special, a foreign concept. We have never been one dimensional... not in appearance, skill, or culture.
•“Well you don’t look like you _____________”
•“You? You know how to/about ____________”
•“I wouldn’t have thought you ______________”
•Something about “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps”
We are multi faceted. We belong wherever you see us, which is more than the fields our ancestors labored in. We were and ARE farmers, artists, cowboys, philosophers, doctors, teachers, hunters, authors, inventors, politicians, revolutionaries, travelers, entrepreneurs, tradesmen, service men and women, architects, discoverers, filmmakers....We are everywhere, a part of all histories.
I grew up in Linden, TX, Cass County...a little way from Atlanta, TX... a little longer way from Texarkana, TX. East Texas. My childhood consisted of school which I loved, playing outside with my brothers, dirt roads, forest trees, riding horses bareback, eating honeysuckle, picking pecans from the tree in our front yard, picking pears from the tree in our yard, annual wild flower trails parades/art contests, rodeos, and a THICK country accent. I didn’t know it was small. I didn’t know i sounded strange “for a black girl”. I didn’t know anything else but this. It was a beautiful upbringing... unnoticeably flawed (at the time) but beautiful. I miss many aspects of what life was like there and I’m very quickly emotionally affected by situations or company that reminds me of it. I worked my accent away upon moving to Terrell (cause they would have eaten me alive) but it still makes the occasional appearance when I’m a little too comfortable. (Houston Rodeo is exhibit A,B,& C)
Even in Terrell, there’s a lot of that country living and spirit, and visiting my parents or friends means easing back into that same simplicity and bliss of outside, boots, work, pastures, livestock, shooting... It is a home I carry with me always regardless of who has had the opportunity to see it, where I am, how I speak or dress. I am not one to be summed up on sight. Most of us aren’t. I am many things, and I belong wherever I set foot.
The Third Voice