I watched The Hate U Give yesterday and totally loved it. Granted it's meant to be more of a young adult target audience kind of movie but it was just absolutely brilliant how it addressed issues on black lives matter; white privilege; police brutality; gang violence and female self-empowerment & friendship.
The last theme on female self- empowerment & friendship definitely made me check myself. It made me think of, how was I projecting self-love and self-empowerment to my teenage daughter in terms of how I maintained my beliefs & principles when challenged for it? How was I projecting myself in terms of friendship and the people or lets say women I surround myself with so that she can see what strong women and strong friendship can do for a person? Was I making sure that the people I was bringing into my children's lives were people that would impact them positively or were they allowing for self-doubt and self-hate to creep in due to the conversations I was having around my children with them?. Was the energy I was being fed by the people I chose to have in my circle seeping back into my time with my family in a negative manner where it was affecting our relationship or was it helping me grow to be a better version of myself and be a better role model for my children especially my teenager?
I find myself asking these questions a lot more now because I'm more aware of how my circle can impact my family. It also allows me to reflect on how it affects how I own my truth and how I feel empowered to speak out when the need arises. It allows for me to teach my daughters to be able to stand up for themselves and others in situations when no one else has the courage to do so. Female self-empowerment is something I've had to learn in my adult years because the culture I was brought up in was one where females are seen as subordinates, a culture where we have to reserve our opinions on matters ranging from family issues; parenting; even politics and how it affects us in our everyday lives. So in a sense this blog has allowed me to touch on issues that may not have been well received in a conversation setting culturally and it's also taught me to be a lot more sensitive to the way I communicate my message but at the same time still being able to stand by my truth and own it.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine today which revolved around friendship and how to tell when to cut someone off and it was interesting because it made me realise something. There are certain friends that you make along the way because at that time in your life you needed that type of friendship (and vice versa) AND if you're lucky enough to find that your friendship evolves into something bigger where you're both contributing to each others growth in your personal lives, professionally or even just supporting each others dreams, then you have a keeper - don't let them go, they're the ones who will be there in good days as well as your bad.
The friendships where you find (and i hope its sooner rather than later, because I fell in the latter category) that as time passes you just don't seem to agree on life principles or are just not on the same wavelength anymore, that it becomes a chore to maintain the friendship - these ones need to go. Life's too short to be having one way friendship lanes all the time. I have had friends like these and it's difficult because I'm the kind of person when it comes to loving people, I love hard - goes without saying that when I get hurt I hate hard also ha! Friendships like this sap the life and energy out of you and there comes a point where you have to weigh out the good & bad and if they're found wanting then you're better off investing your time and love in a place it will be nurtured and well received. I've also come to realise that you cannot get to where you're meant to be in life surrounded by people who are either dulling your shine or taking up the time that is better invested into achieving your life goals. Not everyone is meant to be with you at the finish line and you won't get there weighed down by those who should have got off along the way.
In saying that, in no way am I trying to say that I have been the perfect friend always, far from it. At times I have also fallen on the wayside and been the one who has brought the toxicity into a friendship and as a result lost friends. But one thing I've learnt over the years is to always own my mistakes and admit when I'm wrong because that strengthens any relationship. I like to learn the hard way so this life lesson was a hard one to learn and make a habit of. I've also found that being aware of what I say to people and how I say it mends broken friendships. No longer is it OK to use the excuse, well that's just how I am so you either suck it up or leave. I find that excuse immature and insensitive. Yes, sometimes brutal honesty is needed in a friendship but honesty without wisdom is pointless. Again, life lesson learnt the hard way more so through communicating with my children as I found that not everybody responds to the same set of words the same way. And if I am indeed supposed to be their life principles educator then I need to be aware of how the words I use impact them and whether it is being received in a way that will help them grow exponentially and prepare them for life. I always say to my husband, as parents we are preparing them for their own boat ride, we build their boat, we patch it when it needs patching with how we parent, we paint it, we equip it and we get those sails high & flying so that when the time comes for them to sail their own boat, they're ready to face anything life throws at them. But in doing all that we also make sure that they still know how to get back to us when they need shelter from a storm that gets too overwhelming for them.
So because its me and I digress like nobody's business, I guess what I'm trying to get at in a roundabout way is - firstly go watch the movie and if you have teenage aged kids, take them and secondly, know your circle.