Gabrielle Union saved my sanity. In her Black women in Hollywood speech, she said: I used to revel in gossip and rumors. I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt, whose shine diminished my own. I took joy in people’s pain and I tap danced on their misery. She had someone call her on it and they asked her, essentially, “What did that do for your life?” When she realized it did nothing good she knew she had to change.
As I’ve been getting really clear and centered in my life I’ve become increasingly more aware of the times when I indulge in things that do nothing for my life. People that do nothing for my life. So I decided to change. For one, I have been talking to God and having conversations about my service. I know my next steps and as absolutely terrifying as they are, I am taking them. Next, I cut out garbage television. Now this is interesting. I was home one night and just felt unsettled. I had Real Housewives on and they were bickering per usual and I turned it off and read a book. Instantly my spirits lifted. I realize that I am a sensitive being, of course the things I ingest matter. And they can either be nourishing or they can be junk. I prefer the former.
Next, I decided to put some friends at a distance. I have a long-time friend that is so incredibly judgmental, and whenever I talk to her afterwards I’m left feeling like I need to defend my life my choices and needing validation. I don’t need that. Friends accept one another flaws and all, so I do not wish to be friends anymore. I have another friend I can never be honest with. And I know with both of them its not about me, it’s nothing personal at all. But if I’m being honest I don’t like who I become in those relationships. So it’s time to move on.
Lastly, I decided to detox from social media. It becomes far too easy to get caught up in things and people, movements and stories that are not nourishing to your spirit. I scroll through instagram looking at photos subconsciously and sometimes consciously comparing my life to the lives of those around me. They tweet Bible verses, did I read the Bible today? Does that make me bad? Beyonce concert, Jay-z concert, trip to NYC, vegan non dairy gluten free dinner! I had McDonald’s am I bad? Engagements, babies, romance…should I tell everyone how happy I am being single and dating my career? Does my happiness count if other people don’t only notice it but also affirm it. Oooooh like my status, double tap my photo, retweet my witty my wisdom my love. I am not at all ashamed to admit that I was playing the game of keeping up via social media. But honestly, what was it doing for my life?
When I continually challenge myself to consider the implications of even my most mundane actions, it allows me to create a very intentional life. For which I am extremely grateful to Gabrielle and her story.
When I was younger I was meaner. I might not have been a Regina George but I stirred the gossip pot. I knew things about people from various groups and my connection made me “important” in the trite world of teenage social drama. But what was it doing for my life? Nothing good.
I realize I was perverting my gift of connection and connecting with people. I know now that what I spread didn’t and doesn’t have to be negative or salacious or dirty. If I can spread gossip then surely I can spread joy. If I can throw shade then surely I can give light. It is a restructuring of soul priority.
Too often we make it one or the other, we make it black and white dichotomies and embrace one while shunning the other. I don’t want to do that. I recognize that I have been both, that I am both. And. Also, many things in-between. I have the capacity for many things including petty, trifling, and superficial. And perhaps at one time they served a purpose. But they do not any longer, just like stale relationships.
So I am choosing a different story. A different set of beliefs that align more with joy, love, peace, and purpose. I am choosing the things that, when asked “What does this do for your life?” I can answer, “Bring me closer to God.”