Updated: Jun 15, 2022
Disclaimer: This post is not about MK-Ultra mind control, so if that is why you clicked on this post, you may be gravely disappointed.
This post is more about the social constructs or rules planted during our childhood. For instance, going to college was always on the table for me; I mentioned joining the military, but my parents pushed getting a degree. No shade to my parents, as I knew they wanted the best for me, however, after I graduated, I had no idea what to do next and went back to school to obtain my Masters. After receiving my M.B.A., I found myself in $100K in student loan debt and realized I better figure out what I wanted to do expeditiously. Honestly, I don't know if I would have done things differently; the only thing I'd wish, I was given the option.
In our early 20s, we finally feel exonerated from our elders' regime and tap into our inner Frank Sinatra and "do it our way." Subconsciously, we are still falling in the line of others' expectations of rebelling against them. We've not yet mastered thinking outside those lines, because adulthood is new to us. Although this is a new experience, no one can tell us anything. Well, I know no one could tell me anything, I KNEW IT ALL. I knew where I would be 10 years from them.
Fast-forwarding to my 30s, I realized I did not know what the hell I was doing. Most of my plans did not exceed the paper they were written on and to be honest, I was unsure that is what I wanted to be. Even with this in mind; I was still pushing a life I thought I needed to live. I was under the impression, was unhappy because I did not have these things. When in reality, pushing for those things was adding to my depression.
These programmings, I speak of, can exceed career choices. They can also range from: behaving like a woman, and then the additional rules of being a black woman. Let's add to that as being a Christian black woman, and then how to be a wife. Then further, how to conduct myself at work, around friends, around family, and then and then and then. I mean shit! This was so exhausting. The more I attempted to be all of these things the less I felt enough or even worse feeling like myself. By the time I reached age 37, I was so engorged in these constructs. Even with the BYOK brand, I shared parts of myself I thought my audience wanted to see.
The free time this pandemic gifted me has helped me become acquainted with myself. I forgot my dream career was to be a journalist which later explained why I started a blog. I have always loved researching, and this platform allows me the opportunity to do so.
After discovering this, I realized there were other parts of myself. I started asking myself simple questions that later transitioned into hard questions. I later set boundaries from toxic behaviors I used to take because I thought I had to. I was able to break some traditional thinking that was getting me nowhere. The more I de-programmed, the less anxious I became. I even hosted a town hall with my husband and asked him what he needed and wanted from me as his wife. Marriage is still hard work, but it is easier knowing I am working towards being his wife and not what society says I should be.
Our support system teaches us what they were taught. Their responsibility is to instill morals and values that will protect us and carry us through life. However, as adults, we are given the freedom to edit the things that no longer work for us. It is daunting to hold on to a million social rules, especially when it clouds your identity.
Before ending this, I wanted to share a quick list to determine if you're living according to yourself or what you feel you should be.
Are you feeling unfulfilled?
Do you predicate your decisions on what others will think?
Are you overly anxious when others disagree with your decisions?
If you've answered yes to all of these things, you may be living for others more than you are for yourself. You may suffer from people-pleasing (which requires a full post) and is co-dependent. Please don't take this as judgment as I found out in 2020 via therapy how dangerously co-dependent I was. I am still on the road from de-programming from what I think I should be versus who I truly am, and I must say it is invigorating.
Don't Be Shy. Have you had a similar experience? If so, please share in the comments.