We all face the challenge of making life decisions while simultaneously dealing with people who assume they have a say in those decisions. Whether the resolution that is made is personal, about a career, or relationship, we ultimately have the choice in ensuring that the final verdict is beneficial to us. But what happens when family, friends, and even social media has to put their two cents in? Sometimes people begin to question themselves and what would make them happy from lack of clarity.
Recently as I was watching the most recent episode of ABC’s Scandal, the character of Fitz was discussing what he would do once he is no longer president. As he is talking about how he is finally going to be able to relax, his chief of staff, Abby, disagrees and thinks that he still has more work to do for the country once out of office. Fitz replies by saying “Why does everyone who’s not me think they know what I should be doing?” What followed was Fitz having to explain all of the things he had already done for the country throughout his life and that he deserved the ability to finally make a decision for himself. Ultimately, the lesson I received from that discussion was that sometimes it’s best to stay out of people’s business because you don’t know all of things that they have endured on their life journey.
The idea of having control over one’s life decisions made me think of another TV show called Underground. It’s about slavery and its effect on the people involved in the different aspects of it whether the slaves themselves, abolitionists, or slave hunters. One of the episodes that I watched focused on the two main female characters, and their struggles to be in control of decisions that would affect their lives. Because they were black and because they were women, they were constantly placed in situations in which their life decisions were made by someone other than themselves. They are almost like rag dolls being pulled in all different directions by the people in their lives. Yet there is this continuous fight that the characters of Rosalee and Ernestine to reclaim that control. Rosalee makes the decision to get her entire family out of slavery and Ernestine finds her control in using drugs. Although she is still enslaved and in an abusive relationship she finds that she can run away from this reality by remaining high all the time. Both women are constantly placed in unbearable situations and have to still figure out ways reclaim their right to choice in not only their life decisions but also their bodies.
As a black woman, even in modern times there is a sense of having to continuously justify the decisions that one makes because you may be viewed as overly aggressive or hyper sexual. Of course the times 200 years ago were way more extreme, but the effects of some things still linger. Black women are still being told how they should act, dress, and respond when it is our own personal decision.
Life is filled choices. Everyone has them. Just as someone has the choice to make a decision about their future, someone else also has the choice of minding their own business and focusing on their own decisions in their lives. We only live once so make those decisions wisely.