“Everyone has a part to play, a position to assume in order to repair systems that often unjustly excluded groups of people.” (Taken from, “Reposition Yourself” by, TD Jakes)
By investing ourselves into what we can do, we can create opportunities for others to take action. What is my part and what position do I assume to make a difference, is the question at hand.
In addressing this question to myself, I came to some conclusions.
1) I enjoy sharing stories of empowerment through writing.
2) By listening to others, I came hear, where blockages may be preventing one from moving forward.
3) By giving feedback to assist one in taking action upon what I hear or see in their story as possible blockages can be beneficial to me and others.
4) My part comes from my experience, and assuming position on my views of the experience. This creates a window into the view from where I stand.
5) To have a voice and to speak out about how to change the experience for others is by my examining how it could have been different for me.
In order for anything to change, you first have to show up, to make the difference.
A shared experience:
When I applied for the job as a city coach operator, another young lady that was African American showed up too. We became the first female bus drivers for that city. It wasn't that women couldn't do the job or even a question whether or not they were qualified. It was a question of whether or not we showed up. The timing was right, because the man that was the manager was in place and had an open mind. He had relocated from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and he needed bus drivers, we showed up. He was a liberal and satisfied that we could do the job. There have been female drivers every since.
There is another part of the story that holds a piece of the puzzle about timing and gatekeepers. When this liberal man was ousted of the job and transferred, somebody was brought in to place as a gatekeeper and not so liberal. When I got pregnant with my second child, his “ole boy” attitude crept in and his “true colors” began to show. Up until this point, he had tolerated my liberal nature. He began to harass me constantly on his views of where I belonged, through his body language and attitude it translated as, “you belong at home, "barefoot and pregnant”. His constant harassing attitude and innuendos about when I planned to take my "leave" because of my “condition”, was very annoying and stressful to say the least. I had the attitude that I was healthier than most of our male drivers that were subject to heart attack at any time, justified by their obesity and medication. I was even more annoyed that our city, allowed his demeanor, in that capacity as manager, whereby I finally decided to resign after my maternity leave was finished. He won that round, because he had me out and he was now the gatekeeper. He is still the gatekeeper after 27 years. I went on to continue in transportation for 27 years, including going over the road as a truck driver with a perfect driving record, I am blessed to say. However, upon several efforts to return to bus driving at the place I started my career, the gatekeeper refused to let me in even when I showed up.
Timing can mean everything. Sometimes it helps to expose, but in other times, the whole system, “ole boys”, are much deeper than it appears on the surface. Once you are in, sometimes in order to stay in one has to jump through hoops to be allowed to stay. This is quite common in the world of men. It is very enlightening to know this as a woman going into a field dominated by men and it's good to know the rules of the game. It's good to know, what is in your nature and what position you assume when you show up, in order to test the timing of change for the whole.
To show up, takes great courage that some don't even realize they have. Necessity is a great motivation. When a woman needs to feed her family, it's not about the ego of what she can do or qualified to do, it is about accomplishing her goal. To have boundaries, is what she had ingrained in her consciousness; good and bad, right and wrong by society, and her environment, but when it comes to feeding her children, that takes precedence over all of humanities acceptable morals that has been established to identify character. If this were not so, we as a species probably would not have existed, even looking back at Eve’s story. What one holds as a necessity is absolute. Look back at the “ole boy’s” posse, it is a necessity to hold certain things (ideas) in place, ask yourself, for what purpose? Before we point the finger at others, maybe we need to look at our own necessities?
In completing this piece, I realize that my taking a position on right timing, which by the way is God's timing, not my own. This piece would not be complete without my once again, quoting T. D. Jakes from his book “Reposition Yourself” in the chapter, Against the Odds, page 67:
Joseph's maturity, born of suffering, serves as a model for us. To his brothers, he said “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20, NIV). Similarly, you must have faith to know that someday you will be able to say the same thing to your enemies, your persecutors, those who called you a loser and those who hurt you along the way. What they intended to harm you, deter you, defeat you, God will use to build you up, to heal you, to secure your success.
We are all underdogs, in a sense, for if we accept what life dictates to us, then the statistics can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if we dare to rise above and beyond the limitations of our lives, then we grow stronger and wiser, more willing to dream and dream big. (Pg.76)
Now, I have to say a big Amen, to that! I am a testimony to those statements and as long as I breathe I will continue, that being my story and my legacy to my children and their children's children. Find your story and the stories of others from where ever you meet at the bridge to cross over into your promised land, flowing with milk and honey, (abundance) of unlimited prosperity!