So there was a song out on the radio a couple of years ago by someone named Rocko (yeah not really sure who he is) titled Imma do me. Well actually when I googled the song (because I am getting old and out of touch), I found out that it was titled: Umma do me. Lawd! Please save the babies...
So the chorus to the song is as follows: you just do you and Imma do me…Never mind that the rest of the song is filled with the usual boasting and braggadocio of having money, platinum and other things us regular folk can never have… let’s just focus on: you just do you and Imma do me. Not too profound is it?
Years ago I read renowned theologian Howard Thurman’s book The Search for Common Ground and he writes: I have always wanted to be me without making it difficult for you to be you. Profound and insightful is it not? And dare I say the complex, philosophical version of: you just do you and Imma do me…And if I may add, way easier said than done...
Problem is this. I'm a capricorn. A born Ox. It's so hard for me to allow people to "DO THEM" without judging. If you've been reading my blog for a minute then you realize how "black and white" I am. I judge people so harshly at times. I'm really working on it. Some say it's not a big deal but it really is...I'm getting off subject. Let me get back on.
When I first read Thurman’s line years ago it made me pause because I thought about how difficult it is to let someone be who they are or who they want to be without bringing all your own stuff to the table. Parents place extraordinary expectations onto their children, friends have unrealistic demands of friends, spouses project their uncertainties onto spouses, etc, etc. At one point or another we have felt the need to tell somebody about themselves, about how they were living, about what they need to do: go back to school, leave that man alone, take that job, don’t take a risk and move to a different city… And if we haven’t said it to their faces, we’ve thought about it or gossiped with our other friends about it. We have brought our own fears and trepidation about our lives into someone else’s life and tried to stop them from being who they are and who they want to be.
A few years ago, a friend and I had tête à tête. I told her all about herself and what I thought about a certain situation she had been in, not in a mean way per se, but in a matter of fact, I think I’m being helpful and being a friend kinda way…And she retorted by telling me all about herself, her real self...Who she was at the time and who she is now. What she believed then and how she has grown from that situation. She revealed parts of psyche that I never knew (and I mean was I really entitled to knowing the inner workings of her mind) that left me like “oh is that what you been thinking all along? Well I ain't know all that…”
It was days after our exchange I thought about Thurman's line and I had one of those ‘doh’, I coulda had a V8 moments. I realized that I had brought how I would live my life into my friend’s life. And how many of y’all know that doesn’t work? I mean like ever. I had to really accept that just because we're friends or family, just because we share a lot of the same values, hopes and wants in life, doesn't mean that we approach situations the same way. I had brought a little too much of me into her life...
As 2010 approaches I have been thinking about ways that I want to improve, not resolutions that can be broken in a few weeks or a few months, but slight alterations or improvements that might take years of work to see results. And I have decided that I’m committed to doing me. I am ready to examine parts of me that may make it difficult for others to be themselves: my nosiness, my judgmental ways, my refusal to let some things go, my 'I know what's best for you' attitude... I’m committed to living my life and my life only, committed to emitting my inner fabulousness for all the world to enjoy, committed to being the best daughter, sister,friend, wife, mother, etc. that I can be without purposefully encroaching on the lives of others.
Now this isn’t to say that I won’t provide sage advice to those who ask (smile), but it does mean that I’m going to resist telling people (or spend a huge amount of time worrying about) what they need to do to get themselves together. As we get older, I see some friends growing up and getting themselves together, some remaining seemingly stagnant, some making decisions that I question and wonder how that’s going to work out later on, but I am really accepting that we all have our own path to take. And while we need all the support and encouragement as we walk down that road, when it's all said and done, no one can do it for us or make us do anything differently. So you just do you and Imma do me. For real this time.