In 1979, a little girl was born in the town of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her parents were newlyweds, new to Christ’s love and devotion, and new to the formation of defining a blended family. Her parents were also a little bit hippy dippy and viewed the world through a different lens.
Throughout her childhood, she was given a lot of liberty to make her own decisions, within boundaries that were meant to protect and not impede her as she matured. As she got older, she realized much of the world was not so laid-back and she found herself in several situations where her natural disdain to conformity stifled her.
The conflict within herself was magnified as she tried to consolidate the lessons of her youth with the atmosphere of adulthood. She was reared in a time when women’s liberation was a priority. Constantly told she can be anything she puts her mind to; she is strong, brave and smart. Yet, somehow, the idea never transformed into reality.
She went to college, fell in love, had a family and traveled the world. From the outside, everything appeared wonderful, charmed even. A beautiful story and life well-lived. The truth remained buried in her heart and mind, praying for the day to be reconciled with the innermost thoughts and feelings of who she wanted to be. Who she thought she was meant to be.
Her husband’s career took her on many adventures, and a few misadventures happened along the way. In her time abroad, she discovered blessings along the Silk Road, in the bazaars of Northern Africa and along the streets of Europe. She was invited into homes ‘of the enemy’ and lavished with a feast of food and love.
Her perspectives of freedom, love, happiness and justice were tested and expanded. She understood the love of Jesus on a deeper level. She yearned to fulfill her calling and be the right person at the right time with the right words. But, her spousal role limited her. She was put in a box, with a label that did not define her, or empower her. She became enraged, bitter and profoundly grim.
The anger grew louder and louder inside her, ready to lash out at anyone that didn’t agree with her. She wanted someone to pay for the wrongdoings put upon her. She wanted to find fault and blame with the institution that held her captive. And so she took action.
She picked up the knife and cut her way out of the box. Ripped to shreds, the pieces lied scattered across the floor. She stood her ground and refused to pick up the mess. (That was someone else’s responsibility.) She played the game long enough and it was time to show the world who she really was.
You may ascertain the above story is a bit of an autobiography. Many details are not included in this story, but I do hope that you can see the struggle of a young person in an unjust world. We feed our children words of dream talk. We spread the idea of peace, love, justice and freedom. But we don’t always live it.
My own struggle of feeling suppressed/oppressed is nothing new on this blog, as you already know of my project on self-actualization. To outsiders and bystanders, many may not be able to understand what my ‘beef’ is, when I live such a charmed life as a diplomat’s wife.
And, that is why I support Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the Anthem. To us, we only see a glimpse of his life. We see the glitz and glamour of $$$ and fame in the NFL. We have no idea the struggles he’s battled, the self-talk he’s tried to overcome or the obstacles he’s faced as an adopted child.
I see his actions as his way of ripping apart his own box. I can sympathize with him. I may not agree with him. I may not like the way he’s expressing himself. But, I certainly understand the need to fight against an issue when you feel you are powerless.
As the spouse of a diplomat, I have a responsibility to ‘keep my mouth shut’ on certain issues. For example, I must stop the desire to participate and voice my own opinion, online, with comments on the election this year. (That is so tough, y’all.) And, that is only one of the sacrifices as a spouse that I make. Unfortunately, not happily. (Wink.)
In my little circle, I’m sure there will be other spouses that do not like the way I handle my own empowerment project. The establishment and my husband’s bosses may not approve of the way I bring my issue forward. If I want to make a difference, I cannot care who doesn’t like the way I do it. I am me, and I can only respond to my suppressors in the way I know how. How I am afforded, and how I feel I can back myself. I like to call this Radical Freedom.
I believe in Kaepernick’s Radical Freedom, because if his concerns do not matter, then neither do mine.
I may not sit with him. But, I sure as heck will stand next to him. Right hand over my heart, left hand on his back.
Until next time –