WHO IS GOING TO HOLD THE UMBRELLA?
By Doris AC Johnson MA of Psy, ABA
I knew that I couldn’t throw a ball to save my life. I knew that I was not at all coordinated enough to catch a ball. My two left feet would never allow me to kick a ball. And I didn’t have the eye to hit a ball. And I was too skinny and shy to try out for the cheer team. When I was in high school, I decided I would chance it and try out for the track team. I made it just ONE day. As I stood there at the start-up line, I knew I would not be returning to that gymnasium. As soon as the coach said, “On your mark! Get set! Go! I stalled. I actually hesitated and took a step back before running. Immediately afterwards, I kept hearing that irritating whistle…And the coach kept making me do it again…and again…and again…and again. And I never got it right. I tried. All of the other cows ran from the barn while this heffa stood back. I wasn’t cut out for it.
I think the idea of being observed as I tried to get to the goal diminished my desire to participate because I wasn’t the only one…because I knew I was in a race. I probably would have made the team if I kept trying and showed the coach that I was up for it. Maybe it would not have been about my talent (if I had any). Maybe it would have been for my persistence which might have demonstrated to the coach that I had longevity. Whatever the case, it wasn’t me.
Something was said to me a few years ago and then again today. And it took me back to that place in the 90(s). This young man approached me about being a guest on his talk show in 2014. I don’t remember the topic, but it was definitely a Venus vs Mars bantering session. HAD A BLAST! From there, he and I developed a friendship. To this day, we still emotionally box over relationships. We totally bump heads! But it’s not in a bad way. His point is that a man wants to see who can “stand the rain.” In other words, he wants to see who will make the final cut…who will be the last woman standing…who will stand by and watch…who will prove themselves worthy of a relationship with him. He is the reward and she is the accomplished. What will she get for standing on the sideline if she must…for dealing with baggage…for putting up with habits…for acting like a wife when you ain’t even a girlfriend. It’s a competition…I see it as an audition. It sounds to me that all of her sights should be set on him while he maintains options until the other competitors fall to the wayside.
There is something about this whole thing that doesn’t sit well with me. As I said earlier, I had a difficult time participating on the track team because I didn’t like the idea of a race. It may sound silly, but I hope you get my point. I couldn’t run in high school…never even made it to jump hurdles. I didn’t have to run any obstacle course, so I have no practice with this whole rat race thing. I would be happy with holding the umbrella to shield a man from the storm he might have created and encourage him to get back up and try again. Wouldn’t it make more sense to set your sights on what you want than to see who wants you bad enough to stay? Did she win by default because no one else wanted to deal? I would offer a man an umbrella when he needs it, but I will not stand out in any rain to receive a trophy. When my personal storm comes, who will bring me an umbrella? Who will hold me closer to shield me from the rain? It takes two to make a thing go right! Right? If I’m standing in the rain then isn’t he getting all of the sun?
Have you ever been here? Be honest. I kinda sorta have, I got there, not because I had a low sense of self. (I don’t think) Not because I was bored. I got there because I took what was handed to me…I did not have a plan.