Recently, I was reading the story of Mary Church Terrell to my kids. She was born the year of the Emancipation Proclamation and died two months after Brown v. Board of Education. She was a charter member of the NAACP and a proud feminist, but because she was African-American she was excluded from participating fully in women’s events at the 1893 World’s Fair and many other events during the suffrage movement. Ms. Terrell threw herself into building up black women’s organizations that would work to end both gender and racial discrimination.
As we read, I came across this quote “And so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving…”
That totally struck me. She is speaking, through pain, I’m sure, to women and about women. She had just been kicked down by white women. “We’re lifting you, you, you, and you, but…not you. Down you go.” Instead of getting angry about it, she turned her back on those people and just started climbing again, this time focused on lifting others as she did.
I thought about this a lot this week. I have now received two group messages on Facebook that included several moms through adoption. During the chit chat that occurred in the messages, and without noticing I was included in the conversation, several of these women began to speak about me in a rather unflattering manner.
She has WAY too much energy. Do you think she’s lying about everything she does?
Or she does meth?
Laugh emoji. Laugh emoji. Laugh…emoji.
Ha. Ha. Haaaaa…
I spoke up, because that’s what I do. I’m mouthy.
I think this might be about me, and not for me, but I wanted you to know I’m included in this group message.
There was a long silence.
Then they all decided they had only been kidding, because meth usage is funny.
I don’t use meth. I’m not lying about anything I’ve done. I don’t do anything I’m doing to make anyone else feel bad. I try to be so honest about who I am because I don’t want this kind of scrutiny. I’m honest about my faults too. About my struggles with my family, about my sassy mouth, about my cussing, and how much I like wine.
I don’t want to be the person who is sad because she has been kicked, especially not about something this small. This is so small. But, it made me think about why women do this to each other. We do it all the time. We are the worst. Especially, white women. We kick each other as we climb.
I’m turning my back on it.
I’m going to step back from social media for awhile and just focus on the people I can do my part to lift. I am taking this the words of this brave, giant of a woman, and I am going to lift as I climb. In fact, I said that to them.
Lift as you climb.
–FullPlateMom, who may have added b*tches, but only in her head. See? Not perfect.