Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, "The black woman is the mule of the world." I am here to tell you that you neither have to be black nor female to accept the role of beast of burden or pack mule, in this world. Did you notice I used the word, 'accept'? No one can make you a mule until you accept and take on those characteristics yourself.
What about a slave? The average African American person born in this country, with a history of several generations born here, usually has some aspect of a slave legacy in their ancestral line. Breaking that down to basics, I am saying that if you are black in America and can trace your heritage back 5-6 generations in America, you will find that somebody in your family was most likely a slave at one time.
Did you know that you can be a mule and a slave today, right now, during YOUR lifetime? If you are a slave, it is very likely that it is a path that YOU have chosen for yourself.
What do I mean? If you work just to pay the bills, you are a slave. If you have a job that you hate and you are miserable on your job, you are a slave. If you are in a relationship and you are pretending to be someone you are not, for the sake of 'maintaining' the relationship, you are a slave.
If you lie to yourself to make it through the day, you are a slave. Lying to yourself takes on many forms such as promiscuity, alcoholism and drug addiction just to name a few. People use sex, alcohol and drugs as smoke and mirrors to give themselves the illusion that everything is alright, when it is not. These things are distractions and keep you from dealing with what's really going on inside of you.
You don't need shackles on your feet to be enslaved. Don't just be another brick in the wall or a cog in the wheel of the whirring, de-humanized machine because that's what you are supposed to do. Wake up! Seek out who you are and follow your passion.
You don't have to dump your significant other, quit your job, or drop your pants and turn and show your behind to your boss to free yourself. Everyday reaffirm what you believe your purpose to be. Everyday, try to do one action or activity to get yourself closer to freedom.
All jobs are not bad. Carrying somebody's burden every once and while is expected and can bring you joy. But looking in the mirror and seeing a grey donkey with a pack or an unkempt person burdened by shackles, is not what you were meant to do or be.
Being introspective for the purpose of knowing who you are, understanding your purpose and pursuing your passion are not easy tasks to undertake. They take time to pursue. Many times they take a life time. You always run the risk that you may go down the wrong path and not know it until you reach your final destination.
But the converse is even worse, in my opinion. To follow the current just because you choose not to swim against it because you fear it too hard or that you might fail, always leaves one with the bitter, aftertaste of regret.
No matter which road you choose to take, make sure that it is a conscious choice on YOUR part. Don't travel down the path because you think it is wrought with less resistance and thus, easier. Because in the end, you will face obstacles, trials and tribulations and be forced to undertake battles in order to continue on your path, no matter which path you undertake.
I think it is far better to exert this effort to pursue purposes and passions of which one is cognizant and aware and desiring to have come to fruition. At the end of the day, or the end of your days, life will judge you just like the law. If you commit a crime or make a poor choice, it is not acceptable to say, "I didn't know." You have to deal with it, no matter what. Sometimes, because of one action or decision, your life can be irrevocably changed. Why not let it be changed for the best!
Thus, gear up so that you do know. Know who you are, be accountable for you and your dreams. Don't be a mule or a slave because you didn't know. If you are going to be those things, choose them knowingly and accept your path. I hope you choose to unburden yourself by throwing off the packs and the shackles at once.
Mules and slaves build structures. Masters orquestrate the creation of wonders of the world. Be a master of your fate and yourself. You don't have to be a mule or a slave in this day and age. To free yourself is not an entitlement. It is a risk that you must undertake and address on a daily basis. The rewards can be quite satisfying.
Before you step out and onto the pathway of independence and freedom, please check your packs and shackles at the door. Packs are to be placed to your left, shackles are to be piled neatly to your right, just before you exit. See you on the path, everybody!
Until you are free, your beauty will never be your own. Beautify bit by bit.