“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.” Oprah Winfrey
Do you feel you are evolving in a good direction? What do you do to keep growing as a person? Do you like who you are becoming?
Thank you, Eleanore, for today’s topic.
Spring is a time when we joyfully watch nature evolving. Trees with grayish brown trunks and branches slowly evolve into leafy green umbrellas. Their branches become covered with greenish yellow or dark green leaves, depending on their growth stage. Others suddenly burst full of white or pink flowers. Stubby little shrubs like Azaleas blossom intensely red, calling attention to their beauty amid their flowerless neighbors.
Heredity and Family Affect Who We Are
While the evolvement of nature is seasonal, our evolvement follows many different paths. Heredity may predetermine what we look like or what medical problems may arise during our years on this earth, but who we become depends on the choices we make and who we decide to be.
The family or environment in which we grow up forms much of who we are. Some people choose to conform to their family’s way of life: doing the same work, following the same religion, voting for the same party, socializing in the same way. For some, this is a good fit; for others, change is required to become an authentic person. We may begin with one goal only to discover as we mature that we need to head in a different direction
Books About Finding Ourselves
As we evolve, the world around us changes as well. Recently I read two books that have expanded my understanding of what being Black has meant in this country. The first is the classic by Zora Neale Hurston, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” published in 1937.
It is the story of Janie, a Black woman, who is searching for her true self. She marries twice to men who want to control her every word and movement. It is only with her third husband, Tea Cake, who doesn’t want to make her “one man’s mule,” that she is able to be authentic. Like she says, “two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”
The other novel is “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. It’s the story of light-skinned twin sisters who are growing up in a southern Black community. They run away from home at sixteen, but each eventually chooses a different path for dealing with her racial identity. One “becomes” a white woman, disappearing from her family, never revealing who she really is, while the other accepts her reality, marries a Black man and has a daughter with him who is black-skinned and thereby lives an authentic life.
Being True To Myself
Both of these books made it even clearer to me how privileged I am to be White and to have been raised in a middle-class environment, but they also reminded me how glad I am that I followed paths that even my parents and my former husband thought foolish. Eventually, he divorced me because of the path I chose as a dancer.
I remember sitting up in our apartment at night where my former husband and I lived in a steel mill town, watching the light from the factories flow through the window. It was obvious to me that I could never be who I wanted to be in that place. I was teaching mostly gym in junior high, not the English or drama for which I had trained. As a southerner, most of the other teachers ignored me. I had only one “sort of” friend.
Fortunately, I was able to convince my husband to move back south to the town where my parents lived. He found an excellent job in a nearby town and I worked with the National Endowment for the Arts program teaching dance in the schools and community. I was able to be who I truly was, a teacher and dancer. This experience gave me the background I needed to keep moving for many years in the artistic direction I had chosen for my life.
To evolve, we must decide what serves us well and what needs to change. We have to explore how to do that, perhaps by getting help from family or friends, seeing a therapist, reading more widely, or thinking in a different way to expose ourselves to new possibilities.
Every choice we make in life defines us in some way. When we can see who we want to become, we can more easily see the next step in our evolution.
©2021 Georganne Spruce
Next week the topic I will choose must start with an “F” so please give me some ideas of words for that blog. Just leave your ideas under Comments. Thanks to all of you who read these posts.