The Simply Push Back Life

Photo courtesy of Mid-nightttttt.tumblr.com as found on Pinterest

“Sometimes when we push the system, the system pushes back”– Dr. Brene Brown.
The concept wasn’t new and the words weren’t unfamiliar. Yet as I read them from Dr. Brene Brown’s book The gifts of Imperfection, they resonated with me and blew the dust that was collecting on my spirit of fight, as I sat in the airport waiting for my delayed flight to the west coast. 
I was flying out for an interview and I waited until the night prior to share the news with my father. His initial response “Ahyana what is this? Is it I want to be so anywhere but here.”
“No dad,” I responded. “Dad, all of the jobs I have looked at and applied to are similar in nature. They just aren’t all concentrated in the same area.” He pressed for the similarities between this job and the one I initially turned down in Denver. I could tell he wasn’t truly satisfied. 

Photo courtesy of Glamour Magazine UK

“Is there not an opportunity for you to do this where you already work?” I explained to him how in January I completed a job rewrite form, made an amazingly impressive and 100% true case for the title change, pay increase, and acknowledgement of the leadership I bring to the department. My response was basically “That’s nice but hello no,” from HR. I also shared how I applied to teach a course and was discriminated against and filed a complaint. 

Here’s the thing. I have tried so very hard to make so many things in life work. I was the Kate Moss model for all “Stick it out” advertisements. You may recognize my face. I think I got this perspective on life honest. I have observed family members invest their lives trying to make things work being miserable and convinced that if misery wasn’t part of the package they were doing something wrong. Whether it was jobs, family gatherings, school, church, parenting, or marriage, I watched them beat a dead horse expecting a resurrection not realizing they’d beat it so hard they were only hurting themselves no longer beating flesh but instead beating against the bone. 

Photo courtesy of Steven Klein for Vogue March 2011


I was tired of making it work. Of forcing my square peg into a very round hole. Of exhausting every feasible option with the primary goal to satiate the happiness appetite of others, and provide my own soul with occasional robust soul nourishing goodness. So I started to push. I started to feed myself what nourished my soul and that has meant everything from strategizing the best options for my house, to exclusively applying to employment opportunities on the west coast and to not apologizing for that decision, to keeping those who buy into be miserable and make it work on the periphery of major decisions, to consistently choosing to be my authentic self and pursuing my calling in life. I didn’t just push against the “misery and make it work” complex, I pulled myself toward the move towards a LIVE your purpose lifestyle. I pulled toward the courageous comfort that comes with knowing I am responsible for whether or not I LIVE the life I was created for. I am responsible for making so many  of the decisions that either move me closer or further from my purpose.

My decision has not gone unnoticed nor uncontested. It has not gone without some push back as opposed to a push or pull forward. I guess that’s why Dr. Brown’s words resonated with me.  However, it has gone and is going.  That’s part of LIVE-ing isn’t it? To go and to keep going, resting, pausing, stopping momentarily, but always going towards that which was purposed for us to have, embrace, and live since our beginnings. 


Photo courtesy of Gregg Delman for Vogue 

This week push. Be prepared for push back. Then push again. Be committed to not throwing up your hands in defeat and walking away when the system- your job, boo, bff, biggest client, momma, granddaddy, etc. pushes back. Instead, plant yourself firmly, square your shoulders of courage, and push back. Now, please don’t go ding anything that is the equivalent of a snap decision that cost you your job, next paycheck, or unretractable words that shatter a long time relationship. Do however assert yourself in a manner that communicates your presence, voice, and decision to move forward towards your calling. Do ask questions, share observations, and move forward with the plan that is perfectly fine except for the fact that “we never did it this way.”  The V in LIVE stands for Victorious.  To be victorious means you have to overcome something and sometimes overcoming takes some pushing. 

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