I think every Game of Thrones fan can agree that Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons is a badass. In fact, Khaleesi is the badass of all badasses. She has the ability to do whatever the hell she ‘thinks’ she has to do and she has no time for anyone ever. Khalessi does everything with a certain level of: “and so it begins and so it shall be” with a side of :
Over the years, I’ve learned you can be anything you want in life but there’s absolutely no room in this world for waffley, milk toast, whiny, meek women. Double that if you happen to be a black woman. Right up there with our magical weather permitting fantastic hair, fine like wine skin, black don’t crack agelessness, is our unique ability to get things done in spite of whatever the hell is going on. In real life, we aren’t just the Mother of Dragons, sometimes we are the damn dragons! From Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis to auntie Oprah, FLOTUS to my granny and mama, all take no shits, majestic, fire breathing badasses.
Growing up in the Virgin Islands, I always heard about the three queens: Mary Thomas (Queen Mary), Axeline Elizabeth Salomon (Queen Agnes), and Mathilda McBean (Queen Mathilda). Years after slavery was abolished in the Danish colonies local plantation owners were beyond brutal to laborers. One day these three fire breathing women said “enough” and almost burned the whole damn island down.
Fast forward to present day in my experience good things come to those who hustle. And more often than not, progress comes with a little pushing and shoving. Creating a life that you can be proud of requires courage.
Sidenote, someone is reading this post and they’re flummoxed. They are concerned and wanting to know if #yrobf is always amped. These Chicken Soup for the Soul folks disagree with me. They think we decent humans of the world should wait patiently and take the stiff upper lip from time to time. Like the theme song to Mary Tyler Moore “we’re gonna make it after all” And for that I say god bless them, but as your one black friend, you should know, that’s not my jam.
Throughout my career, I’ve learned a little bit about pushing and shoving. I’ve worked for a handful of executives as their ghostwriter/communications consultant. What does that mean? It means, I was often the only woman in the room. I sat in on strategy sessions, wrote speeches, prepared them for interviews and so on. In any event, what I learned, from them over time is that good leaders embrace teams. They extend the same level of respect to everyone on the team to get the best out of everyone. On the flipside, there are are tons of posers, bullies, and sycophants a few prongs down the totem pole. These people are dragons without fire. They are your colleagues. They are your neighbors. In my case, some were so intentionally difficult that I would try to avoid them but alas hellions don’t just go away. In fact, once you get past one, you’ll certainly encounter another. So what’s one to do? From my perspective, there is only one thing one can do:
Don’t stop, get it, get it!
If you’re expecting to hear that you should confront a poser or bully, you’ll be waiting a while. These dragons in human form are the worse and they don’t just give up or give in. Listen Sheila, life isn’t some afterschool special. Whilst you’re working with them, they’ll undermine your suggestions, they’ll push back left and right, and then when no one is looking, they’ll present your suggestions as their own. The problem with posers and bullies isn’t that they’re stupid. Posers and bullies are often lazy, lack original ideas, and frankly it takes a lot of ever loving energy to strike fear in the hearts and minds of men. In order to succeed alongside these baddies, you have to accept that their vitriol has little to do with you. You need to conserve your genius and identify the posers and bullies early.
Also important, once you identify posers and bullies, you gotta stay close to them. And while you’re doing that, you also have to get familiarize yourself with the sycophants. They are equally as troublesome as posers or bullies, just less scary.
They have a unique ability to listen and lunge.
They won’t pick fights nor will they put their necks on the line. They don’t need to do so because they just wait for posers or bullies to do their dirty work. But as I mentioned before, this has very little to do with you. If you are going to make it without losing your fabulous shit everyday, you’re going to have to have a holistic view and how you do that is completely unique to you. Don’t fight and don’t ignore them. You must identify and acknowledge them and proceed to get on along side them. You’ll know you’ve turned a corner when they display intermittent examples of decency towards you.
Chin up and remain steadfast in your firebreathing fabulousness.