“I know what you did in the past” – ‘SO WHAT!!!

Moving ahead of  “I know what you did in the past” entitlement attitude. Time to shout back, “So What!”

It is another Friday evening with my “gang” (as I fondly call my once-a month-girls-hang-out colleagues). We are sitted at our favorite spot inside Ms. Tootsie on South Street; waiting patiently for the Chef’s special to be served. For a change, I ignored my obsession for their collard green; (always slowly cooked and delicately garnished with smoked turkey chops). Staring at us, our abandoned funky glasses that looks like an inverted pyramid, begging to be touched; un-finished virgin Piña Colada, Lemon Drop Martini and Long Island Iced Tea. Tonight, it’s my turn to pick a topic of discussion for all to debate on before we hit the karaoke room to display our happy kidsawkward singing sensation.

Not today! (arrgh!) My mind is just so crowded. Could it be am under stress from prepping for the Autism talk coming up soon? Or could it be tension from my current Law & Ethic class with my very critical professor giving me a tough time that’s bringing up this scholarly headache, probably from reading about all those outrageous legislative amendments! Where do I begin? No matter what, I must produce a topic for my girls-night-out! Phew!

And then the light bulb flickered on inside my head! The tabloid had it.

BLINK! My eyelashes flickered in excitement!

With sudden exaggerated confidence, I cleared my throat and asked: How do you defend or confront your past stories? Why should you try to defend an old error you made in the time of unknown? Should you fight to prove a point? Or just let it be? After all, it was in the past?

I settled back in the lumpy cabin chair, grabbed my drink, picked out the drained cherry and gulped it down with a sigh! An obvious smirk on my face as I watched the reaction on the faces of my dear friends: The fashion conscious Oriental accounting guru, who can give a lecture on the importance of bikini wax! The chocolate-skin Jamaican groover with killer dance steps and large heart, who still dreams of approaching Usher for stealing her dance moves, hmm! The soft-spoken, emotional and always in-love Caucasian, ah! Don’t mention cupid near her! And the very outspoken full mouthed, full-bodied and very affectionate African-American, whose southern accent flows freely when she’s excited!

Tell me ladies, how do you fight back?

Our entitlement attitude defines how we react and respond to what we know or hear about other people. It is like an ownership title or power we have over someone or something revealed to us in confidence, trust or at a time of vulnerability. It can be our boastful privilege of the known amongst the unknown, Our rights to the exposed and broken in spirits, it is the burden of the weight of another person’s secret and how we secure it within the depth of our hearts or how we tend to view them, even after the vow for secrecy or confidentiality has been made. For a moment, we could be judgmental or biased without even knowing it, which is okay; just for that moment, but not for long. It is not our path, not our business or our story!

So, recently there’s been shocking photos of the British royal family giving a Nazi salute in 1933 on the grounds of Balmoral, their castle in the Scottish Highlands. It was taken from a recently unearthed family film, and has sparked a controversy in Britain; the ancient footage of the queen being coached into a Nazi salute by her uncle Edward was taken at a time when she could not possibly have understood the gesture’s significance. Film shot eight decades ago and apparently from Her Majesty’s personal family archive has been obtained and exploited in this manner. The very words: “Queen filmed doing Hitler salute” are, however, so innocently delicious that no tabloid could fail to run this antique trifle.

And her reply to the tabloid? “So What! “It is my past” “Not yours! Deal with it!

Wow! That was a very good one. Wouldn’t life be so much easy-going if we all can boldly lash back by saying ‘So What? “What you going to do about it? “It’s my story and my property” “What gives you ownership or entitlement over my past?” What makes you think you can pull me down because you know something juicy about my past? “That was then, and it was all a plot you never got a part in then” So “beat it! (Lol) Of course, it’s meaningless. Of course, it’s a wonderful scoop. We reserve our right to feign outrage.

Ask yourself today, how have I handled my entitlement attitude? Do I puff my chest out and claim ownership over the story-teller? Do I dominate their weakness because I know the button to push to ridicule the storyteller? Have I been compassionate enough to feel the pain or burden of the storyteller? Have I used it negatively for my own selfishness? Have I uplifted or inspired the story-teller?

No matter how we see it, it is still their Story, Their Past, Their Blunder, Their Pain and Their Lapse. Sometimes that place they don’t even want to remember or re-visit ever again. When we are told a secret or when we are confided in, we are more or less the preferred audience at that time, maybe a very special one. Because it usually takes a lot for someone in pain to open up about a worrisome past. That does not make us a tell-tale superhero or a local broadcaster. The only part we play is either to encourage or inspire. It is not our story to judge or juggle with. It is a silent call for help, one clothed with regrets or sad memories. Let’s get rid of the anchorman mentality!

Here is a quick fix for someone reading this; when approached or ridiculed for a story from your past, develop the courage to smile as you say “SO WHAT” and mean it like you don’t really need a reply either. Yeah, it is a Rhetorical question! What gives us that sense of entitlement anyway? Part of it is found in the middle of the word entitlement itself: “title.” We think people “owe us” because of the title we hold in their lives: Oh please! Time has changed, people are moving forward with new beginnings and new mindset. I am like those boys in the picture above! The change in time doesn’t have to bother us! I also had stains from life’s tragedy, still living and am still howling ‘So what! – ‘like we all don’t have a sweet and sour past? I do, and so does everyone reading this too, but thank God for his mercy! He made all things new! We are all in a better place today as we move forward in life!

Yours in HOPE as I share “Moving Forward” Victory World Music feat. Montell Jordan, Ricardo Sanchez & Israel Houghton.