Dine’ (Navajo) Chief Manuelito
In the seven years that I have been parenting, I have had a few less than proud moments.
Like the potato chip for dinner situation.
And the losing the birthday invitation that my 4-year old had been looking forward to all week, resulting in a missed party.
And, well, I don’t want to make this too long of a blog post. You get the idea.
But sometimes I have what could be construed as a not-so-proud moment with one of my kids that turns into something that is actually quite profound.
The potty mouth badass recognizing moment
The other day, I was driving Josh home from a play date, and he told me he was sad and frustrated at school sometimes.
“I walk up and introduce myself to kids and they look at me like I am creepy. They say things like ‘only girls have long hair.’ I am browner than they are, and sometimes that makes me feel really different.”
As I listened to my baby boy say these words, I felt rage rise in my chest.
“Son,” I said, “You are a beautiful and precious young man. If you ever hear someone say something that is clearly not true, you need to straighten your chin, look them in the eye and say directly: “I am Joshua Slim. I am Native American and proud. ASSHOLE!”
<Insert sound of screeching tires>.
I couldn’t believe that I had actually vocalized that last word in my head.
Josh started laughing hysterically. “MOM! You said ASSHOLE!”
I bowed my head in shame. “I know son, I did. The reason I said it is because I was feeling lots of anger. That is not an appropriate thing to say to anyone, but especially not to someone on the playground.”
<As I silently prayed I would not be receiving a call from the school principal next week>.
But then I had to laugh too. Hard. Josh and I had tears rolling down our faces.
I noticed that Josh’s entire energy about the situation had changed. Not because he was suddenly going to become a profanity-using bully on the playground (I hope), but because he had tapped into his inner badass.
Get your boot off my neck
Sometimes, you face real, intense, hostile energy.
When you get older, you realize that this actually has nothing to do with you, it is just the other person projecting their own stuff on you. (Don Miguel Ruiz breaks this down brilliantly in The Four Agreements).
When you feel yourself shrinking, call up a person or phrase to help shift the energy and claim your authority.
Samuel Jackson comes to mind.
Or Mae West.
“Get your boot off my neck!” is handy.
Or, said with great righteous indignation, “Do you know who I AM?”
The point is when you temporarily forget who you are, sometimes a little bit of inappropriate badass thinking is just what you need.
That is a lesson I am proud to share with my son.