“So, would you shake Donald Trump’s hand if he tried to greet you?”
It was an honest question from my brother, while we talked about what it actually meant when my grandmother said that having manners doesn’t mean being a coward. I have made the argument that not everyone deserves my energy, not even my handshake. Aaron is softer in this regard. Yes, there are people that do not get our handshake, he says. But for him those are very few and very far between.
I have thought a lot about a softness I aspire too, this place of constant serenity and love. I am not that person, but there are days where I crave it. Maybe it is a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side equation. Maybe I think that that softness will lead to a seamless bond between me and the rest of humankind.
But maybe softness isn’t about never ruffling feathers or being unanimously loved. I am sure The Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa or Liz (my angelic, kind and loving roommate, and I am not exaggerating). Maybe it is about being at a place where you can love people but they don’t have to love you back and you are okay with that.
Lets look at this through the lens of Beyonce- here is a real life Cinderella, rags to riches, self made black woman, at the top of the game. She can release a song, unlisted (because she makes art for herself and for others, h/t Gertrude Stein) and everyone knows all the lyrics by the night. I find myself chanting “Because I slay, I slay, I slay” whenever I am scared.
Still, even when she manages to somehow be top queen and fairy godmother to her fellow WoC sisters, there are still people who would make videos and write article tearing her down. She is not here for them.
So, in my grandmother’s words- you aren’t made of money to be loved by everyone. Being soft does not mean that everyone loves you. Being loving does not mean everyone’s kind to you. You do not have to shake Donald Trump’s hand.
Just twirl on them haters.