Brittany Janay affirms that our time is sacred and our own … and we don’t owe any more time nor patience to people and environments that do not serve our humanity. Brittany channels the words of our ancestor, James Baldwin, as he calls out the absurdity of requests for more time for progress. Brittany Janay reminds us that we do not have to feel guilty for nor tentative about holding people and institutions accountable. She ends with a love note that reminds us that although change does take time, we do not always need to bear the burden of waiting. Our time is sacred and our own.
James Baldwin (00:11): What is it you wanted me to reconcile myself to? I was born here almost 60 years ago. I’m not going to live another 60 years. You’ve always told me it takes time. It has taken my father’s time. My mother’s time, uncles’ time, my brothers’ and my sisters’ time, my nieces’ and my nephews’ time. How much time do you want for your progress?
(00:35): Hmm. Hey y’all, this is Liberated Love Notes. The podcast on the Living Corporate network, hosted by yours truly, Brittany Janay. Creator of Liberated Love Notes, critical self-reflections, and affirmations for the culture. You already know that Liberated Love Notes is your source for weekly doses of self-reflection, affirmation, and reimagining for us, by us.
(01:05): At the top there was the voice and conviction of our ancestor, James Baldwin. I have got to say, I appreciated the conviction in Uncle Jimmy’s voice, as he shares the absurdity of requests for more time. I think there is something to be said about, and I’m gonna just name it wicked. The wicked asks for more time and patience, that white institutions often expect of black people. You know what, if I’m being honest, it ain’t always, forgetting it, already wrote it. It ain’t always white institutions, but that’s another Love Note for another day.
(02:04): But on the heels of Juneteenth, I think this Liberated Love Note episode is timely. When I think about Juneteenth with recognition of its historical significance. Black folks in Galveston, Texas, literally waited, y’all. Waited. We’re manipulated out of their inherent freedom. Freedom owed to them. Yeah. Our ancestors. Freedom promised to them. Freedom that was taken away from them. Freedom delayed for three years, 89 years. If we want to make it retroactive.
(02:54): I imagine that does something to the psyche, to our psyche. We talk about the body remembering. I imagine that does something to our psyche, feeling as though we must always wait for change. Feeling as though we must be patient with our demands. Feeling as though we must extend grace and honor, what folks like to refer to as, the journey.
(03:27): I imagine it must have done something to our psyche that we start to expect the bare minimum. That we not require, or even expect much, of a lot of these institutions, because quote unquote “change takes time”. We experienced this today, and I think about the systemic and structural level, legislative level. Whether it’s delays in legislation that center our inherent rights, and needs, and well-being, humanity, our protection. Delays in stuff like the anti-lynching bills, and voting rights bills, and all the calls for reparations. The wiping out of student loan debt, community, oversights of police. We are asked to wait. To wait and be patient.
(04:22): I think about how this shows up in the workplace. We are told, we hear this all the time. Culture change takes time. Meanwhile, black folks are literally being micro-aggressed, macro-aggressed, discriminated. All up and down the organization, culture change takes time. We are told that leaders just aren’t ready. Meanwhile, our being in humanity is compromised every time we log in, or swipe in, come into the office. We are told we can’t fix everything all at once. We’re told we’re doing our best. We’re told equity and justice work is a journey.
(05:19): It gets under my skin sometimes how journey has been weaponized. Expectations around time has been weaponized. We were told to be patient. We are told, well, at least you have got a job. And that’s draining. It’s draining and it’s low key frightening. It’s frightening, because there seems to be a sense of urgency about everything else, but the humanity and preservation and centering of life.
(05:59): And so, today, recognizing all of that as a very trifling reality. I just want to name and affirm that we are deserving of way more than requests for more time. Our time is sacred. Our time is sacred, and our own. We don’t have to feel bad about leveling up our expectations of the institutions we are part of, or seek to join. Because our time is sacred and our own. We don’t have to feel bad or even feel timid about holding leaders and institutions accountable. Our time in those spaces is sacred, and our own.
(06:54): Our time is sacred and our own. We don’t owe any more of it, any more of our time. That’s what Jimmy said to anybody. And so, that said, if you are a black person in a space where, you are overwhelmed by the lack of progress. And it’s beginning to take an emotional and physical and mental toll on you. I just want to affirm that it is absolutely okay for you to set up a boundary in service of yourself.
(07:31): It is absolutely okay to remove yourself from situations, and from people, and from environments where you feel like they are not doing the work fast enough. Our time is sacred in our own. Furthermore, I think we really just need to interrupt narratives. We shouldn’t allow or suggest narratives that stigmatize setting boundaries. Like when we see our brothers and sisters and siblings, setting boundaries and removing ourselves from environments that are not doing the work quicker enough. We don’t stigmatize that. We like it there. We honor that. We affirm that.
(08:18): Especially if you have the flexibility and privilege to do so. I do want to name that it does, it is, a privilege to do so. It shouldn’t be, but it is. We don’t have to stay in environments or feel bad for leaving environments because they don’t serve our humanity and who we are. We ain’t got to martyr. We ain’t got to be the martyr, and stay in the thick of it, just because. Our time is sacred and our own.
(08:47): And I get it. It’s nuanced. I feel like I have to overstate, to be able to leave situation that compromises who we are, and our humanity should be a divine right. I want to overstate that it should be a divine right. Capitalism and white supremacy, and bills, and all the things make it hella hard. It should be a divine right though. It is our divine right, to leave spaces that are toxic, to leave people that are toxic. To set up boundaries in between ourselves and spaces that do not serve us. Our time is sacred and our own.
(09:31): That being said, I do want to name that, when I suggest that our time is sacred, and our own, I’m also referring to that, that in the meantime. That in the mean time, time, recognizing that, everybody can’t jump ship immediately. And so maybe, you ain’t at the time that makes sense for you to jump ship, whatever environment you’re in. I think there is still something sacred about that in the meantime time.
(10:04): And so, I just offer, wonder, how can you honor the sacredness of your time in the meantime time, in other ways? How can you honor, in the meantime? Maybe you can’t jump ship. How can you honor the sacredness of your time in other ways? In the meantime, and what ways can you tap into? In what ways can I tap into sources of joy, community? In what ways can I tap into, can you tap into development and enrichment? In what ways can you tap into those sources, using that in the meantime time to serve you? Because that in the meantime time is just as sacred. Our time is sacred, and our own.
(11:03): I have a Liberated Love Note for that. And when I say Liberated Love Note y’all, you should know by now that Liberated Love Notes originated as an affirmation card, and self-reflection deck, really intended to expand our critical consciousness. And so, if you listen and have not gotten yours, by the way. Please do so, over on the site. But anyway, I have got Liberated Love Note that I’m going to pull, that gets at this, that I want to affirm and leave y’all with, as you head into the week.
(11:41): And it reads a little, something like this. “I am mindful enough to recognize that change takes time. However, I do not need to bear the burden of waiting.” I’m going to read that again. “I am mindful enough”, like we get it . “I am mindful enough to recognize that change takes time. And I do not need to bear the burden of waiting. I do not feel compelled to stay in environments, nor, do I feel bad for leaving environments that do not serve my humanity and who I am. I do not feel compelled to stay in environments, nor, do I feel bad for leaving environments that do not serve my humanity and who I am.”
(12:50): Hmm. I hope y’all internalized that. I hope y’all feel that. I hope go into this week, knowing that our time, your time is sacred, and your own. Peace y’all.