With the passing of an incredible Author, Toni Morrison, I began to look up different things she said and relived the passion of her stories over the years. She walked us through the experience of Black people on a spiritual level and the literary world was better for it. As I was reflecting on her impact, I started cackling when I overheard one of my associates say to her co-worker who was rejecting sweets to maintain her diet, “Girl life is short, eat the cupcake!” . And just as I finished laughing and turned back to my screen I saw one of Toni Morrison’s quotes:
Hearing about the cupcake and reading this quote again, it made me ponder on what we view as freedom. In a political sense, people view freedom differently. But how should we view our own personal freedom? What I interpret from this quote is that we only have but so much power and eventually we will have to surrender to will of a situation, but when we surrender we can begin to control our own freedom.
Do you remember being young, dumb, and determined? I giggle thinking about it. I’ve had this conversation among friends about how we were running in circles piecing together our lives and livelihoods. Then hearing the echo of elders saying ‘If I knew then what I know now.’ Well fortunately I do know better now, and the best thing you can do is let it all flow.
Somewhere along the ‘adult’ education it was learned to have a handle on your life in every aspect, because that is what a well functioning adult does right? I agree with this quote because I remember being my 20s and running into possibilities and dead ends and all the fun in between. But as I watch these young people today I see a lot of them being overworked, stressed about what they call ‘adulting’, and not taking the time to tap into the inner parts of themselves to become who they wanted to be when they were children; free.
Life is always going to be complicated in one form or another. That is the wind. It’s never perfectly structured and may whip you about. Yet it is always moving, gently lands a petal or fallen leaf, moves the ocean, and blows your hair all in it’s own perfect way. So if you are able to collect all of your broken pieces from trying to control a circumstance, release them to the wind and let it be. There is no sin in letting something just be. That is the freedom we dream of as a child; letting things go and being ourselves in the best way possible. And every once in a while breaking the barrier of being responsible.
Who doesn’t love a cupcake? They are sweet, wholesome, compact, and beautiful…much like many things in life that are worthwhile. How many times have we withheld ourselves from love, opportunities, or just having a wonderful time, because we deemed it to be irresponsible to do so? Why would anyone want to trap themselves into a space where there was little enjoyment to keep them in their sophisticated trappings that they or their communities uphold? Because that is what we are taught.
‘I’ll just have a small piece.’
‘Maybe just for a little while then we need to do xyz.’
‘No I can not do such a thing, it’s just not proper.’
These types of phrases come from thinking that too much of a ‘good thing’ can ruin you. To an extent that is true. We must have some self-control. However, why suppress our inner child in to thinking that experiencing some of life’s smallest and greatest joys is wrong? It’s not. There is certainly a time and place for anything that we do. However every once in while we have to throw that caution to the wayward wind and let the moment, the opportunity, the love, the adventure just be. You never know what beauty and growth will come from such a small sweet thing.
Life is short, find your freedom, ride the wind and eat the cupcake.
Thank you Toni, be free.