Wait Broke the Wagon Down

12 Apr

We’ve been taught all of our lives to wait our turn. From when we’re in Kindergarten, we’re taught to wait our turn to go down the slide to when we’re 16, we’re taught to wait our turn to drive. We have a hegemonic culture of protocol, and it’s always proper to wait our turn.

But I believe that sometimes waiting our turn can hurt us. Waiting for our moment can sometimes cost us to miss an opportunity. We have to do A, B, and C before we get to D. That’s not always the case, and we sometimes have to be bold enough to jump from A to D even if it results in us landing on our face. There’s always a lesson learned, and my mom taught me that education is never free.

I know this may sound cliché, but do you think that if Martin Luther King, Jr. had waited his turn, we would be where we are today. Now it might seem that I’m preaching, but I include myself. I think over one specific time I was following the protocol that I was taught to follow. I was negotiating a contract, and I was so eager to get the deal that I shot for the lowest option even though slightly hinted to go for the gusto. I was following the steps issued out to me during my formal education, and I ended up receiving the short end of the stick.

But what drives me to sometimes take a chance and not wait my turn in line? A literal example of an experience of not waiting my turn in line. If you knew me between the years of 2000 and 2005, you would know that I had an ungodly obsession with B2K, and I still have the 47 posters in my room to prove it. They were my life, and they were coming to town for a signing. Like always, my mother had me running late, and by the time we got there, the line was crazy long. And with the Houston humidity, I knew my hair would look a hot mess by the time I got a chance to see them. I had to find a way out because if I waited my turn, it would have been an opportunity wasted if I wasn’t looking my best. It so happened that the girl behind me pushed me. Did I get mad? No. The push caused a ripple effect that caused many more girls to push. I guess you can say it was a riot of less aggressive pushing. Using my short height, I maneuvered through the pushing and was literally pushed to the third person in line. After about 30 girls, they shut the signing down. Girl number 31? Her bad. Had I waited my turn I would have missed my opportunity. I took a chance, and I reaped the benefits.

As women, waiting our turn effects us more than men because of our cultural gender roles. Women are taught to be seen and not heard, and a radical woman is always seen as more of a threat than a radical man. Personally, as a woman, I’m always very careful (career wise) when I make noise. Maybe it’s because we’re always portrayed to lead with our emotions, but my mindset is starting to slightly change. I attended a Women in Communications Forum a couple of months ago, and there was one piece of information that I remember the most. A woman stated that studies show that one reason why women make less than men doing the same job is because we’re too scared to request or demand a raise even though we’ve accessed that our worth should be compensated with higher wages. This is because we have the fear that making noise will jeopardize our positions, but we don’t get what we don’t ask for. And as a result, that noise we don’t make ends up hurting us instead of helping us. Another lost opportunity of gaining MONEY because we decided to wait our turn to get a raise.

By no means am I saying break all the rules. I’m also not saying to attack every opportunity with a guerrilla warfare mentality, but I am saying don’t get stuck. Assess the situation and realize when a line is not moving. Waiting on our turn puts our fate in other people’s hands instead of (with God’s guidance) controlling our own destiny. Also, realize that a cut for a cut leaves you in the same spot. Let go of that friend and/or circle and jump out solo. It’s good to help, but a trail can slow you down.

Sometimes I think the downfall of attending college is that we build that mental safety net. Every step has to be secured. Why is the hustler so successful? Because he/she doesn’t stand in line. He/she makes his/her own line.

And for all of you people waiting on the Lord. The Lord helps those that help themselves. Faith without works is dead, and I can keep quoting. He’s giving you avenues now take them.

Constantly waiting for my turn reminds of one of my mother’s many country sayings when I would always ask her to wait, “Wait broke the wagon down.” We keep waiting our turn, and we’ll end up broke[n]. So while you’re waiting on your turn, try stepping out of line and creating your own avenue because if your turn never comes, someone may have already stepped out of line and taken it.


Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Education, Philosophy


2 responses to “Wait Broke the Wagon Down

  1. MichaelYoungHistory

    April 13, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Well written! Good stuff.

  2. primemeridian11

    April 13, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Now, I totally feel this. I have recently been feeling like I need to take some chances, instead of remaining in the safe haven of grad school. There are plenty of very successful 20 something year olds who didn’t climb the proverbial ladder to get where they are. They skipped a bunch of people and went right to the top. Granted, most of those people created stuff that people would want to wait in line for. Guess where I am right now is on the creation tip; building smthg worth waiting in line for is more my line of thought at this stage in my life.


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