They see me rollin,' they hatin'.
A number of years ago, I heard from a friend that someone we both knew was going around referring to me as a “Diva.” Now at the time, this really got under my skin, especially since the friend in question refused to tell me who the source was. By the way – I have since learned that if someone brings you information and they are not willing to reveal the source, it is not real information, it is GOSSIP and should be ignored. However, Wise Helena had not kicked in that day, and it was Nervous and Low Self Esteem Helena who heard those words. Hearing those words, I went into Obsession Mode, and began wondering how on earth someone could think that MOI was a diva. (I type this with tongue planted firmly in cheek).
I should have remembered from Middle School Helena that Haters gonna hate. My students tell me this all the time, and although it may seem like a very trite and superficial statement, it bears some truth. There are always going to be people for whom your light shines too brightly, and they will have to do whatever they can to dim your shine.
Envy and jealousy are flip sides of the same coin, one just causes a great more deal of pain than the other. According to the website Diffen.com, envy is coveting what another person has and jealousy is fear that someone has something better than what you have, thus keeping you from ever having it. I suspect it was jealousy being focused my way that day, because why should being a diva be such a bad thing? After all, didn’t VH-1 do a whole concert series based around great divas (in that case, the divas being extraordinary singers)? According to Merriam Webster, a Diva is a “Prima Donna” (Leading Woman), another term that has taken on negative connotations.
If I had a diamond for every time someone came up to me and said something to the effect of, “This person said this negative thing about you and they don’t like you because you’re good at what you do,” GIRL PLEASE….. I’d have enough diamonds for a tiara. If being a diva means that I am inspiring fear in my enemies…. Oh wait, I’m supposed to be more evolved than that.
So what does being a diva really mean to me? Am I a Diva? I like manicures, massages, getting my eyebrows waxed, and enjoying positive attention – but I also enjoy being able to communicate what I know to others, and sharing my art to hopefully inspire and bring enjoyment, enchantment, beauty, and love into the world. Everything I have now in my life I have worked hard for, as I imagine is the case for many a diva out there. No one handed me my college degrees on a silver platter, and no one got me to where I am in life but me. I had help along the way, for sure – but that help came because of my hard work, dedication, sense of duty, and love of the work. What anyone else thinks about that is of no consequence.
I watch my students carefully. I want them to know that they can become whatever they wish to become if they are willing to cultivate their gifts, and put in the work that is required to become the best at whatever it is they want to do. Some of them gleefully accept the name Diva, and I have actually seen a tiara or two in class from time to time. I admire their acceptance of the Diva title, because I know they are doing the work that goes with it, and I am happy they are confident enough to embrace it.
I may have been born with a few fortunate things, I am well aware of the privilege I have as a white woman in the twenty-first century. I am also aware that I could have let my gifts go untended, uncultivated, but I worked on them instead, bringing greater things my way. I am blessed, fortunate yes – and I am also the product of many years of hard work and cultivation.
You wanna call me a Diva for all of those things? That’s fine. I’ll be over here adjusting my tiara.