“This is my time and I control it.”

Christina M. Tapper
Published in
4 min readJul 31, 2020



Did you catch Rep. Pramila Jayapal putting Attorney General William Barr in his place during Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing? If you missed it, watch it here. When Jayapal questioned Barr about the Trump administration’s orders to invade Portland and brutalize protestors, Barr had the nerve to interrupt her. Jayapal wasn’t having it.

“This is my time and I control it,” she declared.

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The interruption, with all of its temerity, isn’t surprising. We have witnessed and experienced this far too often. In meetings, on dates, in stores, during family dinners. Someone verbally-elbowing their way to claim what belongs to us. The intrusion of someone’s words to talk over us. To shut us up. To steal our time. The nerve.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal questions Attorney General William Barr during the House Judiciary Committee on July 28, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Folks seize our time in other ways, for their own will or pleasure, too. There are the lunches or vacations cut short, or not taken at all, because frenzied bosses need work done. The meetings that could have been emails. The moments spent with romantic partners who end up wasting our time.

We can’t be about that life. We know Maxine Waters isn’t, especially after she gave us the catchphrase “reclaiming my time” when the treasury secretary tried to play with her time in 2017. Now, three years later, Jayapal gives us an important reminder about what is rightfully ours.

Honestly, if we don’t take ownership of our time, someone else will.

When we own our time, we’re being more mindful with where and with whom we give our energy and gifts to. We’re conducting audits and making edits to remove what is unnecessary. We’re limiting access to our calendars and energy during times when we know we don’t have the capacity. We’re depositing goodness back into ourselves after others have cashed us out of our verve.

Maxine Waters is reclaiming her time. Rep. Pramila Jayapal is controlling her time. Let’s make sure we do the same.

Take care,

Christina M. Tapper, ZORA deputy editor

Adrienne Maree Brown photographed by Anjali Pinto.

🎤 Having Our Say 🎤

Author, social justice activist, and doula Adrienne Maree Brown shares how she controls what belongs to her.

ZORA: Recently, you wrote, “Capitalism makes it hard to see your own direction.” How are you breaking your relationship with capitalism to make sure it does not claim your work and your time?

Adrienne: For years, my focus has been facilitation. I could get a lot more money if I answered some of these other calls. But I know that I would be further away from the people that I’m meant to serve. And I don’t think that’s what I’m here to do. I want to offer that because I think a lot of times capitalism puts us in this mindset of we never know when we have enough. So we’re always in hustle mode. We just have to get more. We have to take whatever job is offering the most money. We have to get the highest benefits. For me, I have enough. We should ask ourselves: Do we know what enough is inside of our lives? Once I know that, it’s much harder for capitalism to catch me, right? Because I’m not susceptible to this constant sale of myself or my soul to any other force.

➡️ Read the full interview with Adrienne here.

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🗣️ The Last Word 🗣️

“It’s all about control and I’ve got lots of it.” — Janet Jackson

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Christina M. Tapper
Writer for

Rule breaker, champion of women and education, and recovering sports journalist.