Forgive Me For This (Very Long) Stream of Consciousness

One week (almost) post-election and I think maybe I have gathered my jumbled thoughts into a few coherent ones.

I know the last thing anybody wants to read or hear about is stupid politics. It’s over, let’s move on. They say. Welp, I, a black person, can’t quite ‘move on’.. not yet.

I cried for several hours on November the 9th. The night before, my stomach was in knots, but I also had to work so I didn’t have time to process what was happening. Then I got home after 10 hours of non-stop election coverage, CNN on all the TVs at work, people around me either in stunned silence or laughing it off because they would get to continue to live their lives in bliss. Who cares who wins, they’re both bad! They said.

I got home, I was too tired to care, but I also couldn’t sleep. My nerves felt like they did right before I had to give a speech in school, or before I started a new job. Every thought I could possibly imagine to think raced through my head, but finally I fell asleep. For two hours. Then I woke up again, and never fell back asleep. Instead I just cried, a whole bunch. And I honestly couldn’t think of why I was crying necessarily. I was just.. so.. so sad.

It’s not Donald Trump. He’s not great, for obvious reasons. But he’s also so self-involved that I’m not even sure he knows what just happened. His sole interest (it would seem) is his own happiness and success. That’s a pretty unfortunate trait to have in a President. But, the sense of loss I felt, how defeated I felt, that wasn’t because of Donald Trump. That came from feeling that maybe, America would never accept us. That in places around the country, there are still those who, if given the opportunity, would put us back in chains.

Race shouldn’t be this complicated. It’s not complicated. We are all one people, with varying shades, but the same material makes up our bones and our blood. But somewhere in our timeline as humans, someone changed that. And now, we are still suffering the consequences of it. I’ve been called a nigger, I’ve been told I look like a monkey, I’ve been told I said something “the wrong way” or did something “the wrong way.” I’ve been told I’m not black enough or that I talk white. I’ve been accused of stealing by people I’d never met, but assumed I was problematic because I’m brown skinned. I’ve seen the subtle ways in which people’s body language and tone changes when they address me, compared to how they address a white person.

I’ve tried to ignore it. I don’t like being angry, anger is exhausting. And I’m still (trying) not to dwell in negative attitudes. But I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to say anymore. I know a lot of really wonderful, kind white people. I know some who are loud advocates for change, who acknowledge their privilege and call people out when needed. To them I say, what a relief. Thank you. Because I’ve tried, and the response is often ‘haha, stop playing the race card.’ A shrug. A ‘let it go.’ Sometimes people even listen. But not everyone gets it. How bad it feels, even these microaggressions. How much worse it feels that still, in 2016, the KKK exists. They are allowed to exist. And yet, Black Lives Matter is called a hate group. I’ve seen Facebook comments, tweets, from people I know or from people who know people I know that make me feel like people of color will never truly be heard. We’ll have our allies, but at the end of the day, America just shrugs.

I know the Christian in me says “God will take care of it.” But I feel like that’s a cop out, a way to create a barrier between myself and being passionate about something that might be out of my control. The part of me that worries, the part of me that is angry at the racism and indifference, that part of me wants to yell and be mad. I’m trying to find a happy medium. I’m trying to be less cynical. But I feel like there are no answers, because the people who could change everything won’t. And the people who are indifferent will continue to be indifferent.

This was crazy long. I don’t even know if I’m going to publish this. I’ve just talked in circles, I have no good closer for this. My faith gives me peace, despite still feeling utterly hopeless. If God is not your thing, then that probably sounds ridiculous to you. But my belief in God is the only thing that has stopped me from completely falling into a pitt of despair.

This is all very complicated, very hard to summarize. I wish we could all listen to each other, have a pow wow and sort this out amongst ourselves. There are poor people, poor white people, who feel marginalized and left behind who voted for Trump. He sold them a lie, a beautiful lie that sounded like maybe someone was going to give them a leg up. And he’s probably going to let them down. They’re not hateful people, some of them probably don’t have a prejudice bone in their body. Which is why I hate to blanket the blame for America’s mess on “white people” as a whole. But at the same time, it’s hard to imagine what respectable person could still support someone who said and did so many hurtful things. NOTHING is fair.

I hope I’ve conveyed my utter confusion and sadness. Talk to someone. Ask each other questions. Don’t make assumptions. Communicate. Brighten the corner where you are. Who knows what changes we will or won’t see in the future. But, even if it feels fruitless, never tire of doing good. Convey your frustrations, feel what you feel. Humanity is a fumbling mess, we never get anything right, we mess up everything we touch. But you know what the beauty of it is? The good ones never stop trying to make it right.

I Need To Get This Out

I’ve never lived in an area where a serial killer has been on the loose. I imagine it’s a very tense time, where everyone is on edge, locking their doors, hoping for the best and suspecting every shifty eyed stranger of being him.

Well, if you’ve also never experienced such tension or fear, you’re in luck because right now, in 2016, these anxieties are in full effect.

The rampant (recorded) violence by police has struck again, and this time, much closer to home than I’m comfortable with. My dad and brother live in Tulsa, OK, the latest location of a string of legal homicides by “law enforcement.”

The fact that I have to be worried about the lives of my brother and father is a given. We all fear losing a loved one. But the idea that they could be taken from me by those being paid to protect and serve, while they were doing nothing illegal? While standing still, with their hands raised in surrender? Killed because of the color of their skin? That’s upsetting.

Maybe I’m being dramatic? Maybe I shouldn’t worry? I’m sure every single family who has received the news that their loved one was murdered by a cop thought the same. thing. Car trouble. CAR TROUBLE. Routine traffic stops. THESE are the things black men have been murdered for. They weren’t running from a shootout with their pockets full of drugs. They weren’t fleeing a crime scene. They were living their lives like the rest of us. They just happened to be black at the same time. And that is infuriating.

And YES, gang violence takes a lot of our black men. YES there is a lot of crime within the black community. That’s NOT. THE. POINT. The point is that white police officers, licensed to carry weapons and required to serve and protect our communities are MURDERING these men unjustly and getting. away. with. it. They are not being punished by the laws that this ‘great’ country set in place for those who BREAK THE LAW. That’s the point of this. There are legions of issues within our own separate communities, but that isn’t the point. If someone said to you, ‘hey lets go out for pizza’ and you said ‘but I also like tacos, mac and cheese and chinese food.’ You would’ve MISSED THE POINT of their question. We know you freakin like tacos. But for tonight, DO YOU WANT PIZZA?

Now, some may say ‘well what’s his face was selling cigarettes’ and ‘whats his name was being belligerent’ and whatever other excuses you’d like to come up with for why cops should be allowed to just pop someone that spooks them. There was a news story recently about a college kid who murdered and partially ate two older people that were casually chilling in their garage. Guess what? He’s still alive and our justice system is now handling him. Guy who killed and injured all those poor people in the Boston marathon? Jail. White kid who sat in a black church for a bible study and then promptly murdered those in attendance? Yeah, he’s getting his day in court.

So why weren’t these black men who were supposedly breaking the law given the chance to see a judge for their petty crimes? If such a crime was being committed? Because black lives don’t matter.

“But I’m a white person and I’m not racist. I don’t see color.” Well good for you. Great. Happy you don’t have racial prejudices weighing down your conscious. But can you do us all a favor and see some color? Can you see that there is a serious problem in this country and that electing a black president didn’t magically end racism? Your silence, your refusal to address this in your conversation with your friends, that’s part of the problem. IGNORING it is the problem. Because that’s what America has done. And that isn’t working.

Black people do not have the power to change any of this, because we’ve never had power. I know that not all white people are evil racists. That isn’t the point. The point is that unless white people start talking to each other, opening up about their conscious and unconscious biases, about systemic racism and about how this country still hasn’t purged itself of the sickness that is racism, we will still have cops with guns in their hands and hatred in their hearts. We’ll still have presidential candidates who can OPENLY say (with no repercussions) that African-Americans should vote for him because we are jobless and our communities are in shambles so ‘what do we have to lose.’ We will continue to be broken. If those in power don’t look inward and acknowledge their wrongs and right those wrongs, nothing will change.

All black people have right now is our anger. All we have are our protests, our riots, our chants, our grief. Saying to a black person that “all lives matter” is doing what’s always been done to us. Taking our voice away, telling us that we don’t matter and our fears and concerns don’t matter. We want to be respected.

I don’t know if there’s anything I can do but rant on the internet, share my thoughts with friends and sit down for the national anthem. Pray? Hope for the best? I don’t know. I just wish more people cared, that more people spoke up, that there was an open dialogue that could make America work towards the idyllic land of the free that we wish we were, but are certainly not.

It’s About Time I Wrote SOMETHING

Hello comrades.

I’ve become very bad at this blogging thing, which proves to me I probably couldn’t make a career of this. I don’t know how people do it.

If I never hear the name “Donald Trump” again, it’ll be too soon. It’s not really funny anymore (and maybe it never was?). At this point, I am exhausted with all things involving Trump. I’ve stopped being surprised that many at Fox News continue to make excuses for his inexcusable behavior. He is a narcissist, he is a prime example of what growing up wealthy and unencumbered by conscious or compassion will do to a person. If a majority of America decides in November that Donald Trump is who they want for president, then that’s who they deserve. My life is in God’s hands. (And also I’ve heard many good points being made that local/state elections are far more important and not enough people are involved in those. So maybe we should try that out?)

The Olympics! Every four years we get to see what the human body is capable of when it is denied all the happiness that garbage bags full of empty calories can bring. It’s been exciting to watch Michael Phelps and… the rest of.. them, achieve their dreams. Michael Phelps is only 31, and he’s cemented his place in history. I can only hope that I’ve at least landed on a solid career choice by the time I’m 31.

For anyone who wants to know what’s going on in my life, the answer is absolutely nothing! Still working, still trying to find out what it is that I’m really meant to do. Still trying to figure out how small talk works. Trying to accept the person I am, but still find ways to improve and become a better version of that. Figuring out my faith on my own, getting used to the idea of having a church home that isn’t connected with my family. All in all, being 27 and figuring out what an “adult” is. I feel like I’ve been invited to the grownup party, but I’m still staring at my invitation, deciding whether I should RSVP or not. Like, at what point do you feel, okay, here it is. I brought a casserole to the adulting barbeque. I have arrived. Is it having a baby? Getting married? Switching cable providers?

I had to figure out some stuff with my health insurance the other day, I took my car for an oil change, I scheduled and went to an eye appointment and purchased new glasses. I am as independent as any “adult” can be. Maybe there is no golden ticket that levels you up into “feeling” like a full fledged adult. Maybe that’s all it is is a feeling that comes and goes. A pastor I knew once told me that having it ‘figured out’ is a lie. He said he knew someone in their 40s whose parents were still trying to run their lives and control their decisions. There’s no magical island where you just feel like all is right with the world and you have reached IT. That was comforting but also really, really depressing, because I was hoping to get to that island someday. But I guess that’s the whole human experience. A wave of highs and lows, some days you are crushing it, and other days it’s crushing you. We fall into our beds, we reset, and hope the next day is better.

Alright, I’ve rambled on long enough. Till next time!

Something Good

I would like to brag about my parents for a second.

Well, more than a second but, you get the point.

I’m the darkest of all of my siblings. I have my dad’s skin color, my youngest sister is the lightest and brightest, and then my other sister and my brother are caramelish. My mom is also a toasty Simba.

Despite this, I was never made to feel that my darkness made me less valuable. I never wished I was lighter, I never looked at my siblings or anyone else and wished my skin could look like theirs. It was a non-issue. The only time I wished I could change anything about my physical appearance was when my Granny brought out the comb and grease and said it was time to do my hair. Then I would think of all the white girls at my school with their silky, satin tresses and how they weren’t getting smacked in the back of the head with a wide tooth combed and being told to sit still and to quit flinching.

I’ve got a lot of issues, mostly from being a painfully shy adolescent and being bullied through middle school. But home always felt like a safe place. My parents always taught me that what matters is how you treat people. That you never know what someone is going through, or where they’ve come from.

My dad also used to make a mean blueberry cobbler from the blueberry’s me and my siblings would pick from our backyard and the surrounding land. That has no significance to anything else I’m saying, but I’m trying to share happy thoughts. What else… I remember once my dad was remodeling the bathroom and removed the counter, where the sink goes? And I saw it sitting out there in the front yard and thought “I’m definitely going to make the grandest tree house out of this.” So I got a sheet from inside, a hammer and some nails and I started doing God knows what. I had this image of this beautiful, carpeted treehouse with recess lighting and two stories. It was going to be amazing. I sat out there for what felt like HOURS just, staring at the potential this old sink had. I finally gave up because I realized my dreams were far too lofty for the carpentry skills I did not posses as a 7 year old. I was so frustrated! But I still remember that day vividly and the tree house I never got to build.

So, so, so much has happened since the last time I blogged. America is in this dreadful tailspin. A lot of us are alert, aware and afraid. We’re seeing that electing our first black president seemed to have unearthed a wealth of racism that I’m sure a lot of people had thought was buried. And Donald Trump is still plaguing our lives with his cartoonish, bold stupidity. It’s a sick, sad world out there. I don’t know what to do except, I dunno, pray? Treat people with love and respect? And share something positive.

If any of my siblings are reading this, please let me know if I’m putting fairy dust on the past to cover some dark, hidden memory where you guys made fun of me for being too black. Appreciate it.

The Spirit of Harambe Is Not In Paul Ryan

Harambe wouldn’t have wanted us to fight like this guys.

He wouldn’t have wanted any of this. Because he was a gorilla. And all he wanted to do was live in the cage his captors built for him without being bothered. Next thing he knows, there’s a kid in his moat and people screaming above him. All of a sudden, there’s the great blue yonder and his other gorilla friends are calling him home.

“What’s it like down there these days?” they’ll ask him. And he’ll say, “same old, same old.” And he’ll be right, because even as humans evolve, create, and expand our knowledge, we never really change.

In other news, Paul Ryan did what all thinking people knew he would do. Because Donald Trump has come in and made a mockery of our already broken system. With his word vomiting and child-like vocabulary, he has proven that America does not know what it wants. He has proved that we are still divided and infantile. Anyway. 

I’m reading this book called ‘Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock’ about this boy who has this grand plan to kill his nemesis at school and then kill himself. It’s dark, but also humorous, and it’s making me think about how even the most together people are probably hurting in ways we can’t understand. And how it’s so important to be good to people because we don’t know.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to write a blog post for a long time but my brain is stuck. So this is all I could get to trickle out. Hey, be nice to people. And if you find yourself in a gorilla enclosure, play dead. Or maybe try looking deep into the ape’s eyes and let your human eyes plead with their ape eyes to spare your life.

R.I.P Harambe, and all other animals who are a casualty of our human savagery and ignorance. If it makes you feel any better, we kill each other senselessly too.

Lemonade is a drink, Piers Morgan is a jerk

Hellooooo from the swamplands of Austin, TX where you can eat the humidity like a pie. In April.

Two weeks into this move, and I am continually grateful and happy that I came here. I’m not a socialite yet, but I see so much potential, both in myself and the city I now dwell in.

For the past … 7? years? that I’ve had my driver’s license (yes I got it late, move on. I also don’t plan on getting married till I’m at least bed pan age). Anyway, all of my driving life has been smaller cities and/or townships, so by about 8 or 9 o’clock, the only things on the roads are crickets. So I continue to be surprised by how many people are out and about when I get off work around midnight. What are you Austintonians doing at these hours? Haha, what a naive question. I know they’re making late night runs to Walmart for Ben & Jerry’s. I’m not an idiot. (she said sarcastically.)

To me, lemonade is still only a sweetened beverage primarily consumed during warmer months. Speaking of..

Piers Morgan. I wanna say first that I know it’s kind of redundant to comment on someone else’s commentary, especially someone as pointless as Piers Morgan. But, this is a blog, so, whatever. 

Anyway, supreme jerk Piers Morgan wrote an article (read at your own peril here) about how he preferred “the old Beyonce” when she wasn’t so politically charged and spouting her opinion everywhere. In summary, good old caucasian male, self-proclaimed “journalist” Piers Morgan said that he preferred it when Beyonce was just singing about having sex or being heartbroken. Because entertainers shouldn’t have opinions on the world around them. Their primary function is coming up with clever ways to say “I am sad” or “I had sex last night, it was satisfactory”, “or “please don’t leave me, what if no one ever loves me again.”

That reminds me of this article I read once by an editor I used to work with. The basic summary of his article was ‘why is everybody disrespecting white men? What’s the deal? We deserve some respect to.’ Suffice to say, any respect I did have for him was wiped out after I read that. This may sound kind of awful, but I think it’s a great time for white men to take some bashing. They’ve basically dominated everything in this country from its inception, and they also traversed the world ruining other countries and wiping out entire indigenous populations. It’s pretty great that people are at least starting to be on a level playing field. I’M NOT SAYING that all white males are raping, pillaging monsters. Just like not all black men are thugs, not all asians are mathematicians, not all… you know, you get my point. Anyway, I think a lot of humasn have taken a pretty positive step forward in the idea of how people should be treated, and that no color (or gender) is better than another. Sure, we’re not perfect, but, being as deeply flawed as we are, we’re not doing so bad.

Finally the weekend, time for some sweet, blessed sleep.

Adios.

What’s A Traffic?

Hello and greetings from Texas!

I was fooling myself in thinking there was anything resembling ‘traffic’ in Dayton, OH. Austin, Texas mocks me for my small town thoughts. This is the first time I’ve ever had to drive in anything resembling real traffic to get to work. Three lane highways filled with vehicles, frantically merging, aggressively speeding up and swooping into the lane you need to be in. The thought always terrified me, but I’m much better at city-esque driving than I thought I would be. I don’t love it, but it no longer gives me heart palpitations.

Today, I thought I would take a quick jaunt to Whole Foods to pick up some vegenaise. I have now learned that there is no such thing as ‘jaunting’ in 5 pm traffic. 2 hours after getting off of work, I’m finally home and am fine with not leaving again until I have to do this all again tomorrow.

As I travel deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of adulthood, I become more in awe of people who decide to be fruitful and multiply. In awe of people who work more than one job while finishing their degrees, or those who battle illnesses (or have a spouse who is) while still trying to make a living for themselves and/or their kids.

No matter how you perceive our Westernized society and our ever present desire to go go go I still have respect for people who manage to stay awake, alert and alive through all of it.

BY the way. I have now learned that cats should not be introduced to each other aggressively, or after an 11 hour trip. If you’re cat is not declawed, you will pay the price. My sister and I have scars to prove this.

Anyway, till next time!