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I Can’t be Racist . . . I have White Friends!

It’s important to tell anyone reading this, I didn’t actually understand that I was Black, until I was about 7.  I never looked in the mirror, and some of my best friends in Elementary school were white.  I assumed I looked like them.  Call it childish innocence.  It wasn’t until my lil’ redheaded friend’s father wouldn’t let me sleep over their house, and my mom had to explain to me why.  I don’t remember exactly how I felt, but as I remember the event some 30 years later, I’m sure it made an impact.

Thats Racist

In high school, my group of friends was like the United Colors of Benetton.  We took our “Buddy Pictures” in plaid flannel of all colors.  There was a biracial girl, 2 white girls, a Filipino girl, and me. Imagine my surprise when one of my white friend’s dad was angry that she was friends with me.  I had talked to this man on the phone almost every day for a year.  He KNEW me, I thought.  That’s when I found out her dad was racist.

The majority of my life, I’ve befriended people based solely on merit. If you can hold a conversation, or we have something in common, or we work together, I’ll talk to you.  I’ve never really looked at race as a determining factor in my relationships with people.  I don’t mean, “I don’t see color,” I mean color didn’t determine your worth in my life.

Then Travyon Martin was killed.

All of a sudden, people I’d been friends with all my life – some people I considered FAMILY – were saying the most horrifically racist things about this CHILD who was killed by an overzealous asshole, who was probably racist.

“I mean, maybe he did attack that guy!”

“Why was he looking suspicious in a neighborhood he didn’t belong in?”

“I have to hear both sides . . “

Snape Flippinf Tables.gif

 

For the first time in my life, I realized that my existence as a Black Woman was in no way separate from my position/worth in some of the relationships in my life. I was the Black friend,  not the black friend.  I was being regarded as “hostile,” and “argumentative” for expressing an opinion.

Then, Mike Brown was Killed.

It was at this point, I started to lose friends in droves.  Before it had been, “Let’s just agree to disagree,” and precarious alliances were formed.  As long as I didn’t express my opinions, or acknowledge the unfairness of the USA, it was all fine.  But I couldn’t be quiet. I had to express myself, the pain was too great. First it was unfollowing people on FB, then I was being cussed out in the comments of my own posts, then it was people blocking me.

I’d never specifically expressed myself as a Black Woman around my friends.  I shied away from all that, because I understood it wasn’t worth the fight.  “Just shut up MJ, they won’t get it.”  Suddenly, I was trying to MAKE people understand.  I tried to have serious dialogues with people about race in America, and how it affects everyone in some shape or form.

Then, #BlackBoyJoy happened.

There was a video of a little Black boy dancing to some song, I honestly don’t remember what song.  I shared it on my FB page, with a comment like, “I love to see a Little Black Boy having fun!” There were probably some heart eye emojis, because HELLO! Lil Black Boys dancing is ADORABLE.

LILBOyDancing

The step sister of my best friend – my LONGEST friendship (since 5th grade Latchkey), my #WhiteBoyBestFriend – commented on the status something to the effect of, “All children having fun is beautiful, why just black boys?”

I can admit now, she caught me on an off day.  Any other day, I would have probably just blocked her.  But I had TIME that day. I didn’t call her out on my status, I sent her a FB message.  I’ve known her since she was 12 years old, and her mom married my best friend’s dad. I was trying very hard to maintain this relationship.  Maybe she didn’t understand that she was #AllLivesMattering my post.

I’d felt some time of way about her for years.  She, IMO, was the Epitome of what was wrong with America.  She was white, and entitled, and felt that everything should always go her way.  She had never had to be hungry, or experience life failures (to my knowledge), or fear for her life when she got pulled over by a cop.  She lived with her parents, was over 25 and had NO SHAME in that.  She did the absolute bare minimum on an hourly basis, and somehow, she felt she had the right to tell ME, that #AllLivesMatter.

I was tired of her, and her White Privilege.  Her Whiteness was offensive to me that day. I tried yall, I really did.

Seriously, my pride in beautiful black children is my own…allow me to have it without trying to make the focus about you and ur feelings

Calm your bitch down dude. I asked a genuine question. There is absolutely no need to jump down my throat. You know, I used to believe you were a tolerant and understanding person, but I have to say that I no longer see that in you. I see a very angry person and that saddens me. I don’t know what happened but I feel sorry for you.

Note: My response . . . and hers. I started off doing so well, right?!?!? Like I didn’t call her out her name, or ANYTHING. Because, growth.  But after her response tho . . . I went the FUCK OFF.

So since you already pity me [I’ll] tell you this. You live in a world that doesn’t exist. You are the EPITOME of White Privilege and Frailty. If you have paid attention to ANYTHING I’ve posted in [the] last 3 years, you would know “what’s wrong with me.” You are vain, and selfish, and I pity what your life is going to become.

Keep talking bitch

Of course I had to call my best friend, and tell him what had happened.  I screenshot the convo, and told him I understood if he wanted to fall back on our friendship for a while.  Thankfully, he said, “That’s between you two.  I’m not in it.” It was at that moment when I had to remind myself – They aren’t all like that.

Some Facts which, at this point, must be Stated:

  • Whiteness is a threat to most people of color. Anytime I, in my Blackness, challenge the status quo (Whiteness), I am attacked in various ways and on multiple levels.
  • White Women, and their fragility is harmful to the voices of People of Color.  I’m tired of quieting my voice so that white tears can be heard.
  • I Don’t Hate White People. I hate White Privilege.

All this has been written to say: I’ve been entirely too quiet about this feeling of . . . unease I have regarding our current  society.  My fear/anger is turning me into a person who pushes buttons on purpose.  I wear/purchase shirts just to piss off the people I see.  I wear my hair in an Afro to offend the eyes of people who dislike – or are uncomfortable with – Blackness. I put color in my hair because I know people think it’s “Ghetto,” not creative, because I’m Black.

There are a myriad of White people in my life on a daily basis.  I have White friends on FB, Instagram, and at work.  Lately, I’ve had to put disclaimers on my status’ and posts, and what I say in group settings.  Sometimes I don’t even speak at all.  Because of the impact it could have on my job, my life, my relationships is too great. {Which is a PROBLEM}

The . . . silencing of my voice is getting to me.  It’s making me fall into depressive states on a regular basis.  When I trace back the origins of all my waves of depression in 2017, it was an instance when I silenced myself in some way.

Tupac Shhhhh

I’m not Racist . . . . I’m Black. This shit is HARD.

Before I’m a woman, before I’m a Social Worker, before I’m a Friend, before I’m a Daughter, I’m Black.  The burden of that . . the weight of that in today’s society is slowly sucking the Joy out of me.  It’s like you have a 1,000,000LB weight on your back, and every white person can’t see it.  Better yet, they keep saying to you, “Girl, it’s just 3 flights of stairs.  You can do it, because I did!” It’s making me bitter. It makes me think snide ass comments about Whiteness, then feel bad for thinking it.

To ME: My Blackness is beautiful.  My skin is damn near flawless, I haven’t aged since I was 12 (I have the pics to prove it.) My hair is amazing.  I can do 1000 things with my natural hair, and it will be just as beautiful. My curves are sexy – these hips can hurt you if I want them to, or they can change your life. The original woman probably looked just like me.

To Society: My Blackness makes me less than. My Blackness is ugly, and the exact opposite of Beauty. My hair is ugly, dirty, and nappy.  My curves are unhealthy and I don’t deserve to sit comfortably in any chair, ever.  People who looked like me, were shaped like me, where kept in museums and displayed at circuses. {Look up Venus Hottentot}

Adulthood for me, is finally understanding the real meaning of the following poem:

Mother to Son

BY LANGSTON HUGHES

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare.

But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now—

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

This is Blackness in 2018.  This is Me.

Can You Hear Me? Do You See Me?

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Pigment . . . or Nigga What?!?!

To whom it may concern:

You broke my heart.  Not on some “We in love” type shit, I wasn’t dreaming about forever. But we had SUCH a good thing going.  And yet . . . at the end of the day, it wasn’t what I thought.  My brothers tried to tell me, but like a dummy I didn’t listen.  Because I knew better . . . I was doing this the right way, and my feelings weren’t involved. Or so I thought . . . because after all this time, I’m still hurt.

Maybe I’m the one to blame
That’s just how the game goes
Just want someone to hold
Everybody needs somebody to be there when they’re alone
I just want you to save me (yea)
Just want you to save me . . .

I’d made my mind up, we were going to make this whole thing work for years. Maybe I got arrogant, I thought we were on the same level. Underneath it all, I thought we respected each other enough to be honest, at all time.  I never lied to you. Not once, I was always upfront.  When I was wrong, I told you. When you were wrong, I checked you. I thought that made us friends.

I’ve known most of my life that I’m a loyal person.  If I consider you a friend, then that’s just it.  We are Ride or Die.  I have your back, and you have mine. I would never do something to harm you, and I thought it was vice versa. Maybe that’s why I’m so hurt. Because you accused me to something I would NEVER have done.

He said you’re my everything
I love you through everything, I done did everything to him
He forgave me for everything, this a forever thing
Hate that I treat it like it’s a whatever thing
Trust me, boy, this shit is everything to me

Okay, so maybe I lied once.  I told you it was just . . . fun.  It meant something. On multiple levels.  The right people knew what it meant, except you.  Either way, you mattered . . . and always have.  You know THAT, I Know you know that. But at the end of it all . . . the ugly ass way it ended . . . I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have time to get myself ready.  Because it didn’t end the way I wanted to end. I just wasn’t ready for it.

The things that I would do to you with just a couple seconds
I would color every moment, make you feel like it’s forever
I’m comin’ over, so you can start undressin’
I’m givin’ you a chance to finally make a good impression

When I first heard the version of this song on Volume 1, I was PISSED it was only 90 secs.  I thought it held so much potential.  I wanted to send this song to you.  It was the perfect statement was what I wanted us to be. “Get Ready . . . a Bitch has plans.” That’s what the text would have said.  I needed you to know my mindset.  But alas . . . . The Road to Hell is Paved with “Good Intentions.”  This was supposed to be the next level shit we had talked about. But it all fell apart.

You only show me love
When it comes to the music
It’s like when I feel lonely
That’s when you start actin’ choosey
I don’t wanna keep playin’ them games
‘Cause I feel like I’m losin’

So I’m done. I needed to be anyway. But I’m done. Because it’s probably the better decision, at least for me.  But I miss the security that existed because you were in my life. I miss having the knowledge that there was someone out there that thought of me and smiled.  Or maybe you didn’t, and I’m making that up. It makes it easier to lie to myself.

He has you lost in your emotions
And you hate feeling so alone
And now your simpin’ because you know
You shouldn’t have stayed until the morning
It wasn’t worth all the heartache
It wasn’t worth all of the pleasure
Because you were once a diamond
He made you feel like buried treasure

You broke my heart. And I’m judging myself because of that.  Because I KNEW better. I’ve been down that road, and knew how it ended.  But I still . . . quite stupidly . . . had hope that we could be friends at the end of it all. But, friends don’t do that to each other. Friends don’t say shit like, “I mean I hear what you are saying . . . but I don’t believe you.” I’m sitting here, dealing with it.  Because I have to, even if I don’t want to.  But it hurts. Alot.

I’m still lost holding in all of the anger
At the bottom of the ocean and I thought you’d be my savior.
I was distracted, unaware of his behavior
But when I started drowning, I didn’t know he was the anchor.

No More Mediocre 

I’m tired of mediocre people. I’m tired of mediocre people in power. I’m tired of mediocre people with power and privilege. I’m tired of mediocre people with power and privilege having any sort of say in the everyday workings of my life. 
I’ve spent most of my adulthood, being forced to deal with mediocre people in positions of power. There was a time when I didn’t really care. But it seems that since around January 20th, 2009…this shit has really come to the forefront. My contemporaries elected the first black President, and folks lost their gotdamn minds. 

The people who voted for the Only President I will ever claim, all of a sudden felt all their years of benefiting from their privilege no longer mattered. They felt they should be rewarded for their charity, and race should no longer be a part of any dialogue. 
You shouldn’t be rewarded. No one is going to clap for you. No one cares about your political act of charity. The movie Get Out just solidified some things I’ve been thinking out for the past year. I’m tired of mediocre people in positions of power (both minute and great) demanding respect they haven’t earned. 

I don’t have to respect, like, or care about you (or your feelings) just because you are a liberal (white) woman. I have the right to deny you that respect. Because, my people are free. I am notafraid of you, and in truth never have been. Because you didn’t earn your power, it was handed to you. 
The anger that comes, from knowing I’m better than people and yet I’m not afforded the same access and privilege they are. Some of this I can’t control….but there is a reason I have a therapist. Cuz sometimes that anger can be overwhelming. The difference between them and me…my knowing I’m better than you doesn’t make me address you differently. 

I don’t want your power. I don’t even want your privilege (I mean the good credit yes, but other than that….) I’m good.  
Being black is beautiful. It’s a blessing. At 35 I can say that and understand that phrase. There is nothing better in this world than an intelligent black American woman. Because we have carried the burdens of this country since it’s inception. 

The difference between “Us and Them”, we don’t want your power or your privleges. We just want to be able to create our own, without you trying to take it and make it yours. 

I don’t want your job. I know I can do your job better than you can. So do you, and that’s why you hate me.  I’m starting to believe that it’s some times in the very nature of mediocre people, to ruin any semblance of greatness. LET ME BE GREAT! My greatness doesn’t block your shine…its not meant to. 

I’m great at everything. This country created me to be a jack of all trades. I have to master everything, because survival is key. That’s why I can adapt to everything, because genetically I’m here because my ancestors did the same thing. The strong and resilient ones were the ones that lived. They killed the rest of them. 


I’m so tired of having to dim my light to make mediocre people feel comfortable. I’m so tired of code switching to keep my attitude in check. I’m so fucking tired of being told to stay in my place, because some sensitive ass mediocre bitch is sensitive and feels challenged. 
Wanna know why everyone likes me, cuz I’m honest. I know exactly who and what I am. When I say to them, “We dont judge,” its not empty words. I actually mean that shit. People gravitate towards truth, and those who try to destory it will never win. 

Call this a manifesto of sorts, if you will. My light is finna blind (but not block) these mediocre ass people. 

I am Amazing. I am Beautiful, I am a Genius, and I am indeed Better Than You. This is my truth. I’m living in it. 

Sorry, Not Sorry.

New Moon Free Write

I’ve been trying to get myself together for the last 6 months. Actively trying to be mindful of the consequences of my actions. It’s hard as fuck. Because, at least for me, when I’m intentional, it’s much harder to complain about the outcome. I like complaining. It’s kind of my thing. 

That’s not really what this post is about. It’s more about how hard this is for me. How I feel like I’m taking 3 steps forward and 7 steps back. It feels like when 1 thing is working, the other 168907 are not. I decided in June I was going to have weight loss surgery, only to have my company not allow us to do it with their insurance. 

I have finally gotten to the point where I want to do something permanently about my weight, as well as acknowledged that I can’t do it alone, and It was like that world was yelling at me, SIKE! GOTCHA BITCH! So now, I have to do something different. 

That seems to be the theme of 2016 for me: Do Something Different. And I’m trying, Lord knows I’m trying. But again this shit is HARD AS FUCK. Depression is a real thing for me. Therapy helps, I won’t deny that. But thanks to my high ass deductible, I can only do it 2x a month. I need like daily therapy sessions at this point in my life. 

I’m still angry. On June 2nd, when I thought my anger was going to kill me, I said okay girl, talk to somebody. And he’s great. But he’s not there at the local Fry’s at 10pm when I discover some asshole adult has taken wooden letters and spelled out KKK in the craft section on every shelf. He’s not there when I’m trying to not yell at random assholes with Trump stickers on their cars. 

This shit is HARD AS FUCK! By this shit, I mean life. It’s kicking my ass this year. Not to say that it’s been all bad, cuz it hasn’t.  But that’s not the hard part. The good stuff is easy. 

The hard part makes you feel like God doesn’t listen to you. Or maybe he’s just mad at you cuz you happen to be in love with someone you shouldn’t be. Or maybe God doesn’t care cuz there are people in Aleppo with a much harder life than you right now.  So stop being a selfish whiny bitch and deal with your shit. Cuz it could be worse. But this shit is HARD AS FUCK right now. 

So yeah….that’s where I’ve been for the last 2 weeks. Just needed to get all that off my chest. I’m better now, I think. 

These are My Confessions Part 3: Open Windows

I chose my Therapist. Purposefully. He had worked with a former client of mine, and he struck me during our interactions as a smart man. Who understood the dichotomy of being black in Tucson, and how it would affect a child in the foster care system. 

So when I made the decision to seek out some profeasional help, I called him first. I crossed my fingers, and hoped he was accepting new patients. I know it was God that opened up that spot, cuz the day before I called him he had closed out a case. 

Today, was the first time I laughed and smiled during a session. Last week was 30 minutes of tears, because the world is so scary. But today, I laughed so loud and long. Because I’m figuring shit out, finally. My emotions are no longer taking over my rational mind. Which is beautiful. 

I laughed because he is so quick to call me on my shit. Sometimes he can just do it with a look. He doesn’t allow me to be ashamed of anything, he makes me address shit. I’ve been living in survival mode for so long, I’d forgotten how good mental clarity felt. 

Today, I smiled and laughed and talked about my feelings without fear. I caught myself speaking some truth I wasn’t expecting. I’m changing the way I interact with people. I’m letting people in, and it doesn’t terrify me….as much. It’s progress. 

Therapy is frequently my favorite part of the week. For an hour, it’s all about me unpacking my life. It’s dedicated time each week to do the work. Part of me still thinks it’s hella selfish. That I could be spending that money on something else. But that’s a VERY small part of me. Because I’m finally starting to see the results of the work. 

Confession #3: I leave windows open for those people I’m hoping will come back into my life. 

I don’t usually announce I’m leaving the window open, but it’s there. Cuz I’m quick to block people I no longer want to have access to my life. Be it via Social Media, or by blocking their phone number and/or email addresses. When I’m done, I’m done. 

My laughter in today’s session came from the realization that I blocked my family on social media….but I didn’t block the Unicorn. Cuz I’m hoping he comes back. I’m not done with that yet. I’m not done with him yet.  Do I want to just tell him off, or am I hoping there is another chance somewhere in there? I don’t know. I know, up until he started liking my pics on Instagram recently, he wasn’t on my radar. But I hadn’t denied him access, I just took away MY access to him. 

Truth be told, he hurt my feelings. Deeply. Until I get to say that to his face, I’m going to always feel a way. And that’s okay. Maybe next week, I’ll unpack that a little bit more. But I’m still smiling, cuz everything for a reason and in its own time.  

White Picket Dreams or TAMC Part 2a

I’m sitting here looking at this old canvas
And the picture looks so different from you
Yes it does, yes it does
Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board
Cause it’s likely that the man I drew is fictional

Here’s the thing . . . I haven’t listened to this album in a while.  I can’t tell you why, I just haven’t.  But thanks to my Spotify Discover Weekly, this song popped up, and Solange changed my life again.  Cuz I’ve been painting over the same canvas for years.  That image of the perfect family, the perfect life, the perfect relationship.  I continue to try to make people (men and women) I meet fit on one of the canvases I created in college, that was supposed to represent what my life should be.  Even while knowing the canvas is bullshit.  Because it is.

For five long years
I thought you were my man
But I found out
I’m just a link in your chain

It took me 10 years to get over my first love (TBTLINY). Through mostly no fault of his own, I was just holding on to the hope that we could make it work.  Because the connection was so deep, and the love was so strong. It just HAD to work. But in real life, he was just meant to be my friend (I think). {I might still be holding out hope that he will come to his senses, so sue me.  You don’t know my life.} But he’s been the prototype, for everyone that has come afterward.  They have to make me feel like I did when I first heard his voice, I have to want to be with them like I wanted to be with TBTLINY. The connection had to be that strong. Repainting on the same canvas.

If I could… could forget him, I would… please believe me
And I know that I should throw the towel in
But baby it’s not… not that easy
You treat me so much better than him, And if I was sane there’d be no competition

But… but I’m in love with someone else (ooh)
And I’m so sorry hey hey
I’m in love with another man
And I know it ain’t right

Instead of trying to heal, you tried to move on.  Even though you weren’t ready.  You might have even found a good guy/girl.  But you were still staring at that old canvas.  Longing for the life you had created in your head and your heart.  It’s so hard to let go of the image, once it’s been solidified in your mind.  That painting is stuck to the walls, and it’s not coming down until it wants to.

I used to cry myself to sleep at night
But that was all before he came
I thought love had to hurt to turn out right
But now he’s here
It’s not the same, it’s not the same

So then you meet this new person, and they can do all the things.  They make you smile all day, and you feel all the feelings, and they fit the mold.  Finally, you can take that portrait off the wall, and start making a new one.  But instead of starting over, you use the outline of the last painting to create this one.At first, it works perfectly.  Slowly but surely, it’s the little things that don’t quite fit.  The painting starts to go outside the lines. They don’t quite seem so perfect, you start to see the flaws, the colors start changing, lines get blurred.  Once again, the picture in your head was wrong.

Some of you know what it feels like
Caught up just in his life
Don’t wanna try again, thinking what’s the difference?
Why am I not interested?
Cause when you’ve been broken, you feel like no one can fix it

I’ve decided to stop painting.  I just . . . Quit. And I’m okay with that. Clearly, me trying to control every bit of this isn’t working. So I’m done now.  I just needed to say that.  Cuz yeah.  That’s the conclusion I reached yesterday. Just stop trying, cuz Adulting is hard enough without trying to be a master painter.

My need to control every little part of my life is driving me crazy.  I can say that now, probably because when this blog is published, not that many people will read it.  I wrote this a few months ago, but then I didn’t publish it.  At the time, it was because I couldn’t get the Spotify links to work right . . . But you know, everything in time.  So I’ll post it now, and let this be another part of Confession #2.

 

 

 

These are my Confessions Part 2

I think, I’ve only been in love 3 times. I’m not talking about bullshit crushes or infatuation. But genuine love, the kind that makes for a beautiful relationship if nurtured correctly. 

#1 is and will always be my first love/soul mate. We literally grew up together. We argue, and fall out, and Hate each other frequently. But he has a piece of me forever. 

#2 is The One That Got Away. We speak very infrequently, maybe once or twice a year. It was easy to forget WHY I fell for him in the first place. But that love is still there. Just under the surface every time we talk.

#3 broke my heart, and to cope, I stopped feeling things. Most emotions are non-existent for me, and have been for the last 4 years. It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, but I’ve noticed it and commented on it a few times in the past. 

There was a time when being emotionally numb kept me from losing my shit on an hourly basis. My mind created this block to save me from myself. I understand that. I’ve felt safe in the numbness for these past few years. I had a whole ass 9 month long relationship, and not one feeling was exchanged. Not any real ones anyway. I was actually able to fake a relationship. 

But…. for a brief moment today, I felt something. And it scared the fuck outta me, and I relished the feeling all at the same time. I was smiling, and my heart did that flutter thing it does when you get excited about a guy {is that just me?}

It was of course, one of those 3 people I mentioned before. Because I can feel a myriad of emotions for people in my past. I can bring up those feelings and those moments with ease. I can bask in the safety those moments (good and bad) bring me, without any real fear of the outcome. Because those are MY memories. 

I don’t have to share them with anyone, even if those memories involve another person. But making NEW memories, extending myself and investing an emotion in someone new….impossible for me. 

And even as I see this happening, I’m unable to force my brain, mind, heart, soul, or whatever controls my emotional muscles, to push (it)themselves past what they already know.  

He made me smile today, just because he thought of me, and had to call.  My heart jumped, and I was short of breath as I picked up the phone. And I felt the love that has always been there, that I’d had forgotten was still there. 

And my first reaction, was to call him back after our conversation ended, and say I need a break from these feels. We can’t talk for a while, because I don’t like this feeling. Not at all. I can’t feel anything real for you, I don’t do that anymore. 

My Confession: I’m really worried I’ll never love anyone again. I’m worried I won’t even try to find it, all because losing it might just take me all the way out.