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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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A Letter to My 17 Year Old Self

Dear MJ,

By now, you’ve been in college for 3 whole weeks.  Enjoy it, this is the best time of your life.  This is where you meet the people who change your life forever.  Savor the geographical closeness of friends, and take full advantage of every new experience.  Try everything at least once, take pictures of everything.  It doesn’t stay like this forever.  There are some very dark times ahead.  You will use the happiness of this year to get you through some of those times.  Be Glad I warned you.

On Friendship . . . 

The people you meet in these 4 years, are your family.  Not just friends in passing, but the shoulders you will cry on when life is falling apart.  You will leave college with Brothers would would fight a bear for you.  You will leave with Sisters who will fight that same bear, and probably send evil text messages to that bear’s whole family for years, just because they love you.  Some of the people you start this journey with, won’t make it until the end.  You will lose great friends, but find them again  . . . even if it takes 17 more years to reconnect. MJ, these friends are lifetime friends.  Don’t take them for granted.

On Your Hair . . . 

MJ, you are going natural in 1999.  A full 10 years before the Natural Revolution.  Good Job being a pioneer.  Going natural for you was a necessity, and not a protest of the white man’s wish that you assimilate to European standards of beauty.  You just don’t know how to do your hair, and that’s okay.   But your hair is beautiful, enjoy the texture.  You are Beautiful, MJ. Everything about you is Beautiful. Sadly, no one is going to recognize you need to hear that from time to time.  You won’t feel beautiful until your 20’s,  But I’m telling you now.

On Your Career . . .

Right now, you are probably sitting in your programming class, wondering how the hell you are going to program a damn computer to play Rock Paper Scissors with you.  You are going to get your first failing grade on a test.  Don’t worry, it’s going to get better!

You are going to find your calling, Children.  You are going to go through a few different phases.  Education, Tutoring, and you are going to land on Social Work.  God put you on this earth, MJ, to help children.  You are great at it.  You will make a lasting impact on hundreds of children.

Sadly, the profession you choose isn’t gonna keep them pockets fat.  You are going to end up being the poor friend.  Except, you won’t figure that out until you are 34.  You learn to survive with what you have.  Some years are going to be much worse than others, but as you get closer to your true purpose, you will figure out how be handle your money better.

Money is going to cause you to shed some tears, some ugly ass tears.  But MJ, you will survive it.  So keep going, even when you feel like you can’t.

On Love . . . 

People are going to break your heart.  Remember those dark times I was talking about . . . The first time is coming in about 10 months.  Don’t try to stop it.  He’s your soulmate.  That kind of love is going to stay with you for the rest of your life.  He’s going to stay with you the rest of your life.  But losing it, is going to break you.

I mean, devastate you, and no one around you will see it.  No one around you will recognize the signs of depression, because Black People Don’t Get Depressed.  It takes about 10 years, but he comes back, and he’s one of your best friends.

True Love is something you are going to look for in almost every person you meet, which is stupid.  Nora Roberts fucked you on that.  There is no such thing.  It’s just emotional connections that work out or not.  The other two guys, who will both break your heart by the way, they aren’t bad people.  They just couldn’t handle you, and how intense you can be.  Calm the fuck down, MJ. Take it slowly.  Stop trying to make every guy your future husband.  Calm the FUCK Down.

On Sex . . . 

You are going to waste your college years.  This is the time in life, when you should be whoring it up. But you won’t, because they told you men only marry the good girls.  THEY LIED. Men marry the Jump Offs.  You are going to be SO PISSED once you figure that out.  Sorry girl, you should have been a heaux. You had the PERFECT dating app, Greek Life. And what are you gonna do, MJ? Be friends with everyone.  Dumb Ass.

However, your greatest sexual encounters are going to be with people you’ve been friends with most of your life.  So that’s something, right MJ? You can hold out for that, you’ve only got like 13 more years to wait.

On Your Sexual Identity . . .

It’s okay that you like girls too.  It’s okay that you have crushes on girls in college.  Even though you grew up in church, and they told you something was wrong with you because you liked girls . . . It’s okay. Even though people in your family drop the F-Word with ease, and try to shame their male children for being sensitive . . . it’s OKAY.

It’s perfectly NORMAL to be BiSexual. You will be happier once you stop hiding it.  And you are going to meet some amazing people that help you get there.  Let Your Flag Fly MJ. It’s okay to be Queer.

Finally, MJ . . . 

These plans you have right now for your life, on who you are going to be, and where you are going to end up . . . WRONG. Stop trying to be like everyone else.  You aren’t.  You are so Different, and Special, and Beautiful, and Unique.  There is no one in this world like you. Your personal freedom will come, when you embrace yourself.

Stop comparing yourself to your friends, it won’t bode well for you.  Be Proud of who you are, in that moment.  Every single tear is going to be worth it.  The pain won’t last always, MJ. You are going to make it.  And it’s going to be Spectacular.

I’m Proud of You MJ,

34 Year Old You.

Dear 2015 . . . Thank You!

Happy New Year!!! Before I can talk about 2016, I want to write a love letter to 2015, as she treated me exceptionally well. So here goes . . .

Dear 2015,

Ino-one-said-a-relationship-would-be-easy-quote-1 started my year laying in bed with someone I thought I loved.  I was looking forward to exploring that relationship, and seeing where it would take me.  I ended this year in a bed in a hotel room, sleeping.  I consider that progress. BTB, as he was referred to via text, was a great person, who just wasn’t the greatest person for me.  Thank you, 2015, for teaching me what I really need from a relationship.

11226a69ba8bcfcff240192ffe7267dfSpeaking of relationship needs, 2015, thank you for giving me closure with MM.  Thank you for allowing Adele to create Hello, which gave me the in to make the phone call. Thank you for the tears, the dropping of all my walls for the first time in 4 years, and understanding I’ll never get over the loss of him, and finally being okay with it.  Thank you for helping me to finally be adult enough to deal with him, and understanding me not being in his life, is HIS loss, and no longer mine.

12068774_10156193040040613_5727737327877461904_oAlso, 2015, thank you for all the travel I’ve been blessed enough to have this year.  Thank you that most of it has been not at my expense.  Thank you that I’ve been blessed enough to explore new places, and experience new food, and open myself to new people.  Thank you for the single serving friends I made while stranded in the Dallas airport, who stayed awake with me and shared their lives for that brief 16 hour clusterfuck.  Thank you for Seattle, and Tiffany.  Thank you my trip back to Detroit, and the $1300 in Travel Vouchers I earned by simply taking a later flight.

11890334_10156032907620613_7158217206638298298_oThank you, 2015, for finally finding my career.  For showing me, almost every day, that I CAN make a difference in the life of a child in more than one way. Thank you for combining my greatest life skill, Stalking People on the Internet, with my passion for helping children and making them work.  Thank you for giving me jobs which provided me with the autonomy I’ve always needed to succeed when working for others

11058219_10156449265155613_4546870432011955837_oThank you, 2015, for my God-Children, and all the children I’ve ever taught or worked with, who still remember me and are a part of my life.  Thank you for my Parents, with all their eccentricities.  Thank you that they are still alive, and well, and a part of my everyday life.  Thank you for the blessing of being able to call them when I need them, but also being able to call them without needing a thing.  Thank you for my family, immediate and extended, in all shapes, colors, ethnicities, and ages.  Thank you for the family I’ve created, and the family God gave me.  We are a work in progress.

dca470a731a288455632a65bf85058b1Lastly, but most importantly 2015, thank you for my Friends.  Thank you for reminding me who they are, and who they were, and that they love me.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see 85% of them while I was in Detroit/Dayton/Cincinatti, and spend quality time with them.  Thank you for the astonishing realization that all of us are ADULTS, who make adult decisions every day, and are happy in our lives.  Thank you for helping us to navigate life together, and sometimes apart, and still be able to look each other in the eye with pride.

Thank You 2015, even for the earth shattering losses of this year.  Thank you for all the tears, and fears, and self-doubt, and bad times.  Because I’ve grown so much more than I even knew until recently. Thank you for Everything, 2015. You’ve definitely made me a a better person.

Sincerely,

Mz. Joy

 

 

 

Soooooooooo, Here’s the Thing…

 
*For the purposes of this blog, the following definitions must be stated*

Choice: the opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities : the opportunity or power to make a decision

Validate: to recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of {something}

Suffer: to become worse because of being badly affected by something

While in the process of writing this book – thanks to a challenge from my sisfer Erin – I’ve been looking over lots of my old writings. Sometimes, I’ve shared with people the stuff I’ve found.  I am, in a very real sense, a digital hoarder.  I save most emails, AIM/Yahoe Conversations, even drafts of text messages I never sent.  I pay for Handcent Premium so I can save my text messages in the event I have to get a new phone.  It’s a serious issue.

Since I started using MySpace to blog, I’ve made a very conscious decision to save things I felt mattered to me.  Or would mean something in the future.  95% of the time I was actually correct.  I’m tell you all this because after spending all this time looking at my past – and trying to figure out why I make certain life choices – I’ve come to several decisions/conclusions/realizations.  These are some, not all. The list is actually quite extensive.

1) With Adulthood, Comes Censorship

I used to curse all the time.  Every other word was shit or damn or fuck. It was in my every day vernacular, and I didn’t care how it affected anyone around me.  I wish I still felt it was okay to speak that way.  It’s easier when you aren’t thinking about the ramifications of your actions/words.  I wrote whole blogs about how much I hated people and their actions.  I even used full government names.  I so didn’t care.

July 2009, I got my first professional job. People could Google me… I was on the first page.  I locked my Twitter Account, made my FB unsearchable, and never used my name on this blog.  People were looking to me for a very specific kind of thing, and them searching my name and finding Save a Horse – Ride a Big Girl wasn’t exactly what I needed to happen.  My blogs become much more broad, and lacked lots of personal details.  In real life, I was still expressing myself. I just chose to do it a different way.

It should be noted, I’m tired of censoring myself. This means, I’m not going to spare your feelings if you have hurt mine. I’ve always been an asshole, I had just started to be more tactful when I said asshole things. That’s gone.

2) Accountability is a thing now . . . 

Another major change in my life is my current job.  The fact that it saved me notwithstanding, it’s taught me what it means to be fully accountable for the choices you make.  Good/Bad/Indifferent you control your life.  No other human being can make you do anything, without you at one point giving them permission to do so. *DV/SA/Trauma Situations excluded of course*

Even if you are traumatized by something that happens in your life, it’s your CHOICE to wallow and suffer afterward.  Everyone has the right to recover, process, and deal with our lives.  Suffering is a CHOICE. Stop blaming shit on your friends, and your parents, and your ex-boyfriend. You made a choice to drink that night, you made a choice to borrow that money for the loan, you made a choice to stay with him/her after they cheated.

I don’t do Victims anymore.  Because I am NOT one. So we can talk and make a plan about how you are going to deal with your issues, but I will NOT help you be sad/mad/angry/sad ever again.

3) Own Your Shit

Right along with #2, stop trying to seek validation from other people for your choices. “It was just weighing down on me, I had to say something.” What the FUCK for?!?!?  I didn’t want that guilt, it’s not mine to have.  Why must you spread the shit that’s killing you inside? That’s like making Cancer an airborne disease.  Do we do that now? If whatever it is you “need” to tell me isn’t going to make me money, or save my life . . . Please keep that shit to yourself.

Yesterday, I had an existential life crisis about my past relationships and their functionality {or rather, that they only served one function}. I was emo all day. But I dealt with it.  That’s what the FUCK adults do.  You can’t be 32 damn years old, blaming other people for your body count. You just can’t. I had to come to the realization that I was judging myself, based on society’s views of where I should be at this point in my life. FUCK Society tho. She’s a dirty foul whore, who can’t make up her mind.

4) Set Your Own Rules

Live your life the way YOU want to live it. Not the way your parents told you to, not the way your friends think you should, not the way you were taught to in catholic school. Rules are put into place as a guideline, not to be shackles to stop you from being happy.  When you start feeling bad for a CHOICE you’ve made, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Am I Hurting anyone in a way they won’t be able to recover?
1a) If I am hurting someone, does this mean I will lose this relationship and/or can I deal with the loss of it?
2) Am I making this choice to please someone else, or myself?
2a) If I am making this decision to please someone else, is this going to change my life in a positive or a negative way?
3) Am I seeking Validation for this choice?
3a) If I am seeking Validation, is it to be absolved of guilt about this choice?

Live your life on your own terms.  The same people we frequently seek approval from, aren’t doing the same thing when it comes to us.  People make choices that affect our lives everyday, and they didn’t and/or don’t care how you feel about it. As callous as that sounds, it’s very true. I’m not here to validate you.  I’m not here to save you from your bad decision, or the regret you have because of it. I do that everyday at work.  I have taken off my cape, please react accordingly.

5) Trust is Earned, Not Given

I don’t lie. I may omit some truths when meeting people, but, more than likely, if asked I will tell the truth.  For the majority of my life, I thought everyone did the same thing.  The realization that people don’t think like me, and/or live their life with that same philosophy was mind-blowing {only child syndrome}.  It should be noted and acknowledged, as I jump with both feet into the puddle that is my 30’s, I don’t trust you.

Everything that comes out of your mouth is a lie until you prove otherwise.  I’ve seen/heard people lie on and about me to my face in the last few years.  Sometimes people are so used to lying, they forget it’s a lie.  That is their CHOICE. I get to make choices too, and I choose to think everyone is a liar.

Call me jaded, hurt, bitter, etc. I’m okay with that. Because I’m right.

As of right now, I can count the people in my Circle of Trust on 2 hands, and one foot. I’m over giving people an elevated position in my life, and they aren’t living up to it.  Instead of calling them and whining about it, I just made the cut. So That Happened.

*Trust no one who hasn’t earned your trust.
*You only know what people allow you to know.
*Judge yourself by your standards only.
Thank God for granting me this moment of clarity.

Thanks For Reading!

Late Night Ramblings of 2011: The Coltrane Diary

So I’m laying in my bed, listening to a 31 track collection of John Coltrane’s lesser known work, and it’s like 3 in the morning. I’ve spent the whole day laying in bed, watching movies and clearing out my DVR. I ordered pizza and just lived my life, for one day, like I wish I could live it from now on.

Various conversations that I have had recently have lead me to this place. A place of self reflection and evaluation. I do this about once a year, usually at the beginning of the year.  I think about where my life is….and where I want it to be.  I’ve talked before about knowing my path and/or trying to find it. But as I get closer to 30, I am finding that I have absolutely no idea where life is taking me.

I look at people that I know, and wish I had their lives. That my life made sense like theirs does.  I wish that I could wake up every morning, and not fear what was just around the corner. The safety in KNOWING is so much more comforting than we were ever told.  When we were younger, we were sold on the greatness that was surprise. The mundane was deemed for old people. The act of living each moment as if it was our last has been spoon fed to us for so long, that when we see people who don’t live that lifestyle we pity them.

But let me tell you, six months away from 30 Years Old, the mundane looks pretty damn attractive to me.  Looking at my bank account, and seeing absolutely no changes in it is what I live for. Leaving one job and just going home is so pleasing to me. Not having to run to the store to pick up something, but instead going to a pantry to seeing it on the shelf is just…joyful to me.  The simplicity of what your life can be, when you stop trying to live up to your interpretation of what others expect from you is just…..

I remember conversations we used to have in college. Sitting in the VWK dining room, talking about all the great things we were going to accomplish before we hit 30. The husbands, the kids, the careers….we had out lives mapped out. We lived in a world where failure wasn’t even a thought in our minds. But I can count on 2 fingers the people who stayed in their original field of study. This is not to say that these people failed. But they surely didn’t go along with the game plan. I wonder how they feel about the knowledge that 18-20 year old them would deem them a failure?

I’ve spent so much time trying to be great, and it took me this long to realize how great I already am. I’m so used to pushing myself, to competing with an unknown entity that tells me that nothing that I do is good enough, that everyday had become a letdown. “Oh, you didn’t get that done today either,” and “Look how much everyone else around you has gotten accomplished.” Do you know how tiring that us? Feeling like a complete failure every single moment of your adult life?

I stopped writing blogs for my friends a long time ago. Because the majority of my friends a) don’t read them and 2) don’t care. I write for the people who feel the same way that I do, but just can’t quite put it into words. The people who at times need a subtle reminder of just how awesome they are. So let me list my accomplishments for you, people that I don’t know. Just in case you needed to feel good about yourself too.

1) I am the only one of my father’s children with a 4 Year College Degree
2) I’ve owned my own business…and it was successful
3) I was a published writer (in a nationally published book) at the age of 8.
4) I was the first person in my family to be a member of a NPHC org
5) I have made it to 30, childless (by choice)
6) My Mother is Proud of Me.

The list could continue for quite sometime, but that list isn’t the point of this late night rambling. The point is, don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today. Meaning, stop and acknowledge yourself. Don’t wait for other people to tell you how much you are worth, because they probably never will.

Instead, take note of the things you can add to the, “Got damn I’m Awesome” list inside your head. The stress we put on ourselves, because of what we THINK we should be gets in the way of what we already have become. Its like that whole “Can’t see the Forest for the Trees” saying people use. Look at yourself, and smile.

Because your good enough….your smart enough….and gosh darnit, People Like You!

Dear Education System/Parents/Students . . .

Dear Education System,

I am writing you to apologize for the flack I have given you over the years.  I have blamed you for everything from Global Warming to Homosexuality in ATL.  I have unjustly caused people to lose faith in you, often citing the many instances when I perceived a child’s lack of intelligence, as a direct reflection of your inability to provide them with adequate life skills.  I have lamented on a regular basis that you haven’t done enough to provide at-risk children with these important tools which will allow them to excel past their circumstances.  I have evangelized on Twitter/Facebook/Blogs about your systematic breaking down of everything that makes a culture what it is.  I wasn’t wrong, but it’s also not all your fault.

Education, I came to you young and naive.  Fresh off a semester that showed me regardless of what my IQ level was, programming computer’s wasn’t for me.  I came to you with lofty goals and high expectations, because I wanted to make a difference and be able to provide children with the same education my mother struggled so hard to give me.  Education, I looked at you as a savior.  Something that could transform even the weakest of minds into something that is capable of moving mountains.

Somewhere along the way, Education, you stopped being about opening minds to new things, and become a political scapegoat.  Somehow, you went from being the Great Equalizer to being the Great Divider. Was it something we did? Did we not show you enough respect? Did we forget to pass on the things you had taught us to the next generation?  Did we spend so much time fighting that we forgot what the struggle was for? I’m not sure what caused you to give up on us, but I wish you would come back.

Education, we need you.  We have always needed you. Sadly, as a whole WE, The People, have failed to hold you in the high regard that we should have.  We failed to spend time enough with you, to take our time and really embrace you.  We failed to acknowledge that you can’t do/be/everything and/or everywhere.  I apologize, Education, for having – at times – completely ignored your influence in my life.  By using vulgar and broken language, I have seemingly showed the world that I haven’t had contact with you.  So Education, I am sorry for blaming you for all the world’s ills.  It’s not all your fault. Just 1/3 of it.

Sincerely, Me.

P.S. Now that I have gotten the big words out-of-the-way . . .

Dear Parents,

Stop Fcuking up your Kids. I know your life was hard.  I know that no one loved you in your youth.  You spent your whole life just looking for love and acceptance from anyone that you encountered.  Mom, I know you slept with any man who bought you dinner, in the hopes of being able to get out of your current situation. I know it was hard, with a Daddy that didn’t love you, and a momma who spent more time at Bingo than she did hugging you.  I get it. But seriously, you tried so hard to get out of that situation so that you can repeat the cycle?

I mean, yes, sometimes it’s hard to break the habits that you have incurred during your lifetime. I also understand that maybe your parents didn’t understand how important education was to helping you become a better person.  But I KNOW you remember how your parent’s FCUKED up priorities screwed you up. So why, in GOD’S Name WHY, would you knowingly do the same thing to your children?

Having an 11 year old girl, cheat on a Vocab test made up of 12 WORDS, because her Aunt called her stupid is just . . . She lives with her aunt and uncle because, “My mother choose a man over us,” I couldn’t do anything but Thank God that I hadn’t publically ridiculed her in the classroom, when she CLEARLY just has a learning disability.  No Child Left Behind shouldn’t just apply to GWBush’s shullbit education program.

Conversely, when I tell you that your child was disrespectful to the point of racism, your response, “Well, It’s probably because his bytch of a last teacher never expected anything from him,” doesn’t help me have faith in you as a parent. Also, your disciplinary solution, “I’ll have him write sentences at least 100 times that say I will not be disrespectful to my new teacher, ” ain’t ’bout shyt.

Parents, Do Better. I can’t make it pretty for you.  You are a Grown Azz Man/Woman, doing your best to ruin your child.  Stop being so damn selfish and help your child be better.  Expect more, and they will give you more.  Being okay with a C means that you are okay with Subpar life choices as well.  You don’t attend parent/teacher conferences, you don’t return the signed paperwork when asked.  You don’t attend the awards ceremony where you child is being acknowledged for what they HAVE accomplished.

Why did you have these children if you didn’t plan on doing anything with them?  Your lack of EVERYTHING, makes my job 10x harder than it has to be.  I’m judging you Parents, I am judging you so damn hard right now.

Sincerely, Me.

Dear Students,

I come to you disheartened and downtrodden.  Lost in the sea of disappointment that is being a Middle School Teacher.  After 6+ years of working in the Early Education field, and seeing children just when their educational careers were beginning,  seeing the hope and promise in their eyes . . . I have to ask you, What The Hell Happened?

When did you give up on yourself? When did you decide that being the dumbest person in class was much more important that being the smartest?  When did you forget that you can be anything you want to be if you just work hard? When did you lose your life goal to be an Astronaut, and decide that being a Hobo was just fine too? Sadly, as a teacher, it’s hard for me to see you suffering without wanting to help you.

Students, why won’t you let us help you? Why must you fight me at every turn? If your parents don’t care about your grades, why can’t you? I know your life has been hard. Parents in and out of jail, parents that don’t listen to you, parents that really don’t care. But isn’t there a part of you, one small part of you that understands that I didn’t choose to be a teacher just to sit here and do nothing?

A part of you that sees that I am trying my hardest to help you be great.  A part deep down that listens to me when I say to you, “You are so much smarter than you let your friends know.  I see you doing such great things with your life.” Is it too late for you? In 6th, 7th, and 8th grade is there just no way that you can believe in yourself enough to do better?

Help Me, Help You.  That’s why I choose to be a teacher, because I want to help you.  I want to see that light in your eyes when you finally understand WHY we have vocabulary words every week.  I want to hear the excitement in your voice when you realize that by reading a book, you can learn something about a subject you never knew before.  I am here for you.  I will go above and beyond to help you, if you let me.

But I can’t do it on my own.  To be extremely lame but sincere at the same time:

I Believe the Children are the Future, Teach them well and Let them Lead The Way

That’s not just a song to me.  It the reason I became a teacher.  So please, Students, understand who you have the potential to be.

Most Sincerely, A Teacher