Friday, July 8, 2016

Let Us Live

Artist: Unknown
Today I am mentally exhausted. I have been drafting this blog post since May and I fear how much more will need to be added to it if I continue to write any longer. My Blackness continues to weigh heavily on me. It is a glorious gift that I would NOT trade for anything in this world however, at times living in an America in which Donald Trump becomes the republican presidential nominee, it often feels like a sentence to perpetual despair. With the first two not guilty verdicts in the Freddie Gray trials, the images of a girl with rope burns around her neck after being invited to a "slumber party", tasteless tweets by the Baltimore Police Department following the SECOND not guilty verdict in the Freddie Gray trial, the most recent police execution of Alton Serling, and before I could even grief for one brother Philando Castile is murdered next--in front of his baby. There are countless other stories of Black people being wrongfully convicted and/or spending decades in jail while white men guilty of similar or lesser crimes get lesser sentences or are allowed to roam free. I am reminded far too often lately about how hard Black life can be.

There are so many childless mothers and fathers and fatherless children for no reason other than being Black or making a mistake while Black. Since when are we allowed to KILL for a mistake---whenever there is in fact one that has been made? I think about myself and so many of my Howard University educated friends and no matter how many degrees or promotions we earn, no matter how many houses we buy, happy hours or brunches we attend, in spite of the fact that we pay our taxes and mind our own business, we still have yet to reap the benefit of merely being able to exist without the possibly of being gunned down for nothing more than living while Black. We cannot wear a sign that says I have a PhD or that I am just trying to get home safely to cook dinner for my family. My body literally tenses when I see police car or police lights flash behind me even if they are just passing me by. I fear the police more than any "gangster or drug dealer" I have ever encountered in the Black community.

Credit: Awesomelyluvvie
In 2016, Blackness has been displayed in so many glorious ways. We have seen Black Girls Got The Juice and the vivacious curves of beautiful Black woman being celebrated. We have witnessed President Obama and the First Lady continue to lead with class and slay for Black families all over this country. We have seen awesome musical performances laced with Blackness and Black pride. We have drank the sweet tea of Beyonce's Lemonade. We have seen Harriet Tubman become the face of the twenty dollar bill and this fall, we will behold the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in our nations capitol. What a time to be Black in this country.

However, despite all triumphs of our people and the privileges that are no longer alluding some of us, we continue to find our people at the end of a police officers gun. This has left me bewildered. I love Black people and so many proclaim to love us. Yet as we continue to see numerous white murderers walk free and even try to make a profit off of our extinguished lives, I am disheartened.

I hurt for my son who will eventually have to navigate even more realms than me as a Black man in America. Eventually his cuteness will fade and he will be another Black man that people will fear and try to tear down. No amount of good manners and following the rules can protect him. He will never be afforded the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms or make the same mistakes as his white friends. I remember praying for him to be "light skinned" when I was pregnant with him in an attempt to protect him from at least some of the many of the injustices targeted towards our Black men. But that of course could save him. Teaching him to be respectful, feeding him organic foods, and making sure he does well in school cannot save him. I want to instill in him the ability to be free-thinking, assertive, and kind. Why can't that be enough for my Black boy? Every parent wants their child to be happy and healthy but as a Black mother, I think over and over about how I just want my child to remain ALIVE. A simple yet complex request in the America we live in today. 
Artist: Debra Cartwright
I hate that Alton Serling's son will see his beloved father's murder on the internet repeatedly. Why do we have to record our injustices in order to be believed? I hate that no justice will most likely come to the Sterling family. I hate that other police officers won't stand up and say that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Where are the white people that cheer us on and enjoy our performances? Where are the White people who use our exceptional skills to make their businesses thrive? Are they waiting for my son to be next? Or maybe one of my other friends sons? I don't want my baby to become a hashtag or a viral video. What about Philando Castile's daughter and girlfriend? Who will support the mental turmoil that they will now face because some police officer missed the day in police academy where he swore to protect and serve.

How can we change this? I have been educated in the halls of Howard University and stood in the shadows as a student of many greats yet sometimes I feel helpless. Everything else seems trivial when my people are being hunted. I don't want to see an ad for what you are selling. I don't want to see you telling us all the ways our brother could have avoided death. If I did not have God in my life, I would live in a crippling fear. I kick myself everyday that I get in a rush and cannot pray over those I love before we head out of the door. Only God can give us the strength that we need to live in times such as these. I will continue to do the work on the ground working to help build strong Black communities and to empower Black families. That is how I will fight this fight.

All in all though, I just desperately want my baby boy to be able to grow up.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Redemption


Who doesn't love a good redemption story? As I come down from my high from the Beyonce concert (you all know the depths of my love for her right?), I continue to be in awe at how she just speaks to my soul in her music, through her business savvy, and through the Black Girl Magic that she sprinkles in places that we didn't even know we needed it. As a Black woman, a lover, a mother, and a working mom, you cannot leave one of her concert's and not feel empowered to overcome whatever is trying to hold you back. The other night she said one of her favorite songs from her new album was All Night; a song in which she sings about redemption.

This season of my life has a lot of redemptive qualities. I was reading my girl's blog the other day and it reminded me that I do not need to be overwhelmed by what I have to accomplish ahead of me but instead, I need to take time to remember where I started from and what I have accomplished. There were so many things that could have held me back but by the grace of God, they did not. There were so many things seemingly out of my grasp but I was able to surpass them all.


So as we stand smack in the middle of 2016 here is my recap:
  • 2nd master's degree completed.
  • New job secured.
  • First paid therapy client.
  • 9 years of being an educator completed. 
  • Survived being the mom of a Pre-K student (I really must write about being a working/teacher mom...very interesting experience with your own child in school and dealing with the micro-aggressions of white teachers).
I don't list these things to boast on myself but to boast on the goodness of God---our true redeemer. I have come a long way and have been able to do some really awesome things along the way but, sometimes I am quick to just move on to the next thing without savoring the moment. In fact, I actually almost listed out what else I would like to accomplish in 2016 but instead I will just revel in this moment.

I am feeling this season of my life.

My journey is truly a testament of God giving someone a vision and him equipping me with all that I need to execute it along the way.

There may other things that I want to do in 2016 but I am mighty proud of what I have been able to do so far.

Silly Bee's Chickadees:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Failure is Feedback


The idea of failure is often stifling to most people--especially to me. In my mind failure and the idea of failing use to be equated with a lack of true effort. Now, in my thirtieth first year of life, realize that failure is not so cut and dry. You can in fact give something your all and still fail and that failure may be just what you need in order to propel you into the next part of your journey.

Failure is feedback.

Failure is probably the most constructive form feedback we can ever get. It forcibly guides us to pause and reflect. Did we truly seek God in whatever it was we were trying to do in the first place? Did we ignore red flags that should have given us pause? Were we choosing to settle for the good and not pursue the great? Did we settle for less than Gods best to look good to other people?

My failures in 2015 have allowed me to find my voice, to learn the power of fasting, praying, and really seeking quietness so I can hear God's voice. I have learned to be more intentional with my time and my talents. Failures inspire creativity and develop our ability to be resilient. 

My failures are proof that I am growing and striving to do better each day. Just because it's difficult doesn't mean it's not where we are supposed to be. God will remove our difficulties when we are ready. Some things we can only learn in the struggle.

What have your failures taught you?

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Master Gardener

Words have a way of filling us up when we need it the most. Sometimes they cannot leave our mouths but only come pouring out through our pens. Reading good poetry pierces the depths of my soul the same way a good gospel song sends chills down my spine in church on a Sunday morning. Beyonce's Lemonade has reignited my craving for good poetry. Poetry that speaks of Blackness, womanhood, love, life, heartache, and loss. Poetry that evokes tears, joy, fury, passion, and gives hope. I am grateful to personally know some really good poets.

Here is a poem from one of my dear sister friends that is serving up all kinds of poetic goodness right now.

Whoa. 

I told y'all she was good! Make sure you read that at least three times to let those words sink in.

Know any other great woman poets we need to be reading right now? Leave their names, blogs, or books in the comments below. Be sure to come back for more poetry from @cecewriter and others in the coming weeks and months.

Be lifted my friends.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mid-Week Boost: Beautiful Transitions

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty:
Contrary to the title, transitions are often far from beautiful. They are in fact often extremely painful. Childbirth, failure, heartbreak, and rejection--nothing glamorous about those. Beyonce's Lemonade displays the many sides of transitions in a way that is so real and applicable to almost any life transition.

Intuition. Anger. Apathy. Emptiness. Accountability. Reformation. Forgiveness. Resurrection. Hope. Redemption.

It is perhaps through the most painful transitions in my life that I have filtered through that very same spectrum in order to be led to a place of redemption, joy, and love. My sweet baby boy being born. Stepping out of my comfort zone as an educator to embark on a new career path as a family therapist. Taking the painful yet courageous step to end my marriage of almost nine years in order to not settle for less than God's best for me and in order to save myself from breaking to the core. Leaving my work family of over seven years to start a new career in which I will be able to do something that I am fully invested in every single day. These transitions have given me a chance to stand on my own, find my voice, and speak up for what I really need to be whole. They have allowed me to start to move beyond a place of merely surviving to a place where I can actually thrive. I am reminded everyday that God does not allow for something to die without replacing it with something far greater than we could ever imagine.

I have lost greatly and been hurt deeply in this season of transition; but now more than ever I am grateful. Being in my thirties has caused a major shift in how I see myself and what I want my legacy to be. I have long craved for something new that would allow me to find an ebb and flow of love, motherhood, work, and life. I may not be where I want to be yet but I am certainly on my way.

Our problems---especially those we encounter during transitions are real but the promises of God are realer. This year has been a transformative year for me so far and I know that in the end it will be beautiful.

How have the transitions in your life allowed something beautiful to born?

Pause and take in that beauty.