emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the category “1st Person”

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 1

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl,

Sad Girl

Yes you.  I am talking to YOU!  I know, I know….  You want to know, “Why?”  Believe me when I say, “I understand your skepticism”.  I have confidently interrupted you for no reason other than that you are female and black.

Is that a crime?

No…well, some may think so on two counts but in this case NO!  To the contrary, I have stopped you to encourage you to continuously set goals and envision achieving the impossible in this crazy world.  Its manifestations are indeed possible!

girl dreaming on laptop

I get it!  I GET IT!  Achieving goals is hard.  No one said it would be easy!

The ability to overcome stereotypes about who you are—or who you are expected to be— combined with societal hindrances, both inter-and-intra-culturally, does not come with a manual.  BREATHE!  Life is not that easy.

These breaking-barrier conversations, in number and in depth, to obtain guidance are not readily-accessible.  We are not mythical, however.  Living examples of us are in fact around, but you (and we) are being conditioned to overlook our essence and devalue our worth.

“Your turn will come,” they will say, “after his and hers.”  Time does not stop.  Remember, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”  Your turn is now, just as his and hers.  Truth is, our worth is your worth.  Collective value carries weight.  It is either relieving or burdensome.  Be conscious and careful about what you cart.  No one said it would be easy.  You must push on and push through.  Your dreams will resuscitate you.  You will learn to trust that your help, meaning help that is specific to you, will come.  Time will teach you to expect and to accept it in whatever form and time it appears.  Experience will sharpen your ability to identify it.  In turn, you will become aware that you are being shaped to be the help for others of which you seek.  It is a process.  Excuse me little “Black” girl, you are being transformed.

Me 12.30.15 talking to group

Allow yourself to learn your SELF.  Be patient.  This is a never-ending process.  It must be embraced with (at times stubborn) determination.  Media messages will tell you, and those around you, who you are.  Songs and television shows will do the same.  Religious interpretations and authority figures will have a say, as will community leaders—if you are mentioned at all.  Find appreciation in the knowledge of other’s misperception of you, then confidently introduce yourself.

peace

It was nice meeting you.  Now you know WHY.

 

Time To Build

It started as a whisper…a reocccuring remembrance of Deuteronomy 15:6:

When the Lord your God blesses you as He promised you, then you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow….

For weeks, I would be reminded of these very words.  I tried to ignore these nudges, but they only grew louder.  There was no denying that the time had come for me to consciously  get out of debt!  Why?  Well, I could list numerous reasons.  I mean really, who desires to remain in debt?  Sure, it can become comfortable—similar to walking around in circles for 40 years.  Circular walking makes me dizzy though.  I want what He has Promised!

Frog

So last year at this time, I was receiving student loan and credit card bills fully aware that I needed to PAY THEM OFF sooner than later!  I had no clue how I would do this.  Admittedly, I was not in a position where I had extra money.  (Who really has extra money though?)  Times were definitely hard and there I was being consumed by a divine  pressing that I could not disregard.  Have you ever been there?  Maybe it was not with your finances, but in any area of your life???  Have you ever felt God telling you to do something and you wanted to do it, but you did not know how?  For me, getting out of debt sooner than later would be entirely God’s work.  I would more or less be a functional spectator because it was truly outside of my control.  It really came down to me believing that God would do it if I simply followed His lead.  Once I surrendered to this belief, He revealed to me enough of the why to encourage me along the way.

Jeremiah 1.20

As I write this, I am smiling because of what happened next.  A few days after my surrender, if not the very next morning, I was watching Joyce Meyer on television.  (For those of you who may not know about the ministry God has given to her, see:  http://www.joycemeyer.org/ ) Well, I was actually listening to her because for some reason that morning I was unusually sleepy.  At the end of her broadcast, however, she announced that she was giving away a FREE book on getting out of debt.  You would have thought an alarm was blaring in my ear if you saw the way I instantly jumped out of bed.  All I had to do was email/tweet/call/contact the ministry and they would send it.  I know God did that for ME!  As I fought sleep, I did not know I was fighting to receive a blessing (but in hindsight it was clear).  I got my copy on April 30, 2015.

got FRee joyce book 4.30.15

On September 5th (2015), I paid off my credit card debt.  Today, I paid off my student loan debt.  (Thank you Joyce Meyer for allowing God to use you to bless me!)  The beginning was the hardest, but it was fun seeing the progress in both myself and in the reduced balances.  God is so awesome!  Throughout the whole process, He allowed me to treat myself (and others) regularly along the way.  He is amazing and I am in awe.

greatness

Excitedly, I am moving on to complete the next steps of the why.  It is a process.  Be encouraged!  Be obedient!  God will provide the how!  Just trust Him!  It’s time to build!

 

Those Lyrics

I ended my relationship with him because his music of preference degraded, devalued, and denounced women.  How did we get to this place?  When did I become his enemy?  Surely, he did not think of me as a friend!

“Oh, the lyrics are not about you,” he would say.

Ughhhhhh, my frustration rose with every point he missed.  Of course the lyrics are not about me specifically, but its collective implication is placed squarely upon my shoulders.  The weight is heavy.  The conversation is lacking.  Maybe if I were not a professional woman, I would not notice?  Maybe if my life did not require me to be in situations where I am the only one, I would not be bothered?  How have we gravitated from R-E-S-P-E-C-T to O-P-P?  Perplexed and tired, I ended the relationship.

If you are wondering, yes we are still friends—the one, he says, “that got away “.  What an interesting choice of words when considering the bondage his ideology would have placed me under.  Walking away, I was left wondering if he would ever know A Woman’s Worth.  I can only hope so, but I still don’t know.

peace

Unless empathetic, people only seem to understand “a thing” if it has a direct impact on them.  Have we become so desensitized that we only have empathy when catastrophes occur?  Don’t we know that by the time we see the physical manifestations of inequity, inequalities have already run rampant?  Many seem to think that if they do not have a dog in the fight, then the fight is simply theater.  “Get over it”, they say.  “It’s not that serious”, they insist while attempting to bully via shame.  “You are too sensitive”, they sing.  Their perspective, however, does not change your reality nor how such attitudes affect your life.

“Oh, the lyrics are not about you” become about me when I show up to defend someone in court and have to check a dude who calls me honey.  They become about me when I am in a meeting and the males are addressed by their respective titles and I am by my first name only.  They become about me when the salary being offered to me is less or when I am overlooked for a promotion, not because of my work product, but because of this rule that a man—and many times a white male—is simply worth more.  How could he not be worth more, right?  People like to do business with people like them and most big business deals are done between men—white, wealthy men.  Now, you know like I do that most people are not white and wealthy and male.  Yet, the oppression amongst those of us who are not continues to pit ally against ally.

Women Sitting Across From Each Other

Although at times slow to make mainstream rotation, songs empowering women are being written and played.  Their vehicle is not limited to the radio, but more readily seen in life.  So, what songs do you turn up…or turn off?  Are the lyrics being sung about you?  The big picture, most miss.

Commentary On The Land Of The Free, Home Of The Brave

Am I the only one disturbed about the female, (societally-labeled) Black student being yanked —-wait, no…that is too mild of a description—ripped from a desk while seated, body-slammed, dragged, and….well, was she tossed by a much bigger, stronger, male School Resource Officer who appears to be (societally labeled) “white”?  For some reason, I mistakenly thought that this would be a hot topic today.  Maybe it was….somewhere?  This is heartbreaking; This is real news.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow this storyline will broadcast more.

Forgive me if Lamar and Khloe’s marriage is not of interest to me.  I am sorry not sorry that political talking points bore me when those talking points do not ever seem to point to the injustices within The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave if such points offer no dividends, fail brown paper bag tests, and struggle to value its women and girls.

In a classroom full of people, just one reportedly attempted to come to the helpless student’s defense.  That one is said to have been another female, (societally labeled) Black student.  I am not surprised by this.  Consciously or subconsciously, she identified with the victim.  Now I ask you, “Why are we, humans, failing to identify with each other?”  Generation after generation, beliefs go unchallenged which keep people divided.  At the end of life, how silly these things must seem when real matters find priority.

As I sit here, I wonder if I am the only one asking myself, “What kind of culture are we living in where people are conditioned to just sit and watch atrocities occur without so much as a consideration?”  Have we become desensitized as a people, of people?  Then, I think of history.  We can send people to the moon, but seem to struggle with tolerating respecting accepting loving one another.  Millions of people attend faith-based services weekly where love is the taught foundation, yet their acts of love are…….well, where are they?  I want to hear more of those stories.  I want to smile while watching the ripple effects of small acts of kindness.  Am I alone?

Several times, I have watched the video of this excessive force against this young, female student who happens to be (societally labeled) Black.  With each viewing, thoughts surface about the ill-treatment of people based on race, on gender, on ageism, on power, or the lack thereof…..  These thoughts surface, but the perpetuated silence on these topics will hold their posts in keeping The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave paradoxical.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

Friendship, In Black and White

As many of you know, I recently read an article on Franklin McCallie written by Joan Garrett McClane.  I absolutely loved reading the article because it spoke, with great honesty, about an oftentimes sensitive subject.  One of the things it initiates reflection upon is the idea of friendship across racial lines.  What does it mean to you?

I think about relationships, and in turn friendships, a lot.  Once a year, at least, I go through my list of associations and make decisions regarding who to delete and who to keep.  Normally it happens in December, but sometimes I do it when Spring Cleaning.  #funny  #NOTfunny  My reasons for doing this may surprise you, but they are not for this writing.

Friends

As I sit here, I am thinking of when I first had a non-Black, real-life friend.  I say “real-life” because I had both Black and non-Black dolls to play with as a small child.  Now, I wonder how many of my non-Black friends had Black dolls to play with, and how either having them or not having them affected (if at all) how quickly they gravitated towards people of darker complexions.  Interesting, right?

When I started elementary school, my classes were integrated, as were my teachers.  As a kindergartener, I made my first non-Black friend.  Of course, then I did not think twice about varying skin tones.  My family has a complexion range so wide that such things, even to this day, does not result in the reaction so commonly portrayed in mainstream medias.

Because I have lived in several States as a child, I got the benefit of appreciating diversity amongst people and cultures at a very early age.  I also understood at an early age that just because two may look alike, they may be worlds apart.  Of course, it is easy to get this same message when looking within one’s family, but I have come to realize that people more commonly generalize externally.

Fortunately, throughout life I have maintained the practice of having a “United Nations” entourage of friends.  I prefer it like this.  As a result, such things as attending multi-cultural churches is done with ease; Eating and hanging out with both Black and non-Black people comes naturally; Working in my profession is not jarring.  These experiences make me a more exposed person which enhances my personal growth.

Now, there have been both comfortable and uncomfortable moments.  For me, however, the good outweighs the bad.  When I select friendships, it is less about the color of one’s skin.  I look at the contents of his/her character.  Wait!  There is a second part.  I am not foolish.  I understand that someone may have good character, but may use a reasoning when confronted with certain scenarios, like “race”, that would weaken the foundation which I must have strong.  You see, with my friends I must trust that no matter what, I am safe.  This world is full of wolves in sheep clothing.  An enemy can be nice, but a brother will go to battle.  This to me is not a skin color issue.  It is not about Black and White.  It is about that thing in the middle.  It is an issue of trust.

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Ballerina Girl?

There I was, around the age of four, standing in my tutu.  Yes, someone had a brilliant idea to enroll me in ballet class.  I was no Misty Copeland, but I could hold my own.

Who am I fooling?  The studio was small and the lighting was dim.  The other students were nice, but they were not my friends.  Something was “off”.  I felt uneasy.  I could only tell my mom, “I don’t want to go back.”

Standing in the class, comparing my stance to that of my instructor and to my peers I noticed something.  I am the only Black person here.  Prior to this, I had been in either all-Black or very integrated environments.  This was the first time I noticed that “I” integrated the room.

Looking back, I guess my parents grew tired of my pleas.  Eventually, I stopped attending.  Gone was the tutu.  Gone were the ballet shoes.  Gone were the leotards and stockings.  They were never to be seen again.

Did the fact that I was the only Black person in my class have something to do with my adverse reaction?  Possibly.  Maybe I simply did not like ballet?  Nah, I have always loved dance—the art of any kind of dance.  There is no guarantee that if more children in the class having brown skin would have resulted in a more enjoyable experience for me.  What is known, however, is that after all of these years I am left with a very vivid recollection of the experience—an experience which, at the very least, on paper seems like a positive one.

As an adult, I appreciate having been exposed to both ballet and the circumstance of being in the minority of a majority group.  What I did not know then was that this occurrence would become routine throughout my life.  You would think that because of this, “race” would be a common topic of discussion between my parents and I as a child.  It may have been, but its presentation was not commonly overt.  (I will probably talk more about that later.)

You know, I truly treasure how the topic of “race” has been handled by my parents and grandparents.  I have gained real value by hearing firsthand stories from them.  This invaluable knowledge, combined with textbook information and personal experiences, have formulated within me very unique analysis and viewpoints—or shall I say positions which are not always given the same attention by mainstream media.  Luckily, I respect discussion.  Being in the minority of majority groups, you learn its value…and you learn how to confidently stand alone if necessary.

To join this discussion group, if you have Facebook, send an email to emergingfree@gmail.com to receive an invite.

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