I visited St. Louis over the Independence holiday. My family resides literally around the corner from Ferguson. I asked my cousin to take me through the neighborhood that was engulfed in flames about two years ago.
As she drove through the streets, I saw emptiness. I saw a shell of a place that was teetering on the brinks of poverty. I saw Mom and Pop stores that once serviced the neighborhood, and I saw some still striving.
Something stirred in me as we drove to the place where it happened…where he was shot.
There was no mark on this site. There was no memorial. There wasn’t a trace of Michael Brown. But there was an aura…a hanging loneliness marked by life taken too soon. A wave of despair as I visualized that day for him. My heart pained for his parents. My soul searched for words that I couldn’t say. I felt an eerie chill go up my spine. I was there.
I envisioned what I saw on the TV during the days of the riots. My cousin pointed out the places that were in flames, she showed me where they marched on the police station. She showed me empty lots where businesses once stood, proud to be a part of the economy.
Remnants of seething anger were left behind. I saw it all. And I felt empty. Hollow. Missing. The uproar happened…and it left the TV screen. People went back to living as they were, although the undercurrent of the event is still there. The aftermath is still there. People lost a lot those days: a mother and father lost a son. Some people lost their jobs. Business owners lost their businesses.
And yet, after all of that, the killings of unarmed Black people still continue. As I write this, a 37-year-old father was killed in Baton Rouge, LA. By cops. On video. Plain as day. And a 32-year-old man was shot for a traffic stop. Eleven Dallas cops were shot and five died.
These stories permeate our timelines on social media. We speak behind keyboards about our rage, how saddening this is, and how we pray for their families. Empty #RIP hashtags don our newsfeeds. Tears fall. We say not another one. We say how can this continue to happen. We say let’s fight against this. Then we have those that say well, you only get angry when it’s a cop murdering unarmed Black people, and talk about Black on Black crime.
The Black on Black crime stance always rubs me the wrong way. There are so many people that say if our young Black men would stop killing each other, then the police would stop killing our sons and daughters. This line of thinking is backwards. Here’s why:
Black lives never mattered to the powers that be. If they did, slavery would not have existed to the brutal level that it did. Reconstruction would have leveled the playing field by really giving the freed slaves their forty-acres and a mule to get a jump-start instead of the mess of sharecropping. Actually help with the bootstraps to pull up. It would not have been against the law for slaves to read or write. Jim Crow would have never existed. The Civil Rights Movement would not have been necessary.
The only way that Black lives mattered were when our ancestors worked the fields in toil to build empires. When Black women were raped and used as sexual slaves for the master…to procreate and increase the property value of the master. And most of all, introduce a religion, use a religion, to keep the slaves scared and in “their place.” When you consistently and constantly show a group of people that their lives don’t matter, when you show nothing but contempt and hate, it becomes internalized. They hate their skin…and the skin of their peers. Take dads from the home; remove the foundation, and you have this so-called Black-on-Black crime.
As with any crime, we victimized what we know, who we know. More than likely, that looks just like us. This goes for every race. Black on Black crime has been sensationalized to somehow be worse than any other race. But I’m sure one will find that White-on-White or Hispanic-on-Hispanic or Asian-on-Asian, or Native American-on-Native American crime has probably the same amount of crime per capita simply because people tend to live in the same neighborhoods where your neighbors look a lot like them.
Michael Brown was headed to college. Sandra Bland was headed to her Alma mater. Freddie Gray was headed home…just like Trayvon, Oscar, Akai. Eric and Alton tried to make a little money to support a family. Rekia was laughing with friends. Jordan was listening to music with his friends. Tamir was playing in the park with a BB gun – something that many kids play with. John Crawford was in Wal-Mart walking around on the phone. Tanisha, Donte, and Ezell had mental illnesses. LaQuan crossed the street. Philandro followed orders.
Yet Dylann can murder nine people in a church in cold blood, and be escorted out in a bulletproof vest. George Zimmerman is still free. Darren Wilson is in jail for assaulting his wife. Countless videos of non-minority people who hit, spit, have weapons such as hatchets or knives show how these particular people manage to be subdued without a gun…or they are let go. The shooters of Alton and Philandro are on paid administrative leave (AKA vacation).
We drove away from the scene. I took everything in. My heart fluttered and felt pain when we turned around. I left the city of Ferguson behind, but the streets, the uproar, the feelings of anger brewed under my skin. The things I saw are forever etched in my memory. I leave this blog with a few quotes:
If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it. ~ Zora Neale Hurston
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible. ~ Maya Angelou
Black power can be clearly defined for those who do not attach the fears of white America to their questions about it. ~ Stokely Carmichael
There’re two people in the world that are not likeable: a master and a slave. ~ Nikki Giovanni
Acceptance of prevailing standards often means we have no standards of our own. ~ Jean Toomer
When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses. ~ Shirley Chisholm
You don’t fight racism with racism, the best way to fight racism is with solidarity. ~ Bobby Seale
Is it a crime, to fight, for what is mine? ~ Tupac Shakur
I am no religious scholar. In fact, there are many times when I question the existence of a higher power at all. This is one of those times. As I stood in my kitchen on Sunday, June 12, 2016, and watched the breaking news of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, I thought to myself, “where is God in all of this?” I did not then, and still do not now, have an answer to that question.
What I watched unfold in the next several hours in the mainstream media, as well as its social cousin, was the vitriolic rhetoric of fear. What was at one point, murder became in the next, a call to arms against “Islamic radicalism.” While a community mourned the senselessness of this crime, another community screamed for retribution against members of the shooter’s religion. While one community struggled to embrace and comfort each other, another incited fear of the “other.”
I listened to Christians, and some of those folks who claim Christianity but do not demonstrate, by their behavior or words, that they have lifted the sacred text much less learned its teaching; proclaim that the president of our nation is complicit in this murder. Some so-called Christians bragged about the political position of intolerance which they believe is justified by the actions of a murder. Some, as expected, offered prayer and condolences for the fallen. They did not, however, offer comfort, empathy or compassion. But their silence was deafening.
I listened deeply to members of the Muslim community beg for people to understand the truth about their faith. They went unheard.
I read the words of Jews who all too easily identified with the fallen based on the historical events that have targeted them for centuries. They were ignored.
I listened to the cries of my LGBT brothers and sisters as they came to understand that this horrific event could have happened to any of them. I thought of the people who have loved me best, those same brothers and sisters, and my heart bled even while my mind rejoiced that I would not have to bury someone I love because someone else turned hatred into death. At least this time.
In our recent, collective past, we have seen several mass shootings: in communities, in churches, in schools, at colleges and universities. And we think, “well maybe we should do something about guns…” and then we hear all about the Second Amendment granting us the right to bear arms and are chastised because any talk about gun ownership is the talk of the unpatriotic and amounts to the tacit approval of the government’s fictions attempt to confiscate people’s guns and leave them vulnerable. Critical thinking and questioning is positioned as weakness.
We’ve seen an uptick in hate-filled, fear-based rhetoric in the public sphere. And each day, we become more divided, more afraid, more intolerant, more alone. Until we take to the social media feeds and propagate more of the same divisiveness, fear, intolerance, and loneliness. And as I reflect on this, I admit, I still don’t see where God is in all of this noise.
So, I went looking for God and I found that in all of the religions of the world, somewhere in their teaching, is the notion of peace and tolerance. It’s written down. It’s pretty clear even to someone like me who is not a religious scholar and claims no allegiance to any one spiritual teaching. They all say to love one another. They all say to court peace. They all say to forgive. So why do the faithful refuse this teaching?
Why are the loudest people using fear rhetoric in this country supposedly Christian? Let’s be honest – the struggle for LBGT rights is long and devastating. It has been bloody and most often, just plain unfair. There have always been people who want to punish this group for their “sin” and because of this desire to exact “penance” from this community, we see the rage and hatred directed toward the LGBT community and we actively ignore the implicit consequences of that intolerance.
We hear religious leaders telling people to shoot transgender women in the ladies room. We watch people deny this group their basic human rights, AND the rights guaranteed to them under the same constitution they claim to love. We watch as leaders remove the LGBT community from a massacre that was directed AT them, to make this about radical theology. It is not about that. It is about fear and believing one has the right to judge and punish another for simply living differently. This is not really homophobia because, in my opinion, folks aren’t really afraid of people in the LGBT community. This is shaming hatred that is propagated in our political rhetoric, in our communities, in our churches, in our laws, in our justice system. We hate and shame what we choose not to understand. And we feel righteous in this behavior.
In many ways, this has been more about the shooter and not at all about the victims. We focus on the shooter because, “he must be mentally ill,” after all. Even that statement marginalizes another vulnerable group of people.
Why can’t we see how much our fear divides us from each other? Why do we focus on the shooter? Didn’t those people who died have families, friends, goals, aspirations, and dreams that were silenced in terror because of another’s intolerance? Why isn’t that the important thing to talk about? The victims were people, just like you and me who wanted the very same things you and I want: love, acceptance, compassion, freedom, safety, and support. That’s really not so much to ask for, in my opinion. Why is that lost in the rhetoric?
Well, because for the most part, in politics especially, events like this provide platforms for fear rhetoric. Fear rhetoric is used as a method to control people and to encourage them to act in fear-based ways. Historically speaking, we know what Hermann Goering said at the Nierenberg Trials, and I think, just to draw this more clearly, it is necessary to state it again here:
…Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.
Is it just me, or is this happening again?
It is not only about fear, it is also about power and the power to use fear to drive behaviors. If we follow the money, which is a major form of power in our society, we see that the people we elected to lead us as a nation have been bought off by the gun lobby and support the right for anyone to buy an assault weapon because of our “second amendment rights.” Politicians have the power to change this rhetoric and legislation however, they do nothing because it is not in their best political interests (read money and power) to stand up to a lobby that finances their positions. They have control of the airwaves and use it to incite fear and hatred. But make no mistake, they are guided by self-interest NOT their moral obligation to protect the citizenry and instead, they’ve sold their soul by contributing to the pyre of the increasing number of gun-related deaths occurring every day. That is not innuendo or hyperbole. That’s fact. And it certainly has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. It is about profiting from people living in fear and attempting to normalize it to hide that profit. Take a look at the numbers: https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/. Statistics don’t lie. These aren’t ‘juked’ numbers.
So…ok. Fear and power; power and fear wrapped in intolerance based on religion. Where does that leave us? I felt lost so I continued my search for God.
If we go back to the notion of the faith-community’s basic understanding of society, we see that Jesus asked a very important question: “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?” And I wonder. I wonder what these people will say to their Almighty. How will they answer? How can they answer?
On my search for God, I looked to the religious teachings from around the world and time and again, we are instructed to work for peace. The Dalai Lama said “World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence; it is the manifestation of human compassion.” The Qur’an tells us “…whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosever saves the life of one, it shall be as if had saved the life of all mankind” (Qur’an 5:32). The Buddha tells us “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” Can you hear that? Stop a minute and think about those directives.
The Muslim scholar, Rumi taught that “Your task is not to seek for love, but to merely seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Jesus commanded us to “Love one another,” The Old Testament or The Torah tells us to “turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it, (Psalms 34.14), and The Shenandoah Native American tribal teaching instructs us that “It is no longer good enough to cry peace, we must act peace, live peace and live in peace.” Can we do that? Can we step aside from our desire to be “right” at any cost? Can we put fear to rest?
Because, here’s the thing: all of these religions (there are far too many for me to provide to the reader here) speak about the benefit of seeking and pursing peace. However, we are human and we tend to bow to our more base needs. For example, Maslow studied the motivations of people and provides us a Hierarchy of Needs. In it, he says that needs fall into five categories:
- Biological and Physiological needs: air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, and sleep.
- Safety needs: protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, and freedom from fear.
- Love and belongingness needs: friendship, intimacy, affection and love.
- Esteem needs: achievement, independence, self-respect, and respect from others.
- Self-Actualization needs: realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, and seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
If, for example, we are stuck at category one or two, and I believe that we are, we cannot seek peace, pursue love, show compassion and empathy, or live humanely because we think we do not have what we need to be secure in mind and body. Please do not misunderstand me, many people in our country legitimately do not have their basic needs met; but these are not the people of whom I am speaking. I’m speaking about the people with power who propagate a sense of lost safety in their words and deeds, every hour of every day. Week after week; month after month; year after year. “BE AFRAID” our headlines shout. And the shouting shuts off our rational brain.
Consider this: in the richest country in the world, the one that touts its progressiveness in freedom, rights, and dignity, as a society, we are still stuck on safety needs. I mean, seriously think about this. Why would anyone need an assault weapon to protect him/herself? They don’t. That’s fear talking. Why would anyone feel threatened by someone else’s expression of love for another human being? They don’t have to. That’s fear yelling. Why would anyone believe that another’s religion is the root cause of all negative behavior of a few people? That it is the very nature of their “faith” to be destructive? They don’t really believe that but the fear is screaming louder than reason. Why are we so divided and angry all the time? Because the fear we hear, the fear we see, the fear we feel, rightly or wrongly, directly affects the way in which we see and act in the world. If I know nothing about you, your faith, your values, your morals, your hopes and dreams, how can I not fear you? You are different than me. And that scares me. Because fear drives us.
So, after my search for God in the religions, for truth and fairness in the rhetoric, for understanding of the multitude of fear-based murders from psychological perspectives, and just to find plain human kindness, I am left exhausted. I do not choose to live in fear. I choose to love. To seek peace. To offer peace. To lead with empathy and compassion. I do this because as the Talmud tells us, “Who can protest and does not, is an accomplice in the act.” I will not be an accomplice in this murder of innocents. I will not sit in my living room and allow fear to consume me. I will not let political spin cloud my judgment. I will not let bigotry and hatred stand. And I will protest in love. I will protest in peace. Because maybe? Just maybe if we all did a little of this, things would change for everyone. We all want the same things. Love, safety, security, peace. We get it for ourselves by providing those things to each other. This is not naiveté; it is hope. Hope in a world that is so violent, strange, unforgiving, and brutal. I choose hope.
Peacefully and lovingly, I hope you join me in mourning for all the victims of gun violence, intolerance, and hatred in our society. Peacefully and lovingly, I hope you join me in a protest of compassion and empathy to take a positive stand against fear. It starts, and it ends, with each of us. And this? This is on all of us.
There’s been some conversations and debates about the remake of Alex Haley’s Roots. I’ve done a live Facebook video discussing some of my thoughts, but I wanted to address it here as well.
For the record, just in case you were wondering, I’m not an angry Black woman, I’ve just been informed and enlightened and once you’ve experienced a change such as this, you simply just can’t let it go or turn back.
Some argue that Roots is, just another movie about slavery. Let’s talk about that. Are there really that many RECENT movies about slavery? It used to be that the only roles that Black people could get were those of slaves or in a domesticated role. We are still lacking in a lot of the lead roles in Hollywood, but we have come a long way from where we were. Other than Underground, 12 Years a Slave and the remake of Roots I can’t think of any recent movies or TV shows that are out (excluding documentaries). There’s a few points to make here:
If these are the only recent shows the younger generation is not likely to watch the older movies. I’ll come back to more about the younger generation later.
Even if there were an over saturation of slave movies, what’s wrong with one more, especially one that’s based off of a true story? But if we’re being honest, there’s an over saturation of everything BUT the truth about our people. Sports, not so reality – reality shows, politics, crime, religion, homosexuality, scandals, Lauryn Hill being late and Beyonce getting in Formation with hot sauce in her bag!
I agree, there needs to me more positive shows about Black people and with Black people in the leading roles. But let me ask you this, do you faithfully go out and support independent and big screen films written by or staring Black people? If not, instead of complaining start there. Money follows the demand. If we aren’t supporting what’s already out there the majors won’t be willing to put up the money for these productions or others. (If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem).
Why is it even a discussion? Why are so many people so upset or vocal about this? We should be honored that we can grab ahold to a little bit of truth even if it may not be from our direct blood line. We should be happy that even though they tried to hush us Kunta’s story, our story keeps living on.
Some argue that it’s more of the same thing that they already knew. To that I say this, when you read your Bible, do you not learn something different? This version of Roots was totally different than the others. They kept a lot of certain “popular” scenes, but there was a lot more historical content about Kunta, his tribe in Africa as well as more in depth facts about things that were going on in America like the war, free slaves. Even if you know a lot about Black history, American history, your history, you can always learn more. Doctors, lawyers and teachers are always learning more, and a reminder or refresher is good. It’s not to dwell on the past, it’s so we never forget, don’t get too comfortable, and remember how far we have to go. You never get tired of hearing I love you over and over, you should feel the same way about your history. We should watch it so that we won’t go back and not let it happen to others. The world, Americans and especially African American’s are still living through and suffering from the residual effects of slavery. I’m not sure if we will ever catch up.
This Roots made me feel so connected and in tuned with my ancestors – just like the original one. Yes some of the scenes were graphic, very graphic, like rape, beatings and hangings, but how else would you give the story justice without visually showing the truth? There’s inappropriate content in everyday radio and television that can be uncomfortable to see or hear, especially in front of our children.
When I was in school I got the watered down version of slavery and Black history. I can only imagine what they are getting now. This generation needs a “new” perspective so they can also hold a version of the truth. I did not let my 8 and 10 year old watch, mostly because of the rape scenes. I will and do discuss parts of our history with them and I go more in depth the more that I feel that they are able to effectively absorb.
Plants need roots in order to grow and flourish. A relationship without roots will not last. You need roots when you’re networking roots. Roots are essential to our survival as people. And if you don’t know where you’ve been, then you definitely don’t know where you’re going.
I am thankful for Roots for many reasons, but the biggest one is that rather you watched it or not, it sparked a conversation. That’s EXACTLY what we need. More conversations.
Share your thoughts with me. Let’s talk.
When one thinks of childhood, they think of school, school plays, kickball, teachers, bratty brothers, long summers outside, chores, barbecues, and an early bedtime. It’s a time where we all couldn’t wait to be adults because we had to follow so many rules that simply were not fair. (And many of us adults would like to go back to that time when things were much more simple.)
We also think of the music. What we didn’t understand was that the records that Momma and Daddy played on the stereo, or the tapes they played in the cassette player were setting a stage of memories for us to carry with us throughout our lives. And as we grew, as new artists burst into music, we added their sounds with the sounds already placed in our hearts. These tidbits of melodies etched themselves into our histories to the point where if we hear a song now, it takes us back to that moment where we fell in love with it. Don’t believe me?
Where were you when you first heard Thriller?
I was sitting in front of the stereo. My dad brought the record through the door and played the entire album. I held on to the cover. Michael was so beautiful in his white suit. I was enamored. It was 1982. I was 6.
Where were you when you first heard You Give Good Love?
I was at my house. My cousin, AJ, came down for the summer to watch my brothers and I while my mother worked. She played that song out, but it was BEAUTIFUL. I didn’t know whose voice that was at first. But then I saw the video. Whitney was so tiny, yet her voice was huge. It was 1985. I was 9.
Where were you when you first heard Purple Rain?
I was at home. Again. Dad brought this album in. I knew there was a movie for it. My friends had gone to see it. I hadn’t seen it yet though. I heard the song Purple Rain, and the guitar solo at the end caught my attention, and instantly became my favorite part of the song. It was 1984. I was 8.
These songs effect me that same way…over 30 years later. When I hear “Until the end of time, I’ll be there for you,” I’m taken back to Turrell, Arkansas, at my cousin’s house where it stayed on repeat, and it touched my heart. “Oh I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody” brings me to my first summer in Indianapolis. “Hey pretty baby with them high heels on” takes me back to my uncle who loved that song, and made a howl every time it came on.
And as I type this, I smile.
Of course there is an astronomical list of artists that moved me at different periods of my life which includes:
Patti – If Only You Knew. Chaka – I’m Every Woman. Aretha – Pink Cadillac. Frankie Beverly – Before I let Go. Kool and the Gang – Celebration. Mtume – Juicy Fruit. Madonna – Like A Virgin. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing. Diana Ross – Upside Down. Stevie Wonder – Ribbon in the Sky. B. B. King – Lucille. The Gap Band – Party Train. ConFunkShun – Love’s Train. Isley Jasper Isley – Caravan of Love. Janet Jackson – Control. Luther Vandross – Never Too Much. Teena Marie – Lovergirl. Rick James – Mary Jane.
And that’s not even touching the surface….
When we lose these people who contributed so much to our lives, it leaves a hole…a gaping hole…a crater in our souls. We feel hurt. Lost. And what’s really funny…I wonder if our icons really know how much they affect their fans with the words they sing. With the arrangements they make…
Prince guided me into and out of heartbreak. Whitney helped me understand heartbreak. And Michael, well, Michael gave me life after heartbreak.
Prince made me dance. Whitney made me wanna dance with somebody. Michael made me wanna dance like him.
Without these melodies, these beats, this rhythm…my childhood would be vastly different. What would trigger a great memory if it were not for our soundtracks?
Behind Whitney, Michael, Luther, Gerald, Marvin, Teena, Rick…we lost Prince too. And man…that hurts. It really hurts.
All of them played a huge part in my soundtrack….my childhood. But Prince? He gave me one of my favorite songs in the world….Adore. The lyrics mean so much more now…
“Until the end of time, I’ll be there for you. You own my heart and mind…”
I truly Adore you.
You were such an instrumental part of my childhood. Of my life. Rest Easy, Purple One.
Life is after conception…AND after the womb…
Let me start this with a disclaimer. I know that many will disagree with me on this topic. I am open to discussions, and I respect the point of view and opinions that others have. You believe what you believe. I only ask that you respect my views as well.
The Pro-Live/Pro-Choice debate has carried through generations. One side believes that abortions are an abomination and the government should make it illegal. One side believes that the government should have no say so about this medical procedure that affects women more than it does men. For the record, I am a Pro-Choice person, and I believe that a man cannot tell a woman when and where to create a baby, nor should he be able to dictate whether or not she should deliver the baby, especially in cases of rape, incest, or where having the baby endangers the woman’s life…
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It seems as if women’s rights are consistently being violated…
First it’s abortion. Then it’s changing the meaning and penalties of rape. Now it’s attacking women’s health by denying contraceptives. Enough is enough. I need men to stop trying to regulate what I can, or any woman for that matter, do what we want to with our uteruses. When is it ok for a man to tell you what you can and can’t do with your own body? Isn’t that rape? Tupac said it best, “Since a man can’t make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one.”
The draconian laws of some organized religions failed to change with the times. Am I knocking religion? No. I list my religion as a Christian. I do have a problem when religion is used to control what someone does when it comes to their health. If a woman is raped, why wouldn’t the morning after…
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Are you a groupie?
Merriam-Webster says a groupie is a noun that means a fan of a music group who follows the group on concert tours.
Urban dictionary says a groupie is a young woman, often under age, who seeks to achieve status by having sex with rock musicians, roadies, security, and other band-related guys.
Does that describe anyone you know?
I heard the song Groupie Love by an indie artist Young Mac about a year ago. (Check the photo.) The more I listened to it, the more I really get it. Although the title would have you thinking otherwise, it’s obvious that the woman being described in the song is a hurting woman.
“I can tell it’s groupie love cause she aiming to get rich.”
Listening to the lyrics on the surface would have you think the narrator is talking about the typical groupie – backstage at all the shows. Heels on point. Body a ten. Making sure she gets chosen. But a deeper listening reveals that this “groupie” isn’t typical…she has the “aim” to get rich…but the “rich” isn’t the rich that one thinks of when they speak of rich.
In this aspect, rich means love. She wants to be rich…in love… jumping from body to body in search of this elusive love…the love that every girl dreams of. Yearns for. And when that love isn’t there, then substitutes are there to take the place…money…attention…sex. Selling herself short for the illusion of desire. She’s broken. And the narrator tells her, “I can feel your pressure.”
How much pressure are we under to find love? For us single ladies that are 35 and up, how much pressure do we bear when we wake up next to pillows every morning? When you just wanna hug and hear a deep masculine voice say it’s gonna be alright? I know…Momma never said there would be days like that….because Momma never let it show that there ARE days like that.
Navigating the world of relationships is real tricky. Mainly because everyone has baggage to unload, and everyone wants to remain selfish….when love has nothing to do with selfishness…it’s so selfless. You willingly give your all because love is about growing the other person, not what you can get out of them or from them. You have to make sure that person has your best interest at heart…But you can’t wait too late or you’ll end up broken and bitter.
Self-love is the key to deflating the pressures of being single. No one can love you if you don’t love you, and if you don’t love you, you can’t possibly love anyone else. So for the groupies in the world….take a pause…love you…Nothing will give you more satisfaction until you realize that love you seek is right there in you…
“Go ‘head and show that groupie love…go ‘head, you know that groupie love….”
Hate, a simple four letter word that is so powerful and strong. Hate, the direct opposite of love, and if love is the strongest power in the world, how powerful is hate? A lot of things have been happening recently, from things in the world and thing that have personally affected me and my loved ones.
You would think that since we are so evolved with all of this technology and access to information we would be more evolved and accepting of others who are different. Even if we do not agree in the things, to react with hatred moves us in the opposite direction.
Instead of disowning, harming and belittling others who are different, why can’t we simply let them be?
I’ve been debating on what to write about in the blog for about two weeks. Initially I was going to talk about Donald Trump and the hateful comments that he spews out of his mouth as well as a lot of his followers, but I decided that wouldn’t be productive or helpful, so I just sat on it. Shortly later I heard from my friend, her son…who just so happens to be a homosexual had become a victim of a hate crime.
Imagine waking up to boiling hot water being poured on you because you were a homosexual, Black, White, female, male WHATEVER. There is never any just cause for this type of violence.
I won’t go into more detail because I’m attaching the link of a Go Fund Me account and the full story is there. If you know the family or not, I’m sure you can empathize with their situation. If you are able to help, please do, if not, please share this to help in his recovery.
Love is so much stronger than hate. Thanking you all in advance.
*This is NOT a blog about being sad, or feeling unworthy. It IS a reflection.*
In the midst of my reading and studying, I usually play music or have the TV on for background noise. Sometimes, I have both. But yesterday, I decided to listen to the YouTube personality April Mason. She is an empowering woman with some really good points. I just wasn’t ready for what she had to say.
She had a letter from a young woman who explained that there was a guy she was “dating.” He was nice. He treated her well. He was fine. His sex was awesome. But he didn’t want to be in a relationship. Although he did all the things that couples do, he made it clear that a relationship was something he did not want. She was understandably confused. His actions did not match his words….definitely something I can relate to.
April went through all the usual relationship advice: why buy the cow when you get the milk for free; you allowed him to dictate the “relationship;” you must love yourself first…and so on and so forth. But then she said this:
“This may sound harsh, but you are not good enough.”
I stopped studying.
“You are good enough to hang out and go to the movies with. You are good enough to share meals with. You are good enough to have sex with. But you are not good enough to be his WOMAN. You are a placeholder for his permanent one.”
I sat up. Not good enough to be his woman?
I’ve often felt like I was never good enough. My self-esteem hasn’t been the highest. Although I was always told I was beautiful, I didn’t really believe it – I was fat. I didn’t have a nice shape and I was bigger than most guys – but I was still cute and my smile lit up a room. I knew I was smart – my grades showed it. I was a little short on being street smart until I got to the streets and had to learn to navigate. I never quite learned how to navigate relationships with men though.
I was always good enough to converse with because I do have a nice conversation. I have a brain and I can go from goofy to intellect in a split second. I was nice to hang around because I carry an aura of comfort; of loving. I can cook a little bit, so of course I was good enough to make meals for a man. Of course I was always good enough to have sex with. I’m a nice looking, fluffy woman that’s well endowed. I take care of my kids. I’m smart. I’m funny. I’m loyal.
But I still wasn’t good enough.
I wasn’t good enough for my father to love me enough to show me that I was indeed worthy to be treated like a human being. I didn’t have a very high bar to compare any man to. Attention was enough I suppose. I wasn’t good enough for my ex to not marry a woman that I knew was all the way wrong for him, but yet he still came to me on plenty of nights until I stopped him. I wasn’t good enough for the guy who told me he wouldn’t hurt me, but he didn’t want a relationship…after sex. Or the one that said that no man would really want me because of my ready made family. Or the one who stopped talking to me when I took sex off the table. Or the one that sent unsolicited penis pics. Or the one who thought I would stay despite his abuse. When I got married, I felt that finally I WAS good enough…I secured a lifelong bond with a man I was madly in love with…
But I wasn’t even good enough for my husband. No matter how loyal or loving or supportive I was, I just wasn’t good enough to keep him from the abandonment or the side chicks.
In the aftermath of all of this, I find that I am still just not good enough. I’m good enough to hang with or converse with, or even to sex…but I’m not good enough to be a man’s significant other. I’m not good enough to be the ONE.
My attributes are great. I am wonderfully flawed. I’m beautiful. I’m sarcastic. Intelligent. I like sports. I cuss like a sailor. I am articulate. I can get moody. I can appear standoffish or disinterested. I can discuss politics, Beyonce, Maya, and Bugs Bunny. I am lovingly loyal – I would say to a bit of a fault. I am a sweetheart when I want to be. I’m the perfect homegirl. I’m caring. I’m supportive – an awesome cheerleader. I adore my children and my grandchildren. I will go to war with the world over my children. I love my family. I work hard. I hustle harder. I strive to be the best I can be with all my flaws.
This year marks my 40th year on this Earth. I look at the world through a lens of life experiences. I do have faith in God, something I can’t say I’ve always had. My confidence level as definitely increased by the multitudes. But, in the area of relationships and commitment, something always falls relatively short. And with all the #inboxfoolishness I get, with all the dates that are made but never completed, all the notions of just wanting sex from me and nothing more, I wonder…
Will I ever be good enough?
(Photo: Ezra Shaw)
First off, let me put a few disclaimers.
- I am not, nor will I probably ever be a die-hard football fan. The only time that I watch a football game is if my son is playing or the actual Super Bowl game…which technically, I’m not watching the game, I’m only there for the commercials and the halftime show.
- ALL of the Super Bowl performers from Lady Gaga, to Cold Play, Bruno Mars and of course Miss Sasha Fierce herself, all did an Oh-Mazing job. I was thoroughly entertained.
- A few of my friends on social media didn’t enjoy all of the performers, and as I watched the trending stories, some of everybody had something to say about them as well, but hey, this is my blog, therefore my platform to voice my opinions.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten those formalities out of the way, let me just say this. Say what ya wanna; like her or not, Beyoncè slayed not only her performance, but the whole Super Bowl as well! You can criticize her song, her man, her daughter, her choice of clothing and dance. You can believe that she’s part of the Illuminati (which I don’t and don’t believe that there really is such a thing). But what you can’t do is say that she doesn’t give 110% of professionalism, style, grace and true artistry EVERY TIME she performs!!!
Super Bowl’s halftime show was a mini concert, gay pride, girl power, Black power, MC Hammer throwback, pop and live music, dancing while you sing, almost fall – but you don’t miss a beat – pick it back up and keep on going, plug your upcoming tour, playing nice with others fun loving good time all jammed packed and displayed as a physical collage – with a powerful message of “Believe In Love” to top it all off. (Yes that is an extremely long run on sentence, but hey, it works for this). To me the halftime show was a perfect blend of a variety of music for everyone to enjoy some aspect of the show.
As a Black, business woman I have no choice, but to respect her hustle, grind, creativity and brand building.
Now let me give out disclaimer #4. Her music has evolved in such a dramatic way that I do censor what my children listen to and watch of hers. However, I was okay with the halftime show for them. That being said, I censor what they watch and hear ANY WAY. Everything is not for children to see or hear even if it’s art. I wouldn’t let them listen to NWA, which is art, with a powerful message, but the delivery is just not for them to absorb YET!
I know not everyone will agree, and that’s totally okay, but I love and respect me some ‘Yoncè! And at the end of the day, her name is being talked about. Which is good for her brand, sooooooooooo…