Category Archives: Self- Reflection

Why Aren’t More Black People Boycotting the NFL?

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity” – Albert Einstein

I really love football and here’s why:

Reason #1 – My Brother

When I was a kid, my brother only kind of liked me as his sister (as many other older brother and younger sister sibling relationships) and for me, I could get his attention… paying attention to Football. He taught me the game which is why as a woman, I know more than the average man, usually.  He was practicing to be the coach he is now, explaining to me the different positions and the purpose that they serve, why some coaches prefer 3-4 defense over a 4-3 defense, among the many other reasons why I love to watch the game.

Reason #2 – My Grandma

I never was much for dresses, make-up or girly things like my grandma, and she somehow was all of those things, but also fell in love with the game of football. She always wanted to talk about Football my whole life.  As my grandmother became sicker with cancer, Football was about all she would talk about with any kind of joy (and she loved the Browns, go figure). One of the last pictures of her smiling was when she was in the hospital and the Browns paid the patients a visit. (Yes, there are people who actually get excited about the Browns).

My Grandma passed away in 2016, and for last year’s football season (2016-17), I watched more football in a season than I have ever watched in my entire life. Looking back on it, I definitely felt somehow closer to my Grandma watching all things football, and thoroughly enjoyed it. What I find interesting is that many fans truly believe football play has weakened and it has, but it’s still so fun to watch. Unlike Baseball and Hockey, where I have to be there to truly enjoy, Football still reigns supreme as the best sporting event that you can watch on TV, and the in game experience is like none other. I should probably go to a Soccer game in Europe, but until that happens, this is my firm belief.

So enter this year’s opportunity to boycott the NFL. I made the case about why Football is so important to me. I am not the protesting type, because I usually see all the sides of an argument. I can be empathetic to a fault. Ask my friends when we talk about boy problems. I can always see it from the guy’s perspective and rationalize their stupidity. So all summer, I thought long and hard if I wasn’t going to watch Football. It started off with me not watching the draft, but that’s was by accident, but it probably was a tale tale sign. So I didn’t pay attention to training camps or preseason game talk, but I hadn’t made up my mind. When Colin Kaepernick got cut that was no surprise, based on the coach they hired, but when he started to get passed over for backup job after backup job, I really started to feel uneasy.

For those of you who know athletes who aren’t famous stars, you realize a number of players on teams that never play much or at all, they are on team rosters and get a paycheck! In Football, with the quarterback position, a couple of back-ups are a must. Ask my beloved Colts when Peyton Manning was out for a whole year. Teams need quarterbacks that rarely play and Kaep made it to the Super Bowl folks, and his numbers last year weren’t the worst in the league, actually not that close either. The uneasiness got stronger, and I didn’t know how I was NOT going to boycott the NFL.

There comes a point in life where you should realize that what you believe in and what you do about it matters. BECAUSE I love football and the NFL, it makes me more disappointed that NFL owners are unwilling to give a job to a person who was simply exercising his freedom of speech rights. Here’s the thing, I get that they don’t care. It’s a business. He’s hurting their pocket book. They don’t care about the elevation of thoughts and ideas, especially not this one. But I do. 

Colin Kaepernick wanted to highlight a very important issue, one that should matter to all people, but the fact that it doesn’t is actually irrelevant. If it were a different issue such as pro-life, pro-choice, the environment, 2nd amendment rights or if it was any issue that took dollars from their pockets, NFL owners would be uninterested as well. But there is nothing more American than our right to be free. Free to say what we want, live the way we want, believe what we want. This “American” game of Football is asking us to choose money over our hearts and minds.

So when I see black people unwilling to boycott Football for something they “care” about, because the players need to boycott first? Say what? Only with their boycott would something actually happen. Come again? How easy is it to sit back, and just take Football in as entertainment without any regard to what it’s saying about you and your black body. How many of us would lose our job from boycotting a football game? 

 We can keep lying to ourselves, but the NFL is saying to us, “We” are good for the football field, but not good enough to speak our mind. You are not only condoning Colin Kaepernick not getting a job, you are condoning the ability of the institution of Football in keeping us small minded, and similar to a slave.  Actually, not a slave at all, a black person watching a minstrel show. Yes, a MINSTREL SHOW.  Your body is free, but your mind is still enslaved. The black NFL players are the main characters in the show, and you are literally rooting them on.  Just maybe if we stopped watching, some would stop playing. The truth is we don’t believe not watching will have an effect, but why are we so unwilling to try.

In the end, who’s making the money?  The same people that made money on the minstrel shows. You go right ahead, and not boycott, and continue to watch irregardless of what the game is saying about us.  One of my favorite reminders from the good ole book:

“My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? (2Kings 5:13)

If we cannot skip a season of football, do we really believe we will give up more for justice? for black lives? for equality?

No matter how much I love Football.  I will no longer watch the minstrel show.

M/P

Check out from Max Kellerman:

https://twitter.com/shadowleaguetsl/status/908721297215119360  

You Have Sight, But No Vision

“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” – Helen Keller

Lately, I have been struggling with something in my personal life that seems so obvious, yet, I’m not finding the solution anywhere…. So a wise person said to me, “You have sight, but no vision.” … Rarely, do words cut me to the core so quickly. I am the Queen of rationalizing, and anyone can pretty much give me any critique or criticism and I can turn it on its head to a positive for me or figure out how to be right in almost any particular situation . Yes, this is a defense mechanism, but I’ve learned over the last 6 months to be more introspective especially when receiving advice from wise and caring people. So let’s go back to what they said:

“You have sight, but no vision.”

Now in a textbook Eye Doctor definition, “Eye sight is tested through one’s ability to see images up close and far away” (source“The term “vision” however, encompasses the idea of eyesight but goes a little bit beyond it.  Eye care doctors check to see if the eyes are working in sync” involving things like focus, convergence and depth perception.

So let’s be a little abstract here, when you only have sight about something in your life, you take it at face value, and you just run with it. But what about your heart, your gut or intuition, do you listen? Because sometimes what we “see” in life is based on a misperception or a missed-perception.

So let’s take a moment, and check our vision. What area in your life lacks vision?  How about your future? Is there are a part of your life where you lack vision and your heart, mind, body and soul refuse to work in one accord, practically fighting each other to keep you at a stand still?

I’ve been there. I’m currently stuck in a few areas in my life with no vision, trying to find my way out of a hole.

So can we live if we only see the things in front of us and don’t perceive the deeper layer or what’s in the shadows? Of course, we can, but do you want to? It’s so easy to be fooled by our eyes. We can become so addicted to getting what we want and not realizing there’s more than meets the eye. (Sorry not sorry, pun intended) .

So let me put in some personal context:   

When I started this blog, three years ago, I lacked vision. By pure will and boredom, I wanted to write, figure out social media and numb my senses due to some mistakes I had made that completely changed the trajectory of my life.  Writing gives me a joy that I never thought I’d experience  again after not pursuing my first passion of dance after graduating from my performing arts high school. Writing has basically become my special power that I didn’t know I had nor did I know the role it would play in my life. To be honest, I am still not 100% on what it will look like for the rest of my life,  but sitting here, and twiddling my thumbs, because from what I can SEE, all I have are serious doubts about doing this. No one really likes my blog? What if I offend someone? No one cares, seriously.  Pretty surface level stuff.

I’ve written in several blogs about my apprehension in writing. Am I writing for me, writing for others, and to put it quite frankly, writing for the stats, the views of the general public. Those three things are hard to balance, and I’ve probably only mastered it once on my own personal blog. I usually accomplish it more when I write for someone else.

This is (or was) the first problem.

You can’t find your vision when you’re looking in the wrong place. Even people with the best intentions can fool you, when you’re not creating a vision for yourself, you get lost. Soon after I start blogging, and every time I talked about writing, someone was always asking if I could write for them. Initially, I was flattered, but I was in the midst of finding my vision, I got distracted looking in places that weren’t for me. I wrote some amazing blogs, but I had to get off this train or I would never find my vision.

So I have decided to write for me from here on out. Not that I don’t want others to read and enjoy my work, but I started Missing Perspective to share my point of view. But things began changed. As a social commentary writer, it’s crazy to think about how different America was just three years in the political landscape.

This is (or was) the second problem. Change. Be ready for it. Your vision cannot be expected to live in a vacuum. Our two eyes can catch a lot of action, in the vision for your life, there will be surprises. Life ebbs and flows. As the political landscape changed, something I love to write about, I found myself scared. It feels as if people, for the most part, only try to read and listen to opinions of like minded individuals nowadays. Our country is so divided it seems there are only a few places of common ground when there should be so much more it. So I made excuses about why I couldn’t write this or that, because things have changed, but I wouldn’t enjoy a world where topics were recycled over and over. I wasn’t prepared for change… and preparation is key without it a vision will fizzle and die. 

And of course, the most important piece, and where my biggest growth over the last few months  is focus. If I find myself looking in the right place, seeing the full landscape (depth perception), expecting change… there’s only one step left. The most important step.

To simply focus on the task at hand. To allow yourself to zoom in and zoom out to get just the right picture, to see the full view….. and create your vision.

I am ready…. Are you?

Feel free to share you thoughts below in the comments, or tweet at me here with the #vision

Not My Jesus: My Very Christian View on the Muslim Ban

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“We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives – but in what we do for others”
Harry Truman

I am a Christian. I love Jesus. I am scared for America.

I never thought about whether people were upset or protesting during the Crusades until this weekend. To see “armies of Christians from Western Europe respond to Pope Urban II’s plea to go to war against Muslim forces in the Holy Land. “ – (source) . Do you think there was extreme outrage by any of the Christians at the time?

The executive order to temporarily ban visa holders from the 7 countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen has sent shock waves through this country and across the globe. There are a number of reasons it just doesn’t make sense. There are a number articles that detail the countries selected for the ban did not include the Islamic extremists who have been a part of the major terrorist attacks:

“None of the perpetrators of the major US terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam in the past 15 years have come from the nations on that list. In fact, the country home to the biggest number of terrorists who have carried out successful attacks inside the US is the US itself.” – (Source)  and (source) 

So let’s just be really clear, is this really about safety? ISIS is a problem. Islam is not. I am totally okay with the destruction of extremists of any kind, from any religion, sect, ethnicity, you name it. Let’s crush the threat. I am no pacifist. But neither is my God.

I had to stop and think about something. I am currently reading Jeremiah, a book from the bible, that details the destruction and impending captivity Yahweh (God) inflicted upon his own, chosen people for their complete, utter disobedience and disregard for his law. Not to mention their incessant participation in idolatry that was occurring in Judah and Jerusalem. Like… do you understand what I am saying? God used destruction against his OWN people, but not just for any old reason. Through the bible, he used war, pestilence to show his will, strength and love. Talk about some tough love, right. So of course, it’s cool to kill people, discriminate against people who don’t believe in God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit?

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Throughout time, Christians have found numerous ways to inflict war against whole groups of people. Yet, no one has been successful in completely wiping an entire race. (Caveat: I know there is probably one example, but you get my point… think about it). The bible tells Christians that we will grow, live and be surrounded by “tares” a.k.a. no-believers, but we are supposed to be a light, not this BEACON OF DARKNESS. Like what are you people doing? Christianity has nothing to do with the mistreatment of whole religious groups.

This ban smells like Islamophobia and just appearing to do something to fight against ISIS when in fact what has been done is completely missing the mark AND allowing us to become a bigger target from real extremist threats. Throughout the bible, God used “foreigners”, some who were believers and non-believers, for his purpose based on their heart which he intimately knows.

And here’s the other thing, empathy is important, but not about this. I am a firm believer that trying to walk in someone else’s shoes is important and having a positive experience with a marginalized group makes you more willing to speak up for them. However, you don’t need a warm and fuzzy experience with a Muslim to understand why the complete disregard for the people who are being detained. It’s like lumping all Catholics and Christians as a breeding place for sexual abuse. There is a long list, which continues to grow, of Christian leaders of all races engaging in that type of behavior, but we’re not banning every priest and Christian pastor from going to schools or having youth programs at their church. That would be ludicrous, but to some extent could be useful to save our young boys and girls who get abused. But there are so many more who do positive things for kids, so we have to be vigilant and strategic to protect our kids from people like that.

So let’s work on the ISIS problem, it is not a Muslim problem. We cannot unilaterally discriminate against all Muslim countries. Now, people are talking about the fact Muslim counties in which Trump has investments, but including them doesn’t change it though. Let’s include Saudi Arabia, which would probably never happen, we would still be having the same conversation. Don’t fall for that distraction conversation. Don’t.

Some people may be reading this and saying that there was no mention of Christianity as part of the reason for initiating this ban. But as the Republican Party, which I am a part of some days, they are using their beliefs as a basis for every decision that they make and I have just had enough, because you do not own his Holy name. Neither do I really, it stands on its own, but I will not stand idly and allow people to continually misuse it. It is time that the Christians who are standing idle while watching the bastardization of Christianity to justify these actions in these United States America to stand the heck up! We wouldn’t let a non-believer paint such an ugly picture of God the Son, why are we letting those who profess his name act as such?

As a group of people, we cannot allow this. I am not sure what is more frustrating, the complete discrimination of a whole group of people or people standing behind a shroud of Christianity to cover their bigotry. Either way, you will not use my Jesus in this way.

Luke 9: 52-56

“… And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.”

M/P

Living in An American Fairy-tale? Time To Grow Up

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“The hardest part about growing up is letting go of what you were used to, and moving on with something you’re not.” – Lyrikal

Growing up is hard. Things are never what they seem. You can kind of  live in a fairy tale, seeing life the way your parents kind of want you to. But as you get older you realize things are not as they seem.

Everyone is not your friend nor do they have your best interest at heart. Your parents aren’t the worse thing ever or vice versa, they are not the perfect people you thought they were. The realizations aren’t all bad. Like learning that those vegetables you used to hate actually taste pretty good and you really do need to eat more of them. Your parents weren’t lying to you.

Growing up was something I always wanted to do before I was ready. My mother reminded me often to not rush growing up. As I grew older, I learned that she was right. More importantly, while I was rushing to grow up, I learned is that I got to live in my fairy tale much longer than most.

Some kids don’t get to live in this fairy tale ever or very long. They come from very traumatic and abusive backgrounds. They get a tough reality check from almost birth. These kids have to grow-up fast, and it’s sink or swim.  They don’t get to complain, because what’s the point? They have to accept their pain and punishment, because who knows when the next traumatic event happens.

So, how does this relate to America?

For many Americans, they are finally growing up as it relates to America. Seeing America for what it is. It’s always been the same, but how it manifest itself is always changing.

The ones in power get to make the rules. We’ve had a few shiny moments. But often those in power are preying on the weaker, abusing natural resources for personal gain, and using that power to push their ideals forward with no consideration of certain people.

The Republican Party, of late, always seem to be quite aware of this and in national politics are a little more vocal about ensuring their best interests happen against all odds, and to some extent, can you blame them? Since they live in this reality, the last 8 years would have been hard on them. 8 years of Barack Obama where ACA was passed, gay marriage was legalized, and the economy improved under a non-Republican. Holy mother of WTF?

If liberals were less idealistic at times and awake to how America truly works they would have been getting their knives ready, because the GOP, no matter who the candidate was going to be, Trump or not, they were coming for the jugular.

Now, this is hard for me to say as someone who used to be in love with all things America (told you I lived in a fairy-tale). It is still a noble thing to be an American, to be born American, but how we go about life in politics is no longer noble.

We really have to start the conversation there.

We have to grow up and get it back to being noble. People still believe that most politicians go into politics from a good place. This could be true, but the system consumes you and spit you out a different person. I don’t care what anyone says about Hillary. I think people fail by talking about her like she was this young, wide-eyed law graduate with ideals of making this country better. At one point in time, she probably did. But after 30 years of being involved in the political game, she couldn’t help but be tainted by it.

And somewhere along the way, enough Americans convinced themselves that Donald Trump, who was not a seasoned politician, wasn’t tainted by the system. But he comes from the system, business, that majorly taints the political system. Dollar dollar bills ya’ll.

At first, I didn’t really get what “Make America great again” meant for Trump. People always assume that he is talking about when people of color, liberties for women were oppressed. Sometimes I believe he’s referring to era of American monopolies when one person completely controlled the market and working conditions and treatment of employees was poor. Trump and Rockefeller would’ve been best friends. That is the America Trump wants. But I digress.

Back to seeing America for what it is.

Since the election, I have been surrounded by people who were truly traumatized by Trump’s election and people who were not surprised. Now, this is my experience so hear me out.

The people who were traumatized, all white. Caucasian. Not one single black friend or family member was truly surprised or traumatized by the election (that I know of).  Yes, black people are like those children who grow up in trauma. Even black people who are born with a better station in life feel the pains of race (unless they are rich enough to lie to themselves). We aren’t complaining about Trump, because anything can happen when it comes to us in America.  When you’ve spent years seeing things happen unfairly right before your eyes or receive mistreatment simply because the color of your skin, it isn’t surprising a man could win on divisive rhetoric.

So it was no surprise that my Facebook timeline was full of people of color commenting on all the white woman who finally woke up to what America is. It has ALWAYS been this way. Listen to when I say this, it is nothing new. But here’s the thing, we can’t get upset at people who are in the ivory tower and they didn’t know they were up there. Once they recognize it, do we want them to stay up in the tower? No, we want them to come on down and join us.

The need for solidarity was important for many people this past weekend who have finally grown up to see what America is. But just like Trump can’t make America great again and turn back the clocks, every one whose eyes have been open can’t want the America that it was, because you were wrong. When people say they are fighting back, let’s be sure we understand what we are talking about.

Citizen participation

Citizen participation is necessary …. but it has always been and will always be, not just because you are unhappy with what’s going on at the moment. Understanding different perspectives and keeping them in the forefront is important. Speaking about your thoughts and beliefs so someone can correct you, and this goes for all people, is important. Each of us has a weak spot or bias. Lately, I have allowed myself to listen and be educated by Liberals on their ideals, their hesitations and frustrations. I don’t always like or agree with what they have to say, but I am not acting like a child with my fingers stuck in my ears. I am adulting. It’s not going to be easy, but that is the only way to push America forward. I am ready. Are you?

America… Voting Isn’t Enough

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“There is a lot of mediocrity being celebrated, and a lot of wonderful stuff being ignored or discouraged.” – Sean Penn

Yep, I said it.

Let me first say that I am happy that people are voting, I really am, but something has really been annoying about this whole election from two different angles.

For one, people who say:

“I am not voting, because we have TWO bad candidates”

And for people saying:

“I voted! Voting is the most important thing I can do”

No, no, and a really big NO to the second one.

I have tried to restrain from sharing my frustrations about both of these sentiments, because for some reason I feel like I am being a negative Nancy. But the more I marinated on these statements, the more I felt convinced of my perspective.

If you have a problem with both candidates, you know that you are part of the problem, if you’re only engaged at this point in the process.

I am not saying that Bernie Sanders would be doing any better than Hillary, but for liberals who don’t particularly want Hilary, if you weren’t out there pushing for him and his movement, he was a pretty good alternative. Otherwise, shut up and Vote for Her.

I really wanted Kasich to win the Republican nomination, but he didn’t. And to be honest, I step back and see Trump as the candidate of my former (sort of) party, and it is part of my fault. I did not volunteer in the primary election and take the campaign of Donald Trump seriously, and for that I am sorry.

If you don’t like Hilary or Trump, what have you personally done besides take your ass out to the polls. Like seriously. Did you canvass? Did you make calls? Have you ever in your life?

People need to hear this. People need to keep saying this till they understand.

There are ways to change the candidates in our political process, but you have to be engaged to do so. There are too many of us that are convinced that are voice doesn’t matter, but the Tea Party HAS PROVED THIS TO BE WRONG. The Tea Party, in the past, has completely changed the outcome of statewide elections and now has a Presidential candidate with the help of evangelical conservatives. Their insistence on coming together and making their voice heard…. it worked ya’ll. It didn’t happen overnight either. This has been brewing since 2009.

They have literally taken over the Republican Party and people still have the audacity to say things can’t change. Oh, they can. We have ALL seen it. Now, this doesn’t mean they have enough power to win the election, but it was enough to get a candidate to win the nomination based on some sound fiscal policies, but completely combined with racist, bigoted and archaic policies as well.

On to point two, voting is just simply not the most important thing you can do. It’s just not. Not even a little bit. And I feel weird writing about this, because I want people to vote. But, I want you to see the importance of it, but it should be paired with something else besides simply casting a vote.

What else are you doing in your community?

What other conversations are you having with people outside of your comfort zone?

What are you doing beyond yourself?

Anything? I literally mean anything!?!

Now, I have written about how people in Austin love animals, especially their dogs, almost to a fault. The community will come out and save animals when we have a disaster such as a flood. It drives some people insane, and rightfully so, because it’s like, “What about people?!?” But I can respect people with different passions if they are committed and are contributing to it.  Similarly to focusing on the arts. There is a place for it. You want to advocate for those things you do that.

Our future, our kids, are the most important thing to me, therefore, I invest my time, money and effort towards them. I volunteer with different organizations to make sure I am not only giving to the kiddos, but also to kiddos that look like me, whether it’s young girls/women of all shapes, colors and sizes or children of color of different ethnicities. I am not here to say everyone should do the same, but whatever “community” you care about, you need to give some time to it. I see many of my counterparts investing in the justice system. I see my counterparts investing in the health and wellness of others. I also see counterparts investing in themselves professionally for a time to make a better place for themselves in order to do better and give back.

We are all at different places in our life, but if you are doing nothing more than waking up and breathing for your own good…You are not doing enough.

The bible says “Judge not, lest you be judged”, so I am not here to be judge-y…. But if all the time and effort you have is at the polls and vote, and you don’t work 2 or 3 different jobs, struggling to survive than you are really missing the mark. And it’s sad. This is one of reasons people don’t have a global view of the world or people continue to live with biases.

Do you think the world will just shape itself and doesn’t need any help?

The reality is if you are doing nothing you might be a little more scared about Hilary or Trump more than others. Yes, I know I sound condescending, but it’s the truth.

What you don’t do, is just as important as what you do.

Making money is important. Being happy is important.

But just voting is not enough.

M/P

 

This is America

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Every time I fly out of Austin, I park my car in the extended lot, it’s not too expensive (yet). Parking at this spot requires me to ride on a shuttle to and from the airport. Now, I travel enough to notice, that unless I sit next to someone or a person of color sits next to me, a white person never sits next to me on the bus ride back. I have noticed this for 3 years. On the way into the airport, I may have had a handful sit next to me, but on the flight home and shuttle bus back to my car, a white person never sits next to me. Every single time they take every other seat available, even by some questionable people, before they dare sit next to me. But I have had enough experiences to let this roll off my back until a trip back from Kentucky after my favorite Uncle’s funeral just two months ago. It was late, and I was tired, and dealing with my uncle’s funeral was draining emotionally. As I got on the shuttle, I sat in my usual seat, and it began to fill in. All but one seat was available, that seat was next to me or so we thought. The driver was about to close the door when another person jumped on the bus, a middle aged white man, got on and put his stuff up. I told myself, he’s going to stand. The only clear seat available was next to me. The bus driver pointed in my direction, and told him that he had to have a seat. And the next thing that happened was completely unexpected.

An older, white-haired man was covering two seats and it was hardly noticeable, but this man found it. He made the older gentleman quite uncomfortable and sat next to him and another lady, and was squeezed very tightly. Then I felt a number of people’s eyes on me. Especially, the old white man who was completely uncomfortable. I couldn’t tell if his eyes were supposed to comfort me, if he was ashamed, or if he had the same thoughts as the man who refused to sit next to me, that he wouldn’t come sit next to me either. I like to think that his look was of regret that he didn’t choose to come sit next to me in the first place. I luckily was the first stop and got off the bus quickly, and I walked to my car, threw my luggage inside, and I began to weep.

That even when I am tired, I mean I was really tired, and sad, and all of the things I was going through with family members and the bullshit at work that at that very moment, I had to be reminded that I am black and there are people who think less of me, who are afraid of me, who’d rather be uncomfortable than sit next to me. This is my life as a black person in America. This is my life as a black person in one of the most “liberal” places in America. No matter if it’s a good day or a bad day, these experiences happen regularly for no good reason. I know that life isn’t fair, but if we can talk about struggles with our weight and body issues or other insecurities that to some extent we might have control over, but I can’t talk about this. Then we might as well be living in 1776.

I wish that the white people who are in power, who are at the table and have the money to make decisions that affect my black life can be like the white people I know and love, like my best friend, and the best two roommates I have ever had, my favorite teacher, my favorite mentor besides my mother and my Aunts. I wonder why can’t all white people look through their lens, and see me as a human being.

I am sure there will be someone reading this and think maybe he sat there, because it was closer. That it couldn’t be about race. You have been conditioned, as have I, by the ills of this country that I cannot talk about my race too much. Even though, because I live in America, I am often forced to think about it almost every day. But you know what…. I have decided to not feel sorry about it. I’ve been wanting to share this story even though it makes me angry, and it would make me even angrier that people might not understand or misinterpret my purpose and meaning. I’ve decided that I do not care.

Because I will remind you, this happens, every single time I ride this bus. It is not a one time deal. It isn’t a coincidence. This my friends is America.

Wake up and realize it.

Unfortunately, the only person who has is running for President of America.

M/P

Take the Time and Use a Timeout

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“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.” Thomas Paine

Self- Evaluation

Self-Discovery

Self-Reflection

*yawns*

Are you one of those people who likes reading self-help books? Or the kind of person who takes hours during the week or month to stop and think about how you can do things better or become a better person?

Well, this article might not be for you.

There are people who don’t like to read self-help books, either by choice or because the busyness of life, they don’t stop and reflect (and by they, I really mean we, because I am guilty as charged) ….This post is for you.

For me, I am guilty of being a true energizer bunny, and my goal is to just keep going and going and going…. Rarely, do I stop and take breath or pause for a moment to reflect.

And you might ask, ‘Don’t you ever sit and think about what you are doing’… yeah, if I make a mistake and feel some type of pain or regret. But unless you’re in a constant flow of pain and regret, you can go weeks and months without looking back and thinking of how you are getting from A to B. This is me. To truly sit back and self-reflect on life, you have to be intentional, not only for yourself, but for those around you.

In the past, I was piling things onto my plate and  avoided this much needed self-reflection. But earlier this year, I found myself complaining and irritable, and I began to question whether I was really happy. I am naturally a glass half-full, extreme optimist, who LOVES Monday. So when it felt like every other sentence out of my mouth was negative, I began to see that it was affecting those around me. I knew something was wrong.  But, I didn’t quite know how to stop my normal way of life.

I was used to it. It was familiar. Unfamiliarity is not cool. Sort of.

But despite my resistance to this idea of changing my natural flow of life, I had enough people around me telling me that I wasn’t crazy, and that maybe a switch-up was exactly what I needed.

So 4 months ago, I significantly reduced my involvement in a lot of things which opened my life up.

More time to write. More time to sleep, and to be quite frank, more time to myself. At first, I didn’t use this time wisely at all. I was still a little reluctant and there was no reflection occurring. I filled it with other things, mindless things, so I thought I was making progress, but I knew that wasn’t my purpose. I quickly reminded myself that I needed to be intentional and do something different that was going to help me.

The purpose was to stop and reflect, and after about 3 months, I finally am getting the swing of more alone time, saying no, and developing new skills. As I began to reflect more, there were some things that I am surprised were going on in my life and others were exactly the way I thought they were.

The biggest area in my life that I needed to take a look at was leadership. And boy, am I learning a lot. I am a big proponent that leadership skills are innate, and that you can’t teach people how to be good leaders. But people can learn how to be better at leading and if they are willing to learn. I think I am natural born leader, but I probably haven’t learned anything new about leading. I needed to have a seat.

As of June 1st, 2016, I hold zero leadership positions for the first time in my life in over 15 years and I am loving every minute. I made this decision back in February when I realized, that for more than 15 years, I was in some capacity leading a group of of youth or adults in some way. I was like I have to stop. I was right, I am following, and learning so much more about being a leader than I have in the last two years.

It is important to learn that although you are capable of leading, allowing others to lead you and absorb their knowledge is a part of the process. If I didn’t stop to smell the roses, I would be missing out on some important nuggets that not only will make me a better leader, but ultimately a better person for those around me. I am learning a couple of other things along the way:

  • Patience – I need more of it
  • Discipline – I need more of it
  • Listening – I need to do more of it

The last point is clearly something that I was vastly aware of. I am always trying to talk less and listen, but taking the time to step back and see how I was behaving. I need to make this a reality, what’s the point of knowing you need to fix something and not improving it. Therefore, I am intentionally listening more.

I noticed that I needed more patience and discipline in almost every area of my life. I needed to build a little stamina in both of these areas to be a little better and a little more productive. Although a product of the millennial generation that is in love with instant gratification, this doesn’t change the fact that some things take time and you have to work hard to achieve your goals.

One goal in particular is becoming healthier. Waiting for pounds and inches to drop is the slowest process known to man. But what is the rush? I find myself trying to cheat or expedite the process, cut corners, only to my detriment. Not only did I realize I needed to improve this about myself, I couldn’t do it alone. I have felt discouraged and down on myself a number of times. The trainers have coached me, encouraged me, and loved on me a little bit, and I have stayed more committed to my health longer than ever before. When I noticed this was happening, I reflected on other areas in my life where I was lacking patience. I was able to connect some of my frustrations and identify one of the root causes to my increased complaining. This reflection has made a big impact my life in this short amount of time. So now I have opened my arms to the process on reflecting my behavior and plan to continue this self-evaluation, discovery and reflection with joy.

Why don’t you join me? Please share your experience with self-reflection.

M/P