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Archive for the tag “perspectives”

April Showers, April Rains

I woke to precipitation this morning, but it is not odd for April 2016. It has been a seemingly wet month.   There has been a lot of loss; loss that is close to me, loss that affects me at a distance, they are all significant and profound. This April has been wet with rain and wet with tears. The rain washes away the residue and quenches the dry soil, preparing for growth. The tears while expressing sorrow, give way to a clearer understanding and time for reflection. The month is nearly gone and as I think of the little rhyme of my childhood “April Showers Bring May Flowers”, I beckon to the universe bring on the flowers.

 

Has God Abandoned You

Hopefully, you are not in a place where this question will even come to mind. However, life being what it is, you have been there or you will be there at some point in your life. Does Christian faith allow for such doubt, and even if it does not what of you if you find yourself in the grips of such turmoil?

We hurt, we become confused, and we grow tired. That is reality. We are in search of reassurance that our pain WILL be healed, our hearts will be restored and we will continue on. Yet in those moments that feel like a lifetime, isn’t it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The concept of FAITH in a world that bases worthiness and authenticity on guarantees, is a challenge in and of itself. Therefore you have to consider the rainbow; they are indications that a storm has happened somewhere, but it also shows you it is over and the path is clear once again.

If I Knew Your Political View…

My son and I were discussing an actor( who will remain nameless because I do not care for this individual based on what I have read recently), he(my son) spoke of things which been said that had gotten passed me. In my mind I  tentatively added this performer to my list. Yes, my list of Don’t Like You/Your Political Views/Racially Insensitive Comments, Don’t Knowingly Support You/Your Product.

There is so much information available, I will never cease to be amazed by this. However, there are still only 24 hours in the day and between handling the necessities of life in some form of order one has to decide what all of the “other” things are important enough to take time out to research. Research IS necessary in order for one NOT to sound like a babbling idiot, because the very time you do not bother to research something and talk as though your opinion is KNOWLEDGE, you will get caught and called on it.

In regards to this actor, admittedly I have enjoyed his work in the past, I was not surprised though. I find that men who fit into his particular demographic are particularly displeasing to me. I feel the same way about the women as well. I remind myself HE IS A PERFORMER. What he has said/done is opinion driven and fueled by money. Designers, singers, dancers, artist, creative folk…liberal arts does not necessarily mean liberal- minded. I ask how can people who are my contemporaries be oceans apart from me, when we shared a very similar upbringings, same environments, locations, education and economics. I ask why? I see surface issues, but I also see the things that were clearly kept hidden.

I HATE the self-righteous battle cry/credo “do as I say not as I do”. Easy to feel that way once YOU have gotten the “crazy” out of YOUR system. Forget the idealism of youth, as wrinkles and back pain stare YOU in the face. Angry at the reflection, angry at the world..a world that hopefully will continue on long after you cease to. Where has YOUR hope gone?

I want to like you, in short let’s keep politics out of our budding friendship/relationship/entertainment choices as much as we possibly can.

T.H.I.N.K.

I saw this on a team message board on my moonlighting job. That job needs  to be as inspirational and motivating as possible. I am grateful for it none-the-less. So after once again being human and flawed I am inspired to write about one of my many, many, many flubs. I hope it will help someone else and perhaps myself do what my title suggests, but that does not necessarily mean anyone will in fact have to change.

“Before you speak THINK

Is it True

Is it Helpful

Is it Inspiring

Is it Necessary

Is it Kind”

Imagine a society of political correctness; nothing out of order, no one offended, facts to the point concise and non controversial. Well it certainly would keep us from being offended, but would it truly keep us correct?

There are some things we need to know. They are not all pleasant. They may pierce a bit but if they are helpful, if we allow ourselves to gain something of value from them, we are better for that information and the surface hurt can be put aside. Remember “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?The  Emperor was so “wrapped up” in looking good he was easily deceived into believing almost anything, including invisible garments.

In our imaginary-politically-correct perfect society we are addressing being able to say something, anything that is not absolutely nice. Why is that? That is because even in the fantasy of perfection we cannot deny that which is real.  How can we exclude the need to be made aware of something that is not-so-nice? We realize that in process we would eliminate our ability to appreciate that which is nice.

Therefore, I encourage you to THINK before you speak, I encourage you to listen but THINK about what was said, and finally I say consider the source.

If You Had A Choice

I remember a song by the Impressions from my childhood. I went to YouTube to make sure I was not imagining things and I verified it all. Time and again I remind my readers, I am a girl from Kansas City raised by church-going people. We moved to California and it was culture shock of amazing proportions.

I was questioned about my feeling towards a certain actress. I knew that I was not asked why I don’t like this performer randomly.. I love a debate but I select the ones I will participate in. This was my friend, so I bit. Before the discussion was over I was told( in so many words) that my feeling about this actress made my friend believe/feel/think we would not be friends if she had been born lighter.  I do not feel that way. I did not think my opinion of an actress was indicative of me, but it brought me to a point that I wanted to discuss and write about.

I am passionate about race. I also want to believe that in my lifetime the racism bulls%#@ will disappear. Is that idealistic or naive? Perhaps. However in the wake of a massacre in a church, in the midst of several states introducing bills/ legislature to ban a flag that throughout the history of The United States of America has insighted violence, implied white supremacy, represented death and destruction, I need to believe something positive will result from all of this.

I venture to say my feelings about being black is NOT unique. Some members of the white race may find this hard to believe or understand, but black people are proud people. Black people LOVE being black!The actress I spoke of earlier is “conveniently black”. My friend pointed out others, my response is the same for them as well. The difference being I have NOT heard of an incident in which the others have “tah-tahed” being black off when directly questioned. Is she(the actress) a coward or is she utilizing a special gift( the gift of the chameleon)? “If you had a choice of color, which one would you chose my brother?”Black people do not want what YOU(White people) have; we only want what is ours… YOU argue,” go out and work hard, pull yourself up by your boot straps like other groups”. Then I offer you a couple events in history and places where black people did just that, and the end results are Rosewood, Florida or  Tulsa,(Greenwood Neighborhood)Oklahoma massacres. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Undermining the efforts of the black race in America is a well thought out plan. We are not “belly-aching”, we have valid substantiated gripes.

In this time period, where so much information is readily available, the thought of someone passing for white is bazaar . Yet not so very long ago you had a woman who by most accounts is clinically white, passed herself off as black. How bazaar was that?  No job application you fill out now will fail to ask a question about your race, the difference now is you don’t have to answer. Once upon a time it was against the law to say you were one race when you KNEW you were another, now one must be cautious not to break the law by being too insistent in asking about someone’s race.

What must it be like to wake in the morning and NOT be concerned about race. I have friends and acquaintances who have lived abroad for several years and what stands out about the experiences they speak of is the LACK of or down-right absence of racial incidents! I cannot fathom that thought. I want to see, feel, believe one day I will experience those things, right here in America. Back to the choice; what must it have been like to be trapped in a society and a body that threatened your existence because of your look….and to have a magic wand that could make all of that disappear, your own personal cloaking device. I imagine it was very similar to what we have STILL have in America. A great deal has changed, but a great deal remains the same.

 

“How Do I Feel About My Country…

And how does my country feel about me.” I wish I could write about so many other things besides race in America, but I cannot. I cannot ignore that race exist, I cannot ignore that people use it as a means to exclude, I cannot ignore that it affects me every waking hour of every single day. I have figured out, like millions of other African Americans, how to move on forward in spite of how I feel.

What does it feel like to wake in the morning and NOT wonder how you will be put in a spot that makes you have to justify your being there, or walking into a room and NOT have your skin color along with hair texture noted, before any other credential you may possess. What is worse,  is feeling that I may never experience this feeling. I push forward, I try NOT to focus on this, but at the same time I have to be aware and remain sensitive to this UGLINESS. On a gorgeous clear, spring day as I take in the sights sounds and fragrances, I must pull myself back and place myself in tune with the hostile environment that surround my being.

I read a little note via social media of a relative, of a good friend of mine. It wasn’t even a paragraph long, I got so angry that I wished for that fantasy ability to travel through time for the express purpose of beating the shit outta someone. Yes that is anger and it was out of control, but it does happen. Fortunately, I do not possess the power to “time-travel” cause there are a couple of nurses(probably retired or deceased by now) who would feel the wrath of an angry mother.  This plague, this cancer that consumes our America so, we bother to share and teach it to those who may not know of it directly or even understand it. How cruel we are with it, to take it to a vulnerable one and force it down their throats knowing they are weak, needy, and/or afraid.

I once thought, how whites in America were fearful and alarmed about something that would not happen. I thought white people fear when the numbers switch and there are more blacks, blacks would act toward whites like they had acted toward us. I thought nothing could be further than the truth, unfortunately I now know I was wrong. Black people have been pushed too far; the black society of 2015, is nothing like the black society of 1955. “Annie get your gun.. well Leroy has one too!”

You see/know the separation exists and it is economic; it is disguised as other things but at the root, it is money. The small and greedy no longer want the bulk of it, they want it ALL. I do not want to see our country fall, but I do recognize there are factions here that would rather see that happen than to have the goods divided up fairly.

The divide continues to grow, the crack continues to widen. The differences are NOT the problem, it is the unwillingness of the people to work with the diversity that IS already HERE. Freedom is not free, but it also does NOT exist if ONE is denied it. How do I feel about MY Country..It’s the people, not the place.

Omission

Going way back, we can all recall not being told the truth. Through the innocence of childhood, through the self-preservation of teens, and finally the deception of adults. Okay may be we don’t have to go all that far back after all.

With nothing particular in mind the thought came to me regarding our inability to tell the truth, or the talent many of us possess in telling lies. I examined from the youngster to the elders. I did not take analytic notes, I simply noted behavior. Therefore, this is not a judgement but merely an observation.

I am a liar.. after you finish your gasp prepare to take another…so are you. Mind-boggling right? No it isn’t, and pardon the pun truth is, we are all liars. For by definition a liar is someone who says things that aren’t true. The definition does not say one who tells a certain number of non-truths, it doesn’t state that barring the tales meant to preserve feelings. nor does it give immunity based on age. Untruths=lies; Do the math.

Make yourself feel better by eliminating or excluding yourself from the pathological liar status, but perhaps you fit into another category and also take into consideration by virtue of those numbers, you may actually qualify.

In growing up adults are quite a mystery to children, they tell a child to do one thing when they themselves do something quite the opposite. It often takes the child transitioning into adulthood before the realization clicks. Therefore, no matter how hard you try to disclaim it, a little liar that exists is  often someone you helped create. We say how we admire children’s innocence and honesty, when in fact all we want to do sometimes is get away from or avoid that cute way ” Little Johnny” points out your wig looks crooked in a crowded room. It may take one incident like that, or maybe “Little Johnny’s “parents will be so embarrassed after the 20th time they pull their angelic offspring to the side and give him wisdom for all times, “If you cannot say anything nice… you can all finish this.

The fact is the truth can sometimes hurt, and if you want to be liked you cannot go about hurting people. Omission is the kinder gentler way we think, but is it really? Drawing the line in the sand we ask which would be better?  I think about leaving a key component out of some piece of machinery or perhaps an ingredient in a recipe; the machine may not work or work properly, the dish may not taste just right. How does an omission affect the party(ies) involved? You tell yourself it is better for__ if they don’t know. When in fact it is better for you, if you are the culprit or the doer of the deed. You may not have silver tongue and be able to deliver the information in a fashion that will not make the situation uneasy, so you work with what you have and use that forked one you do possess.

Little white, falsehood, fabrication, blatant, omission…words that have one thing in common you decide which one is worse, but do not be deceived or deceive yourself they are all lies.

A View From Inside-Part IV

I cannot blame today’s youth completely. I believe we parents did not prepare them. We were so busy making it better for them, because we could. Our parents and grandparents fought long, hard, deadly struggles. We forgot, the pain, the long talks, the faces of disappointment, anger and fear. We did NOT want our children to see that in us. We forgot to remind them that trouble is always waiting for an opportunity. What happened it bypassed us and went straight for our jugular vein. It knew we would not let it slip up on us, but our children, weak vulnerable that was the target. While they slept, while we were away from them to far to fight for them, it pounced.

I recall hearing time and again, “It’s a jungle out there”. As a child, I dismissed it as one more thing adults say that children don’t understand, but they are not talking to us anyway. The older I got it made more sense, it became relevant to my life it addressed the competition involved in staying alive. Now I could relate. Once my kids were born it took on a whole new meaning.

As the mother of two sons, I remember the days they were born respectively. Back in those days you did not really know what you were having until the child was born or if the ultra-sound tech got a “lucky” shot. I remember wanting girls both times. I told my boys as young adults, not to hurt them but for information. I did keep a deep dark secret from them and that secret was I did NOT want to face the challenges and likely heart break having a son who was black could bring.   I knew in spite of everything one can do to prepare that man-child, a predator waits for him. I also knew that I faced having to tell my innocent boys about this treachery or leave them helpless and clueless. I was afraid for them. Hell of a choice AND one that I had less than a decade to decide which one was the right one.

The right choice was for us to take them away from the element. We moved them into a predominately white environment complete with a public school system that ranked among the scores private schools in Southern California. Whew, now I could breathe. There we were defeating the odds, so we thought. They were from a two parent household, above average income, educated parents and an area that was “safe”. Remember that decision I had only a decade for? The first came in the form of them being ostracized by people they were entrusted with. Fortunately we were always present, always watching over, always apt to pop in. However, didn’t we take them to this place so we would NOT have to do all of that?

My eldest son did not experience this unyielding ugly and potential danger first, it was my youngest. I always wondered about that. My eldest is dark and clearly black. The “baby” had his own grandparents laughing at his fair characteristics, but that happens in our families more often than NOT. I remember the day we took him from a beautiful little church school on the peninsula, because no one would play with him; they were afraid of him because he was a big boy. I thought how could ADULTS allow that to go on? Furthermore not bother to tell us. He went to that little church school two weeks before we found a more diverse environment. If my husband, who was ever-present (as I was), had NOT happened along to bring him a surprise lunch, we may have never known. He was a big, tall kid, he has big tall parents so that did not phase us, but being told the other children were afraid of him. Remember he was also a fair-skinned child.

In the wake of so many ugly police related wrongful deaths I wonder if the fear began for these same policemen as early as preschool? If so did an insensitive teacher, like the one at my son’s former school, ignore the behavior. I cannot say enough times I do not believe all policemen are bad, I do believe all police departments could benefit from addition training. Clearly something is being missed.

 

A View From Inside-V

Now I address fear and anger for the future. Each day something more happens, each day the media releases information that incites and upsets me. Married to a black man, mother to two black sons and expecting a black grandson. I cannot forget what is done to men in our race just because of their skin color. I watch people try to explain away the injustices, trying to make these terrible things our fault exclusively. Please understand and do not get me wrong, for everyone has to be held accountable for their deeds. None of us is exempt in this sense.

However, let us examine the phenomenon of the victim victimizes, the punished punishes, the abused is now and abuser. What do they all have in common?It is simple really, you survive something horrible and bad, but you are not treated and healed therefore you believe the treatment you were given is the treatment you must give.  You view these things as normal, the way it should be and you act accordingly.

I came across a piece about the family of actor Don Cheadle. His family genealogy was the subject matter and it was uncovered his ancestors we enslaved by Native Americans. It seemed to come as somewhat a surprise to him and others that watched the piece also were enlightened. While I knew of the enslavement of our ancestors, I also knew there were men who rose to the esteemed position of “chief” in some  tribes as well.  Mr. Cheadle remarked about the status of his kin as they were at one point people without a country. Being slaves of the Native American tribes put them under the jurisdiction of those same tribes and once the USA determined and declared slavery was illegal, those Native Americans were NOT under the rule of the USA. In many cases a separate negotiation had to be conducted for the slaves to be freed and then only to be placed in a status as outcast. They were not American citizens and they were not recognized as members of the tribes either.

I initially shook my head in disgust and disbelief. I asked how could a people who were treated so horribly by the white European settlers turn around and adopt the very same hideous practices. However, Native Americans often took slaves from wars among the warring tribes. “To the victor goes the spoils…” I do not want to trivialize this, but to point out how these negative practices are cyclic.

The behavior has to be modified and changed. Bridges and positive interactions will breed positive interactions. Stop believing every black man is a man with the strength of 20 angry men on crack with an I.Q of 7 because he was stopped by the police, justifying “shoot first ask questions later” mentality. Understand a mere fashion trend is not a disguise for a hardened criminal. We charge our law enforcement officers with many tasks but one task they must take on, along with a great portion of our society, is to not merely look beyond an individuals  skin color; no they must go one step further and they must do it rapidly, they must do what John Grisham asked of his audience in A Time To Kill, “Imagine them white”. Can you accept the challenge?

Twice A Child III-Denial

I disregarded the fact that she had just told me this same story the last time we talked and that was just two days ago. When she said the trash collector will be here today because he comes on Friday and it was actually Sunday, I barely paid attention. Then she lost her house keys, twice in a month. I rationalized, well I have lost my keys in my purse so that is no big deal. When she told me she had her purse stolen from the exam room at her doctor’s office I was furious! I called the head administrator, I called the local police department, we made out reports. Today I can look at these things and so many others and I know I was in denial. I did not want to face the facts. However, the facts may spare you and your loved one at least some undue duress.

Fact like the most typical early detection is CRUCIAL for diagnosis and treatment. Many factor are weighed in regarding diseases of the mind. All memory disorders are NOT dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease gets tossed around as the catch all for older people with some memory impairments but Alzheimer’s has some very case specific symptoms that separates it from all the rest. Other physical disorders can affect the mind like diabetes and high blood pressure. Pain exacerbates these conditions as well. In our effort to be PC and kind we are calling these conditions out of their name, and it not only puts you in the wrong state of mind it puts others and perhaps the ones you love suffering from these conditions in a misguided, misinformed state. Speak to a medical professional, do reading on your own, and KNOW your family history. The person you may be caring for now could easily be you in the years to come.

This not to say every little misplaced item or forgotten lunch date is cause for concern. One must weigh each situation accordingly; listen to others around your loved one and speak directly with them. Just because you are close to someone, does NOT mean you know all about them.That closeness can be the very reason you are in denial. As our group maneuvers through this era of our lives these are some of the realities we are faced with. Our parents, if we are so blessed to have them still, are in the “twilight” of their lives. Some may live on to their late 90’s. 100 is not as uncommon as it used to be. Some of them may never loose their sense of consciousness, others may look at us one day and no have any idea who we are, and then there are all the variations in-between. However, we are strong and we will get through this, too. Simply be aware.

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