Colorful Women Series: You Aren’t A Real Woman

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I found out the news the way most people do these days; on Facebook. He is leaving town with his fiancé who is expecting their first child. I didn't know about the fiancé and of course I did not know about the baby. I was deflated and embarrassed. 

For years we were in and out of each other's lives. Sometimes I would be in a relationship. Many times you would be with someone, but I thought the end result would be you and I.  That is what I thought the universe wanted. 

Days before the truth came out, you lay next to me and said, "You look like a real woman." Here we go with this again. You have accused me of NOT being a real woman so many times. What does that mean?

Why did I let you get in my head and questioned my femininity.  I didn't wear things cut up to there and down to there. No, I didn't really get the enhancements of silky hair and acrylic nails. No, I did not learn the magic of batting my eyes and getting men to do what I want. I was okay with the type of woman I am until you. If the lack of these things really makes me less of a woman why did I continually find you at my door? Your definition of my womanhood bounded my power and my love. I should have left it alone –but attraction is a monster that warps the senses.

You loved my intellect and hated it at the same time. You admit that you would love to wallow nude in my intellect. It scared you and to compensate your fear, you would attack my womanhood and tell me that I could never tame you – “I am wild and free.” Well so was I.

It's too bad. You knew me deeply, loved me deeply, but you could not commit to me. Maybe you knew you couldn't live within my standards, which were simply, live fully, love fully, and be open and honest.

LOVE – Love is easy and natural. Commitment? Well, that takes courage and determination.

For days after reading that post I felt less beautiful, unwanted, unloved and alone. Time, understanding and prayer raised me above that, but I cannot help once in a while to go back to that memory and ask how can you love so deep and treat someone so conniving.

The good of it all is if I didn't get the message before, I got it now. Hope you found the real woman you wanted. Me? Still looking for that real man. 

Colorful Women: I Know You Want to Touch It

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You want to touch my hair. I get it. It's different. Tightly curled, strong, springy and spongy. Soft and scratchy. It may seem a little wild.

It shoots up in the air, connecting with the world  around it, taking in the power of the universe.

You want to touch it. Become one with it if only for a moment.  

It is exotic and beautiful. It's rawness brings you in. 

Let me tell you how it makes ME feel. 

Confident in a world that makes me question myself every day.

Real.

Uniquely beautiful.

Rooted in my skin and in my heritage.

It makes me spiritual and free.

Do you think its beautiful? Weird? Sexy? Free?

Some call my locks exotic – others call it nappy. 

You may say its beautiful – others call it un-tidy

COMB YOUR HAIR? You look crazy! 

WHY YOU WANT TO WALK AROUND WITH NAPPY HAIR?

That is UNPROFESSIONAL. You look ghetto, street, urban, HOOD. 

Why does this world question and deny me beauty and freedom?

POWER. It fears the power of my tresses and miss-understands them. 

I learn not to care and stand confident in my natural beauty. 

BUT You. I know you want to touch my hair.

and one day, I will grant you the privilege. 

Colorful Women Stories: She’s Always Right

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Which skirt should I wear?

Red. Black. Flower pattern?

This one still has the tag on it.

It's beautiful, but too revealing. Is that celluilite?

I'll wear the black one with a yellow blouse. No…I will look too much like a bumble bee.

Black blouse and black skirt will match. No…this isn't a funeral. I REALLY DON'T KNOW.

Let me call her and see what she thinks. 

 

Ring…ring.

Hey. I just sent you a photo of the skirt and blouse.

Just open the message. Click it to make it bigger.

What you think?

I know it is not a funeral. Can I pull it off with yellow accessories?

Red skirt? That was my second choice. 

With a purple jacket?!!? I will look like a complete clown. I rather look like I am going to a funeral. 

I don't want…huh?

Okay – red skirt, black blouse and purple jacket (sigh) I will try it.  

Bye Ma. 

(15 minutes later)

She was right. She is always right. 

I Hate Politics

vote-flagThis has been a stressful political campaign. I have read and have seen so much about Donald Trump and all the things he said, not said and took back.  I read about Hillary Clinton's emails and about the foundation. It is really disappointing to know that the political system comes down to who you like and not who does the job well. I shake my head in dismay that we have come down to name calling and derogatory words. It scares me that we have picked a candidate that sees this as as nothing more than a competition and not a chance to better society, nationally and internationally.  So much is going on in the world. Syria, Turkey, natural disasters in Louisiana and Italy, Iran, Russia.  It makes it most important that the person sitting in the presidential seat is there to benefit the most of us. It also makes it very important that Americans wake up and stop being selfish in their choice and make this imperative decision based on home first and the global society that we are truly a part of. 

Before last week, I really stayed away from all of the nonsense that was reported on the news. Same old same old. But it was the speech that Donald Trump gave in Virginia and then again in Michigan that gave me real pause and shame. It seem to be an appeal to the black voter. Maybe to the voter of color period, but he focused on African American. There was one statement he said: "What do you have to lose? What do you have to lose? You're living in poverty, your schools are no good. You have no jobs — 58 percent of your youth is unemployed…"

His whole appeal is remind black Americans that the Republican party was once the party of President Abraham Lincoln who was president during the emancipation of slaves. He pleads that African Americans should come back to the party that freed them.  What was wrong with this plea is that the statement was blanketed. It assumed that all blacks were experiencing these statistics. This statement did not speak on all the amazing things that Black Americans have achieved despite some of the disparity that we certainly face.  But the biggest eye roll I had from this speech is of his unawareness that Blacks do not see our place in society as a Democratic or Republic thing. The black experience that Trump alluded to (which is a small portion of our experience) is truly the outcome of inequality that started when slaves placed their feet on this American soil and that inequality and the continuation of it is what has created some of the poverty, education and lack of opportunity in some communities. The other part of this is narrative. One that Donald Trump pushed in his appeal, knowingly or not. Too many Americans still see blacks as poor, uneducated and violent.  I really got in the dumps when Hillary Clinton found it important to event dignify Donald Trump's statements. He needs to be ignored and she needs to continue to just pump up the policies. That is what you are taught in school. Ignore the bully. 

WHY BLACKS VOTE DEMOCRATIC:
Most Blacks voted for Democratic candidates really because it is the lesser of two evils. I wish that we would not even know who our candidates were on only got a list of their platform and voted by that alone. THEN – make them accountable for making those things they promise to move forward happen. I wish we did not have this two party system. It causes divisiveness. So much in these UNITED STATES separate us; money, race, religion, politics. Our name is almost ironic. 

I hate politics and wish it was different and hope it will be different. 

 

The Turtle and the Rocks

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My niece bought a turtle today. She was very happy to have this pet to take care of and taking care of started pretty quickly. She needed to add a rock to the aquarium so that her baby turtle could have somewhere to sleep.  She made me rush to grandma's house to look in her year for a rock. She didn't find one. She asked her youngest sister who has collected rocks since she was two to help her find the perfect rock.  Even with her experience, she could not find anything that could work for the little turtle. Then I remembered. I have rocks all over my house. They are part of my nieces collection that got so vast that different family members had to take some to our various homes.  

I only lived seven minutes away. I told her I would go by my house and see if I have any rocks that may work. We needed a particular size and height so that the little turtle could climb out of the water of the aquarium and sleep on this rock that needed to be well above the water line. My "rock collecting niece road with me to my home.  We quickly got to my home and I let me niece pick three rocks, hoping one of them would work. Seven minutes later we were back at grandmas examining the rocks and making the decision to pick one. After washing it and placing it in the aquarium, we waited. It didn't take long for the turtle to climb up on that rock and rest. 

So many times I thought about throwing those rocks back into nature. I kept them only because my niece lovingly picked them up over the years. But today, one of those rocks was used. It had a purpose. It always had, but today, its purpose become clear. It made me think about life. There is a time an a place for everything. That rock was picked by my niece years ago sat in my home for several more years an at the right time it fulfilled its purpose.  We must be ready and prepared for when our time comes to fulfill our purpose and our visions. I know, sometimes, when we  are waiting like that rock sitting in my window the past years, we may feel like we are not living our purpose and we must do something.  But even in quiet, peace and stillness, things are happening and moving around us, putting things in place to create the perfect moment for our purpose to be revealed and to happen. Our job is to create the vision, be present to hear where we need to be and what we need to do and know that everything else is being taken care of. Right now, I have been waiting for something to occur in my life. I am growing anxious about it. Time sometimes makes believing and staying focus a little challenging to do. I know I am to stay still but some days I fight the urge to do something to try make this thing I desire happen. Acting before an act is needed is just as bad as not acting at all. My saving grace is staying present, listening and being clear on where my place is in this process.  Things are working around me and I must stay still while the universe does its work and put things in place.  Meditation helps me stay still. I learned today from the turtle and the rock.

 

A List of What I Want

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I LOVE LIST.  Every morning I take time to right down what I need to accomplish that day. Sometimes I do the list the night before.  I have been doing this for years and I believe it is a source of my efficiency and success. (The photo above is from a list in 2009/2010). Beyond my daily list, I have a 1 year, 3 year and 5 year goal list.   I think there is a power in writing down things. I believe that it helps manifest them into our reality and for me, it helps me commit. Recently I decided to use my love for list and develop a list of things that I want and desire.  At first I was gonna call it a wish list.  Maybe it is a wish list, but after a lot of meditation, reading and just living I have learned to ask for what you want and know that you are going to receive it. I've also learned that there is no such thing as a big want and a little want. They are all the same to the universe and God. We tend to put values on things making some manifestations and desires seem smaller than others. 

  • 2 GB of additional ram for my Mac
  • All of D'Angelo's music on vinyl
  • 1970 Chevrolet Chavelle in Midnight Blue
  • An amazing mattress for my bed
  • My family members to love themselves which will help us love others even more
  • End of war in the world
  • End of hate in our hearts (which will probably end war)
  • Happy nieces and nephews
  • Continued financial stability and growth (I have specifics here but keeping that between me, God and my book of list)
  • Cure for cancer (I know we have all lost folks to this disease)
  • Decrease in the importance of money in our lives
  • Political campaigns that are not to popularity contest but are about substance
  • Travel two months out of the year in the states and around the world
  • Sit on my porch and read most days
  • Paint every day
  • Meditate every day
  • End to racism and any other prejudice in the world
  • Public libraries that are beautiful, fully funded and used heavily by society
  • A partner that is smart, funny, ambitious, humble, attractive, comfortable in his own skin, open to new things (this can be a list by itself) 

There are other things I want to put on my "Things I Want List" but I think this is a good start. Some of these may seem far reaching. But I truly believe that the world is limitless and the limits we see have been placed my us. I believe all of these things will happen and I will be happy about these things now and look for these things to become part of reality. Write your list. Do not limit yourself and fully believe that your list is as real as the paper it is written (or printed) on. 

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The Struggle is Real

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I am not a huge shopper, but Target is one of the stores and brands that I like. I was in Target the other day shopping for crayons. During the back to school season crayons are super cheap. I use them a lot for some of my drawings so I try to stock up. While walking through the store, my niece came across this novelty light thing that looked like a small window or framed glass with the words "The Struggle is Real." written on it. My niece found a button on it and found that it actually lit up. How cute.  I picked it up and read the words again and I have to tell you, I felt a little bit disturbed about it. 

This statement or saying is used to describe a struggle of life. It is a popular saying in the Black American community. It has deep meaning and  validation of a pain, challenge and life that too many times got ignored by most society. It was a proclamation between Blacks that what you are going through is real but it is also possible to get through it. So, to see that saying minimized into a product for sale? Not cool right?

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I found that there were other items in Target and other places that also used this slogan. I do not want to make assumptions about it. Maybe this statement is now being accepted by a larger audience may mean that more people understand the struggle and want to support it or hopefully eradicate it. Maybe it means more people are struggling and find solace in the statement. Or, maybe it is that the statement is not understood at all and because it is said by black people, it is deemed cool and therefore profitable like many other sayings, dances, creations of Black Americans.  I am not sure. All I am sure of is that when I saw it, as beautifully crafted as the product seem, the feeling it left me was not a good one. 

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I Already Know

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I have been waiting for you to say it aloud or to at least stop pretending. I see the signs. You can't hide them, but you keep trying. How can you not see that I already know. Maybe that is my fault. I want to make you comfortable so I pretend. I pretend that I do not see the realness. I pretend one day hoping that either I or you will get enough courage or stop being embarassed and say what is true.  Say what I already know and you do too. Just think when it is out in the open, how both of us can live more freely. 

FREELY

Right now and until then, I will continue to pretend with you. 

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Is that Art?

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My friend wanted me to meet a young new artist. She told me that this artist's work was different than mine. After asking a few questions to my friend, I learned that the artist's drawings and creations are more realistic than my abstract-figurative style.  Most of what was shared with my friend were school assignments and from her point a view, she did not really see the  drawings as art. You know, we all had to do the school assignments. and go through these critiques where the teacher tells you what you need to improve and what is not working. School subliminally taught me to not be as critical of other people's;le's work because I feared people being critical of mine. What you create is too personal and was hard to detach the critique from a a personal attach sometimes.  I tended to just say, I may like it or may not like it but art is in the eye of the beholder.  But, when my friend so matter-of-factly stated that she did not think of the drawings she saw was art, it made me stop and be more open with myself. I asked that question I was asked on my first day in art school what is art really?  

I truly believe that anyone with time and dedication can learn how to draw, paint, play music, create a film, dance, etc.  But, art is beyond learning how to use these tools and become the expression of ourselves and our experiences through these tools. It is more than technique, which is really what our teachers were truly critiquing in our art classes. Art is something that comes from the heart and makes its way into our hands, feet, voices and eyes moving us to create something unique. This unique expression that comes out of us is still familiar enough for others to understand and appreciate but our perspective makes it our art. Art can be good and it can be bad. It can be realistic in style or it can be dots  perfectly placed in a pattern by the creator. But if these things you create do not connect with people, then it misses the mark and maybe should not be called art. Today you can go to galleries and see art that the average person would not know what the hell it is. Sometimes artists make things to shock or to be so unique that you look at it because you can't help it.  Is that art? I don't know. Art has a magical essence to it that makes it that, even after I have defined it, it is still hard to define. But here is the challenge,  when we want to make a living off of it we must define it to put monetary value to it.

I am analyzing this because I have been dedicating more of me and my time to creating art. I am doing this because I love it. I feel most like me when I am drawing, writing, creating. But am I an artists?  They say if you call yourself an artist, you are an artist. But I cannot call myself a doctor and be a doctor without credentials. I cannot call myself an architect and be an architect without credentials. I believe to call yourself a professional artists, there are some credentials you must hold. Where did you learn your craft? How many shows have I done? How many pieces have I sold? How many write ups have been written? How many tweets and followers?  The monetary value of art takes away its human value. I hate that. 

I walk away from this write up saying this. Art is the true expression of ones self. An artists is one who uses tools to creatively express and to connect with others. I think a professional artists is one that has the credentials of an artists and the rest of us are emerging artists, that includes me and the young lady my friend introduced me to. 


INSPIRATION: There are always others, but here is a small list of artists I am inspired by. I hope you enjoy. 

Kehinde Wiley
http://kehindewiley.com/works/

Shirin Neshat 
http://www.artnet.com/artists/shirin-neshat/

Kara Walker
https://www.artsy.net/artist/kara-walker

Manuel Mendive
http://www.cernudaarte.com/artists/manuel-mendive/

Candy Chang
http://candychang.com

Tyree Guyton
http://www.heidelberg.org

 

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Birthday Conversation #42

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Yesterday was my birthday. I didn't do anything spectacular. I had lunch with my twin and I finish this very awesome painting in my studio. I got a lot of great birthday wishes. It was great. On my birthday, I have to do a few things, update the registration on my car, make my annual doctor's appointment and do a life check up with my twin brother. 

This is the first year in three years we were in the same city to have this conversation face to face.It started out light. We talked about school, work, his kids, my art. Then it changed to heavier stuff. My brother is going through some things with depression, self-medication and just the struggles of life. I have been where he is. Depression is very much hereditary and I have learn how to cope with it and how to accept it as part of me. He is still fighting it. I share my experience. I listen to his. The oddest thing. He cannot see it now, but  he was such an integral part of me moving out of my deepest darkest space. He did not judge me, call me crazy. He did not try to avoid me or make me better like everyone else did. He was open and truthful while I was off the rail. He supported me and I am here trying to do the same. Men are different though. They think they can do it all by themselves. If I was not his twin, I do not think he would listen to half of what I say to him. If he did not see me 15 years ago, he may not tell me half of the things he share. 

I see our lives like yin/yang. There is a lot of positive things going on in my life and he, right now, is the polar opposite. We talked about that. I would openly give up some of my energy to make his life better. Maybe I can. It is hard for me to enjoy my life when my womb-mate is so miserable. I pray and meditate daily for him and my whole family. This conversation ended with him crying, me hugging and giving him encouragement. I look forward to our 43rd conversation. It must be better for him. 

 

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Black Man, Blue Man Solider Man

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Seeing these black men killed was a numbing feeling.  I didn't know what emotion to have. I wasn't angry. I was sad that people lost their lives and sad that this violence is just going to be piled up on top of the other violence we have experienced. Nothing will change. Nothing will change.  I wrote a post about being a person of color in America, but being a black man in America got to be one of the most challenging experiences. 

I see my brothers and father and friends going through this process of living while being a black man. It is a tough life. I see other men wanting the black man swagger, but not their struggles or pain.  Black men are most powerful and many times most hated and tend to be seen as most dangerous in American society.  That is a heavy crown to bear.

It started with the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and not 24 hours later, another killing by an officer of black man, Philando Castile. This violence was not new.  Only that it was caught on camera and shared on such a large platform changed the story and made us have to talk, argue, protest and cry outwardly about it. 

America was taken aback for a moment and were in outrage. People took to the streets, but that energy and desire for change was quickly forgotten once the lives of police officers were taken. First in Dallas, by a black man who was once a solider, then again in Baton Rouge, but another former solider who was also black. I could not ignore how many American issues were wrapped up in these days of violence. Not only the way we treat black men, but the horrible way we treat police officers and our soldiers.

Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter seem to really mean nothing matter and the black man who for a moment may have gotten some universal understanding was pushed back into that too familiar place.  

All of this nonsense can be traced to the need of changing narratives about black men, police offices and soldiers and after changing the narrative, supporting these groups as they should be. 

OFFICER NARRATIVE

Officers in my community are seen as protectors, but they are also seen as punishers by some. From the 40s, 50s and 60s, police officers used the power they were given to treat people of color as less than human. They were mimicking what was going on in the rest of America.  Sometimes those encounters ended in violence and even death and too many times those encounters and deaths were overlooked and not questioned. People of color, specifically black people, began to see officers as enemies and people you could not trust. Some blacks tried to change this by becoming part of the force. That desire to protect their own communities and to remove the threat of white police officers in colorful communities moved a lot of men and women of color to become officers. The problem is the narrative about officers did not change and sometimes these people of color that joined the police force were looked at as traders and not as the activist they were, trying to change the system from the inside. Rejected by their community, they connected with the honor and beliefs of the police force. 

SOLIDER NARRATIVE

The Vietnam War created a disdain in the hearts and souls of Americans for war. In the 70s when vets returned, they had to hide their service and their identity and not wear their uniforms for fear of being attacked verbally and physically by fellow Americans. This was the first war where soldiers were not held as heroes. My father was one of those men. How awful that must have be to go fight a war and to come back to ridicule, dislike and distrust.  As we protest war and soldiers we negated supporting soldiers emotionally, ensuring they were taken care of and had jobs and homes and full lives. We isolated this group from American society. Many of them ended up homeless on the streets, in mental institutions, in our prisons, or with their families in silence,  not talking about what they experienced or feel. Many of the wars since then have not been completely supported by American society. We have learned not to blame the solider and treat them unfairly, but what we have not learned is the correct way to transition soliders from war to community and sometimes, we continue to isolate this community, creating soliders that may violently lash out at themselves, at others or at who they see as enemies.

BLACK NARRATIVE

The narrative of the black man can be traced from slavery.  "Black men are dangerous animals" evolve to "Black men want our white women, we must protect our women from them", evolves again into "Black men are criminals, we must jail them to make our community safe." These narratives stay and are repeated until they were stored in the American subconscious and shared with new generations. These thoughts are carried by whites, blacks and sometimes officers and the result is the violence we are experiencing. I saw a particular sheriff from Wisconsin spew a narrative about black on black crime. How much crime black neighborhoods have and how blacks are dangerous, yet he said nothing about why that violence exist. He says nothing about the lack of opportunity in these neighborhoods. He didn't share that inequality decreased the number of persons in black community from receiving education or having the resources to get an education that could pulled them out of neighborhoods like this. He didn't talk about the lack of transportation trapping people because of their financial limitations. Some people of color work hard in spite of all of these challenges and get out of the cycle. This sheriff was probably one of them, but that narrative about black crime coming out of a black police officer again was a blow to changing the narrative of the black man and the blue officer. 

America is a systemically racists place but what I think is worse is that we are not comfortable questioning our beliefs and opening ourselves to cultivating different beliefs when facts, experiences and even emotions tell we should. We suck at that and that is why socially, we are behind compared to other parts of the world.  

What we saw in Dallas and Baton Rouge is the culmination of narrations coming together creating a violent end to a chapter in our America story. An end that we could have stopped if we talked to each other, released old beliefs and supported truth.  

Change the narrative and we can change our nation. 

Get You a Mexican

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It was time for me to move out of my townhome in Houston. I was really sad about it. I loved the location and the neighborhood and my neighbors. Plus, moving is not my favorite thing. My emotions were everywhere.  I wanted to make sure I left the place spotless so that I could get my security deposit back in full. I decided to hire a cleaning service.  I Googled and found some services, but the price was a little steep for my liking. My next steps was to ask friends and see if they had some suggestions.  Some of my friends had neighbors that provided cleaning service but could not do it when I needed it. I started to get a little bit desperate. Then, on my way to a meeting with some work collegues and I kind of mentioned it.  I told them I only got a few days and I still in need of cleaning service. Their response, "Girl, you better find you a Mexican. They will clean your whole house for $75." 

I don't want to get into my thoughts on immigration. That is a different post, but wanted to share my reaction. When my teammate said that, I was perplexed. First thing that came in my head is how the hell am I hearing this out of another person of color mouth? For a black person to say this, knowing our own struggle to this day; that was hard to hear. I know it was not said to harm and to be honest there is truth ot it, but in that instance, my collegue "harmless" statement took a culture and a people and minimize them to one thing; cheap labor.  As a black person, I know the feeling. As deep and complicated as black culture and is, we also were one-noted and labled as less than and cheap labor. Maybe if it was said differently. Maybe if my collegue said. "Hey, you should go to a brown brother/sister and see if they can hook you up."  But why, "a Mexican?" I know why and you do too. Mexican has come to symbolize, cheap labor, immigrant, outsider.  It has become as derogatory as nigger,  dehumanizing a group of people. As Americans do we use people that are different for their talents and take advantage of their situation and then complain of their existence in "our country." And as easy as the words are said, that is what we become. Mexicans, niggers, A-RABS, fags. 

In that moment I also thought about my mom. She use to clean houses when I was a kid. That is back-breaking work and it should be paid handsomely for. There was a time when people in America talked about getting "a nigger" to clean house and it came out of their lips with the same ease that Mexican statement came from my collegue.  It is nothing wrong with the line of work. It is honorable work, but to insist that a particular type of person is built for it, should do it and then get paid little for it is a damned problem. 

In the end, I did the cleaning myself. With all the thoughts I had about it, I figured cleanng myself would give me the clearest conscious. Maybe something as simple as picking a cleaning service won't be complicated by race and class. I don't want Mexican to mean cheap labor. I don't want Black to mean less than. I don't want Arab or Muslim to mean terrorist. I don't want gay to mean abomination. We have to change. 

The Man in the Blue Suit

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We all dream but sometimes we open our eyes and the dreams fo away. They are blurry thoughts that melt into nothing.  Last night I had a dream It was a man in a blue suit. It was well made, taillored. It had small white stripes. Not too vibrant, not too much, Just enough to notice.  It fit him perfectly along with his white shirt.  He was taller than me, bigger than me. I did not see his face, but it was not important.I can tell he was intelligent, kind and beautiful.  I don't know where we were but it was ellegant. The colors around us  were bright and golden. I felt we were at a ball. I looked around in awe and when my eyes finally came down back to the man in the suit, I see his elbow waiting for me to take. What a lovely gesture. I slowly wrapped my hand around it and I felt something amazing. I felt protected.  Just like that I woke up and as teh dream started to disappear, the feeling of being protected lingered. All day, I felt different. I felt stonger, supported, beautiful and loved. Wow. Of course, every blue suit I saw that reminded me of my dream put a smaile on my face. Was that a dream of a real person or maybe an upcoming experience? Was I dreaming of a future that is coming or a desire? It doesn't matter. 

 

She’s Better for You

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Hmmm, I hoped that you pick me, but I took a look at her. She is beautiful. She is a go getter. She is smart, focused and driven. I put her photo next to yours and even I had to admit you look good together. I am on Facebook and I see that you like her status, over and over and over again. I do too. She is amazing and I cannot help but compare. I am amazing too, but I am not good at telling my narrative. Not enough photos, events, posts or successes to brag about. I sit every day in my meditation chair and your face always comes between the gaps of nothing.  I think…one day, when time is right, we will cross paths and share paths – but fear that may never happen with such beauties, like her around. No, I am not jealous. I was disillusioned to think that I had a chance. My beauty only peaks outside of my bodily shell every once in a while. It can go unnoticed and it has. No, I am not jealous. I am sad. My relationship with you is just as real as the one I have created with you and her  but if I was God and I had to use my magical powers to connect people in human bliss. I would pick her for you. She's better for you. 

Can’t I Be Angry

There is a lot of love in our world. I feel it everyday with my family, friends, in the music I listen to, the art I see, the things I enjoy, my neighbors; I can go on. Yet in America, it is very hard being a person of color.  The structure of this country is built on marginalizing the poor, the colored and the different. This has to stop. As a Black American, there are days that I find myself angry that in 2016, we still struggle and live in an unequal society. It infuriates me that blacks are continually losing their lives because of skin color. It pisses me off to hear that our pain and struggle is dismissed because slavery is over, segregation was abolished, laws were put in place and we have black president. If anything, these things show that racism and equality is not something that can be changed by just law. I find myself angry and I question it. Why am I angry? Should I be angry? 

Blacks' history in this country has constantly been about getting freedom, equality and being treated as human beings. To obtain these things, we fought with non-violence, spirituality and black power. We made many strides and have been successful in many ways, but there is a reality. As we fought and discussed how to get our freedoms, as we protest, changed laws, and integrated schools we did not change hearts. Not fast enough to extinguish the beliefs and narratives America created about what blacks are and deserve. Those toxic tales successfully spread and rooted itself in the fabric of America and seeped into American systems – education, housing, career, and prison. We see more blacks in prison than in schools. There are more homeless men of color on the streets than taking care of their families. These are more than the results of bad choices made by these individuals. This is also the result of racism, inequality and irresponsibility of America of the choices it made centuries ago. That should make us all angry.

The negative narrative of the Negro was not just believed by whites; but by many, even black people. Those words. Hearing them and living them daily and being treated like third-class citizens cuts into your soul, making some of us hate ourselves and in turn, teach that self-hatred to next generations. The outcome is a world that everyday, rather it knows it or not, makes me, and others who look like me, face and fight racism daily. 

It makes me so mad that people cannot see that America has taken so much from blacks and others of color, dehumanizing us for so long and when America was pushed to change its ways, it was done with little or no reconciliation, repentance or repayment. America is too arrogant to truly be sorry.  To live in a country that ignores my pain; to be told to pick myself up from my bootstraps, when you took them and burnt them the day you met my forefathers. That truly makes me angry.

I am tired of being angry, so I know you are tired of the guilt, but it ain’t going away until you stop benefitting from it and we stop struggling because of it. Talking and understanding from all sides must be done. Many things in this world are mimicking what is happening in the good old US of A and I truly believe the world would be different if America was a more loving place. As I am writing this, we just had another mass shooting in Florida, killing 49 people. It was a hate crime against LGBTQ and the Latin and Hispanic communities.  Hate. That is what America teaches. We learned through people like Martin Luther King Jr. to oppose hate with love. That is what we are doing, but how long can you love when things do not change? Minutes? Days? Years? Decades? Centuries? I don’t want to be angry, but I cannot deny that I am. I am also open to talking and being part of real change and doing it in a productive and loving way. 

 

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