Pride

Standard
Music (I do not own the rights to this music) allow this to play in the background while you’re reading
Logic – Anziety (https://youtu.be/SyERzwy-4v4)
Raheem Devaughn – Woman (https://youtu.be/StDq6r9-6-w)

(Photo courtesy of Damon Mackin)

I am an African American Woman, whose grandmother was abused, grandmother who handled her problems by drinking alcohol, a mother forced to struggle to make ends meet during my youth, a “bastard” child, a single mother with a family divided.  I blocked out most of my childhood and I don’t know why.  I’ve witnessed my family become pulled a part by the demons they could not let go.  I’ve seen abuse, hate, and detriment at the expense of others.  I’ve damn near seen it all.  I have had many ups and downs.  Tired and confused and most of all, I pretend everything is okay.  I have too much to lose for me to wallow in self pity.  Does this make me okay? No, in a way it’s more dangerous to suppress what you know is wrong but, do I go seek help? No, for some reason I am afraid of what “others” may think.  And, what do I do?  I continue to “press through.” I struggle and pep talk myself, “everything is going to be okay,” instead of dealing with the issues.  For some reason, I’d rather lose sleep because of stress. How many things said above fit your life?

I self analyze and go back to the grind.  I was raised not to fail, to not give up and only ask for help after I have exhausted all options.  In my mind, the only enemy is my acceptance of failure and my only competition is myself. In turn, I become exhausted but, still can’t quit because I have to prove to myself I can do it.  Wrestling with internal infliction,  “There are people with a lot more problems than I.  To be quite honest, I shouldn’t complain, I don’t need help both mentally or physically.”

When we think of mental health, we think of the extreme: schizophrenia or bi polar disorder.  Not realizing there is a spectrum of mental health that encompasses so much more.

• “6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6

• 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7

• Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.8

• African Americans and Hispanic Americans each use mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.13″

Mental Health by Numbers, Nami (2015)

With such low numbers of those who seek counseling, could you imagine if a lot more people including I would seek help. Mental Health is not to be taken lightly yet, we toy with the idea/keep to stigmas laid in front of us and don’t seek help until it is too late. Seeking the right assistance can provide you with a sense of newness; make you whole, protect relationships, give an opportunity for healing/ for success.

Mental Health Awareness month maybe over but, mental health is always/should always be addressed.

As I finish presenting my thoughts, I leave you with this:

  • It’s okay to ask for help

  • No one man is an island-if you were meant to be alone then, life would have reflected in such a way that there was no other choice but for you to be alone

  • Seeking professional counseling does not make you weak; instead it makes you strong because you recognize the need for assistance and are willing to do something about it

  • There will be hard times in life but, what you do to push through those times is what makes you either strong or weak.

  • It’s okay to be wrong

  • And, Everyone needs to find a Healthy Support System

Places to go and people to hear/ listen to:
https://www.facebook.com/redtabletalk/posts/570342110031935 (so much more info provided for further assistance https://m.facebook.com/redtabletalk/)
https://www.facebook.com/theRoot/videos/10159562230970231/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5716254/
And you, look on the line for local professionals who are truthfully willing to help you live your best life.
Hood Citations:
Stats on mental health
https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
https://legaltrapmack.myportfolio.com/ (photography)
Advertisements

What Will Be, Will Be

Standard

When getting to know someone during the like – like phase (beginning) superficial questions are asked in efforts to get to know each other.

Him: Who’s your fave Avenger?

Me: Who do you think? There are wrong answers. Lol

Him: Black Panther

Me: no

Him: Panther characters?

Me: *replies cringingly from his last question* No

He provides several other characters and I reply, “Black Widow”

Him: I like Iron Man

Me: Why?

Him: He talks the most trash

Me: *exits conversation *

In most cases, it is the female who tries to act as if she’s interested in topics the man she’s interested in likes. For the first time, I am on the opposite side of the conversation. I am a nerd and the guy insulted the affinity I have for sci-fi/nerd/comic lore with just a few words (nerds understand the dialogue above and the cringeworthiness of the questions and answers provided). I then realized, getting to know someone is challenging. We have these expectations, criteria’s, deadlines established in our head of how we want this new relationship to progress and when it doesn’t progress in a way that pleases us, we automatically dead the situation (lose interest). After realizing this, I had to take a step back and assess and understand it’s two people in this “relationship.” In time you will know if this will progress into something more or you will remain friends.

Him

You want him to do things according to your ideas of how relationships should be. You want him to call and text you all the time, take you out and shower you with attention; you want this fairy tale relationship manifestation. Not taking in account what his past is and why he is moving at his pace. All you understand is, he is not moving according to your 5-point plan.

Me

Being a daddy’s gurl, I am spoiled in the sense that my dad has shown me how a man should take care of his woman. My standards are high and sometimes I judge harshly regarding my friends or potential male interest. I feel as if everyone should be on my level when they interact with me. And disappointed when they aren’t. Not realizing if I was judged how I judge others…I would have no friends and locked in a bunker somewhere.

Revelation

My mom once told me to treat courtship/the man you are interested in as if you were friends. Think about it: “Your friends are who you are the most realest with. Why should the man you are interested in be treated any different?” This takes the pressure off trying to make “sparks fly.” What will be, will be. If in the journey, the potential of something more than friendship manifest in an organic way then, you now have a foundation to build upon because you gained a friend before diving head first. Knowing the man/woman you are befriending shows you respect them enough to know the real them. The truth them. Respecting their courting process (with caveats) is about the give and take.

Relationships are often times one sided. By taking the time to slow down and allowing them to form organically we in turn build a stronger, more sustainable relationship. Each person is different. Their past can loom over and carry into their next journey. You don’t want to begin something with someone who is damaged/trying to heal. Knowing in the beginning where they stand helps your expectation management. Also, going with the notion of becoming friends first allows you to keep life in perspective. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy your friend.

(Photo courtesy of https://legaltrapmack.myportfolio.com/travel )

Anonymity

Standard

Hello, my name is, Danielle, and I am officially a “soccer mom.” I legit have two full time jobs. Taking care of mi munchkin and actually working so I can take care of mi munchkin. If you are asking, “When do I find time to take care of myself?” The answer would be…

I still wouldn’t have an answer. Do I go to the movies? Yes. Do I parlay with my friends? Normally with mi munchkin in tow or sparingly; but, do I actually relax and pamper myself? No. No days off. Sometimes I feel like I can’t afford to. Here’s the funny thing, as of right now, I wouldn’t complain (sometimes I do, djm) or have it any other way.

Before

The first few years of my child’s life, I did not sign my child up for activities because I was new to the mom scene. Adjusting to what it meant to be mom – the constant need to be attentive. When you’re sleep you aren’t resting because the mind is in a constant state of protection, activities with friends are lessened because you change your views on what is considered a valuable reason to hang out, you’re not allowed to be sick, and when deciding what you feed your child, you turn into Julia Child’s. Your entire life changes from birthing another human being; anonymity is what you try to cling to but, it slowly fades away.

(Photo courtesy of https://legaltrapmack.myportfolio.com/)

During

Until one day, you finally see light at the end of the tunnel – as if you were on a journey by train, reaching your first destination, only to be fooled/stymied by new obstacles that present themselves like they were long lost friends. Help is now given to you by those who understand your plight but, you feel guilty in asking them for this thing called, “help.” What does this mean? I hope they don’t think I am trying to use them? I feel bad for even asking for assistance. You settle for your delusion, “you can do it on your own, you don’t want to be a bother,” or, “I really didn’t need to go out anyway.” Help; I scoff at the word.

You finally gain respect for the mothers before you; the single moms, the moms with twins, the widowed moms, and yes…the father’s who are both the dad and the mom. You gain an inherent respect for yourself. In this respect is a piece of anonymity (your infinity stone). Your gain of confidence is now transforming into control. You will forever be a mother, luv your child and protect them by any means. You now realize, in order to be a better mother, you must also be a better you. You still may not go out as often but, you are not so quick to dismiss the idea. When it comes to pampering yourself, while it may not be often, you at least pencil it in. You understand the need to do something for you; in the end, when they are grown and adulting what is left? You.

(Photo courtesy of https://legaltrapmack.myportfolio.com/)

Now

Because you have been prepping them for adulthood and ensuring you are prepared as well, it will be less of an adjustment to the “next journey ” in your life – the new you.  Yes, I am a soccer mom, my life is not my own; I am beginning to appreciate the good,the bad, the ugly of parenting.  I have also understood the need to find the pieces of me.  Reconnect with who I was and how far I have come as woman.  There is no “reward” for being a mother but, seeing your child grow to be what you envisioned them as, is reward enough. Looking for that instant gratification is enjoying the little things like, your child asking if you are okay when you cough, or saying you are beautiful, letting you know they didn’t pee in the bed at night.  Your instant gratification is when someone interacts with your child and they tell you that your child is a delight and has such wonderful manners.

For now, I will stick with my vices – movies, music, real friends, the word “help” (actually using it) and luv from my child.  I will make sure I find time for me. I will continue to find me.

Black Diamond Pt.2

Standard
(photo courtesy of Damon Mackin @ http://legaltrapmack.myportfolio.com )

Finding solace in music keeps me alive,

Paints a picture of life

Seen through others eyes

Their lenses

Provides me with a new sense

Of appreciation of what’s out there

Of possibilities I thought I would never see.

Finding solace in music reminds me to breathe,

Soak in what I take for granted

Allows me to see the beauty in things

Place me in an utopian society.

Finding solace in music assures me that everything will be alright,

Telling me to live my life to the fullest

Don’t deny my senses

Let my inhibitions run free

Be the best I can be

For there is only one life

There is only one me.

Finding my solace in music

Finding solace in me.

Who Are You? Part #2

Standard
Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 8.48.19 PM.png(Photo Courtesy of Damon Mackin)

Thoughts from a white male. No introduction need because his thoughts were well received.

“Let me preface this with two things…thanks for valuing my opinion enough to even ask me this question and I am approaching this with black men in mind….I have no idea what it means to be a woman in this country, much less a black woman, so I’ll stick to the gender I am familiar with, my own.

I think I can sum the question up in one word…Pressure. And the Pressure is all encompassing. Every responsible adult has a certain amount of pressure upon them, especially if they have children. There’s the pressure to be responsible etc, but that’s all very normal. The Pressure that comes with race however is over and above what’s normal.
To be black in America means to know that a certain segment of society will see race first rather than the human being and in that instant, the first impression is one of race rather than human. A black child grows up with the ability to think, to learn, to love, to hate, to care, to sympathize, to empathize, just as any child does. But at some point in childhood the Pressure starts in. And what I mean by that is despite the individuals ability to think as a stand alone human being, that very thinking is beginning to be judged not just by whites, but by fellow blacks as well. Both races will now judge the individuals thinking based on their own worldview. If a black man thinks he needs to kneel during the national anthem, he’s judged as unpatriotic by whites because he’s suddenly thinking on his own, not following the whites transcript of American life. However if a black man stands up and says I disagree with kneeling during the anthem, it’s disrespectful of the flag, he’s also branded by his own race and being some sort of traitor to the race (Cam Newton took a lot of grief for not fully coming out in support of this very thing).
A black (man) in this country is expected to think a certain way by his racial peers (Pressure). It’s been stated that the black community is not a monolithic one, and that should certainly be true. But to think outside that “norm” gets that same black person derision and labels from a by gone era that in turn create more Pressure on the young, growing, maturing black person. That growing person doesn’t want that same derision from his/her peers because they do not participate in this massive “groupthink”. Some don’t care and forge their own path not necessarily in line with the prevailing patterns of racial thought.
Others however, buy into the “groupthink” without ever exercising their own individual ideas as to what life is about and how they want to conduct themselves as not black individuals, but rather HUMAN individuals. Some honestly believe in it and that’s fine, but my point is some are pressured into it rather than moving in that direction through any individual initiative of their own. The definition of peer pressure, only this time it’s based on race. And then the Pressure comes from the other, white side. They are labeled again, and again with labels perhaps of a by gone era and they are judged just as harshly.”
https://youtu.be/przRFn1eRCI
(I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO THIS SONG)
Hood Citations:
L. Trott – thoughts
Good Articles to Read:

Who Are You? Part #1

Standard

We are often plagued with winless fight to true equality because we think we should fight this fight on our own. Dr. King knew we could not win this alone and to this day we must understand we need others by our side; those who sympathize with us, understand what it means to be discriminated upon, those who are willing to risk their comfort to fight alongside the cause.

I have always understood the “fight” is not just ours – it’s about humanity. A friend of mine asked me a question once about ways she could help the plight and I could not give an answer because it’s difficult to ask someone to risk their level of comfortably for the lives of others however, it begged to question what does it mean to be “black.” Not the publicized tv series where rich people walk around with cameras to find those who are willing to give an answer just for the sake of an answer but from one common person to another common person – what does it mean to black to you?

(Photo courtesy of D.Mackin)

Answer from 30+yr old White Woman

“So, I don’t know that this truly answers your original question, but I sat down to write and this is what came out….

I am not black. I don’t know what it’s like to have ancestors who were enslaved by other people. I don’t know what it’s like to teach my children that unless they behave perfectly in interactions with police officers, they might be killed (and that even if they do behave perfectly, they might be killed anyway). I don’t know what it’s like to struggle to find Band-Aids in my skin tone. I don’t know what it’s like to have a museum dedicated to my heritage and culture finally open on the National Mall — 400 years after the first black people arrived in this nation. I don’t know what it’s like to be called exotic, or thug, or the n-word. There is a lot that I don’t know. There is a lot that I can’t know.

I am not black, but I am a human being. And being black in America is something I observe, if not experience, every day. I absolutely know that I cannot speak for black America — and I also know that there may be no such thing as one single black America, simply due to the incredible diversity within a community that’s often painted with one broad stroke of the brush. But I saw Dae’Anna Reynolds comfort her mother as Philando Castile bled out in the passenger seat. I saw a murderer successfully defend himself after shooting a black teenager carrying nothing but Skittles. Just today, I saw a black female doctor recount a story of being ignored on an airplane when the flight attendants called for medical assistance and she volunteered. I see the anguish and exhaustion of black Americans who have simply had enough — and yet it keeps on coming.

But lest you think that, like Donald Trump, I only see being black in America as something to be remedied — to be pitied — I also see joy, and community, and power. I saw Black Lives Matter come together and make its voice heard when its members were too frustrated and angry to continue living in silence. I saw #oscarssowhite become a trend when black Americans and their allies grew tired of black invisibility in film culture, and I saw Hamilton rocket to the top of the cultural zeitgeist for its portrayal of our founding fathers as black and Latino men. I see joy in the face of Zoe, the two-year-old black girl who became Internet famous when her mother posted her first-day-of-school picture on Twitter, her eyes alight and her tongue poking out of her mouth in a goofy grin.

I can’t experience it myself, so I can only see being black in America through these glimpses, and thousands and thousands of other glimpses like them, into other people’s lives. I know that my countrymen are struggling, and that I could be doing more to help. I don’t ask that they educate me in what I could be doing; I know that’s my responsibility to discover on my own. But I also know that black America has its successes and triumphs and happinesses, and I refuse to discount those. For now, I can continue to pay attention to the people and the culture around me — to Zoe, to the cultural significance of dreadlocks, to that female doctor on the airplane, to the black/white wage gap, to Philando Castile, to Michelle Obama, to the black man who panhandles on my street corner — to so much and so many who help make up the rich fabric of the world in which I live. And I can pay attention to, and learn from, the millions of Americans whose struggles and joys I cannot begin to truly understand, but with whom I nonetheless share the most important trait of all — humanity.”

-A.L.D 2016

Our Dream

Standard

Throughout the years there have been the brave, the bold, the many; each willing to risk their lives for the African/Black American Community.  They fought for unity, they fought for respect; they fought to live, they fought for life – they fought for us.

From the dawn of Africans enslaved to now, we pay/should pay respect to those who have paved the way to make it possible for “equality.”  From Elizabeth Freeman, the first former slave to win a freedom suit; Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist, writer, activist; Harriett Tubman, a humanitarian and activist; Edgar Nixon, Montgomery Bus Boycott Organizer and activist; Bayard Rustin, civil rights, socialism and gay rights; Rosa Parks an activist and inspiration to Montgomery Bus Boycott; Malcolm X an activist; and W.E.D. DuBois founder of the NAACP.

Today, we pay our respects to a man who sacrificed his life for the plight of our community, for America, for the dream.  Today we pay respect to man who gave us hope that one day we could be equal.  We pay respect to a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the former President of the SCLC.  We pay respect to a man who had a huge impact on the Civil and Voting Right Acts being passed.  We know him for his iconic, “I Have a Dream” speech.  This man brought all creeds, color, religions, and backgrounds together.  We pay respects to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

(Photo courtesy of businessinsider.com)

Over 13 years, he was the leader/face of the “American Civil Rights Movement.”  African Americans achieved more progress towards racial equality in America than the previous 350 years.  “Dr. King is widely regarded as America’s prominent advocate of non violence and one of the greatest non violent leaders in world history (The King Center).”  Drawing inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi he found alternative ways to protect/fight without violence.

  • E.D Nixon head of the local NAACP chapter met with Dr. King to plan a city wide bus boycott lasting 382 days (walking and carpooling to get to their destination) that led to the Supreme Court ruling to integrated public transportation in Montgomery.
  • He stood behind the college students who used non violent “sit – in’s” at segregated restaurants – leading  to a successful ending of segregation at lunch counters in 27 southern cities by August 1960.
  • Due to his increasing national notoriety he became a target for unjust harassment from “authority,” but that did not stop him giving up on us; it did not stop his dream.  “On August 20, 1963, the historic March on Washington drew more than 200,000 people in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial (bio.com),” when he gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
  • 1965, after the infamous “Bloody Sunday” and various obstacles placed in their way, he, once again led his follower cross the Pettis Bridge, kneeled to pray, then turned back with the support of President Johnson. The march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery (over 250,000) – we shall overcome.  From this, President Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. “He wanted to broaden his base by forming a multi race coalition to address economic and unemployment problems of all disadvantaged people. (bio.com)”

Dr. King’s life was ended too soon but his dream never faded.  He was that spark of hope for equality and justice for all.  Because of him, many have stepped up to fill his shoes; become another beacon of hope.  The gauntlet has been proverbially passed down.  While we are “equal,” we still have more to accomplish.  While we celebrate his day, his birthday, let’s also look to ourselves to ensure we think about others, share sympathy, find our path – whether it be standing up for someone you see being wronged to finding ways to provide knowledge/substance to the community.  Let’s channel our inner King.

Hood Citations:
https://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-king-jr-9365086
http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king
Transcript – I Have a Dream Speech  courtesy of archives – https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf
Audio – I Have a Dream Speech courtesy of npr.com -https://www.npr.org/2010/01/18/122701268/i-have-a-dream-speech-in-its-entirety