It is Systemic!

Most people do not understand the depth of systemic racism and how it is embedded in every organization in this country. Let’s look at the latest news of the shootings and the killings this past weekend in Chicago. Any shootings in Chicago somehow become front page news everywhere.

The stories are written in a manner to let you know the shootings happen in a predominately Black neighborhood. As big as Chicago is the media would want us to believe that there were only shootings in predominately Black neighborhoods this weekend. The truth is violence doesn’t just happen in predominately Black neighborhoods. No neighborhood is exempt from violence.

The violence that happens in Black neighborhoods is the news that makes a good headline story. Also, consider those doing the shootings don’t always live in the neighborhoods where they are shooting. When you see or read the news about these shootings, what do you think about the people that live in those neighborhoods?

The news is designed to make you think negatively about Black people. If the media wasn’t designed to have us think negatively about Black people, we would receive a balanced news report. The good things that are happening in Black neighborhoods would be just as prevalent in the news. The good news stories are few and far between and are not given as much air time as the negative news stories.

The people in Black neighborhoods are not as silent as they were in the past. People do speak up. People are going to jail for these shootings, but we rarely hear about this.

When the news is about predominately White people, we are not given context clues to let us know where the violence happened. We don’t quickly receive a picture of the offender. There are always excuses as to why the person did what they did. The offender is painted as the good boy or girl that has some mental issues or he or she is going through some difficult times.

Please be a critical thinker as you listen or read the news. If you don’t you will think negatively about Black people that happen to live in the neighborhoods where shootings occurred, and you will say some of the same biased, racist remarks that others say about Black people.

I’m Tired!

Almost every time another Black man is murdered, I think about when the Harvey police pulled my son over and pointed their guns in his face! He had done nothing wrong. He had just left Ingalls from visiting his dad after his dad’s surgery.

I think about how they could’ve murdered my son for nothing!! We would’ve probably never found out what really happened because folks were not recording like they are today. They would’ve tried to paint my son as a criminal. God protected my son that day!!

I have been mostly reflecting and not doing a lot of talking about what people should or should not be doing. I don’t have the answers and neither do you.

I know I’m tired! I’m tired of Black people being murdered by police. I’m tired of encountering racist behavior from others. I’m tired of white privilege. I’m tired of us being mistreated because of the color of our skin. I’m tired of having to navigate through this world in defensive mode ALL THE TIME!

I’m tired of folks who sit on high horses like they do everything right and use their platform to bash others for the choices they make. I’m tired of folks comparing what’s happening to the crime that happens in communities. It’s not the same! If I kill someone, I’m going to jail. Police don’t seem to have that same understanding.

I’m tired of folks want to speak out about how wrong the rioting is, but didn’t speak out about a Black man being murdered. I’m tired of folks who love Black culture, but don’t like Black people. I’m tired of these protest calisthenics: make your profile picture Black, don’t buy anything on this day, boycott this company, cancel this person and NOTHING has changed!

Black people are still being murdered by police, Black people are still being murdered by the local neighborhood racists, companies are still producing racially insensitive advertising and products, we are still being followed around stores, we are still being questioned about why we are in certain spaces, we are still being falsely accused and imprisoned, and we are still having to fight to wear the hair that grows out of our heads! I AM TIRED!

Book Review – How To Be An Antiracist

Racist – One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea.

Antiracist – One who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.

The above definitions of racist and antiracist from Kendi’s book were interesting to me and helped me understand how detrimental racism is in our world. We don’t want to accept it, but it’s true that the very foundation of America is built on racism. There are laws that still exist that were established to block the progress of minorities.

I have read other books that discuss racism. However, I like how the author traced his own growth throughout the book. The author was able to tell life defining stories of his own to bring to life the various categories of racist in the book. When the author discussed combating racism in the same manner that we combat cancer, this resonated with me. We have to be willing to kill racism at the root, and to kill something at the root most of the time requires a surgical procedure. We have to ask ourselves what are we willing to do to root out racism.

I would encourage anyone who wants to be a better human being to read this book.

Living My Best Life!

I started the morning of Chapter 50 eating breakfast with family and friends. I want to thank you for all the birthday wishes that were received in every form.

I wanted to go somewhere that was on my bucket list of places to go and never been before for my 50th. NOLA was my choice. I wanted to celebrate with my family and friends. Everyone couldn’t make it, but I’m having a blast with everyone that was able to make it.

I’m excited about my future. This birthday has been one of my best! I received one of the best gifts ever! Fifty looks good on me. I mean I do look good period! Here me roar – ROAR!! I love me – flaws and all. My theme this entire year is BETTER! Every day I’m striving to be BETTER.

I have another item I want to check off my bucket list this year – learning to swim. I’ll be finding a class to help me on my quest to be BETTER!

PS – LEO SEASON IS NOT OVER💁🏽‍♀️💁🏽‍♀️☺️☺️

Marriage Is A Triathlon – Not A Sprint!

Recently, I was watching a video about training for a triathlon. A triathlon is a race that is split into three different activities: swimming, biking and running. Let me provide my disclaimer that I’m not ready for a triathlon. First, I have to learn how to swim. Learning how to swim is on my 2019 bucket list.

Back to triathlon training. I was curious about the preparation for a triathlon. After watching the video, I realized that preparing for a triathlon is similar to preparing for a lasting marriage. Let me explain.

You can’t just wake up one morning and go complete a triathlon! There’s some preparation involved. That preparation requires commitment. You have to decide to train so many times a week in preparation for the triathlon. Marriage takes commitment. You have to take your vows seriously and be committed to demonstrating your vows by your actions.

A triathlon requires dedication. There will be some days you don’t feel like training. There will be some days you would rather be spending your time doing something else. There will be days you won’t like training. However, you have to train anyway and remain dedicated to being prepared for the triathlon.

Marriage requires dedication. There will be some days that you don’t want to be married. There will be some days you don’t like your spouse. There will be some days you would rather be doing something else. When those days come and trust me they will, you have to remain dedicated to your marriage.

A triathlon requires some essential gear: a bike, helmet, shoes, swimming cap, goggles and a trisuit to name a few. Without the essential gear, you hinder your chances of doing your best. You want to do your best.

There’s some essential marriage gear: love, good communication, good sex, honesty, God and prayer to name a few. If you don’t have the essential marriage gear, it will be difficult to have a lasting marriage. Essential marriage gear is necessary and beneficial to a good marriage.

A good marriage deserves a good foundation. A good foundation begins with commitment, dedication and the essential gear. Are you ready for your triathlon?

If You’re the Toxic Friend and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

Recently, one of my friends asked this question on Instagram: “How do you know who is toxic?” My short response was you bring their toxic ways to their attention and they don’t try to change their ways. You find yourself in a constant struggle of not talking to them for awhile versus talking to them on a regular basis. It seems they act better after a hiatus, but alas their old toxic self shows up!

I used to believe toxic people didn’t know they were toxic. However, as I’ve matured I recognize they know their toxic and they don’t care. You know why they don’t care? They don’t care because they have the number one characteristic of a toxic person – they are selfish!

Their selfish ways show up constantly. Every activity has to revolve around them. Every conversation has to revolve around them, or they make the conversation about them.

You call the toxic person to vent about something you’re going through and this is how the conversation goes: First, they compare what you’re going through with something they have went or are going through. Then, somehow the conversation turns to be all about them! After you finish the conversation, you feel worse than you felt before you called them.

Another characteristic of toxic people is they are always the victim. Someone is always doing them wrong. They don’t do anything to anyone. They mind their business 🙄🙄. You know these are all lies because you know this person! They never take responsibility for their actions.

Then, toxic people like to monopolize your time. They want to be your ONLY friend. They don’t get along with any of your other friends. As a result, you can’t invite them to group outings. The toxic person not getting along with your other friends is their way to monopolize your time.

Furthermore, toxic people are users. Most of the time you interact with them, they need something. If you analyze your relationship, you will notice the toxic person always wants something from you. The relationship seems to always be you giving and the toxic person always taking.

Finally, another classic toxic person characteristic is they are never happy for you. If you tell them about your new job, they have to mention they wanted to work for that company and they didn’t get the job. They say you must know someone that works at the job. When you tell them about your financial increase, they have to mention how they need the increase more than you need the increase.

Toxic people leave you feeling drained surrounded with negativity. Their words and actions make you question your self-esteem and worth. The reality is the relationship is built on a foundation of jealousy. You may be wondering can any good come out of this relationship?! Yes, it can!

Here’s the good: As you grow and mature, you recognize toxic relationships have no place in your circle. You recognize there is nothing wrong with severing toxic ties and moving on with your life. You will more quickly identify toxic people before you have invested your time and energy in them.

If you read this post and recognize yourself, you are the toxic friend so clap, clap! Now that you see yourself, what are you going to do about it?

For those that have or have had toxic friends, how did you determine your friend was toxic? What did you do about it? Let’s talk about it.

Broken Humans

Broken as defined in the dictionary, “having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.” Brokenness means “Forcibly separated into two or more pieces; fractured.” As you read those two definitions, you might have thought about a time that you were broken or in a state of brokenness. You may still be broken or in a state of brokenness. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to remain broken or continue to be in a state of brokenness.

When we are broken, it’s difficult to continue on our life’s journey. Being in a constant state of brokenness hinders our ability to move on. As a result, the relationships we form doing our times of brokenness have a tendency to be broken.

These relationships are built on brokenness and once we choose to move from our place of brokenness the relationships cannot withstand our path to being whole. For this reason, we should not begin a new relationship while broken. We need to be working on being made whole.

Whole is being “in an unbroken or undamaged state; in one piece.” Being whole seems impossible but we can be once again be whole. What does it take to be made whole?

First, we have to be honest with ourselves and recognize we are operating from a place of brokenness. We sometimes wonder why we are so angry or almost anything can have us crying. We are broken.

Second, we have to want to be whole. If you don’t want to be whole, it doesn’t make sense to lie to ourselves and others that we want to be whole. It’s better to wait until you’re ready. I have needed to lose weight for years, but until I was ready I wasted my time along with the time of others. Now, I’m focused on being healthy and making continuous progress. You have to do whatever you decide to do for you!

Third, seek help. Do not be ashamed to admit you need help. There’s nothing wrong with going to counseling, finding a support group for your brokenness and even reading self-help books. I encourage you to see a professional therapist.

Once we are beyond our broken state, we will be able to see the scars from the healed wounds and help someone else. We can have healthy relationships built on trust and respect. We can be happy and free! We can be whole:

The Price of Silence

I didn’t watch the R Kelly documentary last night, and don’t plan to watch. I have read some of the posts that have came across my newsfeed. So, teenage girls are fast and were given what they wanted 😳😑😑. Men have been doing it forever, so it’s ok?!! Nothing was said about Elvis Presley and other white men?!! I almost can’t place into words my reaction to these statements!

Are y’all serious?! So, this is how we make it okay to victimize young people?!!! I wonder if it was your child would you still have those feelings? We have sexualized Black children and held them accountable like they are adults, and this is wrong! These are children! There are grown women and men that have been bamboozled by abusers and we expect children to recognize an abuser and say no?!

I am a victim of sexual abuse by a family member and an authority figure. I was just a child and didn’t know what to do. I told on the authority figure and he publicly shamed me while I wasn’t present. He said I was lying on him, and people believed him. I never looked at him the same again. I forgave him for my growth, but I told my mom if he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness in hell will he lift up his eyes.

I’ve never said anything to the family member. Since I’ve been grown, I finally told my mom. I forgave the family member too, but a conversation needs to take place for that person to know the affect of their actions. The sad part is the person probably doesn’t even remember because I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

Quit blaming victims. If you still choose to listen to R Kelly’s music that’s your choice, but don’t blame victims to make you feel better about your choice!

Mama – I Wouldn’t Be Me Without You

“She was there when I took my first breath, and I was there when she took her last.”

I don’t know who is responsible for this quote, but I lived this quote.  On November 21, 2017 at 5:50 am my mom took her last breath and I was with her.

I was determined to stay the night with my mom, and I did.  Even though I knew she would not be alone because God would be there, I wanted to be there with my mom as she made her transition.  If anyone had told me I would have had to make difficult decisions that involved my mom, I would not have believed them.

My mom always said if anything happens to me, you fight for me to live.  I took that literally.  I struggled with saying yes to hospice because to me that meant I was giving up on her.  I prayed and realized I wasn’t giving up on her.  When I was able to truly look at my mom as she lay in the hospital bed, I could see that she was suffering.  She was in so much pain, and not allowing the respirator tube to be removed was delaying the inevitable

In the circle of life children are supposed to bury their parents, but who wants their parents to die?!  We want them to live forever.  I wanted my mom to be here to see my granddaughter grow up and graduate from college.  I wanted my mom to see my daughter have children of her own.  I wanted my mom to be here to make me laugh.  She kept me laughing with the things she said and her views on life.  It seemed like a lot of my family members talked to my mom and she would have the good family tea!  She knew all the family gossip and shared it with me.  

We shared a lot of good times.  We didn’t always agree and during her sickness she was frequently upset with me because she said, “I thought I was the boss of her – LOL.”  I had to be firm and take over medical decisions and other things, which she didn’t like.  Everything I did was for her good.

My advice to anyone whose parents are still alive:  cherish the moments.  Please don’t get caught up in not speaking to them or having petty arguments.  Once your parents are gone, none of that stuff matters.  Instead of creating heartache, make memories with your parents.  The last thing you want to have is regrets or feelings of guilt because you didn’t treat them right.

I don’t have any regrets.  I treated my mother with the respect she was due.  You couldn’t have thin skin around my mom.  She equipped me to be a word master.  I know how to fight with words.  I learned to laugh at words that were meant to hurt me.  She taught me how to accept myself – flaws and all.  Being called fat was funny because I am.  She taught me that.

She taught me to love God.  She taught me how to be saved.  She taught me how to love my family.  She taught me that.  She taught me how to bake a cake.  She taught me how to clean a kitchen.  She taught me how to mop the floor.  She taught me how to wash clothes.  She taught me all of that.

This past year has been a lot of firsts for me:  first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year’s Day, first Mother’s Day, and first birthday without my mom.  I am an extension of her.  I look like her.  This curly hair came from her.  I find myself saying some of the same things she used to say.

I know my life will never be the same because she’s gone. I miss you so much Ma!  My life is better because you chose to give birth to me.  This first year without you hasn’t been easy and my heart will never be the same.  I’m strong though and I will continue to thrive because you’re my mom.

Chapter 49

Some people believe I do the most for Leo season and my birthday. Well, I do! I turned it up a notch this year because I’m grateful to be in the land of the living. This past year has not been an easy year for me.

I learned more about myself and the sacrifices I would make for someone I love. I discovered that I had more strength than I realized. I learned that even in the midst of the pain and grief that I yet feel, I can make it. I learned that Chapter 48 prepared me for Chapter 49.

It’s my first birthday without my mom. For 48 years I had her in my life. This new normal has not been easy. This year required me to be extra. If I didn’t, I would’ve focused on how much I miss my mom and the birthday greetings she faithfully posted every year.

I would’ve focused on how much I miss the cake she made special just for me – German chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting because I don’t like German chocolate frosting. I would’ve spent today being sad instead of glad.

Through all I have been through I have learned the importance of carpe diem – seize the day! I’m determined to live a life of no regrets. I want to make the most of every moment I have remaining on this earth. I’m determined to have meaningful relationships, and appreciate when someone cuts me out of their lives because they are doing me a favor. They are helping me to invest in those that want to have meaningful relationships with me. I’ve learned that life is short and I should experience everything I want to experience.