… By Whatever Means Necessary

Announcement: F*$k Donald Trump! His mis-calculated actions and lack of compassion, coupled with his ignorance and narcissism are not just deplorable, but also diabolical. I can’t wait until American citizens rise up in aggressive opposition of his heartless policies, cold leadership, and show the world our efforts to be the example that we set out to be.

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(Deep Breath) Ok friends, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me focus on the real reason for this post:

 

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After the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain (sidenote: I’m still not convinced that Anthony committed suicide and highly suspect foul play, however, I will consider the possibility for the sake of this post) sent the world into shock, the general response was: “You just never know what people are going through”. This is true. You never know what someone else is dealing with, or the state of their mental and emotional health. Unless you’ve had in-depth conversations with that person, one should be slow to judge and not assume anything.

 
But another major lesson as a result of all this is: “Just because you have money does not mean you are happy.” I think this was the realization that shocked people the most. It’s one thing to understand that you never know what someone else is dealing with. However, the general consensus is that whatever you are dealing with in your personal life can be easily resolved with an increase of funds. For the majority of people, their problems are money-related, and they would love to have a fraction of the earnings of these celebrities if it would mean lessening the weight of their financial burdens.
For the majority of people, the thought was: “Why in God’s name would you kill yourself when you have SO MUCH!

 

 

They had everything: booming careers, beautiful homes, fancy cars, designer clothes, the freedom to travel, access to any and everything, and loads of cash. For the majority of people, it simply doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense because we have been conditioned to believe that money equals happiness. Despite the countless suicides of various celebrities, their drug problems, and the public display of mental/emotional breakdowns that can come with fame, the public still believes that money is the key. However, it was something about the deaths of these two people, especially Anthony Bourdain, that seemed to strike a deeper cord with people. Reality was hitting hard. The nation was beginning to see the error of their thinking.

 

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Money is nice, but ultimately it will not give you the peace and the joy you deserve. I think what really gives peace and joy is knowing that you are loved and living out your purpose. This love includes a certain level of self-care that should be made a priority in everyone’s life. It is vital to take care of self. Maybe that means seeing a therapist, going on vacations, being with friends, going to church, engaging in your favorite hobbies, etc. We all must do what we can to keep ourselves full. Operating through this world can easily drain you and you must find a way to re-boot.

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I started thinking about how I implement self-care. One of the things I do, besides engage in favorite activities with close friends, is pray and meditate. I may not meditate on a strict schedule everyday, but I do make time during the week to get quiet and connect with myself. I also listen to music as a way to elevate my energy. Working out has become an important part of my self-care also. I’m not always excited about working out, but I can always feel a physical improvement afterwards. My body just feels better after a good workout. Keeping this blog is an additional part of my self-care. Having a platform such as this to express oneself, regardless of how many people read it, is always a great thing.

 
But the last big thing that I do for self-care is turn off the news. I know that it is important to stay informed, and I do stay abreast of the important events that have taken place. However, I’ve noticed that, especially during these past two years, my energy gets low after watching the news. Especially being African American and hearing report after horrifying report about another unarmed black person getting shot — R.I.P. Antwon Rose — or harassed by cops, and the growing outcry of bigots and racists who insist on “taking the country back” ; my emotional, and mental health must be protected. So I turn the news off. I realize that I have to keep myself full not just for me, but for the young people I teach and motivate. I refuse to pour fear and hopelessness into them. The world supplies them with enough of that. The responsibility I feel for my students can come with pressure but it also demands that I take care of myself so that I can be the best for them. This sense of responsibility has been a great incentive for me to maintain my health.

 
I urge you: Maintain your health friends. The world appears to be getting louder, and the need for introspection is getting greater. You must not allow the world to drown out your inner voice. Take a moment to get quiet and remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for. Self-care is one of the pieces of armor you will need to maintain your sense of self in an ever changing world. Keep your peace …

… by whatever means necessary. 

 

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Dirty-Thirty Blues

 

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Sooo, I entered a new decade and turned thirty this year.

I wish I could say that I was excited about it, but I honestly wasn’t. There were a few reasons for my lack of enthusiasm:

1). I think, generally, in our society, to age and to be a woman is often seen as a bad thing. In Our country, a woman aging is the worst thing that could happen. As a woman ages she depreciates in value — for some. Therefore, as women, we do what we can to “stay young”. We exercise, eat certain health foods, we douse ourselves in make-up, get surgery, buy tons of anti-aging creams and anti-wrinkle creams — we do what we can. And to be honest, I felt that turning thirty was the jumping off point where I would start to depreciate in value, and the things that were once vibrant about me would begin to fade in the eyes of others — myself included.

2). I think I would’ve been more enthusiastic if I felt like I had accomplished certain things before I turned 30. I felt like I was not where I wanted to be professionally and financially, and that was a little disheartening. 

 

I felt myself sinking into an emotional and mental slump as I began to re-play self-critiscm, fear, and disappointment like a record in my brain. I knew that I had to change my self-talk fast before I ended up in tears, buried underneath my comforter. 

“Bethanee, stop. This is crazy!”, is what I told myself.

And it was crazy. I had to remind myself that I do have value and that aging is a privilege. There are plenty of people who did not live long enough to even make it to thirty. Especially to age while being a Black person is a great thing, seeing as how our lives are often tragically and unfairly cut short at the hands of someone else. To simply be Black, healthy and alive is a tremendous feat on its own. I think our society has to re-frame the horror story we have attached to “age” and look at it as part of our personal evolution that is beautiful and exciting. 

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And the beautiful thing is that I get to choose. I get to choose how I am going to perceive my age and aging altogether. I get to choose how I am going to feel about it. And I refuse to feel bad and fearful about getting older. I refuse to feel disheartened by something that is out of my control. Instead, I choose to remain excited for all the good that is to come. I choose to remind myself of my worth and my value and that, if anything, my value will be recognized because overtime I have attained skills and nurtured talents that others will appreciate. I am seasoned and have acquired a certain flavor that I didn’t have before… a flavor that only comes with time.
I choose to love and celebrate my body and my beauty at every stage, even when the rest of the world says that I shouldn’t.

I will celebrate.

I choose to be dope and fly up until my final days. I choose to take care of my body and my mind so that I can live my journey with good energy and vitality. I choose to look at aging as a blessing because there is only one other option — death. I am not ready to die any time soon, so my only other option is to live. And to live means to constantly evolve into another year. 

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In regards to being disappointed that I am not in a “certain place” by now, my response to that is, “Who said that I was supposed to be at a ‘certain place’ and where and what exactly is this place?” I think it’s great to have a vision for your future, but it’s also imperative to be flexible with your timeline. I was reminded that not everything goes according to our very strict and sometimes unrealistic, immature, and unforgiving timelines. I had to ask myself, “Is this timeline something that I wanted and designed, or is this timeline something that society (social media) said I should want and have by now?” I had to make sure that I was charting my course according to what was best for me and not anyone else. You must listen to your inner voice—the Higher Voice of God— and get clear.

Sometimes the things that you want for your future are subject to change as you grow. The things you thought you wanted prior, may not be what you want now. Give yourself the freedom to allow your vision to change and or expand. This is what I had to do. What I wanted in my 20’s is different from what I want now. Time has given me clarity.

 
Adjusting your timeline and your expectations can be challenging considering the societal pressure we all feel to succeed, but it has to be at the right time for me. And sometimes what I thought was the best time for me, was, in fact, not the best time for me. I have to be patient with myself. I am my worst critic at times, and I need to be more complimentary. Instead of being ashamed of what I feel has been a lack of progression, I must stop, look back, and remind myself of what I have accomplished thus far and be proud. I need to have faith that I am being guided wisely and that the work I have put in will pay off. 

 
God doesn’t introduce you to something until it’s your season — until you are ready. I can honestly say that I wasn’t as ready then as I am now. I have acquired more wisdom and knowledge. I have grown in self-awareness. I will forever be a work in progress, but I am better now than I was in my 20’s, and I can proclaim this, knowing it’s 100% true.

I’m simply better now than I was then.
And this is how I will look at aging.
I am wine. Time is on my side. 

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Smile? … But Why??

 

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Cat-calls can be annoying, but, currently, there’s one particular word that I’ve heard men say that really gets under my skin. I stopped by Leimert Park one weekend where there was an event with drummers, music, and food and merchandise vendors — it looked interesting, so I walked through. As I was walking, a man with a beard, long locks and dark shades, blasting music from his speakers, leans over and shouts to me, “Why don’t you smile? Smile.” And like a puppet, I complied and smiled. Immediately afterwards I was like, “Wait. Why did I do that?” Another question to ask is: Why did this guy tell me to smile??
Now, there are those that might say, “Well he meant no offense by it, he just wanted to see you smile. No big deal. Chill out.”

Here’s my response to that: 1. I am very chill … chill to the point of freezing. I am cool as ice. I know that this man meant no offense. However, just because he meant no offense doesn’t negate the fact that his statement was odd and unnecessary. I am not enraged by his comment… simply annoyed. 2. Why does this guy need me to smile??? There I was, happily living my life, minding my own business; yet he felt like he needed to make a suggestion — rather yet, an improvement — on how I should carry myself.

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Now, normally, I would have brushed it off, but he is not the first man to say this to me, and my girlfirends have experienced the same thing. He didn’t nearly leap from behind his speakers to tell the man walking behind me to smile like he had done to me, nor was he an enthusiast passing out fliers suggesting that the whole world smile. He picked me out and decided that I was the one who needed reminding. What’s also interesting is that I have yet to have a woman shout at me telling me to smile, nor have I ever felt the urge to tell anyone else to smile.
So why do men say this to women?

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I’ve thought about it and I have drawn two possible conclusions:
1. Perhaps it’s their way of simply trying to get a woman’s attention, and perhaps even start a conversation with a woman they find attractive.
2. Perhaps a woman who is not smiling really throws off their sexist idea of how a woman should carry herself, and that, in their less-expanded minds, a woman should always be wearing a smile. I feel like this idea stems from the 1950’s housewife image that was heavily promoted during that time and continues to be promoted today. Without ever prioritizing her own wants and needs and the vital self-care that is integral to a happy, healthy life, this woman raises the kids, manages and cleans the house, tends to the husband, and cooks… She does this all with impeccably-styled hair that never seems to have a strand out of place, an hour-glass figure that seems to require no real effort to maintain, wearing a perfectly ironed dress that accentuates her small waist with heels and, of course … a nice, bright smile.

 

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This is bullshit. Guess what, as a human being, I am allowed to experience whatever mood I like and sometimes I’m not in the mood to smile. Often, I’m not overcome by any mood at all and I’m simply going about my day, not even thinking about whether I am smiling or not. I’m just being. If me simply being makes a man feel uncomfortable because I am not accessorized with a beaming smile that would place him at ease, then that is a personal problem and has nothing to do with me. I do not have to smile for anyone. I don’t have to be anyone other than who I am, and I don’t care how that makes you feel.

Therefore, to all the men out there who have made the repetitive mistake of broadcasting this command to women: STOP! We are the ones in control of our emotional/facial expression — not you. So, unless you are on some kind of spiritual campaign to get the world to smile and live in a state of gratitiude, unless you are telling the men to smile as well, then you should take it upon yourself to kindly smile at me and say absolutely nothing, your silence will be GREATLY appreciated. I know it’s hard, but I believe it’s time you experience being seen and not heard …ssshhhh… just smile baby.

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Inauguration 2017: What does the future hold?

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There I was. Lying on my bed… watching netflix. Determined not to look at the tv or turn on social media because watching the votes come in would send me into a frenzied state of anxiety. But i couldn’t resist texting my friends every once in a while for updates. And finally, our greatest fear came to pass. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. The entire world was in silent shock. I was in disbelief, immovable. I didn’t cry or scream or curse the tv out in protest, all I could do was lay there. I felt like a deflated balloon, there was no air left in me. Sleeping was the only option I had, so that’s what I did.

The next day I went to work. I was a zombie —functioning but not present, walking with a cloud overhead. Some of my co-workers felt the same, they were also sleep walking, a few even cried. Nothing made sense. How could the same country that voted for Obama — twice— vote for Trump? Their campaigns were completely different, one rallied support with love while the other rallied support using fear. I was dumbfounded

I wasn’t under the illusion that racism, bigotry, stupidity, and misogyny was a thing of the past, I knew how very alive it was/is, and that there would be plenty of people who would rally behind Trump. I knew that there were people who were too engrossed in their own interests to be swayed by common sense and would, therefore, support someone whom they really didn’t care for, but whom they knew would protect their interests. I knew, understood, and respected that there were people out there whose opinions may conflict with mine. However, I thought we had progressed much further than to allow this man — someone who has no real plan of action, no experience in politics, and is extremely under qualified and hot-headed to govern a nation such as ours — into the oval office. Despite the friction and disagreements amongst citizens, I figured this would be a no-brainer. I was wrong.

That day I felt the weight of the nation’s disappointment, I felt the fear and the restlessness of not knowing what the future would hold. I don’t even think Trump supporters were that thrilled, nor could they honestly attest to feeling as though our country was now in the best of hands. No matter what side you were on: democrat or republican, Hillary or Trump, I don’t think anyone genuinely believed that Hillary would lose.

People tried to ease their dismay by saying that most of what Trump proclaimed during his campaign was just hot air that could never come to fruition. But, thanks to social media, Trump never shied away from exposing himself and continuing to spout his ignorance and arrogance.

January 20th is days away and it’s hard to mentally accept that Trump will be sworn in as our next president. I am terribly sad to see Obama leave after doing such a great job and always remaining calm, composed, and classy even while addressing his critics. He stayed steady and focused. I’m going to miss him and Michelle and all that they stood for, which was the unity of our nation and an acknowledgement that at the end of the day we all want the same things: health, happiness, safety, equality, financial stability, and the freedom to live our lives as we see fit.

I realize that I may never see another black president in my life time, and I highly doubt I will see a woman as leader of our country. There will definitely never be another President Barack Obama. I know that what I witnessed 8 years ago was nothing short of divine destiny. I’m not saying Obama was perfect because none of us are, however, I don’t doubt the workings of a higher power on his behalf. How else could you explain a black man becoming the leader of the free world?

I’m just trying to soak up these last few days, and I decided that I will not be watching the inauguration. Watching it will only solidify a nightmare that I have been trying to fight off, it will become real then. Although I will not be tuning in, I, along with the rest of the nation, and the world for that matter, will be paying close attention to what is happening in Washington D.C. The nation is prepared to call Donald out on his inevitable bullshit and to express their opposition. It can be scary not knowing what the future holds, but I feel as though people will pay more attention to politics now. Unfortunately, people don’t pay attention or take action until their personal interests are being threatened. And now that so many people feel as though their personal interests and rights are in jeopardy, perhaps we will grow more unified as a nation.

In the end, I hope that Trump’s attempt to use hatred as a divisive tool, will outrage all of us enough to band together and defend the progress we have made as a nation. It would be incredibly disheartening to take steps backwards after all the pain and hard work it took to move us forward.

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Don’t Fall into the Ditch with the rest of the Sheep

 

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I was recently given an article to read by a good guy friend of mine. This article was highlighting a twitter thread that a young gentlemen put out about men and relationships. His thread was intended to “clarify” some things for women, to help explain the peculiar actions of men. Specifically, to provide them with the truth as to why some men go “ghost” and fade away after showing interest in a woman.

I read this thread, and the gentlemen did provide some truth — HIS truth. Some will be able to relate to this truth, others will not, and I would never discredit someone else’s experience. However, I felt his theory had some holes in it, and therefore did not provide the full scope. My friend felt as though this writer’s thoughts reflected most men, but it clearly did not. I even shared this thread to guy friends who felt as I did and who offered their objections.

The content of this thread is not as important to me. What is important is how this man’s thread is possibly being shared amongst women and being taken as truth or as this hidden gem of knowledge that all women should know. My concern is not for the article, people have the right to share their thoughts and opinions. My concern is for those out there who have yet to learn how to think for themselves, and will regurgitate theories and ideas without analyzing whether or not these ideas and theories actually apply to them. Especially in regards to relationships, some women long for answers and want to understand the nature of men, hoping that this insight will allow them to navigate with much more clarity amongst the male species. So they cling to these “gems of wisdom” and pass these ideas along to their girlfriends only resulting in more confusion, poor interpretation, and inevitable mis-understanding, which leads to misguided action. Here’s some insight for those women: If a man really likes you and wants and is ready to date you, he will enthusiastically and consistently pursue you. If he does not like you, then he won’t. Simple. Don’t stress over it. Keep Stepping.

There are other theories and catch phrases too, such as the “middle child syndrome”, “daddy issues”, “children in single-parent homes will undoubtedly face emotional and psychological struggles/instability”, etc. Who coined these terms and ideas? And more importantly, why do we take these theories and offer them up as facts?? They are opinions, based on personal experience —that’s it — and there is nothing wrong with that. (Some will argue the statistical data that proves their theory, but even the acquisition of data should be questioned). But their experience does not reflect everyone else’s and should not be readily generalized. If it applies to you then great, if not, then that’s fine too.

All I ask is that people take the time to process what they read and hear — including this blog — before fully jumping onto a particular bandwagon. Think first. The ability to think for one’s self is one of the best tools we have at our disposal, and it’s disheartening to know that so many people abandon this God-given muscle and permit others to do the heavy lifting for them.

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Don’t be lazy, utilize your mental muscle and put in some cognitive work. It’s not necessary to always follow the pack. Dare to think outside of the mass mind and go in a different direction. Going against the grain and raising an objection isn’t always easy and can be intimidating considering the collective agreement surrounding a particular topic, but going against the grain keeps us sharp and forces us to grow as a whole. So raise our awareness and challenge us to grow…think for yourself.

 

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Doctors are not Gods.

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I was on the phone with my good friend Johnathan. We hadn’t spoke in months and we were long overdue for a conversation. Jonathan and I have known each other since our first week in undergrad and we have grown through and experienced life together: school, jobs, love gained, and love lost. One of the reasons we are close is that we have the freedom to be completely honest with each other. With that said, we’ve gotten into many arguments and debates, and this last convo was another one of our long debates.

Johnathan is pre-med. He has a passion for service and medicine and has always wanted to be a doctor. I was telling him about a recent doctor visit I had where I felt as though my doctor didn’t really listen to me ,and was more interested in talking at me and having me go along with her plans instead of listening to the plans I had for myself, and us working together towards a solution. I felt like she was using her voice to silence mine and that made me feel disregarded as a patient.

 

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I shared this story as a way to remind Johnathan to make sure that he listens to his patients when he becomes a doctor. Make sure that he places value on their input. He said that he would. We then start talking about doctors and the health industry. Johnathan believes in the power of science — in the knowledge of doctors. I believe in science as well and see the value of modern medicine. I also believe in holistic methods and living a healthy lifestyle. I believe that people have to be their own health advocate, gather their own information, and do what works best for them.

Johnathan began refuting the legitimacy of holistic medicine saying that one shouldn’t just “buy herbs from someone on the street”, and that it’s better to see a learned licensed doctor that could prescribe the best medicine. I told him that I agree that people should not just “buy herbs from someone on the street”. But just like there are knowledgeable doctors, there are knowledgeable herbalists and nutritionists that can also make recommendations, and that their recommendations can work just as well, if not, better.

 

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Johnathan was becoming irritated that I proclaimed that eating certain foods and having a certain diet could serve as a preventive measure to a lot of the illnesses that people endure, information that a lot of doctors and pharmacists conceal from patients. Frustrated and defensive, Johnathan belts, “Well you tell a kid that is suffering from cancer that they can get healthy again by eating certain foods!!” I told him to calm down first of all, and that I’m not saying that modern medicine is wrong, or denying it’s progress, but what I do know is that what we put into our bodies has an effect on our health. And instead of talking to patients about this, many doctors push and promote drugs to their patients. A lot of times these drugs don’t alleviate the cause, but rather alleviate the symptoms. But while alleviating certain symptoms, they cause other maladies to form.

We’ve all seen these fear inducing drug commercials that talk about curing or managing an illness, but then they list the possible side effects of taking the drug: dizziness, nausea, bleeding, organ failure, depression, suicide, this list goes on and on. And it becomes crystal clear that taking the drug is not worth the risk of the side effects. Not to mention, it doesn’t take away the condition, it only provides temporary relief.

Johnathan then says that the drugs have been tested and approved to be on the market. But I mentioned how these drug commercials are then followed by other commercials where lawyers come on the screen and proclaim that a certain drug that was recently promoted, in fact, has caused some other physical ailment, and if you have developed this ailment then you can receive compensation. So, clearly many of these drugs haven’t even been accurately tested before being given to patients, which means they are lying to consumers.

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I told Johnathon that at the end of the day, are there great, honest doctors out there who truly care for their patients? Yes. Is there modern medicine that has been greatly beneficial to society? Of course. But the health/drug industry is and has always been a money making industry – the biggest money making industry. The focus is more on profit, and less about really healing people, but rather getting them dependent on a drug. The industry promotes panic in their consumers which drives them to purchase drugs that could potentially leave them in a worse state than they were before.

I know what it’s like to be a nervous, scared patient buying drugs in hopes of a cure. I remember being given medicine and the nurse told me, “The drug will take away the symptoms, but it will not get to the root of the issue, go to this website and read this article.” I am forever grateful to that nurse who was bold enough and cared enough to tell me the truth. Up until that point no one had shared this information with me. I remember reading the article and doing other research, and discovered how changing what I put in my body had a dramatic effect on my condition. My grandmother’s words rang strong and true for me at that moment, she would always say, “Don’t you know they just PRACTICIN?!” It struck a nerve. I had to take my health into my own hands, educate myself, and take the control back. I had to use and trust my own discernment.

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I told Johnathan that his role as a doctor is to provide valuable information on his patients condition and then provide them with options. It is the patient who has to decide what route they want to take, and whatever decision they choose has to be respected. That was the whole point of our original conversation that spiraled out of control. Johnathan has a very strong position on most things and if people disagree with him, he will argue with them as to why they are wrong and he is right. As a doctor you can not do this. Your job is not to be combative, your job is to be of service. I told him to come down off of his pedestal of doctoral credentials and to check his ego and condescending tone. The best doctors are the most compassionate, the most honest, have good interpersonal communication skills, and are the most genuine in their goal to help their patients. They know how to engage in dialogue, and don’t try to take command.

I hope that my dear friend does not become tainted like many other doctors and forget his purpose. I hope he remembers that he does not get the final say. I hope he remembers that he is a public servant…he is not God.

 

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The Orlando Shooting and the Never Ending Fight over Gun Control

 

I think the most frightening world is a world in which everyone is frightened of each other, where people no longer recognize themselves in the other person and only see what they’ve been taught to fear. What’s even more frightening is when frightened people carry guns. I don’t know about you, but knowing that everyone is strapped doesn’t make me feel safe at all. My life becomes even more threatened, and the chances of getting killed by a bullet over a misunderstanding or misidentification, or a combination of someone’s poorly channeled anger coupled with their equally poor aim, doubles. So when Trump gets behind the mic in front of a mass audience professing that the Orlando shootings could’ve been prevented if other people in the club had a gun is completely asinine. The ignorant and moronic statements this man makes sends shivers down my spine and leaves me utterly bewildered.
Question: WHO GOES TO THE CLUB WITH GUNS, TRUMP??!!!
Oh! …that’s right, NO ONE!
“Why?”, you ask, because it’s F*#KING STUPID!

Solving gun related issues by bringing in more guns is not the answer. With the media only aiding in our suspicion of each other, we all will be looking at each other as a potential threat. When you have a nation of people who are scared of each other, you get a nation of people who have neglected reason and logic and compassion, and, instead, walk around with their finger on the trigger ready to go after anyone they assume to be dangerous for any number of reasons.
Black people have known forever what it’s like for the world to look at us with suspicion, prejudice, and hate. Now the focus has shifted to the Muslims within our country, and it’s outrageous how one group of people become the targets of such bigotry. We forget that the majority of us all want the same things and desire to cause no harm. We forget that we all want to live out our days in good health, safety and security, and live long enough to see our kids grow up. Unfortunately, our similarities get lost in the frenzy of death.

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The murderous attack that happened in Orlando tragically follows a string of horrible gun violence that has taken place in our nation. As I watch CNN and look at the faces of all those who were murdered, my heart breaks yet again. It’s becoming too frequent, too normal. It’s like getting hit to the point where you feel numb: The Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Planned Parenthood in Colorado, Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the Washington Navy Yard in D.C., Ft. Hood Texas, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, Century Theater in Colorado, not to mention a more recent threat at UCLA. The list just keeps going.

I don’t know how many more times I can watch President Obama address the nation with another grief filled speech asking for the nation’s help to enforce more strict guns laws, requirements and background checks.
Whatever your stance is on gun control, I think we all can agree that something has to change. I don’t understand why people are fighting about this. Clearly the rise in body counts has not been enough to get people to lessen the grip on their stance and come together to actually solve the problem. How many more people have to die before we set aside our pride and egos? How many more funerals have to be attended? How many more mothers, spouses, and children have to cry out loud in pain, anger, and disbelief? Something must change.

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Meanwhile, I pray that we do not become conditioned and confused by what the media puts out, and remember that one person who does a horrible act does not reflect the attitudes of an entire group. I pray that we don’t trade in our humanity and common sense for a safe full of fire-arms. I want safety just as much as everyone else, but protection will not come by building walls and putting snipers on the roof. Safety and protection comes from a unified effort, where everyone rallies against the ignorance and hate that permeates throughout our communities, and awaken to the fact that we have more in common than not.

Kardashians vs. George Zimmerman: Who do the people care more about?

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So Black Chyna and Rob Kardashian are having a baby.

Excuse my language but … who the f%@k cares?!

Congrats to them.

But, again, I ask, “Who the f*%k cares?!”

I NEVER thought I would write a blog post that mentioned the Kardashians but I’ve reached the zenith of my annoyance. Why do we care so much about this family?!? Do they pay our bills? Do they come to the family cook-outs? Do they pay off my monthly school loan to Sallie Mae? Have they ended world hunger? Did they find Bin Laden?? What DO THEY DO?!
What have they contributed to society aside from superficiality, scandal and confusion that keeps us tuned in to their every move?!

I must give props to this family; they certainly know how to keep people talking and the money flowing. But my frustration has less to do with them and more to do with the fact that we live in a society where #1). people can become famous from doing absolutely nothing and from exerting no real mental or creative efforts, and #2). that people have no idea about the issues that plague our communities, but they know details of celebrity life, which has no bearing on their day-to-day reality. They don’t know any updates on the Flint, Michigan water crisis, but they know who wore what at the 2016 Met Gala. They don’t know what Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary’s politics are, yet they know the exact day that Beyonce tickets are going on sale and all the dates for her Formation Tour. Our priorities are clearly warped.

Don’t get me wrong, entertainment is good and has it’s place, however, to have entertainment take precedence over real life issues is not only enraging, but, incredibly disheartening.

George Zimmerman has the audacity to try and sell the gun he used to KILL Trayvon Martin!!

zimmerman

Hello! Wake up people!!
This is what needs to be the topic of discussion, this is what should be on the blogs and magazine covers. The focus needs to shift. So many things are happening right underneath our noses that we neglect to properly address. The media does such a good job of distracting us with nonsense that we forget what is real and what actually matters. Don’t forget what actually matters. Jerk yourself awake from your zombie-like state, wipe the sleep from your eyes and take interest in what is happening in our world before it’s too late.

 
So unless the Kardashians are joining Black Lives Matter to help put George Zimmerman behind bars, or are helping to combat the blatant disregard for black people/culture whose style and creativity they CONSTANTLY STEAL from and salivate after, then I urge you to take your chatter elsewhere.

I don’t want to hear it, because they honestly don’t matter.

MLK: A Dream On Snooze

mlk

As I sat and reflected on MLK, I began thinking about all the religious and racially triggered events that had taken place in just the past few months. I thought about the heartbreak and the anger surrounding the unjust murders of mike brown and eric garner. I thought about the deadly shooting at the Charlie Hebdo publication, and the rallying international support it assembled. I thought about the massacre in Nigeria led by Boko Haram and the cold international silence that followed. I felt the blow of every event break me in two. My heart sank heavy with disappointment recognizing once again the lack of humanity within the human race.  And, if still alive, I wondered whether Martin would be celebrating today or feel just as weighed down as I did.

 

I think the dream of Dr. King was not to just get equal rights for black people, but for humans to begin to see themselves in each other. To realize the blatant, undeniable truth that we are more alike than we are different. To understand that God, Allah, Yahweh, Brahma…whatever you choose to call this higher power created EVERYONE! Therefore, EVERYONE has the right to live. Yes, culturally and religiously we each carry a unique print that outwardly distinguishes one from the other, but at the core…at the very fucking core…we are the same…we want the same fucking things. We all want love, peace, health, security, stability, family, friends, and the freedom to determine and create a life tailored to who we are – where what I look like doesn’t dictate the trajectory of my life. I don’t want to live in a world that is “color blind”, that is so politically correct that it chooses to ignore or subtlety ebb out my uniqueness.

Instead, I’d rather live in a world where the fear and the ignorance surrounding those differences is eradicated. Where the fear and ignorance that was once given life by so many is replaced with knowledge, and having that knowledge finally clears the way for acceptance.  We have much further to go before the real “Dream” is actualized, and MLK is not just a nice story in the paragraph of our history books, soon to be forgotten until the following year, but to where MLK represents a concept that is entrenched within the consciousness of all mankind.

 

Dr. King was way ahead of his time in the sense that he was preaching and speaking about spiritual ideals to people who had yet to be elevated in their spiritual thinking. Dr. King preached about a God that loved and created everyone equally, but the problem was that people made God out to be a deity that was strictly for them. In their eyes, God was not a God for all, but a God for a select few…a chosen few. It maintained division and misunderstanding and tension and hatred. It created an “us” vs. “them” mentality that justified cruelty. I think in order for the human race to stop killing itself, and to prevent further crimes against humanity, their understanding of God and their relationship with God has to change.  God has never been exclusive to one type, but lives within everyone. Seeing yourself in someone else means seeing God reflected back. And After seeing God could you still kill him?  Could you unjustly jail him? Could you deny him his rights? Could you leave him to suffer and die alone? Apparently so.

 

MLK’s dream serves as a wake-up call to all those who are still slumbering. Those sleepwalkers who blindly operate through life only concerned with their own survival. I think Martin’s dream was not a dream at all, it was, in fact, a divine summons to the dormant God within all of us.

Oneness

light in hand

To Love means that you recognize yourself in the other. I had an experience today that reminded, yet again, that, as a Global Community, we have some ways to go before the weight of ignorance is shed; and the ideas of “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” are no longer simply utopian concepts, but rather serve as the foundation of a civilized society.

~Bepifani~