*Deep Breath In, Deep Breath Out*
So, you may already know what this blog is going to be about.
Yes. My Blackness. My Life. My Worthiness. My Broken Heart. My Rage. My Exhausted Body, Mind & Soul.
Growing up, I lived in such a diverse, middle class neighborhood and I had friends from all different cultures and backgrounds. I kind of knew what it meant to live in the south, but I wouldn't really know until I became a teenager. I saw things. I saw injustice. But it was just something that you dealt with, not spoke on. Especially as a young person (be seen, not heard). The only talks about race I ever remember having was when my mother and father spoke to me about friends and dating... always stating that you can't help who you like or love-be friends/date anyone who respects you and treats you with kindness and love. I never met my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandmother died when I was 8 years old. I never heard the stories about being beaten, dragged, spit on, lynched or murdered... The real nitty-gritty stories about the plight of the black man. There is a part of me that struggles to "connect" with my ancestors as I feel a bit far removed from their pain and experiences. Until now. My parents never really spoke about their own experiences either. Just yesterday I found out that my father is a gun owner after talking about the riots and looting that occurred over the weekend. (I'll be 35 this month and I never knew). It wasn't until I attended an HBCU that I would see real black pride up close and truly begin to understand what it meant. And once I got married and had my son, I began to walk in that profound pride.
There has been an undeniable rise in blatant racism and white supremacy in America in the last few years and it is solely due to the president's lack of leadership, intelligence and apathy among this country's most vulnerable and disadvantaged. His ego and privilege have not only set our country back, it's left a path of social & economical destruction with no real hope or promise for a future. Life in America for black people has never been equal and I'm no longer waiting for the day when it will be. The likely hood that my son will one day protest for his own people as a full grown man is high. He may be yet another generation who has to literally fight for his life and that is wrong on so many different levels. Prayerfully, he will still be alive to do so if he chooses. But I'm tired of crying. I'm tired of checking in, being present and showing up. I want to hide and stay in the perfect bubble that is my home. My safe space. Life is hard enough, but white privilege is blaring all over social media and even on our TVs as white police and looters destroy our businesses and communities. And then there is the silence of some that speaks volumes. There are some questioning our outrage like we haven't endured violence and injustice for over 400 years. Wouldn't you be fed up if you were taken from your home to go and build someone else's and forced to watch your family die day after day, year after year? Exactly.
Last week, I had the pleasure of being selected to attend a private Zoom event with Stacey Abrams to talk about black maternal health. It was such a wonderful space to share, learn, reflect and PLOT. Ms. Abrams dropped some major gems on the call as she told us about how she fights the good fight and even shared her own struggles with continuing on when we as black people are let down time and time again because others won't step up and help us do the work.
Here were a few take-a-ways:
- “Once I got to the end of my stages of grief, I realized there was a new stage. And I called that stage, ‘PLOTTING’.”
- “One of the best ways to avoid exhaustion is to make sure you bring friends.”
- “I have to remind myself that the work I do is not because I believe I can fix the world. I have a responsibility to try. My obligation is to try to find, not only solutions, but to find allies and to find systems-- to build those systems-- so that when I am exhausted and I can’t do anymore, it doesn’t stop because I stopped.”
Stacey said so many things that resonated with me that night and it was quite interesting to hear her unfiltered experiences in politics and as a black woman. I also got a chance to ask a question and Stacey basically gave me the push to pursue some things I had been putting off until later. But I may not have later, there is only now. The noise of the ignorant and the actions of the wickedly unjust will not be dominated by the out cries and heartbeats of deserving lives. Not this time. There is clearly so much work to do.
See, I'm dealing with death on two fronts. Black Maternal Health in my work and Breathing While Black on a daily basis. Oh and did I mention we are still in the middle of global pandemic?! I had a talk with God recently about all the things that I want to do in life. I literally said out loud, "God, give me the time to do it ALL". I want to leave such a grand legacy that no book will ever be able to fully tell the impact me and my family had on the world. What I've come to realize is that I am more than my own dreams. My life has true purpose and there are things outside of my dreams that I will accomplish because God wants me to. So I will prepare. I will do the work to make real change. And my son will bare witness with my husband at my side.
Ten years ago, I never would have thought that this would be the current state of America. But I guess no matter how advanced we become, hate will not just simply disappear because it is a learned behavior. Truth is, black folks are sick and tired of being sick and tired. And as much as I have tried to ignore and deny a connection to my elders and ancestors, I feel them more and more every day. I hear their call for me to be greater. To continue to do much needed reproductive and political work. So I will look to them, God and my circle for comfort and peace to guide my next moves.
And so.... The Plot Blackens.