Like it or not, Trayvon Martin verdict sparks necessary conversation

I have struggled to find the words to offer in the wake of the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, which is why I have been silent until now. Hasn’t everything already been said repeatedly?

I have had so many thoughts and emotions in the time since the case first became public, but I rationalized that this is not an instance I should even comment on as a relationship blogger. Then again, I look at relationships and does this verdict not shed light on the horrible relationships that exist between the races in this country? The fact that no one wants to really acknowledge this only adds to the ugliness of it. Sorry to report it American dreamers, but we do not live in a post-racial society.

I have no comments on the case or the verdict, because it is what it is. The public reaction, however is a different story for me. Twitter was quite active during the presentation of the case and since the verdict was reached. I have seen good, bad and ugly in the opinions expressed. There has been very little understanding or compassion, and a lot of politicizing and antagonizing going on. No real conversation is going to happen until that ends, and without honest dialogue there will be no healing or change.

Some will ask if there is even a need for change, and I have to wonder how that can be questioned. Change reflects growth. Change reflects improvement. We have written laws and amended them over and over in this country for a reason: society grows over time. This is not a negative thing. Yet, we have a segment of the country up in arms because there is a call to review certain laws. This is not a new thing. It is a part of the process that we all hold dear, right? It is a part of the process of growth.

Tearing down stereotypes, building understanding, reviewing laws for improvement, peaceful protests and demonstrations, and expressions of grief are not evil in practice or intent. Why are the people who want these things being vilified as those who want to attempt to take away rights or seen as a destructive force?

We must improve our relationships if we want a strong community. We cannot have these divisions if we want to be a strong nation. Isn’t that what everyone should be concerned about? Doesn’t ‘WE the people’  include all of us?

Live.

Get up. Groom. Go to work. Come home. Repeat. There is some eating and resting involved, but you get the point. That is the life, right?

Eh.

How many of us live this cycle? How many of us LOVE this cycle? I will bet that more people will answer in the affirmative for the first question than for the second. So how do we create a better cycle, or get to the part when we love what we are doing in life?

Do something different.

This is my offering of an answer, and I admit that it is incomplete. I am on that journey to live and not only exist and so I am still figuring out how to get there. Doing something different is what I have NOT done, and that is why I think I stay in the same position.

Now, I know that it takes courage to do something different. We like the “devil” we know, better than the “devil” we don’t because we know how to deal with that known entity. We love the safety of it all. What happens when safe becomes stagnant, and then stagnant begins to feel like death? Maybe that is taking things a bit far, but things in life can become so routine that there is no life in it anymore.

I also recommend something else: do not think, only DO. This is where I struggle. I am the type who likes to have the path figured out before I walk it, so spontaneous happenings are not comfortable for me. I am not an advocate of using no thought process. I mean, don’t take to twitter to call the President of the United States ugly like Amanda Bynes. Do something with positive intent or that will bring about a benefit for you. The suggestion is about taking action to create some sort of change. I know it’s scary to be unsure of what kind of change will happen, but something to adjust to is good. Something to challenge your perspective is good.

Don’t just exist. LIVE!

The Why

You know, I am no celebrity so I do not know if my words are received. I bring this up because I was recently asked why anyone should listen to me. Sobering question.

I am just a girl from Brentwood projects in Florida. I never had much, and never was expected to do much based on my beginning. All the disadvantages were there that you could speak of, and yet I never felt it. I didn’t know any different. Success, in some way, was just surviving. The cherry on top would be to actually do something that impacts the world, which is probably what still drives me even to this day.

If you let society tell you things, you would think that nothing good ever comes out of that. Why then do I have the audacity to believe that I could matter? I am not really sure. I just never blindly accepted others assessments. You say little black girls aren’t pretty? I looked in the mirror and saw pretty, so I thought it was rubbish. You say I don’t learn as well, but then I perform at the highest level in the class. In many instances the you-say crowd was wrong far too much for me to give them much credence.

So then, I was expected to do everything I ever imagined. I expected it of myself. The journey has produced so many tears and so few victories. I just want you to take my life and it’s failures to avoid it all. If I could save you one tear, then I will feel that all of my let-downs were worth it.

Compassion is not something that comes easily. Experiences create it within you. So my answer would be that you should listen only if you want to. Yet, I will continue to speak (and write) because I care enough to do so. Hopefully, the desire I have is apparent and compelling enough to gain your ear.

Is the grass greener?

When we are single, we want to be married.

When we are married, we want to be single.

The curly-haired ones want straight hair, and the straight-haired want to be curly.

The short want to be tall, and the tall wish they didn’t stick out so much.

Things that are considered “the best” are always from somewhere else.

“This is the finest Italian leather…This is Columbian coffee…”

Why is it always the next thing that is going to be the best thing?

Is the grass really greener over there?

Danny Green: Silently Speaking

Every now and then, you get caught up in your own melodrama and your situation seems so magnified that you react. Sometimes the reaction is not positive. I had one of those moments at the end of last week.

I am in transition and so I am facing many challenges. I went to get career counseling because I felt I needed some guidance and wanted a better understanding of ways to create opportunities to get into speaking and develop my voice. I left that meeting feeling unsure of myself, which is something I rarely experience. I penned these words a few days after the encounter:

Dear Opportunity:

I have been looking for you for a very long time.

I’ve been told that if I can only meet you, things would be different. Once you see what I can bring, we could grow.

I think we had several appointments, but then your evil cousin circumstance cut me off while on my journey. He put many obstacles in my way that took time to overcome, and by the time I made it though, you had departed. I wished I could have met you.

I want to believe you will come around again. I am working and preparing, just in case.

The naysayers told me you don’t like to come into my neck of the woods. They said you only hang around the privileged and those who work through politics. They told me that even if I begged you would not come for me. I have waited so long and I am wondering if they really know. I am beginning to hate that I see some truth in that notion.

Will you ever come by here?

I will leave the light on.

It is not right or wrong to feel a certain way, and I do own my feelings. However, I am glad that there are other people in the world with other stories to give a different perspective. That person for me at the moment is Danny Green.

For those who do not know, Danny Green is a professional basketball player who is currently competing for a championship as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. His journey to get to this point is what is so admirable. He was cut from that same team twice before. He has played overseas in Slovenia and in the NBA’s D-league, and now is playing so well that he is being considered for MVP of the NBA finals.

I cannot help but love the fight in this man. Becoming a player in the NBA had to be a dream come true, but then he was cut. He could have let that stop him, but he didn’t. He must have had days when he wondered if he should continue, and felt the things I expressed in my writing piece. He kept practicing, and trying, and working because that is what you must do to set yourself up for success. I know this, but I am grateful for the reminder.

I will keep writing my speeches, and searching for engagements, and developing my voice because one day I will get a chance to prove that I can make a difference. Until then, I will pull for people like Danny Green. I will let his desire to triumph fuel my own, and will prepare to make the most an any opportunity, as he has. I will because I must. Your life is speaking Danny, and I am listening.

Labels Aren’t Everything

So I am riding around and handling some business and that Beyoncé tune hits the airwaves, you know the one about the female version of a hustler. I’m feeling it, so I give it a little volume, but it got me to thinking. Do these labels really mean anything?

Diva is not the only label that came to mind. The rap world now also lauds the “bad b**ch” as the most desired female, replacing the “dime piece” and young girls everywhere strive for this title. These are people who are getting money, or have a certain look which usually includes very skimpy attire and taking photographs which feature their posterior in very tight clothing. Just what our daughters should aspire to, huh?

I hope the young girls who seem to be caught up in this ask themselves what do they have to do to get these titles. If you are becoming someone other than yourself to get that type of attention then is it really a good thing? When you take those back shots, it may get you attention but does it also get you respect? While you divas are getting money, are you doing so in a way you can be proud of? Who are these people who co-sign these ideas, and why is their opinion so important to you?

What is most important is what you call yourself. Think about it.

Letter to life

Dear instances of life:

You will not destroy this movement.

You will not take this love from me.

I am determined to spread it abroad.

I have nurtured it, and carried it through emotional famine, a feelingless wilderness, and the assault of empathy.  It survived.

So, it has paid its dues.

Therefore your efforts to diminish it will not win.

It is rooted and full-grown and not easily moved.

If you chop down a branch, yet another will grow.

New blooms will blossom, and the scent of it will fill the atmosphere.

Ah, the beauty and essence of the true love of mankind.

Once cemented, it is the basis of all that one does.

Indestructible and eternal.

Love: the undeniable force that will remain.