My head has been reeling and my heart aching at recent news regarding race and racism in our country. I'm sad and scared and outraged and really so stunned, cloudy with disbelief at things going on...these things in my head have kept me awake the past few nights.
The 14-year old boy in VA being told by his English teacher to read a Langston Hughes poem "blacker...c'mon, I thought you were black." Fire that teacher immediately. NEVER let her teach children again. EVER.
The murder of 17-year old Trayvon Martin in Florida by a Neighborhood Watch captain who claims self-defense and has not been arrested. The man had a gun and 100 pounds advantage. The kid had an Arizona ice tea and Skittles. This is so outrageous, the whole thing...I can't even, I don't know. I just get angrier with every story I read. Then, I heard the 911 tapes. Heartbreaking.
WHY do these things continue to happen? WHY are racist comments and actions easily accepted, without question? Why? These actions happen readily; comments roll easily.
I've always been sensitive to race issues. So much so that I rarely, if ever, speak of the effects. But I can't go one day without reading some news item with racial overtones. It makes me so sad...and hurts...and scares the heck outta me for my nephews. Do we have to teach them how to 'hide' their blackness when dealing with police and security? Do they have to be keenly aware of what they wear? What they say? Where they go?
All of these things...i can't even think straight...it just makes me incredibly sad and angry and scared...and i don't know what to do with it all...i don't know how to deal with it all.
I definitely had issues with my race while growing up. I never told anyone I was Black. As if not saying it made it so. I don't even know where I'm going with this...I can't think straight right now...i just have no other way to get this out...and its not making any sense, i know but
My iPhone died late yesterday afternoon. I am lost.
No Words with Friends.
No Scramble with Friends.
No text with friends.
A friend on Facebook posted "Don't you feel free? Like, it's a vacation?"
No. No, I don't feel free! I am truly sad. I had to wake up to the buzz buzz buzz of an alarm clock instead of the lovely voice of the lovely George Michael singing "Wake me up before you go go!" I missed my 2nd alarm, as well...the equally lovely voice of the equally lovely Simon LeBon encouraging me to "Reach up for the sunrise! Feel the new day enter your life!" buzz buzz buzz
I was so desperate that I actually blew into the connector port of the phone like it was some video game cartridge! I'll have to spend my lunch across town at the Apple Store, praying they can fix it.
This morning, I found a stray eyebrow hair. So, I put on a headband and I was mortified! Tons of gray. TONS! I was going out of my house looking like this?! And no one told me?! Gee, thanks, "friends" - appreciate it.
Suddenly, I felt old. My shoulders rolled forward, my back hunched over, I was cold, and my arthritis was acting up.
When I got to my office, I closed my door, laid out my tools, propped up a mirror and did what any self-respecting roots-showing girl would do - colored my hair.
For the past several years, the English Beat has played a show on or around my birthday. I've flown to Sacramento, driven to San Luis Obispo, and spent weekends down in Solana Beach just to see my favorite band for my birthday. When I checked their schedule for 2012, nothing was on the calendar; no worries, something would be added.
Rewind: Summer Tour 2010. Squeeze and the English Beat tour together for 2 weeks. And, so was I. My days were filled with travel and friends. My nights were filled with songs from my high school days. I danced onstage, backstage, side stage and in front of the stage, singing every word to every song by both bands. I had the time of my life! And now...
It's Summer Tour 2010 again! Squeeze *and* the English Beat *and* I will be rippin' and rockin' the east coast at the end April, the week leading up to my birthday! Woo hoooo! What a way to turn 45 :)
I am so freakin' excited! It's going to be amazing and incredible and soooo much fun! How could I be depressed about turning 45 with THIS on my horizon?!
When the 2012 Workplace Mentoring session started in September, Kimmie and I made a commitment to show up. Due to my hectic work schedule, I haven't been able to live up to my end of the agreement. Yesterday was the first time since December that the two of us have seen each other.
I was happy to have a 'one-on-one' session - 90 minutes for the two of us to talk and catch up over lunch. Each one-on-one we've had, Kimmie chooses chicken alfredo from the pasta station. This time I decided to join her. When we got in line, the pasta chef greeter her with "Hey! It's chicken alfredo!" The first time she had it, the chicken alfredo was the special of the day; since then, she's had it 'made to order'. The pasta chef started Kimmie's order - grilling the chicken, adding the garlic and veggies - then asked "What kind of pasta would you like?" Kimmie froze. Her eyes went wide. "Uh...I...what...I just want chicken alfredo," she stammered. I described the different pasta available to her: long skinny noodles or short tube noodles or flat noodles or stuffed noodles. "I don't know. Which one is the best one? I don't know." She saw that I had chosen penne, so she chose penne too.
After we ate, we decided to walk around the lot. "Which way would you like to go?" I asked. She froze. Again. Her eyes went wide. Again. "I don't know. Which way is best?" I told her last time we walked around the sound stages, let's go the other way. "Okay!" she said brightly and off we went.
We talked and joked, walked through storefront facades and stopped to take pictures. We walked down a side road because there was sun and we were both cold and ended up at Starbucks. "I love Starbucks!" So, inside we go. We're standing in line, reading the menu board, and Kimmie mentions she always orders the same thing but maybe she should try a different drink this time because it's too cold to get a frappucino. At the register, I order a white chocolate mocha latte somethingorother with whipped cream. "And, for you?" Kimmie froze. Her eyes went wide. "I don't know. What should I get? I don't know." Completely frustrated and out of patience, I ordered the iced version of the white chocolate mocha latte somethingorother. Both are sitting on the counter, ready for pick-up. I ask "Which one would you like?" It was a three-minute ordeal - "which do you like? which one do you want? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know." I said they're both the same except one is hot, one is iced. I stood there, waiting for her to decide. She took the iced drink, I grabbed the other, and we walked out.
I asked her why she doesn't make decisions. ::shoulder shrug:: I asked why she was paralyzed when presented with options. "I don't like to make decisions. What if I make the wrong choice? You said 'Left or right?' What if I say left? I might miss something going on to the right. I don't want to miss anything!"
I told her that's part of making a decision - either way is an adventure. If you don't choose one or the other, you miss out on both! Something wonderful and exciting could happen no matter which way you go. She confessed she gets chicken alfredo each time because she knows what it tastes like and she likes it; and what if she tries something else and doesn't like it?
I confessed that making decisions was tough for me, too. Making decisions, giving opinions - I hated to do it! What if I want sushi and everyone else wants burgers? Kimmie nodded her head. "Yes!" I told her to trust herself, listen to herself. Don't be afraid to make a decision or share her opinion. We talked about this for a good 20 minutes. "Next time, force me to make a decision. Tell me I have to try something other than pasta." Ohhh, no! I will do no such thing! She's going to have to trust herself, listen to herself and choose on her own. We hugged, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
I walked back to my office with such a warm and full heart. I really wish someone had shared these things with me when I was in high school. I'm just so glad the lessons were learner - better late than never. And, I hope these lessons and moments shared stick with Kimmie long enough for her to share with someone else.