What Will I Do | Dec 14 2014

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I was eleven years old when I realized that everyone wasn’t from Jamaica. This was true despite 5 years of American History and Catholic School Religious Studies. For me, biblical times, medieval ages, recounts of Native Americans, The Atlantic Salve Trade, and the Civil Rights Era were stories; Powerfully sad, stories. I couldn’t relate to them but I listened intently all the same. It never occurred to me that everyone didn’t go to Jamaica for Summers, or that Thanksgiving didn’t include curry goat and rice and peas.

Back then my overly simplistic and idealistic mind I wondered why “we” let those things happen. Why didn’t we just believe Jesus was the Son of God? Why didn’t we stop the pilgrims from treating the Indians poorly? Why was it so hard to just tell enslavers, “NO!” and punish them?

Three-plus decades later, I still feel compelled to ask the questions, despite knowing the whys.

Now via the undesired courtesy of social media I know more about the deeply held believes of people a cross section of America including those I consider friends and associates. They are slowly evolving into “them.” Do I educate or withdraw?

Now I know the power of prayer. Do I pray and carry-on as though all will be OK?

Now I have hash-tags and “Black-outs.” Do I rely on hash-tag activism and hope that people smarter than me find an answer?

Now I am the they, the them, the those people who should be doing something? What will I do?

Praying for, asking for, thinking of ways to DO SOMETHING.

An Open Letter of Love to Black Students: #BlackLivesMatter

Excellent read. Do it because you owe yourself mental manna and because #BlackLivesMatter.

Black Space

IMG_5465 Black students and professors, Beaumont Tower, Michigan State University, December 6, 2014. photo by Darryl Quinton Evans

We are Black professors.

We are daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, godchildren, grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, and mothers.

We’re writing to tell you we see you and hear you.

We know the stories of dolls hanging by nooses, nigger written on dry erase boards and walls, stories of nigger said casually at parties by White students too drunk to know their own names but who know their place well enough to know nothing will happen if they call you out your name, stories of nigger said stone sober, stories of them calling you nigger using every other word except what they really mean to call you, stories of you having to explain your experience in classrooms—your language, your dress, your hair, your music, your skin—yourself, of you having to fight for all…

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Meet & Greet | December 8 2014

Every now and then I become aware of how much of “me” I normally leave home each day. This fragmented existence has been a necessary and a seemingly natural occurrence. I mean, everything ain’t for everybody and everywhere, right?

Generally I don’t notice the fragmentation until I blurt out “Man listen!,” or give someone side-eye, or I unexpectedly translate a Bronx-ism. Once detected, I shift gears, tuck tags and reset, because there’s never been a question – There’s an active list of the attributes that are regularly assessed for travel worthiness. For me: Politics are on the “No Fly List,” Potty Mouth has Reward Miles use, while my Quick Tongue, Dry Sense of Humor and Resting Bitch Face make up the content is my on-board bag.

Today I decided to add in more element of me to that on-board bag. At 8:49 AM me and my TWA (Teenie Weenie Afro) said Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Evening to to my global workplace team.

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I was coming off of a weekend of high hair-bonding. I felt so comfortable in my skin that there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation about a Monday Morning debut. I was prepared for a Step and Repeat flashing bulbs-type arrival.

Then shortly after 6:00 AM I realized that today’s hair was not the weekend’s hair. That rod set was way too tight. I wasn’t as generous as I needed to be with the leave-in conditioner. I hadn’t prepped my travel companion to meet my work family. Yup, I had an acute case of #NaturalistaNERVOUSNESS.

On Saturday this same hair had me strutting through the streets feeling like FIYAH.

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Today, not so much. The closer I got to work, more nervous I became. Would they “get” her? Would the pending rain force her to crawl-in on herself? Was she shiny enough? Too frizzy? Is that a bald spot? Yup, I was fully nervous and confused and disappointed in myself for being nervous and confused.

I made it through Day 1 with help from Prima and Sissy Poo, and lipstick. My family reminded me that:

“It’s a learning process,”
“Don’t walk. Strut-in. You are on fire!!”
“You gotta fake it Wen! Tomorrow put on your concealer, blush, mascara and lipstick. Step strong and tall. I know it’s beautiful and that you *look* beautiful. You just need to reflect what everyone else will be thinking!”

God bless them! I made it through the the day. They are right. My +1 is deserving of the invite. She’s part of my Day 1 Crew – Has been there from the start. She doesn’t need explanation. She simply needs nurturing and acceptance. So, I’m breathing-in calm and exhaling anxiety and giving her a right to be.

Off to plan my Day 2 Look!

I Woke Up Like This (Almost) | December 6 2014

I started this day feeling like FIYAH – Natural, Necessary and Glowingly Beautiful (in the right context).

The source of this FIYAH? I fell in love with my hair. I mean we’ve enjoyed each others company for years. Sure we’ve had brief falling-outs, but ultimately we have maintained a healthy respect for one another.

Two years ago we decide to take things to the next level and started “seeing” each other naturally. Over 24+ months I’ve found a new appreciation for her strength, her fragility, her resilience, but this morning was different because
today I saw my reflection in her.

Together we’re out in these streets feeling like FIYAH!!!!

#naturalista #comfortableinmyskin and #ismellgood

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