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On Sharpton, Jackson, and policing voices

One of the reasons I keep my distance from the ongoing (online) dialog on race and social justice is the tendency to police and criticize everything.  If you take a stand about something you're passionate about, someone with a larger platform can and will come for you about your passion for your cause but not theirs or about the limits of your view on an issue of interest.  It happens all the time.  It's happening right now -- like the criticism of white protests over KONY but not Mike Brown, on how white folks show solidarity (though I do agree with the author's point about the lady holding the "I am Trayvon Martin" sign), or on how Al needs to have a seat.  

To some degree, I think it's useful to point out when someone's efforts do not seem to align with the larger movement that's happening, especially if those efforts are really going to jeopardize progress.  This becomes really important when the people protesting the injustice are not the same people who experience the injustice.  Yet, so much of the effort that goes into policing action and voices seems trivial, so I lurk rather than engage, lest I get caught in the never-ending cycle of dissent.

I'm not here to take a stand against criticism, though.  If that's what you want to do, fine.  I will continue to direct my energy away from the policing...but, I wish the rest of the community would do the same to some extent and just let people do their thing.  And that means leaving space for people like Al and Jesse.  These cats seem, by all means, out of touch with what's happening on the ground in our communities, but they still have a platform and a voice that may bring comfort to the older generation of activists, who expect to see them in times of turbulence.  And if they do know how to reach that older generation, then there is still value in letting them do their thing.  Is it right that the media seems to look to them, and only to them, for the "black perspective" (like there's only one)?  Hell no!  And is it right that they step into the spotlight that's proffered and feel compelled to let their voices rise above those on the front lines?  Hell no!  But, people like Al and Jesse, they still have a purpose in this narrative.  We all do.

Don't we?

This isn't a "why can't we all just get along" perspective.  It's a practical perspective.  I'm just saying.

Intersect

1. The world is watching Ferguson -- marching, protesting, mourning, yelling, standing their ground.  Watching as the mask slips and falls to the ground.  Rationalizing the fever pitch of anger there, seeing us only as animals to be subdued, rounded up and contained.  But we are not horses; we are not to be broken.

Ferguson is happening, and I'm here, wishing I could do more.  In a way, it feels like Katrina, so it's under my skin.  But with Katrina, protesting the civil rights violations wasn't the focus as much as surviving was.  Now though?  Yeah.

I want to be in this dialog that's happening.  I don't think I've said that since Houston.  I've been tired and I've been burned, but I want to be talking about this and doing something that makes a damn difference.

2. If we are all put here for a purpose that we aim to achieve with our intrinsic talents and gifts, but that purpose doesn't serve the people, where do you go with that?

I think that's what I'm really struggling with, why I'm looking for causes to latch onto, why I'm looking for purpose -- because I don't feel like my life has one.  My natural talents are not in demand, not essential.  My story is no longer interesting.  My life happens inside the lines.  I have limited experience with people.  I don't feel like I have anything useful to offer.  

That?  The root of my distress.  

I don't feel like I have anything useful to offer.

I'm not going to vinyasa.  Going to let myself feel it and breathe.

I need a therapist.

Run that back

This, though!  WHAT THE FUCK?!

HELL NO.  Just like respectability politics, following orders as a POC will still get you treated like a nigga, and that can very well mean death.  Kowtowing will NOT keep you safe if your skin is brown.

A badge and gun don't give police the right to executive command.  Cops are public servants, not military occupants.  Somebody show me the memo where cops were officially deemed more important than the people they SWORE to serve and protect.

There aren't even enough words...

Chasing dreams: The Alchemist

I finally finished The Alchemist.  

I started it back when I was still in graduate school, probably some time around 2008 or 2009.  The bookmark, still in place, was wedged about halfway through.  That's when I got bored with it.  But something made me pull up the audiobook version on my iPod a day or two ago, and I started to listen.  I couldn't stop this time.  When I had to pause on the audiobook, I read from the hardcopy.  And when it was time for lights out, I listened to the audiobook.  It took me just two days to finish.

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Quake and tremble

I think I need a therapist again.  At least, G seems to think its inappropriate for me to be so slow to bounce back from things that hurt my spirit -- like XU. Maybe P thinks so too but believes I'm too fragile to hear the truth. I don't know. Whether or not recovery speed's a factor, I'm still messed up inside.

Work and babies, babies and work...Collapse )

Lone soldier/lone shoulder

So.  The entry I don't want to write on the topic that I don't ever want to talk about, yet it's nearly always on my mind.
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It's 2014

Stolen moments are the only ones I can manage, so here goes.

2013 was a whirlwind of new experiences -- lots of growth personally, professionally, and physically.  I checked most of the goals off of my to-do list.  Ran a 5K and 10K, and almost almost made it to the half.  Made some new friends.  Started working for BC and at XU with GD.  Didn't make it all the way to 50K but increased my income about 10K since last year.  Hustling paid off.

That said, 2013 didn't end on the best note.  Injured my knee from a 10-miler I ran on December 7.  Have been all but sidelined ever since, including missing the half on December 14 that I had been training for since July.  On December 15, the day I turned 33, my sister's business caught on fire and was gutted (not to mention smoke damage).  It's January 13 and she is only just now able to get in and begin clean up.  We also hosted family Xmas, so it was mad dash to get everything done.  I didn't have a second to sit down and rest until December 26.  Once I did, I was able to stop and realize that I'm weary of working at XU.  There is too much bullshit between too many grown men, and I'm tired.  Plus, working with GD has become uncomfortable.  He isn't a bad person, but he seems so scattered and so unpredictable.  I have a hard time trying to figure out what he expects me to do.  Plus, he is a master at delegating and expanding everyone's scope, but I can't figure out what the hell it is that he is doing.  Plus, the fact that he's delegating so much to black folk who are not even in the budget...yeah.  I wish I could put my finger on it better.  I'm just ready to be fucking done with this clusterfuck of massive project we have on our plate. 

friends

I feel like I have a lot to write, but I'm tired, and for some reason that is superseding my need to push these words across the virtual page.  But I'm here anyway, fighting through.

I made a friend...and yet, I find that word still sticks in my throat because I don't know how to be sure in it.  She is personable and quirky and beautiful, and people respond to her, so she collects them.  She's collected me, too, and I've allowed myself to be collected.  I've gone with her but hesitantly, afraid, wondering how.when.if. because how.when.if is what I know.

She wields the word as if it is just a word, while I struggle to carry its weight.  I knew P for 5 years, face-to-face for 3, before I finally found peace in calling her friend.  And that was 2013.  But it seems every anecdote, every experience involves someone she calls friend.  And I just don't know anything -- not what I'm doing, not what to expect, not if and when to steer this or just let it be.

Is it normal to go through a "dating" period of trying to figure each other out?  Because that's what it seems she thinks we're doing.  Like this is the evaluation period, and the next level is one up from being called "new."  I find myself hella anxious when she uses that word.  It's like cold water being splashed across my face -- not refreshing, but chilling, awakening, being brought back to reality and put in my place.  That word makes me feel like I'm being tested, assessed according to some friend-related criteria I don't know, and that is...hard for me. It makes me self-conscious.  It makes me wonder if I'm "performing" right, and that defeats the whole purpose of this dating period, doesn't it?  It makes me feel like I don't want to fail, but that's not about her or our relationship; it's about me not wanting to fail at making friends anymore in my life.  If this doesn't pan out with her, it might suck for a while, but I know I'll ultimately be fine, because some people are just not compatible.  But what would take longer to heal is the hurt that would come from fucking this up again.  I know that doesn't make sense, that those two responses don't logically fit together, but they are both inextricably linked in me.

What are acceptable boundaries?  She started texting me shortly after we met.  That became meeting for lunch 1-2 times per week.  That became texting sessions that are hours long.  Which then became meeting her son and having her meet G, the first time for ice cream and the second, for dinner at her place.  But, while we were texting one night, she made some comments about us being perceived as a couple at work; and while we were at her house, she made some comments about texting long hours.  And that made me wonder: where is the line and should I have the social intelligence to know it if she doesn't come out and say it outright?  It never occurred to me to think about how people might perceive us, just as it never occurred to me that she might be bothered by people's opinions.  Also, I always ask if I'm impinging on her time when we're texting for long hours.  So, I don't know anymore where things stand.  I feel sullen and heavy and gray because I don't want to be that person who is kept out of pity.  I can't with that.  I just can't.

Why do I care so much about the way she portrays her relationship?  The first time she told me that her girlfriend is her former student and is 20 years her junior, I took her response to be bashfulness (though how fucking HOT is that scenario?!).  But since then, she's tried to make light of the age difference and I've come to think it's not the joke she portrays it to be.  It's not funny to me.  It frustrates me and borderline makes me angry, which is...ridiculous, because that is not my life.  But there is something in this that just crawls beneath my skin and buries itself in my belly...until it comes boiling to the surface like it did tonight.  Tonight I unplugged the filter and shot from the hip with no grace and no thought, and it wasn't until G pointed out that I was being judgmental that I could finally see.  This, this joking place, this unrestful place, is where she is with this aspect of her relationship.  Period.  Who am I to judge that or get frustrated?  This is not my story, but there's something about it that triggers a personal reaction.  Must figure out what this is, and must apologize.  She deserves that.

And I don't want to ever read these words again, but I wonder, will the magic wear off now that she's met G and realized how much easier it is to be her friend?  There.  I said it.  Now I'm going to pretend like I didn't.

So, friend.  In a whisper, yes.  But I don't know that I can say it out loud, because...yeah.

Falling asleep on my keyboard now.  Fingers stopping mid strike.  Sentences incomprehensible.  Bring me to my dreams.