To Those Who Still Don’t Get It

Disclaimer: If this post offends and upsets you but doesn’t pierce your heart, it’s okay. Everything I write is coming from a place of love and the optimistic hope that you will try to see things through my eyes. It’s up to to you if you decide to change.

I’m usually the quiet one, the one who avoids conflict and confrontation, the one trying to keep the peace. Usually that works for me, but not always. Sometimes it hurts my soul to be quiet; sometimes (like this time) I can physically feel the pain in my chest and it won’t allow me to be silent.

So what do I do when I need to get things off my chest? This is what I do. I write it out, spill my feelings all over the page. Sometimes I keep it to myself and sometimes (like this time) I share for all to see. This time is different. This time I am hoping to disturb the peace. This time I can’t sit back and not say something. This time the stakes are too high, the hurt is too deep, and it’s been going on for too long. What’s the problem?

There are still too many of you WHO DON’T GET IT!

At first, I was shocked and amazed by the number of people who didn’t get it. Then I was saddened and hurt by it. Now I’m angry…uneasy…unable to rest. There is no way you can see the same things I’m seeing, hear the same things I’m hearing, and still have the same attitude that you’ve always had. YOU CAN’T!

I think what has pushed me over the edge the most is the fact that I’ve read comments where people have actually referred to those involved in the movement as being crybabies and whiners who need to get over it and let the past be the past. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! All that is happening here in America and across the world is not in response to a single, isolated incident. How do you just “get over” 400 years of unfair treatment? 400 years of unjust treatment that have not gotten better despite what others want us to believe?

It’s the same injustice just with a different name.

Then there are some of you who have more concern about a statue and the name on a building or of a city than you do with the basic human rights of your neighbor. Some of you have yet to speak up about the death of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor but you have the time to rant and rave over the statue of a known slave-owner who fought against his own country or to defend a man who is currently dividing our country. I am truly baffled.

Let me give you an example of why making these changes are important. Have you ever watched a home remodeling show? Think HGTV. When they remodel a home, do they keep the old appliances, broken down HVAC system, and beat up furniture? No. They do what they can to preserve the charm and history of the house, but they get rid of the old unsightly items that no longer serve the purpose and vision of the new home. They work hard to right all of the wrong about the home. The old is made new. Now do you get it?

What makes it even worse is that some of you even have the nerves to question why we’ve never spoken up about these things before? Why are we just now complaining and petitioning for change?

Do you really think we’ve been silent all of this time? We’ve been protesting our treatment from the beginning.

When we jumped overboard rather than be enslaved, we were protesting.

When we dared to follow that North Star even when threatened with severe punishment or even death, we were protesting.

When we started our own schools and educated ourselves because we weren’t accepted elsewhere, we were protesting.

When we sat at the counter in a diner while being verbally and physically abused, we were protesting.

When we dared to be the only person of color in a hostile environment in order to integrate a school, we were protesting.

When we moved into neighborhoods where we weren’t welcomed in order to give our families better opportunities, we were protesting.

When we rapped the words to “Fight the Power” or screamed the chant “I’m Black and I’m Proud,” we were protesting.

When we wore our shirts and hats and pins proclaiming our greatness and the love of our skin, we were protesting.

When we took a knee during the Anthem, we were protesting.

When we added yet another name to a too long list of hashtags, we were protesting.

We’ve been screaming from the rooftops for over 400 years that we want to be treated the same. How is that not speaking up? How is that not complaining?

Now is the first time it seems the county and the world have been listening, learning, awakening, changing, and growing. And it’s given us the confidence to push even harder and believe even more than before.

Yet some of you actually seem upset by this and that disturbs me.

Some of you are close to me but don’t feel the need to fight for me or my husband or my boys.

I could be the next Sandra Bland.

My husband could be the next Ahmaud Arbery.

My oldest son could be the next Elijah McClain.

My youngest could be the next Tamir Rice.

I see a part of us in each one of those stories and that scares me. Scares me EVERY SINGLE DAY. I shouldn’t have to live with that type of fear.

I shouldn’t have friends who aren’t bothered that I have to live with that type of fear.

The revolution is going to happen with or without you. This country has been fighting against this change for far too long and the people are tired.

I’m tired. And I’m going to speak up the best way I know how.

From my heart to my pen to my paper to my keyboard.

I am protesting in my own way.

What will it take for you to fight beside me?

8 Minutes 46 Seconds

8 minutes 

46 seconds 

After centuries of injustice  

is that really what it took?

8 minutes 

46 seconds 

A video no one will ever forget  

The whole world is shook.

8 minutes  

46 seconds  

So short in the scope 

Of all the years of injustice that’s been done.

8 minutes 

46 seconds  

But for 1 man,

that time proved to be too long.

8 minutes  

46 seconds 

The world is finally starting to take notice 

Finally starting to see

8 minutes  

46 seconds 

I’m almost afraid to begin to hope, 

Afraid to begin to believe

Did it really take  

8 minutes  

46 seconds 

For them to finally feel our pain?

8 minutes  

46 seconds  

We can’t let his death be in vain.

We can’t let 

8 minutes  

46 seconds 

Be all of his story that is told.

8 minutes  

46 seconds  

We will keep saying his name because 

His life was so much more

than

8 minutes  

46 seconds  

We will honor him  

Stand up

demand change.

8 minutes  

46 seconds 

Because of you, George Floyd,  

Our country,

our world,

will never be the same.

The Present-Minded Life

This morning on the radio there was a segment where they were encouraging people to call in and tell what they would change about their lives if they knew they only had 10 years left to live. It was intriguing and thought-provoking, but also a little unnerving.

Imagine knowing for certain that you only had 10 years left in your life. With that deadline looming over you, how would you live your life differently? I allowed myself to indulge in this thought with one of my first ideas being that I would actually hook up and hang out with my friends and family more regularly like we always promise we will do (at least once a month) instead of when we actually see each other (every 6 months to a year, at funerals, or at weddings).

But then I started thinking…why should that be the push to do something that I really want to do, something that I claim is important to me? Why would it take knowing exactly how limited my time is before I would decide to get my act together and stop living like tomorrow is promised?

With the recent unexpected deaths of people my age (high school classmates, Kobe Bryant), I’m starting to feel the pressure to get it together and live life to the fullest.

But why do we do that?

Why do we wait until some tragedy comes along in order for us to decide that we need to embrace this beautiful thing called life and get every last drop of goodness out of it?

It’s because we all live with the future in mind, that future that promises that all of our dreams will come true and that we will have the happily-ever-after ending, that we’ll die peacefully in our beds surrounded by friends and loved ones after we’ve finished living our best life.

But that, my friend, is not promised. Not to any of us.

Yet we live as if it is. And we act as if that happy ending will happen all on its own.

In order to have that fairy-tale ending, WE HAVE TO PUT IN THE WORK NOW. No one knows when their life will end, but we all know that one day it will. Death is inevitable, and we only get one chance at life. So why, why do we put off until tomorrow what we can do TODAY?

My friend, Monica Perez Burnett, put it this way, “You deserve the life you tolerate.” Let that sink in.

Now don’t think that I’ve got it all together. This is as much a message to myself as it is to you, friend. But I really want all of us to consider that if 10 years from now we looked back on today, would we be happy with what we see ourselves doing right now?

Today I can say that the answer would be yes because I worked my Sanctuary Girl business, took time for myself, and I relaunched my blog (which I’ve been vowing to do for MONTHS ). But will I be able to say that tomorrow? Will I keep that same passion and drive tomorrow or will I revert back to the complacent, I-can-do-it-tomorrow mindset that seems to plague us all periodically?

We can rewrite what the future looks like for us, but it calls on us to be present-minded. It calls on us to live today not like it’s our last but like we are writing our future the way we want it to be. So that even if our lives ended before we expected, we could be proud of the path that we were on, the work we had put in, the goals we were crushing.

The book won’t get written if you never start it. That house will never get purchased if you don’t start working on your credit and savings today. That friend won’t know how much they mean to you if you don’t reach out and connect with them today. You won’t leave that legacy that you want for your children, your grandchildren, and generations to come.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I’m challenging all of us TODAY to become present-minded, to be a part of the ANTI-REGRET LEAGUE. (Yes, I just made that up). The point is, I want us all to push every single day to do something that will make our future selves smiles, that will make our future selves look back and say “Today is possible because of the choices I made back then.” Let’s not live a life of regret, one filled with unfilled dreams and potential.

Let’s not settle for anything less than what God has promised us.

What will you do today to ensure that tomorrow is your dream come true?

Check out my poem about this topic here.