It’s hard for me to find the words for something so traumatic.
When that um human wasn’t found guilty for executing an unarmed Trayvon Martin in 2012, I weeped for a half an hour nonstop. I told myself: It will get worse before it gets better. And, it did like it always had. Blacks and other people of color have been getting bombed, lynched, hunged and executed just for not being White since America was “discovered” again by Columbus.
The anger, the tears, the outrage kept flowing through the short lives of Renisha McBride, Jordan Dunn…and the many, many others…including the countless women that were slain (the lack of representation of women in these protests is worth several other posts).
I couldn’t physically get out of my seat after watching Oscar Grant’s life in Fruitvale Station (today marks six years since his death). I was sick. I cried for like an hour after and had to call my mother and sister to be “consoled.”
After seeing the image of Mike Brown’s body be passed around online, blood flowing from his head…I couldn’t find the words. It was more like tears, profanity, rage, helplessness and sadness.
I didn’t know at the time, but it’s trauma that I, as well as many other Blacks and other oppressed people,
were are experiencing.
I had to step back and take care of myself. I had to step back and reflect. I had to step back and be intentional and mindful about how I will live my life going forward. I had to focus on making myself better, being positive but aware of everything, and taking more action in things that will make this world better.
Ferguson has taught me that I won’t see the change I’m hoping for in my lifetime because, on top of many reasons, people don’t want to accept the truth. Like Chris Rock said in an interview with Vulture.com, “White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that Black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before…Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.” Still, some “good,” “nicer” white people are oblivious, some Black people and other people of color are oblivious too, and some people just want to be “neutral,” which is the worst. There are so many that don’t “get it.” Who I am to debate with grown folks who would rather deny their privileges and bask in their ignorant bliss? I am here for the babies that will be here when I soul leaves my body.
Too many lives have been ruined because of people’s ignorance and fear, so it’s imperative that I am intentional about how I plan to live my life going forward despite these realities.
My heart aches for what my ancestors have lost their lives over, and I would say I couldn’t imagine living during those times. Sheetttt, look at 2014 and the many years before that. I was naive. Now, the blinders are off and so is my mouth’s filter. I have no interest in engaging with assholes period (of any race or ethnic background) and I see no value in engaging with “good” people who don’t value my life because of my race and/or gender.
So, here are some of my NEW rules (in no particular order):
1) I will only spend money on the theater if the main character is Black or a person of color.
I am tired of seeing white people on the big screen. And I love me some Meryl Steep. Jason Latham is #bae. But if I can stop watching Tyler Perry movies because I was tired of seeing negative stereotypes being perpetuated, then this is long overdue. Representation is important and the lack of representation is not OK.
2) Spend less but when I do buy, it will be from minority owned businesses only, when possible.
I am pretty frugal, and I live well below my means because financial wealth is a goal (I’m wealthy in other areas of my life). With the internet, buying from small businesses and finding minority owned businesses is easier. I’m starting to decorate my home so this will be fun and great because there is a certain joy I get from shopping with a purpose. (Sidenote: a well designed home will change your life.) When “not possible” when buying clothes, home decor etc, I will buy statement/classic pieces that will “live” way longer than a trend. However, there are so many Black custom fashion designers and creatives that it’s not really impossible.
3) Waste less, use more natural products. Take better care of the Earth.
I want this world to be in decent shape when I’m no longer here, so beauty/personal/household products will be handmade or bought from a place that make only vegan/natural/organic products (if “not possible” then I will follow Environmental Working Group‘s guidelines). Even though I won’t be here for the change I want to see, my niece and nephews and other children will and need this world to be in good shape.
4) I will not support gossip, entertainment and news sites that deliberately perpetuate negative stereotypes about Black people, people of color and/or women or gay people or any other oppressed group.
There are so many Black owned sites and non-Black owned sites–gossip, entertainment and otherwise–that go by the tacit “for us, by us” tagline or “this is just for shits and giggles” mission but are really ruining minds and spreading negativity for moo-lah. They perpetuate bullshit, lies, stereotypes and negativity. I plan to throw in some reality TV shows and some misogynist music with this as well. Sidenote: This is not a shot at Black entertainment blogs. I used to work for one, and I see how the site singlehandley brought the long, overdue attention to Black/Latino celebrities that weren’t being fairly represented by White media. Also, this is not to “join” so boycotting of VH1 reality shows–this is deeper than that. Plus, I’m doing so intensive research on media, so I will be watching/visiting sites but not as a “support” of anything.
5) Subscribe to Black-owned magazines and seek Black-owned news media sites.
Like I used to subscribe to the idea that the North is more tolerable than the South and Democrats are more tolerable than Republicans, I used to think CNN was a fair news channel that was far better than Fox News. Then Don Lemon happened. Furthermore, the way CNN covered Ferguson is unforgivable. On top of that, too many White media sites have made many racist “mistakes.” So in other words, I plan to not take “advice” from people who hate me. Sidenote: Because I’m petty, I won’t use white emoticons anymore. “Colored” emoticons should have been released when the emoticons apps were released. Also, when I’m trying to make a point with my captions/texts, white emoticons don’t help. So, I’ll be yellow for now or one of those Black moons.
6) Don’t be nice, be real.
I will continue speak/write my truth even when my opinion is unpopular. I’m not here to make anybody comfortable. I am not here to educate unless you are a young person. By young I mean, 18 and under.
7) Only work, spend time, engage with people I like. No exceptions.
I’ve learned so much from people’s reactions to 2014 “scandals” like the Ray Rice video, Don Sterling, Eric Gardner, etc. I’ve learned so much about what most people value and don’t value. If you don’t have certain reactions to these events then you are not the type of person I want to fux with, hang with, debate with, interact with…. Period. There is a certain level that you need to be at for me to find it “worth” engaging with you.
8) Make sure I’m inclusive with my feminism. Be an ally.
When I hear someone say something insensitive about Black people or other minority groups, women, and gay people, I speak up immediately. I am a very conscious person so it stings every time someone says something derogatory or insensitive about groups I may not be a part of..so I will continue to speak up. Because if I truly believe #BlackLivesMatter, I cannot be silent when another transgender woman is killed. If I want to #TakeBackBeauty, I have to make sure that I’m using words that are accepting of all different beauties.
9) Treat “thy food as thy medicine.”
Besides the ignorance regarding Africa during the Ebola outbreak, I found it so hard to understand how people don’t take care of their health–killing themselves by every bite–but was terrified of Ebola. Like HIV/AIDS have killed millions, but you don’t wear condoms? And you’re scared of getting Ebola?
I’m definitely guilty of eating scrap and wondering why I feel like scrap. Now, I see food as my medicine and eat to feel good. I will eat more clean, whole foods.
Self-care should not be considered a luxury. Health (physical, mental, emotional…) over everything.
10) Learn more about Black culture–all the diaspora and women’s history. Learn more about myself.
I will do more research, read more books and watch more documentaries/movies about Black culture, Black music and seek out current “good music” as well as books and other forms of media by women–especially women of color. There is a history of Black people being erased from music genres they created, and 2014 made it more clear for our generation. Don’t believe me it’s a big deal? Exhibit A: Rock ‘N’ Roll
11) Learn more about other minority cultures.
I will travel more. I will put myself in situations where I am surrounded by people who look different than me and whose first language is not the same as mine. So, there will be more volunteering and traveling in 2015.
12) Keep working towards financial and personal freedom.
Speaking my truth and having it accessible to many (like on here) makes it sweeter as I reach my goal. I will truly be free.
13) Continue to plant seeds even though I won’t be here to see it grow.
I am building my nonprofit and digital media company. I create and engage in things for a better world that I probably won’t see. I will build businesses that will be here when my soul leaves my body. I will be proud watching my children (niece and nephews) and …other children grow up in a different world from my own.
14) Find God in myself and love her more fiercely a la Ntozake Shange.
I don’t trust people who believe in a white Jesus with stringy hair and blue eyes but frown up at the thought of Jesus being Black although the Bible describe him as such. I don’t trust churches that shame gay people and women. God is in me. And I love the shit out of her.
15) Take care of myself. Stay informed but guard my sanity. Eat clean. Be more mindful. Be very particular and unapologetic about who I associate myself with. I deserve a happy life even if there are many people who don’t value it. My peace. Our justice.
Loving my Blackness by any mean necessary!
Have you reflected on 2014? How do you plan to get your freedom back going forward?
Happy New Years!
*Pic courtesy of Google Images
*This post may be updated periodically with “new rules.”