Woke.

 

Being woke and conscious has its pros and cons.

While I am blooming as a young woman becoming the person God wants me to be, I can also feel myself wilting from recent events. I am consuming and immersing myself into my Blackness and appreciating where it comes from…but to also be aware of the current state of Black people in this country can drive one mad; such as what happened to my favorite artist Nina Simone. The most recent event in Charlottesville has left me mad, angry, and disturbed. If you also feel this way, you have every right to. However it is so important that we keep a level of sanity and know when to remove ourselves from situations that may effect us internally.

I wrote this blog for people at work or school this week that may feel disgusted by recent events and don’t feel the need to always smile when society isn’t giving us a reason to. As Solange  would say “You got the right to be mad“.  This blog was inspired by Alex Elle most recent blog post  (click here) where she writes “In the face of adversity, we must bloom, even when we feel like wilting“.

Journal Question via Alex Elle blog: How am I self-caring and showing up for myself + others with everything that’s going on in the world?

1. Everyone doesn’t deserve your response. Over the years I have read many post from “friends” and strangers via Facebook that are insensitive and downright racist. One thing I don’t do is argue online with people about current events. I used to be open to discussing current events with bewildered white classmates but I emotionally do not have the energy to explain to people their privilege anymore. It appeared my white classmates thought I was their translator every time a Black man was shot by police, in which I am not. I believe Stokely Carmichael  words are so timely “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.” I believe that our oppressor has no soul, is evil, and lack conscience and for me to have to explain to you why Nazis marching on a college campus is traumatic for POC is an issue alone.

2. Unplug yourself from the world. Its okay to leave your phone on airplane mode and log off of social media. Try reading a book before checking your phone in the morning. Turn down weekend brunch and try finding a near by park to reflect in. Don’t watch the news or click on videos that may upset you. Sometimes we forget what life was like before phones. We were never meant to stay connected and be assessable 24/7 to the world.

3. Know what makes you happy. Get to know yourself and do something that makes you happy when you are stressed. Go for a run in a park. Google near by waterfalls in your city. Visit a local museum and find an art form that you may surprisingly be good at. Journaling or blogging can also be helpful.

4.  Talk it outCommunity is important. Calling a friend or family member can be extremely valuable. I believe having a network of similar minded friends to discuss current events with is important.  If it’s hard to concentrate in  the workplace, don’t be shy to ask your supervisor for a safe space, to check in with other people of color to make sure everyone is ok. Also joining a sister circle in your city can also be supportive.

5. See a Therapist. Talking with friends and family can be extremely beneficial however a part of caring for yourself I believe is also taking the step to get professional help. No one will ever listen to you as honestly and open as a therapist. Their job is to give clients their undivided attention. Look for nearby psychologist and therapist in your area. I personally believe that having a Black psychologist is important to decrease distrust in the clinical setting but make sure that psychologist is also competent in their work. Utilize Psychology Today (click here)  to view what they specialize in and read their reviews from previous patients.

6. Get your spirt together. Feed your spiritual self what it needs to thrive. Root yourself in a higher power.  Find a church to join.  Read religious text. Join a meditation class or near by donation based yoga classes.

7. Identify and activate your inner activist. Immerse yourself in the community. We have so many problems stacked against us. Everyone is able to point out the problems but If we ourselves don’t do something about it then who will? I personally get so much energy from helping people and seeing people happy. For example if you’re an painter your inner activism can be doing a monthly painting workshop with kids in your community. This is my personal “inner activism” agenda which is also rooted in my field of work. I hope it inspires you to develop your own agenda.

-Conduct workshops for women at church that discuss  Anxiety and Depression

-Creating a safe space on campus for African American women to be able to develop a sisterhood among each other.

-Volunteering at Black urban gardens

-Next week I get to participate in a training to be a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. With this license,  next semester before I graduate I plan on implementing the training with the Women at Rikers Island prison.

 

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Perfectly Lonely

img_4639-1The title of this post is Perfectly Lonely.  Sounds kinda sad right? Its not. Its the title of a song from John Mayer album Battle Studies albums (One of my favorites). I haven’t been on here in awhile. I have so many post I’ve been waiting to blog but I have not got around to it. I’ve been caught up planning for my future. Networking, researching, studying,prepping for doctoral programs and Peace Corps applications.
I was watching a SZA interview and she said:

“Focus on yourself focus on the glow: drink water, exfoliate, moisturize, get your cardio, get your blood flowing…. praise God Thank God for the day. Make a plan for the week and cross a few things off. It’s better than Niggas already. It’s Self Love and You Lit“. -SZA

 

This quote really spoke to me. I’ve been feeling lonely lately. I guess this is the first time ever that I don’t have anyone to date or talk to. It’s weird. Im ok not having anyone its kinda calming to belong to myself my body and spirit……. but its hard not having someone of the opposite sex anymore to look forward to talking to everyday or be a constant reminder that maybe this world isn’t so bad after all if we have one another.

This past year I dated. I mean really dated. I dated someone a year younger than me. Someone 10 years older than me. A few flings here and there. I even attempted to get to know a male best friend. My best friend eventually started to become the guys I used to complain to him about, lacking care and communication. I KNOW I deserve so much more than halfass-ness Out of those experiences I’ve learned a lot about myself, self worth, and tolerance. One of them I actually did fall in love and I don’t fall easily……..but it ended so bad because he was a liar, manipulative, and verbally abusive. So now I’m prepared to focus on my future and  the glow up. Physically, mentally, and spiritually… I even want to practice being celibate. Over the past year Ive had satisfying sexual experiences but where did that leave me? Lonely with  empty  promises and false hopes. I know I’m young but those experiences almost broke me…. they left me feeling like maybe I’m not worthy of being loved. So this season is about growth and it’s important for everyone to know what they want in a future partner. Personally I need:

Trust

Respect

To Communicate with me if theres an issue

Attention

Supportive

Commitment

 Acts of Service

Love me really Love me

Until then I wont settle and I would rather be alone then stressed out with someone who does not  care about me. Ive also learned that you KNOW when someone doesn’t care about you, you can feel it. I’ve also learned to believe a guy when he shows you who he is the first time. I want that feeling SZA describes in Garden off Ctrl or JCole in Shes Mine. Right now I just I feel like SZA in Twenty Something:

“How could it be?

20 something, all alone still

Not a thing in my name

Ain’t got nothin’, runnin’ from love

Only know fear

That’s me, Ms. 20 Something

Ain’t got nothin’, runnin’ from love

Wish you were here, oh”

 

Which I am ok with… I’m not sad. I like the quietness and I love taking time out to be alone. I know everything happens for a reason and thats why those guys didn’t work out. You may be one of them if you’re reading this. Idk where my future husband is but I pray for him already.

Signed,

A Recovering Over Lover

When black girls run away, what are they running from? Article By: Stacey Patton

black girls

Recent Article that I thought was important share

By: Stacey Patton

The Washington Post

Last month, a rumor that more than 500 mostly black and Latino children from the District of Columbia had been abducted and sold into sex slavery went viral on social media. A new decision by D.C. police to alert the public whenever children were reported missing had backfired; most of the kids had been found safe within 24 hours, but those updates never spread as far as the initial reports. Worried people, from the Congressional Black Caucus to LL Cool J, raised alarms over what looked like an epidemic going ignored in ways that would be unimaginable with white children.

Hoping to quell the outrage, Mayor Muriel Bowser assured the public that there has been no surge of missing kids. “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t children that need our help,” she said March 24 as she unveiled plans for a task force to work with vulnerable teenagers.

Hundreds of children of color have been reported missing in D.C. at some point since January, but those numbers aren’t higher than usual. The police say 2,242 children were reported missing in 2016, down from 2,433 in 2015. Virtually all were found unharmed within 24 hours; in many cases the children, who showed no evidence of being exploited by sex traffickers, had repeatedly run away from home, according to a spokesman for the mayor.

Which means many children do indeed need our help – and we need to pay more attention to the home lives that they might be running away from.

Rates of reported child abuse are disproportionately high for black children. According to the Justice Department, black children ages 12 to 19 are “three times more likely to be victims of reported child abuse or neglect.” As many as 7,354 young people ages 12 to 24, most of them black, experience homelessness each year in D.C., and more than 2 million children nationwide do. In one national survey, nearly half reported intense conflict, neglect or physical harm by a family member as a major factor in their homelessness. Others experienced family instability due to unaffordable housing, or left the juvenile-justice system or the foster-care system without enough education or support to make it on their own. Research from the Administration for Children and Families shows that up to 42 percent of runaway and homeless youth are sexually abused before they leave their homes.

 

Black children are also disproportionately likely to suffer treatment at home that’s so bad that they want to flee. In 2015, black kids had the highest rate of abuse and neglect, at 14.5 per 1,000 children, compared with 8.1 per 1,000 for white children, according to the Children’s Bureau, part of the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 3,600 black children in the United States have died as a result of maltreatment in the past decade, a rate three times higher than for all other racial groups. Suicide rates among elementary-age black children have nearly doubled since the 1990s, while the rates for white children have fallen, according to a 2015 report from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

 

A disturbing number of children in D.C. and elsewhere are gambling that life on the street could not be worse than their abusive homes. I made the same choice in 1987 and in 1991 while growing up in Trenton, New Jersey.  I ran away from my adoptive family when I was 9 and again when I was 12. After the second time, I refused to go back, and I ended up yet another black child in New Jersey’s foster-care system. A warm bed and steady meals were not worth constant “whuppings” and verbal abusewhich my adoptive parents and the wider black community said were love, discipline and protection from the police or white racists. I felt safer on my own, even if that meant living on the street. From age 12 to 14, I was shuttled between foster homes, youth shelters and group homes, until I was fortunate enough to win an academic scholarship to the Lawrenceville Prep School. So I understand where many of these kids are coming from.

My own experiences helped shape my role as an advocate for children, and it’s painful to see how common such abuse still is in my community. Without question, the toughest part of my work is convincing black people that a “no hitting” zone at home is crucial to helping children feel and be safe. Whupping kids is not “a black thing.” But parents argue that without the discipline they think whuppings instill, their children will end up in prison, even though we’ve been having national conversations about mass incarceration for decades. They cherry-pick Old Testament scriptures to justify hitting. They argue that there’s a difference between spanking and abuse, as if a child’s body experiences pain differently based on what parents call a swat or the intent behind it. And many people proclaim that they were whupped as children and “turned out fine,” even though they’ve grown up to see striking a child’s body as normal behavior. It’s a violent, unnecessary parenting practice planted in our culture through colonialism, slavery, forced indoctrination into Christianity and centuries of racial trauma.

If we are going to talk about missing children in D.C., we must look at beating kids as one of the root issues. Yes, sex trafficking does happen, and yes, the types of children who go missing in Washington and other cities – mostly black; mostly poor; disproportionately lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer – are more vulnerable than other kids. But neglect and abuse are among the most common factors.

 

So much of our national focus on black children is on how “bad” they are: how they need more physical punishment, zero tolerance at school, harsh sentences from the courts. They are blamed for their own deaths at the hands of adults who claimed they were afraid of them. That systemic devaluation of black children even extends into classrooms. In 19 states, students are still subject to corporal punishment; a disproportionately higher number of black children receive it. According to reports by the Education Department’s office of civil rights and Human Rights Watch, racial bias contributes to this problem, along with black parents giving teachers and administrators permission to hit their children.

 

These messages have consequences. When black children are constantly told that they are a problem, that they are unworthy and undeserving of empathy and kindness, that they can be beaten in schools, in the streets, by cops and by the people who love them, running away from home doesn’t seem like such an extreme choice. If home so often isn’t a safe haven, should we be surprised?

 

The best way to keep black children out of the headlines – to protect them from a predatory foster-care system, the school-to-prison pipeline, sex traffickers and other traps – is to make their homes safer and more loving. That means more parental education on child development, so parents can set reasonable expectations for their children, as well as giving parents information on nonviolent discipline practices. Churches need to become sanctuaries that reinforce positive parenting strategies, instead of preaching “spare the rod, spoil the child.” We need to send a strong message to black youths that their families and community institutions will protect them by providing counseling, advocacy, shelter and emotional support. Service agencies need ethnically diverse, culturally competent staff members who will avoid policies and practices that perpetuate trauma and institutionalized racism. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for impoverished communities dealing with generations of poverty, trauma and divestment.

Black children’s lives need to matter before they become a statistic or a hashtag. But the blame doesn’t rest entirely on outside forces. We need to take responsibility for protecting our children in the place that matters most, so that home is the place they’ll run to, and not away from.