Catching Up

I was supposed to blog on Monday but…I got distracted.

Monday was the first time in a long time that I disconnected from all of my electronic devices and took a walk. Albeit a short walk, I left my bluetooth headset, smart watch, and cellphone at home, grabbed an old issue of Ebony Magazine with Ava DuVernay on the cover, hitched Yuri to his lease and took off.

During that time I had my face mostly in the magazine…and made a few rediscoveries. The most important being, print literature will always and forever be the most informative form of communication ever and its also the reason why so many people are at a loss for relevant content.

Today, I purchased 2 newspapers. The Dallas Morning News and a Barrons. The last time I read a newspaper, I borrowed it from a coworker to get some information on a stock and to use it for wrapping glass during a move. Ive been threatening to subscribe to the paper ever since.

Social media is great! But its also very cloudy. Nothing will replace the value of knowing whats going on in your immediate surroundings as its delivered by those who are also residents of your immediate surroundings and have saw fit to draft articles of information they have deemed important to their peers.

I think I will actually purchase a newspaper subscription…eventually.

PS. I think I was supposed to include something else in this blog but…Ive forgotten now.

 

 

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Revelations 03/20/2017

Remember, you are responsible for your own emotions. You are responsible for how you react and respond to those around you. That does not mean that you are not allowed to express or acknowledge how you feel. It means that you must accept responsibility for your emotional reactions and responses.

Intense emotional responses can be debilitating but when you remind yourself that you are in control, the waves are easier to navigate.

I’ve found myself in a holding pattering of wait. I’ve been waiting for someone to tell me what they are already showing me in their actions. For whatever reason, I want to hear them speak the words to me. Perhaps hearing it will be more of a reality to me than the daily experience of their behavior. The waiting is taking its toll on my emotions. I find myself going from one extreme to the next and back again. And this is where the ability to gain and maintain control is most important.

Some people will never admit their truths, especially when it will expose their wrongdoings or ill intentions. Some people would rather wait out the inevitable or hope that it goes away. I must admit, it feels like being on a runaway train that I know is going to crash. I have two choices, jump off or endure the crash while hoping I survive either outcome.

As I ride the rails of this high-speed chase to clarity, I’m trying to learn how not to wait. How do I release my expectations? I realize that when I’m waiting on my expectations to be met, Im allowing someone else to dictate my moves. Im allowing someone else to control me. If my actions are contingent upon those of another, I will forever be someone else’s shadow. Still, knowing this doesn’t birth an answer to my question. How do I detach from what I want? God could tell me to my face that I will not get what I want and I still wouldn’t know how to not want it.

In the meantime, I’ll work on the maintenance of my emotional well-being.

Parenting: Spring Break Day 2 (Where’s The Village?)

Parenting literally is the most thankless job ever.

Imagine showing up somewhere everyday, giving it your absolute very best and these little ingrates still have the nerve to complain and express dissatisfaction. And sure, teaching gratitude and manners is part of the parenting curriculum but I’m sure every mom, dad, teacher, guardian, etc would agree with me when I say, this curriculum is a like the very parenting manual itself, its just a blank page. That page remains blank until the parent realizes there’s a need for the instruction and thus it is born of trial and error.

Buuuut, like loyal gluttons for punishment, most of us continue show up, filled with the most sincerest of intentions hoping for a day better than the one before. And if we are lucky we get that better day. And luck be a lady! Please be a lady.

We pray that on the latter end of these days…when the mandatory hands-on parenting is less of a need, something of value has bloomed withing the souls of our children. Depending on how optimistic you are, that something can be seen as the life that was sucked from your soul as your children were growing up that has now manifested itself in middle-aged bitterness or the very best parts of you that you graciously donated to your children along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

Wheels of Steel

Car buying can be a headache. The process of sitting at a dealership for hours is enough to saddle me back into the seat of my old hoopty and keep it moving. Furthermore the idea of being duped on a purchase is even more of an annoyance.

But, we cant be held hostage to hour fears forever so there’s nothing left to do but get on with it and get it over with, though  not with haste might I add. I advise that you know exactly what you want in your next vehicle and know what your expectations are; believe it or not, they are not the same thing.

What I wanted was an SUV with a 3rd Row Seat and Rear A/C. Those were my wants/needs. And for the most part, that’s what I got but once I received it. I realized that I also had expectations.

I expected that a 2015 model vehicle should have certain standard features such as lighted vanity mirrors, compass system, secured fuel tank, auxiliary/usb ports, auto on/off headlights, hands-free blue-tooth system, fuel measurement, just to name a few.

As of 2017 technology has advanced in such a way that the aforementioned accommodations would be more of a chore to omit from a vehicle than it would be to include them.

Granted, I do realize that some vehicles are manufactured for specific purposes, such as rentals, fleet use, models, etc., still, I cant help buy feels a tiny bit of buyer’s remorse after having purchased a 2015 Dodge Journey STX.

I purchased this vehicle from CarMax, which BTW is my favorite place to buy cars. They have streamlined the car buying process to a science and made it less daunting for consumers. The time I spent actually purchasing the vehicle was far less time consuming than my decision making process. I appreciate that greatly. Im sure CarMax has an internal sequential process that is not specifically disclosed to customers but I know there is some type of ordered steps in this process due to the fact that I didnt spend hours sitting at the cube or desk of a desperate sales-person haggling over the price of the vehicle.

Meanwhile after having and driving the 2015 Dodge Journey STX for approximately 6 Days, I’ve discovered a few things about this make and model. *Disclaimer: I haven’t read the manual for this vehicle yet (but who does?) I’m still getting to know some of the features and discovering those that are available and those that are not. The list below is not exclusive of the information that was advertised of the vehichle’s features however they are items that I immediately noticed as absent.

  1. The fuel tank doesn’t lock.
  2. There are no lights around the vanity mirror.
  3. The blue-tooth capability of this model may or may not be available in the one that I purchased. While there is a U-Connect menu option that displays when I start the car, upon calling the number on the screen for assistance, the representative informed me that this was not available in my vehicle. Im not sure how true this is.
  4. Remote start. Either of have yet to learn this feature or its non-existent. Although, it was advertised on CarMax’s ad.
  5. The lights are on automatic. I found this to be the most minimal of the features that should be standard. I own a 2008 sedan that is equipped with auto on/off light but Dodge couldnt find the space to add them into a 2015? Wow.
  6. Compass/navigation. Either it doesnt exist or I dont know how to access it. A best if a system has an LCD touch screen, the inclusion of a basic compass navigation should be present #dodgefailmaybe.
  7. The glove compartment is TINY. I have been guilty of stuffing the GC with as many random “you-never-know” items as possible but this GC is doesnt even have enough space for the “just-in-case” items such as travel wipes, a small note book, and pen. You’d think there was a real space compromise on this but eh…its minor. I’ll let it pass.

Again, I stress, I havent gotten to know the full extent of the in-dash LCD system yet but there are definitely some limitations. I’ll update this post as I discover new feature leads.

 

NIKE

Just do it. That’s what i thought as watched the cursor blink on my phone after I decided to write.

I was going to write about my never ending parenting struggle.. which all things considered . ..is hard indeed but not as bad as I  exclaim when in the moment. More recently I found myself complaining that my daddy bought my daughter . ..the 11 year old that has lost enough sweaters and jackets to clothe a small village . ..an $80 coat. I was peeved for a number of reasons. But suddenly my peeves were extinguished as i thought back before he bought the coat. I  watched the way my daddy looked as he walked along side her in the department store to let her pick out any coat she wanted. She was all bubbly and bouncing and happy.. as she always is when hes around . I also noticed how he enjoyed the opportunity to let her have anything she wanted in that moment . It was as if he had the world tucked away in the pockets of his dusty, paint stained, ripped, and worn jeans and he was prepared to produce anything she asked for. . .or myself for that matter. This was one of the rare but frequent enough to remember times my daddy was proud of himself for being able to do for his family whatever we needed without difficulty or negotiation with his limited income. He was happy. so happy that I think he’d forgotten about his ailing knee and sore back . He hadnt complained about either if them once between the car ride from his house to the store.

I realized several things after I was finally able to be alone with my thoughts and tally my angst for my daddy’s insistence on spoiling my child.

  1. This is my daddy. This is the man that raised me, this is the man that spoiled me. Why should I expect any different of him because his new muse is my child. Full Disclosure: my daddy still spoils me…its just that the damage of it doesn’t blatantly affect anyone else because I’m an adult. My daughter on the other hand…will be my little monster to tame.
  2. They are both happy. My daddy and my daughter are happy together. I think she keeps him going. And he gives her someone to adore without a limit. She gets so excited when he is around that she loses all focus. “Pawpaw is here!” and whatever it was that she was doing or supposed to be doing…will NOT get done or will be forgotten.
  3. I really love my Daddy. He’s always been my favorite. My Momma knew it and she wasnt bothered by it either. He always held her up to me. Even when he was mad at her. He never badmouthed her to me when they were at odds. One time she pissed me off to no end and I was talking to him about it. He responded to me with limited words but I knew he was listening and then he said “thats your momma, you only get one momma, I dont have my momma any more. Thats your momma” Simple enough but I understood. I got it. It didnt decrease my anger at the time but I got his point. No matter how mad she made me. She was still my momma and he was still my favorite.
  4. Im suspicous of his actions lately. And maybe his relentless spoiling of my daughter is his way of soaking up all of the time they have together. Sure, he’s not on his deathbed or anything but he’s not the healthiest person. If there’s a diagnosis that he’s aware of. He probably wont tell me but he’ll carry on with a plan of his own to be as present for us as he can be. That includes him giving us copious amounts of money at random times even when he doesnt have much of his own.

 

Ultimately, parenting is hard for me. I find it difficult to make certain decisions and be present for certain things and control the environment. It makes me nervous and anxious. When things happen unexpectedly it throws me off my square and I have to recalibrate. But…I want to break the psychological mold that causes us to respond to the traumatic and negative experiences more frequently and more intensely than the positive experiences.

Me To Me: Just Do It, Stop Complaining!

Black August

One of my good friends and author of the book #YBA  always sends me great informative reads in the form of articles, blogs, videos, etc. This morning she sent me a piece from BOSSIP. The editorial was about a movement stemming from the efforts of several members of the Black Panther Party and Black Guerrilla Family that took place in the 70s called Black August. The read stirred up some of my emotions about Black History on a larger scale.

Black History Month was my favorite time of year in elementary school. It meant that we would deviate from the staple subjects for a few weeks while learning more about people that looked like us and where we came from. My most coveted subtopic of the BHM was the Ancient Egyptians. I was fascinated by the pyramids, how they were built, the kings, queens, pharos, dynasties, languages, clothing, etc. It was all astonishing to me. My 5th and 6th grade teachers were my Black History Heroes because they made sure they gave us the sage of our history. They played Motown Classics for us, they wrote plays for us to act out some of the notable events of the Civil Rights Movement and allowed us to explore on our own. I love them for that! I didn’t know how rich I was as a 11/12-year-old.

But as I got older, I began to miss Black History and that’s because my exposure was becoming less frequent.

In Jr High there were a few posters strewn about the school and the occasional viewing of Eyes On the Prize during BHM but nothing of quality consumption. I never felt like I learned anything new during BHM in Jr. High.

By the time I got to high school, my exposure was almost non-existent. So much so, that I can only recall a single memory—the time my English Teacher Ms. Allen allowed me to choose my own Research Paper topic. I chose the Pyramids of Giza. This is the only memory I have of Black History in high school—literally! And although I had more things distracting me in high school than I did in Jr High and Elementary, I was attentive to things that were interesting to me…like Black History. Since I was more likely to study Black History at school than other places and the amount of teaching was very limited if any at all, I stopped noticing the month was recurring—outside of the McDonalds murals on the sides of buses and the radio sound bites on KKDA.

College wasn’t much different. As a college student, you have the freedom of choosing what you will study. This was a freedom that I didn’t take full advantage of. I was more concerned about survival and income. I could have chosen to major in African American Studies or World History, or any other topic that would give me the chance to expand my minimal knowledge of Black History. Buuuuuut, I didn’t. I chose Journalism and Mass Communications—which was subsequently changed after I realized the lack of income without a creative niche. Still, I didn’t choose anything remotely close to Black History.

Circa age 35, I find myself filled with thousands of random facts and topics from the Harlem Renaissance, the Moors, the different variations and origins of the slang term “Nigga”, albinism, Eve Gene, mutating genes, melanin, etc. You name it, if it has or had some derivative of Africa, chances are I know something about it and if I don’t, I will go research it. This is why my friend sends me such reads as Black August for Black Survival.

After reading Black August for Black Survival, I learned something new. Just that quick. I had never heard of Black August, its relation to the Soledad Brothers, nor any of its attributes. Needless to say, this is exactly why Black History is vital to our community. We will never know every detail about our past but there’s definitely room to gain more. These are the very gems that must be converted into normalcies of knowledge.

I have an immeasurable appreciation for learning about events such as Black August because they present a chronological progression to the plight of Black People. They connect the dots to some of the oppressive systems that exist today which contributes to our efforts of dismantling them. Without knowing how things started, it’s difficult to fashion an end.

Not only should we continue acknowledging and sharing events such as Black August, I believe that the Black History should be a standard in all United States public school systems that administer US History as a core subject. If the public school system can accept the taxpayer dollars of blacks, why can’t it educate their children about their cultural histories?

The absence of Black History in public schools has led to a misconception of who African Americans are as a people and their contributions to the United States as a whole. As well, the minimal amount of Black History that is available in public schools is often inaccurate and misleading and has subsequently altered the perceptions that most non-blacks have of African-American people. Unsurprisingly this—among other things has resulted in a level of distrust in the quality of education that is provided in Black Communities. How can we be confident in the content of what our children are learning when its being incorrectly presented if at all? US Textbooks Provide Incorrect Data to Students

Given the fact that Africa is the birthplace of human civilization, it stands to reason why Black History is factually more history of the United States than what is currently being dispensed in public school textbooks and promulgated by teachers and administrators.

Black History deserves standardization and recognition of its commonplace in the US. The independence of Black History and US History only fuels racism and division in American Society and gives legs to the stereotypes that have developed among US Citizens.

Until the time comes that we can identify and educate without opposition the true chronological foundation between Africa and its neighboring countries, events such as Black August and many more integral facts will continue to be under-acknowledged by the whole and marginalized by short stents of celebratory memorializing throughout the year.

 

Bank Black…Plan Green

Preface: This blog went from a notion, to a thought, to a passion, to a mental nagging. It was just going to be a bullet point format to put on flyers at the next event in my city. But as usual it morphed in and out of what it was originally intended to be.

I decided to just get to the point and if my readers, have questions, they can ask me.

The Black Community is undergoing what I like to call Self-Reconciliation. We are taking some steps in directions that haven’t been charted before. More recently there’s been a shift in banking by the BC. Many of us are moving our money from larger commercial banks to Black Owned and Operated Banks.

This move was largely prompted and endorsed by celebrities, rappers, and well-known community activists across the nation who have a vested interest in seeing the African-American’s exercise their economic muscle. Blacks have more equity in the us economy than we have to show for it. We spend more money on disposable and retail goods than we do on saving, investing, and education. Dont Take My Word For It

Thousands of black people have opened accounts at black owned banks and deposited money into these accounts. This has gained so much attention and action that its coined several hashtags around social media #moveyourmoney #bankblack #blackdollarsmatter I Dont Make This Stuff Up

Not only do I support this trend, I hope that it becomes less of a trend and more of a way of life. Dont get me wrong and please dont misunderstand this.

People tend to call the BC racists for supporting its own but this is never called into question by non blacks when they show a lack of support for blacks. Hispanics are notorious for joining forces to strengthen their communities and extend their financial means. They open stores and do business with one another on a regular basis. They sell products that cater to their ethnic needs and wants. I’ve always admired this orientation of Hispanics and Latinos. So to see my own community take up the same flag and do the same is a proud moment.

Sometimes its easy to get caught up in the festiveness of the moment. Its easy to lose sight of the end goal of your effort when you’re busy celebrating the catalyst. No doubt, the BC is proud of itself. However, lets be proud with a plan.

I want my community cohorts to know that supporting Black Banks is just the beginning. There’s so much more to be done to keep the ball rolling and see this through. It doesn’t stop at funding black banks. It also involves those banks’ ability to lend to its surrounding communities in healthy financial way.

As these banks acquire more money to lend, it allows for more borrowing to take place. That borrowing SHOULD be done to facilitate business growth and development in the Black Community. This is the start of a positive domino effect. With more businesses in the community comes more jobs in the community. More job means more income, home ownership, and a host of other benefits to strengthen the whole BC. The financial stability of this movement will be felt 10 fold…if its properly executed.

The Federal Reserve (Learn how banks work)

We must keep in mind that, the Federal Reserve who itself has no governing authority, has oversight of all banks. Black, Green, White, Yellow, etc. So if and when it feels that these transactions are becoming a threat to the banking system as a whole…i.e. if the larger corporate banks begin to feel the impact of the millions of dollars leaving its branches, the Federal Reserve will respond accordingly to right the ship of its largest constituents. And this response may be to the detriment of BlackBanks. I wish I could pinpoint exactly what the Federal Reserve could do but I cant. And thats because they are virtually untouchable. Although its Board of Governors are nominated by the President. The FR doesnt take orders from either branch of government. It isnt swayed by voting trends and political press. This type of freedom is very powerful.

Black Bank Survival (Understand what it takes to keep Black Banks Profitable)

And by “keep in mind”, I mean, don’t let this be the only tool of choice in this mission. Among the support of black banks, we have to maintain that sentiment by operating healthy businesses that are funded by the loans extended by these banks. If the businesses funded by these loans fail, the loans will likely default, and the banks will be overextended. Thus putting them in a position to be bought out by larger corporate non-black banks. When larger banks buy out smaller banks who have extended more money than they are receiving in return in loan payments, they have the right to restructure the loans. Sometimes the restructuring is expensive and predatory. If a business cannot pay its debit, its likely bought and sold. If the aforementioned occurs in the Black Community, it will have a much more violent effect than it ever has before. We dont want these banks to fail. We want to keep them thriving. Keep Black Banks Alive

Black Businesses (Patronize the businesses that are funded by Black Banks)

The Black Businesses also have to be patronized on a consistent basis. Again, let me reiterate for those who like to pull the race card against Blacks–this is not a directive to discontinue spending at other businesses. This is a request to spread the love. Spread your dollar around the market that supports you. How many times have you been in Target looking for ethnic hair care products? How many times were your successful at locating what you needed? Black businesses offer the goods and services that are sought by black consumers. (This topic is another blog itself)

Local Voting (Learn how local voting affects local commerce and livelihood)

Local voting is also important in this equation. The Presidential elections always garner more attention because the media covers these elections more heavily. But, the elections that are happening right in your zip code, city limits, state boundaries, etc are the ones that count the most. The repercussions of city councilmen, senators, mayors, and governors are felt by local citizens more immediately than those of the federal level. These individuals are also the voice of the people when in the front of congress. Vote for the local leaders that are going to speak your language. This is important when the schools in your neighborhood are inadequate for providing a safe and productive environment for your child. This is important when liquor stores pop up on every corner of your city. This is important when property taxes take a hike but the city services are mediocre. This is important when laws are passed concerning your city’s business laws, consumer protection, financial obligations, etc. Local Elections are SO IMPORTANT

Ball Soft (Reduce Retail and Disposable Good Spending)

We all like to live nice and look good but too much of anything can be a bad thing. Its no secret that the BC spends gross amounts on shoes, clothes, and designer brands. We spend ridiculous amounts of money on vehicles, recreational activities, etc. We also have to spend smarter. In Comparison…Black Spend Differently and Not Always In A Good Way We have to spend less on things that are disposable and depreciate quickly. Its okay to live comfortably but if you arent investing in yourself, your family, and your future, the present luxuries wont mean much tomorrow.

The BlackDollarsMatters Movement is gaining nationwide attention and is growing in active masses. Let us learn how to extend the trend and paint the outcome with longevity.