Motivational Monday Moment – 9.18.17

I am exhausted. Mentally and physically. It is sometimes overwhelming just trying to get it all done. Last week was one of those weeks that required so much and gave so little in return. Have you ever had that? 

Whew! I was tired. I was running on empty by Sunday and I allowed myself and my body the opportunity to rest and gather my thoughts. I didn’t know what I wanted to talk about. I felt overwhelmed and I felt like I was just existing. 

What words could I use to encourage you this Monday? How could I make you see that you must keep going on when I felt so tired to even lace up my shoes? How could I tell you that it is not whether you lose or win, but you must keep moving. Moving forward no matter how tired you are.

Then I saw this quote by Maya Angelou: 

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

I realized that was my message. In those 11 words above I knew what I needed to tell you. I needed to encourage you and tell you that no matter how tired you are or how many times you’ve been knocked down that you have to get back up. You must get back up. We must not be defeated.

I know that life sometimes gets hard and it feels that you are being pulled in a million directions. You feel overwhelmed and you don’t know how you can keep going on. You haven’t found a job, you are in a horrible court battle or you lost a close friend or family member and you just want to lay there. 

But, this situation love that you find yourself in is temporary. You will encounter the defeats, but you must not be defeated. You need to get up and get out into the world and fight back. Fight for your piece of the pie. 

Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it in the end? Yes. 

It was Theodore Roosevelt who said:

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.

Don’t envy those that seem to have it easy. You will go through pain and difficulty, but it it will strengthen and encourage you. You will get through this week and any situations that you may be going through. The race is still going on. Just join in.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Where Am I?

Where Am I? I don’t know. It’s a simple question. But, I struggle to answer. Why? Because it seems that I am nowhere, but somewhere. Where? I don’t know.

I guess I would say that I am somewhere between bliss and exhaustion. Heaven and hell. Uncertainty. Indecisiveness. The location evades my consciousness.

So much has happened. In the world. In my life. In Charlottesville. Sigh. I can’t.

I’m tired ya’ll. You know that I’m tired of living in a society that values ignorance over humanity. I’m tired of living in a country where the color of my skin matters more than the content of my character. I’m tired of having to talk to my son about racial bias and yet educate him on the realities of racism.

He’s 9.

He still believes in the tooth fairy. He still believes in Santa Claus. He is innocent. I have to protect him. So, I decided that I needed to take a break.

I unplugged.

I took some time to gather my thoughts, pray and re-center myself. School starts next month and so does my busy season. I have to get it together. No more drama. No more negativity sucking away at my time, money or life.

One foot in front of the other.

I march.

Slowly and with determination and uphill. It doesn’t matter. Life is what is. No crystal stair, but there are stairs to climb.

I can’t stop.

I won’t stop.

Fighting.

Fighting for Munch.

Fighting for you.

Fighting for me.

Fighting for everyone.

My break has allowed me the opportunity to reflect on my journey and recenter my expectations. To realign my goals and just breathe this sometimes heavy atmosphere into my lungs and exhale the fear and frustrations.

Can I just tell you that I was tired ya’ll?

I’ve joined so many Facebook groups trying to learn and align myself with my tribes. To inspire others. To let people know that sometimes the enemy we face is our own self. When we look in that mirror and realize that we are blocking our own blessings. We have to be accountable. We have to hold each other accountable. Only then will we feel the shift.

The shift in our perspective.

We have to heal. We have to be better. We have to see that change is gonna come if we believe.

Be blessed loves!

You were all missed.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Survive

I am a survivor. We are all meant to survive. The thing is that you can never give up. It is not in our nature to give up. We must keep pushing forward, no matter the situation. It’s in our blood. We survive.

Our capture.

We survived.

The slave ship.

We survived.

The auctioneer’s block.

We survived.

The heat.

We survived.

The beatings.

We survived.

The rape.

We survived.

Child bearing.

We survived.

Our children are survivors.

I am a child of a survivor.

I too have survived.

Child molestation.

I survived.

Rape.

I survived.

Sexual assault.

I survived.

Marriage.

I survived.

Divorce.

I survived.

Infidelity.

I survived.

Loss of a loved one.

I survived.

September 11th.

I survived.

The NYC blackout.

I survived.

Job loss.

I survived.

Poverty.

I survived.

Survival is in my blood. Nothing can stop that which God has destined for greatness. Trials and tribulations may come but we were meant to survive.

 

This post is inspired by the Daily Post. The word prompt was survive.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

 

Motivational Monday Moment – 5/22/2017

My Motivational Monday Moment is late. I know. I apologize. I wasn’t sure what to write about. I had been thinking of what I wanted to share all week and nothing was coming to me. I wrote this during lunch. I needed inspiration/clarification.

I attended a seminar today at work and I had an Aha Moment! The seminar was pretty cool. However, the seminar reminded me of all the things that I had learned before, but it was if God was reminding me of them again today. I learned that I along with many of you have biases. It’s human nature.

I know you’re probably thinking “T, I know this or I’m not bias – I love everyone”, but I would beg to differ.  Bias as a noun is…

bias (noun)

a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned

Let me tell you how my bias reared it’s ugly head this weekend. I attended the Liver Walk this weekend and learned so much about people who had liver problems. In my naivete, I’ve always thought that the only people that had liver issues were those that suffered from Hepatitis C problems or those that drank (alcoholics) their liver to death. That’s it.

Never did I imagine how many people suffer different kinds of problems with their livers and they can happen out of nowhere. One gentleman came up to me and told me his story. He was older, maybe in his early mid-60’s and was very muscular. He explained that he was an athlete and he went to the doctor’s one day for his annual check-up and his doctor said his heart was too big. He told me that he knew that because he was an athlete and all athletes have bigger hearts. The doctor told him no, it’s too big. Tests were ordered and a diagnosis was given.  His heart and liver were failing. He was a double transplant recipient of both a heart and a liver. I was in awe of this man. He was telling me why he walks and raises awareness for both issues.

His story was so powerful. But, I know you’re wondering about what this has to do with my bias. Well, I’ll tell you…a man approached the stage to say why he was there and I was overwhelmed by his outward beauty. He was so hot!!! Very handsome man, but when he talked I paused. He was slow in his speech and I was thinking “Oh, he must be an athlete.” Well, he was an athlete, but when he told his story, I got smacked with the truth that I was being biased.

This beautiful man told us how he was playing football one day and suffered from heat exhaustion and when he woke up he was in the hospital. He suffered both kidney and liver failure. His kidneys recovered and his liver didn’t. He had to have a liver transplant. He had to learn to walk and talk again.

You see? I thought he was a “dumb jock” because of how he was speaking and this beautiful man was thanking us for walking because he was the recipient of a liver. You see how I was being biased right? I had to check myself. I was embarrassed. This beautiful soul could have lost his life and I was judging him not knowing he has a story.

My Motivational Monday Moment is about remembering that we all have a story. I judged this man on the way he spoke and had assumed that he was another dumb jock. Far from it. I was actually embarrassed by my thoughts. But, I wanted to share with you what I was reminded of today. We all have biases, but we can’t let them give us an unfavorable opinion of someone without having knowledge. I did.

No, I don’t like it when someone does it to me and here I was doing it myself. We all have biases and sometimes we need to remember when our biases are allowing us to craft a narrative of someone we don’t even know. I had to check myself. I was wrong. I know better. Sometimes you need a reminder that you’re better than your thoughts. I know I did.

Be encouraged. Be open. Be honest. Be loving.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Munch’s Black History Moment

Munch is learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement in school. He was telling me about Martin Luther King Jr. and all the things he learned…

  • he was a pastor
  • he’s from Atlanta, Georgia
  • he went to Morehouse (like his daddy)
  • he delivered his I Have a Dream speech in Washington, DC
  • he was assassinated

As he was talking he stopped and said “Mommy, Martin Luther King’s speech was about us living in harmony. People of all colors. He wanted us to get along. Like I get along with Noah and Emma. We’re all one.” I smiled. “Yeah, baby we’re all one people. We all matter.”

He then said “Even though Noah and Emma and I have different colors we are all important and need to learn how to get along. We all belong to God and Martin Luther King Jr. wanted all of us to be treated fairly.”

Yep, this kid is amazing. My son. He knew that his skin color was different than my girlfriend and her family. But, they don’t see color as a problem. They see it as different but perfectly normal. We all matter. We should all get along.

I have been blessed with some amazing friends throughout my life and I’m excited that in a time of turmoil that my son can see the bigger picture. His life matters. The life of his friends matter. We’re all apart of that big beautiful rainbow.

 

Motivational Monday Moment – 11/28/16

Today’s the last Monday in November. My Motivational Monday Moment is about perseverance.  Let’s talk about perseverance.

perseverance (n)

1.steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc.,especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

2.Theology. continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

Perseverance is one of the hardest things we can do. How many times have we been going through things and felt like giving up? How many times did you feel like you couldn’t take no more and you just wanted all the pain and BS to end?

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If you’re like me, you’ve experienced some rough situations and times in your life and you wondered how the heck you would make it. But you did. You persevered in spite of your circumstances and situations. You kept running.perseverance

That’s what you have to do. You have to keep running your race. I know you’re tired. I know you feel as though you can’t go on.

I know that you think you’re in the pits of hell and I can’t possibly imagine what you’re going through, but trust me I do. I understand. I feel your pain. I feel your heartache. I feel your desperation.

perserverance

I’ve been there. But, I want you to know that you can beat this. You can get through this. You just need to run on!

Keep running!

Don’t stop!

Don’t give up!

Your breakthrough is on the horizon. I will walk beside you. I will be there to comfort and encourage you. We will be stronger together if we are persistent to finish this race.

You can persevere my friend.

 

Standing in Judgement

Last week I was reading this post over at Clutch Magazine about Charlize Theron dressing her son up in a blonde wig and hat. I clicked on the picture and looked closely and realized that he was in fact dressed up as Elsa from the movie, Frozen. Not just a random blonde wig. He had on the dress and shoes and black folks were all up in arms.

Why? Charlize Theron is the mother to a five year old son. Yes, he’s black. Yes she adopted him, but she’s still his mother. Now that we have that settled let’s get something straight…parents can do whatever the hell they wish when raising their children. As long as it doesn’t hurt them in any form or fashion.

I’ve written about this before. It is a parent’s right to raise our children however we choose. Ultimately we all want the same thing… to raise happy and healthy children that become productive citizens and not mass murders. That being said, Charlize is no different. The problem with the comments in this post were noticeable. People were making it into a race issue. It wasn’t. It was a parenting choice.

They were attacking how she chose to parent her son and trying to paint it is a racial issue saying she is prohibiting him from knowing how much of a strong black boy he is by allowing him to dress as Elsa. What? I in no way thought that he was going to be damaged by dressing as Elsa. I felt it was her parenting choice. However, I felt the commentators were disguising their disgust and trying to mask it in race when it is in fact a homophobic issue for them.

They were mad that she allowed her son to dress up as a girl. If it was from Disney’s Princess and the Frog and it was Princess Tiana (a black princess) would that have made it better? Nope. It wouldn’t. But, it wasn’t a race issue and I felt compelled to say that it was a parenting choice. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment? Nope, because I know what it’s like to parent.

 

The conversation took an ugly turn when I tried to defend her. Why? I’m defending her right to parent and to parent a black boy in the best way possible. Who are we to judge? That made me the apparent target of being judged.

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Now, I stopped responding to the foolishness of others, but the woman Sys Author had some pretty respectful comments so I continued to engage. I don’t engage with idiots, but she was polite and respectful and we could agree to disagree.

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While I appreciated the interaction of intellectual conversation, I just find that the whole thing has grown out of proportion. Rich people have a different set of issues that an average middle class or poor person may not understand. Each level of the tax bracket could probably say the same… You don’t know what it’s like to walk in my shoes. Do we?

I don’t think so. I am thankful for my varied experiences. I grew up poor. I would be described as middle class (working poor in my opinion) but I may never obtain millionaire status without hitting the lottery. I’m okay with it, but unless things take a turn for the worse, my son will never know what it’s like to be poor.

Thankfully.

But, I say all this to say that parenting in general is hard. Parenting black boys is hard. Parenting black girls brings another set of issues too. Parenting black children in today’s society where you have to wonder whether or not sending your children to school will allow them to come home safely or whether walking them down the street will get you killed by a stray bullet is a hard reality for many black Americans. But, we can’t allow bitterness to make us judgmental and make everything about race.

In this case it was a parent’s decision to allow her child to dress up like Elsa. You don’t agree? Fine. It’s not up to you to agree with it or not. However, it doesn’t make her a bad parent or someone who lacks racial sensitivity.

We can’t judge a parenting choice and disguise it as a racial issue. There are enough racial inequalities that are real. Those are the battles that are worth fighting. I respect her decision to allow her son to do what he wants. To wear what he wants. To allow him to freely express himself.

We just have to stop judging each other. We have to stand united and understand that we all make mistakes, but respect our differences. We all want the same thing for our children and we all want a better country. I  believe that someday we’ll get there.

Dear White People

Can we talk?

Can we truly talk about the elephant in the room that you never want to talk about?

Race.

Let’s talk about race.

I’m black.

I’m a woman.

Two indisputable facts that you may have noticed.

I’m a mother.

To a son.

He’s the light of my life.

He’s my Munch.

He’s also black.

Why do I keep mentioning color? Because I need you to see and acknowledge the rich hues in my skin tone. I need you to see my melanin and know that I am black. Can you see the warm coffee colored hues of my skin tone just radiating? Yes?

Good.

Let’s talk.

I’m black. A beautiful black woman who shares a rich history in this country. My ancestors were kings and queens, slaves and sharecroppers. I know this. Many of you know this. But, I need you to stop acting like I’m supposed to forget this country’s history.

I can’t.

Even when the school textbooks gloss over slavery, I have to fill in the gaps and remind my son. Our lives and history didn’t begin and end with slavery. This country where the soil is rich with the blood from your ancestors is a great one.

Now, that you know that I’m black and I love this country can we talk about race? Can we talk about why it is important that we talk about it? Can we talk about the fact that nothing will change unless you stop saying you don’t see color and recognize my beautiful skin tone?

See, if you see my differences that will allow you to see my issues. To understand why some people look at me funny when I accompany you to your small town. Why if you invite me to your bridal shower and baby shower your family and friends are wondering how I got an invite. Because I’m the only black there.

I’m comfortable in my skin and in our relationship to not be offended. Why? Because I know that you love and respect me. Just like I love and respect you. We are friends. We do play dates and mommy dates. We engage.

That’s what most black folks want. People to engage. People to understand that there are some differences that you will never have to teach your children. I don’t want you to think I’m blaming you for that. No, I want you to be mad at the fact that your son can’t give my son a toy gun. Mad at the fact that when our children are playing together in your neighborhood that people think my son was adopted.

Why? Because he’s out of place? He doesn’t belong there. I want you to see the underlining comments that are made by some of your friends and classmates when they get drunk and call me out my name…

Nigger, Black Bitch.

Umm, why do you need to put my color in it? If you’re going to call me a bitch why not just a bitch? Why do you have to say black bitch?

I need you to get mad when you think about the countless black boys and girls that are murdered in cold blood by people acting like the victims were a threat. Why is it only in this country you can kill somebody in cold blood and then have the audacity to call the victim a thug? But, Ryan Lochte though?

Umm, I digress.

Listen white people. We, black folks love you and respect you. We just want the same. Not just for the one black family you befriended but for all those that look differently than you. Recognize our differences, respect them and stand up to the BS that you witness.

Can you do that? Can you work with me and not against me? Maybe, just maybe if we do it…we can make America great again. Together.

Parenting 101: I’m Not Done Yet

Now, that you’ve heard my struggle with Munch’s teachers in my Parenting 101 tips, I want to let you know why I can’t stop fighting. That I’m not done yet. It’s simple…race. Munch is black. I’m black.

I have a black son. A son who was stigmatized by some the minute he was born. Because he’s black. I know that he will be just a “boy” to some, a “nigger” to others and“angry” to many. But, he’s my son. A black boy. He’s not a threat to America. He’s 7.

I grew up in this country. The America I grew up in was filled with many different races, religions and very few hateful comments. I knew I was black. My color didn’t matter to many or so I thought. I mean in the south you’re used to racist remarks, but up north, it’s supposed to be different right?

I remember thinking that if the President got elected that my newborn son would have someone to look up to. That he would see another black man and that the most important job in the world wouldn’t seem impossible for him to achieve. He could really do everything if Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.

He was elected. Racial tensions changed. The country that I loved so much and eloquently studied history on – was now showing it’s true colors. Why? When did the country that I had believed was moving forward begin to move backwards? When did it become acceptable to become a racist and then try to justify said racist remarks in defense of protecting the USA.

From what? Me? My 7 year old son? Heck, I’m trying to protect him. Each and every day that he awakens, I’m trying to protect him from becoming a target. From being ignored. From being disregarded, disrespected or dismissed. He matters. I matter. We matter.

Every day I wake up new statistics show that our little brown babies are being ignored. From being overlooked in talented and gifted programs or from teachers that have low expectations for them. When did this attitude become acceptable?

Three of my favorite teachers from high school still mean the world to me. I owe them so much. They were not only wonderful teachers, they were wonderful women. They shaped my belief that I could do anything. They nurtured and molded me into an intelligent woman that would someday conqueror the world. They were white.

I didn’t really understand the importance of role models at that time or the importance of having them, but I admired them. I loved the way they commanded attention when they walked down the hall. I loved the way they invested in each student. I loved the way they never let me take the shortcut or easy way out.

They believed in me. They helped me believe in myself. Where are these same kind of teachers now? Where are they when it comes to teaching my son? Is it because I was a girl? Nope. I can’t believe that’s all to it.

My shift has changed because I am a black woman raising a black boy in a post Jim Crow era when it seems we’ve moved backwards. Reading that teacher expectations reflect biases hurts me. Not just as a person of color. But, as a mother.

White teachers expect significantly less academic success than do black teachers, a new study concludes. This is especially true for black boys. – Jill Rosen, Hub.com

So, what am I saying? If I’m bombarded with news that your racial biases are likely being played out in the classroom can you understand why I will come to my child’s defense? I know about the school to prison pipeline. I’ve heard about it for years.

Black Americans are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students. They make up 16 percent of school enrollment, but account for 32 percent of students who receive in-school suspensions, 42 percent of students who receive multiple out-of-school suspensions and 34 percent of students who are expelled. – Lindsey Cook, U.S. News

When I walk into a meeting with a teacher or educator I’m already feeling defensive. I feel like I have to defend my child because statistically speaking we’re looking at him through two different lenses and one could have racial biases in place. It’s not always true. But, realistically speaking I’ve had to tout my academic successes/credentials as well as naming our family’s successes so that his teachers back off and know that they’re not dealing with another poor black kid.

My expectations for my son are high. My expectations for his teachers and the administration is just as high. If I know that white female teachers ignore, have low expectations for black boys and they are disciplined more harshly why would I not feel the need to hold you accountable in the beginning?

I’m tired folks. I’m tired of fighting and I want some clear and transparent conversations about race and racial biases to be had at the school. Let’s call out the institutionalized racism that exists. Educators should know that black parents are reading and scared that you’re already trying to diagnosis, steer or ignore our children. How can we work together to make sure that we’re all in this together?

That we are going back to the day when it seemed like teachers just wanted to teach you. They were compassionate. They were motivating you. They were supporting you. They knew you.

My President is black. My son is black. I’m tired of fighting and he’s only 7. However, I know that I’m not done yet. I have many rivers and miles to cross. I just want to know that his teachers are crossing them with me and not just standing on the shoreline.

Run Your Race

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance;

James 1:2-3 NRSV

Today’s post is a short one. I was really going through some things this weekend. Some good and some bad, but I was really wondering, “Why me?” I’m a good person. I’m nice. I’m courteous. I’m dependable. Why do I keep getting in these situations with folks that should know better but refuse to do better. Why do I keep getting frustrated by foolishness and distracted by dishonesty? You know, I was in a “Woe is me” type of mood.

So, this quote today from my daily devotionals was right on time. Why? Because I needed to be reminded that even when it seems like my back is against the wall that I will persevere and endure. Everyone is going through something right now. No one is immune to trials or tribulations. We all have that in common.

My ex and I had an acrimonious dispute this weekend that affected our ability to co-parent effectively. I endure things on my job or in my personal life, but I keep on keeping on. Pushing forward. Why? Because I have faith that I will see this situation through to the end and I will be victorious. My faith is being tested.

If you’re going through a trial, tribulation or a storm know that it is only temporary. You are destined for greatness and your steps have been ordered. I was reminded of that this weekend when I was talking to a friend of mine. He said that if you are a woman of faith, you know that your life has already been scripted. You are just walking through it trying to determine the path where God wants you to be.

Wow! Yep. It’s already written. So, I’m going to get my mind right and my tennis shoes on because I want to walk the path that HE tells me too. It’s not an easy path, but I know that the race I run is a marathon and not a sprint. I will endure. I will keep a positive attitude and I will share my motivational moments and testimonies to keep inspiring you to do the same.

Be blessed my loves!