My eighteen-year-old son went running the other night. As a white mom with a white son, my only concern was that he should wear something reflective so cars could see him. It did not cross my mind for even one second to talk to him about what to do if the police stopped to question him. I would never in a million years think I needed to tell him never to put his hands near his pockets.
But this is a conversation black moms are having with their sons every day. And I am so fucking sorry about that. THIS is why we need to stand and say #blacklivesmatter.
I support police officers. I truly am thankful that some people have chosen an occupation where they risk their lives to keep people safe.
I also believe that whenever people are in a position of power over other people, whether it’s physical, spiritual, financial, political or any other, there is the possibility for that power to be misused. And when that happens it is our job as human beings to stand up and say NO.
When SOME priests sexually abuse children we say NO.
When SOME teachers use physical punishment against children with disabilities we say NO.
And when SOME police officers consistently target people of color with the use of excessive force we say NO.
Most importantly we stand with the people who are being targeted. We tell them, “We see you and we see what is happening.” We stand together and we say NO. Over and over we say it.
The green and white mermaid is on the door.
She’s lured me in and now won’t let me leave.
“Stay,” she says.
“Drink some coffee.
Then a little more.
We have Wi-Fi.
We have caffeine.
What more could you want?”
“You’re right,” I say.
“What more could I want?
Fresh air? Sunshine?
Open the laptop.
The mermaid that looked so kind
When I arrived,
Now looks fierce.
I cannot leave.
Not to panic.
I’ll just go order
I work with students who have challenges understanding non-verbal communication. Basically, it’s hard for them to decipher body language and tone of voice, sarcasm, etc. Well, I just moved to TX and now I can really empathize with them.
“Bless your heart.” Did you know this saying has different meanings based on body language and tone of voice? It totally does! So I’ve done a little research that I would like to share with other TX newcomers out there. (You’re welcome!) Here is what my anthropological observations show so far…
1. “Bless your heart,” said in molasses voice with tone going lower with each word. Paired with bending forward a bit and clasping hands together. Also usually with lowering eyes or closing them briefly.
Translation: I’m so very sorry you’re dumb as a box of rocks, but thanks for trying.
2. “Bless your heart,” said in a friendly, conversational voice. Sometimes with an exhale or “oh” as a prefix. Body language is relaxed and typical of standing and having a normal conversation with someone.
Translation: Thank you. You’re awesome. I totally appreciate what you did.
3. “Bless your heart,” said in an incredibly saccharine tone. Kind of a side head tilt with eyes squinted a bit and a big, fake grin.
Translation: Fuck you very much.
So, as you can see, newcomers to the area should never, ever use this term until positive you’re sure you have this down. It would be a shame to try to give a number two “Bless your heart” and give a number three “Bless your heart” by mistake! Not a good way to make new friends. This is an advanced TX saying. Go ahead and try some “y’alls” first. They’re pretty safe.
I am gay
I am straight
I am transgender
I am Christian
I am Muslim
I am Jewish
I am Buddhist
I am atheist
I am agnostic
I am black
I am white
I am Hispanic
I am Asian
I am a mixture of races and cultures
I have autism
I have Down syndrome
I have a traumatic brain injury
I am poor
I am rich
I have anxiety
I have depression
I am bi-polar
I grew up in the city
I am from the country
I am your neighbor
I am your co-worker
I am your sister, brother, friend, child, parent
I am your teacher, store clerk, lawyer, waiter
Talk to me
Listen to me
Have a cup of coffee with me
And you will see
We are more alike than different
Hate comes from fear comes from not knowing me
Get to know me
Don’t judge me on who I am
Judge me on what I do
Am I kind
Am I compassionate
Am I accepting
Judge me on these things
And I will do the same for you
Whenever I think about making any changes in my life such as exercising more or losing weight, I can easily feel this sense of shame for who I am now. I don’t want to look back on my present self as a “before picture”.
I am realizing that I cannot do anything positive from a place of shame, or not feeling good enough. This only makes me feel bad and want to give up. It makes me set up crazy, unrealistic expectations for myself.
It’s only when I really and truly love my current self that I can do positive things. I can take a learn-to-run a 5K program and an intro to yoga program and eat a little bit healthier. I can do these things in a kind, caring and joyful way for myself. Not in a, “I need to fix this person” way.
I will celebrate these new steps and I will also be proud of the person I am right at this exact moment. The teacher of the introduction to yoga class told us that we are all perfect just as we are now and we just keep becoming more perfect.
And that works so much better! I refuse to be a “before picture”!