History repeats itself.

I have a lot of opinions. I don’t typically get political, but I feel like I have to just get this off of my chest after the President’s comments at an Alabama rally this week. President Trump called on NFL team owners to fire those “SOB” players that kneel during the national anthem at football games. Here’s my take:

I am a 30 year old American white woman. I was raised by parents who are racist in a predominantly white area. I didn’t have much interaction with people of other ethnicities and as such I was ignorant and feared African Americans due to the stories I was told by my parents growing up. I have never been racist. I always treated people how they treated me, regardless of what they looked like. 

When I was 18 years old, my parents moved from Western NY to about an hour north of Atlanta, GA. I thought people in WNY were racist (ha). In this little town of Jasper, GA I experienced hate for the first time, as did my parents. We were now labeled “Yankees” by southerners who were still stuck in the civil war era. My parents owned a diner which I worked at. During my tenure there, I heard my share of insults about being a Yankee. Being new to the area and younger, I struggled to fit in and make friends. I did notice a common theme with the people who labeled me a yankee and treated me differently: they were all uneducated (I don’t believe any of them had attended high school) and they never left the small town they grew up in and went out into the world. These same people were also racist; however, most of them had never spoken to an African American in their lives. It was also the first time that I had heard about the KKK outside of history class in high school. The KKK was active in North GA and knowing that completely baffled me. Needless to say, I lasted in GA for 4 months. I was 19 years old when I moved out of my parents house and went to live in Philadelphia with my boyfriend (now husband) whom I had a long distance relationship with since I left WNY.

When I moved to Philly, I enrolled in beauty school before learning the area and really settling in. And I’m so glad that I did. 

I was the Minority in beauty school. Literally, I was 1 of 2 white girls in a beauty school with almost 100 African American women. My first day of beauty school I was petrified. My entire life I was told that African Americans were criminals, had no morals, were poverty stricken and even that they hated white people. I kept to myself thinking maybe I won’t get beat up that way. It took 10 minutes for someone to approach me. Her name was Alliah. She was so nice and made me feel so welcome. When we had our first lunch break she invited me out with some of the girls. I was the only white girl invited. Reluctantly, I said yes. And I’m so glad that I did. Not one of those girls looked at or treated me like I was not like them. After time, we all became great friends and knowing them shattered any stereotypes I grew up believeing about African Americans. Alliah invited me to her house for dinner. She didn’t live in the best area in Philly and I had no idea what her family was like. I only knew that she had a huge family. Would they treat me like she did? Do they hate white people? I started questioning it. When I got there, I was greeted with a big hug from her Mother. They sat me at the head of the table and I experienced some of the best homemade food I’d ever had. Her entire family never once treated me like I was privelged or didn’t look like them, but I began to feel it. Her brother had a good job and education, but I knew he was paid less than a white man in the same position. I knew that when they left the house and were not around other African Americans they were probably not treated the same as their white counterparts. I knew that police in their town followed them constantly and looked for any reason they could find to pull them over. I also realized that I have never experienced any of their struggles (aside from gender pay equality, which is a topic for another day), which meant that I was privileged. Spending a year of my life with those girls and some of their families changed my life and my views. I will forever be grateful for the experience that I had while I lived in Philadelphia years ago. 

I am now back living in WNY. I am very patriotic. I love my country. I treat everyone equally. I have nothing but respect for our flag and the service members who risked and gave their lives for our freedom. I also understand why Colin Kaeprnick took a knee during the anthem during an NFL game. I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out:

Because we live in a democracy that abides by the constitution of the USA, we have the freedom of speech. African Americans spent decades fighting for freedom. They got it. Once they became free, they spent decades fighting for equality. They have yet to get that. Years of peaceful protests have got them nowhere. An NFL player takes a knee during the national anthem to bring awareness to racial injustice and now people are talking about it. NFL fans, team owners, players, non-NFL fans, and even the president of the United States. I think we can all agree that there may be better ways to highlight the issue of racial injustice than kneeling during the anthem. However, that has all been done before and yet nothing has changed. 

So what is the answer? I say we do this. White people of America need to say the following to the protesters: “We hear you. We have empathy for you. Things need to change.”. Don’t like them protesting during the national anthem? LISTEN and have conversations to make change so that they no longer feel the need to do that to get your attention; don’t feel like they need to do that to be heard. It’s easy for white people to say there isn’t an issue because we are not impacted, but it doesn’t matter what we think. We are not in their shoes and never will be so we need to look within ourselves and say wow it would suck to be treated differently because I was white and take a stand to make a change. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am a white woman who is relentlessly patriotic. I love the USA and I realize how lucky we are to live in a country where we are free. I also realize that people are not treated equally in this country. I also realize that the current President has done nothing to condemn it. “Firing the son of a bitches” that protest is not the answer. Listening to their concerns and having empathy for people who are not like you is. If you can’t find it in you to do so, I encourage you to get out into the world and get cultured. 

All you need is love. ❤️

Advertisements

This roller coaster we call life.

Human emotions are something else. When an emotion strikes me, it strikes me hard. People around me may not be able to notice, but inside I’m feeling all the feels. Happiness, sadness, anxiety, depression, uncertainty, all of it. There’s one emotion in particular that is quite frightening.

Love. There are a lot of feelings associated with love. Trust, vulnerability, infatuation, admiration, lust, etc. Love is scary. Truly loving someone is giving them the power to tear you apart but trusting that they won’t. Trusting that they will always do right by you. Trusting that they put you first. Trusting that if something is wrong they will communicate with you. 

Like with any other matter, you learn a lot about love, trust and communication as you go through life. People will leave scars on your heart. Bruises on your self esteem and insecurities. Pain on the soul. Despite all of the emotions and unknowns that come with loving someone we do it anyway. We go through the pain, the scarring, the bruises despite knowing that eventually, intentional or not, we are bound to get hurt.

I’m not just referencing love with a significant other. You can go through all of these emotions with a parent, friend or other family member too. People that are put in your life that you love. So why do we put ourselves through it and risk the pain?

Because no one is perfect, including you. You may have caused that same pain that you feel from loving someone. You may have made a stupid decision or unintentionally hurt someone you love without realizing the pain that you would inflict on them. Love is a risk that we all take. Being in love is a great feeling. The highs are high and the lows are low. We do it for the highs.

Ok I’m done with my philosophical-ness. Life is crazy and I’ve accepted that. It’s ok to feel. That is your right and no one can take that from you. Trust your intuition. 

I’m sitting in the parking lot about to go into the salon to get my hair done having an anxiety attack. Damn this anxiety and all of the mental and physical ailments that come with it. Just this once, I want to walk in there and not feel like I’m on the verge of death. Not look at the clock sweating. Not thinking about what the absolute worst scenario would be and how I would get out of it. Just go in there like a normal woman and come out feeling fabulous because my hair looks fly. But no. I’ll come out with fly hair but my shirt will be soaked in sweat. My stomach will hurt. Extreme exhaustion will wash over me and I’ll be emotionally and physically drained for the rest of the day until I get the next surge of adrenaline before my next attack. Joy.

Happy 4th of July people! Remember, despite what some people may tell you, America has always been great. If you think otherwise I encourage you to spend some time in other areas of the world, such as the Middle East or certain areas in South America. 🙂

Poetic thoughts.

Noise in the distance, people yelling;

pounding in my chest, this is telling.

She picks us up and takes us to the car;

It’s not long before we change who we are.

Are you happy, honey? Is this where you want to be?

Yes it is, but can I leave?

 

Days go by and things turn ugly;

she’s leaving again and the lights are acting funny.

He comes home late smelling like alcohol;

wonder if he remembers that he has kids at all?

Waking up at night, head pounding;

can’t take this anymore, feel like I’m drowning.

 

Breathe child, think about what you’re doing;

Can’t you see it’s a family that you’re ruining?

Tired, sweating, anxious and out of breath;

this is what I want, I have nothing left.

“You’re not old enough to make your own decision”;

tired of you telling me what to do, you don’t know my vision.

 

No longer thinking someone else’s thoughts;

who would have known I could be my own boss?

Alone and afraid with nothing to lose,

these kids are tough, but honey so are you.

Going through the motions and putting up walls;

getting tired of walking down these halls.

“Be strong you can do this”, I’d say to myself;

you control your own destiny, you don’t need any help.

 

I haven’t heard from you in months,

that must mean you’re not missing me that much.

“A parent has unconditional love for their child”,

practice what you preach and I may feel worthwhile.

She stayed and I left, does that make me bad?

The few times I talked to you, you always seemed mad.

 

It hurts so much but I’ve become numb from the pain,

I used to wish I could take out my brain.

Memories come late at night flooding back,

here comes that dreaded anxiety attack.

Heart pumping, mind numbing, shaky limbs and a sweaty back,

how long is this going to last?

 

Graduating from high school; such an accomplishment,

you’re weren’t there, but I don’t have any resentment.

Never heard from you that day or the next,

if you had a cell phone I’m not sure you would text.

 

Life has a funny way of working itself out,

a few years later the truth all comes out.

Now you know how I feel even though it was ugly,

I resent you for the childhood that you took from me.

The only thing that remains the same,

are those anxiety attacks that always came.