Sunday, 31 August 2014

Please Call Me What I Am...

Don’t be alarmed but it offends me that you think I am offended when you call me what I am…BLACK

I have contemplated writing about this subject for quite some time now but have put it off because I didn't think it was necessary living in the twenty first century. Then something happened which gave me a little nudge.

One day as I was having an interesting discussion with a friend, it occurred to me that they felt they could not describe a black person as that - black! The discussion we were having was such that they needed to be explicit in order to drive a point home, but when it came down to it they couldn't describe the person in the way they needed to so as to keep the conversation flowing. For the sake of being politically correct they tip toed and meandered, throwing words like coloured, brown, from Africa and so on. Although I understood, I could not help but feel a volcano brewing inside me, so in the end I had to say it for them - BLACK. Immediately, I could see the relief sweeping across their face. 'Blackk' was better coming from my mouth rather than theirs, so they thought.

Well, excuse me!

Don't get me wrong; I am not naive, neither am I ignorant of the history behind the prejudices, the need to be politically correct, slavery issues, the whole enchilada! I also realise that it works both ways as some of my black brothers and sisters play the race card every chance they get which scares the hell out of those not black. Some simply do not want to be identified as such and are offended when they are called black. They may not say it out loud but it shows on their faces the moment the word 'black' is uttered. But why is that, I find myself asking.

Let's look at this for a minute, shall we? Doesn't it mean that the person who thinks that it offends me for them to call me black is showing me just how prejudiced they are? Are they in fact not telling me that there is something wrong with my being black? And if you're the black person taking offence just because someone has called you black, doesn't that imply that you haven't fully embraced your blackness? What is it exactly that you think is wrong with you being black?

It saddens me that every day I have to remind my daughter that she is just as beautiful and precious as her white Caucasian best friend. Her friend has never said or done anything to make her feel that she isn't lovely, but she as a child she can't help notice that she is different. As a mother it is not only important for me to tell her that there is nothing wrong with being the way she is, but to live what I say. How can she believe and embrace what I say if it is apparent, through my actions or otherwise, that I don't in fact believe my own words?

I have to admit that the issue of blackness can be a very touchy subject especially for sisters out there. I will admit, I have the occasional braids, extensions but like most sisters out there, it is because it saves time in the morning when we have to rush to work, is easier to manage and because I simply get bored very easily wearing the same hairstyle every day. But when my hair is out I also should be able to wear it with pride because it is beautiful the way it is. As a mother that is what I want my daughter to understand.

I have read Maya Angelou's 'I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing' and I have to say that I cringed when I read some parts where she talks about some of the derogatory terms that were used to describe black people. But I have to say that it has been a breath of fresh air to note that more and more people, especially women, have embraced the natural black look to the extend of appearing on the covers of some glossy magazines.

I believe that it takes a certain degree of understanding, intelligence and maturity if you like to reach a stage where you realise that there is nothing at all wrong with being different. In fact different, in my book, is good. Imagine a world where everything looks the same, tastes the same and behaves the same. How boring. I would like to think that it is our differences that make life exciting and fascinating. If someone doesn't accept you for who you are then isn't it fair to say that they are not worth your time anyway? I also believe that it is only when we embrace what and who we really are first that others can do the same. How can we expect someone else to love and appreciate the real you when you don't like yourself? It is an impossible task, I think.

That is why I say that it offends me when you think that I am offended to be called what I am....A BLACK LADY!

Stay cool out there!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Too Busy to Blog...Well I Guess I Have Just Blogged!

I have been busy editing my new book I haven't had the time to write one of my monthly blogs/articles. I am not going to either this month because I have to remain focused on it. It's got to be done as it has gone on long enough. You all know how taxing writing can be, especially with a full time job. I was also hoping to attend a writers' conference in York in September with a finished manuscript, but at this rate. I don't see it happening. Hmmmmn, but got to try and do it. If I miss this conference, I am sure there will be other conferences to attend where I can be given professional feedback on my work. I am one determined bird! I do fall from time to time but one thing for sure, you can never keep me down!

Stay cool!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

My Father's Day Tribute...

You could be a step-father, an uncle, nephew or indeed brother. Sometimes we are left to play the role of father due to one circumstance or another. It really doesn't matter. What matters is that you are playing the role to the best of your ability.

It's been a few years since my father left this world but the pain of losing him still lingers. I just want to wish all the wonderful dads out there a wonderful day filled with love, happiness and appreciation. No one can ever replace you. You play a very important role in our lives and no matter how old one gets, their dad will always be special.

The following is an article I wrote a while back published in my local paper, paying tribute to you all wonderful fathers out there. I hope you will be blessed by it. Just click on the link below:

Happy Father's Day Article

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Falling madly, deeply in love with myself this Valentine's week....

I hope you don't wait for Valentine's Day to show him/her how much you love and care for them. Everyday should be an opportunity to do so. Here's wishing you lots of love, happiness and prosperity!!


Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Power Of Vulnerability

Half the time we walk with wide grins on our faces, pretending everything in our universe is okay or indeed perfect. We laugh out loud at lousy jokes, choose our words carefully, and wear beautiful clothes. And if you're like me you spend hours in front of the mirror, fixing your hair.

Perhaps we really care about each other's feelings and about our looks, but sometimes the thought of 'being seen' terrifies us. Even though our worlds are falling apart, and are far from perfect, we walk with our heads held high, looking people in the eye, convincing them and ourselves we have everything under control. Inside, we are like a volcano, waiting to erupt.

A little prod on the right spot is all it will take for us to explode, destroying everything in our path. It is when this happens that those around us turn in awe, wondering what the hell happened. They are puzzled why a woman or a man of such a stature and decorum could snap and lose it like that. Well, I reckon it’s because human beings don't allow themselves to be vulnerable!

For me to understand vulnerability is to draw from experience and the experience of others. Making yourself vulnerable takes courage. It may be the bravest thing you've ever done. We all want to be accepted for who we are, warts and all, right? And yet half the time we hesitate to reveal our true selves to another human being. The thought of being rejected or being judged terrifies us. So, we hide behind smiles and polite conversation. 

But being vulnerable isn't a bad thing.

It is loving someone with all your heart even though there is no guarantee they will love you in return. It is being flawed, revealing your true authentic self and giving someone the choice to fall in love with who you really are and not who you think they want you to be. It’s taking that leap of faith as you go after your heart's desires.

Being vulnerable is looking someone in the eye, confessing your deepest fears. Standing in front of someone, admitting your wrongs and asking them to forgive you. It is trusting they will appreciate your effort and gesture. It is just being, doing regardless of the outcome.

 It's crying in front crying in front of the congregation, your friend, your wife or indeed your boss without having to worry that they will think any less of you. It's being able to turn to someone admitting that you are hurting, you need help, you can't cope, and that you've had enough. It's letting them see you in your weakest state and allowing yourself to feel what you feel without fear of being judged or ridiculed.

I reckon if we all exercised a healthy amount of vulnerability, this world would be a better place. If only we could allow ourselves to be who we are, to feel what we feel, I believe there would be fewer, no suicides, abortions, resentment, pride, anger, frustration among other things.

Take care!