Pretty Powerful

Came across this feature on Afropunk.com by T. McLendon.

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I have talked a lot about the need to affirm the beauty of black women worldwide as their beauty is often either ignored or unseen or even ridiculed. A Korean graffiti artist, Royal Dog, understood that need as well and painted some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen while on a recent visit to the United States.

Check out more of the images here:

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Love,

El

Defiance!

I may be the first person in history to ever walk out of a meditation class and then, soon after, be filled with a spirit of defiance thanks to a clear mind. But I like it. And I welcome it. And it’s necessary.

Following the session at a local yoga wellness studio, I took time to drive around my favorite neighborhood along the ocean and take in the view: the beautiful houses, the private beaches, the ocean sparkling in the sunlight. It was just gorgeous. I did that thing that you do when you think about earning millions of dollars, cashing in some of your chips, and buying your dream home. I thought about buying a house there… and then, my next thought was about whether it would it be safe for me and my family as African Americans. There aren’t many of us in that neighborhood if any, so I thought of how it would be if my husband were driving to our hypothetical multi-million dollar house late at night after coming from a night out. Would he be stopped by police on the way home for looking ‘out of place?’ I thought about my daughter as teenager, hanging out on the private beach with her friends. Would people question her if she lives there and has “permission” to use the beach?

I’m not alone with thoughts like these. Many a black wife and mother before me and probably after me will wonder these things, but the meditation helped clarify my thinking – detoxing me from the negative. And just as quick as that thought popped into my mind, it was gone and it was replaced instead with the spirit of resolve and appreciation for how far we’ve come as a nation. As if on cue, a few hundred yards later and I was greeted with a friendly smile and wave from a blonde woman walking her dog. Homegirl was not even thinking of me being potentially out of place and I was doing all the stupid thinking for both of us.

Last week’s election results have had me questioning who sees me as me and who could care less. It has had me questioning who sees me as less than them and who sees me as not even worth a thought. Between the election results and the uptick in police brutality, my mental has been under assault for several years now.

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Today – it stops.

Our country has come too far to snuff out all of the good and all of the strides we as a collective American people have made in our very short history. Warm smiles, friendly exchanges with people from all backgrounds, all religions, all races – DAILY – can’t be belittled or ignored in place of the acceptance of fear and exhaustion given the hate that was able to win last week.

Today, I choose to become both defiantly optimistic and defiantly successful in my quest for justice for all and my own personal achievement.

It means speaking up when I’m tired and taking action when it’s not convenient. It means not accepting hate as the norm, but also not turning a blind eye to it and acting like it doesn’t exist just because it doesn’t feel good to think about it. It means that a lot of days are going to be a challenge and I’m going to have to really work to be positive. But I’ve never been afraid of hard work, so this is no different. My opponent – hate – may look like Goliath right now…. after all, it was just voted into the halls of our highest office. But, when it was all said and done, when you go back and look at history, David was the victor. When you fight for what is right, the battle is yours – and the only arms needed are love, patience, resilience, and the refusal to be silent.

I’m done being afraid. I’m done being angry. I’m going to live my life in spite of people who would try and govern my steps and I will seek opportunities to be a mouthpiece for people who can’t speak up for whatever reason lest they be trampled by Goliath.

I have one life and I’m no longer going to waste it thinking about how much better it could be elsewhere when I can make it great right here. “Every day can be a great day” – especially when the tough ones are still building a brighter future.

Wish me luck.

Love,

El