Thursday, June 11, 2020

#ShareTheMicNow And #KeepSharingTheMic


So often when the world listens to women, it leaves Black women out of the conversation, and so often, our voices go unheard. 

Even though we have amazing things to contribute. 

This week, there was an attempt to fix that. Popular white celebrity women muted themselves and handed over their Instagram accounts to popular influencers, activists, writers, and total bosses. 

All women. All Black. 

This was for a campaign called #ShareTheMicNow

When I first heard of the campaign, I was all kinds of excited because, at a time like this, the world needs to hear from Black women. That's why I was very excited when the amazing folks at Babbleboxx reached out to me to join forces with them for the piggyback campaign, #KeepSharingTheMic. 


So I took over BabbleBoxx's Instagram Stories yesterday to introduce myself, share my writing, share my joy, and share a little bit of what I think the world needs now to begin to dismantle white supremacy and work towards being anti-racist. I did all of this while pushing past my discomfort, getting in front of the camera, and speaking truth to power. This message is too important and too necessary for me not to.

My biggest focus? 

What are we going to tell the kids when they grow up and ask us what we did to fix this mess? I mean, I'm around children all day, everyday so I couldn't think of a better thing to focus on. 

And then, as I was just about to #DropTheMic and turn it back over to BabbleBoxx, I challenged their followers with a call to action that included four things:
  1. Reading
  2. Watching
  3. Donating
  4. Discussing 
Check out BabbleBoxx's Instagram Stories and let me know what you think! This week was one step in the right direction. 

Let's #KeepSharingTheMic. After all, there's enough room for all of our voices to be heard.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

On Black Lives Mattering And Resources to Becoming Anti-Racist

Dapper Dudes

Aiden has several nerf guns. Matter of fact, he went through back-to-back-to-back Christmases and birthdays where that’s all he requested. And that’s all he got.

He’s not allowed to play with any of them outside.

He’s also not allowed to play with water guns outside. Matter of fact, he’s never even owned a water gun. I’ve always refused to buy them for him and refused to allow people to gift them to him.

Why?

Because I’m afraid that, if he had one, he'd want to do play with it outside, and police officers will see him with the water gun, mistake it for a real one, and shoot him... because he's Black.

If you’re a mother and you’ve never had to worry about that, then this post is for you. If you’re not a mother and you think that’s a wild thought, then this post is for you. If you’re surprised that this is the reality of mothers of Black and brown boys in America, then this post is for you. If you work with Black and brown kids in any capacity, then this post is for you.

If you want to be an ally, then this post is for you.

Quaran-team!

Truth is, I think about things like this all the time. I don’t live in fear, but I’m aware that it’s a necessary part of my son’s survival. I’ve written about this before

And I want you to understand that, having something like this be at the forefront of your mind, along with all the other stressors that come with raising a child, is stressful AF.

Full stop.

It literally takes a toll on my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Imagine dealing with this everyday and then having to show up at work and go hard as I always do... all while watching my tone and choosing my words carefully because I don't want a white co-worker to think I'm an Angry Black Woman. (But who wouldn't be angry if this were their lived experience?)

Photo credit: Google 

Aiden is 12. (Same age as Tamir Rice.) He knows about Amy Cooper and George Floyd and all of the protesting because we’ve been openly discussing it in our house. And he's been listening and asking questions.

He’s twelve. And cute and funny and sometimes quirky. He still sleeps with a night light and teddy bears on his bed. And he’s been asking for extra hugs these days.

But at what age is he going to be seen as a threat?

13? 15? 16?

How many more years do I have with him until the Amy Cooper’s of the world use their whiteness as a weapon against him? Or police officers see him as threatening?

How many more?

I’m sick. I’m tired. I'm hurt. I’m mentally exhausted. I'm emotionally spent. Because the truth is racism and systematic oppression are so deeply embedded in our society that it literally affects every… single… aspect of our daily lives and lived experiences. It's everywhere and it's terrorizing!

You may know about George Floyd, but people are not protesting just because of him. This is from years and years and decades and decades of us begging and pleading and peacefully protesting (see: Kaepernick) to law enforcement and elected officials to treat us like humans. See our humanity. Stop killing us.

It's too much!

And we are tired.

12th birthdays be like...

And because other people – who are way smarter than me – have already written or spoken on it, I’m sharing their work. I’ve literally read all of these books (sometimes twice, sometimes thrice!) and watched all of these films (sometimes twice!). They're good and informative. 

Click, read, listen, learn a thing or two, and support… you know the deal.

On racism and the criminal justice system…
Watch: 13th by Ava DuVernay
Watch: When They See Us by Ava DuVernay

On voting…
Watch: Selma by Ava DuVernay (yes, I love her and all her #BlackGirlMagic)

On segregation, redlining, White Flight, and government-created low-income neighborhoods…

On a little bit of what it’s like to be a Black man in America…

On White Supremacy why it’s so hard for White folks to talk about racism…
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

On Raising An Advocate and reading books with little Black kids as main characters...
Raising An Advocate by Mamademics
Any one of Denene Millner books  (My kids' libraries are stocked with these books)

Articles that I’ve posted to my Facebook account within these last couple weeks:


After you’ve read and studied and learned a few things, donate some money to the cause, if you have it.

And then, actively work to be anti-racist. And then, stand in the gap for us.

Seriously. Talk to people about Black lives mattering.

Make it a habit, even when there's not a major civil rights movement happening.

Make it a habit, even after all these George Floyd protests die down.

Make it a habit, before the next hashtag becomes a "thing".

Make it a habit, by posting about it on social media.... along with all the other mundane shit that we like to post.

Make it a habit, even when people bring up looters and rioters. (Spoiler alert: humans over property, all day, e'erday!)

Make it a habit, even when people bring up Black on Black crime. (Newsflash: it's a myth.)

Make it a habit, even when people try to whitesplain MLK and what he stood for. (Plot twist: they murdered him too.)

Make it a habit, even when people say, "He should have been more respectful/less resistant/followed orders" and a whole bunch of other things in order to... I don't know... stay alive. (Be clear: we ain't about that victim-blaming life.)

Make it a habit, by talking about Black lives mattering with your friends, family, and co-workers.

If you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, say something anyway. Practice, stay at it, and you’ll get better. If you’re afraid of what your white friends and family members might say in response, ask yourself why, do some soul-searching, check your privilege, and say something anyway. Because wherever you are, that is your frontline.

This is literally a matter of life and death for my kids.

And me.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Birthdays Was the Worst Days...

blazer & sequin mini-skirt: Express | blouse: Target

Now we sip champagne when we thirsty. (#BigUpToBiggie)

I celebrated my 35th birthday a couple weeks ago, and honestly, I'm still coming down off the high of the celebration.

I felt the love at home when I woke up to the couch filled with purple balloons (my favorite color -- details matter), a card from HEB, and Apple Air Pods.


I felt the love at work when my co-workers decorated my office and had all 400+ students surprise me at Community Circle with a cheer in my honor. Later that day, my co-workers surprised me with lunch and red velvet cake. Talk about yum! And I can't forget the roses from HEB that we're delivered to my job. (Thanks boo.)





I felt the love at brunch the next day when my friends showed up and showed out. And, of course, more (purple) cake. The weekend was literally the epitome of love and joy and life.

Matter of fact, all birthdays should feel like that.




Growing up, I didn't make a big deal out of birthdays because I didn't always feel celebrated on my birthdays. But I'm happy that 35 is teaching me to be different. To be loved. And to let love in.

Real talk: it's a good place to be.



I can't wait to see what this year has in store.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

13 Thoughts About Running 13.1 Miles


Last weekend, I ran the Shape Women's Half-Marathon. Yeah, you read that right. I laced up my New Balance kicks, secured my bib, and ran around Central Park. Twice. And then some. It was the longest distance I've ever run. (My previous longest run was nearly 10 miles.)

Miles 1-7 were good and smooth. I was in a groove and, at an average pace of 10'0"/mi, I felt like Super Woman.

Then it got hot. And hard.

And as it got hard, I started to think lots of thoughts. (Yes, some of them were about quitting.) So... here are 13 life thoughts about running 13.1 miles.


1. The people who say things like, "If you can run 8 miles or 9 miles, you can run 13 miles!" are what life-ruiners are made of. They're lying. #FightMe 
2. Crowds are evil. (I was so through with crowds and ran on the outskirts for pretty much half of the half.) 
3. A few encouraging people are all you need. Really. The hill at 9.5 miles kicked my ass. The hill at 10.5 miles tried to take me out. My headphones gave out at mile 11. At that point, I literally texted HEB to say, "Life hates me." But he texted things like, "Keep pushing" and "You got this" and "You're almost there." That's what kept me going. And the signs that people held up. Which bring me to my next point... 
4. Signs are lifesavers. #BigSignsSaveLives 
5. Hard does not mean impossible. 
6. Slow progress is still progress. It got to the point where I really needed to slow down because the hills were trying to kill me. But I was still moving forward and I was still inching towards the 13.1 mile mark.

7. Focus on yourself and your goals because you are only in competition with yourself. 
8. You don't have to be the strongest. You don't have to be the fastest. You just have to endure for a... little... while... longer
9. Beginnings are beautiful and magical and what unicorns are made of. 
10. Middles are rough and messy and murky and muddy. 
11. There's an expiration date for things that are hard. When things got hard, I started to think of crossing the finish line and getting to that 13.1, or the metaphorical "expiration date." So whatever you're going through has an expiration date. Even if you can't yet see the finish line. Which brings me to my next point... 
12. Finishes are glorious. It's up to you to push pass the messiness and murkiness and muddiness so that you can get to your glorious finish. #PointBlankPeriod
13. It's literally marathon, not a sprint. It took me 2 hours and 30 minutes, but I finished. And it felt damn good!

Friday, March 8, 2019

4.0 and Running Goals


I'm officially a runner, y'all!

A couple of weeks ago, HEB and I ran the Al Gordon Brooklyn 4M race with the NYRR and I was able to check off one of my 2019 goals that I didn't even know I had!

Even though it was pretty cold that day and I had to wake up pretty early to get to Prospect Park, I'm happy that I did the race.


At the gym, I've been running 4 miles in roughly 45 minutes, but I wanted to cut that time down by five minutes and finish the race in 40 minutes. Because #goals.

I'm proud to say that my official end time was 39 minutes and 44 seconds with a 9:56 pace per mile.

Not bad at all.

And now I can set a new goal -- to finish off 4 miles at a slightly faster pace. (Emphasis on slightly.)

Also... setting running goals, pushing through (in the cold and early morning) to meet said running goals, and then setting new running goals officially makes you a runner, no?


Onward.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Kids Cooking Class at Nonna Beppa Soho


"I wish we could get one of those things for our house!"

This was Aiden, referring to a pasta maker. The crew and I attended a Kids Cooking Class this past weekend at Nonna Beppa, an authentic Italian restaurant in Soho, and let me tell you, the restaurant is the truth!


Not only are the majority of ingredients at Nonna Beppa imported straight from Italy (think cured meats and many cheeses), but the Kids Cooking Class is a Pasta-Making Class.

From scratch.

I'm talking combining the flour and eggs, kneading the pasta dough, allowing the dough to rest, dividing the pasta dough, rolling out the pasta, thinning the pasta, cutting the pasta, cooking the pasta, and last but not least, eating the pasta... the whole nine yards!






The kids thought it was so cool and they were really into it.

And, by "kids," I mean Aiden and the other big kids. August was too cool for school and had other toddler business to tend to. Like running up and down the restaurant, drinking water, and taking a nap. Oh, and the "eating" portion of the class.

(Fun Fact: Pasta is legit his favorite thing to eat. In fact, 9 out of 10 times, he eats some type of pasta for dinner and all I do is switch up the sauce. #toddlerlife)



I  was also seriously impressed with the entire class. And with the wine selection. (#dontjudgeme)

Tania, the teacher, helped the kids every step of the way by explaining everything to them in a kid-friendly way. She was also very patient, worked with the kids on the skills they were lacking, and shouted them out when they were rocking it out!

Thanks, Tania!

On the menu was tagliatelle and ravioli. And who knew that you used little cute square to make ravioli?!


While their pasta was cooking up, I enjoyed a little more wine, ordered my meal, and admired the chic and trendy scenery that is Nonna Beppa.




Then, it was time to eat! While the kids ate their delish pasta, HEB and I ate a yummy 3-course meal. Everything was cooked to perfection.




Interested? Kids Cooking Class takes place every other Sunday at noon. Visit the Nonna Beppa website to learn more information or to reserve your spot. 

(You're welcome.)

Thanks so much to the entire team at Nonna Beppa for the fun experience. The wine was amazing. And the pasta was pretty good too!

{Disclaimer: The kids were provided with a complimentary Pasta-Making Class and the grown-ups were provided with a complimentary meal in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Friday, February 8, 2019

{Relationship Stories} Guarded

{photo via}
I'm hanging out on the Lower East Side at happy hour with wo of my girlfriends and after a few five-dollar lychee martinis, I get started with some details about this thing I've got going on with The Guy.

Specifically the fact that I'm all screwed up when it comes to dating and relationships and that I might kinda, sorta, really benefit from seeing a therapist.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Sigh. Catch yourself up by reading this. And then bear with me as I share my theory, y'all. 

I talk a lot about my past on this corner of the web -- my crazy, unstable, and very, very messy upbringing. At the age of five, I was a witness to my family getting evicted from an apartment that I lived in since birth. I was five-years-old. Five! Let that marinate for a minute. 

That night (when I was five-years-old... five!), we slept in a shelter, which is where we stayed for the next couple weeks until my mother took us to my maternal grandmother's house. And so began the crazy, unstable, emotional roller-coaster that would be my life.

I was in and out of foster homes, enduring emotional and physical abuse, not really feeling like there was someone around to protect me and look out for my well-being. (Well, not anyone other than my sister. But she's three years older than me so she didn't have that much power to be the grown-up that I needed in my life. She tried though.) 

I learned a few things from that upbringing... Resilience. Heck, look it up in the dictionary and you just might find the biography of Alicia Harper. Faith. I had to trust in God to get me through those years of hell. (He never said the weapon wouldn't form; He said it wouldn't prosper -- Isaiah 54:17). Optimism. I needed to look forward to a better tomorrow in order to make it through my today. Love. Kindness. Joy. Hard work. Independence. Drive. And a slew of other qualities that makes me the Mommy Delicious that I am today.

For that, I'm thankful.

I managed to get a full scholarship to a great university and I truly looked forward to the life that I'd create as a grown-up, which, I proclaimed, would be nothing like the one I had growing up.  

Fast forward a few years to my first serious adult relationship. Aiden's otherparent. After enduring emotional, financial, and physical abuse, we all know how that one ended -- not good. I still suffer from PTSD and have flashbacks of those incidents from time to time -- it's not easy to get through that kind of trauma. I went through a year of therapy after that and it really helped me to pick up the pieces of my life, learn some hard and heavy lessons, and move forward.

Resilience, at its finest. 

What's crazy and freaky and mind-blowing is the way the cycle of events works. I left the drama of my upbringing only to create it once again in my adult life. And I barely escaped it in my adult-life. 

See what I'm talking about when I say I need therapy? More therapy?  

I guess we have a tendency to gravitate towards things that are familiar to us. There's comfort in that, even if it's unhealthy. 

The thing about the horrific events that have taken place in my life is, while they've helped me to learn so much about the great things about life, they've left me shattered. And guarded.

Extremely guarded. Abnormally guarded.

The scars of my past have made me very protective of my thoughts and feelings and situations in my life, and I don't know how to share them with others. (Except for when it comes to writing. I can put it all out there in an article or blog post.)  

Enter The Guy. He's nice and sweet and smart and handsome and honest and comes from a good family and wants to build something with me. He's the guy I've been praying for! 

During the cocktail therapy session with my girls (hey, it's cheaper than a regular therapy session), I went on and on and on about my guardedness. (Is that even a word?) I've been guarded for so long, not really letting anyone in my heart for so long, maintaining these superficially relationships with folks that I genuinely care about for so long.

Sigh.  

I'm finally at a point in my life where I don't have to be this way anymore... and I don't know how not to be this way. Here I have this perfectly good (and good-to-me and good-for-me) guy who just wants to love me and like me and go at this thing together... and I don't know how to let him. I want to be successful at this, but I, must admit, I don't know how to do this. (My Type-A personality is not okay with this, by the way.)

He's been patient, I guess. But we're at the point where he's starting to think that I'm hiding things from him. But I'm not. Not intentionally anyhow. I genuinely don't find it necessary to share certain things with him. 

He's all like, "But... we're trying to build something together, why wouldn't you think to tell me about that?"

And I'm all like, "Uh... uh... I need more time to process your question and formulate a response."

I don't think that's gonna work for much longer though.

I take another sip of my lychee martini and I spill it all out to my girls. They sit there and listen to me, order more martinis with me, wallow when necessary, validate my feelings, and lean in for hugs when I need them. Then they give it to me straight and tell me that, yes, I do in fact need to speak with a therapist about my guardedness (It is a word. I'm proclaiming it.) 

Gotta love girl talk.

{This post was first published on Mommy Delicious on October 27, 2013. And it's about HEB. We're coming up on six years in this relationship thing.}

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