Happy “ever after” in the Marketplace

Posted on | January 15, 2015 | 26 Comments

So approximately five years ago, I sat down and created my very first blog… inspired by the fact that I could actually post my thoughts and ideas and what not to the internet. It was sort of… underwhelming… at first. I posted and joined Twitter and found other blogs I enjoyed. I wrote about J and how stressful life was. I wrote about moving to Savannah and starting a new job. And really, I think like fifteen people made up my “loyal” following. Of those fifteen, ten were family and friends and the other five were new bloggers like myself.

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I didn’t expect any more.

I didn’t ever really think anyone would give two sh*ts about what I have to say about, well, anything. And that’s good… because for the most part no one does. I just wanted a place to write my thoughts… somewhere other than the tired, leather or canvas bound books that I’ve been toting around my whole life. I wanted the possibility of feedback, you know? That tiny sliver of hope that someone would read and tell me I’m not crazy. That someone would read and say “That chick has interesting thoughts” or maybe “hey, she’s not a bad writer!” I wanted what all bloggers want, I think, affirmation from someone else that what I’m going through isn’t foreign. Or maybe that what I say and how I say it is … unique? Special? Yes. I wanted to feel special. And beyond that, I wanted someone to put an arm around my shoulders and say “It’s cool. I’ve been there.” Because I didn’t have that in my daily life. I had a stressful job and though I tried to hide it, a stressful marriage. I had no one sitting beside me and telling me it would be okay.

So I poured out my thoughts here, in this little corner, and white washed them as best I could, hoping that having someone else read it might just make it so.

But it didn’t.

My marriage fell apart.

This kid is totally missing out on magic, right?

And suddenly everyone wanted to read this train wreck. Suddenly everyone was paying attention to my tears and my worries. Suddenly I had that elusive “audience” that people talk about.

But for what?

It wasn’t necessarily for my writing. It wasn’t for my deep thoughts. It was, quite simply, for the drama of watching someone fall the eff apart.

Slowly, maybe a little too slowly, I built myself a life after that. I put on my big girl pants and wrote my way through the rebuilding of a soul and a heart post-divorce. Slowly, I found a world outside the confines of my blog… outside the need for that soul bolstering affirmation that it seemed only a stranger could give me. Slowly… so slowly but ever so deliciously, I found love. Real and true and stupid messy love.

And I don’t write maybe as often as I did five years ago. I don’t pour my heart out the way I did when my husband moved out or when my child cried for his father. I don’t turn to this space nearly as much as I used to.

As a result, that “audience” faded. The drama was gone. The crazy had muted.

The woman was healed.

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But some of you stayed. Some of you kept… no KEEP coming back to read my thoughts and words and ideas. Some of you … just stayed.

And though I’m not sure why or how or what for, I do have to say thanks. Thanks for the mini-affirmations, the moments you give back to me, the moments you say “I read what your saying and I HEAR you.” Thanks for giving this pseudo writer what she always wanted… feedback. Even in the smallest ways. Even in the tiniest of nods. Because it’s what every writer wishes for… a reader.

And so my life goes on over here… it’s not glamorous. It’s not all that dramatic. It’s not worthy of a thriller or even a dramatic novel. Hell, over half the time it’s not even worthy of a blog post.

But you know what? It’s my life. And I’m happy to still be sharing it with you.

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Making the Tough Choices

Posted on | January 14, 2015 | 2 Comments

“Mom, will you play a game with me?”

The voice was muffled from his distance outside my bedroom and the sleep still clouding my ears. I slowly rolled over and checked the clock: ten minutes until my alarm would go off. I think I grunted in response but my feet found the cool hardwood floor anyway and I padded my way into the brightly lit living room.

There were two stacks of Doc McStuffins UNO cards dealt out and a disarray of memory tiles scattered on the ottoman.

“Either one, okay? Memory or UNO… I’ll let you pick.”

It was 6:15 in the morning. The coffee wasn’t even made yet and the dog’s tail was still thumping against the side of her kennel, ready to be let out into the brisk pre-sunrise air.

Every inch of me wanted to revolt. UNO in the morning? Memory before coffee? Every. Single. Piece of me thought it was a terrible idea. But I stared down at my five year old’s smiling face, his hair mussed, his batman pajamas all crooked and slept in. I stared down at him and realized this was the moment I’d think back on all day.

I had a choice to make. I had a big, humongous, life-altering choice to make and you know what? I think I made the right one.  I let the dog out. I made coffee. I took a shower and got dressed. I slapped make up on at a rate of speed heretofore unknown to womankind.

And then I sat down with my first cup of coffee and I played UNO. And then I played Memory.

Both.

See, every day in my life is a mess of choices. It’s a long list of decisions on what comes first: work, life, love, family. Every single day is a choice between who and what should come first or take priority. And there’s just never enough time in the day for everything… or so I like to think. But this morning, I drank my coffee while J, drunk with joy, beat me in both UNO and Memory and I didn’t let him win. We were still out the door by 7:45, only fifteen minutes later than normal. This morning, I managed to make it all come together perfectly… mothering, working, LIFE. I was fist-bumping myself all over the place because dammit, I MADE IT WORK. Single parenting? Excelling. Working mother? BEAST MODE.

And then I dropped J off at school and, with a smile on my face, made my way into work.

Where I realized I had on awkwardly mismatched clothes.

Packed for Disaster

Posted on | January 9, 2015 | 1 Comment

Sometime over Christmas break, J developed what he calls his “disaster kit.” It’s basically a tote bag that has a variety of items in it, such as sun screen, chapstick, a map, a guidebook to Barcelona, a flashlight, and various other random things. He carries it… everywhere… and at first it was a little annoying. I was a little concerned as to why J believed he needed something for disasters. Why was he even thinking about disasters? Had he watched something scary? Were they discussing disasters at school? Had I inadvertently done something to instill fear in this sweet little five year old? But then I decided to let go of the worry and just let him work through this stage. Today, I even dropped him off at school in his little black gloves and storm trooper toboggan, with the Santa Claus tote bag full of what he believes he may need in event of disaster.

I’m not sure where his fascination with this came from, but I do know this: every single one of us has something similar, don’t we? For a lot of women, it’s their purse… chock full of all the various things they may need for a random collection of events. For some, it’s their car… stuffed to the brim with “important” receipts and items. For me, though, my disaster kit is in my mind… a collection of items that I think I’d grab in the event of an emergency; things that are scattered all over my house and maybe, probably, just ought to be in a Santa Claus tote of their own.

Things like pictures and my current phone. Things like my old phone with all my old text messages from Jen before she passed away. Things like the jewelry Banks has given me and my favorite blanket. Things that I would try to grab in the event of a catastrophe. But the more I thought about the things I’d grab, the more I realized that it isn’t the things that matter so much… it’s that sense, however inaccurate, of control, of knowing that those “things” are salvageable. It’s believing that you can handle anything and everything life throws at you if you just have the right tools tucked inside your Santa Claus tote bag.

I think maybe J just needs to feel like he’s in control of something, like he’s prepared for what life throws at him, no matter what it is. Maybe he has that Santa Claus tote bag because it’s one of the few things he exercises complete and total control over… it’s his. He packed it, he alone knows what each item represents. Maybe this is just his way of feeling safe in a world that’s constantly changing.

Honestly, I’m not sure what brought it all on. Maybe a ninja turtles episode, maybe hearing something on the news, maybe reading something on a street corner we walked past. But whatever brought it on, I hope he holds it with him always… the sense that he can handle anything, the idea that he is strong enough to face what life throws at him with the bag of tools at his disposal. I hope that I can help him create his own internal Santa Claus tote bag, full of the lessons and love that he may need to face the life ahead of him.

And really? I hope that in his little five year old world, he will never need anything more than a flashlight, sunscreen, and chapstick to make it through.

I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means…

Posted on | January 7, 2015 | 1 Comment

You know how they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results? Yeah… I’m pretty sure whoever coined that phrase was a parent and what they meant was, quite simply, that parents are insane.

Because I find myself daily in situations where I’m asking the same questions over and over again, despite the fact that I KNOW what my child’s answer is going to be and I’m not going to like it.

Questions like “Why did you pour a cup of bathwater onto the floor?” and “Okay WHY did you think that was a good idea?”

It seems these days that every single question I ask garners the exact same response:

I. Don’t. Know. Followed by the equally vague and annoying “I just did.”

Seriously. I’m beginning to wonder if my child knows anything about anything at all because I can’t get anything out of him other than those three words, which, let’s face it, can be seriously annoying.

Because clearly he knows why he chose to leave his underwear in the middle of the living room floor. CLEARLY he’s aware of some reason why he made the choice to spit out the portion of his dinner he didn’t want and then leave it ON THE TABLE. I’m sure he had some reason to pull all the sheets off all the beds and leave them in a pile on the floor, right? Because something sparked that. Something in his brain triggered the action and God knows it wasn’t just… magic.

Yesterday was J’s first karate class and he was, well, ridiculously adorable in his little uniform. He paid close attention and then told me in the car that he loved it and couldn’t wait to go back. When we got home, I went to run a load of laundry. When I came back in the living room, he looked up at me and announced:

“Mom, I had to use the kick I learned in karate on Riley.”

Did you hear my head explode? Because my kid. Used. A. Karate. Kick. On. Our. Dog.

His reason?

“I don’t know.”

So we had a little heart to heart about not knowing why you hurt an animal. And I explained to him that if he kicks her again and she bites him, even if she rips a hole in his little face, I. Will. Not. Punish. Riley. He seemed to understand but then he asked me why I would let her hurt him, even if he hurt her.  I thought about explaining to him that Riley has feelings just like he does. I thought about going into all the reasons it’s wrong to hurt a dog, but ultimately, I believe my son is smart enough to KNOW all of that. So I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine.

My response?

“I don’t know. I just would.”

I think I’ll just use that as my response for everything now. Maybe then he’ll start to explain himself.

Happy New Year!

Posted on | January 6, 2015 | 2 Comments

So then what’s up, 2015? Or as I’ve taken to calling it “Twenty-pimp-teen.” Don’t ask me  why… I have no good reason and it’s a stupid name. It’s only the 6th day and already I can feel a buzz surrounding this year; I’m not sure yet what kind of a buzz it is, but there’s definitely a charged feeling in the air like something is stirring and about to happen.

Or maybe it’s just that I was pretty ready to say goodbye to last year because it was a year of serious financial struggles that are hopefully all resolved as of this precise moment in time. Who knows. All I know is that thus far, I’ve gotten up every morning with a smile on my face and a spring in my step and that’s a really welcome change from the lackluster whine and moan of 2014.

Of course, it hasn’t all been roses because I’m me. And I’m in uncharted dating territory with a very pre-teen-ish five year old. And even the shiniest of New Year’s can be smudged and blurred by those two things. See… I’m not all that good at dating. I’ve said it before. I make stupid choices and say stupid things because I’m just not used to being in a relationship. In college, my longest relationship was around three months and it ended poorly. Then I sort of dated off and on until law school but never more than once or twice before one or the other of us got bored or, in my case, forgot to return calls. Then I met my ex husband, we dated for about eight months, I broke up with him, it didn’t stick, and then we got married.

Enter Banks and our year plus relationship. This is uncharted territory for me. At this time in my previous longest relationship, I was planning a wedding with a ring on my finger so my choices were made for me. If someone had asked me out at that point, I would have been confused, flashed my left hand and said (in my best Carson from Shag) “I’m sorry, I’m engaged.”

It shouldn’t be a tough call, right? I mean… you’re in a relationship. You don’t go out with another guy. But then what if it’s a colleague and you’re not entirely sure if it’s a date or a work thing? Well… then. If you’re me, you send a cryptic text to your boyfriend asking if it’s okay for you to go have drinks with another man… one whom flirts with you often and might actually be asking you out but you’re not entirely sure.

Yeah.

Are you cringing?

Because apparently that is NOT what people in relationships do.

Apparently the proper course of action was to contact a girl friend if I was concerned and/or conflicted. No. Actually the proper course of action would have been to announce “I’m sorry, I’m seeing someone” and let it go.

So why didn’t I?

Hell. Who knows. Banks will not let me hear the end of it. The mockery is strong with that one, ladies, and I spent a good thirty minutes hearing every joke under the sun about my poor choices yesterday.

What it left me with, though, is a question in my mind about who I am and why I was even slightly conflicted about the situation. I mean, am I so much of a people pleaser that it upset me to upset this guy who I don’t really know? Because that’s what it seems like to me. And that’s a big old red flag, ya know? I don’t want to be that girl. I’ve been that girl my whole life… trying to make sure not to rock the boat or ruffle any feathers. I’ve been the girl who smiles and nods and says “yes” even when everything in me is screaming “no” just to keep from making anyone else uncomfortable or God forbid… mad at me.

I’m embarrassed to admit that about myself. I’m honestly scared to say “no.” What an awful thing to be scared of for thirty seven years.

Twenty-pimp-teen is upon us now, though. And it seems like as good a time as any, here at thirty-seven years old, to finally learn how to say “no.” So I’ve started with the opposing counsel. Who I politely told “no” with no reason provided. Because I don’t owe a reason to anyone but myself.

 

I Believe.

Posted on | December 12, 2014 | No Comments

It hasn’t felt much like Christmas this year. Until lately, we’ve had a rush of warm weather in Georgia that just seemed to suck the joy right out of the season.

I’ve been cranky and J hasn’t been sleeping great because of all the excitement (and sugar), so he’s been cranky, too. We’ve both been at each other, pushing buttons and yelling and snipping like families do around the holidays when things aren’t perfect… even though nothing is ever perfect. I’ve been struggling through making “magic”  for J and wondering when it is that I get to stop and sit, and drink in what used to be my favorite time of the year… back before it meant cooking and cleaning and shopping and decorating until my fingers bleed Christmas red.

In short, I’ve been longing for someone or something to remind me what this is all about… why we do this… who we do this for. This morning, from the back seat of the car, a tender five year old voice sang along to Josh Groban’s “Believe” from the Polar Express and like an avalanche of snow it hit me… what I needed, what I STILL need… is to believe.

When I was a girl, I believed in Santa Claus for an extraordinarily long time. Part of that was due to the magic my parents sprinkled around at the holidays but a lot more of it was because I needed to believe in something bigger than just me and my family. I needed to believe there was a magical man who lived at the North Pole and loved children so much that he spent his life making toys and delivering them around the world. I needed to believe that someone I didn’t even know loved me THAT much.

Because that’s love, right? To spend your life caring for someone who never really sees you? To invest all of your love and time into people who will just grow up and stop believing in you at all. For a moment, this morning, I felt sorry for Santa. I thought about what a sad existence it might be, to love children so ferociously only to have them turn away from you as they grow.

What’s magical about Christmas isn’t Santa Claus; it’s the belief in Santa Claus. It’s the understanding that some things exist outside of what we see in that half-asleep and fuzzy world of what we knew as children and what we feel even now, when we stop to let ourselves breathe in the candy cane scented world around us. What’s been missing in my Christmas is the belief in magic, in mystery, in a love that created a son where no baby could have been. It’s belief that the stars in the sky moved and molded into something amazing over a small hotel in a small town a very long time ago. It’s the belief that someone so much bigger than me, so much grander and more perfect than I could ever hope to be, loves me so much that he spends every moment of his eternal life caring for me, investing his love and time into someone who just turns away. And yes, it’s even about the belief that a man lives in a world of elves and makes toys… and then delivers them around the world in one night.

What I’ve been missing is that childlike belief in something bigger than me; someone bigger than me.

Christmas isn’t about how much money I spend. It’s not about having the perfect tree or finding the perfect gift. It isn’t about who sings the loudest or bakes the most cookies or wraps the prettiest packages. It’s about believing in the magic that brought us here, to a place where we celebrate the birth of a baby, the miraculous and wonderful birth of a baby… who grew up to be so much to so many. It’s about believing in the magic that brings us Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, and all other things that make childhood so vibrant and technicolor. It’s about squinting your eyes and knowing that shadow in the corner is a reindeer, or hearing the tinkling of bells and believing that just around that building is a jolly old man in a soft red suit.

So I guess it’s time I stop wondering what I’m missing. It’s time to stop wishing for someone to come and create magic for me.

It’s time to remember and worship and love and yes… so much so… it is time for me to believe.

Grown Up, Party of Me

Posted on | December 4, 2014 | 1 Comment

When I was a kid, I wasn’t one of those who desperately wanted to grow up. In fact, if anything, I was a little too Peter Pan-ish. I worried a lot about getting older and having to be a grown up… you know, until I was about 13 and decided I basically WAS a grown up and that being an adult was the coolest thing around.

Since that time, I haven’t been too terribly disappointed about being a grown up. At least not most of the time. I mean, sure there are jobs and bills and things, but there’s no one telling me where to go or what to do or how to eat or what to drink and that’s pretty cool since my parents NEVER let me drink beer growing up. ;) But there are some times when I get this ache in the pit of my stomach and I just want to double over and cry from the sheer unfairness of growing up.

Because when you get right down to it, there are some times when being a grown up sucks.

Like when you have to put your dog to sleep and your mom isn’t there to make it all better.

Like when you get a flat tire and you can’t call your dad to come fix it.

Like when your friends start losing their parents to illness and heart problems and cancer and you think “Dear God, that could happen to ME.”

Like when the unspeakable happens and you lose friends to those same illnesses and you wonder when it was that this became, you know, not national news. Because when it happens to a child, it’s awful. But it’s still awful when it happens to a grown up, you know? Especially an adult you know. Because people your own age aren’t supposed to die, no matter how old you are.

There are always two main times when grown up life feels wrong, and maybe it’s silly, but they are what they are. The first is any time I go to Disney World. Because I distinctly remember going to Disney World as a child. I remember the thrill of it all… the warm fuzzy feeling of magic that sort of coursed through my veins just from being there. Everything was magic and adventure and beautiful twinkly lights… and now when I go? Now it’s crowds and lines and expensive food and an overly tired, somewhat whiny child. Don’t get me wrong… it’s still magic, but it’s not the SAME magic that it was when I was little.

The other time? Well, I’m sure you’ve guessed… the other time is Christmas.

December makes me want to call in sick to work every day of the month and just watch White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut on repeat while sipping hot chocolate with obscenely large marshmallows. I want two weeks of Christmas break… to bake and decorate cookies, to sing The Statler Brothers Christmas album at the top of my lungs and not start to bawl when it gets to the part about parents dying some day because OHMIGOD NO JUST NO.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have to worry about things like “last Christmas together” or when to find time to go see Santa at the mall. I wasn’t worried about making sure there would be dinner on the table and breakfast in the fridge. Someone else made sure all the gifts were bought and wrapped and when it was all said and done, someone else just made everything magic for me. When I was a kid, I had my parents to take care of everything, just as J now has me. And yes, Christmas with a child of your own is magical… but it’s a different sort of magic altogether.

It doesn’t feel quite as magical when you’re the one creating all the magic.

Just once, for old time’s sake, I’d like for someone to create a little magic for me.

 

Fa la la la … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted on | December 3, 2014 | 1 Comment

One thing you should know about me is that I’m not a night owl. I’m an early to bed, early to rise kind of gal… which either makes me smart or lame depending on who you ask. (Parents say smart, others say lame). But last night, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t sleep.

I tossed and turned; I got up to check on J a few times. I even read a few chapters of a book. Finally around 1:15, I got up.

I’ve always wondered how so many moms seem to keep everything in their house looking amazingly sparkly clean and I think that last night I discovered the secret… you just … don’t sleep. I got a load of laundry washed, dried, and folded. I ran the dishwasher. I organized the shoes in my closet and I even dusted the furniture in my room, for Pete’s sake!

Finally, I fell back into bed and into a nice deep sleep around 3:30 and that carried me through to my 6:30 alarm.

So needless to say, I’m pretty tired today.

Yesterday, I spent some quality treadmill time with another single momma friend and we were commiserating on how tired we always are. Because honestly, there’s just not enough time in the days. I know it sounds cliche, and I’m not saying that single mommas have the market cornered on tiredness because it’s totally a PARENT thing, but still. This whole be everything to all the people all the time can get a little exhausting. Just yesterday, I spent most of the day in the office putting out fires for clients, raced home to make cheese tortellini dinner, made my kid cry because I wouldn’t let him eat the candy off the gingerbread house, fixed the peppermint fudge my son requested, and then just as I sank down on the sofa to watch a movie with J, realized that the trash still needed to go out, the dishwasher needed to be unloaded and reloaded, and the dog was still outside. So I got back up, swept the kitchen floor, let the dog in, took out the trash, handled the dishes, and THEN sat down.

At which time, I promptly had to check the fifteen thousand emails that came in from work with clients desperate to know where their money is or was or will be, or why their prescriptions weren’t authorized. It’s probably why I can’t sleep… this holiday season is just killing me. Between clients who are stressed about money to ME being stressed about money… I don’t know how to turn my brain off. It’s a rough way to be at Christmas, torn between doing all the things and saving all the money for presents. Who knows. I just know I need a way to shut the brain off so I can sleep.

Why is Christmas so much more exhausting as a grown up?! I think tonight may call for sandwiches, hot chocolate, and The Santa Clause.

 

25 Days of Christmas

Posted on | December 2, 2014 | 3 Comments

I love Christmas.

I love the magic and the candlelight and the love and the full on explosion of good moods across, well, everything. And because I love Christmas so much, last year I started this idea of doing 25 days of Christmas with J. Each day, we’d do something else Christmasy. I’d bake or we’d decorate, or maybe just watch a movie together… but every day would be a celebration of what I love about the season.

Sounds great, right? What could be better than making that magic real and special for my child?

Well… turns out… a lot of things could be better.

Yesterday, I picked J up from school and told him we’d be making a gingerbread house. He was thrilled to say the least. We rushed home where I pulled dinner out of the freezer and then got out the gingerbread kit… because obviously it’s from a kit… and got to work making the icing. J wanted to eat all the candy and the gingerbread but I finally convinced him not to eat THAT gingerbread by promising to make real gingerbread, which I then started making while the frame of the house dried a little. When we finally started putting the candy on the house, it was more of a one on, one in mouth, sort of deal for J, but who am I to judge? I got dinner out of the oven, slid the gingerbread in, and started mixing up a batch of Chex Mix because it’s the best thing since crack, and J finished putting all the candy on the little house.

The Christmas music was playing, the house smelled all cinnamon and ginger, and dammit there was a gingerbread house and it was glorious.

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But here’s the thing…. I was still cleaning up the mess while J ate his dinner. I was running a load of laundry and stirring the chex mix and cutting the gingerbread and in general doing ninety things a minute like I usually do… and my kid was sitting alone, eating his dinner. Sure, there was a gingerbread house. And yes, there was chex mix and hot gingerbread with whipped cream, and the house smelled and looked all Christmas-y. But was there magic?

Nope.

Not a bit.

When I finally sank down beside him on the sofa to watch a Christmas special, he looked at me with a side eye and announced:

“I liked building the gingerbread house. But tomorrow, can you finish all your stuff earlier so we can snuggle on the sofa?”

It was a total gut check. I was trying so hard to make everything perfect that I forgot the best thing about Christmas is spending time with my kid. It’s not about 25 days of Christmas activities. It’s not about the perfect gingerbread house or cookies or even decorations… the magic that was and is so much a part of my childhood Christmases was about believing in Santa, spending time with my sister and brother and mom and dad. It was about trying to stay up to hear sleigh bells, and watching Christmas movies with hot chocolate and marshmallows. It was about being together… not about doing all the things.

So I slid a little closer to my kid, tossed an arm around his shoulders and promised him that tonight? Tonight we will watch a Christmas movie. Just the two of us. With hot chocolate and marshmallows.

And I’ll try a little harder to stop chasing it all the time and just let Christmas magic come to us.

I Am Not Sorry For What I Am

Posted on | November 26, 2014 | 4 Comments

I’ve gone back and forth about posting this, but ultimately I decided to stop lurking in the shadows and trying not to piss people off and just say what I think. So this is me, climbing way out on an unpopular limb to announce that I am sick and tired of seeing articles that announce to the world something “White people” do or do not do or understand.

So. Sick. Of. It.

And before you sharpen your knives and raise your weapons, let me explain…. Saying that “white people don’t get something” is EXACTLY THE PROBLEM. It’s not a solution to say “Here’s why you as a global group don’t get me.” It’s not a solution to say “White people never understand.” It’s not a solution to racism to group a section of the population by their skin color and announce to the world that they are never going to understand another group of the population. Even if it’s true. No… Especially when it’s true.

Because here’s the thing… just like everyone else on this planet, I was born to parents who had a pre-selected skin color. When I popped up in my mother’s womb, I’m pretty sure no one flashed a color wheel in front of me and asked me to select my skin tone, because if they had, I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn’t have selected this strange washed out peach color that shows every single vein through the back side of my arm. I’m pretty sure I didn’t look at God and say “Make me pasty, please.” It’s just what I look like… it’s not who I am. It’s what was given to me by my parents, just like your skin tone was a gift from yours.

Know what wasn’t a birth right? Compassion. Neither was honesty or love or kindness or any one of the other millions of things that make us all individual people… not skin tones.

So when I see an article pop up with the title “Why White People Will Never Understand Ferguson,” I want to slap the stupid off someone’s face NOT because what they say isn’t potentially true, but because just like everyone else on this planet, I want to be judged by the content of my character, not the color of my skin. Can I understand what it’s like to be a black man in Ferguson? Nope. Sure can’t. Not any more than a black man in Ferguson can understand what it’s like to be a white woman in the South. It doesn’t make either of us have opinions that are less important. It doesn’t make either one of us a less valued individual… we are both so very much more than JUST a black person or JUST a white person. We are people. Complex, individual, sometimes strange and almost always unpredictable people… no matter the color of our skin. Lately, it’s become hazardous for me to have an opinion about anything with even remote racial undertones. Somehow, my opinion on anything with even the slightest tinge of color is considered null and void and honestly? That makes me angry. Because I think my opinions matter; I think my opinions should be valued just as much as anyone else. But I get scared because Dear God, what if what I say is taken the wrong way? What if the people listening don’t know me, don’t realize who I am or what I’m about? What if they think I’m racist just because I have an opinion? WHAT IF THEY THINK I’M RACIST? Because honestly, being told I’m racist is one of my biggest fears.

But here’s the thing… I still don’t want to have to qualify my opinion on Ferguson by saying “I know I’m white, but I still think the grand jury got it wrong.” I don’t want to have to apologize for my opinion, nor do I want to feel forced to separate myself from being white just to HAVE my opinion. I want to be able to say “THIS WAS WRONG” without having to also say “I’m sorry I’m white.” Because the truth is, I’m not sorry that I’m white. Because you can’t be sorry for something you didn’t do.  Because I didn’t choose to be white any more than Michael Brown chose to be black. If there’s something I do, something I choose to be that bothers you, then let’s chat. But don’t make me apologize for being the color I was born. It wasn’t my choice.

And you know what? I’m more than the color of my skin. So was Michael Brown. So is the police officer who shot him.

So are ALL of us. Because if we aren’t? If we always just reduce ourselves and others to black and white? Then what’s the point of anything in this life.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.



  • I'm a divorced, single mom to a pre-schooler, a full-time attorney, and a semi-reluctant vegetarian. I work hard and when given the chance, I play hard... but I'm almost never given the chance.

    It's possible that I never outgrew 7th grade mentality, as I still laugh when anyone says anything that can be remotely construed as sexual. Let's face it, if you're not down with "That's what s/he said" at the end of almost any sentence, we're probably not going to get along all that well.

    I drink more than I should, I run more than I should, and I laugh as much as I can. So I'm pretty much winning at life.

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