Tag Archives: Love

Tuesday Thoughts

 

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For those of you who follow my blog, you probably already know that I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. The home of the Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Red Wings. The city that drinks Vernors for whatever ales you. The city within a city.  Detroiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttt! Growing up my parents kept me pretty sheltered. They knew who my friends were, who their parents were and I wasn’t allowed to be anywhere without their permission. As a child, I didn’t understand why my parents kept me so guarded, my  understanding of the streets were opaque. It wasn’t until middle school that I began to understand just how rough the streets were and how vicious people could be. Even then, I was still living in darkness about the city around me.

In high school, I had more freedom. My comings and goings were still monitored, but I had a lot of idol time after school, before my parents got home. I became friends and even dated some unsavory characters. I did a lot of things that I shouldn’t have, things that others deemed as normal. I was exposed to different experiences, environments and people,I learned a lot about the streets. My vision become more transparent. A whole new world opened up, not a pretty one either. I started to lose friends because of their involvement in the streets, or simply because they were in the right place at the wrong time. I guess I became numb to death and loss became a normalcy. It wasn’t until recently that I began to take heed to all of the negativity and evil occurrences that continue to transpire in the city. For most of my life I’ve dealt with negative commentary about being from Detroit. Most folks think that we’re all killers and drug dealers;the scum of the earth. In reality, there are truly some amazing people in Detroit and from Detroit. The city is truly discredited for it’s efforts, mainly because of crime rates and mainstream media.

I’ve officially been out of Detroit for three years, I’m actively on the outside looking in. Bad things happen every where, but for a place that you call home to birth so much ugly, both sadness and sickens me. I fear for the lives of my family and my friends. Everyday I see at-least one my friends on social media post RIP to someone they love. I frequently hear about childhood friends being injured or killed at the hands of someone else. Again, horrible events happen everywhere, everyday, but it hurts even more when you are from the very place where events are occurring, when your family and friends are in the mist of it and when you fear for their lives.

I believe that Detroit is diamond in the rough, but like most places people uphold themselves to a different moral code. Neighborhoods have lost courage. Communities are broken, people are broken. People are living in fear. The value of inanimate objects is placed before the value of a human life. Individuals are consumed with greed and under the assumption that they own the streets. People take what they didn’t not earn. So many people have accepted the death and corruption around them that they see no reason to rise up against it.

I pray for change. I pray that people everywhere begin to see the value of other peoples lives. I pray that people begin to see the destruction that they are causing and the lives that they are ruining. I pray that if nothing else, people begin to see the error in their ways.

 

Love and Marriage

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about love, children and marriage. I want a family, I want to build a life beyond myself. I’m ready to share my life with someone for the rest of my life, us against the world. I’m confident in saying that I know who the man is that I want to marry, and who wants to marry me. That sounds crazy seeing that I often blog about being single and not having any love interest. Let me explain. I’ve loved someone since I was sixteen years old, but certain events have kept us apart for the past six years. Now that we are back in each others lives and getting to know our adult selves, I know where I want to be. I’ve always known where I wanted to be, I just was unable to be there. Over the past six years I’ve dated other guys, had conversations, caught feelings,but none as deep as the ones I have for my guy. He’s someone who makes me think about marriage, being a better woman, having children and growing old together. Granted, I’ve never thought about children and marriage before, but I’ve yearned for it the way I do with him. He gives me butterflies and always has. I’m like the female version of him, it’s weird but a good weird. When I’m not with him I always think about it. He supports me. He has my best interest at heart. He motivates me. He loves me despite my flaws and he takes the good with the bad. He treats me like a queen and his actions prove that he loves and cares about me. We learn from each other. I’m confident in following his lead. I don’t mind being submissive to him. While we still have a lot to learn about each other and a lot of growing to do both collectively and individually, I’m enjoying the process.

At this point I guess I’m just rambling, but for those of you who have ever been in love will understand what I mean. In the meant time, I’m being patient and continuing to better myself both as a person and as woman.

Searching

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Who am I? 

I know what I like to do. I know what makes me happy.  I know my strengths and my weaknesses, but what is the driving force behind the very things that define me?

I’m a daughter, a sister,an aunt, a student and a writer, but in the end none of these things define who I am. They add substance to my being and they contribute to who I am, but still they do not define my identity. I believe that who we are goes far beyond what we like to do and the titles that both ourselves and others label us with. Defining who we are includes how we treat others when they can’t do anything for us, how we act when we’re angry, who we are when people aren’t paying attention, and a variety of other things.

Discovering who I am has become a priority, but it is my opinion that self-discovery is a virtue and not a  destination. As we grow and as we change, we define and re-define ourselves. It is important to remain true to our character as we do so. Character is the foundation of our moral and mental qualities. I want to find and understand my purpose. I want to exude positive vibes and live up to my own metrics of success. I want to break down barriers of who I thought I was and focus on personal growth and new experiences.

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I complied a list of things that I believe to be important in finding yourself:

  1. Understand past events that have helped shaped you into the person that you are presently.
  2. Distinguish your thoughts from the thoughts of others.
  3. Find your confidence.
  4. Overcome bad habits and forgive yourself for your mistakes.
  5. Organize and prioritize your life. Put things in perspective.
  6. Remove pressures created by the rest of the world.
  7. Question yourself and the world around you.
  8. Be courageous. Understand that failure is apart of the journey.
  9. Lose yourself to find yourself, in the words of Gandhi.

 

 

“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”

-Danielle LaPorte

Don’t Shoot

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If you use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or simply watch the news, I’m sure you’ve heard about the killing of yet another unarmed black man, Alton Sterling.  The officers were caught on video by civilians in Baton Rouge. The video shows the two officers killing Sterling in cold blood. Sadly, this is probably another one of those incidents where the legal system will pull an excuse out of their ass as to why the killing was justified. Within the first three months of 2016, police killed 250 UNARMED people. What has been done? In most cases, nothing.

I can’t justify whether the police were TECHNICALLY right or wrong in the case of Alton Sterling,but time and time again it is proven that police apprehend black suspects completely different than white suspect.

As an African American Woman I feel like I have a target on my back. I know that all police officers aren’t racist and all police officers aren’t going to shoot without just cause, but they don’t come with warning signs on their foreheads. “There aren’t bad officers just bad people with badges”, as Dr. Jesse Jackson III stated. Whenever I see a police officer behind me in traffic I get nervous, not because I’m doing anything wrong,but because I don’t have to be doing anything wrong for them to pull me over.

Let’s discuss a few facts and statistics:

Education

Education is suppose to be an equalizer,right?  African  Americans are twice more likely than Caucasians to not finish high school. It is also more difficult for African Americans who graduate from college to find a job compared to Caucasians with the same level of education.

Legal System

Let’s say a Caucasian man kills an African American and an African American man kills a Caucasian man. Both crimes were committed in the same manner, in the same state. The Black man is more likely to be charged with felony murder. Black youth are also more likely to get charged as adults than White youth. But, White privilege doesn’t exist, right and the justice system is equal,right?

I hate walking into a store and being followed because the owner is under the assumption that I’m going to steal because I’m Black. I hate being spoken down to because people assume I’m not intelligent because I’m Black. I’m tired of working ten times as hard to earn something that was just handed to someone because they are White.I’m tired of being scared for my life because I’m Black. It’s almost as if Black people are being hunted. We get harassed if we’re in certain neighborhoods because people think we can’t afford to be there because we’re Black. We get pulled over and searched simply for being Black.

I try to tell my family members, friends and social media followers not to harden their hearts to an entire race of people. I try to keep people uplifted, letting them know that we can’t harden are hearts and exhibit hate. It is important now more than ever to pray for one another, to look out for one another and to speak up for ourselves and for others. In case you haven’t realized by now this is why the movement #blacklivesmatter is so important. Not because our lives are more important than others, but because they are equally as important and we do not deserve to be shot down in the middle of the street like dogs.Our lives matter because we are HUMAN-BEINGS. I would also like to add that while I understand that we need to highlight these meaningless killings, I do not agree with making a video of HOMICIDE go viral. Have we forgotten that people like Alton Sterling have children and family members?  While police brutality and these deaths are no secret, I don’t believe that we should sub-tweet,re-tweet, Etc these gruesome videos in respect for ones family.

April 30, 2014: Dontre Hamilton (Milwaukee)
July 17, 2014: Eric Garner (New York)
Aug. 5, 2014: John Crawford III (Dayton)
Aug. 9, 2014: Michael Brown Jr. (Ferguson)
Aug. 11, 2014: Ezell Ford (Florence)
Aug. 12, 2014: Dante Parker (Victorville)
Nov. 13, 2014: Tanisha Anderson (Cleveland)
Nov. 20, 2014: Akai Gurley (Brooklyn)
Nov. 22, 2014: Tamir Rice (Cleveland)
Dec. 2, 2014: Rumain Brisbon (Phoenix)
Dec. 30, 2014: Jerame Reid (Bridgeton)
March 6, 2015: Tony Robinson (Madison)
March 31, 2015: Phillip White (Vineland)
April 2, 2015: Eric Harris (Tulsa)
April 4, 2015: Walter Scott (North Charleston)
April 19, 2015: Freddie Gray (Baltimore)

What is Life?

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At twenty-five years old most would think that I have a clear plan on what I want to do and how to go about doing it. Nope, not at all.

I know writing is a passion, but trying to figure out what to do with my writing abilities is a task in itself.

I love cooking, but I don’t think I want to be a chef. I already succumb to way too much pressure simply trying cooking for people that I know. I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to cooking and baking. I once baked the same cake four times trying to make it perfect.

I’ve thought about being an actress, but I probably couldn’t amuse a group of children reading Little Red Riding Hood, so I think that’s out as well.

Some days I consider selling all of my worldly possessions to travel,but I think considering how much student loan debt that I have, I better chill with that idea.

I considering being  an English teacher, but I don’t have the patience to learn the appropriate way to use commas and other forms of punctuation. I can’t teach others to misuse punctuation. What can I say,I write, I don’t edit!

Often times I have considered starting a publishing company, but I don’t think I would last in that arena.

I’ve pretty much had the same type of jobs since I graduated high school and I haven’t explored other options outside of volunteering and personal trial and errors. I haven’t found anything that I’m like,yeah I could do this for the rest of my life. I get confused and often redirect my attention to new goals and new plans. Perhaps I try to bite off more than I can chew, which has prevented me from tapping into my full potential. I have so many great ideas in my head,but sometimes I struggle acting on them. I often times don’t know where to end or where to begin. I know I can come off as a cluster f%#k, but I’m trying to figure things out. I’m trying to define my own meaning of life instead of being jaded into societies definition. I finally came to the realization that it’s okay to not know, it’s okay to be a work in progress. It’s okay to not be  okay.

Day by day, I try to be better than I was the day before and that’s all any of us can do. I had to learn to stop comparing myself to other people. I had to stop measuring my success next to other people. I had to strip myself of labels and define who I am. I had to understand that despite my age, I’m still growing, I’m still transforming.

What is life? Well that’s entirely up to you!

…be successfully you

 

 

Skin Deep

 

 

It’s February, which we all know, whether you like it or not is Black History Month. I debated about writing a post like this for several reasons. Black History Month, slavery, race, the Black Lives Matter movement, etc. are very controversial topics/issues among Americans. Nonetheless, let me go ahead and exercise my First Amendment Right, FREE SPEECH.

I’m sick and tired of people asking me,”are you mixed”, “what are you”, are you foreign”. These are some of the most ignorant questions I’ve heard people ask. My birth certificate states that I’m African American but the history of my families roots is a different story and frankly, it is nobody’s business, unless I choose to make it their business. I hate when people pose the question “what are you?” I’m a human. What are you? I’m fully aware that ignoring race is a part of the problem but I can’t help but to stop and think… why does race pose such a problem and/or create such a threat?

Some Caucasian people look at me funny because they think I’m too dark to be White and some Black people look at me funny because they think I’m too light to be Black. Can’t I just be Amber? Why is it that we are so color struck despite the obvious history of our country? I truly don’t understand. I wasn’t raised to judge people based on the color of their skin, or appearances in general. I hate being judged because I’m a Black woman and it’s not always by the White community. I feel as though someone always wants me to prove my blackness, or as if I always have to validate my intelligence because of my blackness…it is exhausting.

I find it interesting that people still use terms such as “The White Man” as if the entire race of white people is still trying to oppress Black people. I understand where the term came from but come on! As a Black woman, I have broken myself from the institutionalized  chains that “The White Man” controls my every move. I will not be intimated into thinking I’m “less than” because of my Black skin. I will not be forced to feel inferior because of my Black skin. I will not behave a certain way because of my  Black skin. I will not like anything any more or less because of my Black skin. And I certainly will not let who I am as an individual be charged to who people think I am because of my Black skin.

As people, I think it is important to recognize our difference and rejoice in them.  We need to start conversations. We need to address race as an issue. We can not expect to move forward if we constantly sweep everything under the rug and act as if praising Black people for one month out of the year compensates for the years and years and years of oppression that our ancestors were forced to endure in this very country.And I speak for myself when I say this, Black people have to learn to free themselves. If the system won’t educate us, we must educate ourselves. We must learn to invest in ourselves, we have to free ourselves from the illusions that we can’t own businesses or be doctors and lawyers. We have to free and rid our children and our generation of statistics. We have to free ourselves from this mental imprisonment that we were once forced to take ownership of.

Now…I’m curious as to when we’re going to come together and create a better tomorrow for our children? When are we as a community going to unite and stop allowing these police officers to kill our babies? When are we going to unite and teach our babies not to kill our babies? When are we as a human race going to show compassion and understanding towards PEOPLE…regardless of their skin color. In case you didn’t come to this conclusion…we as PEOPLE have a lot of work to do both separately and collectively.

I’m tired of being hated simply because of my skin color. I’m tired of being uncomfortable in certain areas or around certain people because of the color of my skin. I’m tired of being told I’m acting light skin. I’m tired of being told I’m acting White because I speak proper English. I’m tired of being forced to fit into a bubble because of the skin I had no choice in choosing. I’m tired of reversed racism and I’m tired of being tugged at. I hope that one day and it might not be any time soon but one day I can just be Amber. Amber the author. Not Amber the light skin girl, not Amber the “I think, she thinks,she’s a white girl”,Amber. I just want to be Amber, not being judged by my skin, not feeling forced to prove myself in every arena of my life because of my skin and not being pressured to live up to someone I’m not because of my skin.

 

I leave you all with this question,”Can you laugh at yourself without attributing it to your race…Can you own up to good/bad habits without attributing it to your race?”

 

 

Veggie Delight!

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Wooooo!

So if you read my previous blog you’re fully aware that I’m not eating meat for the entire month of February. So far, so good! During week one, I tried veggie burritos, salads full of different types of veggies, fruit and veggie smoothies, veggie stir fry and I even tried a veggie sandwich. I went an entire week doing pretty well. I avoided eating a lot of bread, pasta and sweets. I drank a  gallon of water every day and didn’t drink any juice or pop with the exception of orange juice. I attempted to work out but that didn’t  go all that great but I’m hopeful that I will get into a daily routine of some sort of physical exercise. All in all, I’m happy with my first week. I can see the difference in my energy and my digestive system. I’m not sure if I’ve lost any way because I’m a moron and don’t weigh myself…I digress.

Week two began yesterday. Between yesterday and today I’m off to a rocky start. I still haven’t eaten meat. Nonetheless, last night I had a small veggie pizza and yes I ate the entire thing and washed it down with a Cherry Pepsi then today I had a Sprite. Not too bad but I was trying to stay away from pop, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I still have been drinking plenty of water but I haven’t reached my gallon a day point,yet. Although the original goal was just to stay away from meat, I’ve incorporated a few additional things to avoid in hopes of maintaining a healthier and more balanced diet.

So far not eating meat or poultry has taken me out of my comfort zone, I’ve been forced to try new things. I realized that I actually may be able to be a long term vegetarian or perhaps even a long term vegan. I do miss chicken tenders but I haven’t had a dire yearning for them. Thus far, it has been an interesting journey. I can’t lie, the first few days were difficult. A few of my students were eating KFC and I found myself wanting a piece when I don’t even like KFC.  I think resisting temptation was the hardest part but I overcame the challenge. Oddly enough, I enjoyed the veggie burger I made way more than I can ever recall enjoying a beef or turkey burger. As far as saving money, I’m not sure if I saved anything but I’m get more for my buck. Groceries last way longer than eating out even if I’m spending more money on groceries it is a way better value than buying food out every other day.

Today’s overall message… You never know what you can or can’t do until you try. You won’t know if you like something until you try it. You won’t know if you can accomplish something until you try. Most things fail or succeed simply based on the way you think. Adjust the way you think and watch so many things change.