Another week down. Moving on to the next. Last week was a bit much. It began with another shooting of a Black man by police officers. Another one! Just thinking about it is stressing me out again.
Last week I could barely concentrate for crying. I actually became physically ill. It was too much. I was mentally and emotionally worn. I kept asking myself– Why are we, Black people, still fighting for equality? To be seen as worthy? Why is it that our Black men are viewed as a threat at first sight? Why are we, Black women, “angry,” when do not feel like smiling, or are having a bad day, or just simply being? Why are little Black kids handcuffed for acting out? Why are we not loved? Why are we not valued? Why do we not matter?!!!
Last week, Doc Rivers, a former NBA player and now head coach of the Los Angeles clippers, voiced what we have all been feeling. Emotionally, he said, “It amazes me why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back.” I felt that. Just thinking about it now makes me want to SCREAM!Doc Rivers’ Interview.
We have been used, abused, and murdered. Yet, we still love our country. We have fought wars and given our lives for this country. Yet, we are seen as animals (usually monkeys), second class citizens, dirty, nasty, unworthy, illiterate, thieves… Believe me, I could go on and on! No matter what we accomplish, or how pleasantly nice we are, we are never good enough. We are never quite there.. Ha! Almost there.. but not there.
So for those still wondering why we are screaming, “Black lives matter!” it’s because, unfortunately, our lives do not matter!
Praying for a better week– a safe week– a week without tears (unless they are happy tears).
Yes, it is Sunday again! Seems like time is passing at warp speed (Star Trek- lol). I would love for it to slow down a little. I need time to process a few things.
Woke up thinking about the turn of events over the past month or so– personally as well as professionally. Even though I have been blogging since 2018, it was not until May of this year that I was ready to share my blogs with the world. In May, I also started volunteering again. It had been ages since I last volunteered. And, when I woke up this morning, I logged onto my professional social media accounts and began updating them. Also, this morning, it finally dawned on me why I had neglected those accounts for so long. Y’all, I did not want to be that person anymore.
Okay… moment of full transparency.
It all began two years ago. Whew, I never thought I would talk about this. At the beginning of 2018, I was asked to do a presentation for an association that was having a conference in Mississippi. I was so honored and hyped about it. I was given a topic, asked to come up with a few objectives for continuing education credits, and told I would be working with a local chef on a menu and food demonstration. Y’all, it was like a dream come true! It was everything I imagined I would be doing at this point in my career. I was ready!
The first hit I took was when I found out the association I was presenting for was not a diverse association but a national, all-Black association. Some would say I should have been honored. However, it was like receiving a blow to the heart. You see, I was asked by a predominately (99%) white company to deliver the presentation.
Just to give you some background on my relationship with this company. For several years, I had been invited to attend their sponsored events. At that time, I knew the state and regional directors well enough to contact them personally whenever I needed a sponsor for one of my events, educational materials for health fairs, or incentives for community projects. So when asked to give this presentation, I automatically assumed it was because they valued our relationship, not because they needed a Black registered dietitian to present to an all Black audience. That stung!
The second thing that happened was they changed my entire presentation. I was initially told they wanted the session to be fun and interactive. Which was right up my alley. I hate boring presentations! Well, after submitting my presentation for review, it was returned to me butchered. Y’all, the entire flow was all wrong. They kept the objectives but added random information. Even the fonts were inconsistent. They also added pictures that did not go with the text. Now, I might write crazy things in my blogs, and make all kinds of grammatical errors, but when it comes to my professional work, it has to be almost perfect before I present it. Honestly, I felt like my work had been sabotaged. Y’all, I cried.
The third thing that happened, and what finally made me question if I even wanted to be in that space anymore, happened during the night of the event. As I said– FULL transparency. This was a month and a half before my hysterectomy. My cycle had just started. Which meant I was extra irritated, cramping like crazy, and blood was pouring out of me. I wore a navy blue suit, and put on an adult diaper lined with two overnight pads, to hide or prevent any accidents. Y’all, I did not want anything going wrong. Well, I arrived at the venue and EVERYTHING was white. I mean— EVERYTHING! The floors were white. The linens were white. And ALL of the chairs were white– white cushioned chairs, that is. Talk about anxiety!! All I could do was pray– “Lord, please don’t let me have an accident on all of this white.” I kept thinking, what would I do if I stained one of the chairs? I tried to remain calm, but I was all nerves. So when I got up to present, no matter how professional I tried to be, it did not happen. Here is how the night went.
When my audience arrived, they were tired from attending hours of educational sessions. I was later informed that they thought my presentation was supposed to be entertaining. HA…so did I! Y’all, they had access to an open bar, and boy did they drink. Some, a lot more than others. Needless to say, I was giving a presentation to a room full of tired, tipsy people. As I said, my presentation had been changed. What I did not mention is that I had only received the revisions a day or two before the event. Which was not ample time to thoroughly review the changes, so I felt unprepared. I also did not have a microphone so I had to walk the room so that everyone could hear me. Funny story- There was this elderly lady that kept yelling, “I can’t hear you!” The night was a mess. When I tell you this crowd asked questions I had “zero” answers to! LOL! Funny, but sooo not funny. Y’all, I felt like a failure. Most of the night I deferred the questions to our host, the one who revised the presentation. At one point I stopped presenting because a few people would not stop talking. Y’all, one thing I hate is rudeness. And when the entire audience can hear your conversation, you, my friend, are being rude. So I stood there and glared at them until they stopped talking. Was I unprofessional…HECK YES! Y’all, I was fed up, I was sick, and I felt humiliated. I felt like an imposter– WOW! I just pinpointed when I began feeling like an imposter.
After that night, I swore I would never attend another one of their company’s events. That was also the last time I really posted anything of worth on my professional pages. I went into my shell and never wanted to come out. Honestly, I had given up. I had lost my confidence. That was two years ago.
As I mentioned, May was my turning point. Slowly, I am regaining my confidence. Maybe I did need two years to Reflect, Regroup, Refocus, and Rebuild. I do believe I am wiser and better prepared to handle the unexpected. I am also working on the way I deal with my imperfections. Recently, I attended a Zoom call with a lot of unknown attendees. At first, I was not going to turn on the camera. You know, leave the nice, edited picture displayed. At the last minute I was like, why not! I did not have on makeup. I had on a t-shirt and my hair held back with a headband. And my lighting was bad. But, I decided to show the world me. Part of my personal and professional growth is about me becoming comfortable with my imperfections. Slowly, but surely, I am growing.
Y’all, I am so grateful God loves me. Moving forward.
I believe Frederick Douglass’ descendants reading his “Fourth of July” speech is just as powerful as the speech itself. It is up to us to continue the difficult conversations surrounding racial issues, even on Independence Day.
Honestly, I considered not sharing this video. I did not want to interrupt the happy celebrations. But are the celebrations truly joyous? Because after the fireworks, BBQs, SAFE social gatherings, and “Happy 4th of July” pictures and posts, racial inequality remains. I mean.. only a few days ago Mississippi finally removed its racially divisive flag— in 2020!! What year did the United States gain its independence? Umm..1776. What year was slavery abolished in the United States? Supposedly 1865. And what year is this, again? Hmm.. 2020 in the 21st century.
Y’all, we cannot continue to pretend everything is okay, because IT IS NOT. Change is happening NOW, and WE must keep up the momentum. We cannot sit back and wait for another great leader to come along and tell us what to do. They have already done that. They have already equipped us with everything we need. Now it is our time to follow through. Not tomorrow or next month, but NOW!
Who’s with me?!
P.S. Be sure to watch the commentary at the end of the video. POWERFUL‼️ #HappyFourthOfJuly
Sitting here reminiscing about events that took place in the Summer of 2014. Y’all, so many wonderful things happened that that year. Like the memory I am about to share.
One day, out of the blue, I received an invitation to attend a culinary media training event in New Orleans. It was an all-expenses paid trip. All I had to do was show up. At first, I was hesitant about going because I was afraid. I was afraid that I would not live up to what was expected of me. I was afraid that I would make mistakes. I was afraid I would not fit in. I was afraid of where it could possibly lead me. I was afraid of the potential– my potential. Then, I remembered God’s favor. He would not have presented the opportunity if He believed I could not handle it. I mean, EVERYTHING was paid for. All I had to do was go. So, I went. Here is what I wrote afterwards:
New Orleans was definitely a great professional experience. I came back with a sense of worth. I felt like I could actually accomplish my goals. I now have a different outlook on life & my role in this universe. I am destined for greatness & there’s nothing wrong with it. Thank you God for helping me realize my potential. Please give me the knowledge, strength, courage, and intelligence to do things the correct way. I thank you so much for the favor!
Shaun’s Journal: June 2014
Can’t you hear Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers singing, God’s Favor? I can! The song says, “God’s favor is more precious than life.”