An Open Letter to the Person Who Insists on Devaluing the Black Lives Matter Movement by Telling Me That All Lives Matter

Dear you,

Yesterday another black man was shot down in cold blood. His name was Alton Sterling. I’ve seen pictures of him smiling while holding his children on his lap, oblivious to the fact that he wouldn’t be there when they grow up.

I’ve read some horrible things written by some very insensitive people. I’ve heard rumors that he was a convicted felon, a sex offender, and that he was resisting arrest. I watched the video on CNN of his son literally breaking down into tears and I sat at the table and cried for his loss. I still have not been able to watch the full video of his murder because I feel like I won’t be able to get the images out of my head.

All day I’ve been playing back a conversation in my head that I had with my (then) 5 year old son. I told him, “Sweetheart, if you’re ever stopped by the police and they tell you to get on the ground, you do it.” Him: “Okay Mommy.” I told him, “Baby, don’t ask any questions, don’t reach for anything, and don’t make any sudden moves. Just lie down baby. Okay. Please. Just lie down. Promise me.”  By that time my voice was breaking and I was in tears. I tried to calm down so I wouldn’t scare him. He looked at me with confusion in his eyes and he said, “Okay Mommy. I promise.” That’s a moment in my life I feel I’ll never forget.

Can you imagine my anguish and my fear? To feel the need to have that conversation with my kindergarten son? Do you know the terror I feel knowing that I’m raising a young black male who could be a victim of police violence at any age?  Because there are people out there who think that black lives have no value. People who think that all black folk are dangerous thugs who don’t deserve a chance to live.

I rarely allow my son to play with toy guns, if ever, and I never allow him to point one at anyone, because I’m scared for his life. I want to keep him in a bubble, beside me, at all times. But I can’t. And that’s the scariest part. No matter what side of town he lives on, how well he’s been raised, or how well spoken and respectful he is: he is a black male. He is a target.

I didn’t know Alton Sterling. It could very well be true that he was a sex offender and a convicted felon. But he wasn’t resisting. He put his hands up. Why did he have to die that way? Why did he have to be shot down in the street. Didn’t his children deserve to have a father? Didn’t he deserve to live?

Doesn’t my son deserve to live? Don’t my husband and my two daugthers deserve to live? Don’t I? Why must I be forced to take away their innocence and security because their black? Don’t they deserve to feel safe? Do I have to live in fear of the day one of them gets pulled over or is questioned by a police officer at the corner store?

It’s horrible.  To have to listen as people try to justify and refuse to acknowledge that these people were gunned down in cold blood.  To have to listen to people as they cite black on black violence and the rioting of desperate people who feel powerless, as a justification for killing us. I guess we’re supposed to sit by idly and be quite. As long it’s not happening to us, I guess we’re not supposed to care. And you. Do you have black friends. Do you have children. How can you not see it?

So the next time you feel the need to point out how #AllLivesMatter, I urge you to look up #AltonSterling #TamirRice #EricGarner #TrayvonMartin #FreddieGray #WalterScott #EricHarris #Sandra Bland and #AiyanaStanleyJones. They all had a right to live. Because all lives matter.

Except, ours. Ours seem to matter a little less.

Sincerely,

The Black Wife of a Black Man and Three Black Children Who Deserve to Live

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A Mustard Seed

A year ago I began to feel that God was leading me in another direction. It was a very strong feeling. I wasn’t sure what it all meant or what direction I was supposed to be going in, but I believe that when God speaks, you listen. So I decided to do just that.

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After months of thinking, planning, and praying I decided that I was going to embark on a career as a stay at home mom, freelance writer, blogger, and business owner. It was an idea that I had visited in the past but I never truly opened myself up to. This time though, I felt good about it. I sat down and talked to my husband about my ideas and we decided together that I should go for it. Then I got cold feet.

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I started doubting myself and making excuses. I began to panic. What if I’m not successful? What if this doesn’t work out? What if don’t make any money? What if the financial strain is just too great? What if I can’t get my old job back. The list went on and on. I was literally spiraling out of control with doubt.

I began questioning the plan and the intentions that the Lord had for me. I cried out for him to show me a sign that I was going in the right direction. Now I don’t believe that God is an on demand God, but I know that he is an on time God. He may not show us that sign right when we want to see it, or the way we want to see it; but he always shows us.

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Shortly after that I had my first freelance job and my blog was featured on a major site. I was ashamed. How could ever have questioned him? When has he ever NOT provided? Two days after that, I turned in my letter of resignation.

It’s not always easy to listen to your heart, but to not be obedient is to sin against him. Giving up complete control and surrendering yourself can be downright scary, but we have to trust in God and his promise.

I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know that God always has my best interest at heart. So with my faith in tow, his love surrounding me, and my family by my side,  I’m stepping headfirst into this new adventure. Stay tuned!

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The Elephant In the Room

Anxiety. If you’ve ever suffered from it, then you’ll understand how terrible and how scary it is. I try not to think about it, but it’s there. Constantly looming over me and taking up all of the space. It consumes me and takes my breath away. It makes me feel like an outsider.

It causes my family to constantly walk on eggshells wondering what my mood will be like each day. Some days I recede into my own world and isolate myself from everyone. Other days, I get really nervous and I’m scared to be left alone.

Anxiety causes me to have random outbursts about the smallest things. It makes me hypersensitive about everything. Sometimes it comes in the form of ocd, insomnia, and depression. Sometimes it comes in the form of panic attacks about everything. Or about nothing.

Anxiety. I try not to think about it but it’s always there. Stealing my life. I want to cage it up and send it back to wherever it came from. Far away from me. I want my life back.

I pray that i’ll be free from it one day. Until then, it’s looming over me. The Elephant In the room.