Ring Off

woo woo woo

I’m a feeler – I can’t help it, and this past week has been supremely heavy for me.  I was still processing the impact of the Ferguson verdict when news came back that there would be no indictment towards the officer involved in the choking death of Eric Garner.  This in spite of it being prohibited for NY police officers to use choke holds and the act being captured on video.  And what, pray tell, was the crime that warranted the use of such excessive force?  The illegal sale of cigarettes, that’s what.  Really?  Like, I can’t even with that bogus grand jury *starts to woosah and rub earlobes counterclockwise like Martin in Bad Boys 2*.

the little engine that literally can't even

Even still, my faith and deep commitment to love (no matter what) has kept me from truly going off and maintaining focus on working towards meaningful change.  Listening to music is another activity that has also helped me to unwind and not become overwhelmed with depression.  One artist in particular recently released a song that really captured my attention.  That artist is none other than Mrs. Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter:

bey kiss

While I don’t consider myself a member of the Beyhive, I do respect her business acumen and appreciate her new single ‘Ring Off‘.  In the song, Beyonce sings to her mother about how she graciously handled the demise of her relationship with her now ex-husband and faced the difficult decision to take her ring off.  Beyonce expresses a great deal of respect for her mother during that time and pride that she chose to take the “high road”.  Less a celebration of divorce, the song celebrates those who are honest enough with themselves to choose to make difficult decisions regarding their relationships.  As a single woman, I can attest to the social pressure to be in a relationship and the social hierarchy that can sometimes form pitting singles against non.  It take much courage to stand up for yourself, especially when in the public eye, and have the audacity to do you.

doyoubootote_1024x1024

source

There was a recent vlog by awesome YouTuber Bronzegoddess01 where she responds to a strawberry letter from a young woman who felt pressured to get married even though her purpose was leading her in a different direction.  In the video response, Bronzegoddess01 urges the young woman to first seek her purpose and not worry about “losing” her relationship as anything that is compatible with her purpose will manifest in her life.  Her response was consistent with the message contained in one of my fav Bible verses (Matt 6:33), which talks about seeking one’s purpose in God as being the key to having it all.  I too have faced the challenge of walking away from something that “seemed” great but was not in line with where my life was headed at the time.  But as the song says, “letting go is never the end”, and my faith in God’s direction for my life has strengthened my resolve to not hold onto anything that might hold me back.  Salute to all the women (and men) who have struggled with and yet succeeded in making tough life decisions.  You are the real mvp!

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Are you angry? Good!

FB-Meme-Inspire-JusticeI once read that ‘problem that makes you angry is something that you were designed to solve’, and while I have no recollection of the original author I do believe that statement to be true.  Now – Pharrell’s inspiration aside, I (in general) am a pretty happy go-lucky person.  I don’t hold onto grudges, and little things tend to not get me down…at least not for long.  Though few and potentially far between, there are those moments when something just sets. me. OFF!  A recent occurrence that took me there was the tragedy that continues to play out in the media in Ferguson, MO.  That situation prompted me to take action by becoming personally educated on the issues that were important to me and connect to like-minded individuals who were seeking solutions.  Since then, I have been paying close attention to other situations that have prompted me to act.  In doing so, I noticed a common theme among the things that triggered me: they were all social-justice oriented.  Case in point:

Situation: Unarmed teen is shot by police and then his humanity is put on trial by the media to justify the action

My response: Argh – that sucks!  Now, what can I do about it?

Situation: My new home state is leading the nation in incarceration rates of Black males…that in spite of Blacks making up less than 10% of the total population

My response: Argh – that sucks!  Now, what can I do about it?

Situation: Shonda Rhimes accused of being an “angry Black women” by the NY Times for daring to create shows with diversity and strong female leads.

My response: Argh – that sucks!  Now, what can I do about it?

Situation: Just got out of church & I have a taste for a Chik Fil A kid’s meal.  Wait -Chik Fil A is closed on Sundays!!

My response: Argh – that sucks!  Now, what can I do about it?

angry leslie knope

 

Ok – so that last example may not have equaled the first three in the emotional response it elicited from me, but it does suck when you have a taste for something and can’t satisfy that craving…just saying.  Bottom line, my awareness of my triggers highlighted to me that an important aspect of my purpose is to promote social justice.  Since then, I have connected myself to a few likeminded individuals and groups, Justified Anger being one of them and Groundwork another, to contribute towards solutions to address social injustices in the city I reside.  I feel so fulfilled in the work that I have been able to do, and have an immense amount of respect for those individuals who have and continue to do the work of fighting injustice.  Cornel West said it best when he defined justice as what love looks like in public.  I couldn’t agree more, and will continue to support the demonstration of true, agape love by promoting social justice for all.

So if you find yourself angry – that might just be a good thing if it highlights an area of your purpose that you were designed to solve.  Now it’s time to get to work!

Different Norm Indeed!

non_normal

As I was working on today’s blog posting I came across the above picture that I had previously saved in my ‘Inspired’ Dropbox folder, and realized that it pretty succinctly describes the motivation behind the naming of this blog. I’ve always been a little quirky, and tried on several occasions during my formative years to be more like the “cool kids”, but always felt inauthentic doing so. Over time I have slowly become comfortable with who I am (i.e., entrepreneurial Black chica w/an affinity for short haircuts, social justice issues, droll comedies & anything by Shonda Rhimes, who reads personal finance blogs for funsies, loves God and is passionate about seeing others fulfill their purpose), and have definitely been enjoying life ever since. In my experience, the “box” that we may try to place ourselves into due to perceived societal norms, family pressures, the media, etc. can be very limiting.  Not only that, but each of us has been created for a purpose that is greater than ourselves.  Meaning that who are you – isn’t even about you.  And by withholding your authenticity you prevent others from experiencing and receiving inspiration from you.  So at the end of the day – do you!  Celebrate your individuality and your unique perspective on the world around you, and in the process know that there is someone out there who will be inspired by you to do the same.