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Dreamcatcher

I just had this thought while watching Dr. King’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech. The things he is speaking about– justice for black people; that one day we would have the rights to vote and walk freely without segregation, etc. I sit here and I’m grateful that these things have now come to pass, but it wasn’t until just now, just now, when it clicked. This march, and the actions of the hundreds of thousands of people that preceded this march, at one point, were just leaps of faith. These things were just small footsteps with faith but they set the blueprint for the freedom that we have today, and an anchor for which we can hold onto as we continue sailing through to true justice for ALL people. Dr. King had hope, and a dream and power to move people’s hearts with peaceful determination. But, he had no idea what would happen, just faith, a faith that saw that at the center of all people there is good.

 

There are people –black people- who say there will never be true justice in the legal system for the African American woman or man. I don’t doubt that there were once people who thought they would never walk onto a bus and sit down where they pleased. I don’t doubt that there was a child who sat quietly in her classroom accepting that she would never sit in the same classroom with a white child. I don’t doubt that there were people who didn’t care either way. But, if one could dream–if one could dream of true change- change in a country founded on the oppression of the very people who built it, now that’s remarkable.

That dream made provision for my dream. So, maybe it isn’t far-fetched to see a world where a young black man walking from the store with skittles won’t be judged by the color of his skin but the content of his character, or to imagine an education system that doesn’t clear a direct path to imprisonment or death for young brown men. Maybe, just maybe, I could have a dream too.

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I lied. To myself. But, I guess it wasn’t really a lie because I was thoroughly convinced that it was the truth. I guess that’s what it takes to pull it off—a lie, to yourself, I mean. You’d have to be completely convincing so that you’d believe it. That’s the trick. It’s all a mind game. Most things are. Fear, doubt, uncertainty; they’re all lies we tell to ourselves- prove to ourselves even. And if thoughts become things then it all makes sense.

If we stop thinking in lies and start living in truth- and visiting but not dismissing the ugly parts of truth, somewhere, somewhere in there, there’s clarity. I couldn’t tell you where though. How ironic.

You know that river that flows through Egypt? Well, turns out, it’s not just a river.

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I want it. My mother always said closed mouths don’t get fed so why won’t I ask for what I want when it comes to love? I sit here, skirting around the word. When you ask me what I’m looking for. That dreaded conversation. If I tell you what I really want you’ll run. I know you’ll run. and the worst part is you’ll say you’re staying as you lace up your shoes to run. I know it. Happened too many times before. I want love. I want you to walk down the street with me beside you. Your Nefertiri. I want you to open doors, and pull out chairs and not just for the first three dates. I want you to be kind, I want you to be firm, I want you to settle my restless spirit when it can’t find refuge in its usual spaces. I want to be able to look at you and just know it’s love. I want to like you. I want to laugh with you and cry with you and live with you and die with you and I want that so fiercely that it scares me. It scares me to think that another human being could be of such importance to my existence. Maybe that’s why I haven’t found you yet. So I’ll answer your question the same way I’ve answered with every other suitor. “Whatever pleases you.” I will bend my desires to fit your comfort level. You don’t want a girl? “Oh , nah I don’t want to be in a relationship either; I’m too young, too free,” I’ll say. All the while hoping you’ll see through the facade and say “baby, I’m yours” – the fairy tale ending. That’s all I want.  I want to know you’ll fight that fire-breathing dragon for me – but you won’t kill him because you’ll want him to carry us home- not wanting my feet to touch the rubble or hands to be cut up as we search our way through the woods- you’ll want us, to fly. Fly over the obstacles and destruction to a higher place. It’s just gotta be love.

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Take a look at the all new web series, “He Say, She Say,” hosted by relationship expert Kevin Carr. Remember him from my MANcation Retreat video?  Kevin is hosting a new show about current relationship topics. This first episode features a diverse panel of women and men as they discuss their opinions on the “do’s” and “dont’s” of dating and relationships.

Check it out!

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In my recent MANcation revelation, I discovered that I don’t have enough faith in myself and I lack belief in myself at times. This was ever so evident a few weeks ago when I actually heard myself downplaying my abilities to someone else. I was explaining my blog and a future project to someone and I said “Yes, I have a website, but it’s just a wordpress site.” It took me a second to realize that I had just made it okay for the person I was talking to not to take me seriously. I had minimized myself and my abilities out of fear that someone may make me, prove it.

Interestingly enough, the one thing I am most confident in is my ability to connect with people through my writing. Somehow, at that moment, and many moments preceding that moment, I decided that I didn’t believe in myself.

Confidence is so important. We’ve all seen someone so confident that we just expect everything they do to be magnificent only to learn that their bark is more powerful than their bite. We’ve seen people that don’t have that much talent but they excel in their fields simply because they have enough people that believe them. That’s confidence. No one will believe you if you don’t. I really thank God for these moments when I’m able to see myself as an outsider would, and take a deep look at the situations I place myself in.

I am making a conscious decision to have more confidence in myself. I think my issue is that I’m so afraid of being great at something that I’d just rather give you a mediocre answer so if I don’t deliver, you won’t be surprised. Being great, is hard work! I know that sounds pitiful and lazy,but this is a judgement-free site! I know there are tons of people out there who share my reasoning. However, that is a very weak and insecure way of thinking. If you continue to think on a small scale, you will only produce small things.

God placed you here to be great. It is an absolute insult to Him to diminish the work He has done in you by minimizing them. I’m always afraid to say good things about my capabilities for fear of appearing arrogant.

I can’t tell you how many times I read my blog and think “Seriously, Lana, who cares?,” but honestly, people do care; they enjoy my writing and testimonials and there’s nothing arrogant about accepting that. It inspires people, it encourages people and that’s a good thing. There,
I said it!

The difference between arrogance and confidence is realizing where these gifts come from and giving the praise to the Creator. It is okay to say, “I’m a great singer,” or “I’m a great writer,” etc., as long as you make sure you give the glory to the Lord for blessing you with such talent.

He has only created you for greatness. Making light of the gifts God gave you is not honorable and it just gives others permission to define you and place limits on your success.

This was definitely an eye opening experience and I thank God for it. I will no longer minimize my talents and I will only speak greatness. Care to join me?

Doubt and Uncertainty are the first cousins of Fear, and I intend to disrupt this family reunion indefinitely.

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This post has been a long, long, time coming. Many of you will be upset with me for this post. And by many, I mean maybe, 4 or 5 of the 10 people that read my blog.

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I would like to explain my theory of “Educated Negro Syndrome”, or ENS. Now, before you write me off about being misled and ignorant by using the word “Negro,” let me explain myself. From my own understanding and from what I’ve learned throughout the years in school and listening to stories of my ancestors, the word Negro began as a way to describe African Americans. Negro is yet another word that my people changed into a term of endearment when it had been meant to separate us from whites. It was another string on America’s guitar that forever plays the sweet song of racism, but, we digress.

I choose to use the word Negro to explain my theory because it describes an ideology carried by my brown brothers when they feel they have arrived in this world. There is a certain air that is created when these aforementioned brothers feel they have been enlightened enough to be separated from the rest of their brown sisters and brothers. This is not a generalization. This theory describes a select few young men that I’ve been encountering more and more frequently.

There have been many times when I log on to Twitter to see some young, educated black man talking about why he hates when black women wear weaves. This is not the only instance to explain my theory, but it is the most common, so I will use this as the primary example.

I’d say the way black men now feel about weaves on black women had something to do with the natural hair movement sweeping the nation among black women. We as women, especially, single, black women, are always dying to find ways to make ourselves more attractive to men, so that we can get married, and live happily ever after. Anyway, I have seen these same men that are so down on hair extensions and make-up, chase these same women in the clubs, bars, nightlife scene, etc. I have had debates with these men about how I must hate myself for putting some European or East Indian’s hair in my head instead of my own and have watched them flirt with women who replicate the very image they have done such a good job at critiquing. I don’t blame you guys, this is just a symptom of ENS.

These men have studied Freud, and Plato and historical philosophers, in addition to being able to quote W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington but when they see a Kim Kardashian look-a-like, they can barely contain themselves. Which is it, young sir? Do you even know or have you been so brainwashed by those history books and reality shows that you don’t even know yourself? I’d like to suggest the latter.

Another symptom of ENS is the “Me-Man”. We’ve all met the “Me-Man”. This is the guy you meet at an art exhibit or another culturally diverse event and you find out about his childhood, his education, his beliefs on gay marriage, abortion, the role of the black man in families and anything else he decides to tell you about before you can get a word in edgewise. You may need to keep mentioning your own name frequently during the conversation so that he’ll remember it. He won’t need to though, because the next time he sees you, he’ll continue talking about himself so much he won’t even need to say your name. He will, more than likely, proceed to post some status about the simplicity of the women he’s dated, and how he is just dying to meet an intellectual, “Queen.”

The “Me-Man” feels that the pleasure is all YOURS when conversing with him. After all, you may never meet a man of his calibur again; a man with a PhD, who is involved with the youth, and God forbid, SINGLE. You ought to be dropping rose petals at his feet. Careful, the “Me-Man” is known to become extremely sensitive and defensive should you have your own opinion in opposition to one of his.

I once had a man tell me that rappers Wale and J-Cole were distasteful because they frequently rapped about the struggles of black women which sold false hope to these women because these men would never actually experience this pain. He said they had never been a black woman, so how could they relate to them? Was he proposing that promoting such hope to women would cause women to feel that all men might show the same compassion to their issues? How dare women find comfort in hearing positivity and understanding about themselves in between the misogynistic tracks on an album. The nerve.

I don’t say any of this to male-bash. Although, many of the men who read this will see this as another opportunity to tear down the black man. See: “For Colored Girls” critiques. Assuming that every time a black woman speaks up about the ills of black men is an attempt to bash them just reinforces my theory of the self-involved, vain character suffering from ENS. This assumption that we are all out to get you, though heavily enforced by news media and pop culture, is just not true —at least it’s not true for me. I LOVE black men, educated black men too! I just want them to begin to question the things that they learn and to stop constantly doing things to separate themselves from their people. Your degree doesn’t make you any better than anyone, nor do your trips to Africa. These things will make you more cultured of course, but the minute you begin to believe that you are of a higher distinction because the effects of hundreds of years of slavery and racism in America aren’t as visible on you, as they are on me, you lose. This is the moment I must diagnose you with ENS and pray for your speedy recovery.

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MANCATION REVELATION: LOUD & CLEAR

November 27, 2012

Today, I heard God give me what I’ve been praying for. I actually heard HIM. I have been praying for patience for as long as I can remember. My mom always says that you only have to ask God for something one time and then you have to just wait on the Lord. The fact that I have asked Him for patience numerous time should make odd, ironic, sense.

This morning, I woke up with the hens to get ready to go to work and was greeted with a wintery mix coming down outside my window which only motivated me to hold on to my comforter for five more minutes. Anyway, as I raced through the house trying to get out of the house and into the car and onto the train to get to work on time, I realized I could NOT find my umbrella. I mumbled declarations about how people in the house move everything and wondered why things couldn’t just be where I left them, and I ALMOST, let this ruin my morning.

As I waited for my car to warm up, I heard myself, telling myself, to calm down. No need to check me into the looney bin, I mean this. I heard myself say, “Lana, you have no umbrella, but you have a scarf wrapped around your head and a warm coat, and right now you’re in a car that will take you a the train where rain will not touch you, re-lax.” I was suddenly overwhelmed with peace. This may sound like an over-exaggeration of  brief moment of insanity but it’s much more than that. I am a person that lives inside of her head. I am constantly nit-picking about everything imaginable, and letting it change my attitude.

This moment meant growth. This moment meant that Patience had finally decided to show up, or that finally decided to see her. These are the moments  that make the MANcation worth it. The moments where I’ve closed my eyes and ears to all of the mess that tempts to cloud my vision, settled my mind and found clarity. The moments where it’s just me and God. Perspective, it feels nice.

Read more MANCATION REVELATIONS here.

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