A Conversation With Myself
February 25, 2014, 8:24 pm
Filed under: Education, Race, Society | Tags: , , ,

Waaah. No one’s reading my post on soul mates. I even shared it on Facebook. Everyone hates me. Oh well. I can still talk to myself…

Me: Self, why does nobody like me?

Self: Well, because you’re rude and mean and what, do you think you know everything, challenging the status quo that others seem to follow as if it were God?

Me: Self, I read that if I know myself, then my knowledge is complete, so I guess, to some extent, I do think I know everything. Plus, I say such interesting things. I feel so smart. I thought I was dumb all my life from going to schools that were thought up originally by white people for white people, who thought they were the best of people who knew everything because they had more things than tribal people. It’s symbolic: Those who seem the most light (with white skin) are the least enlightened because they look outside to material things, like skin color and money, for their value. In reality our light is inside and withstands all things, even death or making a mixed-race baby, which is still rare because people of all races are still fixated on race. We still worship white people and their old ways and look down on the darkest of people because they have fewer things.

Self: Oh, sounds like you have a reason to be a bit rude.

Me: Not exactly, it’s just that naturally people don’t feel like smiling and being extra nice all the time, especially considering all the societal expectations for a nigga, so I thought I’d just be myself and I felt a bit angry a couple of posts ago and just every now and then. Plus, I always liked mean people. I thought they were so real, and because of that, so loving, like they really cared. Like they didn’t just pretend to care.

Self: Really, that’s all you have to do. Be yourself, no matter how happy or angry. That is the light of who you are: your true self, which is God, Who is unconditional love, which is you. Not skin color or seeming happy all the time, which calls for disregarding your state of mind and the state of mind of your brother.

Me: I agree. You know Self, I think everything’s gonna be alright. Thanks Self.

Self: You’re welcome.


I’ll Be Dat (Once More, And Again…)

I realize I use my “pen” as a sword. My “Get Real” post is rude, but I figure it’s no ruder than a person smiling when he’s unhappy or posting a wedding photo on Facebook for the anniversary of a marriage he would rather not be in. At least I’m not lying. In a way I wonder if I am lying because I’m so angry at others in “Get Real.” Am I really angry at myself for believing in others more than myself, just because others are the majority? It’s what I’ve done all my life. I was angry in first grade and I was a bully. I pulled the hair of the mixed-race girl across the street and the blonde-haired twins at school and teased other kids a lot. Should I have smiled instead when I thought I was ugly because I was  brown-skinned, and dumb because I was black like most of the kids in the low reading group that I KNEW WAS LOW even though no one said so? Being a bully was more honest than swallowing my anger like I started doing early on as a kid. I hid my anger because I was afraid no one liked me because I was a bully. They probably didn’t. Now I say, “So what?” How many people like themselves in this world where we’re expected to hide ourselves and all our so-called “flaws,” like the nappy hair I begged my mom to straighten and flatten as a kid. If that mean and angry girl (and woman I am today) resurfaces from time to time, let her reign and let it rain on me in whatever consequences that come. That little girl was afraid of no one liking her. But not anymore. As far as I can tell, no one likes anyone because almost no one is himself. And, no conflict is as difficult and insane as the one a person can have with himself. Let others dislike me, not me dislike me. Oh, was I angry at myself when I wrote “Get Real”? Maybe. Mad for staying quiet for so long when I felt overwhelmed by all the fakeness accepted as reality all around me, even though IT MADE NO SENSE TO ME. So many times I cried because I felt nothing made sense, there was so much noise I felt I was expected to pay attention to. I thought this “reality” was fake, but almost everyone around me “told” me it was real. If I was mad at myself in “Get Real,” I won’t be mad at myself now for being mad then. I won’t apologize for something that makes perfect sense. Perfect. I am perfect, as is anyone who believes in himself. For if you believe you are broken as the world tells us every second then in that belief–and in that belief only–you are broken. I’m all about containing an infection (i.e. my anger possibly at myself that day), not letting it spread by being angry or feeling guilty about it now. Now that I got that off my chest, I can say…

Peace be with you my brother–

Finding My Window
May 27, 2012, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Education, Mental Illness, Society | Tags: , , , , ,

There’s a brown spider that lives in a web just outside the window by the table where I sit to eat and to use my computer. Trees and other natural growth covered the land on which this house stands several years ago. The spider might have once chosen to build its tangled web in a bush or tree, but now, unlike other wildlife, it coexists peacefully with its human intruder.

I see the spider in its web as a symbol of how I want to live my life. There are a lot of systems and structures I had no part in creating that I must accept (like working for a living), just as the spider’s chosen to accept this house, or at least a window of this house.

To me, our education system seems a bit like a foreign intruder. I think it’s too focused on narrow ideas of intelligence and academic “success,” and not focused enough on developing students’ individual talents. I also see schools as places that are more concerned with keeping up appearances (like doing well on standardized tests) than really doing what’s best for students and educators. (Of course, I understand schools must follow laws like No Child Left Behind.)

Despite my views of our education system, I believe I’m meant to teach. When I was in my I-refuse-to-work phase, I would’ve used my views as an excuse to stay away from teaching. But lately, I feel that’s an unrealistic response.

I can’t let my views get in the way of my interests: The people I admire most are people who are good with kids, and I feel moved (to cry) sometimes when I think about becoming a teacher. So I believe I must do what the spider in the window does: make myself at home in someone else’s habitat.

Like the spider, I have my own plans and instincts for what I want to accomplish. I hope to somehow make students feel at home as themselves at school. I also hope to somehow help them disconnect from seeing their race as such a defining part of their identity. I’m hoping that, like the spider, I’m able to coexist and be that kind of teacher.

Up until now I’ve had trouble coexisting as myself in environments I had no part in creating. I was a blunt news reporter who was called a “trouble maker” for writing a story about race and it’s part in a school system’s advertisements for a new school. In the news writing habitat, I guess I wasn’t supposed to write about race unless it was unavoidable.

Similarly, in other positions, like fitness trainer and teacher assistant, I often ended up feeling like my goals and interests were too big or lofty for the positions (or “habitats”) I was working in.

In trying to fit into my society, I recently made this blog private (then later changed it back to public) to hide that I had a mental illness. I also hid and deleted tons of Facebook posts and cut my wild, nappy afro close to my head to make myself seem more acceptable to potential employers.

I was like a spider afraid to build its web. I’m still finding a balance between being rebellious with my hair, writing, etc. and appearing employable. I still have some unusual thought patterns I don’t know what to do with, like ideas about my soul mate. And, as much as I’d like to, it’s difficult to tell an employer I have a mental illness, although they’d easily find out if they found this blog. I want to be free, but I don’t know how in a world that’s traditionally secretive about mental illness and other “flaws.”

Perhaps my lesson is to accept that I’ll always be different–as we all are. And maybe one day, expressing that different-ness will translate into a perfect fit for what the world needs, and what kids need from me. Some of the best stories (like those in the movies Dangerous Minds, and Stand And Deliver) are about teachers who clashed with school traditions, and yet managed to deliver just what their students needed to succeed.

Distraction Nation
April 17, 2012, 7:35 am
Filed under: Education, Race, Society | Tags: , , , , , , ,

“I can feel it” — as sung in the song, “Deep Cover,” by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre

“I’m goin’ down cause you ain’t around, baby” — Mary J. Blige in the song, “I’m Goin’ Down”

I’ve been really sad at times lately. It makes sense. I tend to freak out about things long before they happen. When I first quit my job last July, for example, I had a huge temper tantrum a month later thinking about all the bills I wouldn’t be able to pay, and the possibility of not having a car. I considered killing myself.

Here I am nine months after quitting, and there has been no bill that went unpaid (except my student loans which are in deferment), and I still have the car. Since I got out of the hospital, though, I’m haunted again by the thought of running out of money (even though I’m using food stamps and living with my sister).

The fear is causing me to consider getting a job again, but I still believe (whether mistakenly or not) that is unwise.

What, getting a job unwise? Indeed. While I was in the hospital, people kept saying things like, “You really understand why you make your decisions,” or, “You’re very intelligent.” It’s true only because I quit working and had time to explore my thoughts, actions, dreams, and desires in trying to write my memoir.

Every day new feelings and experiences add to the list of things to be understood. Spending time on distractions only adds unnecessarily to the list. Distractions can include stressing over jobs I don’t want, thoughts of an attractive mate who is not my soul mate, and fear of running out of money.

I guess getting a job I hate seems wise because I supposedly need a job to survive. This is why I think life in America and on this earth totally sucks. I thought about killing myself on the way to my last job many times.

I was suicidal, even though my last job was one of my best. I was treated half-way decent by management, and I made better pay ($11 an hour) for the work I did. But to me, the work and my place of employment were like Band-Aids on self-inflicted wounds no one was willing to stop.

I worked at an alternative school FULL of young black boys and teens in a world where African Americans are treated like things to discard, or distractions to success for mankind. We are ugly, dumb, violent menaces to society, except for a few who are somehow good apples. How about the REAL reason black kids have trouble in failing schools is because they are intuitive and know what our education system really teaches: distractions as a way of life. What if black students really are the canary in the coal mine, a sign that our schools of distraction are harmful for all children.

Maybe black kids sense that spending day after day in the classroom doing stuff that means nothing to them really means that individuals are a waste of space, not that they should try to excel at doing pointless things to find success. I’ve said it before and I’ll say again: Avoiding your dreams; talents; abilities, even as a five year old in kindergarten, is not success. It’s never success, no matter how much money you make, or how soon you get married (measures of success in the biased book about race and i.q., The Bell Curve).

The one thing that makes me feel better about living in a world where distractions are considered life is that I don’t have to die. (Plus, I can always live in a shelter, I think.) I can be peniless and homeless and not work a job and still live. Working a job I don’t want, supporting a racist, absentee society, and pretending I don’t see it, is death.

I don’t believe you, Society
March 15, 2012, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Education, Marriage, Mental Illness, Race, Society | Tags:

I realize you didn’t mean to, but all my life, you’ve told me I was crazy. Through following the crowd and smiling, you told me someone could be happy with the way things were. But “the way things were” suggested people’s race was more important than their character. Race still directs who people marry, and who is paired with who in movies, commercials–everywhere.

Grade school, high school, and work often has nothing to do with what people are interested in. That tells me that what individuals have to offer doesn’t matter. And yet, everyone acts like everything is okay.

So often I felt I had no place here because I couldn’t find the right job, or the right person as the years passed. Everyone else made it look easy. The truth was, they were settling for less and pretending they were happy.

Someone told me today, “I married the wrong person.” I already thought this, but the person had kept saying they married their soul mate and told me other lies. After I knew the truth, I felt closer to the person.

I believe telling stuff like this could save lives. Christine Chubback was still a virgin at 29 when she committed suicide. I think she died from living in a loveless society where everyone hides their humanity. The truth is it’s not easy to find love, so people just pretend they found it, and lie by getting married.

I believe no marriage here is real. No existing job satisfies people’s dreams. Why? Because people avoid real life–in discussion and in their actions. Love is truly seeing someone, yet everyone hides who they are. Schools and work treat people’s dreams like they don’t matter. Avoiding your dreams is not success. This seems like a no brainer to me, maybe everyone else like me killed themselves because they believed the lies, like I did so many times?

Everyone pretends everything’s great, smiling all the time, posting wedding photos when they’d told me they were unhappy (not even the same person as above). So often, I kept questioning whether what I knew was true, so I went crazy. Now I know the truth: Everyone’s lying. Hiding the truth is lying.

Now that I’ve said this, why is it so unbelievable that I met my soul mate and he was married to someone else, someone of his same race? Marriage is what people do here, not because they want to, but because it’s on society’s to do list. That’s living a fake life and agreeing not to talk about it. Just like people agreed to the fake reality of segregation and slavery–and ostracized people who questioned it.

I believe the truth is that each of us is Somebody, and has an undeniable bond with a soul mate. And I believe people have to address the world’s problems (through following their dreams), rather than avoid them, to be with that person.

I wrote this because I was feeling like the world was going to end. Other times I felt like this I had psychotic episodes and did crazy stuff I didn’t want to do, and got into a lot of trouble. So I decided to say what I wanted to say instead of going away, or asking for an increase in my medicine, as I was considering.