The Mental Strain of Activism

Black Community, Black Lives Matter, Self Help, Uncategorized


The week of Sandra Bland’s death and my subsequent post got quite a few hits.  I actually got reblogged by the actor Jesse Williams on tumblr which was pretty cool.  Afterwards, came the bombardment of images, videos and speculation.  Normally, I don’t follow hearsay when it comes to cases like these until I get all the facts, but I’m only human and got caught up in the moment.  There were so many allegations going around, I thought I was following the Bill Cosby case for awhile.  Needless to say, it took a mental toll on me.

I try to be informative and write posts that change hearts and minds.  I want people to understand the movement black lives matter and what racial inequality exists, however I want to be fair and balanced and not throw out accusations like I see most people, even some of your favorite activists do from time to time.  Walking this fine line can be rather difficult sometimes…

Attempting to change minds and hearts is the worst because some people just don’t get it not do they want to get it.  Others get it but are afraid to speak out.  Sometimes I feel like a lone wolf out there fighting for justice in a world full of ignorance; I wouldn’t do myself the disservice of only speaking to people who agree with me like I see most activists do on Black Twitter, however the alternative is so mentally exhausting.  In addition, how do I display my love for black issues without coming off aggressive and combative.   I took a mental break these last few weeks to get my head together.  I think I’ve gotten a balance and I can give you a few easy steps in helping you.

1. Step Away From Your Social Media

I can’t stress this Enough.  Stepping away was the best thing for me.  I was able to relax, go to the park and clear my head.  I was able to prioritize things in my head including my personal life and goals with my activism which was a big concern for me…

2.  Choose your battles

There are so many injustices happening towards black and brown people everyday that it’s hard to keep up with some days.  As sad and foul as it is, you can’t champion every single issue that comes across your timeline or newsfeed.  Think of yourself as an editor of a newspaper, things you care about this most should be the things you post or retweet.  You’re only human, you can’t cover it all.  There are people who get paid to do that.

3.  Some People just aren’t going to get it

Some people just aren’t going to get it.  It’s as plain as that.  You can preach until you’re blue in the face, they aren’t not going to get it.  You shouldn’t waste your time debating or arguing with them.  Someone who believes racism nor police brutality exists, no matter how many black and brown men/women get killed, doesn’t deserve your time.  Allow them to live in their blissful ignorance.

4.  Find distractions

For the past few weeks, all I posted on Facebook was funny videos that made me laugh.  Not only did it warm my heart, it was a balance to all the crap that was going on at the time.  Sometimes you need to laugh and escape.  We, as a black race have been doing it for a long time.   Read a book, meditate, go spend time with friends or fam and remember there is a world outside of social media.

5.  Keep hope alive

You have to stay strong during these times.  Going to work with people who don’t understand how you feel to seeing friends at home who just don’t seem to care, you sometimes loose hope.  You can’t though.  Everybody has their part to play in this huge movement.  Whether you retweet a story or are on the front-lines,  you are somebody in the bigger picture.

Those are a few of my tips/steps.  If you have any, please feel free to share in the comments…

Advertisements

The Trouble with Being Myself is…

Self Help, Uncategorized

  
  Last night was pretty fun, I had drinks with my acting class and we discussed our careers and goals.  We all gave each other constructive criticism and said what we could work on.  I was told  that I’m a good looking dude and if I kept up with my appearance more I’d be on track for my career in entertainment.   This caught me off guard because I thought I had become more comfortable with who I was over the years.  I remember being so scared thay I wouldn’t even speak or give me opinion out of fear of judgment, and I’ve grown so much since then.  Honestly, I could give a shit about what I wear or how people perceive…..who am I kidding, I care so much I’ve given up on trying. I hate this because it stiffles me from being happy. Low self esteem has plagued me my entire life.  

 I took this test earlier today that told me I had low self esteem.  It’s something that I’ve always battled with my whole life, but never wanted to admit.  I’ve battled with having a low opinion of myself and what I offer ever since I could remember.  I’m in an industry where having confidence is probably the most important thing.  Looks have always been last priority to me.  I barely shave, I dress pretty plain although I have my moments that I look fashionable, but I dress to not be seen or stand out.  If I have to dress up for an event or audition I will, but normally I’m just a plain dude.  Btw, I hate ties and suits.  If I were back home, this would be applicable.  Here in Los Angeles, it makes me stand out but not in a good way. 

I’ve never admitted to myself that I cared so much and even thought I was above it.  I told myself on shallow people care about looks and my talent and personality would shine through. That was a lie. I cared so much about people thought about me that it was easier not to care at all.  So where do I go from here?  I haven’t decided yet, but I do know I’m going to start doing things and making choices that make me feel happy about myself.  It’s easier said that done because it’s easier to sabotage myself and do things that contradict my happiness.  I have to do it though because I’m tired of being unhappy with myself…

Letting go of insecurities 101:  My personal journey and how I’m letting go

Self Help, Uncategorized

 Letting go of my insecurities has been one of the hardest journies in my life.   Everybody  has insecurities, but some of us know how to embrace them sooner than others.  Personally, it took me a while.  I’m certain where they started.  Most of mine stem from school as early as 4th grade.  I grew up dirt poor in the hoods of Milwaukee and Jackson, TN.  My mom wasn’t perfect, nobody’s is, but one thing she provided to me was a safe place to be myself.  I could laugh and play, listen to NSYNC and Britney Spears.  I could watch the Million Man March on TV, listen to Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu to enlighten my mind.  I felt safe at home for a while.  School was different.  I was constantly teased and taunted in school and by my some of my family for being ‘different.’ I didn’t walk, talk or act like the other guys in my school.  I was smart as fuck, shy by nature and hung around all women, yet I had a quirkiness to me that made me stand out.  I wasn’t aware of any of this, I just wanted to be myself and fit in.  Every time I tried to embrace who I was my manhood, masculinity and intelligence was constantly called into question.  This led me to be very insecure in who I was growing up.  I always questioned every step I took.  If I walked like this, would I be ridiculed?  If I talked like this, would I stopped being teased? It overtook my brain to the point where I couldn’t think straight.  The only thing I would think about was being accepted.  At an age where children developed their identity and who they are, I lost mine and it took me half my life to get it back.

I’m sure you would love details, but I’ll save that for my best seller I write after I win by 2nd Emmy and get my first Oscar Nod.  Letting go of those insecurities has been a battle I’ve been battling my entrie life.  There are a few steps i can share that I’ve been learning along my journey:

1.  Get out of your head

This was big for me.  I used to be so obsessed with what people thought of me and how I looked.  These thoughts took over my life until I just got out of my head.  I learned a trick from my friend about replacing every negative thought with something positive.

2.  Dig down to the root

Dealing with the root of a problem is always helpful.  The root of my manhood issues was my lack of father or male role models.  I always felt inadequate and ‘less than’ the other guys.  Once I found out the reasons behind these insecurities, I was able to actually understand them.

3.  Changing what you can

I had a real issue with the way I spoke and my voice.  I had a stuttering problem as a child and it took a long time for me to get over.  It made me insecure about the way i spoke.  Once I learned how to speak, I couldn’t anunciate my words and spoke to fast.  Once I got to college and the real world, I got so tired of people telling me to repeat myself. I worked really hard on my voice.  Change what you can about yourself.  If your issue is your weight, start working out.  If your issue is the way you dress, go shopping.  It sounds cliche but working to change your insecurities in stead of sitting around griping about them is a lot more productive.

4.  Accepting what you can’t change

This is the hard part for some.  I tried to bend, shape and move myself to fit in with my classmates and collegues.  I put on this fake facade that people eventually saw straight through.  I can’t be like every one else, I realized.  All I can be is Romane.  Once I accepted this, I let go.  If you can’t change something about yourself, like having a big head or webbed feet (I kid) accept it.  Be real with yourself.

5.  Realizing You’re not the only one

You aren’t the only one feeling the way you do.  Every body in some form or facet feels insecure about something.  It’s human nature.  We often think we’re the only ones with this particular problem when, in fact, we are one of many.  Hearing others stories and journies will make you feel better and not alone.  You aren’t alone.

Motives Vs Actions:  Seeing people for who they are

Self Help

  
Have you ever had that one friend was a great person but just treated you like crap?  Have you had that one relationship where they treated you well half of the time but the other half was tumultuous to say the least?  I feel like the biggest thing people get stuck on when it comes to letting go of someone is under or overestimating their intentions and motives.  We often ignore or excuse blatant disrespect or outright bad behavior because of these assumptions about their intentions and motives.  It’s human in us to see the good in people and give second chances.  Forgiveness is a powerful tool!  What happens, however, when that forgiveness is abused by the offender?  Why is it so hard for us to see people for who they really are?  

Motives are defined as ‘a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.’  Everybody has a motive for doing something whether they want to admit it or not.  We all seek to gain something from a situation, even if it’s personal satisfaction or mutual happiness.  We all want to think those we hold close in our lives have good intentions, but what happens with those intentions we assume someone has for us come in direct conflict with what action they are showing us.  

Example:  You have a friend you’ve been Knowing for a while and claims to be there for you, but every chance they get, they ditch you for somebody else:  

Do you automatically assume this friend meant, in fact, to diss you or is there some other reason?   

This, my friend, is what we want to avoid.  As soon as we start trying to rationalize bad behavior is where we mess up.  What has this friend shown you?  They’ve shown you they could care less about hanging with you. It’s not assuming, it’s right in your face!! That’s all you need to know to decide what your next step is.   It’s a tried but true statement, actions speak louder than words or in this case, actions speak louder then motives.  

I’ve seen so many people hold onto toxic relationships because they assume this person meant something else than what they actually did.  They start making so many excuses to affirm their belief of somebody’s motives or intentions.  No, they probably didn’t mean to hurt you but they did.  No, they provably didn’t man to piss you off but they did.  Once you own up to this reality, you’ll be more inclined to see the person for who they really are and make your mind up from there about how to move forward.  

5 things every black girl should hear 

Black Community, Black Girls Rock, Lists, Self Help

1.  You are beautiful

 
Beauty comes in so many different shades and colors.  The media and advertising often exposes young black girls to one definition of beauty.  Every black girl should be taught they they are beautiful.  This is not only important for her self esteem, but for acceptance of  herself and culture.

2.  You are heard

 
Black women and girls are often, directly or indirectly, told their opinions don’t matter as much as their male counterparts.  When women often voice their opinions in a matter, they are hushed or made to feel inferior.  Young black girls need to be told their opinion matters and they can express themselves.   They can be as loud and as assertive as they want to be.  If somebody is intimidated, fuck them.

3.  You can be ANYTHING you want to be

 
Women can really do and be anything they want to be.  The earlier girls know this, the better.  We often limit our girls by exposing them to limited career choices.   Showing them that they CAN be doctors, lawyers, bodybuilders, construction workers or whatever they desire early on will benefit them as they grow older and start making career choices.  Although being Instagram models and using your beauty as a career is fine, young girls need to know using  other tools in your chest like your brain may be more rewarding and get you a bit further in the long run.

4.  YOU come FIRST

 
Black women have often had to make some of the bigger sacrifices in the black community.  They’ve had to hold down the household while men were allowed to do whatever they wanted.  It is often in the nature of a woman to put her needs aside for the greater good, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of a mans ego or selfish choices.  Black girls should know that THEY come first, before family, friends or boyfriend/girlfriend, at least until you have children.  Every girl should know her mental, physical, financial and emotional state ALWAYS comes first.

4.  Having a man should NOT be a priority 

 
I’ve told my niece this over and over again.  You DO NOT need a man to be happy and successful. Love is a beautiful thing, however, men come and go but a degree is forever.  Michelle already had her law degree and was a junior lawyer at her law firm when she met Barack. It’s human for us to desire love, but get your OWN first.   I’ve seen so many women, especially women of color go through hell and high water to say they have a man.  They would stunt their growth and make sacrifices for temporary relationships.  That’s five years you could have many going to school, making money and establishing yourself.   Im not saying don’t be in a relationship, but establishing yourself first should be of the most importance. If you do find love in the process of getting your own, that’s great.  If not, that’s great too.

5. You are POWERFUL

 
If women knew their own power, their would be no wars, no strife, and men would be a footnote in history.  Some women don’t know their power which is often distressing.  Black women birth human civilization, but have never been given due credit. Black women are Kings and Queens, warriors and mothers, fighters and lovers aka complex human beings.  Black culture begins and ends with black women.  A Black culture that influences the world.  That is power.   Every young black girl needs to be told this.

A GUIDE TO KNOWING YOU’RE RACIST: 5 Easy Steps

Racist News, Self Help

With racism and police brutality in the headlines, I feel the need to engage and educate the ignorants on the issues of race and how to know if you are a racist.  Get your pens or Iphone notepad out, this may be difficult for some of you to grasp.

1.  Everybody around you looks like you:

White2004-Friends2

If your friends and workers circle look like the first 5 seasons of Friends, then you’re probably a racist.  A lack of interaction means a lack of tangibility or accessibility, a lack of tangibility leads to a lack of empathy.  Go talk to that one employee you might have ignored or be threatened by or tried to get fired.  See how life is for them, you may be surprised that they are complex creatures with feelings, emotions and thoughts.  If everyone around you looks exactly like you and you have no interaction with persons of color besides a mugshots on the local evening news,  Chances are you may be a racist.

2.  You Deny Racism

images (4)

Bill O’Reilly, Rush ‘Fatman” Limbaugh, Glen Beck and several others are guilty of this.  They attempt to diminish or defect racist acts in order to avert attention from their subject.  If 9 BLACK churchgoers in a historically BLACK church being shot by a WHITE SUPREMACIST isn’t racism then I don’t know what is to be honest.  Denying Racism is the new Racism.

3.  Fox New is your GO-To

fauxnews

If you are an avid watcher of Fox News then you’re probably racist.  Fox ‘News” knows this and panders to your deepest fears.  I use the term ‘news’ loosely because Faux News is mainly a bunch of old white men screaming racist shit to a choir of.. you guessed it, a bunch old racist white men.  When is the last time you’ve seen a favorable story about a minority on Fox News?

4.  “Black People problems are their own..”

Yes, slavery ended several hundred years ago..and that could be a valid argument had laws and regulation of black life been put into place for the last 200 years to make life a living hell for black people.  Racist deny these laws or any sort of barriers  exist for people of color.  The they turnaround and blame black people for their problems with white supremacy.  It’s become almost as systematic as racism itself.  DENY AND DEFLECT, DENY AND DEFLECT, DENY AND DEFLECT.

5.  You look at black or brown people in a negative light

This is hard for most racists because they want to believe that they’re above that way of thinking and ‘they see no color.’  Red is a color, blue is a color, green is a color and black is a color.  We all see colors because we have these things called eyes and unless you’re a moron you’d be stupid to think otherwise.   Now sit and think, have ever found a black man or women intimidating or threatening just for them being themselves? then you ARE racist.  Have you found black men and women to be ‘aggressive’ or ‘too loud’ to the point you feared for your safety, even when there was no rational reason ?  Have you ever looked at a black or brown person and found them inferior to you?  Then you are, my friend, racist.

If you found yourself agreeing with any of these 5 steps, then darling you are racist.  Let’s say it together, MY NAME IS _____ AND I AM RACIST.  See, that was easy.  Now take the steps to change it.

Follow me on Twitter @ryizstupid