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It Starts Early

This is not a ranting blog post nor is it an I hate white people post. My little brother is biracial as a bit of context, some of my good friends are white. This is an honest brain dump. A friend of mine, the father to two young black boys posed this question to me and it sparked this post. His questions, “…how do we individually or collectively minimize the immediate fear to shoot brown skin? I still have to teach them (his sons) how to interact in a safe way with the blue… (posture, responses, hand gestures and etc.) which is stressful.”

Here is what I offer. We have to start have honest conversations with one another and make the choice to connect with people who do not look like us. I can recall growing up in the south, Houston, TX to be exact. Despite growing up in the south I can recall my classes always being diverse. I had middle eastern friends, vietnamese friends, black friends, white friends, latino friends, biracial friends. All found a way to coexist and I can recall us all spending the night at each others home and hanging out like kids do. To the point that even when I was called a “nigger” on the playground around the age of 7 or 8, everyone knew it was wrong and went to tell the teacher. I can recall that even throughout high school the group was fairly close.

When everyone went to college things began to shift. People migrated to schools or experiences that no longer challenged them. We all migrated to our comfort zones. The ones that looked like our homes. I give that back story to take us to this point. We are not honest about our differences, our similarities and honest about right and wrong. If I am honest for many years I thought that people got what they deserved for getting in trouble. As I have gotten older, my eyes got wider, my ears opened up, my heart softened and I began to look deeper. Here are a few truths:

  1. Black men are sentenced to longer and harsher penalties. Here is one example per the The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida), with the same drug offense and same circumstances black men are sentenced to nearly triple the time as white men for the same crime.

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This is not to say drug crimes are not detrimental, but equal punishment should be the bare minimum for cases.  

2. It starts young. Minority groups are punished harsher earlier. The Sentencing Project, a non-profit who studies and advocates for equal justice found that American Indian (Indigenous) youth are 3 times as likely to be held in a Juvenile detention center than white youth.

“According to a Department of Education report, black students nationally were three times more likely to be suspended than whites in 2012. Suspensions occur most commonly in secondary schools, but black children were more than twice as likely to be suspended from preschool as well. Harsher discipline for black students is not just a Southern or state-level problem. It is a national crisis.” – NY Times , September 2017

Vox had disparities broken down in 7 charts to discuss hidden racism and racial bias as it relates to kids. I won’t bore you with more charts, but the link is here: https://www.vox.com/2015/10/31/9646504/discipline-race-charts.

3. It is reasonable black, white, asian, hispanic and latino, and biracial individual’s responsibility to not only challenge, but to hold those accountable for biases and abuse accountable. That means we have to do more than share a post via social media. We have to do more than retweet. We have to vote for diverse leadership, advocate for better rules and laws while checking our own biases. As a person of color at certain parts I have been complicit. Not that I said this black or brown person was guilty or deserved their punishment, but I did not speak up when someone portrayed a black or brown person as more dangerous or insert the adjective.

4. We need to retrain police and civic officials how to interact with diverse groups of people. They are not allowed to bring their biases to work. Period. We need cognitive gun reform. That way there is a much less threat of someone using a weapon against police officers who risk their life. Officers also need to exercise common sense. That means a gun should be the last resort for non-violent SUSPECTS. For instance a burglary or a loitering call should not lead to an arrest or dead body. Period.

To close…

If our country is going to move things forward we need more individuals who speak up, loudly. That does not have to be a fight or an argument, but a conversation challenging the individuals who are being painted with a broad stroke.

When we do not challenge the things we know to be inherently wrong then we raise young kids who become police officers, judges, Starbucks Managers, teachers, principals, school administrators, school board members and elected officials who do not advocate for true and equal justice.

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My Biggest Fear Came True…

I’ve struggled with whether or not I should share this story, but ultimately I know it may be meaningful to someone else. Our testimonies are not our own, but rather for others to know there is another side of through.

2017 was one of the most challenging years of my adult life. In 2016 I moved to Los Angeles without a car, a job and a stable home. I know that sounds crazy right! The good news was I landed on my feet. I secured a job within the first few months and I worked at Nickelodeon in publicity for about 6 months until my contract ended.

From there I was lucky I had several different really good interviews and decided on a small PR agency that provided a good learning lesson, but it wasn’t the most stable. Several months into the role one day after working and successfully pitching several clients I was told I was being let go after one of our clients filed for bankruptcy. I won’t go into too much detail about the company, but I had known spiritually for a while that something was off.

After passing on 3 of the biggest companies in PR and Entertainment for the role I was left searching for a job. This is an LA and creative thing, but that also meant I did not have much of a safety net. For about two months I was left with little or no money. The bad timing of the incident was compounded by the fact that I had agreed to move out of the apartment I was sharing.

*Deep Sigh* so on June 21st I moved out as promised and had to live on friend’s couches and in hotel rooms for the next few months. I was literally homeless. I moved 6 times in about 2.5 months. It was honestly one of the most difficult spiritual experiences of my life. I have never cried so much and I have never been so disappointed in God like I was during those times. If you know anything about LA you know that the housing market and situations are extremely tricky. It is extremely tedious and difficult and you are not moving in without several thousand dollars and employment for at least 3 months so my then current issues were a serious road block. Sure I could have called my family and asked for help and easily had the problem solved, but that would only be a temporary fix.

I contemplated packing up and moving home and leaving LA. By the time June 21st hit I had secured a new job, but that also meant that I had to pay off a lot of debt from not working. Things were extremely difficult. I applied to literally every job possible. I received no offers or received offers that would exacerbate things more than help. I really did not share my story at the time, because I was ashamed and I had not fully processed the experience.

That experience taught me several things:

1. Shift your focus.

From the situation I shifted my focus to the positive things and acknowledged the bad. I just CHOSE not to sit in the bad.

2. Always say thank you!

I began saying thank you every day despite how those days looked. Thanks when it was bad and thanks when it was good. When it was bad I was renting a weekly room in North Hollywood with no a/c during the summer where it’s 100 plus daily. When it was good were my days at work and with my friends at the beach or at game nights. That spiritual shift and choosing to remain positive has stuck and I can tell you that by focusing on the end zone and not the play I have seen how my life keeps manifesting.

3. Good people exist.

On the day I was going to give up and move back home a buddy Geo reached out mid-ugly cry. We talked and he shared his story it definitely gave me hope. Geo and his roommates were kind enough to house me for a few weeks as I recharged and found a permanent place.

4. Strong People ask For Help.

Prior to this experience I rarely if ever asked for help. I thought I was not strong if I asked for help. What I learned through my old room mate Hal, Benecia (my prayer warrior and spiritual homie), Merling & Mike, Marco, Rodney and Geoffery is that help comes when we ask for it. My goal is to one day repay the many kind individuals that opened their homes, wallets and their hearts.

My point in sharing this story is to help someone else going through a tough time. Your tough time may not be mine, but it is still a valid journey as mine may not be representative of your tough time(s). Shift your focus, say thank you,

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6 Things you Can Do and Not Do to Improve Your Relationships!

I want to preface this blog by stating I am NOT a therapist or a relationship expert. I am simply sharing observations and insight from conversations all that said I am thoughtful and I work to manage my relationships, because people matter!

Throughout this post you will see friendship and/or relationship used. Friendships matter and so do intimate relationships. So the advice can apply to both. That said I hope this touches something in each of us. Some of the items on the list I struggle with myself, so this acts as a reminder to me as well.

6. Do not let your ego over shadow your friend and/or relationship.

When I look at some lasting relationships I see people who can laugh at one another and also laugh with one another. Some of us let our ego over power us and our partners. We are too good to be wrong, we have to be right and we get in the weeds of things that do not matter. In your relationship your credentials, degrees, cars and age should not be used to trump your partner. EVER! Throw all that out the door. Yes you worked hard to attain and accomplish certain things, but your friendship and/ or relationship should not be the place you prop yourself up in, it should be a safe place to just exist.

5. Respect your friend and/or partners time.

This may seem like common sense, but it is vital. If you have a commitment meet it or give notice prior to the date and time you cannot meet the commitment. Things come up. We overbook ourselves and sometimes we forget, but if you consistently drop the ball or disrespect their time, then you are communicating to that friend and/or partner that they are not valuable.

4. Publicly Show Respect to Your Friend/ Partner.

Acknowledging your friends and/or partner is important. Be sure you are not spending all your time arguing about a sports team, movie, singer, etc. At a party or gathering mention how proud of your friend/ partner you are. Social media is inundated with arguments over people many of us do not know, but what about that/those special individual(s) in your life. When is the last time you bragged on your friends and the work they are doing and the achievements they are completing?

3. DO NOT AIR YOUR LAUNDRY IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!

Think of it this way. When your apartment or house has a leak or broken appliance. Are you going to post about it on Social media for days or even weeks before fixing it or are you going to get to work trying to fix it? The same goes for friendships and/or relationships. Do not vent to social media about your relationship have a conversation with the person(s) you’re in relation with unless you are prepared to share ALL OF YOUR shortcomings! Do not try to show up or embarrass or send a message via social media.

2. Be respectful of your friend and/or partner’s other friends and family and expect the same.

You may not like one of your friend’s and/or partner’s other friends or family members, but instead of trashing and tearing them down and involving your friend or partner have a respectful adult conversation to try and resolve or mend things. Nothing good can come from you libeling, attacking and attempting to discredit someone else. Make an effort to be in a healthy communicative interaction with people that you WILL have to share space with, that your partner love.

1. Actively work on you.

Friendships and/or relationships are the process of evolution. Your friend(s) and/or partner should be able to support you and you do the same. However if you are simply knee deep in their business and their endeavors you cannot evolve on your behalf in the best way. Yes you may have times where one of your friends and/or your partner may need you, but to completely dump your dreams and abandon your own ambition is a recipe for disaster.

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#takeaknee and the 4 Types of People

August 26, 2016 sports and politics collided as it has so many times before in history. On that day Colin Kaepernick decided to start a peaceful protest that involved taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem before NFL games, to bring attention to the murder of unarmed black people and the lack of conviction that occurs once an officer murders an unarmed black person.

 

From there a firestorm erupted. His coaches, his team mates and his owner supported his right to peacefully protest. Fans, political pundits, and politicians weighed in with their anger and opposition of the protest. The excuse used to distract from Colin was the fact that he was unpatriotic and did not respect the flag or American troops.

 

Following the 2016 NFL season Colin decided to leave the struggling San Francisco 49ers, a team that was on their 3rd coach in his tenure as a QB and far removed from any chance of competing in the Super Bowl that Colin helped lead them to. Throughout the summer Colin was overlooked for NFL job after job. Retired, unemployed, and far less statistically comparable quarterbacks were selected for jobs that every football pundit has since said they did not deserve or were not qualified for.

 

Despite Colin not having a job and no longer currently being an active NFL player the President of the United States weighed in.  At a rally on Friday, September 22, 2017 in Huntsville Alabama, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

 

Many athletes, Americans and politicians subsequently weighed in which has become the norm when the President says outlandish things, a new weekly habit.

 

Though this is troubling, because the right to peaceful protest is protected by the constitution, it is also troubling that a sitting President would assert that a private entity should fire someone for actions he does not agree with. I want to put a period there and shift. This is not about Donald Trump or the controversy he loves to stir up. The focus should be on why kneeling during the National Anthem is important!

The focus on why turning off the NFL games is important.  Though owners now “disagree” with President Trump, despite their million dollar campaign contributions, they have essentially fired Colin Kaepernick and have not spoken out in regards to the very reason Colin Kaepernick took a knee.

 

I have 4 types of people I want to speak to.

 

  1. To the black and brown people who continue to watch the NFL I personally get it. You grew up watching and loving football, you’ve purchased your season tickets and your respective team represents something “positive” in your hometown. Those are the legitimate claims I have heard from those still watching games. I am not begging you to protest or condemning you for not protesting, but I have two questions to ponder on that could reshape history should you choose to join in on blacking out the NFL. The two questions are:

 

  1. What if Rosa Parks decided to simply go about business as usual and to this day we were never allowed to sit in any section of a bus other than the back?
  2. What if the 600+ individuals who marched on Selma decided, that voting was not as important after all since they could face resistance?
  3. What are you willing to give up, to move the conversation forward and force solutions?

 

I ask those questions, because you could one day be the hashtag we mourn.

 

  1. To the white people, calm down I am not mad at white people, which oppose and reject Donald Trump if you really want to make a statement talk about black and brown people being disproportionately murdered by police officers without a trial and turn your tv off during NFL games, because the individual who sacrificed his job and career to call attention to the issue has been subjected to the treatment Donald Trump encouraged. The NFL losing millions of dollars each week sends a message that you stand with the black and brown people who you call friends, neighbors and coworkers.

 

  1. Lastly to the black and brown people who have turned your televisions off, sold your tickets and now refuse to support the NFL, keep it up, but do not verbally abuse and berate people who do not see things the way you do instead continue the peaceful demonstration.

 

  1. To the individuals who feel that Colin’s protest was disrespectful to the flag and our troops and/ or believe it should be left off of the field, I would ask you do you feel such outrage for Muhammad Ali who refused to enlist for the Vietnam War? What about former MLB player Shawn Green? What about Kathrine Switzer, did she protest discrimination in the right way? Did Branch Rickey make the right decision, by breaking precedent with American and baseball tradition in 1946? Or are you just uncomfortable talking about why Colin took a knee?

 

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Fragile Masculinity and Ill Informed Women 

For as long as I can remember I have grown up around men. Like real man’s men, football loving, basketball playing, I don’t mind sweating men or getting dirty men. In the same regard the men I was blessed to grow up around were secure. They were secure in their masculinity and secure in who they were. 

You see the men I speak of were my grandfather, my dad, my uncles, great uncles, cousins, mentors, and coaches.
As I look back I can’t remember a time my dad didn’t give me a hug and/or kiss my forehead and tell me he loved me as I departed him. My uncle acted the same way. I was my grandpas shadow and he didn’t mind letting me know he loved me.

Yet all these men were masculine, secure, STRAIGHT men! My mentor would provide a welcome hug and handshake my coaches usually did the same. That set the foundation for me knowing I can be a man and that my masculinity is not attached to behavior. It is a sense of self. It also taught me what to expect from people who say they care about you. 
I opened this post with that background, because it seems maybe I experienced a twighlight zone movie. More and more on social media, some woman unfamiliar with what it takes to be a masculine and secure man is telling men what acceptable behavior and clothing is for men. When a man is not behaving how these women and men see fit he is now associated with one of the most unintelligent and juvenile terms used to slander a man. He’s called gay!

Within the past three months alone I have seen women and some supposedly masculine men refer to men who wear a short and shirt sewn together as “gay.” I have even seen a woman refer to a man who eats brunch with another group of men, without a woman as gay. 
Men should not be worrying about what another man is doing that makes him happy and fits his life. I cannot understand how a woman or man, someone who is secure in themselves and happy with their life, would be worried why another man has on shorts with a shirt or why that man is brunching with another group of men. 

Besides that breaking bread, as it’s commonly called in educated circles, is a way for many people to connect be it socially, be it for business, be it spiritually. It seems many are unaware of ways to do business and thus stagnant professionally, socially, and spiritually.
Though I may not wear a romper or romphim, what another man wears will not impact my paycheck, it will not make me uncomfortable, and I do not really have time to be worrying about what they do with their body and their clothing that they paid for and work for. 

Next, STOP using terms like GAY, to describe someone’s actions or as a slur. There are other adjectives that fit and they are a bit more intelligent. Find something that really speaks to what you are trying to say. Using the term gay as a slanderous term reduces your intelligence level down to a kindergartener or first grader and even then we should teach our children that their are better words for use to describe individuals. We should even teach our kids that name-calling is not acceptable. 

As I sit back I now realize why it is so hard for many of the great straight men I know who are secure to meet, date, and marry. If they are labeled gay for having taste, being cultured, having brunch with their fraternity brothers, colleagues, and friends what hope do they have. My mentor had hosted brunch for men to connect and discuss ways in which we can work together for quite some time and those relationships he has fostered have provided a brotherhood of men from various walks of life, in a multitude of career fields, and helped entrepreneurs across this country. Some of you ladies are missing your King, because he wore a romper and had brunch with the fellas while drinking champagne and not a sagging while drinking a Old English sitting in the backyard. 

To close this I think it would serve us a lot better as a generation and a society, if we started working together instead of marginalizing one another. We should be learning about one another and working to make the world around us better for the next generation. That means making sure that we are mobilizing for our next election, voting in local elections and keeping those we vote for accountable. 

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I look forward to the day…

I look forward to the day when I can no longer be afraid to leave the house. I look forward to the day that fear does not shoot through my body when I see a cop car behind me or riding along side me.

That day where I know my skin, height, and my mannerisms are not seen as threatening and are seen for what they should be.

You see the reality is I am no more threatening than the men who hung my ancestors, enslaved them, beat them, hosed them, attacked them with batons, and the men who allowed their dogs to attack them, yet for some reason I am and men who look like me are all seen as aggressive.

In reference to the acquittal of the officer who got away with murdering #PhilandoCastille.

I cannot actually say that I am shocked. I no longer am able to feel rage. I have literally come to expect nothing, but what typically happens when a black or brown person is murdered and nobody is charged. 

In all honesty as a black man my worst fear is usually being stopped and killed by the police. I haven’t committed a crime, yet I am worried about being stopped and killed by the police. I worry what will be said about me when I die. Will the vilify me and reference me as an aggressive person? Will my character be called into question despite what I have done in life?
What is even more appalling is the law allows for black and brown men & women to be abused by the very people they are supposed to serve and protect. This is why people like Amanda Seales are so PASSIONATE about how WE are treated.

This is why Kaepernick protested, because when we are murdered without cause we then get slapped in the face with zero justice! 
People say America is great and I love our country, but this country is not here for us in the same way it is for everyone else! That is not even a debate that can take place! 

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Thanks, But No Thanks!

Can you imagine how communication channels would open up if we listened with the purpose of actually hearing what people are saying?

Recently I did some soul searching as a result of some encounters that made me look at who I have been to people.

Sometimes in an effort to help or aid people we do more damage to relationships. I am sure you are asking how is that possible?

Here is how, when someone shares an issue, incident or road block, and without even hearing what they have done already or the attempts they have made to solve the issue some of us begin sharing unwanted and unnecessary “solutions”. We say, “what you should have done or what you could have done is.” Now the person who shared their issue with you is not only frustrated, but insulted. Especially if they have already gone to great lengths and tried what you suggested, plus some. 

Consider this, the next time you want to offer up advice or help solve the problem, ask the question, “Is there anything I can do to help?” Or “Would you like help?”

Can you imagine how those two questions may open the door for communication, salvage a relationship or you may uncover the person just needed to vent. Think about that person in your life who has annoyed you when you were dealing with an issue that you exhausted nearly every possible solution for. 

Often times people are not the issues our communication methods/styles are the issue or lack there of. Try something new when encountered with the opportunity to respond. Listen and then ASK if they want the help you are itching to provide. 

Good luck as you go and interact with friends, family and the world. 

6 Thing to Unsubscribe from!

I love lists! Lists help me stay on track and make sure I am making progress, with that said I created a list of things I wanted to see left in 2016.

This is as a result of social interactions, both in person and via social media.


SHARING PAIN- I mean that! The truth is we have all been hurt. The honest to God Truth is you do not get a pass to become the individual who hurt you. Yes it is hard to get over some things, but you have to get to work. The next point will expand on Sharing Pain. 


BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE – Sometimes in life we are victimized, but the reality is all too often we play a role in our own victimization. You know the bad relationship we are “healing” from. The friendship that not longer feels right. YOU played a role in that. You cannot blame everyone else for your choice to stay in something that you know is not good for you. Learn from those situations and learn to walk away rather than hanging on to them to the point you are bruised and battered.

 

BEING INTERNET SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISTS – I get it Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter, but simply stating that and not supporting these lives is not helpful. It means not sharing Blue Lives Matters only when a Blue life is taken by a person who happens to be a minority. That means Black Lives need to matter beyond when being murdered by a police officer. Social Justice is important all the time and should not be ignored, because your childhood hero, favorite singer or local celebrity is standing trial. Yes your words are important, but actions speak louder than words. Do some work in your community.  Volunteer, pick up trash or even mentor, JUST DO SOMETHING!

 

POSTING PICTURES TO ELICIT NEGATIVE COMMENTS – Some may refer to this as trolling. Not a day goes by on social media where some one is not posting an image of a particular group of people to elicit negative commentary. Posting a picture of a woman who happens to be larger than the “standard” kissing a slimmer guy with the caption, “Say Something Nice”, or posting a picture of a group of gay men and saying ladies pick one is offensive. Sharing an image of a celebrity with the caption “suspect” is what traumatizes so many people and displays ignorance. Those actions speaks to is insecurities and contribute to bullying.

 

PLANNING MORE THAN EXECUTING- In 2016 I realized I had spent so much time planning my move to LA. I spent time crunching numbers and applying to countless jobs. So much so that I looked up and realized that I had been planning for at least 2 years. So many of us are making plans to do things and we spend so much time planning and we never execute the plan. At a certain point your planning become procrastination and hesitation. Take the leap and go. Your planning will assist you once you act.

 

TEXTING MORE THAN YOU ACTUALLY CALL OR SPEAK- In 2016 we saw an all time high use of social media, wireless carrier reported record numbers of data and text messages being used. All that to say with unlimited minutes we no longer use what is readily available. Social media has made it popular to send messages to everyone, but the people who are truly important in our life. Social Media has allowed us to communicate messages to people without directly stating what you have to discuss. This leaves so many opportunities to miscommunicate and leave out a lot. It is easier to share a complete thought via your voice or face to face than to attempt to share a message via text, facebook or instagram.

 

This list may not be things in your life or your friends, but whatever you unsubscribe from do not wait until 2016 is over to do it! Let’s start now.

Thanks for taking the time out to read! I know my posts can be lengthy at times, but I truly appreciate those of you who read, share and let me know your thoughts on the content of my blog. Let’s make the New Year one that is better than ever. Let me know what type of content resonates with you and as I encounter opportunities I want to incorporate it and share.

Share That!

The holidays can mean a lot of different things for a lot of people. For me holidays were a special time. It brought my huge family together (beyond just immediate family) in segments, because we are literally too big to all be together for anything other than a family reunion.

We shared great laughs, we had great food and above everything else you felt Love! Real love, felt through handshakes, and genuine smiles. It did not matter what size or shape you came in, the love came freely.

As an adult, well someone over the age of 18, I made it a goal to share that. Every holiday I invited friends over. Friends who were not going home for holidays, friends who may have not had any family left, and friends who were disconnected from their family, for whatever reason.

So as my 3rd holiday away from my family approaches I encourage those who have the ability to share their family and their love with others. Though I am not able to open up a home to anyone this year one of my goals is to eventually do that.

This year provided many blessings and a lot more challenges. Moving to LA with no job, no car, and no stable home to call my own was terrifying. Spending my birthday alone and away from fellowship provided a real eye opener. Through all that I have been working towards this next chapter of my life. It looks different than before and it is more free spirited than ever.

Despite my challenges of being distanced from family and working at establishing connections and a real network in LA I am encouraged. Encouraged that genuine love does exist, between friends, between family and between strangers!

So I encourage everyone to share more LOVE. Every chance you get. Though this message is specifically about Holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza go beyond that. Be intentional with your Love and share it without the expectation of reciprocation!

Happy Holidays!

Badge of Honor

Today I turn 32. If you had asked me to describe my 30’s while I was in my 20’s it would not have looked like the past two years.

I am beyond grateful for the lows and the highs. On my 30th birthday I was unemployed/under employed and working a job similar to Lawrence on Insecure, actor Jay Ellis. 

The year of my 31st birthday I was mentally recovering from a year where I saw close friendships/brotherhoods fall apart on top of losing my father and my uncle. 

I share these things, because I am approached or contacted daily and someone usually says you really look like you are enjoying life. While I think that great and I believe that God wants us to shine despite our hardships I am cognizant that life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. 

I am grateful for 32, but similar to 30 and 31 this birthday comes with some challenges, but so many other blessings. I know for sure what my purpose is. I know for sure who I can count on and I am so excited to see what God has in store. I pray daily and most days I really do not ask for much of anything, but as I have prayed a different prayer in my 30’s the gifts I have been provided have far exceeded what I could have dreamed.

As 32 is here and I am here with 32 I hope that everyone will understand that another day above ground is a badge of honor. It is a stamp of grace from the man above. It is mercy shown on our lives. I chose to see my 30’s like that despite my circumstances at 30. 

So to anyone reading this, treat everyday like a badge of honor. I do not think I have had the birthday celebrations I have wanted (something I do not have to plan lol), but there have been so many truly amazing days inbetween where I received blessings that were never within my eyesight! 

I am thankful for Badge of Honor! 🙏🏾