Monday, August 15, 2016

3 of 30: 1.6 years.

I'm on a Facebook hiatus. Three days in. I didn't make a grand announcement because I don't like it when other people make grand announcements about leaving (or my favorite, deleting Facebook friends). I hide those people from my news feed.

One desired side effect of the hiatus is a chance to allow my mind to heal. This break is necessary because the constant bombardment of opinions on current events clutters my mind. I have the natural inclination to compare myself to others, so if I'm not careful, seeing the highlights from the lives of others leaves me cold. I recognize this in myself and by His grace I'm better than I was. Still not immune.

I also want to redeem the time I lose by scrolling endlessly for hours on end. I feel compelled to participate in online discussions and I can do it all day. A break makes room for productive pursuits. This isn't to say I'll actually use my time more wisely, but one less distraction puts me on the right path.

I calculated how much time I have spent just scrolling on Facebook over the last decade. Four hours on average is an understatement, I'm sure. But here's the math.

4 hours x 31 days  = 124 hours per month
124 hours per month times x 120 months = 14,880 hours
14,880 hours / 24 hours = 620 days
1.6 years.

What a waste of time! Now what if I spent that same time developing myself. Working towards a degree? Putting work into a business? Learning a new language? Smh...yeah. This hiatus is more than necessary. Time to refocus. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

2 of 30: I'm Black.

"G____, did I ever tell you about the time I worked in the ghetto?"

I humored her as I listened, for the twentieth time about that time in the 1970s when she taught grade school "in the ghetto." We had an audience. The other guests. Sitting there, all gleaming, and "white". I didn't look at any of their faces, but I looked right in hers. Humoring her. Allowing her to feel the comfort she needed to feel. I suppose she felt she was being inclusive. Perhaps she felt the other conversations about music, and people, and life in general were foreign to me. That my silence was an indication of ignorance on the topics. Do Black folks have thoughts about music? About people? About life?

Strange departure as I have known her for years now. She helped me find the florist for my wedding a decade ago. I've prayed around her table. I have cried on her shoulder. But none of these brought a closeness or a familiarity to allay her discomfort. Not the knowledge of my upbringing. A military brat with family ties to the rural South. A college educated woman with a career in a professional external position at one of the largest universities in the state. One who classifies non fiction books about politics, sociology, leadership, and theology as "leisure" reading. None of this could erase the synonymity of "Black" and "ghetto." That I would somehow find her story interesting or relevant. And why direct the question at me? As I sat silently. Right in the middle of completely different conversation with no recognizable segue to "that time she taught in the ghetto."

I wanted to scream. "Black Americans are diverse. Black.Americans.are.diverse. BLACK.AMERICANS.ARE.DIVERSE. We are diverse."

But instead, I sat and listened, and humored...well, until she went into the part about a neighbor explaining why the kids "walked that way." She made exaggerate motions with her arms and wobbled her neck around a bit. At that point, I asked her to get up and demonstrate. She didn't.

Black people are lawyers, drug dealers, social workers, teachers, prostitutes, preachers, small business owners, politicians, military veterans, news anchors, real estate agents, entertainers, dead beat parents, athletes, dentists, engineers, secretaries, morticians, writers, hustlers...

Despite this diversity, Black experience and identity in the U.S. is limited to urban inner cities and poverty. Despite never having lived in a city, yet alone any place that would be regarded as a "ghetto,' I'm associated with it because of my skin. I know those who define themselves as "white" (and not their actual ethnicity) will view me in this way no matter how long they have known me or how they know me or what I accomplish.

There is no "point" to this post. Just relaying an observation I have tested many times in my adult life. There are some who are able to treat me as an individual. Sometimes I want to be treated as an individual. Other times I don't want to be treated that way. Sigh.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

1 of 30: The "Doers"...

Scrolling on Facebook. It's what I do. A lot. I can do it for hours. I like to tell myself it's a good way to "wind down" from a long day. "It's a good mental break," I say. "Only for a few minutes," I think. Forty minutes later, there I sit or lay. In my car. On my bed. Knees up or legs crossed. Phone held 6 inches from my face. Staring at the screen. At lives, or at least what people share. At funny photo sets an memes of dogs, celebrities, internet famous twenty somethings cranking fantastic content from their bedrooms.

So yesterday, or maybe it was the day before yesterday, I stumbled upon a 4 minute video in my news feed. Caption was something like, "What if we believed in ourselves as much as Kanye West believes in himself..." Curious, I put my cursor and on the play button, left clicked, and watched. Video has strong language, so if that bothers you, don't watch.

About 1:00 minute in, Kanye appears in a white room on a white couch wearing a white shirt and says: "If there's anyone out there who is actually 'doing', they know how hard it is to 'do."

I experienced the simultaneous feeling of being punched in the gut and being embraced by a dear friend. This really "laid me bare" as the old church folks say. He identified a problem I haven't been able to clearly articulate. I have a problem with "doing" for myself. Actually DOING. I have the ideas. I have the energy. I have the desire. What's missing is "doing."

It's time to "do."

30 days, 30 posts...

Years removed from this blog, but I miss writing, sharing thoughts, revisiting the "old" me. In many ways, I haven't left writing, I just changed the platform. To be honest, it's made me lazy. Sapped my energy for the work necessary to research, explore, and tell stories.

Today, I'm committing to writing 30 posts in the next thirty days on any topic. At least 500 words, and this one doesn't count. Pumping out content. Exercising my mind, my fingertips, my creativity. Redeeming the time. Doing something more than scrolling, "liking," and typing "lolz". Something more than sharing articles and saving videos.

Time to move forward...