I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘police brutality’

Battle: Part 2 of 3

I have been 35 for nearly a month, and it has not looked like anything I imagined.

I am part of a large cohort of humans whose 2020 looks much, much different than they had planned. I was supposed to have lost more weight instead of gain back what I lost at the end of 2019. I had scheduled to race in Austin and Philadelphia and remove them from my bucket list of running in America’s 50 largest metropolises, rather than rehabbing a knee injury via Zoom physical therapy. For the first time in my professional life, I am unsure of my job security as an educator, as I suspect that any job cutting may come at the expense of specialists. My family has had biennial reunions since 1992, and now only God knows when we will reconvene with our matching shirts and high decibels in a hotel lobby. I lost an Uncle to Covid 19 whom I typically only saw at those reunions and have yet to be able to properly memorialize him because of stinking Covid 19.

What do I care about? How do I honor God from my couch? I hate to say that I want to be true to myself because my best self honors God, but He made me with certain strengths and weaknesses; if He made me a square I’m not supposed to mess with circle business, you know?

Yes, I care about being healthy, especially given the pandemic and my proximity to my parents and grandmother, but I do not have the emotional energy that I had last August to go ovaries to the wall with a disciplined eating regimen. I am volunteering to do some data entry with a campaign I support, but you know what? Sometimes I just want to take a nap. I was asked to step into leadership with a professional organization, and listen to this – while I am the first to advocate why my existence as a music teacher is essential, for some reason when I think about doing the work that facilitates student experiences, I think to myself – how important is this right now? There are people calling for the military to be in the streets; maybe the concerto competition can wait?

As I read my own words, I see a common thread. I’m not trying to tickle my own ivories, but come on – apparently God has blessed me with the spirit of a helper. Isn’t my moral responsibility to my family first? Can I really serve them if I am not my healthiest self, which means I gotta be right with God and perhaps not ordering baklava and pralines and eating with little restraint? Or am I being too hard on myself? Life has come at me pretty freaking fast in the past year, and I cannot fight every single battle that comes my way! I think part of adulting is accepting that my arsenal does have limits – but isn’t part of growth increasing my arsenal?

I WILL help – after I get a cookie.

cookie monster

See all this melanin? I STILL got pre-checked by TSA. Racism must be dead: Part Two

So, I went to Jamaica and ran. The trip was exciting to me from the get go, y’all. I looked at my boarding pass and saw something I had never seen before: Pre-checked by TSA! Pre. That seems important. As I walked toward security, I noticed that there was the line for the proletariat and the line for pre-checked. Friggin’ sweet. I was through the line within moments instead of wondering if I was going to make my flight. Ah, the good life.

If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone, right? I mean, I AM darker than a brown paper bag. If you see “Lady J” on a flight manifest you probably won’t think ter…see. I don’t even want to finish the word because I want to be pre-checked again. I know y’all are watching, WordPress. Of COURSE the government doesn’t screen people based on race, sex, or religious affiliation. Because people are fair everywhere, right? Especially those with power.

I found it ironic that soon after I was in the air, I watched the video of Eric Garner’s death in sheer horror. Apparently, selling loose cigarettes warrants paying with your life. I say this is ironic because I know with great certainty that like my amazing TSA pre-check, that would not happen to just anyone. There are classes in this country that are simply more privileged than others. Who is the most uncomfortable with this? The privileged.

It’s like the feeling I got today when I was getting my nails did at the salon. My tech and I come from VERY different backgrounds. I am definitely more Hilary Banks than Florida Evans and the tech was talking about not having earned her GED. I don’t want to pat myself on the back for not having pat myself on the back, but I will say this – I understand that many things were in place for me to be able to achieve what I have. The vast majority of those things were completely out of my control – the family I was born into as well as the way my parents raised me. Yes, I absolutely have free will and I’ve made some pretty good choices. The environment was set up for me to do so. It is by God’s grace that I am where I am. If tech were to say to me, “Lady J. I could be where you are if I had had the opportunities you did,” what could I say? “Probably.” You know what I wouldn’t say? “Where you are is your fault.” I don’t have enough knowledge to say that. However, I DO know enough to know that I, Joan, am incredibly blessed.

Why is it that many who purport to follow Christ have such a problem admitting they benefit from things over which they have no control? I thought when you accept Jesus into your heart you acknowledge that there’s no way you could receive grace and mercy by your own doing. You know why some people were less disturbed by the video of Eric Garner’s death? Imma tell you why. Because some people KNOW it will never be them or their child whom the police would kill like that. And it’s not because no one else’s child is above selling loose cigarettes.

Those of you who insist you have everything that you do because you’ve pulled yourselves up by your own bootstraps seem to take for granted that you were given shoes in the first place. Not everyone gets Pre-Checked, y’all.

And perfect eyelashes, apparently.

And perfect eyelashes, apparently.

 

The muzik teecher hoo whishes she sang gooder: Part One

Sic. Sic. Sic sic sic sic.

There was this one time I wrote about wishing I had a nicer voice so I could, like, totally wow Jesus with it in church each Sunday. I mean, why shouldn’t I be golden-throated? This music teacher has received thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of training over the course of her life. That means I should be able to sing any note in any song, regardless of whether I’ve heard it, immediately, amirite? Really, that’s the whole point of going to church – to prove that I’ve earned the Master of Music that puts a few extra bucks into my paycheck. Worship. Meh.

The music education that I’ve received not only entitles me to some rights (yes, my dislike of Justin Bieber means more than the average civilian’s) but also comes with some responsibility. No, I don’t have to sing perfectly in church, but you’re probably not going to see me there sporting a “Certified Music Teacher” t-shirt either. I understand that certain things are expected of me because I am a formally trained musician. Not only should I be skilled at playing instruments and singing, but I am also expected to be able to share that knowledge in a way that is most likely to encourage learning and retention. If there is a piano at a party and someone who took lessons for six months because mommy said starts playing heart and soul, they will get all the claps. If I sit down and do the same thing, I will get some funny looks. Why? Because more is expected of me. This is not something about which I should complain. The horrendous spelling in the title of this post should not come from a teacher of any kind. Why not? Because more is expected of me. It is my job to set an example. I embrace it and walk humbly.

I say the above to say that it puzzles me to read things to the effect that people seem to care more when civilians, regardless of alleged crime committed, are killed, than when law enforcement are killed. I will always be more upset when the police screw up than when a criminal (not saying those who have been killed are criminals!) does because guess what? That’s what criminals do. They commit crimes. They are doing their job and doing it well. A policeman killing someone wrongfully is always going to be more unjust because of the responsibility of the badge. The life of the criminal is not worth more, but the screw up of the cop is more significant. Why is this so difficult to understand? Don’t parents lecture older children more harshly because “they should know better?”

My heart breaks for the families of the two officers that were killed on duty in New York. My question – why aren’t more people upset that this dude killed his girlfriend as well? She didn’t swear to serve and protect so to hell with her? A lot of these jokers shouting “All Lives Matter” don’t seem to be too concerned with hers. Why are the people who chant this seem unperturbed by young black men being shot for absolutely nothing? Perhaps it’s like Animal Farm where the pigs eventually confess that while four legs are good, two legs are better…

Now THAT – is sick.

 

More than any other musician. Yeah, I said it.

More than any other musician. Yeah, I said it.

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