Black in America: I Can’t Breathe

They say the blacker the berry,
The sweeter the juice.
But the Black experience in America
Makes that statement far from the truth.

Ain’t nothing sweet about loving a world
That resents you in return.
There’s nothing sweet about
Wondering if your son will make it back home.

I can’t sleep at night!
I toss and turn
Trying to understand why the past is still our present.
Why are we only “Free-ish”
When the souls of our ancestors
Are deeply woven into the fabric of this nation?

Their sweat has watered the sands you stand on;
Their tears helped wash away the pain
As they were beaten and families torn apart…
Our experience has not been the same!

I’ll never understand how you love our rhythm
but hate to hear our blues.
Well we’re tired of seeing our black men and women
Being slaughtered on the news!
Tired of innocent black lives
Being taken way too soon.
Tired of explaining to our children
Why you have to kill us to see that we all bleed maroon.

I can’t live!
I have to watch my back… My darkness is what you fear.
It’s because of my exterior that you’ve ruled me inferior
Remember, we didn’t ask to be here!

I can’t breathe
With America’s hate for me crushing down on my neck.
You’ll literally squeeze the breath out of my body
Because my existence to you is a threat.

Respect the badge for what?
Does that badge really have my back?
If you protect my people like you protect that flag
We wouldn’t even have to question that!

All men were created equal
We hold this to be clearly NOT true!
Blacks are disproportionately stopped, searched and brutalized.
We’ve always been second-class citizens to you.

The hate has been institutionalized, so we are still criminalized
Our only guilt: we are highly melanated!
Blackest coffee, toasted almonds dripping honey…
We are a taste that hasn’t been fully acquired yet.

An illusion of progress paints a portrait of freedom
But we’re only free inside of our own bubble.
When racial injustices pop and expose the disparities within
People get scared and try to run for cover.

I can’t breathe as my life fades to black
At the hands of those who promised to protect me.
Cries out to my mother goes ignored
Because my life to you was never worth the pleas.

So you have a right to remain silent…
Anything you say won’t erase the pain.
Let the protests begin because 400 years later
We still ain’t overcame!

Copyright © 2020 LaToya White. All Rights Reserved.

What are you running from?

Everyone who knows me know that I am always on the go and that I have a very hard time staying in one place for too long. I can have absolutely nothing planned for the day and then all of a sudden I find myself making up things that I have to do. I enjoy being out and about…taking in the crisp smells of nature (don’t judge me)… driving while singing off key….and what’s wrong with a little retail therapy? When I am on the go, I am able to be free and don’t have to think too much about anything.

A friend asked me the other day, “Why can’t you just sit down? What is it that you are running from?” And of course my immediate response was, “I’m not running from anything” because the comment made me feel bad for being a busybody.

But I began questioning the validity of his statement when I later stumbled across a post on the ‘gram’ that read:

“Stop trying to avoid the pain. Feel it, confront it and then let it go! You will never be able to work it away, sleep it away, drink it away, or sex it away. It will never go away until you learn from it and heal from it.”

The post made me feel some type of way and had me telling myself that maybe I am running from something. But what is it? …Because if so, then I need to confront it so that I can begin the healing process.

If you were like me growing up, you talked about how you would have no worries if you ever became rich one day. But do you ever wonder why some people who seem to have everything going for themselves are not happy in their personal lives? Well, like the old saying goes, everything that glitters is not gold and sometimes people find themselves doing things to keep their mind off of their unhappiness. They overwork themselves, but all of the money in the world won’t buy them happiness. They overspend on the latest trends even though all of the clothes in the world won’t make them feel better about themselves. They engage in promiscuous activities knowing that sex is only temporary.

The truth is when I am alone with my thoughts, reality sinks in and all of the pain that I am feeling seems to come rushing in–consuming my mind all at once. Some people suffer from physical pain, and others deal with mental anguish. But what I seem to be running from is the pain that I feel when I look into the mirror and staring back at me is the cold hard truth: I am not where I want to be in life physically, spiritually or professionally. I avoid facing reality because it hurts. I shop and stay on the go to cover up the fact that I haven’t been true to myself. My truth is that sometimes I feel like a failure even though people around me feel like I have accomplished great things. I have been living up to other people’s expectations of me instead of my own. The truth is I’ve grown so content with mediocrity that anything that seems slightly challenging scares me and I stop before even get started.

Now that I have identified the source of my pain, it is time to confront it and make changes. I am making a promise to myself today to make excellence my norm! No more running from my fears or settling for being mediocre.

What are you running from in your life? Maybe you are running from happiness because you don’t feel like you deserve it. Maybe you are running from new opportunities because you are afraid of failing. Are you afraid to love again because every time you open up your heart you are left with deeply cut wounds?

If you find yourself constantly running in an attempt to avoid the pain, I am asking you to identify the issue immediately, confront it, and crush it so that you can begin to live your best life!

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