I sat on the couch sipping my white wine sangria as I watched the golden rays of the sun filter through the dark clouds, casting their light upon the tall pine trees that surround my property. In that moment of solitude I felt comforted, as if the sun’s light was shedding rays of hope through the state of darkness our country is currently in.
I have always known that racism was a big issue in this country, but I guess I never truly grasped the seriousness of it until I saw that video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. I have been struggling with how to unpack these thoughts and emotions I have been feeling through all of this. I can’t believe this is the world we are living in, I can’t believe how much hatred and violence is stirring in the hearts of man and on the streets of our cities.
I will never truly understand because my skin affords me that luxury, but I want to educate myself and learn all that I possibly can about the struggles my black brothers and sisters face on a daily basis.
My cousin, who is more like a sister to me, adopted a beautiful, black baby girl a couple of weeks ago. Her name is Ivy Rose and she is my niece. I believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and while I know she has entered into a loving home with two parents that have already shown and will continue to show her nothing but unconditional love, I want her to know she has an aunt she can turn to in any circumstance. An aunt that will make a point to show her the beauty in the world, an aunt that will never understand the judgement she will inevitably face, but will hold her hand and stand by her side at all times. And let me tell you something, if anyone is stupid enough to even try and mess with my niece, they will have to get through me. Unfortunately, this is directed towards some of my own family members. I might lose contact with a few of them, but that’s okay. I stood up for my cousin who read a passage from the Bible at my wedding. Certain people frowned upon it because she was a lesbian, but I was willing to cut ties then and I am now. I no longer care about who thinks what of me. It is my heart that I have to worry about and I would rather my cousin and niece know they can come to me with anything than worry about a few racist family members. There comes a point in all of our lives when we have to realize who is toxic, and as much as it might pain me to cut those ties due to fond childhood memories, I am no longer a child, and I refuse to surround myself with bigots or hearts full of hate.
I will no longer be silenced, but I still choose to focus on the good. I am tired of having to explain why the Black Lives Matter movement does not mean that other lives do not matter, but I will keep explaining until my final breath. My black brothers and sisters deserve it. Ivy Rose deserves it.
I have been doing what I can in my little town. I have signed petitions, I have been researching and educating myself. When the world opens back up and it is safe to go exploring, I plan to visit historical places and learn more about black history. I want to learn all that I can, because as I mentioned, it takes a village, and I want my new niece to know she has family that takes an interest in her history and wants to help her learn where she came from. It will be her voice that will be heard, it is her generation that has the potential to change the world, and it is up to us to help guide them towards those goals.
I have also been making more of an effort to spend quality time with people I love. I have been calling my dad every day or every other day rather than a couple of days a week. I have been spending more hours texting, talking, and sharing pictures with my brother.
I have been sending my nieces in California care packages and reaching out to them to let them know how proud I am of them and how much their auntie loves and misses them. It breaks my heart that I can’t hug them and annoy them with cuddles right now.
I have been spending more time with nature and less time with technology. I still have my phone on me a lot because I take a lot of pictures and I text or message my friends and loved ones throughout the day, but I have been spending much less time on Social Media.
I am growing concerned at how quickly I become attached to the wildlife that visits me while I sit on my porch or on my sofa staring out my screen door. A robin made a nest on our porch and I grew attached to her baby. I was blessed enough to witness they baby fly from the nest, but I also kept a close eye on the baby bird, making sure it was okay. I cried last evening as I watched a bunny limp around my yard, one of its hind legs was broken, and I know this poor rabbit will most likely not make it. I’m tearing up right now. What is wrong with me?
If only I looked that cute while I cried.
I encourage all of you to find ways that you can help. To educate yourselves and not be afraid to speak out against your racist friends and family members, and if they cut ties with you, get a hold of me. I will gladly adopt you into my family!
I also encourage you to make time for yourself. It is important to speak out and learn, but I know how overwhelming that can be too. It is important to make sure you take time for yourself. It’s not selfish to disconnect once in a while and spend time doing whatever brings you comfort. You are no help to anyone if you lose your sanity.
We’re in this together, friends. The only way we can drive out hate is with love. Let’s band together and kill them with love and kindness!
Love & life lessons,