Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Face of Kindness

It has not been a holiday season of joy, but one of challenge and strife. On Christmas Day I woke up with no heat in the house; a problem that plagued me from that day to this. I also had to deal with some devastating news about the health of a family member, and my own elderly mother not being able to join us for Christmas dinner because of her own health issues. A few family squabbles didn't do anything to make Christmas neither merry nor bright.

Early Monday morning, I got up to go to Home Depot to get a thermostat to see if that would solve my heating problem, and some vanilla chai tea, but Dunkin Doughnuts was out of my-go-to-drink when I need warming inside. Dejected, I headed back to my car, a black Honda Accord and pressed the button to pop the lock--or at least that's what I thought I did. I opened the door to black leather seats--definitely not my car! I closed the door quickly thinking, Oh my God! Somebody might think I'm trying to steal their car. I walked away a little startled still trying to figure out where I'd parked my car. I lose my car in parking lots all the time, and it still frustrates me because I don't why I can't keep up with my own car.

A man's voice reached out to me and asked, "Ms, are you ok? You look like some thing's wrong," he said as his words caressed me from the coldness of the season. I can only imagine what my face must have looked like because I know I having a telling face, and I joke with friends that I'd probably make a lousy Poker Player.

When I looked to see where the voice was coming from, I saw a man watching me as he sat in his car with a young boy. "No, I'm ok, I replied. I'm just looking for my car."

"Do you know where it is?"

"Yes, I see it. There it is. Thank you."

On a cold December morning during this subdued holiday season, I found kindness in the voice of a stranger, and his small gesture made my dimmed holiday light shine brighter.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ABW--Not Again!

Just when I thought it was safe to put it away, I had to don my Angry Black Woman cape today.

There is this larger-than-life stereotype of Black women as always being angry, but no one ever stops to ask if our anger is valid. And while I wasn't the hand-on-hip, neck-rolling, finger-pointing, snapping off kind, I was vocal in my distaste of what happened when I decided to take in a couple of movies today.

Problem #1: I went to the theater and purchased tickets for two different movies. I used my debit card so I had to show my ID. I only have to show my ID at this particular theater. I can go anywhere else and simply present my debit card, but not in "da hood" because we all know that black people steal, so the theater has to make sure that I am the actual owner of the card that I present.

Problem #2: I finished watching one movie, dipped out to the bathroom before the second movie started. On the way back, this 20something, ponytail wearing security person told me he had to check my purse. I asked him why seeing as that I had just left one theater, and he said that he started checking purses at 3:00 o'clock. I obliged him, but not without telling him how I felt about the action. He told me it was for my safety. Of course. Silly me! I forgot that black people are violent.

That was it; that was the last straw. I tied up my cape and went to see the manager who tried to explain to me that the policies and procedures were for my safety. So, I explained to him that they made me feel like a criminal and that if I have to show IDS and be searched before I sit down to watch a movie, then maybe I need to go watch movies elsewhere. I also asked him for a business card, so that I could give my complaint some leverage by putting in writing.

I'm sure that there are those who feel like it's not that big a deal. Just go to the show somewhere else, but I want to say that it is a big deal! Expecting to be treated with dignity and respect is not an option; it's my God-given right, and when that doesn't happen, I need to let it be known that it's not acceptable.

With card in hand, and my cape flapping behind me, I left the theater. When I'm done with this post, I'm going to put my cape away, but know that it is within reach if I need it again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stephanie's Epiphanies: Being

Stephanie's Epiphanies: Being


As you move throughout your day
Being obedient to the Spirit of Do,
Remember to honor the Spirit of Be
For it is through Being that we learn
What we need to be Doing--
Our Life's Purpose; Our Mission
If we spend too much time on what to Do
We forget just to Be
We must seek balance
Between Doing and Being
So that our life is fullfilling
And not just filled full of things to do
So Remember to just Be
With Ourselves,
With Nature,
With Our ancestors,
With God