I Wasn’t One of Them

I never thought that it would affect me.

When I first came to Buffalo, NY, I would vaguely hear about its history of division and discrimination.

Most of my peers on campus were from the New York City area so I never felt like I was far away from home. Even though cases of discrimination goes on in Long Island, people are a little more liberal, so I never felt threatened by anyone from another race.

One day I learned that being a minority in Buffalo has its adversity. I applied for a retail position at the Galleria Mall and I was excited because, I was confident that I would get the job.

I ironed by best attire and headed to the interview with high hopes. I prayed before I walked into the store and noticed that there was a lady who appeared to be the manager waiting by the registrar.

She walked me to the office so we could start the interview.  She started asking me questions about school and telling me about her experience working in New York City and the cool people she met. It was kind of weird that she talked about herself a lot but, I didn’t mind.

Then she started to get a little more personal. She began to ask me about my family. I was hesitant to answer but, I answered the questions anyways.

“Do you have a father?”

“What about a mom?”

“Did you all grow up together?”

“Why wasn’t your father around?”

At this point I grew uncomfortable so I tried to change the subject. I asked her if she wanted to see my resume so I could talk more about my credential but, she declined my offer.

She said that she wanted to know more about me. She then asked me if I had an internship. When I told her no she suggested that I focus on that rather than apply for the job. A part of me thought that she was genuinely concerned until she started talking comparing her life decisions to mine bragging about her days working in New York and what she accomplished in the past.

At this point I knew that this interview was a disaster and I was sure that I would not get the job. A part of me wanted to tell her that I thought that she was out of line and that her questions were unprofessional but, I stuck it out.

She started asking me questions about when the store was founded and how it began. I felt ashamed that I didn’t know the answer until I realized that she didn’t know the answer either. She pulled up the company’s website and read the answers to her questions off of the computer screen.

After a long 20 minutes of being interrogated she told me that she didn’t think that I was a good fit for the company. I walked out of the interview feeling inferior and did not make eye contact with the employees whose eyes were glued to me when I walked out.

I knew deep down I wasn’t going to get the job from the moment I stepped into the store because I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. I stuck through it and hoped for the best despite my intuition.

Maybe I can be the one that adds diversity here. Maybe I can be that person who can close that gap, I thought to myself but, the reality is, we have a long way to go. I was qualified for the job, I talked well, and I was prepared but, that wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t one of them.

If you ever experience employment discrimination of any kind you can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for more information.

To share your story you can contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

 

10 Things I Learned From Moesha

If you haven’t seen the show Moesha than you don’t know what your missing. If you know me, you know my obsession with the 90s sitcom Moesha. Moesha is a sitcom that shows the phases of a young African American woman growing up with her family and friends in Crenshaw. Throughout the show she faces relationship issue, family issue, friendship issues, and social issues.

I always considered her character my alter ego. Moesha is like me unfiltered and I admire her confidence and bubbly personality. Like myself she is an aspiring journalist and a hard working young woman. Although she has some faults there are a few things that I learned from the character Moesha:

  1. The importance of family: Throughout each season, Moesha faces many internal an external issues with her family. She struggles to stay connected with them at a time when she is developing and branching out into the world. Despite the mistakes that she makes, she is always reminded that they are always there to pick her up.
  2. The power of a woman: Moesha challenges the stereotypes of a modern day woman. She faces a conflict where she is told what she cant’ do because she is a woman and she fights it. She avoid sexist positions and isn’t afraid to do whatever she puts her mind to.
  3. Living without regret: Moesha isn’t afraid to take chances. Although this leads to a lot of bad decisions, Moesha learns a lot from them. She also makes many good decisions and experiences many amazing opportunities.
  4. Change can be hard but good: After the death of Moesha’s biological mother and the coming of her stepmother, Moesha battles allowing her stepmother in. Although her stepmother seem like a mother to dream for, Moesha struggles to let go of the death of her mother. Moesha soon learns that her stepmother is on her side and lets her into her life.
  5. Moving Forward: One of the biggest conflicts that Moesha struggles with is her love for “Q”. She deals with her fathers disapproval of him, his disloyalty, and her swaying feelings for him. Despite there dreamy love for each other, she comes to terms with the reality that it is time to move on.
  6. Words are powerful: Moesha taught me that words have the power to bring someone up or break them down. Moesha’s friend Hakeem faces this battle when it is time to apply for college. He was discouraged from going to college with the rest of his friends because of his financially situation but Moesha encourages him to aim high.
  7. Keep living: Even when we think we know it all we still have a lot more to learn. When Moesha reached college she began to experience a glimpse of adulthood. Her adulthood was put to the test and she discovers that adulthood isn’t as simple as she thinks.
  8. Let go of baggage: Anything that is holding you back, you must let go. When you are looking at your future, you can’t look back. Removing distractions that act as road blocks are essential.
  9. Your heart can’t deny what’s real: When Moesha and Hakeem finally gave love a go it was like fireworks. It was so real that they never saw it coming. Despite Moesha’s previous relationships, her connection with Hakeem seemed meant to be. All that time she searched for love, she never realized that it was there all along.
  10. The importance of following your dreams: Through out the seasons of the show, Moesha has taught me how to follow my dreams. As a fellow aspiring journalism, she is determined to succeed. She uses many historical African American women as her inspiration and takes advantage of any opportunity.

Whenever I am at a place where life seems taught, this show always picks me up. It reminds me of my potential and inspires me to work a little harder. If you haven’t seen this show then you do not know what your missing. These are the ten things that I learned from Moesha.

The Essence of A Woman

Do you appreciate the essence of a woman?

The essence of a woman is strong and can’t be moved. Every woman has an inner essence. The essence of a woman is filled with love and compassion, not the rock that she may wear. The essence of a woman is what causes a man to open doors or lend a jacket to protect her from the midnight’s chill. A woman’s essence is like a river of milk and honey, sweet and pure. Let me tell you about a time where I was introduced to the essence of a woman.

One day I was introduced to a radiant young woman whose essence was so pure. I’ve known her for years before, but this was the first time that I was introduced to her essence. I sat next to her as she gazed at the night. The moon smiled at her face as if it was soothing her tears. She couldn’t see her radiance but I did. Her heart was so heavy that not even the night’s breeze could carry the weight of her pain. I was there to lend a shoulder, but not even one’s presence could cure her loneliness. Have you ever been there? She told me that she was broken and a part of me believed her. Her energy began to drain me because her pain was too heavy. Something told me that it wasn’t over for her so I spoke life to her. Then I discovered that the moon wasn’t soothing her tears. The moon was showing me her beauty. Her soul was beautiful and exposed mine. I realized that I was once where she was and I was reunited with the old me. Through her eyes she showed me the person that I use to be. The person that I am today says goodbye.

I embrace my worth and I thank God for renewing my mind, body and spirit. Your struggle in not your conclusion, it is your strength. God builds you up in the dark not to hurt you, but to teach you that you are the light. The light that we seek is within us through God’s grace. The essence of a woman is God’s light. This young woman taught me that I am the essence of a woman.

Joy Behind The Door

 

When joy knocks on your door will you answer?

Your opportunity  to be free from hurt, pain and bondage patiently waits for your arrival. Will you let joy in? The truth is that many times we don’t. We allow the obstacles that we face to discourage us and turn our backs on joy. Well I am ready to let joy in.

Imagine living in a world where your spirit is at peace. Now this idea may seem foreign  to us because trials will come but, we must dig deeper. What if there was more to life than what you see? Life is more of an internal experience that a physical one if you really think about it. So lets dig a little deeper.

I dare you to strip away what you see externally and see yourself real and raw. See yourself for who you truly are and separate yourself from the experience of the world. There is more to life than what we see and if we connect with our true spirit we can find joy. My circumstances may be troubling but it is up to me to let my joy pass me by. Why should I be troubled by the world when there is more to life than my situation.

Today I challenge us to be bold in who we are and be free from our daily experience. So open up, joy is behind the door.

Check Yourself

 

Are you truly happy with the person you are at this very moment?

If you are then you are already ahead of the game, I applaud you because it’s not easy. If not then I am with you and we will get through this together. I don’t have the answer to everything and I am not hear to preach to you. I want you to learn from my experiences, connect to them, reminisce if that is the case. Get to know me raw and uncut so that it could encourage you through my troubles that you may be facing now or will face in the future.

If you read my article “Ask Me If I Care”, you would see that I was ready to walk down a new path. I was tired of allowing people, anxiety, and discouragement to get me down. Well lets just say I have a new attitude. After the third day of being the “new” me anxiety whooped my behind. I became so self-centered that I acted as I was above the world. I acted as if those who did acknowledge me didn’t exist and carried a nonchalant attitude. This superficial idea of confidence crumbled as soon as someone challenged me.

To this very day I still struggle with allowing particular people to intimidate me. I saw someone who made me feel less than I thought I was and my whole ideology crumbled at that very moment. That scared little girl was unleashed from my soul and I was back at square one.

After a weekend of solitude, I decided to change my approach. I choose to be humble. I realized that the same way that the person who made me feel worthless was the person that I was acting like. I guess you can say I got a taste of my own medicine and it was awful. I put my confidence in God and tell him to lead me. When you don’t keep him with you, sometimes all hell will break loose.

You cannot do it on your own because if you could it would already be done. Whatever it is that you are going through, know that you have to shine brighter. That light is in you and you cant let the darkness intimidate you. I am stronger than my troubles, anxiety, pain and sorrow because God is in me.

When you think you have it all together, don’t forget to check yourself. There is more to life than ourselves.


To Be Or Not To Be… Beauty Is The Question

 

What makes a person beautiful? Does a twenty inch weave or a perfectly beat face qualify me to be beautiful. Lately I have been dealing with an internal conflict with my idea of what makes me beautiful.

Someone recently told me that I was beautiful and I shrugged it off telling that I had the potential to look better. I would brag about how in high school my hair was always on point. My hair was always laid with a perm and when I decided to go natural I would hide my kinky hair under a weave.

I realized that my idea of beauty was not defined by makeup nor my clothes. I became obsessed with beauty in a way where I measured it by the style of my hair. Most of the time I wear a kinky textured faux bun to resemble natural hair because I am not happy with the length of my hair. Although it has grown over the past two years since i did the big chop, my hair has suffered from years of heat damage and breakage trying to blend my natural hair with weaves and not properly moisturizing my hair because I cake it up with gel the lay my edges down in a bun.

This summer I may end up having to cut my hair again but this time I am deciding to wear it out in its natural state. I am nervous about this but it is time to learn to love myself for all of me.