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.

What Would You Do For Money?


The economy isn’t in the best shape and it seems almost impossible to make ends meet. So what are you willing to do for money?

Over the past few years I have heard many Americans complain that the immigrants are taking all the jobs from Americans. At first, I thought that this statement was just an excuse to blame someone for our misfortune but then I decided to dig a little deeper.

Today I watched the documentary “The Worst Job In New York: Immigrant America” and I would recommend everyone to watch it. This film opened my eyes to the topic of immigration in America. As an African American I can relate to the fact that Hispanics were discriminated against because of their ethnicity. In the film, it talks about the constant battles that some Hispanics face in upstate New York because of their ethnicity. Illegal and legal immigrants are constantly stopped and taken into custody so the officials can gain numbers in the people they deport so it looks good according to Martin Herron who worked for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Some are sent back to their home countries away from their families and friends. Some parts of upstate New York is so bad that many Hispanics fear being seen in the day time because they  run the risk of being taken into custody.

The major issue is the fact that many Hispanics work the jobs that most Americans won’t. A survey was done where random non-Hispanics were asked if they would work at a dairy farm and all of them said no. This goes back to my question what will you do for money? The same Hispanics that Americans try to get rid of make up the industries that contribute to American society. After watching this film I have gained a greater respect for Hispanic culture.

This brings me back to remembering the worst job that I ever had. This summer for my break I decided to work at Taco Bell. When I worked at Taco Bell I was one out of two African American employees and the crew consisted of mostly Hispanic employees. Most of them couldn’t speak English but all I though to myself was why are they here? We were completely under staff and did the work of multiple people and I hated that job with a passion. I mopped floors, washed windows, cleaned the dinning area, worked the register, drive thru, prep food and took out the garbage but I knew that I wanted more for myself. I only worked there to save up for school but I counted each day down as time passed.

After watching this film I realized how amazing my past co-workers are. Despite the fact that they deal with this workload everyday, they are doing what we don’t want to do. I respect their work ethic and determination. One of my co-workers worked hard doing above and beyond any manager or employee there everyday. I never understood why he worked so hard for something that I saw as so terrible. One day he came in with a managers suit on I was so proud of him.

Although some Hispanics weren’t born in America, the impact that they make on America makes them American in my eyes. If I don’t do the job and you wont, who will? They are a major part in the success of American. They are responsible for the many simple things that we take for granted. So before you complain about immigration, think about the consequences that we would have to pay without them.

Thought of the Night: Anxiety

 

Today I am proud to say that I officially beat my anxiety and I am going to share my secret. You can throw away all of those books and tune out all of those motivational videos because trust me, they will never work. You can’t beat anxiety by simply repeating a phrase or doing any steps. Don’t get so caught up in man made philosophies because men are flawed. Its like the blind leading the blind and could only fix the exterior problems.

As I read empowerment novels and watched motivational videos it only encouraged me to get back up. If you know anxiety like I do then you would know that without a solid foundation it will knock you right back down. I found my foundation in God. As I studied the bible and gained an understand of his word he showed me who I am. Now that I know who I am anxiety can’t tell me who I am.

Anxiety is triggered by internal suggestions that creates negative thoughts leading you to feel discomfort. Although statistics tell us the most of us suffer from a mental illness you have the power to cast that down. That power that I hold is not because of me but God in me. When I tried to fight anxiety with my own philosophies and philosophies from others, I always end up back where I started.

Tonight I am telling you that you are free from anxiety but you have to walk in that truth and not be fooled. I remember the day I diagnosed myself with anxiety as clear as day. I didn’t even know what it was until an article described how I felt. I realized that the day I labeled my self as anxious, I gave power to it. Anxiety slowly became who I was but now that I know the truth I will not be fooled. I had to go through a lot to realize this but know I can help you because I’ve been there.

Today vow to make this the last day that you will associate anxiety with your identity. Confidence is built through attitude, looks, or security in superficial things but, through acknowledging the truth. The truth isn’t that I am who God says I am so man can’t tell me anything other that what I already know.

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.

Ask Me If I Care

 

This weekend I starred my anxiety in the eye. Today I decided not to fear the thoughts that arise. Those thoughts that tell me who the world tells me that I am can scream as loud as it can. Today I decide not to listen. You can no longer break me because I am ready for you. Come and get me because I refuse to hide any longer. I am ready for whatever you are willing to throw at me because you no longer have power over me.

This weekend I realized how much I allowed my anxiety to get the best of me when I went on a trip to Philly. As fun as my trip was, anxiety managed to distract me from an amazing experience. As I tried to enjoy myself, anxiety crippled me from allowing my personality to flourish. When I was at a party the negative thoughts made me a wall flower.

Although I do consider myself quite introverted sometimes, I still like to let off some steam. You know, let loose and just be free to do me but it didn’t work out like that.

On my way back to Buffalo, I realized that the reason why I didn’t enjoy myself when I had the chance to be myself was because of fear. I became affected by ideas that appeared real because I acted as if they were. Well today those thoughts will no longer be my reality.

So ask me if I care…because I don’t.

Today Is A New Day


Speaking out has always been a difficult task for me. I remain silent because its easier. Its easier to let people assume who you are, well at least it is for me. I fear speaking up because I fear what people will think about me so I hide behind my wall. My invisible wall is a shield I use against anything that could possibly hurt me but the cost of the wall is life.

Are you truly living if the person you really are is layered underneath the exterior of what others see. I give those around me my poker face so they cant see the hurt and vulnerability that lies beneath my poker face. Well the silence is getting old and isolation has had a toll on me. The lack of human connection can be a bit lonely at times and sometimes its nice not to face the world alone.

The truth is, we all need someone and God is the person to go to. While I’m going through this phase he is with me and wont leave my side despite the obstacles I will face. I am determined to be more like him and let down the wall of fear. Fear is the cause of my wall and if I trust in him I know I can conquer all things through him.

Lately I have been hooked to this song called “When the Day Comes” by Nico & Vinz. It talks about being a warrior and makes me feel invincible. Whenever I feel down or weak I listen to this song and I gives me hope. Although I may be facing many challenges, there has been many battles that I have faced. Although I have won some and lost some, I will win the war. I will defeat my odds and I will achieve all the things that I have imagined.

Although my voice is silenced now, I will not give up. I refuse to continue hiding behind my wall and silencing my voice. Today I will not longer be afraid.