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.

 

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.

Today Is A New Day

Speaking out has always been a difficult task for me. I remain silent because its easier. It’s 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 can’t 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 it’s 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 won’t 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 no longer be afraid.

The Essence of Gratitude

When it seems as if everything is going wrong it may be hard to be positive. As I face disappointment after disappointment there are days when I feel weary. I pray, try to treat others the way I want to be treated and humble myself but some days I feel broken. I look at the things that I am still struggling with and wonder how come I haven’t got past this struggle.

I have committed myself to change but, it seems as if some things just haven’t changed yet. I look in the mirror in the morning with fear, hope, and expectancy; sometimes I look in the mirror after a long day with shame and discouragement.

This was becoming a daily routine for me day after day for the past few weeks.
I am proud of the fact that I decided to take the measures to make change in my life but, there was still something holding me back.

Although, I gave up my negative ways I was still stuck in the same struggles from it. The problem wasn’t the people who hurt me in my life; the problem was within me. The negative thoughts that I gave energy to was becoming my reality.

I was living a make believe world life in my mind that affected my actions in real life. When I took off the lens of my make believe world I saw that the problems that I saw where never there to begin with. I failed to see all of the positive people that actually where there the whole time and the things that God had blessed me with all along.

I may not be where I want to be but I have come a long way from where I started. Whenever you feel that all of the odds are against you I dare you to take a moment to really think about the things that are. If you are reading this you are already blessed because that means that you made it to see another day. Acknowledge the good things in your life and be blessed.