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.

Set Yourself Free and Choose Forgiveness

When I tell you that I was happy yesterday, trust me I was happy.

I wasn’t happy because of any circumstance, but I chose to be happy. This brings me to what I would like to discuss today; I would like to discuss forgiveness.

At times when we are hurt we dwell on things that have happened to us in our past and we replay these images in our mind. For the past 5 years I have been struggling with anxiety and yesterday I decided to let go.

The reason why I couldn’t let go of anxiety for so long was because I was holding to my past to the point where I was beginning to lose hope of my future. I constantly replayed clips in my mind of those who have hurt me and these thoughts were draining out all of my power.

Today I am here to tell you that whatever it is that is bringing you down, let it go. Last night I prayed and forgave those who have hurt me until I felt inner peace. For years I wanted them to see my pain and hoped that they would feel bad for what they have done to me, but they were busy continuing their lives.

When we give people that power over us we are telling ourselves that we are not worthy of joy. No one can steal your joy from you once you find it in your heart. I have committed myself to thank God every day for what he has done for me.

Yesterday I choose to let go; I didn’t let go for those who have hurt me but for myself. I decided to let go of the pain, anxiety, fear and be strong. I am not strong because of what I have been though; I am strong because I decided not to let the pain hold me back.

I know every day isn’t going to be daisies and sunshine but I am determined to lift my spirit despite what I face. Yesterday I said no to negativity; Every time I think a negative thought I re-evaluate myself and ask God to give me a clean heart. Today I decide to choose to forgive and let your soul free.

Healing Takes Time

I know that I have not posted an article in a while but, over the past few months I have been going through a lot.

Sometimes when it seems as if the odds are against you, you may feel discouraged. I am here to tell you do not give up.

Today I may not be exactly where I want to be but, with faith I will make it. Throughout all of my obstacles I realized that the problems that I faced where not due to my circumstances but, how I allowed those circumstances to effect me.

Over the past 5 years I have been fighting anxiety and fear of the unknown but, with the help of God I am growing and moving on day by day. I struggled with allowing my past to cripple me from moving forward with my life. It was a daily routine for me to pray and hope for God to change those people that hurt me in my life. Then I realized that I needed to change myself.

I changed my prayers and ask God to give me the strength to face any obstacle that I faced with him in my heart. Although I still have bad days I have seen a major change in my life. It got worst before it got better but, it was worth it because those test helped to build my character.

To anyone who is going through whatever it is that you are going through I encourage you to keep the faith. You may make mistakes and struggle but speak words of comfort to your soul and know that you are strong. Be the change that you want to see in your life.