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.

 

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.

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.