Celebrating Dr. King Day, Dr. King’s Way

Give Love For MLK Day!

It is very well known that Dr. King was a civil rights leader. However, when I listen to humans talk about and express discriminatory views toward certain groups of people, lifestyles, and classes — yet claim to understand and appreciate the struggles and sacrifices of the civil rights movement, it makes me wonder if they understand what the word “civil” means when relating to the civil rights movement.

Civil: Relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as district from military or ecclesiastical matters.

By that definition, “civil” means, everyone; thus, civil rights would mean justice for all people.

Of course, equal rights for Black people was at the forefront of the movement, due to the condition of Black communities — especially, but not exclusively, in the southern states. The plight of the Black populace was so horrendous that it definitely required immediate attention. So, yes, equal rights for Black people was the primary concern of the movement, but it was not the only concern.

The fight for civil rights included (but was not limited to): equal rights for women, poor people, alternative lifestyles — any people who were subjected to discrimination.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice, everywhere”

Any time we discriminate against each other, or unfairly stereotype each other, we are dishonoring an entire movement — people who sacrificed their livelihoods as well as their lives in an effort to make the world a better place for all people.

Nonviolence

In my lifetime, I’ve heard people criticize and say some pretty awful things about Dr. King, because of his use of nonviolence as a tactic. If this is what I’ve heard in my lifetime, I can only imagine the criticisms expressed as these events were happening in real time.

Hundreds of times, I’ve heard people say, after watching footage of dogs, and fire truck hoses being used on protesters in the 1960’s, that it couldn’t have been them — that they would have fought back. If I am to be honest with myself, I, too, would have to say that I would have certainly fought back. I’m not strong enough to be nonviolent, and neither are many of those who claim to have the stamina to to remain nonviolent while being spat on, called terrible names, kicked, pushed, beaten, and much more. Those of us who admit that we are not strong enough to withstand that type of abuse, even if it is for the betterment of the world, are more honest than those who say that they wouldn’t. It’s natural to strike back when struck or attacked in any way. It’s unnatural to stand still and allow yourself to be abused.

Going against nature and allowing themselves to accept abuse, because the greater good was more important, was very difficult. Unlearning human nature and learning to accept abuse and humiliation required practice. Classes were held in churches that taught protesters how to be nonviolent — how to take a punch, remain calm when they were being cursed at and spat on, and how to go limp and become dead weight when police would unfairly cuff them and drag them off to jail. Most of us could not handle that. I know that I couldn’t.

Nonviolence is the most courageous, revolutionary, and effective tactic that could have been used at the time. Most of us would allow ego and vanity to take over, because we are too weak to allow anyone to see or hear about us getting our asses kicked.

Dr. King knew that the news, being broadcast all over the world, was beneficial to the movement. If the world were to see how the United States treated its people, what would they think? Dr. King and the entire movement used the ego and vanity of a nation against itself (which is probably why LBJ became anxious to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But, that’s only my opinion). Those who would protest and march for the cause did so, fully aware that they would be beaten, humiliated, and that some would lose their lives, but that was not a deterrent, because they believed in the cause and was committed to making the world a better place. Conversely, we have people today who speak against marching, yet, none of those people are doing a thing to improve our situations. They’re weak. It takes far more courage and strength to take action, or be nonviolent, than it does to criticize and do nothing.

Although the efforts of the movement have increased our quality of life, we still have a long way to go. So, for MLK, 2019, don’t sleep in! Don’t have a lazy day! Celebrate our beloved martyr by taking action and becoming a part of the community. Take someone to register to vote (you don’t have to wait until election time to do so), help someone who can’t do for themselves, spend time with someone who is shut in or locked up, talk to young people about the movement, so maybe they won’t take their rights for granted. No effort is too small, if it comes from the heart.

If we can learn to love each other, we can live together without the use of racial or homophobic slurs and classist statements. There’d be no more need for some to be inferior so others can be superior. There’d be no division — just a a beautiful world full of beautiful people, beneath an awesome Universe. We are all afforded the right, at birth, to simply “be“. Love was Dr. King’s theme. Let’s pass it on.

“I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say, on that day, that Dr. King tried to love somebody”

~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April 3, 1968.

Holiday Acrimony: ‘Tis The Season

Dealing With The Rudeness of The Holiday Season

I went to Walmart today to grab a few things (I’m at Walmart often because it’s close and I can quickly run in and out). While there, I ran into an employee that I often converse with. He’s from Detroit, so whenever I see him, I yell, “Hey DETROOOOIIIT!!!”, and he responds, “Hey SAG-NASTAYYYYY!” (Sagnasty is a slang term that means Saginaw, Michigan, which it where I’m from). Since we are both Michiganders who live in Tennessee, that’s how we address each other. I’m sure that at some point, we introduced each other with our real names. However, I don’t remember his, and I’m sure that he doesn’t remember mine.

As always, we stopped to shoot the breeze in the produce section. During our conversation, I saw a middle aged man walking near us; he was carrying a gallon of milk. Seconds later, a young woman approaching the corner of the isle with a shopping cart inadvertently bumped into the man with the milk. Detroit and I jumped as we heard the SPLAT and saw milk pouring over the floor. Immediately, a mild argument commenced.

Let The Craziness Commence!

Woman with cart: I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you.

Milkman: yeah, you should watch where you’re going!

This man was livid! He was not trying to hear any apologies. Obviously, the woman did not intend on bumping into him or cause him to drop his milk. Nonetheless, the milkman didn’t care–he was pissed!

After they finished the short, but angry exchange, both parties went about their business. I assumed that the angry man went to grab another gallon of milk, and the woman continued her shopping as planned. However, neither of them tried to tell anyone that a mess had been made. They just left it there for an innocent person to slip and fall on. Since Detroit had witnessed the ordeal, he grabbed a mop and began cleaning up the mess.

As he cleaned the milky mess, I said to Detroit, “People are so awful during this time of year. Supposedly, it’s about love and goodwill towards mankind, but the reality is that people become major assholes around Christmas!” . He agreed and told me that he really dislikes working during the holiday season for that reason exclusively. I shared with him that I’d been dealing with the same kinds of entitled, insistent, rude people over the phone as a Customer Service Agent. After a some brief banter on the subject, we parted ways.

Last Year Around This Time…

As I walked towards frozen foods, I remembered that it was around Christmas last year when I was in the same store, and as I was walking down an isle, and I saw an elderly woman on one of those Amigo scooters who had run into a hanging rack and had gotten stuck there. Even though five or six people had witnessed this, no one tried to help her. Mind you, Tennessee is known as the “Volunteer State“, however, no one volunteered to help her. I abandoned my cart (leaving my purse vulnerable to other kinds of “volunteers”) and rushed over to lift the rack so she could break free without injury. All the while, the same five or six people stood by as though entertained, without offering help.

After I had removed the rack that she was attached to, she just rode off without expressing the slightest bit of gratitude, and the onlookers continued shopping as if none of that had happened. I reattached the rack to the structure that it was originally hanging from, informed another employee that it was in a dangerous position, and told him what had just happened. After that, I continued to shop without giving thought to the rudeness of the elderly woman, or the onlookers. Even though it would have been nice if the woman had been even a little gratuitous and acknowledged that, out of six or more people, only one person cared enough to protect her from injury. I know better than to do anything for anyone unless it comes from the heart and without expectation; I had made the Gods happy, and that I felt good about that. I didn’t need confirmation.

Why Are People So Mean During The Holidays?

As I continued to shop on “The Day of the Spilled Milk” (as it shall forever be called) and recollected on the Christmas of yesteryear, I questioned: Why are people so mean during what is known as the “Most Wonderful Time of The Year“? I then remembered that Christmas isn’t the only time that brings out the worst in humans. Ever been in a grocery store or a restaurant on a Sunday after church? I’ve never understood how people can leave a house of worship, and treat others so horribly after spending the last few hours listening to “The good word“. What happened? Maybe it is because of the same reasons that I can be mean after work: I’m tired and I’ve spent the last 8 hours putting up with things that were not enjoyable. Even though working that job is a choice, it is necessary as bills have to be paid. Going to church is also a choice, but it comes with more freedoms. If these people attend a church that alters their disposition to the point where they can’t be nice to others, why don’t they find a new church that has a better effect on them? I’m sure that finding a new church would be easier than finding a new job. As for why people are mean during Christmas, I think I understand why that happens, even though I don’t condone it.

I usually don’t enjoy my birthday. It’s been that way for 20 years or more. I’ve tried to make plans, but they usually fall through. Eventually, I decided not to make plans or even give much acknowledgement to my birthday. A few years ago, I finally figured it out. The reason why I don’t enjoy my birthday is because there is too much pressure. Everyone is wishing me a good day and telling me to enjoy “my day“. If not that, people are asking me how I intend on spending “my day“. This leaves me with nothing to say because I have no plans. Then, I begin to feel bad because I don’t have plans, and obviously, me having plans would appease those who are asking. In the end, I’ve not only let myself down, but also those who have nothing to do with my birthday. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.

I believe that people who are mean and rude during the holiday season are also responding to pressure. The holiday season can be a very intense time. There’s shopping, spending money that we ordinarily would not spend, overcrowded stores, traveling, and traffic is even more ridiculous than usual. Perhaps when people begin to express their more unfavorable sides, it’s in response to all of the pressure that they’ve decided to take on.

“Decided” Is The Operative Word

Since partaking in the traditions and stereotypes of the season is a personal choice, no one has the right to direct the discomfort that they’ve decided to take on towards the rest of the world. If you are someone who is guilty of this offense, you should check yourself. If you don’t, someone might do it for you. Conversely, those who find themselves on the receiving end of this type of behavior, try to exercise restraint and consider that there are some people who have trouble dealing with the conformist decisions that they make (such as following traditions that brings out the worst in them).

Remember, ‘Tis the season to be jolly!

In all cases, it is divine to be kind, regardless of the situation. As I’ve said in previous blogs, what you give unto to universe, the universe will give unto you!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

“Kindness is a language the blind can see and the deaf can hear”

~African Proverb

Those Who Trespass Against Us

Resisting Revenge

“Beware of the man who does not return your blow: he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself.

~George Bernard Shaw

Several years ago, a high school classmate of mine started dating this girl. Because he and I were always close, I also became close with his girlfriend. For years, she and I hung out together, shared secrets, and was there for each other in trying times. I really loved her, and I believed that she loved me.

One day, my classmate told me that he had said to his girlfriend, ” Brandi is cool. Just don’t make her mad”. I had mixed feelings about that. Even though I knew that what he said was true–I’m a good friend, but I truly believed in payback if crossed. His girlfriend had been around me long enough to know that. But, why was he warning her of that now? I have to admit that I thought it was kind of cool that this personality trait of mine was known. Maybe it would ensure that the people in my life would treat me as well as I would treat them. After he told me this, I didn’t ask any follow up questions; I just laughed.

Months later, my good friend tried the theory that was previously issued to her as a warning, and all Hell broke out. Perhaps she thought that, because of our close relationship, I’d eventually get over it. If so, she was wrong about that. She had committed the most gross offense that anyone could commit against me: she lied on me. That was unforgivable.

In response to that offense, I made some phone calls and did a few things that would guarantee that her life would be difficult for a while. Unlike her, I didn’t lie–there was no need to. The truth was much more powerful. While her life had become unbearable, it was no longer my problem. I heard very little about it after that.

And Life Went On… Or So I Thought

This was not the first time that I was crossed by someone and immediately returned the gesture with an equal (or more dire) gesture. I’d skip off into the sunset with a false feeling of redemption, but it was always short lived.

My sensitivity antenna was never as strong as I wanted it to be, and in turn, I wasn’t as ruthless as I thought I was. In fact, I wasn’t ruthless at all. I’d lose sleep as well as my appetite, and things in my life would seem to go wrong all at once. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was agonizing over the grief that I had brought on those who really deserved it. This went on for years, and during that time, I continued to distribute retribution to those of whom I felt had it coming.

I’ve always been who I present myself to be. I’m honest, trustworthy, and loyal. I’ve always expected the same from anyone that I called a friend. That was my standard, and it wasn’t a bad standard to have. However, people are who they are and you don’t always get what what you give. Some people don’t know how to be loyal, trustworthy, and honest, so it’s futile to place such a high expectation upon them.

Revelation

Sometime, in my late 20’s, I really started to feel drained, though nothing had happened that would cause me to feel that way. I pondered reasons that could have been contributing to that feeling. After days of thinking, I realized that years of retaliation, even though warranted, was weighing on me. I felt really bad for the things that I had done to people in attempts of evening the playing field. Did it help? Did it really change anything? No, it didn’t. They were all acts of being emotionally hurt, feeling betrayed, and having a bruised ego. There were proper channels that should have been taken. Instead, I decided to interrupt the livelihoods of those who had offended me.

Eventually, I began to understand that I am not built to destroy things; I am here to build things. Going against my nature had proved to be damaging to me, perhaps more-so than to those who were on the receiving end of my wrath. Surely, they had all gone on with their lives; yet there I was, years later, still agonizing over past events.

Universal Law of Cause And Effect

Universal Law of Cause And Effect: for every effect there is a definite cause, likewise for every cause, there is a definite effect. Your thoughts, behaviors, and actions create specific effects that manifest and create your life as you know it.

Plain and simple, whatever you give unto the universe, the universe will return unto you. When I was returning bad favors with bad favors, I was no better than those who I felt had wronged me. The right thing to do was state my case and walk away from those people, grateful that such beings had been removed from my life. My attitude should have been, “Wow! I feel sorry for you. I would have walked to the end of the earth for you. It’s not likely that you’ll find that kind of friend again, but I hope you do. And I hope that you will treat them better”, instead of, “Oh, you wanna play? Let’s play!”

By allowing people and situations to bring me to their levels, I was essentially asking the universe to send me more of the same, and the universe obliged.

Unforgivable

I did not forgive myself for any of this, and I never will because it doesn’t deserve a pass. However, I’ve taken the lessons and I continue to move forward. I’m much more cautious of who I choose to call a friend, and much more flexible with my expectations of people–in fact, I only expect them to be who they are; this eliminates any chances of being let down. When someone shows me that they no longer belong in my life, I try to leave without hard feelings, but sometimes that isn’t possible. In either case, my conscience is clear.

This Does Not Mean That You Have To Be A Doormat

Disrespect is never acceptable. You have every right to feel the way that you feel about it, as well as express said feelings to your offender. It’s very unhealthy to keep your feelings bottled up (a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way). State your case and make your point without allowing yourself to stoop to the levels of those who have disrespected and/or hurt you. Your continued greatness is the best retaliation. In the interim, be a sunflower!

Regardless of who hit whom first, you are only responsible for your actions–not the actions of others.

“Those who do not have a pure heart usually destroy themselves”

~Brandi Badd Ass

I Know We Just Met, But I Don’t Think I Like You

How To Handle Introductions To Unpleasant People

Have you ever met someone that you instantly did not like? I’m sure that at some point we have all experienced this. It’s not always a bad thing.

I had an experience a few years ago where I was invited to a friends house and when I arrived, my friend had other company — a couple of ladies that I had never met. After being introduced to these women, I shook their hands. I shook the hand of the first woman, it was a normal handshake, she seemed nice. The second woman’s handshake sent something through me that I can’t quite describe, but it was not a good feeling. As this woman spoke, the bad feeling intensified. Eventually, the sight of her made me feel sick to my stomach. Mind you, I was only in this woman’s presence for an hour at best. There was something about her that just did not mesh well with me. I made a polite excuse and left. As I drove off, I began to feel better. Whenever my mind wandered back to that visit I’d become sick again. By this time I had reasoned that I felt bad about my instantaneous dislike for someone that I didn’t know.

During the hour that was spent with this woman, she did nothing offensive. She was just annoying and spoke non stop. I live in the south where this is common, its not a reason to dislike someone. Maybe it was just a case of bad chemistry. This really hurt me because I try to give everyone a chance before making such a judgment. I had to be honest with myself: I just didn’t like her, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Intuition: The ability to understand something immediately without conscious reasoning.

Also known as a “Gut Feeling”*

When meeting new people or going to unfamiliar places trigger feelings, emotions, or or affect your natural demeanor, that is intuition — don’t ignore it! Usually, intuitive feelings are correct. Since as humans we have a need to have control of our feelings we might try to out reason our intuition. It is always important to consider our intuitions and why they are telling us that something or someone is not good for us.

After checking your intuition and trying to bear the company of someone of whom you are hopelessly incompatible with, it is probably best that you part ways. In order to do so respectably, keep a few things in mind.

  • Consider the source

If you were introduced to this person by someone who is your friend or a family member, don’t allow your intuition to make them uncomfortable. Be respectful and exit the situation. Do not make faces, speak in innuendo, become preoccupied with your phone, or make snide remarks. When you make your exit, make sure that you also offer a “goodbye” to the person that you don’t prefer as well. It is okay to dislike someone, but it is never okay to be discourteous. Explain to your friend later that it is best that you are not placed in the company of that person.

  • Consider yourself

Maybe it’s you. Consider the mood that you were in when you met this person. What happened that day? What was on your mind? Could you be jealous of this person? How where you feeling? These are all things that can effect the way that we treat people. Before making a final judgment, take a look in the mirror.

  • Don’t Be Cruel (Well, try not to…)

You never know who you are going to need later in life. Each person is a resource–we are all good for something. If you find yourself dealing with someone that you do not prefer, be honest with them but not cruel, if it can be avoided. However, if it cannot be avoided then remember that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

I had a co worker a few years ago whose conversation I could have done without. I dealt with her random babbling’s the best I could and for as long as I could. One Sunday night while preparing for the work week, I thought about how I would at some point on Monday have to hear a bunch of nothing about this woman’s weekend. That night, I decided to be honest with her.

Sure enough on Monday my co-worker tried to put me to sleep with boring details about her weekend. This time I interrupted her tirade with honesty. I told her that it wasn’t necessary for us to discuss non work related issues. Her feelings might have been temporarily hurt, but she got over it. That was better than me repeatedly enduring the boring tales of her weekend adventures. Had I not tactfully put an end to this, I might have said something that would damage the work relationship. Many times after this conversation I would need her help with on the job tasks and she had no problem helping me.

Always listen to your gut, but do so with an open mind.