I am the Sun

Every year I get the Birthday Blues.  It never fails.  I know some people get so hype and litty every year when their birthdays roll around, but me I get the birthday blues.  It’s a combination of anxiety and nervousness of having everyone LOOKING at me and engaging with me that gives me a dread that I can only describe as such, the ol’ Birthday Blues.

Over the years I think I narrowed the reason why birthdays get me down: a new year for me always marks looking back on the year before and constantly comparing myself to, myself.  What did I do? What did I accomplish?  Am I where I wanted to be? Did I achieve the goals I set out for myself last year?  Normally, the answer is no or not quite.  And every year, like clock work, I have to re-set those goals, re-evaluate why I didn’t get to where I wanted to be and come face to face with some failures–eesh even writing that sentence gave me anxiety…  Then, just like I always do, I set some new goals, re-set some old ones and try to remind myself I’m not a complete waste of space for having to re-set the old ones I didn’t accomplish.  A constant comparison with myself and everyone else who has ever turned my age before me.  So yeah, I guess it’s safe to say I get the Birthday Blues.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love birthdays, my best friends’, my family members’, my partner’s-I love to celebrate them.  Even preparing for mine is fun it’s just THAT day, the day of reckoning or celebration (as some may call it), the day of the party, the actual day when all the attention is on me, is overwhelming.  But, this year I didn’t quite get the same feelings of dread.  Maybe because I was too busy doing 1 million other things, but I didn’t feel that same “oh god I have to sit down and look at all my failures again,” feeling and for once the only thing that gave me anxiety was that I was going to be 31 and how I hoped that no one would make the restaurant staff sing to me at dinner this week…

I realized that all these years I’ve been constantly competing with myself.  Every year I set the bar higher, do more, do better, be more efficient, work, volunteer, write, research, find my passion, pay off my debts, let go of the weights in my past, love harder, be kinder but remain steadfast.  It’s like me and my goals are flying around in space rotating around the perfect “BGT” trying to get sucked into her gravitational pull to find some kind of order…  So, naturally every year, I let myself down when I don’t achieve all of these crazy benchmarks, and me and my crazy goals are spiraling out of control in space, but not this year.

See this year, I realized I’m the Sun.  Me, this BGT is the Sun, and I’m not waiting to join anyone’s imaginary gravitational pull, because it turns out, I am the pull.  This year I am praising myself for every single accomplishment and failure and I’m equally proud of them all.  I am happy to be in love with someone who only expects love in return.  I am lucky to have dog that’s 11 but is confused for 5.  I am privileged to have a family that loves and supports me despite my flaws.  This year, I am walking into 31 leaving behind a past that I thought would have it’s grasp on me forever.  I feel lighter than any goal weight I’ve ever set for myself.  I found my voice and wasn’t embarrassed to share it with anyone and everyone who was willing (or not) to listen or read it.  I am working everyday to find my passion and enjoying some laughs along the way.  I am using new found time at home to write and research more and I’ve never felt more invigorated to work towards change of all kinds.  Every day, I’m trying really, really hard to be kinder while maintaining my passion and steadfastness and hey I have a little less debt than last year too…  I guess that’s what happens when you turn 31 and realize you are the Sun. 🙂

I’M HERE

Sometimes when I’m really angry I get on social media and I wait… I wait to see the racism, sexism, classicism, homophobia, transphobia, and all of the other “issms” and phobias to rear their heads. I simply wait. I wait for the comments to pop up on my feed and read what the kid-now adult-I went to high school with, and his sister, and their Dad’s cousin’s to comment on a news article that the white guy who killed his pregnant wife and two kids is not as abhorrent of a crime because he was born here. Going on about how unfortunately there’s nothing to be done about that situation, but how THAT is very different from the undocumented immigrant who confessed to killing the white girl in Iowa. It’s SO DIFFERENT because he was here “illegally” and IF he hadn’t been here “ILLEGALLY” then that murder would not have happened.  Because for some reason after statistics and logic tell us that white men are over-represented as perpetrators of violent crime, when a brown, black or undocumented person commits it, well then it could have been avoided and so they shouldn’t be here and we should get back to building that wall or passing that ban… So, sometimes I get on social media when I’m angry…and I wait.  (spoiler alert: yes guys the white guy did it…again).

On other days, I don’t.  On these days when the posts are too much and there are too many crying kids in prison-like facilities, confused at the language they’re hearing and the strangers they’re around, and the dirt that’s building on their bodies-on those days, I make myself stay off social media.  Because sometimes seeing the capsized, makeshift rafts that refugees used as boats to cross oceans with their children risking drowning to escape their horrors is too much. Because sometimes, seeing babies drowned on white beaches and then seeing Tim from Indiana’s comment underneath, “they believed in sharia law, is that what you want in your country?!” “They should blame their parents for making that decision,” “We need to take care of our country first!” is just too much. So I stay off social media and, if I stayed off the entire day, I gift myself a bowl of flaming hots (and lemon), and I do it in the name of self-care. My red stained fingers a badge of honor known only to me.  A secret “Good Job, Melody!” to myself.  In all sincerity, I eat flaming hots after I lose my shit on a person like Tim too–it’s still self-care.

But then there are days. Days where all of the posts push me into a daydream of being on CNN and having the producers afraid to take their fingers off the censor button because regardless of how smart and articulate I can be, I’m still this brown girl and I can best express myself when I don’t have to “watch my French” or keep my neck from snaking around. I imagine being split screen alongside ANY conservative commentator and reminding them exactly why what I come from made America great way before it was an acronym on a poorly made hat. And sometimes, when I’m feeling really racy I imagine it’s Tami “that’s not my name” Lahren.  Those are the days I fight with the devil on my shoulder until I shut my eyes for the night to stay the fuck off social media.

Then there are those days, those days when my friend’s lists decrease and my family one too because you decided to comment that “racism isn’t real” and “they should just listen to the police!” and “If women want to be safe then they need to be smarter and not drink or run or walk to their cars alone.” Those are the days where you might catch me on my social media tip and you might flip positions too.

You might decide it was too much and block the thread. You might block my posts. You might even click the unfriend or unfollow button, maybe even the one in real life too. But I’ll still be on my social media tip. I’ll still be in restaurants hoping someone’s friend doesn’t make a racist comment at dinner and I have to spend my two free hours before bed reminding him that I am THAT kind of Mexican and that Black Lives do in fact Matter.

I’ll still be here denouncing people and ideas when I see or hear ignorance in real life or on social media.  I’ll still be challenging, reading, learning, and trying to be a better version of who I was before. I’ll still be pushing, donating, volunteering, and supporting men, women and non-binaries that are under-represented because I AM HERE.

So be annoyed, be an unfriend but I’m still here. I’m the gnat you can’t kill screaming, “Women get paid at most 75% of what men get paid and women have to pay more for things they need like tampons!” So the next time you see “click here to see 274 comments” with my name all over it, don’t scroll past it. Read it. Don’t hit me with the “I didn’t post this to argue,” because as long as I’m here, I’m doing my due diligence the best way I know how and a lot of the times that’ll be right here or on all different types of social media

So, appreciate the fire and challenge yourself to understand the movement. In the meantime I’LL BE RIGHT HERE. 

Brown Girl Talks Meets Bourbon N Browntown

I spend a lot of time on social media sometimes silently but mostly vocally judging people’s opinions on certain human rights topics.  Sometimes though, my social media stalking leads me to discovering new forms of resistance that are happening right in front of me.  This time in particular, my gym life stalking lead me to Caullen Hudson’s Instagram and podcast Bourbon N Browntown that he hosts with his roommate and friend, David Moran.

I causally and creepily slid into Caullen’s DM’s and shot my shot and asked him and David to come have a Brown Girl talk. Luckily for me, they didn’t think I was a major creep and said yes!  Below is what transpired after 5 people of different shades of Brown and religious affiliations chatted over a bottle of tequila and homemade guacamole.

Obviously David and Caullen are doing great things and I am so grateful to have been able to pick their brains a little.  Check out SoapBox PO here!  You can also catch their podcast on iTunes or their website!

Tweet Caullen here!   Caullen’s Instagram!

Tweet David here!     David’s Instagram!

SoapBoxPO Instagram!

In a Sea of Attorneys I Present to you: Sharon Fairley

As you may have heard by now, Lisa Madigan, current Illinois Attorney General, will NOT be running for her fifth term.  What does this mean?  Well to a lot of people it means a lot of different things but to me, it means that there’s going to be seat open come November 2018 that MUST be filed with a competent, educated and experienced attorney….AND if that person just so happens to be a strong, independent woman of color?!  Well that’s just icing on the cake.

I ran into Sharon (we’re cool like that now) at the American Constitutional Society panel on Race and Bigotry I was on about a month ago.  She introduced herself to me and showed genuine interest in why I was there–as a blogger not an attorney.  She asked me for a card (which I didn’t have because I am NOBODY) and said she was interested in doing something together.  My BGBF, who was there with me standing in for my mom, and I just laughed because we seriously thought she was just campaigning.  How sweet but ya right.  Low and behold I sent her an email a few days later–shot my shot if you will–and she responded!  She had her campaign manager, David, set up a meeting and on a late Wednesday night after being at events all day she came to MY house.  We sat down and had a chat and this podcast (click play down there!) is what transpired.

There’s not much more to add to what Sharon shared with me that night.  She’s smart, hard-working and tenacious it’s how she’s been since she started her education and has taken that into her professional life as well.  As of December 5th, 2017, she’s OFFICIALLY ON THE BALLOT as a Democratic nominee for Illinois Attorney General.  Not to mention she is the most educated and experienced candidate in the running, period…AND the fact that she’s a strong, independent, mother and woman of color…well that’s just icing on the cake.

Check Sharon out on Twitter FairleyforAG or on her site at Sharon Fairley