Unconscious Consciousness

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I’m friends with a lot of different people. This means a lot of different mindsets, views of the world, and sentiments like the photo above. Most of them are from older people, but a few come from folks who’re my age. This is rare. When I see things like this, I think of my younger self. She would have agreed 100%. She was unconscious conscious, and believed a lot of the sexist, classist mess that people are the about online.

Pictures like this incite arguments that usually move people to gripe about millennials and how we’re self-involved and absorbed in such a way that we don’t care. So, we don’t have time to hear about Black Wall Street. We’re too busy thinking the world owes us something, and blah blah. I cringe at these thoughts. First of all, I was aware of Black Wall Street. There is this marvelous thing called the Internet that allows people to create pages of information (although sometimes it can be incorrect, falsified…) About topics one can search. Such is the case of BWS.

It started with two sources–my family and Tumblr. My family discussed it lightly. Tumblr posted a plethora of links much later. Between that, there were trips to DuSable Museum, and teachers who gave a crap enough to teach us outside the books. I was blessed with these opportunities. Some are not. How can you know what you don’t know?

Shows like Empire are just that….shows. Entertainment. Not breathing role models to teach people to buy Black, support communities. While actors and actresses may inspire people personally, I feel like people put too much pressure on certain types of shows to lead people to do things or “be somebody”. Meanwhile, these conscious people are turning down their noses, lowkey calling people stupid and mindless! Or, lacking goals and direction. Let’s be real here and call a thing a thing. I see these crappy ” I’m better than you” and “shame Black people, do better” posts all the time! How are these unconscious conscious people better than those they scold? Aside from snooty pics,  what are they doing to alert and inspire us so called “lost” folks?

This is nothing new, by the way. So as long as there has been a struggle for Black people, it seems like there’s always a bunch who think they’re above the “common fray” because they’re not watching the hottest show, taking in the latest song, or dipping a toe in the warm waters of Black culture. Honey. It’s possible to build your own and get away from it all with some entertainment. We are not a lost people. Let’s not act like we all have the same shot, either! My family did all right, but we struggled! I’m scraping right now, but I have faith in my dreams. I’m inspired by the workers in my family, those people on BWS, and the endless stores and businesses run by Black folk today. I’m inspired by the Black actors who fought for better roles, or got their own.

That part was left out of the post, okay? Too busy putting a show down with a host of beautiful Black people because we have to play worth and respectability politics online! We’re getting killed, cheated, robbed, and people want to gripe about a little joy we have. On TV, on a major network. A show giving extras a little change, BTW. Many, if you notice, who are Black.

These posts are so fake deep. Hence–“unconscious conscious “–that brand of consciousness we all know, but comes from a hateful space with little or no value, and all the means to divide Black folks simply by what they do. In other words, woke on levels suited to put others down, but barely lifting a finger (if they feel like it) to fix the same problems they pooh-pooh.

This is not common knowledge, as it should be. History books are forever changing, forever getting wiped, forever becoming much more Eurocentric than they already are. Aside from Black History Month, TV, and Internet….I have to be honest–I would not know as much. Add parents and again–passionate teachers, and a lot of people are left in the dark. People lacking resources can’t just pull it from a past life.

It is very possible to watch this show and build one’s own empire in his or her own time. It is possible to be aware and find a vice to ground yourself. It is possible to be conscious without  stomping your own people.

But that’s just how I feel. I’m still learning, too.

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I want what I fear.

I’m supposed to be in bed right now. The next 48 hours will be full of work. I’m wide awake, trying to sleep. I will rest at the last minute, work for an hour, come home, rest, start again Saturday. Every weekend, we’re booked. Since I went nuts on my card, I’m schlepping to pay some of it off. A part of me is happy to have a job, while the other is like….can I just become famous and write books already?

I thought about what I wanted all day today. That was inspiring, but also sad. The sadness came from frustration. So, I took a nap and felt a little better. I had a dream about…someone. It was so weird, but what is normal in my world? It was a long and odd dream, seeing the world from their POV in the hospital. I woke up, wondering if they were all right.

In another part of the dream, they made a comment on my blog, telling me they were glad they escaped, because it was confirmed I was crazy.

Ouch.

Obviously it was just a dream. So I didn’t go off writing emails or texting to see if all was well. I’m not running with a full deck of cards, but contact is a no no.

Today, I just laid back and realized life in this town is gonna be a period of working on myself with little to no excitement. Which….sucks, but will also help me de-stress in a lot of areas.

My love life, as always, will be up in the air.

Default Setting

I gave myself a mental pep talk before I came to TN. It started off as a summer job, but now I’m living here. Long story, very temporary. I knew that in a small town, people talk. People discuss, people judge, judge, judge. Since my uncle is a pastor, and my aunt is a teacher and a first lady, the rumor mill would be spinning at the drop of drama. I mean….it has, but I decided not to rekindle kettle boiling flames by wearing my (bi) sexuality on my sleeve, or discussing religion at great lengths. You ask, I tell. You keep asking, I explain, but I didn’t want to rub it in faces, or discuss the how and why to such a point that people think I’m some evil God-bashing demon.

I was raised in a Christian home. Raised by a Christian family. I was raised to believe. That was the default. I thought it was just what you did, and the rest would come to you. I did it because my family did. Both sides. At 12-13, I questioned it. I stayed at home. When I visited my aunt, I just went. I liked my uncle’s sermons, but it felt more like a life lesson. A class. I pretended to believe. I tried to. I prayed when my dad was ill. Prayed for my ex to come back to me. Prayed when things went wrong. I tried to open myself to hear God. I never heard Him. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to cause trouble or be the black sheep. I didn’t need people trying to convince me or show me. I didn’t need a redemption. I cared, but I did not believe. I felt like I was betraying my family and my race.

But let’s be real.

I have never been the “default”. I’m not a super unique special snowflake, either. I’ve been stepping out of line for years. Fat, natural hair, geek/nerd/dork, late bloomer, and of course….bisexuality! Whee! ” Why label yourself?” asks my dad. I do it online to “find my people”. In real life, it’s guarded unless I am asked. I don’t do the impolite thing where I derail and deny, either.

Well.

Every action comes with a reaction.

Again, I keep my sentiments on Christianity to a minimum. ” open minded people” usually aren’t, and I’ve seen enough passive aggressive FB posts from Christian friends about knocking it (which I would not) because a bad thing happened at church, or one heard about it. I never believed. I was raised to believe and followed suit until I wanted something more. Until I had the power….found the power…to walk my own religious path. My neighbor introduced me, but years prior, my school set up the interest.

Small towns.

I love their quaint, warm feelings. I knew what I was getting myself into, but drama at home and no job put me here. So I knew that I’d have to keep quiet on some things– the damned Rebel Flag, the BLM movement, religion, and sexuality. Keep it all under wraps. Or, keep it cordial. Or, keep it to particular company. I had to keep myself as default looking as possible.

People assume that because of my family, I’m a Christian by default. Explaining to them makes it sound like I have a record. And then, the million dollar question…”you don’t believe in God?”

A lot of people don’t. A lot do.

It’s always a gossip-worthy extra layer, because I’m Pastuh an’ Missus niece from Chicaguh. I don’t get Southsider crusty about it, but the shock and awe is so old. With all the religions and philosophies in this world, why are some people so shocked and amazed that a Black person is not a Christian? Why, yesterday, did the person who asked me do the weirded out snarl thing? Look of confusion?

I am a Buddhist.

A Nichiren Buddhist.

I chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

I want world peace, I want to be the best I can be. I want the best for my friends and family.

Is it because our beliefs are different that I’m suddenly brand new and scary? Do you think I’m going to be argumentative and purposely get in bashing debate? I disagree with a lot within Christianity, but I don’t get into it. I just don’t. I know a lot of Christians who actually share my sentiments, but they stay because they believe. I left because I did not.

I am happy it helped my aunt get through her storm to live her life. Happy my grandma kept her faith. I am happy for anyone who had found comfort and salvation in that religion of their own choosing. I just don’t like it when people say stuff to try and convert me back. I don’t like it when people  think it’s a phase. Or when they treat you like riff raff.

Yesterday’s incident was so short. My employer’s husband asked what church I was going to. I calmly told him I was a  Buddhist. He made a face like I was speaking a foreign language. That made me nervous, so I explained what it was, but felt like I was explaining myself! Like I was in trouble! Felt like it.

Of course he asked the million dollar question. An internal sigh later, I told him no. Hoping I still had a job, I worked my ass off feeling weird all day. I will be in this town for a while. There are things that bother me, but I’m not a jerk about it. There are things that are different and prominent, but I leave them alone. I hate how odd things get, once I relay I’m not part of the default. How people indirectly make you feel like it’s a crime to be sans-tradition. But what did I expect from a small town? A like–minded space?

These are okay people, mostly. Notice, I said “some people feel like this”. I’m sure a lot really don’t care.

So I will find a way to navigate the gentle and abrasive moments.