Just In Case Anyone Wondered Part 2

There’s a lot going on right now in the country. We FINALLY have a new President. One of my cats could have done a better job of running the country the last 4 years, but that’s besides the point.

We also have a FEMALE Vice President for the first time in the nation’s history and I am beyond thrilled for Kamala Harris. It’s past time this happened, but it’s been wonderful to watch.

If you want some context as to why this is part two of a post, please read Just In Case Anyone Wondered. You will understand this post a LOT better.

Just in case anyone wondered, I am still proudly Black. In some circles, I would be considered “Openly Black”, which makes absolutely no sense to me. I mean, who hides their Blackness? That’s a thing? I couldn’t see myself as anything but “Openly” Black. Same for my kids. I could pass as many other nationalities, and I have gotten tons of questions around that.

In my view, being “Openly” Black means being proud, engaging in the culture and understanding where we have been, where we are and where we are going as a race. I see no point in hiding any part of myself and so to hide this would mean I was for some reason ashamed of being Black. Nope. Not in this house.

Thanks to my super-pale mother, I grew up with a healthy balance of both Black and White cultures. I may have been one of a few biracial kids in my classes, but it didn’t matter as much because I knew I was accepted at home. My parents’ families didn’t start out thrilled about an interracial marriage and biracial kids.

By the time I was born in 1982, everyone but my dad’s mom had pretty much gotten over it. My Granny didn’t like my mom to the point of not letting her in her house, but yet, my sister and I spent a lot of time with her. In fact, I look a lot like her. My mom’s parents never treated us with anything but love. If they did treat us differently, I don’t remember it. My grandmother was the queen of the side eye in public. If someone looked at us weird, she simply glared a hole into that person or would say something like “What, you need a picture?”

I’m almost certain that Lily inherited this side-eye, only her eyes are dark brown like mine.

Just in case anyone wondered, I watched President Biden and Vice President Harris’ inauguration. I had to stream some of it because I was at work, but I teared up when Vice President Harris took her oath. Clearly, I didn’t vote for Trump. I’ve read up a lot more on politics than I used to and Twitter is more informational than I ever thought it would be. There are some great political accounts on there that educate and make you laugh, something that I enjoy.

The Bernie Sanders memes?

I have MANY.

Those Trump memes?

I laughed more than I should have and sent them to my friends.

Two of the hundreds of memes based on the Inauguration

Just in case anyone wondered, Black Lives Matter. All day, every day and that’s not up for debate. All lives can’t matter until Black lives do. I don’t think Breonna Taylor got justice because, well, the system is set up to work against her case. Her family got a $12 million dollar settlement, but that was mainly for the city of Louisville to attempt to move on. We haven’t forgotten her.

Just in case anyone wondered, the Capitol riots were shameful and so disrespectful. I was so upset watching the news that at one point, I had to stop watching. The fallout, mainly Trump getting banned from Twitter, has been interesting to watch. I sincerely hope that the FBI gets every last person involved, including those that are lawmakers, because it is looking seriously like it was an inside job. The rioters were acting on behalf of Trump, if you ask me, and that in itself is a major issue.

His followers are starting to see what the rest of us knew all along- Trump lied every time he opened his mouth and they’re angry. Same for QAnon and his sidekicks. It was all a lie. Reading social media accounts of some of his followers remind me that in some ways, this country hasn’t moved past the 60s, even as much as we hoped it has. It also reminds me of the huge amounts of privilege and entitlement that people possess. It’s kind of sickening, really.

Oh, and just in case anyone wondered, I really need these kids to go back to school. All three kids have had a quarantine birthday, including Cameron’s 16th. They’re handling NTI well, but their grades aren’t where they would usually be.

I am getting my COVID shot in 90 minutes because my employer is paying for it. I hope I don’t end up with any side effects! Kentucky’s Governor, Andy Beshear, is still catching hell just for doing his job. Resturants are semi-open. Life is attempting to come back to some sort of normal, but it may be a while. We’re just going to hang in there and do the best we can.

Book Review: “He’s Not Lazy”

I haven’t done a book review in some time. I haven’t been reading as much as I used to, even during a pandemic and quarantine. There was a lot of Netflix involved!

I’m back with a parenting book. I don’t quite get teen boys so I thought I’d read up a bit.

Title and why I chose this book:

“He’s Not Lazy” by Adam Price, PhD.

I have two sons and I don’t get them sometimes. Both of them have “opted out” and I have to admit, I am not sure what to do. I was hoping to get some direction and this book delivered.

Who do I think this book is intended for?

Myself! If you are a parent with teen sons then this is a must-read. I’m sure it also applies to daughters, but slightly different. I read with my sons in mind. If you’re new to the blog, Cameron is 15 and Julian is 14. Cameron is now a sophomore and Julian is a freshman, they are going to the same high school.

What I did like about this book: it is so relatable! The language is clear, hopeful and thought-provoking. I was even able to find some fun facts in the book that I didn’t know about before. For example, during adolescence, boys will lose up to half the gray area in their brains. By 8th grade, half of the boys questioned in a survey still decide things based on whether they will get in trouble or not.

The main idea of this book, at least to me, is to let go. This is a hard thing to do, as we are so used to running things for our kids. At some point, they have to learn things on their own. Mistakes will be made and your son will face failure. It’s part of life. They need to learn to trust themselves and that they can ask for help, should they need it. These young boys need to learn to be confident with themselves or they will get stuck in a web of shame.

I can type that all I want to, but I am having the hardest time letting go of my boys. I know I am not the only mom that feels that way. It’s a difficult part of parenting. I just don’t want to see them fail and make bad choices, but they do have to learn to rely on themselves because I will not always be there to tell them what they should do in certain situations.

Page 103 discusses not taking your son’s failures personally and I felt that in my soul. How can I not take it personally and not bash myself internally when my kid screws up? That’s a hard one.

The foreword made me do some serious thinking- “While on the surface, opt-outs do look lazy, dig a little deeper and you will often find a very conflicted boy who wants to do well but is afraid to fail, and so does not try.”

Whew, if that’s not my sons… they’re both so smart, but I know Cameron for sure has opted out. I hate it because I fear he is wasting his potential, but now I have a way of trying to reach him. When he went into the sixth grade, he wanted to try out for the basketball team at his middle school. He went into the gym and walked right back out after seeing the bigger kids.

I was crushed that he felt so intimidated, but Cameron is a quiet kid who doesn’t exactly express his feelings. He was cleared by his cardiologist but I think he was a little scared that his heart wouldn’t cooperate. He just didn’t want to say so. I wasn’t mad, however, but I was sad for him. I let him live with that decision and he went back to playing in the neighborhood with a water bottle nearby.

Julian is a bit different in this sense- he will try new things but isn’t always sure it’s a good idea. He’s not great at expressing his feelings and he tends to want to fade into the background. I don’t try to change this because I know this is who he is.

Both boys do try their best academically, because they know I accept nothing less. They’ve made pretty good grades, except for an AP Human Geography class that Cameron took last year. As long as he passed it, I really didn’t care what he got. I just didn’t want him to have to take it again or take a different class to make up for it before he can graduate in 2023.

What didn’t I like about the book?

I had a hard time staying interested in the book. There are a lot of good points made but some sections were a bit dry. I also didn’t like a section that discussed the differences between boys and girls in school.

It seemed to label the sexes a bit. There are boys that are brilliant but still struggle in school. Maybe there’s ADHD involved, a mental health issue, both, or another learning disability that hasn’t been diagnosed. Maybe there’s issues at home. If a child has any or even all of these issues, it’s going to be difficult to concentrate and behave appropriately at school.

The fact that girls also struggle is largely ignored in this section. Girls can also be aggressive- my older sister hated school and often got into fights. On the other hand, she’s super smart and a great artist. School just wasn’t her main area of interest.

All kids struggle in certain subjects- Lily and I struggle in math but write wonderfully. Lily loves science. It’s one of the reasons I chose Clinical Psychology as a major. Lily really struggled in fourth grade with word problems. To this day, I want to punch whoever came up with them. Both boys struggle with Language Arts, but do great in math.

I don’t know what bothered me so much about that section, it just seemed like a bit of stereotyping was going on.

Biggest takeaways:

Teen boys still need their parents-just not nearly as much as we think. They need the space to be able to learn on their own but still ask for help. They need that confidence. Most boys are focused on looking as “manly” as possible, which leads to them sometimes making bad choices- dangerous stunts, drugs/alcohol, etc.

Also, the more we bug them to do things, the less they want to do it.

WOW. That’s an eye-opener.

This gives them more reason to complain and they realize that we can do the worrying for them. It’s giving your son the out he wants.

I don’t know if reading this book is going to make me a better mom, but I think I have a smidge more understanding than before.

Photo courtesy of Google

Just In Case Anyone Wondered

I figured I would answer a few questions for my readers, ones that might give you more insight into me as a person, not just a mom, blogger or whatever else.

I can’t change my permanent tan, as I call it, but then why would I want to? Being biracial has allowed me to be funnier, open-minded, opinionated and to be okay with not being like everyone else. I haven’t been since I was born.

I’m 37, so this puts me in a weird spot. I’m old enough to remember not being able to play at a friend’s house because their parents didn’t want a biracial kid in their home, but not old enough to have truly appreciated punk rock and be able to have a category to check for “race”. Those older than me had to pick and that’s somewhat traumatizing within itself.

So if you were wondering, I’m good. I’m proud of being biracial. I have a wicked sense of humor and love of makeup from my mom’s parents and I look like my Granny on my dad’s side. I have curly black hair that people would pay great amounts of money for.

I’ve passed this on to my kids, who have different types of curly hair and have my eyes.

Just in case you were wondering, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Keep reading, I’m not done.

As many of you know, I live in Louisville, KY, the center of protesting over Breonna Taylor’s murder.

I fully support them and have donated to bond funds and Black Lives Matter in my city. If it weren’t for RA, I’d protest myself. Instead, I’ve been signing petitions for justice and telling people what I think.

All the cops involved in Breonna’s murder need to be fired, arrested, charged and convicted, preferably in that order. Same goes for George Floyd’s killers.

It’s going to be a long road, but Breonna and George will hopefully get justice. Unfortunately, there are others that deserve justice for the same reason- being murdered by a cop.

If you were wondering, my job is fantastic and I love it. I’m still debating the Public Health idea but ugh, my therapist is on medical leave and I haven’t gotten that far with her replacement.

Yep, I’m still in therapy. Every week.

Just in case you wanted to know, my publishing schedule is all over the place and I’m aware.

Ugh.

I’ve put a few posts on the backburner as drafts. Writer’s block is a thing, as is flares and life itself. A couple of recent posts, like this one, popped into my head out of the blue. I kind of like those better.

I’m working on a post a week, but we will see.

In case you were wondering, RA still sucks. I am currently at the end of a flare, which completely wears me out, mentally and physically. One day, it took all the energy I had to stay awake.

This describes the quarantine/social distancing we have been dealing with. I have no clue what I am doing- some days are structured, some aren’t. Like everyone else, all I can do is my best.

Pics are from my personal Facebook and Pinterest.

No Rest for This Mom

In light of recent events, I’ve been thinking a lot.

I have two black sons. One has autism and even though he’s verbal, I still worry.

What happens if he gets pulled over? Will he react appropriately or will he act in a way that might get him killed?

Julian’s not a huge fan of rules, so this is one of my biggest worries. I don’t know how he may respond. There’s a few factors- is the police officer being kind or combative? Do they understand that my son doesn’t do eye contact well? Can they keep their composure should Julian react in a bad way?

When I say “in a bad way”, I mean being rude, argumentative, or even aggressive. I would love to think he would just be nervous, as many of us would, but I know that may not be what happens.

This may be three years away but I think ahead.

I plan on talking to both my boys about what to do if you’re pulled over. It’s a talk that I didn’t think would need to happen, but here we are. If it’s something that may mean the difference between my son coming home safe and me having to bury him, I will talk like there’s no tomorrow.

I watched some of the coverage from Minneapolis and it reminded me so much of the LA Riots. I was 10 when that occurred. I don’t remember anything from watching it unfold, but I’ve since learned about it.

Cameron would likely be nervous but I think he would comply. I still worry, because he’s a soft-spoken young man. He may ” look” white, but his hair and eyes say different. All three of my kids got my brown eyes and curly dark brown hair. (Mine is black, so the brown part is from Matthew.)

What about Lily? I have no idea when she would be able to drive because of various issues. I’m sure she would become very nervous and possibly cry. I worry about her too. Black women have been mistreated by the justice system, you just don’t hear about it as much.

My kids already know they “look” different, even in their own family. They’re the darkest kids on Matthew’s side and next to my mother, the lightest on mine. They have learned my reality of being stared at because of my skin tone. They’re not scared but they are aware.

My kids, however, have had it so much easier than I did growing up. That’s one thing I wanted so badly for them. I didn’t want them to be the only biracial kid in their class, one of a few in their grade. It’s basically the opposite for them.

Lily’s had friends whose families came from other countries. Cameron learned Spanish from a friend in middle school because he was born in Puerto Rico. They’ve been taught to accept people for who they are, not what they look like. They don’t even think of not being able to play at a friend’s house because they are biracial.

I did as a kid and it’s devastating. I was in the second grade and felt like something was wrong with me because I wasn’t black or white. My mom, being the badass that she’s always been, told me something along the lines of “that’s on them. You’re great the way you are.”

Both my boys can run pretty fast and well- we just watch Cameron closely. Julian is better at running and I hope he (or Cameron) never has to literally run for their lives.

I hurt for all the families that have lost someone to police violence. There’s no excuse for that, not should it be brushed off by the local government. Somehow this happens and riots can be a result. I’m not condoning the rioting, but sometimes people run out of better options.

The LA Riots started over anger after a period of police-related incidents, the most well known being the Rodney King case. Five days of rioting followed after not one of the four police officers involved in his beating were found guilty.

In case you haven’t realized it, I am proud to be black. All day and tomorrow, as Lil Wayne once said. I was raised in a home that celebrated blackness as much as possible. I can’t imagine being ashamed of this. I’ve raised my kids this way. It’s hard enough to be biracial without extra shame. I do realize that not everyone was raised this way and I feel awful for those who weren’t.

I chose to marry a white man. He’s who I love and want to share my life with. Some of the cousins on my dad’s side were mad and guess what? I don’t speak to them. One of Matthew’s uncles felt similarly and he wasn’t invited to the wedding. We haven’t seen him in years, both of these by Matthew’s choice. I wouldn’t dare force that.

My children are more than a hashtag. They are three different people that I am trying my best to guide to be good people. They are similar to millions of other kids- they just want to live.

Pics courtesy of pinterest

Another post on this topic: My Sons’ Future