Black and brown people are being brutalized and killed every damn day. EVERY DAMN DAY. Whether it’s an outright physical attack or killing, or a wrongful arrest, we’re dying out here. After Sandra Bland died after being on a road trip from Chicago to Texas to start a new job, a standard reason for a road trip, I’m on edge at the thought of an upcoming road trip that I have planned. I’m set to drive from Washington, D.C. to Birmingham, AL to drop my children off with their grandmother for their annual summer visit. I’ve made this trip many times and I’ve never given it much thought until recent events. I’m afraid of very little in this world, but I’d be lying if I didn’t mention my overall anxiety (no matter how mild) at the danger that my black body invites, especially during a long drive like the one I’m about to make with the boys. This anxiety doesn’t exclude the black bodies of those I care for, which by default is the entire black population. Despite all of this, I still have every intention of making the trip and making the best of it and I’m GRATEFUL for it.
Yes grateful. These days we’re living in a society that requires strategic and purposeful movement both on an individual and collective basis. There is a revolution going on around and inside of us all. Gratitude is the very thing that saves me from fear and helps me to be brave every damn day of my existence. My whole world calms down when I start to think of what I can be grateful for in my current situation. In order to be a positive contributor to change, I have to be as clear in my thinking as I possibly can be. I have to be able to think of the big picture, but remain in the present at the same time. I move by universal law and it requires stillness in the present to affect change, no matter the magnitude of the change. Stillness does not mean stagnant, but balance which incorporates tiny, tiny movements to keep one in a single spot. One of those tiny movements is gratitude. I have the ingredients of a turn up queen and I can explode based on the presence of feeling and emotion, and these days to be overly emotional on topics that require a bit more logic would be a detriment. Gratitude is a way to use logic to explain the inexplicable. When I think of all of the good things that I get to experience every single day, I can’t help but to be in a positive place and release the need for hard detail. Breathing and waking up are reason enough to be grateful. Being able to see my children’s faces is something worthy of gratitude and when I think of that, I can remain in the perfect spot to do the “good work” to help liberate my people. The act of gratitude attracts in more to be grateful for because it triggers happiness, which is an offshoot of love and when God hears your heart and mind saying “I love. I am grateful. I am open.”, then she puts more in because she’s receiving a cue from you to do so. I like the thought of receiving all of the tools I need to be great just because I watch my thoughts and choose to be thankful.
Being grateful at all times is not a weakness at all. It has nothing to do with my ability to speak the truth or handle painful situations effectively. It’s just the opposite. It makes me confident in handling those uncomfortable situations and the insecure people that might come my way. That being said, I’m making that drive to Birmingham, with my boys in tow, and I’ll do it with happiness and gratitude. I’ll get to spend some time with my family, friends, and even get some things done that’ll go to my greater purpose. All because of my grateful attitude.
What should you be grateful for? How do you handle these scary times?