When They See Us: My Thoughts

Ava DuVernay has hit us with another thought and emotion provoking project on Netflix highlighting the case of the Central Park Five. I encourage you all to research the case on your own. In a nutshell, five very young, black boys: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, were accused and convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park back in the late 80s. After spending years of their lives in juvenile detention and prison, another young man confessed. The Central Park Five were eventually awarded money, but we all know the amount will never be enough to get these young men their lives back. This is not an argument of innocence or guilt, the so called law has determined that, but these are simply some observations and thoughts I had while watching.

Black Women Have to Do Everything

Sigh…We literally have to be everything to everyone. Just typing those words make me exhausted. No one fights for our own like us. It’s both sad and admirable at the same time. It’s crazy how these young boys were picked up, taken to the police station, and interrogated for hours, without the notification of their parents. These boys were between the ages of 14 and 16. It wasn’t until one of the boys’ mother showed up at the police station demanding that they release her son because he is a minor, that they let him go home. The fact that this was never a thought before she showed up amazes me. When his mother said, “do I need to call the New York Times,” they quickly pulled back. I’m glad she had the gall to confront the troubled NYPD and prosecutors. Had she not, I can’t help but wonder how far this would have gone, though it had already gone too far.

Fathers of Color, What’s wrong with Y’all?

Before y’all come for my head, let me start by saying, not all black fathers. But the fathers in this mini series were trash. Sorry, not sorry. Granted, no one knows what he or she will do in certain situations; some people become heroes and others cower, but cower is an understatement when it comes to Antron McCray’s father getting angry with him (enough to throw a chair) and telling him to “say whatever these people want.” Seriously! Then he gets to court and explains that he believed if Antron did this then he’d be allowed to go home…Um, what world is he living in? Your BLACK son is being accused of raping a WHITE woman in the late 80s and if he lies on the others he will exonerated himself? That’s just stupid and y’all know it. I have read that this caused a rift between he and his father and their relationship was never the same or repaired and I’d say rightfully so. He literally contributed to taking his child’s life away. There’s not enough forgiveness in the world for that. And lets get on Raymond Santana’s father. He got married while Raymond was in juvenile detention. When he got out to return home, she had moved all of her family in the home and was very rude and disrespectful to him, constantly threatening to call is PO because he is a rapist. What kind of foolishness is this? Is this ok? Someone has to help me understand this. Is this normal behavior? And for his father to just sit there and look and reprimand his son for literally breathing? No sir. All in the name of ‘love?’ People will literally allow someone else to come in and change the whole family dynamic just to have somebody…y’all really trip me out with that. So the only way he could be there for his son was in private pretty much. We have to do better.

Black Police Officers, What’s Your Role?

I have to put this out there: I am not a police hater by far, but I have had a run in or two with the police myself and If I’m honest, my most negative experience came from a black officer. I wonder if this is anyone else’s experience because we don’t talk about that. How much responsibility do you put on black police officers. I mean, they do have the inside scoop. You would think many of them would try to do a better job of protecting their own from the corruption that we all know takes place in these police departments. But as previously stated, some people cower. Watching Korey Wise’s experience in prison, as a 16 year old, is particularly disheartening. He was a scared little boy in prison with all of these grown men for a crime he subsequently was found not guilty of. Do you think any of those black men or guards helped him? Nope. In fact they went out of their way to harm him. He was beat up constantly and the black guards, along with the white ones, mocked him. 16 years old. This angered me more than anything. Perhaps, I place a higher standard on black men (imagine that), but I was really disappointed by this. It was the white officer at the other prison that truly protected him and looked out for him. He was very kind and I hope this officer (if this part isn’t fictional) is getting his blessings from this.

White Women

I was always taught if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all, so I will leave that heading as is. I would really like to see a study done on white women to determine the things that go on in some of their brains. I will once again preface, with not all, but I am starting to wonder about many of them. We talk about self hate a lot in the black community, but realistically I have never seen a group of people hate themselves like white women. They will vote against their own rights, for what? I don’t know. But lets address Lucifer Fairstein, yes, that’s what I am calling her. She is very befitting of that title. I have never seen someone so happy about rape. That’s how I see it. She didn’t care about this victim, kind of like these men don’t care about these babies with these abortion bills, but that’s another story for another day. She had a personal agenda. She was all too eager to convict and coerce these little boys. And from what I read, to this day, she stands by her decision. That’s that narcissistic attitude that some of these white women have. I have seen one too many white women lie and deceive just to fulfill their own agendas or cover up their own mishandlings. It’s despicable and people fall for the crap all day. When are we going to start holding these people accountable? There is no way she should be able to walk around peacefully selling her novels or whatnot. It’s truly disgusting. I see there’s a petition going around to pull her books from shelves. Yeah, after she’s gained all this money and notoriety.

All in all, When They See Us is a good watch. It once again brings those matters that no one wants to talk about to the forefront. It brings forth emotions that are sometimes uncomfortable, but this is the reality of our lives even still today in 2019. I encourage you all to watch. I realize there are two types people in this world: those who do and say something and those who sit back and watch things happen quietly. Better pick a side quickly because as the world continues to turn, there is no way you will not be affected in some way by the craziness that is life. I also realize that there are number of people who just don’t care about the lives of little black boys. What will you do when it affect yours?

If you watched, what were your thoughts?

-Sincerely Brittny

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What Are You Willing to do for Love?

Is it only through scars that we find love? -Sincerely Brittny

I believe we are all born with this innate desire to be loved. This is likely because as children, we are catered to, hugged and kissed on, constantly held, and doted by almost everyone we come into contact with. As we continue to grow, the love lines start to blur. It’s almost as if the yearning for this feeling becomes an obsession of sorts. Now, it’s a daily task of “how can I please my family?” “What can I do to ensure this feeling never goes away?” “How can I continue to receive these hugs and kisses?” These praises, that make me feel so good inside. Then we experience what we believe to be romantic love. It is at this moment where we start to feel the negative components of love and then we become adults…By this point, the definition of this thing called love has become skewed and we all have our own definitions of what it is and act accordingly.

What were you taught about love? Were you ever taught anything about it at all? – I don’t think many of us were to be honest. Love was something we saw and felt by watching others, which ultimately led to us emulating these behaviors in hopes of getting something in return (kind of selfish when you think about it huh?) Many of our views and opinions about love were birthed through religion. Christians believe God is the only true source of love; agape love- love that is self-sacrificing, it is only through Him that we can experience love and exhibit love. Eros love -the sexual kind, had no place in the New Testament (I believe this speaks volumes). Buddhists believe in enlightenment through compassion and understanding: unconditional love. Latter Day Saints believe love is charity, what you do for others. Muslims believe those who do good, are pure, and act justly are loved…Dare I say, they are all saying the same things.

If love can be so simply put into these basic definitions, then why is it so difficult to obtain and why are so many people desperate for it? Desperate to the point that people are willing to steal, kill and destroy. Have you ever seen an episode of Snapped or For My Man? We all like to call them crazy, but forget how close we’ve been to that edge, all in the name of love. Love is complicated, which I am certain I will be met with “it’s not supposed to be”. Well, what is it supposed to be? What I do know is it’s this temporary insanity that sometimes never goes away.

My experience with love has been a bit of a seesaw. There have been extreme lows and extreme highs. I sometimes question if I’ve ever really experienced it. Sure I’ve been selfless, understanding, and literally given my last dime, but if it’s not reciprocated, is it really love? I’ve also questioned if anyone is capable of loving me in the fashion that I love others, or what I understand love to be. When it comes to romantic love, I do not believe in soulmates. I am not under the belief that there is only one person on this Earth that is made specifically and only for me, or you, or anyone else. I also don’t believe there is someone out there for everyone. This is not to discourage anyone, but think about it. The ratios are disproportionate. Suppose my ‘soulmate’ is dead. Does that mean I am to spend the rest of my life alone? This is a real question and could very well be fact. Yet still, I feel a desire for love and I am sure you do too.

So what are you willing to do for it? In hindsight, I realize some of my relationships (platonic and romantic) didn’t work because there wasn’t a mutual sacrifice (keyword: MUTUAL). In my spiritual awakening, I have learned that nothing is free. You can manifest all you want, but it comes at an expense. If you aren’t willing to make the sacrifice, then it will not work. This goes for anything. And the sacrifice will not come easy. Now this doesn’t mean you place your children in harm’s way, you endure violent environments, or you jeopardize your morals and values. I am certain this is what love is NOT. But realistically, some people may have exit your life, you may have to give up some of your pleasures, and you may have to spend countless nights alone and it’s ok. No, you cannot have it all. Sorry. Does love come with scars? Yes. Is being hurt a part of the story? Absolutely. But I hear the true beauty is in the healing and where we find the love we so desperately seek. It may not look how or be what we expect, but it is sure to come.

-Sincerely Brittny

Heartbroken Happiness: My Personal Essay

After the Rain Ends, the Sun Always Shines Again- Sincerely Brittny

In October of 2017, my world was shaken up. While I knew things weren’t going great, I was under the impression that things would get better if I just rode it out and stayed in prayer. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the case. The delusion that I had been living in finally came to light. I felt a mixture of emotions, but I was literally frozen and becoming more numb by the minute. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but that is truly my experience. I couldn’t do anything, couldn’t think of anything, many days, I couldn’t speak anything. I literally sat in silence at home for about a month. I went on about my daily work day, maintained conversations via group chat with my friends, and still laughed and joked with my mom, assuring her I was fine. But every day I’d go home, I was silent; partly from exhaustion of having to fake things all day and partly from the anger I felt at God. I was dying a slow death and confided in no one.

Months passed and I still sat in that emotionless state of shock, I guess. In between that time, a few things happened, a physical altercation, self-inflicted stab wounds to my right thigh, a move, a new job, and an epiphany: I had officially gone crazy. I didn’t know what was going on with me and was convinced I had some type of mental illness, but I still continued to go about my daily routine. In February of 2018, after I had started my new job, I decided to finally see a therapist. Now I am not one of those people who “feels some type of way” about therapy. I knew I needed it and was glad to finally have taken the plunge and scheduled an appointment. Therapy was everything I thought it would be. I walked into a room decorated in pastel blues, a soft aroma, and the infamous couch. As soon as I sat down, I could feel the tears already welding up in my eyes, but I played it cool, like a G, at first.

I realize there is probably a little explaining to do, especially in regards to the physical altercation and the stab wounds. So as to not create alarm, I will back up a bit and briefly address them. I honestly don’t remember which happened first (things are becoming a blur), but in the midst of a heated argument, in which I was enraged, I literally jammed a pen into my thigh, HARD, multiple times. It was as if I had blacked out. I can only imagine what that would have looked like to a fly on the wall. I didn’t feel any pain. It wasn’t until the other person in the room asked me what I was doing and snatched the pen from my hand, that I looked down and saw blood rolling down my legs. Side bar- I realize and understand now why people cut themselves. Physical pain is much easier to endure than emotional pain. It’s such a release and the body heals fairly quickly. I know that is a controversial statement, but I believe it to be truth; back to the story… then there’s the physical altercation. This one I will not go into detail about because it is a trigger for me. But it was another moment of “black out”. When you are in the middle of a physical altercation with someone you actually love and care about, things can get really difficult. My adrenaline was pumping, mostly from disbelief. I remember fighting to breathe and then just stopping. For what felt like 5 minutes, I just laid there. In that time, I knew I could no longer live my life in this fashion. I saw a knife (or maybe scissors, I’m not certain) in the corner in my peripheral vision and my mind went back and forth between grabbing this object and planning my next move. It was as if my energy was transferred to the other person involved and that person snapped out of it and just stopped as well. Then there was silence. We never really talked about it. I did receive an apology and that was that.

The very first thing my therapist said to me was very cliché. “Why are you here?” she asked. The flood gates immediately opened and I unleashed years worth of built up anger and emotion on her. When I was done, (in which she literally just sat there and watched me spaz out) I very vividly remember her leaning in close to my face and saying “I’m just going to say what no one else will and what I know you have been waiting to hear.” I’ll let you all guess what she said. It was a four word sentence – no, commandment. After that, I felt like I could finally exhale. I felt like I hadn’t taken a breath in years. I’m sure some of you understand that statement, whether you’re willing to admit it or not. I continued therapy for about a month. In the mean time, I was doing what I needed to do to get through each day.

There’s something about my birthday that makes me really emotional. That emotion can vary greatly. As my 33rd birthday was approaching, I felt sadness. I knew deep down, that I could not and would not spend another year of my life unhappy. A few days later, I grabbed all the personal belongings I could carry, packed them into my car and a friend’s car and I left everything else behind. Yes, you read that correctly. When you get to this level of desperation, where you are willing to sacrifice any and everything just to be happy, you realize many things you thought mattered, just…don’t. I mean you would be willing to do anything just to FEEL again, so I jumped off the cliff…and guess what, my parachute opened. I spent the next day handling business and the following day I happily celebrated my birthday with my closest friends. They don’t know it, but that day meant the world to me. It was the most fun and probably the most I had laughed in years.

I know that was heavy, but there’s a method to my madness. Heartbreak can come in many forms and from various places: family, friends, lovers, church, work, school, etc., but I am a living witness to the fact that your life can and will go on. As I am approaching my 34th birthday, I thought it necessary to reflect on this life lesson. Almost a year later, I am still heartbroken. I can be in a room full of people and at times, I still feel lonely. Life has truly beat me down; however, this comeback has been nothing short of amazing. I have grown so much spiritually and I have seen God work in my life in ways I have never seen before and it didn’t involve me going to the alter falling out every Sunday. It truly took peace, silence, and stillness to develop such an intimate relationship with God and with self. I love myself so much and no one can ever come between us again. I know myself very deeply and this intuition is on point! Throughout all of this I have learned that time doesn’t heal all wounds: YOU have to decide you are ready to be healed. And when that time comes, you will know.

Tips For Dealing With A Broken Heart:

  • Seek Therapy (no one has to know unless you tell them)
  • Cry (you have to release it, there’s no other way)
  • Eat (I know, it’s hard)
  • Do the things you enjoy doing (you know what you’re good at, do that)
  • Set a personal goal (like getting your body back right)
  • Fast (from people, social media, bad habits, etc)
  • Be authentic (don’t want to go- don’t)
  • Be observant (don’t ignore red flags, trust your gut)

Please Don’t:

  • Hurt yourself or others (if you’re feeling suicidal, please seek help)
  • Allow others to tell you how you should feel, think, or believe (i.e. you should be grateful, etc., shut down this behavior, it is toxic)
  • Isolate yourself all the time (sometimes is actually ok, allow people to be there for you)
  • Create distractions (you have to deal with this now or later)

~Sincerely Brittny

The Summation of Brittny

Brittny is a southern girl who is an avid reader and supporter of education.  She enjoys deep conversations about current events, pop culture, and the emotional rollercoasters that encompass black women and the black community as a whole.   She is a lover of family, books, and yoga.  She dibbles and dabbles in writing from time to time.

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