I was looking through my Facebook feed the other day, and I saw a comment from one of my online friends, Mikey Mayweather. He always has something nice to say whenever I post, always filled with love and humor. Mikey lives across the country in California, is a DJ and an artist… filled with amazing energy. He’s also a black man. We have quite different interests and backgrounds, but my life is enriched by his presence, there’s no doubt about that. We both “love” love, so in that alone, there’s enough in common to forge this virtual bond of sorts. I do not know if we’ll ever meet in person, but it’s amazing what he’s taught me without even using words. One recent morning I saw his response to one of my posts, and I thought about how blessed I am that the color of our skin doesn’t separate us in anyway at all… if anything it brings us closer together. I know that he’s got my back and I have his so to speak, and perhaps that’s what we’re actually saying in the few phrases and salutations we do exchange online. The events of January 6th made me realize that so many individuals in our country are missing out on some amazing human beings and the lessons they have to teach us… all because of race. This brought me great sadness, however at the same time, brought to light that my life is truly enriched by embracing diversity… and we all could be.
“Still, there’s a wonderful world waiting for us that dare to acknowledge our inner workings… interactions with a rainbow of peoples and cultures, each and everyone waiting to pass along information that will only enrich our experience on this planet. “
I don’t want to sound self righteous here, that’s not the place this post is coming from. It’s coming from a very happy and joyous awareness, a type of excitement from knowing that the human experience is fully open to me, free to learn as much as I can during my lifetime. I’m also not going to be naïve, I know there are elements in my psyche that still contain racism, we have to acknowledge them in order to work against them. But my openness to explore and address what these feelings have to say, only makes my acceptance of others even greater. I learned that lesson while reading a book called White Fragility, introduced to me by another amazing online friend, Annmarie Slater. Being raised as white permanently programs us in ways that we can’t fully comprehend, especially since there’s so much we’ll never experience, primarily because we’re living as white people in a nation that favors us. Still, there’s a wonderful world waiting for us that dare to acknowledge our inner workings… interactions with a rainbow of peoples and cultures, each and everyone waiting to pass along information that will only enrich our experience on this planet. As someone that lives my life as an up-lifter, I just wish others could share this kind of love with me.
I have photos on my wall in my home office, of people that have inspired me all my life. Most of them are African American woman, as their personal struggles and battles they’ve fought have given me strength to move forward on days where I’ve felt like giving up. Each with their own story, none of which I would have known if I had closed the doors of inclusiveness into my life. As I’m writing this post, I’m looking at the photo of the latest framed addition, that of Ma Rainey. Known as the Mother of Blues, she wasn’t just a strong-minded person, she was ahead of her time as a woman… not just as a person of color. Ma Rainey was also open about her sexuality, and sung about her same sex experiences with her lovers. The positioning of her photo makes it appear as though she’s smiling down at me, separate from the other photographs in the room, just the way she was separate from so many of her time in history. I had seen the film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix just the other weekend, and the awareness of her has enriched my life even further. For some reason, her energy fully resonates with me, almost as if I knew her back in the day. Her voice fills the room as I’m writing, her words available to me through the technology of Amazon’s Echo devices. Almost a hundred years after her songs were recorded, they continue to move, inspire… and enrich.
That’s definitely the word of the day for me.