In elementary school, I was oblivious to racial issues. I was in classes with mostly white people. All of my best friends were white; they were my sisters and brothers. When I was in elementary school, I rarely heard about or dealt with racial issues.
It wasn’t until middle school that I knew something was different. There was a boy who always called me horrible names and made fun of my dark skin. Who does that? At the time I wasn’t aware, but what I experienced was racism.
When I was a teenager, I loved going to the mall and stores with my mom. One notable shopping experience happened when I was 14 or 15. My mom, my sister, and I had gone to Kmart. Because I got bored easily, I usually wandered around the store alone while my mom shopped. Usually I stayed in the book section, but I was curious about makeup, so I went to that aisle to look at all the different products. You know that weird feeling you get when someone is staring at you? I had that feeling. When I looked behind me, I saw an employee turn the corner really fast. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but when I made it to the next aisle over, the employee confronted me. I’ll never forget him. He was an older white guy with grey hair around the sides, and he wore round glasses. He demanded that I open my purse. I immediately started crying. . I didn’t know why he wanted me to open my purse, but I opened it anyway. I had lip gloss, my wallet, and a book in there. He demanded that I show him a receipt for my lip gloss–My half-used lip gloss. Through my tears, I told him that it was mine and that I didn’t have a receipt because my mom bought it from the pharmacy near my house. He huffed and walked away. I ran to find my mom and stopped wandering around stores for quite a while after that. I mean, I was so scared! I didn’t even tell my mom what happened. I was THAT scared. I thought I’d done something wrong.
Fast forward to later in high school. My group of friends was more diverse, but still included a lot of white people. Often, I had friends call me names like “Oreo” or “Black-white girl” because I “acted white.” I usually laughed with my friends about it, but I’d go home and cry. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I felt like I wasn’t acting the way I was supposed to. I didn’t like the stereotypical black things and everyone pointed it out to me. In the same breath, those who called me the previously mentioned names also called me “clear.” They didn’t see me as black. What does that even mean?
All of this, among other things, led me to self-harm. I just didn’t want to be here anymore. I mean, my friends couldn’t even go a day without pointing out how different I was. I felt like a freak.
I’m now 27 and confident in my skin. I know who I am. When people tell me they don’t see color, I speak up. When people say something racist, I speak up. When people say things to me in an attempt to joke around because I’m not a “typical black girl,” I speak up. Yes, I’m black. Yes, my hair is kinky. No, you can’t touch it. When the cashier at Walmart decided that I didn’t deserve a proper greeting, but instead asked for my WIC payment information, I spoke up. When the random woman in the mall walked by and said, “She is from Africa, look at the baby back there,” I spoke up. When the greeting card store employee followed me around the entire store, I spoke up.
I may not always share my personal struggles, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t deal with racism. I feel like people forget that I’m black. I do experience racism. I do experience judgment. Just because you’re white and you’re my friend doesn’t mean that every other white person in the world treats me the same loving way you do.
I don’t even know why I feel that I need to disprove the claims from many of my white friends who think I don’t experience racism. It’s probably because every time I post an article about racism, I get asked “Well, how does that affect you?” It’s probably because every time I post a status update about racism, I am told “Brittany, I love you, but I am tired of hearing about this all the time.” It’s probably because every time I post a picture about racism, I’m told “Hey, that is reverse racism!” Getting an insider’s view of what it is like to deal with racism in America is not an easy thing to digest. You’re not going to always want to see it. Be happy that you don’t have to live that every single day.
Hey friends? In case you forgot, I’m black.
Since I’ve become a mother, my life has completely changed.
My demeanor has changed.
My friends have changed.
My relationship with my family has changed.
I love the changes!
Of all these changes, the most important has been the change in friends. I’ve become closer to other moms. Especially my “mommy group.” We all were due in October. We went through our entire pregnancies together. We are watching our babies grow up together. These women help keep me sane! I wish we had all lived closer together. Our conversations range from hilarious to serious. We’ve helped each other through problems. We’ve talked each other off the ledge. These ladies are seriously my best friends! They have helped motherhood be even easier than I ever imagined it could be. I am so grateful for having these women in my life. This community…this mommy club…it is amazing! I love you ladies!
To those who say that online friends are not real friends, you are sorely mistaken and you are missing out on a lot!
Since I’ve given birth, my life has revolved around being a mom. I’m with my child almost every second of every day. My days consist of breastfeeding, babywearing, and doing homework. That’s it. It’s all I think about. It makes sense that the things I share on various social media websites will reflect my life, right?
I post about breastfeeding.
I post about babywearing.
I post about attachment parenting.
I post about school.
I post about everything I believe in.
I post about everything I don’t believe in.
I post about my entire life!
Yesterday was no different. I shared the status of one of the moms that I admire very much. It was great information so of course I shared it!
I love that! Breast milk is amazing! The post got a few likes, but then I got an odd and unnecessary comment that had nothing to do with the post.
To be honest, the comment angered me. I constantly see things I don’t want to see on facebook. I simply hide the posts or just disregard them. I don’t go to the posts and say, “Well you know, you post too much about this. Stop it.” The post had nothing to do with breastfeeding in public. The only hatred I have received in MONTHS is that comment right there. Of course I thought about it and I gave the person a simple and polite response.
After this, many of my incredible friends expressed their support for me and explained to the person how easy it was to hide updates that they didn’t want to see. They also expressed how much they appreciated my posts on breastfeeding because they learn so much. The person said a few other things, but then said something that threw me off.
Why would anyone go to an acquaintance to complain about me rather than speaking to my husband or myself first? It makes absolutely zero sense. No one tried to make the person out to be a villain, but people did tell said person how they felt about them making an unnecessary comment on an unrelated post.
Luckily the person deleted me after I asked the person why anyone would go to them about me. It’s possible that the person was just trying to justify their rude comment. I am happy that the person is off of my Facebook friends list. I am also absolutely elated to know that I have so many friends that do appreciate my posts and care about the many different aspects of my life.
I don’t plan on changing my posting habits. If there is a problem, I extend the same invitation to you as I did the person in this post; just unfollow me. My Facebook and Instagram both reflect my life perfectly.
Everyone does the “I’m Thankful” posts this time of year. I’m joining in this time! These eleven things that I am thankful for are in no particular order.
1. I’m thankful to be able to breastfeed this beautiful baby, especially since some people can not breastfeed. I cherish the journey so much.
2. I’m thankful to have such a cute and cuddly baby who loves to be worn. It makes things more peaceful for the both of us.
3. I’m thankful for being a mom. It can be hard at times, but I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my life.
4. I’m thankful for that warm day in September when I got to meet my wonderful daughter, Maxine Elisabeth. You changed my life!
5. I’m thankful for the Green Bay Packers! Football makes me happy and so does my team. GO PACK GO!!
6. I’m thankful for being able to have been pregnant. I hated being sick all the time, but I am very happy that I got to do it. I’m happy with the outcome. I’m happy that I didn’t gain a single pound the entire time.
7. I’m thankful for my best friend Sarah. I have had a long year and she has helped make it easier for me. Even though she lives a couple hours away, I can always count on her. We’ve been friends for about 17 years now and I wouldn’t change a thing.
8. I’m thankful for this smile. It always brightens my day.
9. I’m thankful for Carressa! She has been there for me through so much since she moved to Smithfield and ran into the boys bathroom. I love my roast beef and her entire family. They treat me like family and I’m thankful for that too.
11. I’m thankful for my wonderful husband! Thanks to him, I’m a mom! Our relationship has grown so much through the years we have been together and I am excited that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.
What are you thankful for?
I really miss my friends that live out of town.
Carressa, my Roast Beef (that’s another story,) has been in town, so on Saturday I went out to dinner with her and her family! I didn’t eat anything because Maxine just doesn’t let me eat how I want to, but it was great conversation with people who I love just like my own blood family. This really made me feel incredibly happy and loved. I really miss hanging out with my friends, PERIOD. Of course I was overjoyed that Carressa flew in from Texas!! I love her so much!
The only thing missing is a picture with her brother, Lance, BUT he was pulling the car around.
I can’t wait until the next time that I get to see Carressa and her family too!
I am so grateful that I finally got to go out and do something. The cabin fever was really setting in!
You know, people really seem to think I am completely ignorant to babies.
“Oh you wait, babies are no cakewalk” “Beware! You will get to deal with explosive diarrhea!”
PEOPLE, I KNOW.
I am not ignorant to kids.
In the past decade, I have been pooped on, peed on, sneezed on, puked on (in the face among other things,) coughed on, snotted on, bit, scratched, punched, smacked, EVERYTHING. I’ve seen the most disgusting diapers in life. I’ve seen a kid poop out of their diaper up to their neck.
All this from kids who are NOT mine.
I know what to expect, and I know that there are things that no unwanted story will prepare me for.
The only thing more annoying to me than the people who think that I have no clue what babies even are, are the people who tell me how I should raise my unborn child!
If I need advice, I have two moms and two dads, aunts and uncles, plus a sister who have all raised kids who I can turn to.
Unless I ask for advice on anything else (such as what things were amazing for you that you swear by on your baby registry,) consider your advice UNSOLICITED.