Everyday Inspiration, Day Eleven: A Cup of Coffee

If we were having coffee right now…

coffee 2

 

If we were having coffee right now… I’d tell you that I plan to learn to how to play an instrument very soon. God’s been telling me that it’s time to stop wishing, wanting and saying someday. The time is now, go for it. He gave me these gifts and these longings for a reason and it wasn’t to put them on a shelf.

If we were having coffee right now… I’d tell you that ever since I read Fervent by Priscilla Shirer with my bible study group I have been hearing God more and more. It’s exciting, and a tad unnerving. It’s like “Did I really hear that?”

If we were having coffee right now… I’d ask you when do you say when in your career life? I ask that because my relationship with my job is waning. I’ve been praying through some serious anxiety lately at the thought of my job. Sometimes the night before and sometimes in the car when I get in. I’m realizing now that when your job is making you psychologically ill it’s time to rethink some things.

If we were having coffee right now… I’d tell you that the farther I get into adulthood the more I realize how imperfect my childhood was. Well I never really thought it was perfect, but I’m understanding now it was more messed up than I thought. My parents will probably fight me on this one but it’s true. We’re not a “family-oriented” family and it should probably bother me more.

If we were having coffee right now… I’d say that though there are areas in my life where things aren’t great, I’m content. I’m enjoying the journey because I am determined not to waste my youth. I want to see, smell, taste, hear, and touch everything I’ve ever wanted to while I’m still young and able.

 

*photo by Patrick Tomasso

Everyday Inspiration, Day Five: Hook ’Em With a Quote

image

I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all.
Zora Neale Hurston

A Reconciliation To Blackness


When I was a little girl I preferred white dolls to black ones. I remember a home video of my 5th birthday at Chuck-E-Cheese where I complained at the sight of a black baby doll. “I wanted a white one.” I complained. This frustrated my parents who could not understand this preference of mine so they continued to buy me black dolls. I’ve always wondered why I was like this. I hadn’t experienced racism yet. I had no self-hatred or shame towards my race. I can only guess it was because I had no representations of black women in the books and TV shows I watched. There was no black Disney princesses at this time, no black kids starring in the shows or movies I enjoyed. All the characters I loved were white.
I loved Barbie as most girls did, but it was white Barbies that mostly graced store shelves. And the what did I have in common with the black Barbie? Other than her skin tone? And really not even that, she came only in a dark brown shade and I was not that. Her hair wasn’t like mine, and neither were her features. She was a darker version and that’s it. A second-rate copy, no more similar to me than white Barbie.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t experience racism in my early childhood. Although I was among one of the few black students in my classes surrounded by Latinos and Asians, the other kids never made me feel any different. Maybe because we were all growing up in a culturally diverse area and we were used to it. It wasn’t until I left the tolerant west and came to the not as tolerant south that all that changed.
It was made very clear to me early on that here in the south my “blackness” mattered to everyone. First of all the school I intended had been segregated in the 60’s. This shook me because in California, America’s checkered past wasn’t so easily seen. The buildings were newer, historic areas weren’t common. But even though the school wasn’t segregated anymore the students acted as if it was. The white kids hung out with the white kids, the black kids with the black kids, latinos with latinos. Furthermore certain races were expected to walk and talk a certain way. If you didn’t act “black” then you were acting white and therefore trying to be something that you’re not. This was made known to me the moment I opened my mouth to speak, I got some very confused looks followed by a “Where you from?”
I had no twang and used no slang, and was soft spoken. None of this was “typical” of black girls and therefore I was talking like a white girl. Up until to this moment no one had ever commented on the way I spoke. Not only did I not talk like them, I didn’t enjoy the same music or activities. I was shunned and branded a “Barbie.” Go figure.

So there I was in a social no man’s land. Not black enough for the black kids, but still too black for the whites and latinos. So I fell in with rest of the rejects, the gays, the pothead’s, and other troubled teens. They didn’t seem to care what I looked like, or how I spoke.
This unofficial segregation wasn’t only in the schools, it rippled through the rest of the small city of Amarillo, TX. There was a clear-cut area which was the black side of town, which in itself isn’t that uncommon. What perplexed me is that the blacks rarely even ventured out of their side of town as if there was an invisible wall around the east side of Amarillo. So when me and my family would go to restaurants and stores anywhere else in town we were usually the only black people. I can remember vividly one night when my family and I went to a Mexican restaurant, it wasn’t upscale in any way just your average family restaurant. As we entered the entire restaurant stopped what they were doing and looked at us. You’d think we were aliens dressed in purple the way we got everyone’s attention. They served us and the waiter was polite but no one expected us to be eating there. 2007 and a black family in a restaurant was unexpected!
Over time I came to expect uneasy stares because that’s usually where it ended. But one day as I was strolling through the “white” Wal-mart, that wasn’t where it ended. I was walking through the aisle and as I walked by this elderly white woman she pulled her purse closer to her.
“I don’t want your purse you old hag!” I wanted to yell.
She didn’t know but she had offended me deeply.
I hated that my “blackness” carried automatic suspicion. I hated that my “blackness” was the first thing people saw. Most of all I hated that this was accepted by everyone.

I was so glad when I left the accepted racism of small town America for the big city. I’ve heard Altanta called the “Black capital of America.” Not sure if that’s true or not but I know I found it very rereshing to able to walk through Target without drawing one iota of attention. In Amarillo it was rare that you saw a black face in Target, it was too “bougie.” But here I was in Atlanta in a Target where everyone was black!  Everywhere you looked there was black people, in nearly every part of the city! There were affluent areas filled with black families! It was hard to find a well off black family in Amarillo, let alone a whole neighborhood filled with them. Maybe Atlanta is the “black capital of America”, it defnitely is the black capital of the south. Are things perfect here? Of course not, racism in America is a chasm that runs very deep. It is an anomaly though  because the moment you leave the Metro-Atlanta area things start to look like more like the traditional south.

I’m grateful to Atlanta for patching up my racial wounds. I’m now surrounded by black people who are not “tragically colored” but are educated, empowered and independent. I am proud to be counted as one of them.

 

 

*Photo by John W. Mosley

 

 

Everyday Inspiration, Day Three: One-Word Inspiration

The dictionary defines home as the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. I think home means something different to each person.

home

Prompts come in many different forms. Sometimes, a single word is all you need to get your mind’s wheels turning.

WordPress: Blogging University

 

Home…

The dictionary defines home as the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. I think home means something different to each person. For some home is a place, a childhood home, the place where you were raised. For others home isn’t a place it’s wherever your family is, where you feel loved and accepted.
When I hear the word “home” nothing immediately comes to mind.
My hometown is San Diego, that’s where I was born and spent the majority of my life so far. But I haven’t been back in a long time and I have no close family members there anymore, so to me it’s almost become this empty place. I have no fuzzy feelings or pull to San Diego that I would attribute to a place called home.
My parents are separated and my family is scattered all over the country.  Although if they were all in one place my relationship with my extended family is distant. So I doubt I would call that place home.
I don’t believe I’ve lived in Atlanta long enough to truly call it home. My apartment here is just a temporary roof over my head it has no sentimental value.

I suppose my home is something in the making. I daydream about one day when I have a family of my own, having a open home for anyone who needs it. Need a meal? Come. A place to lay your head? Come. Need a surrogate family? Come. My home is your home.
Until then I don’t feel like my life is lacking too much. Yes my family isn’t all together and I don’t have a childhood home I can return to but I do have a support system of my immediate family and close friends throughout Atlanta. So I have little pieces of home all over the city and I am thankful for them.

 

 

*photo by Bradley Swenson

Everyday Inspiration, Day Two: Write a List

The soft glow of the sunrise through closed blinds.
The sound of my best friends laughter.
That nostalgic feeling I get when I smell my Dad’s cologne

coffee

Compiling a list is a way to let loose, unlock ideas, and free your mind.

-Wordpress: Blogging University

15 Things I Love…

  1. The soft glow of the sunrise through closed blinds.
  2. The sound of my best friends laughter.
  3. That nostalgic feeling I get when I smell my Dad’s cologne.
  4.  A warm day with a cool breeze.
  5. When my friends call me “Tawn” instead of Tawni.
  6. Watching my mug fill with coffee first thing in the morning.
  7. That first deep breath after finishing a really good book.
  8. The sound of soft rain.
  9. The music at the end of a classic movie.
  10. A starry sky.
  11. Late night Taco Bell runs.
  12. Chicken strips and french fries dipped in ranch dressing.
  13. A comfy pair of jeans.
  14. That relieved feeling when you’re climbing into bed after a long day.
  15. Singing at the top of my lungs in my car with the windows down.

 

*Photo by Hello Goodbye

Everyday Inspiration, Day One: I Write Because…

Writing is how I process my life, a lot of times I don’t quite know how I feel about something until I start writing about it. It helps me make sense of my chaotic mind.

journal

I write because…

It connects me to the world around me. Ever since before I could read I have been obsessed with stories of people’s lives. The love, heartbreak, ups, and downs that mark us and make us individuals but also unite us. The written word is how these human experiences can be shared with the masses. So someone I don’t know and will never meet can share their story with me and I can share my story with them and we can share that bond. And through this bond we can learn something new or find a fresh perspective on something old. Maybe your experience will help me in my life, maybe we’re two of a kind.

Writing is how I process my life, a lot of times I don’t quite know how I feel about something until I start writing about it. It helps me make sense of my chaotic mind.

I love words. I love how words can make us feel something, whether it’s good or bad. I love how a person can string the right words together in just right the way and transport me to another time and place.

It’s my gift. God gives us gifts because he wants us to them. My goal in life is to make the most of everything God has given me.

 

*photo by Negative Space

Writing 101: Reinvent The Letter Format

To: My Musemuse

Dearest,

Who would’ve thought you would come to mean so much to me, and to my art. I don’t even remember when I first met you but suddenly you were there smiling at me. You have no idea the ways you have inspired me. Your kindness, your strength, your heart have pushed me to reveal what is truly within, holding nothing back.

Our love may not be unrequited or furiously passionate like other artists have had with their muses. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t love. It’s a mutual adoration and trust of which I’ve come to rely on. You are a comfort on a particularly dreary day, and I feel safe with you. I don’t know how long we will stay like this, but I intend to enjoy every moment.

I want you to know that you’re more than just a “regular” guy, you are a jewel of a person. So don’t let this world dull your shine my dear. I am praying for you.

Love Always,

Tawni ♥

Writing 101: Hook ’em With A Quote

I just can’t believe that life would give us to each other,’ he said, ‘and then take it back.’

‘I can,’ she said. ‘Life’s a bastard.

-Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor and Park

Some love is temporary and if you didn’t know that, “life” will let you know soon enough. You think you’ve found something only to have it snatched from under you. You come crashing down to the floor your pride bruised and hope shattered. Love songs on the radio begin to take on new meaning, and you wonder why did you even take a chance? But then you get up dust yourself off and remember that very few things are what they seem and that you should have known better. Check off another life lesson on the list.

Personally after that first initial punch in the stomach “love” changed in my mind.  The world just got uglier in general. I thought “God they’re some really sucky people on the planet. How could someone just use you like that and claim to love you?”  

The rose-colored glasses were off and I was quite sure I would be single for a very long time to come. But that dirty stinking heart of mine started to feel again. Not only did it feel, it soared, higher than that first time. I coasted there for a while, letting myself forget all the reasons it would not work. Eventually reality came calling and took me down. The recovery was shorter this time, but painful all the same. Here I am several months later and I still fight off the occasional bout of longing for him.

Sometimes I wish I was this cold robot who had no need for romantic love, so I wouldn’t have to worry about any of this. The thought of getting to know someone again and being vulnerable with them is quite exhausting. But I’m not a robot, I’m a human being with a heart that has a lot to give.