This Whole Blog Is A Masquerade

This Whole Blog Is A Masquerade

I won't pretend that I read/watch the news and know everything that's going on in the world. Most times I get my news from Facebook. Sometimes the stories and what people have to say about them slaps me in the face. It's the big stories, the stories that are close to home, the stories that have gone viral, and the ignorant comments shared about those stories that affect me the most.

It's those times that I read what everyone else has written because I don't have the courage to articulate what I want to write. It's a fear that I won't process the facts of the news and that if I react too quickly, I cannot retract what I've said once it's published to cyberspace. It is those times that I sit back and wait for a writing prompt so that I can write something safe, something that people will read, enjoy and relate to even when it's not relevant and the world is falling apart.

I don't know why I harbor my feelings and ideas. Is it because I grew up in the right place or the wrong place? Is it because I went to the right school or the wrong school? Is it because of my experiences or lack thereof that keep me hiding here in plain sight?

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The night Obama won the Presidential election in 2008, I sat alone on my sofa in stunned silence long after I had talked with Mom, Daddy and my brother. I couldn't believe it was possible that a Black man was going to be the next president of the United States. WE, as in Black people, had won something that had our ancestors dancing from the rooftops in heaven. It scared me as much as it thrilled me.

I had a sad nights sleep worrying about Obama in office, just as I would worry about my own brother if he were in those shoes.

I dreamt the lyrics to Love's In Need Of Love Today.

"Good morn or evening friends 
Here's your friendly announcer 
I have serious news to pass on to every-body 
What I'm about to say 
Could mean the world's disaster 
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain..." - Stevie Wonder

The next day I drove Christopher to daycare in a daze. I didn't make knowing eye contact with anyone. On my way back home, Never Would Have Made It came on the radio and my eyes flooded with tears. I grabbed tightly onto the steering wheel and began to sob. Anyone driving past me would have thought I had just received some terrible news.

"When I look back...Over what He brought me through
I realize that I made it...  Because I had You to hold on to..." Marvin Sapp

Ihad had a rough year at work. Just months prior to the election and on one of those forever long days where I was numb to the core, I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I told my husband that I wanted to quit. I wanted to go in the next day and quit! But I had to hold on a little while longer.

One morning some of my co-workers were in a huddle talking about the war. One person was talking about Osama Bin Laden and said, "Obama." Someone corrected her and then she said, "Same difference." I was stunned silent. I said to myself, "I can't go through this election here."

By October 2008, I had given my notice and I was working part-time until the person hired to replace me had been trained. Michelle Obama had come to Jacksonville, North Carolina to speak and no one could deny my leave so that I could attend.

So on the morning after November 4, 2008, I was coming home and not going to work. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like to sit there all day. I could imagine one ignorant person saying, "Well YOU must be happy today." I came in the house and leaned against the wall and sobbed. I sobbed for what I had been through. I sobbed because we had a Black President, and I sobbed for what he was going to go through.

I sobbed because while the campaign had promised change, and the diversity of crowd on election night was beautiful, from there hate was going to flow like a river.

8 years later... and sometime between the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson and the protests...

Daddy and I were talking and he was giving me a list of things to write about on my blog. He read aloud from his tablet notes, "Is it just me or is something wrong with the world? What is all the fighting about?" 

Little did we know that so much more was going to happen in such a short time. 

I didn't say anything to him at the time, but to myself I said, I am never going to write about that. I get tired of thinking about it. I am tired of hates existence. I don't want to tell a story that can't even compare to what others have experienced. I can't articulate what's on my mind. I don't want to sound bitter to my white friends. And the people I want to reach won't ever read what I've written anyway. So what's the point?

Within that same timeframe, daddy passed me his headphones and said, "Listen to this song." The song playing in my ears was The Whole World Is A Masquerade. The song gave me pause and I had to sit down. I listened and I wanted to cry as the lyrics sank in.

"Can this world be a masquerade
Are you really what we see on the outside
And hidin' what what you really are on the inside
Pretending that you're something you're really not, yeah yeah
Whole world is a masquerade
Everybody, everybody wears another face
Whole world is a masquerade
Everybody, everybody wears another face
Just like a masquerade
Just like a masquerade
Yeah, can't you see, can't you see what you really are, ooh yeah
Pretending that you want the world to be a better place
Yet you're fightin', makin' war on your fellow man
So why wear this face that makes it seem everything's so great, yeah" - Earth, Wind & Fire

I've listened to that song so many times since then. I always ask myself, am I hiding who I am on the inside when I don't write about what really makes me FEEL? Am I pretending that I am something that I'm not because I won't get political, radical, racial, spiritual, religious, or controversial here? Am I part of the masquerade? 

This morning, a song from my workout playlist, Where Is The Love brought this post to the forefront of my mind and I could no longer keep these thoughts to myself...

"But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah..." - Black Eyed Peas

I don't know what I'm trying to pour out here, but I'm purging thoughts that run more than 8 years deep.

Closing with some lyrics to So What The Fuss? by Stevie Wonder...

"And if we live in a time where every nation's fightin 'round the world 
Yet we can't all agree that peace is the way 
Shame on us...
And should there be just a handful that believe that we are totally free 
And there's no need to fight for equality 
Shame on us, Shame on me, Shame on you, Shame on them, Shame on us."

I can't say that I won't continue to harbor unwritten feelings, but I had to lay foundation for the possibilities.

I haven’t been physically abused by racism but I am scarred by its existence.

This post is as relevant today as it has been my whole life.

Whether you are or are not in denial about the world we live in, you've got to find and listen to all of these songs in their entirety. They are deep!

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