A Word – Greatness

I just want to be great. Recognized for my simplicity and appreciated for my achievements. I want others to underestimate my ambitions and be dumbfounded by my results; influenced by my charisma and inspired by my story. My greatest achievements won’t be measured monetarily or tangibly. No, I’m reaching higher for satisfaction. I want smiles, laughter, a hug, or even that natural glow of thanks which someone gives when they have truly been acknowledged. To stimulate an inner change and break down walls of faults is my desire. Affecting one is to affect many. I want my greatness to be your biggest day of solace and the beginning to your own success. I want to be great but want YOU to be even greater.

A series called “A Word”:
In the Baptist church when a pastor goes off in ministry, you might hear the congregation say, “He/She preached a Word tuh-day!” Or maybe among deep conversation with your homegirl or boy and they say something thought provoking. That too, was most likely, “a Word”. Well, my Words are actual words, but their meaning dives deeper than the individual letters. Coupled with my photography, Words are powerful, and I want you to be enlightened and inspired by them.

Top 5

False accusations made towards black and brown are far more commonplace than you realize. I hear people throwing around the idea that this is all social media and far left conspiracy. So let’s shine some UV light on true cases from the people you do know and call colleagues and friends.

Call this my Top 5.
*Some are a little rough so tread lightly.*

1. Middle school year I had a serious asthma attack that had me hospitalized for 3 days. Until that time my asthma had been pretty well controlled, so this was an anomaly. Upon my return home Sunday, I was eager to go back to school. My mom sat me down and informed me that I would not be going to school that week. Perplexed, she then proceeded to explain to me that there was a rumor being spread from a girl on my block- a white girl. This girl who I had only waved and smiled at at the bus stop was telling people at school that while I was in the hospital critically ill- I had stolen my parents’ car, picked her up, and committed the heinous crime of raping her in an unmarked building downtown. Until that point in my life, I don’t think I’d ever even received a demerit in school. So when the principal found out, she automatically denounced the accusations and called my parents to apologize. All I can remember is going to the principal later for them to tell me what happened and as an 11 year old kid, not really understanding how I could even get to this point. If I were not in the hospital or a “good kid”- I could still be doing time today. My first time I realized  my skin color was recognized. I learned that day I was an asthmatic with a record.

2. My brother’s story but relatable: We lived in a suburban neighborhood that luckily had many ethnicities. One day, my brother proceeds to try to get into our parents’ car- in our driveway, in front of our house- when a police car pulls up to our home and asks for ID. Luckily, my dad overheard the confrontation and ran outside to put the officer in his place. Another case of your own property can’t be yours even in your own home. I learned that day I was a trespassing property owner.

3. My siblings and I drove cross country from LA to Texas to get my brother’s car registered. It was our first road trip together and a lot of fun. Once again, very young, I was taking pictures of every structure and person. I felt free. On an open road, I believe in Mexico City, my brother was going the speed limit and switched lanes after passing a semi truck. Out of nowhere, a police car rides from the opposite lane, crosses over dirt and other lanes to pull my brother over. He takes my brother out behind our car to discuss why he pulled him over. When I saw the officer’s brim hat, shades, and tall boots through the rearview mirror, I became excited. The officer’s style reminded me of all the Western TV shows I used to watch with my mom. All I wanted to do was take a picture of him with my Polaroid. Without thinking, I opened the door to ask if I could take a picture of him with me. All I remember, like a Western draw, hand to holster, the officer proceeds to yell at me to get that “boy” back into the car. I learned that day I was a criminal with a polaroid camera.

4. I did a year at Boston University as a college senior because I thought my journey to medicine was going to have me in medical school. On the school’s campus, there is a convenient store where all the students go at any time of the night to get their snacks. During my late night study, I decided to go down to get some chips. As I walked up to the cash register and placed my chips on the counter, I reached into my black coat to get my wallet. Before I could pull my hand out, the cashier threw his hands up high, scared. I looked at him and then glanced at the 5 people standing around him in the store looking at me wondering what I was going to do. Once he saw my wallet, he proceeded to laugh. I bought my dollar chips and left. I learned that day I was a robber with an education.

5. Someone that goes unnamed recently apologized for calling me a racial slur in high school during these trying times we are currently in. I honestly do not remember what was said or when it was said; but it made me realize there are probably a lot of traumatic moments I have blown off because in America we are forced too. I learned just recently I am a traumatized amnesiac. 

Suburban black kid raised in Austin, Texas who went to an HBCU and a PWI, these are just the handful. Imagine all the other hands of black and brown individuals with similar stories.  

So before we denounce and overlook these stories in the media, just know your neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends are the untold ones. Just listen.  

What are your Top 5?