The Inner Conflict of Being a Black Gentrifier

I’m from the part of San Francisco James Baldwin dubbed, “The San Francisco America pretends does not exist.” Gentrification in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood is likened to the despair and plainness that happens when Christmas decorations are taken down and the tree is left barren, shrunken, abandoned and unremarkable.

While I mourn Bayview and its neighbors that once were, I find myself a transplant in someone else’s neighborhood contributing to the reason generations of locals are being displaced.  Many young Black professionals find ourselves journeying from college to a new socioeconomic status that has landed us in a place where we have become the modern day “invisible men”— Black gentrifiers criticizing gentrification for its polarizing effects on hometowns we left behind to attain the American Dream, though benefitting from the effects gentrification has on the neighborhoods in which we’ve chosen to live, work, and raise families.

Being a Black woman at a time when so many women who look like me are silently dying with no one being held accountable, I have no choice but to stay “woke.”  To be anything less than conscious is dangerous. And so here I am simultaneously awake and invisible, disheartened by the recent headlines from my hometown about the racial tensions, cultural, economic, and class divides that are becoming as much a part of San Francisco as the Golden Gate Bridge. Yet, I find myself 3000 miles away, living in a historically Black neighborhood and somehow removed from the struggles of longtime residents who are being displaced because of the very tensions and divides that ravage my hometown.

Read more at Ebony.com

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Andrea is a native San Franciscan raised on a heaping dose of colorful truths and beautiful stories. A freelance writer at heart and a public health social worker by trade, she makes the truth look pretty even when it isn't. Her work has been featured on The Guardian, Huffington Post, JETmag.com, Clutch and xojane to name a few.

What To Expect When You Start Therapy

”What purpose does a therapist serve?”

This was just one of the many real-life responses from someone who doubted my decision to seek professional help to address my ongoing battle with depression a few years ago. Seriously.

The palpable reactions of concern and distrust from loved ones honestly didn’t surprise me, but it would’ve been nice to have a heads-up on some of the unexpected changes that occurred immediately after I began what I like to refer to as my “couch confession sessions.”

Instead of an instant life-fixing prescription, I received homework assignments that for the first time, I couldn’t haphazardly complete with an all-nighter, faced loved ones who openly doubted my therapist’s advice, and dealt with the stress of relationship changes induced by my desire to heal with a stranger’s help. Basically, therapy came with a ton of fine print and I wasn’t prepared to read.

If you’re considering therapy, here are 7 things you can expect to happen after you take that first step to psychological betterment:

Progress won’t happen overnight.


Now that you’ve started therapy, your inner badass will instantly emerge from its cocoon to whip your life into shape with Iyanla-like precision, right? Sorry to disappoint you beloved, but that’s not exactly how this works.

Maybe it was a combination of desperation and extreme anxiety, but I was convinced that my first few sessions would yield instant results, much like an hour-long TV series co-signed by Oprah. In reality, there isn’t a quick fix for deep-seated issues that have already had a literal lifetime head start on your attempts to resolve them. Embrace therapy as an ongoing process and realize that that in itself is progress.

The first therapist you see may not be a good fit and you might be tempted to give up.


If your therapist is habitually late, monopolizes the session with personal stories or makes snap judgments before you’re halfway through your back story, don’t be so quick to forfeit your peace of mind to settle into a lifetime of dysfunction.  We’ve heard horror stories about ineffective therapists, which can be a major turnoff to those who are already resistant to the process.

Instead of allowing a bad experience to completely derail your efforts, commit to going the extra mile for the sake of your well-being. Put the same energy into finding a therapist who fits your needs as you would into perfecting your bantu knot outor hustling your way to boss status.

Friends and family will challenge the process.


While the guiding light of therapy slowly illuminates the pathway to a promise land free of generational curses and self-destructive mindsetssome loved ones will struggle to support your self-care journey. For instance, your parents could view therapy sessions as a direct insult to their child-rearing skills (they raised you right, didn’t they?), or your spouse might take the slow-paced progress as a sign that you’re simply wasting time and money on an overpaid professional coddler. Meanwhile, your bestie is perpetually side-eyeing your counselor (because she’s pretty sure she knows you better than anyone else).

Even if the sentiments of those closest to you seem to come from a place of genuine love and concern, it’s been my experience that the less you share about your sessions with trusted relatives and friends, the better. I found that listening to too many opinions confused me and interrupted my progress. As someone who loves to share experiences and life lessons, this was a challenge for me, but it inevitably reinforced the benefits of having access to an unbiased individual who keeps ego and personal ideologies out of the equation.

Read more of this post at xoNecole.com.

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Kenya is a freelance writer and copy editor from Dallas. She covers entertainment and lifestyle issues for Cambio. Her work has also been published on Bustle, Clutch, Tea and Breakfast and xoJane.

6 Things You Can Expect to Happen When You Stop Being a People Pleaser

So, you finally decided to stop being a doormat.

First off, accept sincere congratulations from this former people pleaser who now wields her boundary-setting prowess with ninja-like precision. Thanks to the encouragement of a therapist and countless self-sacrificial fails, I routinely partake in putting the most epic of smackdowns on human leeches, unreasonable requests and the urge to say yes when I really mean hell to the no, and I must say — it feels damn good.

Due to the horrible things that happen when you fail to assert yourself, I’d advise anyone involved in this self-destructive game of putting everyone else’s needs before your own to start playing a “me first” version of hardball ASAP. That said, reversing the habit isn’t quite that simple – just ask Oprah, who admitted to being a pushover in the past.

While giving up the doormat life doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll become the next Grand Goddess of Goodness with a complementary Stedman Graham lookalike, these six life changes that take place post-doormat status are reason enough for you to start putting yourself first – with no apologies.

Some users might pull a vanishing act, while others will resist the new you.

When you do away with a doormat mentality, you’re bound to off-load some dysfunctional relationships by default (and good riddance to them). Don’t be surprised to see far less of those whose viability is normally rooted in your reliability. However, in the case of anyone who doesn’t immediately perform a silent two-step out the nearest side door along with the rest of the people you’ve stopped enabling, standing your ground with them is key even if it feels unnatural in the beginning.

More time and energy for self-care.

Aside from flourishing edges, here’s something else reformed doormats can expect to have more of: time and energy. Disengaging from the draining act of people pleasing automatically frees up more opportunity for invaluable “me” time and the ability to mentally recharge. When you commit to being every woman to everyone but yourself, losing your sense of self is inevitable. Over time, your choices, thoughts, feelings and priorities become a blur beneath a growing pile of collective to-do lists that you didn’t create. Ridding yourself of the need to please clears the path to rediscovering and redefining who you are.

Saying “no” becomes less scary.

For those who lack the skills to pull off assertiveness, the imagined backlash or rejection associated with uttering such a potent one-syllable word might prompt cold sweats, nightmares and near-anxiety attacks. When I first moved beyond my fear of turning folks down, it felt like someone flipped on a light switch inside of me, illuminating the fact that people who truly cared about me didn’t simply stop because I denied their requests. Besides, a lifetime of fulfilling everyone else’s needs to the point that it becomes a detriment to your well-being is infinitely more frightening than saying no.

Read the rest of this post at xoNecole.

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Kenya is a freelance writer and copy editor from Dallas. She covers entertainment and lifestyle issues for Cambio. Her work has also been published on Bustle, Clutch, Tea and Breakfast and xoJane.

5 Ways to Cope When Your 2016 is Already on Some Serious BS

If 2015 was Cliff Huxtable, then 2016 is my Bill Cosby.

Before I could find a moment to create a vision board to fix my future life, this shiny new year wasted no time shoving a Shaquille O’Neal-sized foot up my ass — and twisting it for good measure.

Since the leap year began about two weeks ago, I’ve struggled to keep my sanity in the midst of a series of unfortunate events that include (but aren’t limited to): losing my bread-and-butter freelance writing gig at the stroke of midnight; shelling out $300 several hours later to a towing company that sneakily hauled my vehicle away from my sister’s apartment complex, taking my NYE buzz with it; and the ultimate show of the New Year’s attitude toward my entire life: discovering a mold infestation in my house that has already cost me dearly (and counting).

Under more pleasant circumstances, hotel-hopping my way through the first week of the year might’ve been a fun adventure, but not when I’m on the run from an insanely expensive, allergy-inducing house guest.

I only wake up to eat, curse my existence, engage in a little self-pity (OK, a lot) and stress over my quickly diminishing coins and lack of gainful employment.

Joblessness and a moldy house makes it a little difficult to digest all of the upbeat resolutions. Yes, I hear you, this is your year (again).

I’ve been inundated with positive updates from fellow entrepreneurs and glamorous travel plans from family and friends who are all obviously going to get what they want in 2016. It all only highlights the hole where my usual start-of-the-year giddy anticipation used to reside.

In short, sappy optimism be damned, because 2016 is on some serious bullshit.

When your new year starts out like a scaled-down version of the 10 biblical plagues, it feels impossible to not lose your shit. But take it from someone who’s spent the bulk of 2016 bemoaning a week’s worth of fails and getting drunk off home-brewed haterade: There are more effective ways to cope with being bombarded by stereotypical displays of new year-fueled optimism.

Don’t believe the social media hype.

This should be a standard rule of practice for social media engagement, but it’s especially pertinent at the start of a new year. If you obsess over every single positive tweet, Instagram post or Facebook status, it won’t be long before you’re convinced a thick mist of goal-achieving repellent is blocking you from success.

Since you can’t mute all those peppy #NewYearNewYou hashtags, put the pause on social media immersion so the glare from everyone else’s shine doesn’t obscure the path to your future wins. And, frankly, annoy the sh*t out of you.

Don’t panic — we’re only a week in.

“But it’s barely the New Year. You’re OK,” reads a text from my mother after I wrote her freaking out over this year’s calamities.

Such a simple dose of get-yourself-together realness couldn’t have come at a better time. While I was knee-deep in the bowels of distress, I had totally overlooked the fact that 2016 is a newborn baby (a cranky, colicky one, but still), and there are an entire 51 weeks plus an extra day remaining in which wonderful things can and will happen.

Realize that progress isn’t a race.

So what if my only brush with productivity in the New Year happened when I whizzed through four seasons of “Cooking Dash”? While I was fully engulfed in whipping up and serving virtual meals on my smartphone, it felt like everyone else was out there #winning.

But just as you and I both know those coins don’t count for sh*t in real life, the strides someone else makes won’t add to or detract from your own. Work at a pace that suits you and keep in mind that the goals you set have everything to do with personal fulfillment. Conjuring up imaginary competition only puts you that much further from an achievement.

Read the rest of this post over at Elite Daily.

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Kenya is a freelance writer and copy editor from Dallas. She covers entertainment and lifestyle issues for Cambio. Her work has also been published on Bustle, Clutch, Tea and Breakfast and xoJane.

A Woman Is A Man’s Best Accessory?

Can men survive, or thrive, without women? Methinks not.

Years ago I decided to boycott music videos not only because I was hard pressed to see a lead woman of my complexion, but also because I was desperate to avoid video images assaulting senses other than my vision. Watching horrible, degrading music videos totally impacted how I heard the song.

It is no secret that the heavily male dominated rap culture cannot survive without women. The culture of this new era rap genre is dependent on the female body to create music videos and alleged tales of sexual exploits and conquests in their lyrics. Women are the consumers of rap music, the muse, and the abused of the misogynistic customs adopted by rap culture, even if only for public display and consumption.

What has now become evident to me is that men in general can’t seem to survive without women. I reached this conclusion a few times in my life, but most notably on a recent trip to Miami when my girlfriends and I were offered seats in the club’s VIP section paid for by a group of men who seemed to be “collecting” a female entourage to sit pretty on the sectional while tapping our pointy toe stilettos and sipping on whatever was being offered.

Had I not been so bored that I began creating a mental list of the many reasons why I am no longer about that “club life,” I would not have noticed how the ladies drafted to the VIP section served as ornaments on a Christmas tree. The particular brand of men who use women as accessories serve as the metaphorical Christmas trees:  dry, overbearing, with a definite shelf life, and ever welcomed in the home past a certain time.

Sitting in the club I began to feel a little disgusted at the thought that we, not just my friends and I, but women everywhere are so commonly used as accessories. Without us many men are incomplete, and not a fairytale love kind of way.  They are fully dressed but without shoes, a watch and tie. Needing women to make oneself look and feel better is seemingly an issue of low self-esteem and envisages the lame and destructive “pimps up, hoes down” concept. 

Should we be flattered? I’ll admit that being arm candy and being “shown off” isn’t so bad when that man who is showing off the beautiful woman in his life recognizes and treats her as if she is more than just a cardboard cutout offering of an image fulfilled. But being used as a shiny ornament or for the benefit of a nice ass shot in the latest tip drill-esque music video negates whatever sense of flattery that may have been intended and felt. 

That night in the Miami club VIP I realized that 1) the drinks are pretty watered down when being shared among an entire harem in a Miami nightclub, and 2) men truly cannot survive or thrive without women.


“This is a man’s world. But it would be nothing without a woman or a girl.” ~James Brown


Andrea on twitterAndrea on instagramAndrea on email2
Andrea is a native San Franciscan raised on a heaping dose of colorful truths and beautiful stories. A freelance writer at heart and a public health social worker by trade, she makes the truth look pretty even when it isn't. Her work has been featured on The Guardian, Huffington Post, JETmag.com, Clutch and xojane to name a few.
poise passion

When Your Writing Has Poise But Not Enough Passion

My words don’t sang – they just sing… or so I’ve been told.

According to my partner in Un-edited crime, Andrea, my writing should read less Beyoncé and more Fantasia. (That’s one hell of a metaphor, right?) I should be flattered at the suggestion that someone believes I share stylistic similarities with (almighty) Queen Bey, but before anyone gets the idea that I’m feelin’ myself waaay too much, lemme explain – what she means is my writing mirrors the cool, calm and palpably controlled composure of your expected Beyoncé performance, but lacks the wild, shoe-flinging, damn near reckless abandon that takes place during a typical Fantasia show.  Even though my heart may be caught in a fan, à la Bey’s bountiful Brazilian weave, my words always manage to hold it together so as to not truly expose the emotions brewing beneath the surface.


Bottom line is fancy designer prose, subject-verb agreement and generous use of metaphors may provoke a reader to nod in agreement or have a tempered two-step of a reaction, but they won’t make anyone jump up, shout or come anywhere close to sweating out their fresh perm.  Writing is cathartic, but I don’t think there’s an author out there who doesn’t want to create work that makes a reader feel emotion.

So, why would a writer (or any other creative individual) hold back when expressing themselves?


This one’s self-explanatory and could range from being afraid to reveal personal truths, fear of being judged, fear of facing one’s true emotions, fear of not being able to fully execute an idea, fear of Beyoncé giving you a public side-eye for daring to compare yourself to her in a somewhat unflattering manner, and the list goes on…

Concern about offending others:

For example, I have a heartfelt rant in me about the recent rash of women who are hellbent on oversharing about their periods, but I’ve held back because I don’t want to offend anyone who might think I’m being oppressive or anti-feminist when I comment on the ludicrousness of free-bleeding for a cause or posting period blood on Instagram, not to mention how utterly disgusting it is to cook with your own vaginal yeast. (There, I said it.)


The impact of oversharing feels like a hangover that can strike at any given moment and ain’t no Alka-Seltzer-time machine combo that can ease the symptoms. It passes when it’s good and damn ready. Honestly, a lot of my personal essay pitches are collecting dust in a mental file because of a prior experience with sharing too many personal details in print (I’m still cringing, ugh). I considered this heavily when I wrote about my complicated relationship with my father because obviously I’m not the only one impacted by those words, but I wrote it out of emotional necessity. Fantasia’s father sued her for writing about him, so if my father happens to stumble upon what I’ve written and doesn’t like it, I guess I’ll prepare myself to hear the words, “You’ve been served.”

Not thinking your voice, thoughts or opinions matter:

I say this to myself as much as I say it to anyone else – your voice exists, therefore it matters, even if you’re the only one who believes that.

People can be mean and intentionally harsh towards those who willingly expose themselves with the world.  That said, a part of me doesn’t blame Beyoncé one fucking bit for keeping her shoes on her feet. But constant self-censorship only keeps me stagnant and it also makes me feel a bit fraudulent being one-half of a site that promotes the loose and free usage of words, unfiltered thoughts and raw feelings. 

I am certainly committed to being more transparent and true to my emotions when writing, but unlike Fantasia, I can’t promise I’ll let you see my feet.

fantasia 2






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Kenya is a freelance writer and copy editor from Dallas. She covers entertainment and lifestyle issues for Cambio. Her work has also been published on Bustle, Clutch, Tea and Breakfast and xoJane.

3 Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance: Who Wants Some?

Who doesn’t want it all? I have yet to meet a person–lazy or ambitious–who has denied wanting it all. One person’s “all” may differ from another’s, but we all desire good health, wealth, and maybe even someone to keep us warm at night.

Trying to devise the perfect work-life balance is seemingly impossible. Trying to do all things, and be “every woman” has caused me to flounder like a fish out of water in every area of my life. I thought that fewer Post-it notes in my purse, car, night stand, and planner that I only look at to keep track of how many more days till the weekend, was evidence that I was becoming more organized.

In my world, fewer Post-it notes equate 1500 (and counting) e-mails–with at least one-third sent from me, to me with reminders to check on this activity or that event. In my disillusioned little world, I am Chaka Khan.  Otherwise known as “every woman.”  And under the belief that it is indeed “all in me.” My reality is that fewer Post-it notes only signify that there is a growing pile of dated magazine articles ripped from the pages of some of my favorite glossies all promising to instruct me how to teach my child to master Singapore Math, or trick my husband into speaking my love language, or get the perfect fleeky eyebrows in 5-steps or less.

Walking briskly, ignoring phone calls, splurging on 2-in-1 facial cleansers and shampoos, and outerwear that can be worn on Monday and used as a floating device on Thursday, does very little to increase productivity and decrease stress. If anything it results in one skittish, exhausted, and frumpy looking shell of woman. Not very Chaka Khan-like at all. I tried doing all of these things, minus the outerwear bit. I do have my limits, and wearing a coat that doubles as a floating device is one of them.  In the end I found myself still exhausted, still fairly unproductive.


After experiencing some burnout and dissatisfaction with my productivity in my personal, professional and side-hustle life, I’m re-evaluating my priorities, my processes, and my purpose.

If I were a writer full of ingenuity here’s where I would insert a clever listicle guiding readers to The Promised Land of work-life balance. If I were, then I would…instead I’ll fight the waning need to be clever and give you the real: Pull it together!

Merge personal and professional life. If there is a work deadline on the same day as your child’s science project or recital, keep track of home and work events all on one calendar or planner. I’ve spent too much time ineffectively managing two planners and bringing far less than my best self to my home and work life. Merging calendars will help prompt bringing your complete self to the home and the workplace. Sounds too simple to work, but give it try.

Timelines, deadlines, flexibility, and inflexibility serve a purpose! Remember this when scheduling and organizing the ONE planner. Be unforgiving in taking time for self, time for work, and time for family.

There’s only 24 hours in a day! Do more of what you are called to do, and less of what others tell you you should do. Don’t waste hours waiting for others to come into agreement on your vision and what you have been called to do. If by the end of the day something important has not been completed or reviewed, then take that as a hint that not everything on your list of “important” things should be a priority. The number of hours in a day won’t change.  You, however, can.

Andrea on twitterAndrea on instagramAndrea on email2
Andrea is a native San Franciscan raised on a heaping dose of colorful truths and beautiful stories. A freelance writer at heart and a public health social worker by trade, she makes the truth look pretty even when it isn't. Her work has been featured on The Guardian, Huffington Post, JETmag.com, Clutch and xojane to name a few.

When the Struggle Becomes an Addiction

Growing up, several disappointments caused me to construct a wall around myself to dull the impact of any future letdowns. For a long time, that wall was my Employee of the Year, never calling in sick or sleeping on the job. I programmed myself to believe that happy times were earned by bad experiences and if something good was to happen, then impending disaster waited around the corner for me, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. But what I thought was a stealthy source of protection actually dismantled my ability to embrace blessings and happy moments in my life. This may sound insane, but I’ve come to realize that I’m addicted to struggling. Yep, the support group, 12-step program type of addiction.

After I finally had my first paid piece published (a goal that had been set years prior), I barely acknowledged the fact that I’d finally accomplished my goal because I was worrying about hypothetical backlash from my family and inconsequential opinions of complete strangers. I couldn’t resist manufacturing a struggle-filled worry session instead of simply enjoying my moment.


Me, too afraid to celebrate good news

Before I quit my 9-5 to pursue writing full-time, I envisioned my last day on the job as a par-tayyyy filled with celebratory Tuaca shots that would leave me doing carpet angels in the middle of my living room floor. Instead, my struggle mentality lured me into stressing over whether I’d be able to make a living writing and wondering to myself how long my husband would  support me before this idealistic “chasing my dream” notion got old.

Ever since I can recall, I dreamed of traveling to Hawaii. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to visit two islands during my honeymoon. One day, between winding around curves on Maui’s beautiful Road to Hana, and snapping pictures of waterfalls and seaside cliffs, I became overwhelmed with a feeling of not belonging, like I didn’t deserve to be there.

My husband looked confused and told me, “Our money spends just like everyone else here. You wanted to see Hawaii, didn’t you? Just take it in and enjoy it,” he said, reminding me that this was something I’d been blabbing his ears off about since we met.

I look back on the beautiful photos from my visit and regret not embracing what should have been a moment of pure joy! Sure, some pretty effed up stuff happened in the past. But today my increased level of self-understanding tells me that not every moment has to involve a struggle.

Meanwhile, I’m working on de-programming my debilitating train of thought by celebrating victories, big and small.  The end goal is to learn to fully relax and let the sunshine from happy moments flood my insides. Doing just that has been–you guessed it–yet another struggle, but I refuse to settle. Truth is, I’ve been about that struggling life for far too long and I’m finally ready to sober up.

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Kenya is a freelance writer and copy editor from Dallas. She covers entertainment and lifestyle issues for Cambio. Her work has also been published on Bustle, Clutch, Tea and Breakfast and xoJane.

Breaking With Tradition: Jesus Isn’t White & Student Activism Should Be Encouraged

Much like political affiliations and whether you prefer Target to Wal-Mart, religious beliefs are very much learned and passed down from generation to generation—a precious heirlooms, though treasured, may not be real.

As the mother of an inquisitive 5-year-old, it is now my time to continue the tradition of gifting my daughter with the same religious foundation that was given to me by a mother who held firm in the belief of training “a child in the way he should go.” Only I’ll upgrade my family’s heirloom with a shiny new gem: Jesus, like Santa Claus, is not a white man. Nor is He a convenient chameleon that morphs into whatever ethnicity, race or gender of the person who seeks Him. My understanding and belief is that He is a feeling that cannot be accurately illustrated despite the centuries-long depictions perpetuated on paraphernalia and stained glass windows in places of worship.

CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2015/03/15: Jesus on the Road to Emmaus: Beautiful stained glass windows at the Church of the Redeemer in downtown Toronto. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

via Getty Images

My mother, who received the same ideals from her parents, gave my religious beliefs to me, only she didn’t explain to me that the porcelain-skinned brunette on every other page of my Sunday School book was merely an illustration—a single perspective, an image cultivated from the imagination of someone with something to gain from the image, be it money, power, or both.  Overlooking the discrepancy between the imaginative physical concept of Jesus and the interpreted directive of the biblical scripture in Deuteronomy 4:16 (NIV):  “…so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman…”– caused me a great deal of confusion and severed my prayer life and spiritual connection for many years.  My experience with being “churched” in such a way that resulted in my spiritual inadequacy has served as the catalyst for laying all the cards–the ones I hold, at least–on the table and visible for my daughter to see. 

At age five, many children still view parents as the apples of their eye.  The raggedy robe that I don the moment the day’s work ends and my bra hits the floor, is nothing less than queen’s garb to my daughter. That said, wielding the words and recycled beliefs of her father and I as her shield and armor, my little one will go to battle with anyone.  As she is currently enjoying her first fall as a kindergarten student at an Episcopalian school, I keep my phone nearby in anticipation of the day I will receive a call from an insoluble school chaplain telling me that my daughter has started a riot (with Jesus’ birth approaching, I’m expecting that phone call in the upcoming weeks).  I imagine my little one waging war on decades of inaccuracies, misinterpretations and traditions.  She’s been known to upset an entire pre-school class by telling classmates  that McDonald’s fries are poison. Good. Dang, good. But poisonous. Her father–the health and wellness coach–taught her about pesticides and agriculture and that was all she wrote…

So yeah, I’ve practiced my speech, polished up my inflections and rehearsed my facial expressions in preparation of the day that the roles will reverse and I will have to back my daughter’s words up and treat what have become her beliefs as the truth, the gospel and the way. 

There are so many horrid examples of what it looks, feels and sounds like to be accused of hating another individual, group of people or sets of beliefs for simply exercising your right to believe, to love, to think, to have a perspective, to just be. If you tout that #blacklivesmatterthat somehow means you hate law enforcement and any person who does not identify as black. If you support, or better yet, if you do not loudly condemn gay marriage you are unequivocally rejecting Christianity and making reservations for a seat in hell. Similarly, if you teach your child that Jesus is not an image meant to be drawn, duplicated and idolized and can instead be felt in your heart, in music, in a flower growing through a crack in the cement, you may be accused of intentionally teaching your child to hate, to cause disruption and confusion.  


But alas, the beauty of perception, individuality, freedom of speech and thought, and prayer–much, much prayer–has allowed me to feel at peace with teaching my daughter to question what she is being taught. Question third-hand knowledge and when able, seek the answer for herself. Accepting others’ truth, including the heirloom of truth passed down from generation to generation, is not a pressure she has to suffocate from.

In honor of activism and student activism and not accepting behaviors and traditions because “it’s how it’s been done for years,” I salute the students at the University of Missouri who aren’t afraid to demand change, to confront history and to spark a movement. I salute my daughter, the 5-year-old activist who fearlessly questions “truths” until she finds comfortable resolve. 


For now, I await that phone call…



Andrea on twitterAndrea on instagramAndrea on email2
Andrea is a native San Franciscan raised on a heaping dose of colorful truths and beautiful stories. A freelance writer at heart and a public health social worker by trade, she makes the truth look pretty even when it isn't. Her work has been featured on The Guardian, Huffington Post, JETmag.com, Clutch and xojane to name a few.

#30Layers30Days–Not Every Puzzle Is Meant to Be Solved

The next puzzle piece has yet to be created

This is why we wallow in a chronic state of violence, oppression and hatred

There hasn’t been an antidote, a vaccine or legislation

that has rendered us kind, empathetic and gracious

The piece is still missing

And we’re paralyzed and broken

Making me a token hasn’t placated me: IT’S NOT WORKING

“The next puzzle piece” indicates that the last piece was found

But the puzzle is a puzzle because it’s meant to confound

Confusion and defeat are comfortable and addictive

They blind and constrict us, two of the reasons we have yet to locate the pieces that are missing

But it’s American for the wrongdoers, the voluntary blinded and constricted to be absolved

Because not every puzzle is meant to be solved

The next puzzle piece has yet to be created

We’re all waiting on a solution when we each have the power to make it


This post is Day 11 of a 30-Day Writing Challenge, #30Layers30Days

Andrea on twitterAndrea on instagramAndrea on email2
Andrea is a native San Franciscan raised on a heaping dose of colorful truths and beautiful stories. A freelance writer at heart and a public health social worker by trade, she makes the truth look pretty even when it isn't. Her work has been featured on The Guardian, Huffington Post, JETmag.com, Clutch and xojane to name a few.