“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

These were the words of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), as she read a letter penned by the late Coretta Scott King in March of 1986. The letter was written by Mrs. King in opposition of the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as a Federal District Court Judge in the Southern District of Alabama.  Yesterday, February 7, 2017, Senator Warren read Mrs. King’s words in opposition of Jeff Session’s confirmation; this time as Attorney General. Yesterday, February 7, 2017 is the day these words were spoken about a woman who basically “didn’t stay in her place”.

 That statement sounds just like the words used to justify: the beating of Civil Rights protesters, Police Brutality, the shooting of unarmed citizens, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Sexual Assault and any other misuse of real or perceived power.

 On the other hand, it speaks of a boldness, a courage, a resolve that many of us possess. It speaks to the fortitude of activists like Fannie Lou Hamer, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Amelia Boynton Robinson, Coretta Scott King and countless others who have marched and fought and spoken before us.

 I choose to take it as a call to action.

 I‘ve been warned. I’ve been given an explanation. Nevertheless, I persist.

 How about you?

#becauseofthemwecan

About That Sisterhood

I find myself reflecting on the truth in “I Feel Something” quite often.  Some days; days like yesterday, I feel that something even more…

I had a rough day yesterday. I mean a really, really rough day. It probably doesn’t seem like as big a deal to her as it was/is to me, but a friend helped me through it more than she knows.  She gave me a safe, nonjudgmental, believing place to unload and she didn’t insist that I say more than I wanted to.  She handled me perfectly. That is rare and it is valued. When I had finished unloading and revealed to her that I had retreated to the bathroom at work to cry, she told me to get myself together because “they already think you’re crazy”.  I literally laughed out loud when I saw that message. I won’t name my friend here, but should she read this she will know exactly who she is.

~ Thank you

 

Answers to Random Questions

I found these on the internet…

Do you wish on stars? Not anymore

 What CD or album are you most embarrassed to admit to ever owning? Boy George and the Culture Club – the one with Karma Chameleon on it. It was in the 80’s what can I say?

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Not if I can help it

Do you think that you are strong? For the most part

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk, but I haven’t eaten any in almost 9 years

Red or pink? RED

What is your least favorite thing about yourself? My incredible ability to procrastinate

 Who do you miss most? Living – Charity Rose. Deceased – Karla, Grandma and Pastor Betty

 What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Black pants and red boots

 What are you listening to right now? Bishop Iona Locke preaching “Praise Ye The Lord”

 Last thing you ate? A mini York Peppermint Patty

 If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Black

 What is the weather like right now? Cold and deceptively sunny

 Favorite Drink? Water (I’m soooo boring)

 FAVORITE SPORT? To watch – Ice skating, gymnastics, tennis or men’s basketball. To play – Racquetball and Galaga (when you’re as good as I am, a video game becomes a sport.)

Favorite Food? Teriyaki chicken

 Last Movie You Watched? On TV – Grave Halloween. At the theatre – Sully (I totally forgot it had ties to Clint Eastwood until it was over)

Favorite Day of the Year? Christmas.

Scary Movies or Happy Endings? Scary movies

Summer or Winter? Winter, I’d rather be too cold than too hot

Hugs OR Kisses? Depends on who’s doing the hugging or kissing

What Is Your Favorite Dessert? Yellow cake from Tarsha’s Sweet Sensations Bakery and vanilla ice cream

What Books Are You Reading? The Preacher’s Daughter by Beverly Lewis and Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams (for a class)

 What’s On Your Mouse Pad? Random stripes of different colors and a lot of doodling

 What Did You Watch Last night on TV? Dance Moms (I’m so embarrassed)

 Favorite Smells? A freshly bathed, lotioned and powdered baby

 Favorite Sounds? My fingers flying over the keyboard when I’m inspired

 

My Incredible Grandmother

(This is old.  It was originally written Tuesday, June 16, 2009. My grandmother is 95 now and showing some signs of slowing down.  That said, she’s still with us, still getting around, still talking smack and still absolutely incredible. A lot has happened since I wrote this on my old blog, but I still wanted to share it here.)

I went to hang out with my grandmother last night. I don’t say visit because I don’t visit her. Her house is my second home and I’m in and out of there just as freely as I am my own house; with keys and all. Anyway, I’d called to make sure she was going to be home. She was very happy to let me know she had left over chicken she’d made for my Father, Stepmother, Aunt and Uncle on Sunday night. She likes to cook, but only for people. She hates to cook just for herself because she doesn’t like leftovers.

So, I got to her house around 5:30 to find my Grandmother (Nana) coming up her basement stairs wearing Reeboks, some blue crop pants and a Rod Stewart t-shirt. That’s right; my 87 (88 at the end of this month) year old, black, Catholic grandmother is a rock n’ roll fan. We hugged and talked for a few minutes and then I heated up my food. She’d already eaten dinner, so she had ice cream and talked to me while I ate. When I was finished, she went outside to finish the gardening and washing of porch furniture she’d been doing earlier in the day before it got too hot out. I asked if she needed my help and she said no. She probably rolled her eyes, but she was in another room, so I couldn’t see to know for sure. She and my Mother both think I’m a “poor excuse for a country girl” because I’m not an outdoor person. I don’t know how to properly rake leaves; I’ve never cut grass…NEVER. I hate bugs and I’m very allergic to mosquitoes. I’m terrified of granddaddy longlegs; I think they’re the spawn of satan for sure. I’m allergic to pollen and I HATE to get dirty. That’s beside the point…but I know she rolled her eyes; Nana’s spunky like that!

After I washed the dishes, I grudgingly went outside and stood on the porch while she watered her flowers. When she was finished with that, she started telling me about these new trash bags she’d purchased and how she hoped they were big enough for her outside trash cans. Did I forget to mention that she bought the trash bags when she drove to Wal-Mart earlier yesterday? Yeah, she still drives. She bought herself a new car when she turned 80 and she keeps it in the garage which is detached and across the yard from her house. She does not like to leave that car out overnight. I offered to put the bag in the outside trash can (I’m not a total outdoor loser), but she again refused.

I did follow her outside again and joined her in sitting on the porch when she said she was finished for the day. We talked about the cherry and black walnut trees in her yard and how the birds and squirrels rob them of their bounty before she ever has a chance to pick anything. We watched a few blue jays and cardinals eat the cherries and laughed over my father’s joke that Nana is prejudiced because she hates for the huge black birds to eat from her bird feeders. So she said she wouldn’t complain about them anymore because she doesn’t want to discriminate. We talked about the varicose veins I’ve recently discovered on my leg. She says they don’t look like varicose veins to her because hers are a lot bigger. I pointed out that mine may be bigger than it seems, but is probably not totally visible because I’m a good bit darker than she is. Her response? “Oh yeah, maybe so”.

When I swatted a few bugs and announced that I’d had enough of the good outdoors, she decided to go in as well. We talked for a few more minutes and I said I’d better get home and get on the treadmill. She said she was going to take a shower and reminded me to let her know when I wanted to cook the turkey I’d left in her freezer. She said she’d take it out and let it thaw in her refrigerator two days before I’m ready for it. I told her it wouldn’t be before the weekend, kissed her, locked her doors and left. On my way to my car I couldn’t stop thinking about how this time last year Nana was recovering from her first heart attack and using a walker to get around. She had a second heart attack in August and underwent quadruple bypass in late September. Other than her heart problem, there were no issues with her health. Granted the heart problem was a big one; but it was correctable and she’s back to her usual “piddling”, as she calls it. I call it incredible!

I Feel Something

I feel something powerful, something energizing, something wonderful. I feel sisterhood.  I’ve always had dependable, loyal friends, but lately I feel a deeper connection to my melanin kissed sisters.

It’s in the way we greet each other, in the way we complement each other’s hair, do each other’s make up, celebrate each other’s successes and mourn each other’s losses. It’s in the way we readily, happily, excitedly claim Misty Copeland and in the way we vehemently defend Serena Williams. It’s in the pride we all felt when Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba and Regina King accepted their Emmys. It’s in the way Taraji rejoiced with her sisters when they won. It was in Kerry Washington’s tears and in the way we shouted and screamed and applauded from home at that fiercely eloquent acceptance speech Ms. Viola delivered. I have never heard anything like it in my life!

It’s in the way we sit around each other’s tables, family rooms, beauty salon, offices, or church pews and talk. It’s in the way we laugh over silly text messages or shout one another out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It’s in the way we shared pictures of our stunning First Lady when she wore the hell out of that black dress to the State Dinner for the President of China.  She SLAYED it!

It’s in the way we get together for dinner or lunch or breakfast or coffee or drinks. It’s in the way we gather to go to movies so we can see people who look like us on the big screen.  It’s in the way we seek each other out for advice and in the way we unselfishly give it.  It’s in the way we encourage and support. It’s in the way we lovingly correct. It’s in the way we administer tough love and in the way we take it.  It’s in the way we hug, in the way we kiss each other’s cheek, in the way we give each other dap and in the way we smile. It’s in that knowing side-eye, in that conspiratorial wink and nod, and in our adeptness at throwing shade. Nobody does it quite like us.

It’s in the way we prod each other toward excellence and in the way we make opportunities for those coming up behind us.  It’s in the way we sigh, in the way we fight (not each other), in the way we buck the system and in the way we both command and demand respect.  It’s in the way we rock our fros, our twist outs, our wash n’ go’s, our locs, our braids, our relaxers, our weaves and our wigs. It’s in the richness of our laughter and in the depth of our tears.  It’s in the way we love, it’s in the way we breathe, it’s in the way we live, it’s in the way we look.

I feel sisterhood and I love it.

(c) Engla A. Gray 2015

Yes, I really do own the copyright for this.

So, here I am.

I like to write; I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it and I’ve been told that I have a great writing “voice”. I’m also pretty opinionated. Actually, I’m VERY opinionated.  I have an opinion about almost everything.  Occasionally, that opinion needs to be kept to myself; other times, it needs to be shared (or so I’m told).  Often times, writing is the best way for me to express myself. I think that is because writing gives me the opportunity to get out whatever it is I feel the need to express without sharing it unless I choose.  There are no regrets, no apologies, no instances of “oops, I wish I hadn’t said that” when I write.  It affords me the opportunity to say what I want or need to say, look back at it and THEN decide if it warrants sharing.

So, here I am…with a new blog/website.  I hope my words are at the very least thought provoking and maybe even inspiring from time to time.