Monday, January 11

The black Rapist next door!

So it's Monday evening 6pm, it's dark outside. I'm alone on a quiet dim lit street in a middle class neighbourhood. I'm walking my dog. I'm black. Female. Five feet two. I'm about ten feet away from my friend's home who I'm house sitting for and I notice footsteps behind me. They are getting closer. Rushing footsteps. I turn around. I notice a young black guy about six three, with a hoody on. Head down. Maybe he's trying to shield himself from the cold or maybe..... something more. Something more sinister. My heart begins to beat faster. Maybe he's trying to hide his face i wonder? My heart races. I quicken my step. He quicken his. step. I'm getting nervous no one is around. I'm now about five feet away from "home."
There's a young black guy with a hoody on, his face down. Steps behind me. I race to my door, keys out. I try to remember everything that i have learnt in self-defense class. Oh but it was so many years ago! Yet, I'm prepared to scream, kick, yell. I will gouge his eyes out with my keys. I will kick him in the nuts! He won't take me down without a fight. I'm ready! I race to the door. Running. Hands shaking. He starts running as well! I open the door slam it shut. I'm safe! I think~Yet he runs towards the house, I think he's going to try and smash through the door, yet he abruptly runs down the adjoining alleyway between my "home" and the neighbors. I know what he's going to do! He's going to smash the side window and break into the house. He's going to rape me! I'm in extreme panic. I don't know who to call! I grab my phone quickly my first instincts are to call my friends. No one answers. I glance out the window I don't see him, yet i know he's there. I sense him. I'm going to call 911! I need the police! As I'm about to call my phone rings, it's my friend who owns the house. She had just seen my number on her phone, is everything ok? I quickly explain. Describing my would be "attacker," should I call the police! She laughs. "Oh that's the neighbour's son he lives next door he uses the side door because he lives in the basement." My heart stops racing. My hands stop trembling. Shame overtakes me. My friend laughs. More shame. She responds. "Man you don't want to be the black girl who calls the cops on an innocent black guy!" Shame washes over me. An innocent young black guy just going home and yet he had become the "rapist."
Me, who should have known better, Miss, black feminist, social activist. The person who just produced a play called Secrets of a black boy which deals with the stereotypes of black men! I feel shame. I think of all the great black men in my life. The ones who have loved me and I have loved them fiercely back. Defending their honour viciously to anyone who wants to label them anything but good black men!
At the top of my "good black men list" is my brother whom I love dearly, probably the same age as the "rapist" next door. My brother wears a hoody when it's cold, wraps his scarf around his face. I wonder how many times women have mistaken him for a rapist when he's walking down Landsdowne, probably around midnight on the way to his night shift job. Maybe he's walking a bit faster because he's late for work or maybe he's just cold.....
I also think of the worst possibilities, what if i was a white woman who called the cops and described exactly the scenario of what happened, a black young guy, "following me", rushing down a dark alleyway, would they rush over, pin my "rapist" over the hood of a cop car, arrest him.... I don't know.
Yet as I sit with these thoughts, I also wonder, would I have reacted the same way if he was a young white man "following" me? What if he was a young white man in a business suit? Would I have felt just as threatened? Would I have felt threatened if he was a young white kid in baggy jeans and a hoody on? I want to believe that my reaction would have been the same....but I'm not so sure. I'm not certain. And this uncertainty bothers me. Doesn't sit well with me.
I can't help but think about the countless black men who sit behind bars, for being so called "suspects." How many innocent black men have been jailed. I recall the case of James Bain. A florida man who spent 35 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. James Bain, who is now 54 years-old, was convicted of kidnapping and raping a nine-year-old boy in 1974. The young boy recognised Mr Bain as his attacker, but there was no technical evidence.
Bain's alibi that he was watching television with his twin sister was dismissed. Through out the years Mr Bain always maintained that he was innocent. Recently a DNA test has proved his innocence! There are so many other cases like James Bain. How many of the wrongly convicted just happen to be black men?

And to make myself feel better I want to truly believe that I reacted from a place of fear and self-preservation as a young womyn trying to protect herself. I want to believe that race didn't factor into this at all. I want to believe that I wasn't influenced by the daily media diet, of black men's faces sprawled across newspaper headlines and t.v stations that label them "rapist", murderer, BAD ~someone to fear did not affect my reaction. I want to believe this I do! I want to believe that I know better! That I would never fear a black man! I have no need to fear black men!
Because I have a brother a black brother. A brother I love fiercely. A gentle giant. A good "kid." Six three, who sometimes wears a hoody. And sometimes covers his face when it's cold. I have a brother. A black brother......

* I welcome your feedback on this one....

Saturday, January 2

it was the "perfect life" except it wasn't mine!

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2010! So much has happened!

Ten years ago I called off an engagement to my high school sweetheart. He was a wonderful, kind, loving man. Sexy as hell! He was the "perfect guy." We had bought a house, we were in the middle of planning a wedding. Our family and friend were excited! We had our entire lives planned out the only problem was, I wasn't sure if this is what I wanted for my life.... The more excited everyone got about my so called "perfect life," the bigger the knot grew in my stomach that something wasn't quite right... I knew I wanted more. I wanted to live my life with passion. I wanted to really live! My desire to really LIVE kept me up at night. Had me on the phone with my best friend late at night questioning the true meaning of life. Left me on a therapist couch once per week trying to figure all the S^%$ out! I went to everyone for answers until I realized that the only person who could provide me with the true answers were myself.....
So I made the agonizing decision to leave my very traditional, perfect planned life, I abandoned "good girl trey" and I took the road less travelled....
My decision to leave and choose to live my life~ my way, left many people hurt, devastated, disappointed and many questioned my sanity. I even questioned my sanity! I was scared. Yet I stepped into the darkness with just a small hope that somewhere I would find some light. I prayed for guidance and I knew that I had to have faith because there was a part of me that knew if I continued on the path that others wanted for me I would die before I completed the journey. So I followed my gut. Believed that I had to be willing to "disappoint others to remain true to myself..."
This decision to leave and disappoint others was one of the most bravest things that I had ever done in my life. Yet, this decision later turned out to be one of my most fruitful, life changing decisions both professionally and personally. It showed me my worth, allowed me to truly live with passion. l learnt what it meant to truly love, laugh and cry. Too actually be ok with my feelings and desires to want MORE.... and to believe that I deserved MORE....

Ten years ago I learnt....
  • "This too shall pass......" Time does heal all wounds and sometimes you have to sit with pain, disappointment and hurt so you will know what true joy feels like when it comes through your door!
  • Sometimes you may hurt others but the worst thing that you can do is hurt yourself by staying in a situation that does not serve your highest good.
  • People will get extremely angry when you mess up the order that they have planned for your life because when you truly start living your life it forces others to really take a look at their own lives and start living it accordingly.
  • When you hit rock bottom the only place you can go is straight to the top. But be willing to take your time to climb slowly to the top and the views up there are amazing!
So, as I write down my goals for 2010, as I make plans to make some huge shifts both professionally and personally I now sit with the same thoughts that I did nearly a decade ago. I sit with the same fears... And again others are already questioning why do I desire more? Again, I'm questioning my sanity.
Yet i know it's time again for me to take the path less travelled. It's time for me to walk through fear, get out of my comfort zone. I must be willing to disappoint others to remain true to myself. I must listen to my gut. I must remain TRUE to myself.
I wish for you in 2010 what I wish for myself to live your life with passion, Truth, and lots of love and laughter.

I also wanted to take this time to thank you for "following" my life, my thoughts, and working through my issues with me. I also wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts and feedback with me. This blog has really been therapeutic and I love having this connection with so many of you. Someone to work out the &*%$! with. I see my blog as a community support group~Even an international support group! A big shout out to my followers in India, South Africa and Ireland! And from many of your responses, personal emails and stories I realize that I'm not alone in some of my many "issues!" lol. Make 2010 your big tings year!