Last Friday’s Oprah featured investigator Troy Dunn reuniting long-lost family members. Many had been separated due to upheaval such as children trying to locate a birth parent. While the show focused mainly on biological families and there was a meeting featured between an adult who was reunited with the foster parents who had not secured custody.
When I was ten years old I met another girl my age who was in foster child being cared for by my neighbors. We formed a fast friendship. She expressed her desire to be loved and to have a real home as she’d been sent to live with many strangers. I felt that ache as if it were my own wound and vowed that one day I’d give serious consideration to adopting a child in addition to any biological children I’d have.
Unfortunately the neighbors did not adopt her, she was sent elsewhere and we lost contact. I did find her several years later, older and still in the foster care system but hopeful. I have no idea what has become of her since but have always wished her well.
That show only reiterates how important it is to our well-being to have a solid connection to people who love and support us.
It is far more important for us to be surrounded by like-minded people who share core values regardless of blood ties. It’s one of the reasons why forming Intentional Communities is so important. Now, in discussing intentional communities I’m referring to an ideology of surrounding oneself with people who are accepting of you, have common goals and standards and bring out your best character traits. For example, when I was in my late teens and early twenties I met quite a few people who had been abandoned or disowned in some capacity by their biological families for revealing an orientation they didn’t approve of. Those friends had to literally start over from scratch and create a new family structure of others who’d accept them. We used a phrase that stated “family was who you chose to be with as an adult not necessarily who you were tied to at birth“.
That means race, gender, class and everything else are only constructs. We each have shared experiences that can transcend things that would appear to be obvious differences. Another example would be from those of us who’ve found each other online discussing the state of the modern African-American woman (and some UK black women as well) and offering solutions. How we are being treated, why we need to reassess our choices and why we also have to separate ourselves from those who by their actions prove to not have our best interests at heart needed to be evaluated. Many of our online conversations have done more to encourage our growth than people we know in real life. This is why it’s important to be open to different viewpoints and be willing to reassess our life status.
There are in fact active communities of individuals who have formed groups where they can live together in rural and urban environments. They may be referred to as ashrams, eco-villages or co-operative housing, as well as having religious ties. It’s something many of us may find useful as we continue the specific conversation about why AA black women in particular need to remove themselves physically (as well as mentally and emotionally) from the false black community (as being thriving, mutually beneficial and fully supportive of them) ideology. Others will find these communities very useful in seeking out those who live similar lifestyles.
In order for us to be fully-functioning, productive members of society we must follow a minimum standard of behavior akin to the majority of society. For example, we cannot go hitting people on the street if we are angry. There are consequences for choosing to step outside of established norms. Now, I’m not referring to policing how we as individuals may define ourselves for everyone is not the same. What we’re discussing here is about standards for decorum and behaviors that result in moving ahead in life versus choices that diminish our capacities.
It is the absence of such standards that can lead to harm, a skewed outlook or emotional distress that we then have to resolve in order to move forward. As we see by the choices of some high-profile individuals, having more money than the average person or being famous doesn’t remove the poor choices some make due to their unresolved dysfunctions.
I’m a firm believer that being an inquisitive person who’s open to self-evaluation is far more valuable than merely being “educated” on paper with material possessions. There’s a study that concluded US-origin blacks are the largest ethnic group to NOT have a passport. I’m not surprised by this at all. The foreign-origin blacks who emigrate to this country will likely have one after all. While many will cite finances as the source I will beg to differ. It is the self-isolating, self-limiting insulation and reluctance to look beyond one’s own backyard that is the cause.
Fear easily leads to being stuck which can all too easily become a mentality reproduced generationally. That’s why it’s so important to not only heal the body but even moreso the psyche. For women we must think of our needs first. Many will have to first acknowledge they even have needs! Caring for others may be noble but self-care is divine. Internalizing stress leads to a host of problems that place more obstacles in our path and slow our journey to a mere crawl.
I’ve been very active in attending several conferences this past month such as Tedx, Gov 2.0 Expo and other social engagements. I’m also working on other writing projects beyond the blog and as always focusing on meeting forward-moving people. I met Pamela Slim author of Escape From The Cubicle Nation at an event last week and found a wonderful group of encouraging people in attendance. Kimmoy wrote a nice piece at her blog about it. This past weekend I had the extreme pleasure of participating in another Op Ed writing session with Margot Friedman of Dupont Circle Communications. I’m proud to say I ‘m submitting a completed draft to Editors and we’ll see what happens!
Black Tech Blazers – Link
For those who read about the unprofessional behavior of a self-declared expert during my attendance of a panel at SXSW I realized how many people actually do care about the status of children from under-served communities (especially black children), the use of and access to technology and taking initiative to address those disparities as well as creating opportunities. That doesn’t mean being self-sacrificing. I’m referring to being bold in offering substance to fill the void created by fluff and dysfunction.
This panel will discuss career trajectories, motivations and insights of professionals using technology, social media and advocacy. If you’re local please feel free to participate!
As always I will continue to strive for elevation (not perfection), pursue excellence and live a productive life free from boundaries that leaves a legacy of uplift where all of my needs have been met. I urge everyone to do the same.