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Inner Journey

In order to go anywhere, your mind and body have to be ready to go. I believe this is why most people don’t travel far from their home. We are not willing to leave behind the familiar to seek out the unfamiliar.  For some of us, there is too much danger in the unknown.

Red Prayer

In Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, he wrote how he remembered his childhood as a small one stick fighting with his friends in their village. It was one of the happiest times of his life. The only clothing they wore was a blanket across their shoulders.  When he moved to a larger village, he had to dress differently and learn new customs. He missed his village, but the new places brought on new adventures and new opportunities.

Like Mandela as a child, those moments of learning create conflict for us. I know I hate being made to feel stupid for not knowing something. But I realize not all families have the same values or customs which makes you have to have a conversation with others about how things should function. We are too frightened to ask someone why they do things a certain way.

Everyone has gaps in their knowledge.  We do not know everything about everyone. We all need to learn something from someone else. If we are fortunate, we are surrounded by people who can give us that information. Other times we have to do what we can with what we got. And this is where the adventure usually comes in.

I am a product of integration, which means I went to white schools most of my life. My parents did not go to white schools. So there were times when we would have a conversation about things they knew nothing about. It is difficult to advise a child when you don’t know what they are talking about.  Yet my sisters and I learned to adapt. Many times we just handled it ourselves.

Example, my parents had no concept or idea of sending me to college once I graduated high school.  But I decided I wanted to go and started investigating it. Many of the kids around me were going to college. It seemed like the logical thing to do. (I had no concept of going and getting a job which was probably their idea of what happens after you graduate high school.) There were times they looked at me like I was crazy, but I just thought they were dumb parents.  I had no clue I was defying all of the odds against me.

Because I did not have a source of folk to ask questions, I forged ahead. My ignorance was bliss, and it worked for me. I also had no idea of college cost because I chose one of the most expensive universities in the area.  And the truth is my parents were probably happy I was leaving their house. It was good to get rid of an obnoxious teenager.

The truth is the journey starts in your head and heart. If it is not there, then your feet are moving for no purpose.  If there is a fire inside of you, then it can get you through anything. If there is no intention behind what you do, then you are like snow blowing.  You are moving here and there not sure where you will land.

My experiences during that time have taught me something about myself and my journey. Sometimes there are going to be gaps. It keeps you humble. You have to admit you don’t know something. You have to be willing to learn new things. Opportunity comes when you combine the two.

Goodbye Black History, Hello Women’s History

I love history. This country is filled with incredible stories of human beings who did incredible things during trying times. They were ordinary people who stood up for what was right.  Many did not get to see the fruit of their labor, but they tended the garden anyway.

It is what we need: People who will tend to the garden even though they don’t get to eat the harvest.

Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass fought to change minds about the evils of slavery from the midst of it.  They lived to see the end of slavery, but the true liberation of their people escaped them.  Tubman helped free slaves one person at a time with the Underground Railroad. Douglass wrote books and gave speeches on the evils of slavery after having escaped from his master.

Because of the work done by Tubman and Douglass, Ida Wells and James Baldwin were able to get an education. Baldwin grew up in Harlem where he was able to attend public school and began a literary career.  Wells, one of the founders of the NAACP, was a graduate of Fisk University. She was also a journalist and suffragist.  Both continued to be a  voice of the movement.

A Georgia minister became the spokesperson for that movement in the 1950s.   Dr. Martin Luther King lead boycotts and organized nonviolent protests in the southern part of the United States. Even though he won a Novel Peace Prize, he did not see the fruit of his labor. But he tended the garden cause he knew fruit was coming.

Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States.  In the face of radical racism, he lead the country in a way that was true to the people who came before him.  Like the slaves who came before him, he was attacked in every  manner, but like cream, rose to the top. His wife, Michelle, set a new standard for what a First Lady is able to accomplish during their time in office.

Black History lives and breathes.

Welcome the stories of women.

Alice Paul was one of the women who lead the campaign for the 19th Amendment.

Delores Huerta is a Latina who co founded the National Farmerworkers Association and a civil rights activist.

Sojourner Truth was an abolitionists and former slave who also contributed to the women’s movement.

Ida B Wells was a journalist and activist who was not afraid to take on racist white women who hindered the women’t movement.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an abolitionist and suffragist who helped co found the women’s right movement.

Susan B Anthony was an abolitionist and suffragist who helped arrange for the U.S. Congress to be presented with the amendment giving women the right to vote.

Again, these women tended the garden, but didn’t eat the fruit.

 

8, 9, and 10 of my 17

Here are some more of the things I accomplished in 2017.

8. I learned to create digital art.  This was not easy nor did it come quickly. I changed colors, added images, deleted images and even created some from scratch. More importantly, I learned to look at it as digital art. I worked with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

What I learned here is that you have to create your own path and don’t get side tracked by what other people can do. Do you.

 

9. At first, I was intimidated at the thought of creating light photography.  And my first few experiments did not work out. But, when it did work out, I loved it. Learning to do this photography was a blast. I enjoyed the experimental aspect of of itand trying to get the light to do what I wanted it to do.

 

10. I learned to photography with an Alien Bees Flash Unit.  This flash creates a flash of light that separates a subject from the background making the image very crisp. But the real learning happened when the Alien Bee didn’t work, but I still needed to created portrait studio quality images.  I learned to manipulate the settings on the camera to give almost the same quality of image. It broadened what I could do photographically.

 

I learned a lot in 2017. It made me a better photog and gave me the opportunity to take some amazing photos.  I also added new depth to my art.  If there is something you are really good at, look for some ways, maybe even unconventional, to add depth to it.  It will allow you to look at the world around you with new eyes.

Peace and Hairgrease