Yeah…I’m still black. #japan

I always wondered when the other shoe would drop, when reality would sink in, when I would become not just a foreigner living abroad… but a black woman living in Japan. February 23, 2017 the date I will never forget, the date when I introduced a new textbook to my sweet, innocent, curious, lovable fourth graders and they all burst into hysterics when they turned to page 216 of their new textbooks and saw the cartoon drawing of Ben Carson.  The day no one would answer my question, “why is this picture so funny?”

Of course I knew the answer, but I was wondering if they knew the reason why their laughter was offensive, if they knew that what they were doing was wrong?  With the language barrier I sometimes like to wait and see how they process things, I don’t like to jump the gun and make assumptions. It wasn’t until my partner teacher (whose been working at the school much longer than I have been) walked in, heard the laughter, observed the expression on my face , and made a valiant attempt at damage control, that I snapped back into reality. I resumed class as I normally would have, and we had a great time writing stories and playing English games. However, the entire time there was something stirring in the back of my mind, a familiar feeling that I just couldn’t shake. A fact that I was certain of in America, and is proving true as I live my life abroad: no matter where I go in this world, I will always be black.

I love being black. There’s no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. I love my black skin, nappy hair, ancestry, and rich culture. What amazes me, even though it shouldn’t, is the worldwide misconception that being a black person is the last thing in the world one should want to be. To have to come home after work and ruminate on how I can express to my young students, in love, that black people aren’t the negative stereotypes that the media have made us out to be. That we aren’t caricatures to be laughed at and mocked, that we are a strong and proud people that have made numerous contributions to society. It’s exhausting, and tonight it feels like way more than I can deal with. But, I will drink a glass of cabernet, say a prayer, and hope that God gives me the strength and wisdom to impart some knowledge on my students tomorrow.

In the Waiting Line

Sometimes I feel like I’m in this long line, similar to that of a checkout line in the grocery store,but instead of waiting to make a purchase, each “customer” is waiting in line to receive his own special life assignment. And the whole time I am waiting, I am patient and I am cool because I know that when it’s my turn it’s going to be something great, something that I can execute. Something that I will enjoy. Something that I will be glad to have waited for. But then, suddenly as soon as it’s my turn to approach the cashier, it’s closing time.
I’m just waiting for the day that I make to the “cashier” before closing time. I feel like I am in close proximity to my destiny, but I need those directions from the “cashier” to finally make it there instead of just groping about in the dark.

I wonder if this makes sense to anyone else, if anyone can relate…

Of that I can’t be sure, but what I can be sure of is that one day it’s bound to be my turn. I will not have waited in vain.

Time Keeps on Ticking…

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“Time Keeps on Ticking”

Watching the clock as it hastily marks time

makes me anxious about my life.

Have I made the right choices?

Is this where I should be?

Something feels out of place,

and I know that the clock is mocking me.

 

Sometimes my station in life feels like a shoe 

that doesn’t quite fit.

Maybe the discomfort will work to my benefit?

My vision of the future is limited 

and the end I cannot see.

I can’t be sure, but I feel that time is mocking me.

 

What is on the horizon cannot be known for sure,

but when I begin to write there is a feeling that acts as a lure.

It draws me in and takes me way down deep;

I feel that I’m on the verge of discovering my destiny.

 

So maybe I’m wrong about the clock and the time.

Maybe it is just pushing me toward a destiny that is mine.

Edging me forward toward freedom and success–

maybe the hasty clock knows exactly what is best.

As I glance at the clock, no need to worry anymore

I know that the next chapter in my life has yet to be explored.