Happy Birthday Best Friend

Hey Best Friend. It’s me again.

I don’t know what to expect when your birthday starts to creep up. Will it be a day of remembering you? Will it be a day of remembering the pain? Can any holiday ever feel the same again?

I wanted to feel happy and calm today but I’m finding I feel completely different now that the day has finally arrived. I’ve placed heavy expectations for this day and find that my expectations aren’t met. Often I ask myself, “Who am I now that you’re gone, and how am I suppose today?” And then, I feel deep grief and sorrow and I’m surprised at the moments when I feel “ok,” which can sometimes lead to unwanted feelings of guilt.

I woke up and somehow made it through half the day, before I was reminded that it was your birthday. I’ve been thinking about this day for a while. Little Brother and I just talked about it this week. Now I feel horrible.

It explains why I didn’t sleep the best last night. Or why I woke up tired as if I didn’t sleep. I was irritated and upset by just merely having to get out of bed. Angry because I had to work. And I wanted to be hugged and loved and left alone all at the same time. In an attempt to wash away feelings, I took a shower before taking the kids to school. That rarely happens. I should have taken the day off work. Ugh.

Now that your birthday is at the forefront of my mind, I am feeling like the worse daughter ever. I remember that I asked best friend and another friend of mine to help me do a lantern release. Baby steps but I’m trying here. I wish I had the answer to why this is so hard and the antidote to grief and how it affects you as an entire person.

So first let’s see if I actually go through with the lantern release. The give up and cancel spirit is very heavy right now. And then let’s see how I feel afterwards. Should I fail to muster the emotional, physical or mental strength to do anything today I hope you know that I still love you. And while I haven’t planned a chill at home birthday party for you, with a cake that you never eat, and food you eat but talk junk about; know that you’re always on my mind and in my heart. I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing it is bringing you pure enjoyment. You deserve it.

I love you and Happy Birthday Mom!

When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.

Lee Ann Womack

SunDate: Kitty Hawk

Attempting to resume normal activities, I awoke early this morning with the idea to go on a SunDate. WheneverI have to travel, my first thought is Simba…how long will I be gone?…who can check on him?…should I take him? Can I take him?

The last question has always ended up as a “No”. Today I opted to bring him along. He was so excited yesterday when I told him he’d go on a road trip and then I left him…

I know…bad pet Mom…breaking promises…

Well yesterday I was close to the mountains so today I opted for the latter…and made my way to the beach…

Before making the decision to bring Simba, I was going to bring canvas and paint markers to finish a piece and start another…bringing him meant he’d need all my attention since this was his first car ride this long and to the beach.

Was I really going to do this? Sundays are for self care lol. Fuck it…come on S. Leon, let’s go.

He watched me pack up the car and lock up the house before hopping in the backseat and sitting quietly as if I’d forget his 88lb ass was sitting behind me lol

We started with a quick stop to get some treats and a small bag of dog food. Then gassed up, got some breakfast and got on the road.

An hour into the ride, I couldn’t breathe. Small disclaimer…somewhere along owning Simba, I developed an allergy of some sort. But I can’t bring myself to get rid of my him. I’ve rearranged where he sleeps and all just so I can keep him. It’s not official but he is definitely my emotional support pup. I’m ever so grateful he cannot talk…he knows all of my business…I tell him everything. Poor pup, he probably needs therapy.

Well we made our way to Kitty Hawk. I’d never been to the beach here and he’d never been to the beach period so I figured it would be special to share a first with him.

Traveling to the beach was easy, he put his head out the window and took a nap or five until we made it. Once he got out of the car he stretched, smiled and jumped on me for a hug then we were ready to get our feet in the sand. The beach wasn’t too populated today so finding a nice spot was effortless. I set up our area and he just took in the change in scenery for a while. Everything was going great until a group of people came and set up camp right next to us with a puppy.

Simba’s 1st Beach Trip

Simba is also quiet antisocial. He doesn’t really have dog friends other than Shortbread. He’s just like his Mom lol.

The puppy caused such chaos. I wanted to pack up and leave but I took the opportunity to show Simba he can coexist with other people and animals away from home. To get him to calm down, I had to pat his butt and repeat “sit” until he sat down, and then I had to rub his big body until he stopped shaking. This was going to be a long day…but we got this.

After about 3 more of those episodes where he almost took down our cabana, walked all over me and even once jumped in my lap, we were able to lay in the sun and just chill. The introduction to the ocean would come before we left.

Overall he did well on his first beach trip. Enjoying chicken meatballs and water, playing with his rope and putting sand all over me.

We managed to almost make it off the beach without being approached by any strangers!!! I was impressed. I began to think I need to bring Simba out more often, he’s my people shield lol.

He slept most of the way home before sticking his entire head out of the window to do real boy dog shit. We ended our adventurous day at Sonic Drive-Thru where we learned they to have pup cups!

This guy had the day of his life and it’s not even his birthday yet lol. I too enjoyed my crazy fur son and our QT. I can’t speak dog but I hope he knows I love and adore him and was glad to have him tag along on my SunDate.

The Outspoken Critic and Civil Rights Activist

The most iconic photo of the scientific genius on his 72nd Birthday

So I’m hella late to the party on this one, but I’ve always been a fan of Albert Einstein. Should he still be alive today, he would definitely be invited to the “cookout.” I shared my favorite photo of Dr. Albert Einstien above. It was said that this was his reaction to his photo being taken by paparazzi. I love how he was not consumed with what people thought of him. He was a genius and he acted as such. Unusual and unapologetic.

Now, I know Black History month is about shedding light on those African Americans who have contributed to society, but for a moment I want to share a little known “Black History Fact” that I did not know before today.

So, I know Albert Einstein for his theory of relativity. However, what I just learned was never taught or spoke of in any school that I’ve attended and I am baffled but not surprised. The education system continues to teach our children only what they want them to know. Thank God for the Internet, parents, family and friends with time and willingness to spread knowledge!

💡DID YOU KNOW?💡(Because I sure didn’t)

Einstein was good friends with the famous African American opera singer, actor and civil rights activist, Paul Robeson. He and Paul both resided in Princeton, NJ and shared sentiments on racism.

He had great sympathy for African American people in America. It was said that he would wander around the neighborhoods of African Americans in Princeton, NJ to just sit and talk with people, African American people that is. Sharing candy with the children and answering their mound of questions freely. This is not something that he had to do. He did not succumb to the racial divide that polluted this so-called Great Country. While doing so, he ended up under surveillance of the FBI because of his interest and support of the civil rights movement. In addition to not conforming to the world around him, he signed anti-lynching petitions and more notably volunteered to testify as a character witness in the trial of W.E.B. Du Bois.

In 1946, Albert Einstein gave a commencement speech at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. For those of you who don’t know, Lincoln University is the oldest HBCU. During this commencement speech, he publicly declared the unjust treatment of African Americans to be cruel. He refused to sit quietly on his thoughts and feelings about the hot topic. Sadly the media didn’t give it much coverage and it is rarely mentioned unless you just go looking for information.

Now if you were to search the Internet about any of these things, you will probably uncover many articles that have leaked parts of his journal where he transcribed his thoughts when he traveled the world. But I am a firm believer that it is not what a person thinks, it is what a person does. ACTIONS OVER WORDS. I don’t care what he wrote intimately that was leaked to try and paint him in a negative light. What I do appreciate was his interest, compassion and the actions that he took to show that he did not agree with the treatment of African Americans during that time. Many may want to argue but I feel that he was geniune with his actions above all the other trash that the Internet will produce. Anyone who goes against what “they” think is right, will always be wrong. And that is sad.

Sadly racism is still America’s “worst disease” as black men, women and children are still being modern day “lynched” and treated unfairly due to the color of their skin. Please know that I love all people regardless of skin color because utimately it is what is in your heart that truly matters. Racism is taught and accepted not acquired at birth. I just hope I get to see the day that my people are treated as equal.

Please take a moment and read Einstein’s essay that was published in the January 1946 issue of Pageant magazine.

The Negro Question
by Albert Einstein

I am writing as one who has lived among you in America only a little more than ten years, and I am writing seriously and warningly. Many readers may ask: “What right has he to speak about things which concern us alone, and which no newcomer should touch?”

I do not think such a standpoint is justified. One who has grown up in an environment takes much for granted. On the other hand, one who has come to this country as a mature person may have a keen eye for everything peculiar and characteristic. I believe he should speak out freely on what he sees and feels, for by so doing he may perhaps prove himself useful.

What soon makes the new arrival devoted to this country is the democratic trait among the people. I am not thinking here so much of the democratic political constitution of this country, however highly it must be praised. I am thinking of the relationship between individual people and of the attitude they maintain toward one another.

In the United States everyone feels assured of his worth as an individual. No one humbles himself before another person or class. Even the great difference in wealth, the superior power of a few, cannot undermine this healthy self-confidence and natural respect for the dignity of one’s fellow-man.

There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.

Many a sincere person will answer: “Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.”

I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.

The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself.

A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition — besides inherited aptitudes and qualities — which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.

It would be foolish to despise tradition. But with our growing self-consciousness and increasing intelligence we must begin to control tradition and assume a critical attitude toward it, if human relations are ever to change for the better. We must try to recognize what in our accepted tradition is damaging to our fate and dignity — and shape our lives accordingly.

I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.

What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.

I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed. But until this goal is reached there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.

Be Your Own Valentine

Many people probably are not aware that grief is the form that love takes when you mourn the loss of someone close to you. Associating the day with someone significant can spark powerful emotions.

Valentine’s Day in itself emphasizes love, romance and togetherness. When reminded that you no longer have that special person in your life, this day could feel like utter shit. It’s hard to escape the displays in stores, the signs in windows or along the road or even ads on the Internet.

As a person who has lost their Father, Mother, Grandfathers, Grandmother, children and many other special people, I feel as though the day is praised and emphasized entirely too much and for what. Especially for those of us who are mourning the loss of love from those who were once close.

If you’re struggling today, I invite you to try some of these tips below. Remember it’s ok to not be ok. And don’t let anyone tell you anything differently. You have a friend in grief here, so if you need support send me a message. I will be happy to chat and be a pillar of support during your hard times. No pressure.

There are NO Rules

Often times people feel pressured to act a certain way as it pertains to mourning. Give yourself grace on today. Grieve in anyway that suits you and don’t worry about what others may think. Despite societal pressures and norms, there is truly no right or wrong way to mourn the loss of someone. (And this is to include pets for my animal lovers…to me they are just as human as people)

Burn Some Lead

Journaling is one of my favorite things to do to relieve stress and to start my day on a positive note. Nothing makes me feel better and focused than using a No.2 all wood to get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper. This freeing process is exceptional at helping you to process and organize your thoughts. Now I know everyone is not into physical writing (pen/pencil to paper) but fret now, it is also productive if you feel compelled to type. Don’t go back and read what you write, and keep these journaled thoughts somewhere that only you can get to. This is not only therapuetic but also can aide you in your grief response.

Honor Your Love

Channel your thoughts and feelings in a positive light during the day. There are many ways to honor your loved one that doesn’t require spending a coin. You could donate blood, volunteer your time at a nursing home or local homeless shelter. Focus your attention on a way to honor your dearly departed loved one. This may turn into your new annual tradition.

Be Your Own Valentine

The heavy process of grief can be physically debilitating for some. As a bereaved person, you may suffer from insomnia, poor eating and lack of physical activity. While others feel the need to love on someone else, today practice some self-love. Pay attention to yourself. Do something that will make you feel better or even smile today.