The Roads We Travel

A few days in a life journey.

Archive for December 2016

Happy Birthday, Love.

Last night, we spent an hour at Target trying to find “a really special birthday gift for daddy.” My seven-year-old had a gift idea in mind when we arrived, but when she saw the options that Target had she felt they just weren’t special enough. I tried to calmly walk her through some other options, but she was fading fast and getting frustrated. The WHOLE of Target and NO-THING was special enough for her daddy.

That’s love.

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Yeah, I know. I should have planned it out months ago, and there wouldn’t have been the last minute rush, but if you know me, then you know that’s just my flow. I thought about it last month. I had lots of great ideas, but the planning time got allocated to squeakier wheels, and here we are, December 8, 2016.

Today, I wanted to share just how much I love my husband. Although, I feel like I expended all my mushy note writing on our anniversary Facebook post last month. That was just 8 days after the election, and I was feeling kind of emotional anyway, nevertheless, all of it was heartfelt.

Last night, I binge-watched Insecure on HBO. The show is hilarious, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud. At 1:00 in the morning, I was thinking, “Girl, you are crazy, you need to go to sleep… the alarm goes off in just five hours!!”

Did I mention, I am NOT a morning person?

But, I finished Season 1 and then drifted to sleep. As I did, scenes from the show had me thinking that I’m so glad I’m not in my 20s or 30s anymore. I mean we all would take a dip in the fountain of youth if we could, but there were a lot of tough lessons to be learned in those years. I’m sure there will be tough lessons in the years to come as well, but the show just reminded me of how I met my husband when I was only 23. We dated off and on for years and then finally married in my 30s.

It takes a while to figure some shit out.

I’m so glad that we figured it out together, though.

Last month, on our 9th anniversary, my son did some quick math on the car ride to school with my husband. “Cat’s out of the bag,” my husband announced when he got home. Apparently, my son figured out that we did NOT have our shit together BEFORE he was born.

It’s cool. I knew this day would come, I thought, as my Christian guilt started creeping up.

“Well, what did you tell him?” I asked, scared to know what was really said.

He told my son that he figured he already knew since he was in our wedding!!

 

 

Apparently, my son thought it was an anniversary celebration, not our wedding and let’s just say we really haven’t discussed it at length until now…

9 years later — as they stand nearly shoulder-to-shoulder.  My husband has been by his side since he took his first breath, whether we were together or not, he’s always been there for our son. I love this man.

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So, as another year marches by, we’ll turn the page and start a new chapter. I love being your wife, your best friend, your companion on this life journey.

Happy Birthday, love.

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Written by Shara

December 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Perceptions of Racial Reality in Media

On the way to school this morning, I asked my son to name one of his favorite shows (which are mostly cartoons) that had a girl or woman of color as the lead.

“What do you mean? Like Sandy in SpongeBob?”

No… close, but no.

I explained, think of a show with human characters or human representations in the case of cartoons. Is there one you can think of where the main character isn’t what we call White. I also explained that for some reason I don’t like the words White and Black as descriptive terms for skin color, they don’t truly represent the different shades and hues in our beautifully diverse world, but they do help to get the point across quickly.

He thought some more and couldn’t come up with any.

Then, I asked what about supporting characters. He quickly named Maria from Sesame Street, who he mentioned had recently retired, and another character from Rugrats. There! He sat back with a smile and kinda proud of himself.

Good job, son, but the conversation wasn’t over. It was just beginning.

We talked about how media shapes our perceptions of beauty and how he uses terms he’s learned through media to define beauty. Terms like “hot girls” which he almost always tends to use for girls scantily clothed with blonde hair and blue eyes. So, I asked, if this is the standard of beauty set by most of the media we consume, then what message does it send to girls who don’t look like this?

He didn’t know.

He thought some more and then said. Well, it doesn’t matter to me because I don’t need to see people who look like me on television to know I look good.

Swag.

I know, son and that’s great, but much of that is because our society doesn’t use beauty as a standard of value or success for men. Not so for women. Can you see that?

Yeah, I guess you’re right, he agreed.

So, what do you think we should do about it?

I guess just like the saying goes, “we should be happy with what we have.”

Maybe, I said, but what about the saying, “be the change you want to see in the world.”

I told him that the world needs his stories and that little boys and girls who have brown skin, like him, deserve to see main characters who look like them in their media. If we don’t see them, we shouldn’t sit complacently, we should ask for them and more importantly, we should create them.

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I’m having more conversations about race with my children, in a very intentional way.

Sewing seeds.

I need my children to understand the country we live in wasn’t necessarily designed for them, but it needs them. They have an important role to play now and in the future. If they don’t understand that perceptions are both created for and skewed by a dominant culture, then they might mistake this perception for their reality. But it’s not the whole truth, far from it.

Do you have conversations about race with your children? Are you scared to talk about it? I’d love to hear more.

Written by Shara

December 5, 2016 at 8:39 pm