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ASK LINDA


I’m Linda, and my style is to keep my blog posts short and sweet, and always insightful. My goal is to help you expand your thinking and your world, to thrive and feel good about you.


Oct 27, 2020

Seasons change and so do I


 Dear Readers,

There is so much negativity happening in our country, and I didn’t want to add to it by writing a heavy post. So, I’ve decided to talk about harvesting, that wonderful tradition that happens in the fall season. And just because we are in a pandemic, there is no reason we can’t commemorate it.  

I get it, 2020 has been hellish; a pandemic, America’s awakening to the reality that its Black citizens’ lives do matter, and to top it off this is our election year. So yes, it’s been one big ol’ yowza.  I personally experienced a wild fire at my back door, an evacuation order, and heavy smoke for weeks but through it all my journal writing has kept me sane.

Consistent journaling has built up my spiritual strength, maintained my emotional balance, and yes, even helped to keep my A1C levels in check without turning my back on my favorite candy. I have been able to refinance my home (watch for that one in another post), maintain my blog, create new products, and forge new business alliances.

What about you? Did you perhaps discover a hidden talent? Find a new career? Enjoy a new creative outlet? Whatever it is, I would love to hear about it.

Always envision the best.

Sep 29, 2020

Will you join me?

 

I always try to remain positive in the face of racism, but like you I experience days when I am saddened and so very frustrated. My heart aches for Breonna Taylor and for every Black person who was murdered by police officers. But I will not give up hope nor will I stop believing in the millions of Americans, Black and white, who are working toward equality for all of the citizens of America.

For over thirty years, I have nursed the concept behind the Think Bigger cards, inspirations that define the best selves of Blacks and whites. I designed cards for Blacks to help rebuild your self-esteem that has been worn down by systematic racism, and those created for Whites are meant to widen your mind and heart and the basics of sharing.

I’m so glad my cards are finally here because their messages are so valuable. They uplift each other and calm fears.  The timing couldn’t be better, wouldn’t you say?

We may be right in the middle of chaos that grows alarmingly every day, yet I’m convinced we’re right we’re supposed to be. Will you have the courage to let go of our outdated race narrative?

Always envision the best.

Sep 4, 2020

When you really want to scream

 

Phyllis asked:

I am enraged. Fellow veterans’ mail-in medications are missing, conservatives and right-wing hate groups have joined forces to raise money for a 17-year-old racist who murdered two people, FOX News attacks professional NBA and MLB athletes for supporting BLM, plus there is a damn racist living in the White House. My art is a constant, as I need to paint each day to stay level headed. Recently, I had to defend myself after being verbally abused by a white woman, yet I was the one accused as a violent agitator. I don’t want to live in a country where I am forever seen as a third-class citizen. Help!


Dear Phyllis,

Let me start by saying your feelings of frustration, powerlessness, and anger are absolutely justified. It’s a lot to process, I know. So breathe it out. 

We have it in our heads that to be fair one must listen to both sides, but does that include subjecting ourselves to abuse and hatred? Absolutely not. The inner conflict you are experiencing is a direct result of that programming.  

But all is not hopeless. There are steps you can take to protect yourself. One of the simplest yet most challenging is to unplug from social media. It doesn’t have to be forever, and you might argue that this is the way you stay connected to family and friends, but think on this: can you filter out the negativity and fear mongering in the numerous news feeds and, yes, even from friends and family? So turn off your social media.

Two, distance yourself from people, businesses, and organizations who openly dismiss equality for BIPOC—Black Indigenous People of Color—which btw includes social media giant Facebook. Why? Let’s not forget MZ overlooked how a certain foreign adversary and other hate groups targeted Blacks to sow racial discord.

Trump thrives on sowing discord.  Redirecting your attention away from him and his antics (tweets included) will certainly ease your frustration.

These are small but very effective ways to claim back your power. Just allow yourself ample time to adapt without the social media filler until you’ve regained your equilibrium. Continue using other tools at hand to channel overflowing emotions, like your art; even a favorite play list will restore your spirits.

You are not some angry Black agitator. You’re a Black American woman, a veteran, who has the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  

Always envision the best.

Aug 27, 2020

White America refuses to see racism



Daryl asked:

Why do white people refuse to admit racism exists? Despite all the protests, why are we still seeing Black men brutalized? We work, we pay taxes, we contribute. What have we done to merit so much hatred? I swing from rage to soul weariness from day to day. I’m beyond exhausted.

 

Daryl, I understand totally. Know that you have the right to exist and what you are feeling is real. You truly are reading the room correctly.

When current events become too much to bear, it’s a sign that you need to change your routine. First, disconnect from your news source (e.g. television, social media, etc.) temporarily because this feeds your anxiety. So take a break from it and breathe.

Next, restore your balance with some self-care using the simplest techniques. What’s your favorite book? What’s your favorite song? Write down your feelings, indulge in your favorite candy (mine’s Dots), listen to your favorite song, do a dance, or perhaps go for a short walk. The goal is to bring you back to you, a reminder that you can control your actions this moment.

But do understand this: we are witnessing America in the throes of uprooting its long-standing racist attitudes towards Blacks, and many whites are resisting. In fact, you can see the push-back on full display this week at the Republican National Convention, aka the four-day racist fest, doing everything to inflame the fear to protect what they hold dear.  

It’s the biggest, ugliest monster out there, and it requires courage to face a hostile world daily.

Yet, Daryl, know that you are not alone. Even in the chaos, you can feel a measure of security. The Think Bigger affirmation cards were created with you in mind and were designed to encourage and remind you of your true worth. You, as the rest of us, are here at this moment, in whichever role, to experience and learn from the events around us.

Always envision the best.







Aug 18, 2020

Labels are a fact of life

 
 
Heather asked:

Ever since the BLM movement really gained traction this year, the term “white person” feels more and more accusatory and rude; almost like I’m being attacked personally. Not every white person is racist. But I feel like I’m being lumped in with the rest of them. There’s got to be a better way to discuss this.


I’m glad you brought this up, Heather. Unfortunately, this is the hard truth: There is no special formula, no magical wand that will ease your discomfort when discussing race or racism.  However, you can be better prepared the next time you have a race discussion or other experience once you understand the difference between “white people” as a reference to the structure of whiteness and that of a personal reference to you a person who may be white.

Generally, the term “white people” refers to the institution of whiteness, which has been the bar that everyone else has had to measure against.  This is what we all live with. On the other hand, I can also understand that you wouldn’t want to be grouped with the bad apples, right? Just keep in mind this one important point: Blacks have lived with labels for centuries. Those labels have changed over time, but the fact remains no matter how degrading they were then and still are, it’s something Blacks have been forced to accept without exception.  

I strongly suspect the reason why you feel so prickly when you hear “white people” is because this is the first time ever that whites collectively have an inkling of what a label feels like. So, the way I see it Heather, you have a choice; learn to tell the difference between “white people” and you, or deny that you have any part in the white consciousness. Neither choice is comfortable. Yet only one will guarantee balanced growth. Your single question shows how a willing heart simply needs a little nudge toward further introspection.

Always envision the best.

Aug 10, 2020

Don't just sit there! Start journaling

 



Shay asked:

I’m Black, and all my life I have been coping with race issues. I’m frustrated and drained emotionally. I need a boost. Got any suggestions?


Shay, I hear you, and yes, coping with race issues is exhausting. So I’m going to share with you my number one, full-proof technique that I guarantee will alter you mood in five minutes flat—journal writing. Not convinced? That’s okay, but I’m confident that this can help you find joy again, bring that smile back on your face, and put a little pep in your step.

When you put pen to paper, you create an intention to search, expose, and triumph over any experience for your benefit. Begin with the “I feel…” statement, jotting down what immediately comes to your mind. Five minutes is all you need until you get more comfortable with the process.

Journal writing is an excellent activity to voice and sort through a host of feelings in a safe and private forum. You will discover the many ways you censure, dismiss, and silent yourself (similar to how our society ignores the BIPOC—Black Indigenous Person of Color). Relief and release comes once you’ve waded through the jumble of emotions, I promise. Envision the best.

Aug 3, 2020

Staying spontaneous in a pandemic




Terri asked:

I’m so glad we are addressing race in a way we never have before. But it’s the pandemic that leaves me feeling drained, overwhelmed and even depressed. I use to be so free and spontaneous. What can I do to get some of that old me back?


Terri, living in a pandemic demands that you pay attention to details. Everything must be planned and scheduled, effectively curbing any spontaneity that would normally bring a sense of freedom and happy attitudes to our days.

In a lot of ways, we’ve ground to a halt, and we’re feeling the chafe. We’re all looking for new ways to entertain ourselves, to keep us busy while maintaining our sanity. How can we bring spontaneity back into our everyday existence? Or at least, what can I do to make me feel like I’m indulging my need to be impulsive, instead of grabbing the keys and heading to somewhere nonessential? What could possibly be the upside of this COVID pandemic?

One thing COVID has taught me is to approach things differently; my outlook, my attitudes, my routines. That includes tweaking how we do spontaneous.

Can I see evidence of it around me? Actually, I can. I can see it every day reflected back at me in the beauty and comfort of my garden, my property, and inside my home.

The relaxing space I call home with its light-filled rooms and cheery colors, remind me that it was spontaneity, with a bit of planning and scheduling, was the driving force that created my surroundings. Instead of running out the door for an impromptu meet up with friends, I focused on improving my surroundings. Or tried a new recipe. Or added a bird feeder in the yard.

I’m viewing impulsivity in a new, creative way; a COVID way of living in the moment. Do yourself a favor, and stop looking for your life to go back to the way it was. And that’s plenty spontaneous for now.

Jul 27, 2020

Why Black Lives Matter



Angela asked:

Why do white people believe that Black Lives Matter invalidates the lives of whites? I have had heated discussions with family members. Thanks.


Simply put, Angela, the expression Black Lives Matter threatens whites’ stronghold as alpha dog in our white-dominated society. For various reasons, they cannot or will not see it as a Black effort for validation and societal balance. At the very least, it can make them uncomfortable in their whiteness.

So when you hear All Lives Matter (code for White Lives Matter), especially as a rebuttal to Black Lives Matter, two things are happening here. One, this is a white power grab to reassert their “rightful” position; and two, it redirects the focus away from Black Americans, thereby diminishing and dismissing the systemic racism that has restricted their lives.

Taken at face value, all lives do matter. But the conversation is not about all lives; it’s about Black lives, their rights, and their very human-ness. Never lose sight of that.

So the next time you encounter someone bristling over Black Lives Matter, more than likely that person hasn’t examined their own feelings and beliefs concerning their privilege.

Jul 24, 2020

Supporting others doesn't cost a dime




Tony asked:

I initially supported Black Lives Matter but watching their destructive behavior in Portland, Oregon, and the toppling of confederate statues is causing me to question my support. What’s up?



Tony, change is often uncomfortable.

The Black Lives Matter movement exposed America’s systemic racism toward its Black citizens, resulting in an enormous shift in consciousness that has shaken our foundation and can be felt around the world. Emotions are overflowing; anger over injustice is at an all-time high. Where does all this energy go? Into protests, demonstrations, and in extreme cases, violence. Of course, loss of life and property is never acceptable. Yet destruction of property can be viewed as a symbolic tearing down of old beliefs—of what doesn’t work anymore— just as the removal of confederate statues is symbolic of the tearing down of structures that reinforce racism.

Lastly, try viewing Black Lives Matter as a call for full equality and fairness for Black Americans instead of an aggressive organization acting in ways you don’t agree with and that make you uncomfortable.

Jul 22, 2020

How to navigate prickly encounters about race


Yvonne* asked:

Lately, while going about my everyday busy-ness, I've had white people--strangers--try to turn a casual conversation into a discussion about race by slipping in a seemingly simple question like why do Blacks... (Yes, I'm Black.) I am more annoyed by this than grateful that a white person wants to pick my black brain under the guise of "see, I'm trying to relate", but I'm at a loss as to how to deal with this type of situation. Help me out with this.


I experience this all the time too, Yvonne.

As someone who's shielded more than a few of these wanna-be learning sessions, let me say that being put on the spot as the “official" Black spokesperson is not only inappropriate but also offensive. I understand your frustration. Even if inquisitive whites weren’t trying to be rude but instead wanted to engage, however awkward, in a sincere and comfortable dialogue about race, it's not something you should have to figure out. There's a time and a place for such conversation, and I get that when you're at the grocery store, your mind is on picking the biggest, ripest tomato and not on playing 20 questions about race. It's very much like asking for free professional advice from someone you have just met at a dinner party.

No matter how well-intention their motives, you are under no obligation to follow them down that rabbit hole. Simply point them to the vast informational pool called Google. Its a helpful resource for everyone.

*Name changed for privacy

Jun 23, 2020

Make Good Choices




Hello, and welcome to Affirmatively You. I’m Linda, its creator and host, where I affirm each and every day the positive potential of Blacks and Whites. My style is to keep my blog posts short and sweet, and always insightful. My goal is to help you expand your thinking and your world, to thrive and feel good about you. 

Whew, 2020 is not for the faint of heart. It is June 2020, and the United States of America is kinda (sorta) easing out of a global pandemic while recognizing and admitting—finally!—centuries of systematic racism does exist.

So how are you navigating these challenging times? Do you agree with the potential to reform America? I do hope so because my platform will focus on new avenues to explore with opportunities to uplift yourself and others and to grow emotionally and spiritually.

Can you imagine what you might achieve by choosing a new, more inclusive lane? Absolute magic!

Always envision the best,

Linda

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