Carolina Panthers sign Eric Reid

(sorry for any typos, I’m just really excited!)

For the people who don’t really know much about me, I am a HUGE Panthers fan.  Like….YUUUUUGE…

Really!

Well today, I was eating my salad for lunch (because I went to happy hour yesterday and killed all of my healthy eating for the week) and came across a message from one of my friends on our group chat.

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I have to admit.  This was probably the most unexpected thing that I have ever expected the Panthers to do.  Why?

Just a little bit of history…

Eric Reid was basically being blackballed in the NFL.  As much as some people would like to deny it, he was. Why you ask?  Well for my people who are unfamiliar, Eric Reid was one of the first guys to kneel with Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem in protest of Police brutality, inequality, and social justice as a whole.   Also,  Reid currently has a collusion lawsuit opened with the NFL, basically because he’s being blackballed. So yeah…Eric Reid wasn’t currently signed to any team in the NFL, and has not played at all this season.  The Panthers decided to sign this guy, on a one-year deal (people call this a “prove it” contract) and I couldn’t be happier.

This joy that I share, comes from multiple places.  You see, the panthers just recently went through an ownership change.  Jerry Richardson, the old angry RBF looking guy who didn’t seem to enjoy life at all, used to be the owner.  He just seemed like someone who ruled with an iron fist.  Even though I never knew him personally, and everybody like players and staff said he was a kind person, he just seemed like someone who had this, “I treat my people right by paying them, so they must do what I say” type of attitude. In addition to this demeanor, Richardson never did high profile moves when making decisions for his team.  There would be a need and would be a perfectly good player in free agency that would be available, and if Richardson deemed he was too problematic (in his eyes) he wouldn’t sign them.  Jerry Richardson would NEVER in a million years make a move like this. Why?  Because it brings too much drama.  Regardless of how this makes him look to the many people who paid him money to see his team.  If a move requires any type of attention, he bails out.  He didn’t want to stand up for what’s right, he just wanted to make his money and go about his business.  And while people think that’s fine and dandy, he never showed that he wanted to be a a part of something bigger.

The new owner of the Panthers, David Tepper, has shown in many ways that he’s not afraid to stir the pot.  Tepper hasn’t done much, but the things that he HAS done in only a short few months of owning the team, has shown that he’s more about football than he is politics.  A simple gesture of painting the Panthers logo at midfield was welcome with fanfare and praise.  Only because fans have asked for this for 20+ years, and Jerry Richardson with the iron fist said “HELL NO”.  He didn’t give a damn about his fans, and his loyalty was to his money and the NFL.  I digress though.  With that said, Tepper is not afraid to do what’s best for his team and the fans who watch every Sunday.  Signing the best unsigned football player, who was currently being blackballed by so many others, proves that he’s not afraid of what others will say and he’s out here to support the best players out there, regardless of the inequalities they are facing.  I hope he paves the way for other teams to stand up and do what’s right.

Also, this… Panthers owner David Tepper rebuts Trump’s anthem protest criticism, calls NFL players ‘patriotic’

I can only hope that David Tepper continues to make the decisions that allow his team and the people they represent to stay on the RIGHT side of history.  And hopefully, Reid can go out here, and show people that he can still play, while also keeping an eye on and fighting for social justice.

 

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Joy

She is a tower of strength

Her beauty coveted and unparalleled

Clothed in robes of gold,

and warming and welcoming in ways

we wish wearily for.

They call her Joy.

We spend our lives searching for her

in empty homes

Seeking to fill heartless holes

we call it happiness

But Joy evades us

Joy is a Black woman

(all things full of creation are)

basking in the beauty of beautiful rainshowers

smiling and singing

about the sun that succumbs to the necessary downpour

Daring to wet her coiled, kinky, cocky locks

by the tsunami of cleansing

that begets around her.

Joy is pancakes after sleepless nights –

The knowing that sustenance from the sweet syrup

sticks to your soul

and invites sleep on slow Sunday mornings

As rest is refreshing whenever it agrees with us.

Joy is running

Running forever

Barefooted

Broken

Beautiful

Backed with the strength of our ancestors

who softly whisper “freedom”

as you run zig zag through fields of familiar and forgotten wildflowers.

Joy is

Hard

Hell overcome

Hope mainfested

But mostly,

Joy is

the crossroad of acceptance and liberation.

 

Change is the only constant…

Change is inevitable.  It’s something we all go through in life whether we want it to happen or not.  In most cases, our idea of change is an unwanted variable that comes along, ruining good things and making things worse over time.  But change can happen for the better, and most often does.  We don’t like to openly invite change to make things better, but it’s only because it’s unfamiliar; And everyone tends to be a little scared about unfamiliarity.

So, as I go through one of the biggest changes of my life, I have to remind myself that change is a good thing.  To want change is to know that you desire more from life, and that where you are has become to stagnant and complacent.  Sometimes, change is desired, and sometimes it’s needed.  In this case, I think it was a little bit of both. I can only hope that it will bring good and positive things to me in the future.  So with that said, here are a few reasons why I think change is good and something we should all embrace and strive for:

Change gets you out of your comfort zone

I’m some sort of an introvert, so I know all about comfort zones and being in them.   But, doing things that are unfamiliar to you builds confidence.  Without confidence, you won’t get too far in life. With confidence, you are more willing to put yourself out there and take chances.  I’ve had to learn this and still am trying to get used to being confident in/with change.  Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to spread your wings and show the world what you can really do outside of your normal comfort box.  And no, you don’t ALWAYS have to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes it’s good to go back and chill, but don’t stay there.

Change allows you to grow

Change is life.  It’s how this whole ‘life’ thing works.  Getting you out of your comfort zone is the basis of change, and allows for you to grow, and as you grow, you learn.  And as you learn more, the better off you are in life.  Growth from change allows you to experience so much more than you ever would staying in your comfort zones.

Change and being adaptable are seen as positives

We all know that things at work never goes as planned.  As a bag-boy at the local grocery store I learned that being open to change is how you get recognized.  Work itself, is just one big ball of Murphy’s law ready to explode on your hour after hour. And being susceptible to change allows you to handle these situations like a BOSS.  Adaptability and change go hand in hand.  If you allow your resistance to change to keep you from taking charge or handling a situation accordingly, this is definitely seen as a negative.  Change allows you to be creative in solving a problem. A plus in many employer’s eyes.

Change can help spice up your life

In more ways than one…lol.  I am very accepting of change for this reason alone.  Doing the same things over and over for an extended amount of time got me into semi depressive moods many times, because it felt like I wasn’t doing anything or going anywhere in my life.  The same routines of my day to day allowed me to focus on why I felt like I wasn’t successful, or why my life was “boring”, and contributed to a negative aura and thought process.  Change, just in your daily routine, can help with these types of thoughts and maybe a big change could help as well.

Change allows you to experience new things

As we all know, change presents opportunities.  Without being open to change, I wouldn’t be making the biggest move of my life in 31 days. Simple as that.

You have to put yourself out there.  We as humans get to the point where we’re just really comfortable and complacent and just refuse to embrace change because we’re so familiar with the constant. Be open to change and all of the good impact that it may have on you.  Who knows, it could lead to great opportunities that you would have never imagined.  It could change your life.  To fear change, is to fear the unknown, and that totally understandable, but how long are you going to let the fear of change dictate how you live your life?

A Break Up Letter to NYC

Dear New York City,

The time has come for us to say our good byes. I think we both knew we were never destined to be long term lovers, but we gave it our best shot, and year is nothing to frown upon. You have taught me so much and I wanted to make sure you understood the value you had in my life. So many times we do not get to properly have closure to the most important relationships in our life. Moving gives us that gift. I want to share it with you .

1) You taught me how to be tough. You taught me how to not give into men and their advances, put on a hard shell when necessary, and be strong. You taught me that nothing is too scary for me. That subways at night are absolutely conquerable, streets are meant for crossing at all times, and gave me a bit of NYC sass and arrogance to go along with it. I like that part of me you’ve helped me develop. I feel tough.

2) You taught me the value of a dollar and resilience. You took me back to my roots and reminded how easily you can lose it all, struggle, and be back at the bottom. This was not a fun lesson, but necessary for humility.

3) You taught me Black and Brown comes in 500 different shades and languages and reinforced my sense of pride of belonging to a diverse group of people across the African diaspora. I desperately needed to see that after many years without that validation. When people ask me about my favorite thing about NYC, Harlem, and the Black and Brown people are always my top answer. I can feel the spirits of my ancestors here and see the seeds of their labor.

4) You reminded me that I can ride a bike. I got on my first bike in years when I moved here and it reminded me to always play and that some things are as easy and simple as remembering. Those were some of my favorite moments.

5) You taught me all that glimmers isn’t gold and isn’t for me. NYC glitters and glimmers; NYC is far from gold. It is a hard place to live and be yourself. You showed me that although I may aspire or think something is wonderful, I must really look carefully and consider all parts. I’m so appreciative of this lesson.

6) You allowed me to live a childhood dream of living in the Big Apple. It felt nice to say I’ve done it. My inner child appreciates the adventure.

7) You tested my patience, which I suppose begets patience. From lines, to delayed trains, to spending hours searching for a parking space, to jobs not for me, and a terrible dating scene, you really tried me. I hope I learned patience and not irritation. 🙂

8) Bodegas make the best sandwiches. There is nothing else to say.

9) You rescued me. I have so many mixed feelings as I leave here. This wasn’t a place of warmth, love, or friendship for me, which was foreign. But I cannot forget that you rescued me from despair and a low place. You were a wonderful oasis at a time that I needed it. I’m sorry that I dont always thank you for it, but I’m grateful.

10) You made me remember what is important to me. That I don’t need a fancy city, expensive apartment, or hectic lifestyle. That family, friendship, passion, and a career that lights me on fire are what I value most. We weren’t good matches because of these things, but thank you for showing me what I really need.

11) That in spite of everything, I can do anything. BUT that doesn’t mean I should. Thank you for that valuable lesson.

I think today, as I walked my last walk home from the one place I could feel comfort, I felt you offering peace as our relationship closes tomorrow. You gave me a gift of a breezy evening, a lovely sunset, children laughing, no slow people in front of me, and the ability to help one last lost tourist find their way to Central Park. This was certainly not a lot of our evenings spent together, but I’m sure you wanted to end this on high note. I wanted that as well, and gave a gift of kindness to a stranger in the subway. I hope you take that as an offering of my gratitude.

I want to thank you. Thank you for making me a tough, bodega loving, fast walking, and incredibly humble woman one year later. I’ll be back as a familiar and indebted visitor, but the depth of our relationship ends here. I’m not sorry to say good bye. It’s the right thing to do. Instead, I’m glad we got the time to influence one another. Thank you for letting me call you home for this short time.

With all the love in my heart,

LeAnna

Say it Loud!…I’m Black and I’m Proud!

I’m rooting for everybody Black.
-Issa Rae

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Despite popular belief, I’m black, and I love being black, and I would not trade that in for the world.

Watching Black Panther in theaters opening weekend was just such an amazing experience. An experience I have not been able to see at a mainstream level in such a long time, if ever. In its first weekend, Black Panther made $218 million. 218!!!!!! To put this in perspective, the Jordan Peele written and directed “Get Out”, which is another great movie, opened up with $33 million and “Girls Trip”, another movie for the culture, opened up with $31 million. Like, can your mind even process this right now? Black people have been WINNING for the past year and some months. However, even though “Get Out” and “Girls Trip” didn’t break the top ten grossing movies of 2017, they did place 15th and 26th respectively. Which isn’t an easy feat. We showed up! We did it y’all. But I can’t help but think we can do better. I can’t wait for when this doesn’t come as a surprise to us, because I can’t wait until other people outside of our race will finally recognize and know our worth.

Black Panther is leading in box office sales for 2018 right now and it’s not even close! Thanks to us for showing up and showing out! Additionally, I wnat to shout out the Marvel fanboys as well, but let me put this in perspective. Black Panther opened up their box office weekend outdoing Thor: Ragnarok, Spiderman: Homecoming, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Logan, AND Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 last year. Only being beat by Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017.

THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE! WE! SHOWED! UP!

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And what’s so much better about this, is that THEY. SHOWED. UP. The Director/Writer, the Actors, every single person who was a part of this project. Black Panther was more than just a superhero movie. It oozed of culture. It celebrated our culture! Even though Wakanda is very advanced, you see women wearing their hair beautifully, naturally, dressed in ensembles that oozed of African prints that seemed to be influenced by Kenyan cloth (I’m sure I’m wrong on the country here, don’t kill me). Even when you see T’challa and crew walking through the city, you see shops with Wakandans selling goods and merchandise, as it being the normal way of living. These people of Wakanda were showing their beauty. Taking Pride in their culture. The dances seen when the “battle” for King went on. The fact that the fate of Wakanda almost SOLELY depended on the women. When you think of advanced civilizations, you don’t think of markets, you don’t think of unpermed natural hair, you don’t think of African print clothing.. I LOVED IT. EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND.

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I’m so glad that Black Panther embodies this, because for the people that are not of color and do not know much about African culture, they were able to see a part of our history in a positive light. Usually, black people are portrayed as dumb, drug addicts, weed smoking, criminals of some sort and we are so tired of being represented this way in the mainstream. This is why we love ourselves. This is why we love to celebrate were we come from, because in most instances it has been stripped away from us. We barely see or know our history. We were taken away from our roots and forced to work as slaves for hundreds of years. This leads us to yearn and celebrate where we come from. From being descendants of Kings and Queens, to being knocked down to virtually nothing during slavery, only to come back out on top hundreds of years later gives me hope and promise and just joy that my black is beautiful and that I am worth it.

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The release of Black Panther is an event! It’s own “comic-con” of sorts. I encourage all of us to embrace our blackness and continue to show the world how amazing we are. I’ve only decided to focus on Black Panther for this post, but we are doing amazing things in music, TV, and movies. Continue to be proud and continue to support us, as we are worth every single ounce of our existence. And don’t let anyone tell you differently.

#wakandaForever

What is Intimacy?

I am plagued by a deep desire for intimacy and connection within all of my relationships and friendships. I call this a plague because often people are not taught to be intimate and vulnerable with one other, and particularly in heterosexual romantic partnerships and so it feels like a curse most of the time.** While I’ve had success with intimacy with my female friends, men, on the other hand, continue to be a challenge.

When I say intimacy, I am not describing something that necessarily is sexual. I am describing the gentle way in which we lean into one another for support, care, and safety. I am describing the desire to know someone beyond their outer shell and take the time to understand someone from their perspective. I am describing curiosity, and genuine love for another human being, because you can see their light that connects them to you. I am describing empathy, placing yourself in their shoes and relaying to them, that you too are human. I am talking about soft kisses on foreheads and lips, arm caresses with no expectation, and soothing hugs. I suppose this is an emotional type of intimacy.

It seems to me, at least in my experiences, intimacy is often a second hand thought or something expected to be a by-product of everything except vulnerability, and often, derived from sex. My experience has been that sex alone rarely leads to intimacy; that intimacy is intentional, requires more work, and requires a certain aspect of emotional availability and maturity than sex. This quote speaks to me about that.

“It’s easy to take your clothes off and have sex; people do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them in your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes, and dreams – that’s being naked.”

We aren’t truly naked enough with each other and yet, we want and expect others to be physically naked with us. We do this often with false promises of true nakedness that never comes; “Let’s see where this goes” or “go with the flow.” Sex itself is just sex, and perhaps in some circumstances, a gateway to intimacy, but it has never been that for me. Perhaps it is the way my brain has been wired – part genetics, partly influenced by trauma – but to trust someone who has only seen me physically, but does not make an effort to know my spiritually and mentally (and I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about my inner being), is near impossible for me.

I have never had sex with someone that I felt intimately connected to in my adult life. Sure, I’ve loved them. But I did not feel the intimate connection that allows sex to transcend the physical and become something supernatural. I have never had a man try to get know me, understand my intricacies and apply that to how he loved and cared for me, both in practice and in sex. In turn, I have never felt 100% safe with a partner. I am admitting this now, but it is painful and weird to say that out loud and to the world. And I know that the key to this is a deeper level of intimacy. But how do we even go about building this? Does this even exist?

I wrote a post recently about the love I crave and I think within that are many metaphors describing what my ideal relationship; freedom, independence, interdependence, passion, and also intimacy. I once had a garden and although a lot of work, it never felt that way, because I loved the work it took to tend to it. I felt connected to it. I spent time looking at it, admiring it, learning about it, and trying to listen to what it was that it was saying that it needed. I gave it quite a bit of my attention and enjoyed sitting with it quietly. It also made me laugh and we had hiccups here and there, and we recovered together. Growing a garden is a very intimate affair, whether you know it or not. And truly committing to a relationship also requires this (and likely more) great deal of intimacy – at least for someone like me.

I wish that we could learn more about what it means to be intimate with one another and not to shy away from it. I wish we could see that some of us need safety and intimacy to thrive, and understand how that contributes to an invaluable amount of love. And for some of us, that fertile ground of intimacy and safety, can lead to the best sex, and even more worthwhile, love of your life. That every time you say, we can’t be more emotionally intimate because we just met, and yet expect someone to disrobe for you and be fully present for sex, in some ways you diminish the ways that sex can be intimate, that each time I try to tell you something about me or is core to my life, and you quickly switch to asking me about the color of my panties or sexual fantasy, to every time you kiss or touch me with only an intention to have sexual relations, that you create more distance, that you get further from your goal, that I mentally dismiss you, and for some of us, you may even make us feel used or detached.

I am not sure I can convince many of you of this. We live in hook up and fast paced culture that seems to often place higher value on pace and quantity, and well, sex feels good. I am not saying that every encounter should or ought to be intimate, that there is no place for hookups and one night stands (trust me, there are places and reasons for this), but rather, I am offering that should we ever want anything more substantial, we have to become more substantial. I’m saying connection still matters. I’m also offering to those who feel like me, that they are too deep, too introspective, too intimate, that you are not alone. I’m offering to all my many clients who have struggled with meaningless encounter after another, that I understand.

I do not know if I will find this intimacy in a romantic relationship. If not, I don’t know if I can ever fully commit to a person romantically. I may have to be content in my close friend circle that provides me emotional intimacy without any conditions. I consider myself lucky to have that. I cannot imagine how some people go through life without it. To me, it seems like a zombie or a shell of a life, not fully realized. I hope for you all, that you find intimacy.

**I have a hunch from discussions with my friends that this may be true in other types of partnerships as well, but I can only authentically speak from my experience, which romantically have been heterosexual. I’m interested in how this differs for others though!.

An incomplete list of my life at 30 and proof that I definitely don’t have it all together

While writing my other blog “30 and wandering…“, I came across this idea to list out pretty much every little detail about how imperfect my life is, and after going through the list, I can truly say that for the amount of things on this list, I’m doing pretty well for myself, I think. Enjoy!

I didn’t own a pair of boots as an adult until January of 2018. MAYBE a pair of Timbs during high school.

No…Lugz…they were definitely Lugz

I go grocery shopping to save money and eat better, but still end up getting fast food because most times I’m too tired to cook.

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I choose what wine I want to drink according to the alcohol to price ratio.

Actually, that goes for any alcoholic drink.

Speaking of alcohol, I buy the cheapest because it’s just going to get mixed with something else anyway. Don’t let these brand whores steer you wrong.

My car has been overheating while idling for months now and I still haven’t gotten it fixed.

I’m still paying for my old car I had before my current one. Negative equity is a bitch yall.

I owe State taxes for both SC and NC and even though I have a big refund that will cover them both, I’ll probably spend my refund on something silly then freak out when April 17th comes around and I’ll have to scrounge up money to pay the IRS.

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I buy things that I don’t use, but will refuse to get rid of them.

My home that I’ve lived in for three years still hasn’t necessarily been decorated in any form or fashion.

I’d rather fall asleep hungry than spend money on fast food because I’m too lazy to cook.

I tell myself I’m going to work out, but I don’t. Week after week.

I tend to not have complete thoughts a lot…if ever…

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I have clothes in my closet I know that I will never wear again, but will complain about not having space in my dresser.

I think those light up shoes are terrible, but I secretly want a pair

I’m in so much debt…

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I don’t know how to date

I don’t know if I want to date

I don’t know if I’m date-able

I go on hookup apps looking for love.

I go on dates with people who clearly don’t want anything from me other than sex even though that’s not what I’m looking for.

A healthy meal to me is something not fried.

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My tub probably has like 5 layers of dirt in it.

I like naps

Like seriously, LOVE naps.

Sometimes, I have clean clothes and dirty clothes strewn all over the floor and don’t know the difference between the two until I smell test them.

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If I had to choose between Reese’s or having gas for my car to go places. I’d probably choose the Reese’s every time, no question.

Instead of planning out my day and taking advantage of the time I have, I procrastinate and then rush through everything when time starts getting slim.

I pay to have my groceries delivered because I’m terrible at grocery shopping.


These are only a few things that make me terrible. Hopefully some of you out there deal with the same terribleness I do, and if not then maybe there isn’t any hope for me.