It’s been about a week since I posted a photo on Instagram/Twitter that I took of myself, my hand that is, flicking off the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial. While I’ve always felt a deep dissatisfaction with this monument, the Confederate flag, or any supporter of the Confederacy for it’s “historic nature”, it wasn’t until lately that I felt that I could actually say anything, do anything. I can speak up against this giant stain that is part of the United States of America and not fear that I am the only one doing so. With monuments coming down everywhere in the US, there is a surge of dissatisfaction towards the celebration of the Confederate history.
As a black man, I’ve felt that there are certain things that I cannot say, talk about, or do. I cannot go “check out” a house for sale like my wife does. To be safe, I call the listing agent and make arrangements. I cannot go running in a hoodie even if my head’s cold. A black man running through a predominantly white neighborhood is asking for trouble. I’ve worn a suit without a tie to casual attire interviews so I am looked at like a professional. I am not afforded the chances that others get, so I keep a low and hyper-politically correct profile. As a husband, father, and son, I know that it’s my responsibility to keep myself safe so that I can continue to provide love and support to my family and friends.
I am breaking loose. It’s taken time, wisdom, patient observation, 15 years of professional design experience, and many, MANY bridges built over time. I finally feel safe to speak out publicly against those that wish to oppress me. I finally feel less fear of losing clients or losing my job. I can say no with the confidence that it doesn’t mean I am putting myself or my family into too much danger. Maybe the danger was all in my head, yet the price I felt that I might have to pay would be detrimental to the life I wanted to lead.
I don’t want to be held back.
I refuse to be held back any longer.
I’ve followed long enough.
It’s time for me to lead.
I want to lead the most energetic, beautiful, and adventurous life that I can with my family, friends, and strangers-soon-to-be-friends. I want to focus on those things that matter and disregard those things that just don’t apply to my personal mission. It’s too easy to get distracted, to lose focus, to trade my attention for cheap gratification. There are big things I want to do, need to do, while I am here.
(low to no edits made, like a life lived moving forward.)