Archives for the month of: January, 2014

How fitting that I finally get around to watching The Butler on Martin Luther King day.  For those of you who aren’t up to speed, the film follows the life of Cecil Gaines, a butler who served in the White House for over 30 years.  His story is told in tandem with that of his son’s, a Freedom Fighter during the Civil Rights Movement.  Boy howdy, their worlds are so different and it is so beautifully depicted through the cinematography.  In the White House, Cecil is proud to serve in this fairy tale world.  Outside on the streets, violence and hatred is prevalent.

There is a scene where a group of black students sit at a counter, defying all rules of “whites only” seating.  They sit, peacefully and ask to be served.  White customers proceed to verbally abuse them, push them around, throw milkshakes and squirt ketchup in their faces, rubbing it in, throwing hot coffee on them and pushing them on the ground where they kick them until the cops come.  And it’s not the aggressive, angry abusers that get taken in.  It’s the stoic, polite group of people who just wanted to sit freely.

It was at this point I began crying.  I don’t think I stopped until the credits started rolling.

Hi.  I’m Jade.  I am African American.  And I am ashamed to admit that I never truly accepted that fact until today.

When I was growing up, I was very “white”.  All of my friends were white, my favorite TV shows and bands were white.  I wanted straight hair, I despised rap music and R&B, I thought braids were ugly and Scary Spice was my least favorite Spice Girl.  I wanted to be Belle and the Pink Power Ranger and I avoided going out in the sun because it would make my skin darker. My white Barbies were prettier than my black Barbies.  I don’t know how it started, but I always equated being white with being good, beautiful, intelligent, whatever.

I lived in fear of being called “ghetto”.  Ghetto was the absolute worst thing in the world to be.  So I shied away from anything that even remotely resembled being ghetto.  Consequently, that meant shunning my culture, my heritage and ultimately my identity.  A few “ghetto” examples tainted my entire view of Black history.

I apologize to my ancestors and the people who came before me and fought for my rights.  I apologize for disrespecting them for so long.  By not accepting my heritage I basically spit in the face of every single man, woman and child who was enslaved, beaten, ridiculed and tortured.  I’ve had it so easy in so many ways.  I’ve never let the gravity of what they suffered settle in.  I’ve turned a blind eye, yet enjoyed the fruits of their labor.

Today, it hit me.  Hard.  Between slavery and fighting for equal rights…I can’t begin to imagine how disheartening and painful life must have been.  I am thankful beyond words and humbled by the experiences of those men and women.  It’s because of them that I have been seen for who I am and what I’m capable of instead of a skin color.

As I write this, I feel a tightness in my chest releasing.  For so long I’ve denied the largest part of my identity.  Once I stopped denying it, I was so ashamed of my denial that I just stopped thinking about it.  It’s only recently that I’ve opened up to embracing my heritage because without it, I will never be my truest self.  I will never love myself fully if I don’t accept who I am.

I am Jade.  I am black.  And I am thankful.

Happy Martin Luther King Day.

Image

-Jadey Lady

Advertisements

I did not want to get out of bed this morning.  There is a huge part of me that regrets getting out of bed.  I literally said to myself “Get out of bed.  Get out of bed.  Get out of bed.”  I have been so drained lately.  What is the cause?  I blame winter time!  Now, I live in Los Angeles and it’s going to be about 80 degrees today, so I know I have no right to complain about “winter”, but there’s no denying there is something in the air and that something is making it harder and harder to get out of bed.  That something is also making it easier and easier to justify not getting out of bed.  

The conundrum?  The longer I stay in bed, the worse I feel.  No matter how tired I may feel, more “sleep” is never the answer.

Lady Lesson #31: Get Up, Get Out

There was a time when I would wake up consistently with the sun sometime around 6:30 AM.  That is when I feel my best.  The first ten minutes can be hellacious sometimes, but I feel my most energized when I just go with it.  My body woke up, I guess it’s time to be awake.  Great!  No snooze button, hell, no alarm clock even.  Someone once told me that there is a certain energy in the air at the time the sun rises and if you rise with it, you harness that energy.  Now I don’t know if it’s true and perhaps I’ll do some research on it today because my curiosity is peaked, but I believe it through experience.  Science may not have told me, but the burst of energy I feel from doing a sun salutation immediately upon waking at the buttcrack of dawn versus hopelessly trying to catch a few more unproductive  Zzzs says everything.

My problem lately has been
1) I’ve been so busy auditioning, shooting, and performing I feel I owe myself more sleep.
2) If I don’t have a set plan for the day (like this morning) what’s the point? 
3) It’s chilly outside of my covers and pajamas. You expect me to brave the frigidity of my room?  You are mistaken.

Excuses.  Keeping me from what I know to be true, that if I just get up and start moving, I’ll feel great.  After a few days, my sleep schedule will be back to normal, as will my energy levels.  I’ve been working hard and, f**k yes! I deserve some rest.  But I’m definitely abusing that reward and it’s keeping me from being as productive as I’d like to be.  

I am an advocate for early to bed, early to rise sleeping.  I’m a morning person.  Sue me.  In a perfect world, I’d be done with everything by 11:30 AM.  Now, I know that’s not realistic for most people but I think a consistent sleeping schedule whether you wake up with the sun or watch it come up as you drift off to sleep is important.  Listen to your body.  Sleep when you need it and get the eff out of bed when you’ve had your fix.  I’ve learned my body needs sleep, but not nearly as much as I think.  For me, 5 hours of productive, relaxed, well earned sleep leaves me ten times more energized than 7 hours plus 40 minutes of hitting the snooze button.  Like I said, listen to your body.

This Lady is tired of being tired.  So I am challenging myself to get up when it’s time to get up.  It’s usually around 6:30 AM (even though the sun is rising later with this Daylight Savings Time mess.)  And after I curse the winds for making my room so cold and my bed so cozy, I’m going to get up, brush my teeth and go for a walk.  Oh yeah, and make my bed.  I’m a lot less likely to get back into it if it means having to make it again.  I’m lazy.  I’ve learned to use this trait to my advantage.

Try it.  Treat yourself to some energy 🙂  

Happy waking!

-Jadey Lady