Does Race Exist?

super_nurse[1]Does Race Exist?

“I Have a Dream that people are not outraged at the killing of a black child because they are black, but because they are a child.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not if favor of justice for all people.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

“You may be 38 years old as I happen to be.  And one day some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, or great cause.  And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.  You refuse to do it because you want to live longer… You’re afraid you will lose your job, or you’re afraid you’ll be criticized or that you will lose popularity, or you’re afraid somebody will stab you, or shoot at you, or bomb your house; so you refuse to take a stand.  Well, you may go on to live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90.  And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

These quotes right here, spoke volumes to my soul.

I don’t believe in race.

Race is defined in the dictionary as, “a group of persons related by common descent or hereditary.”  And that is nothing new to us.  But…

I looked at the bottom of this dictionary page and found something very interesting to me.  It quotes, “Genetic evidence has undermined the idea of racial divisions of the human species and rendered race obsolete as a biological system of classification.  Race therefore should no longer be considered as an objective category, as the term was formerly was in expressions like the Caucasian race, Asian race, the Hispanic race.”

To me that last statement is saying that most human beings are made up of genetically of a lot of DNA.  My own DNA states that I’m made up of a lot of DNA from a lot of different places in the world.  My DNA says that I’m African, European, Native American, Southeast Asian, and Polynesian.

On any given day, depending on the person who is looking at me, I can be any “race” to them.  I’ve had a 50 something year old white man call me a pretty little white girl.  I’ve had some Spanish patients start speaking Spanish to me and said that I looked Spanish.  I’ve had some patients tell me that I look like a Cherokee Indian because of my face.  I had one patient tell me that I looked Asian because of the shape of my eyes.

When I look in the mirror, I just see myself.  Sure, I see my skin tone, but that doesn’t reflect my soul.  My body is the vehicle that I chose to be in for this life. 

I recently saw a video on Facebook that talked about “race”.  The video compared “race” to the kind of car we chose to drive.  It said that if a person chose to drive a Honda, then that person wouldn’t be called a Honda.  That person would be called a person that drove a Honda but the person isn’t the Honda.

In my next life, I don’t know what “model or car” I might be.  Maybe I’ll be an Asian or a man, but really, at my core, I am not either of those external characteristics either.

I am not this body.  I am not Black, Asian, Spanish, or any other race that was invented to categorize human beings.  I am a spiritual being in human form.  I laugh, cry, get angry, sad, or happy just like other human beings.

As a nurse, I’ve come to realize that we all have so much in common.  The problems that many people go through are the same.  When I was struggling with my eating disorder, I felt alone and that no one was going through what I was going through.  When I went to the overeater’s anonymous meeting, I realized that there were more people going through what I was going through.  Sometimes when we get wrapped up in our problems, its hard to see that other people are going through the same things.

Sometimes your problems aren’t unique.

I was recently asked to support something because of the color of my skin.  I refused.  Because I believe in reincarnation, I can’t just support one group of people because the color of my skin.  I have to make the world a better place for everybody.

I have been introduced by my friends as “the whitest black person”.  This friend then went down a list that qualified me for that title.  She said that I didn’t drink, I spoke proper English, and I didn’t smoke.  I took it as a joke.  To this day I still don’t know what talking “white” means. 

That has been happening all my life.  Some people have said that because I have “good hair”, I have to be mixed.  Because of my skin tone, I have to be mixed.  Does it really matter if I am mixed?  I’m still a good person.

I’m not going to change myself to fit into a box to make other people feel comfortable.

I’m going to be myself.  No one can be a better Shavawn than I can.

I asked myself, what if everyone expected the best from other people?  How would people act if we our prejudices and gave each other the benefit of the doubt?  Would people still be expected to “act black” or “talk white”?

I don’t have all the answers yet, but asking these questions is the start of a conversation that just might lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and one another.  It might bring us closer together.  And so I’ll leave you with one question: what would happen if you dared to ask someone a question before you assume something about their race or actions, how might that change the way we relate to each other if we approached one another from a place of curiosity rather than judgment?


Waiting to be Rescued to Rescuing Myself

super_nurse[1]Ever since high school, I have wanted to fall in love.  When I was little, I would watch the Disney movies and wish that I had a knight in shining armor.  My favorite movie was The Little Mermaid.  I loved the songs.  My favorite song from the movie was Part of my World.  Ariel is still my favorite Disney princess.

I used to think that when my husband came into my life that I would automatically be happy and live happily ever after.

I’ve only had 2 boyfriends.  After the third date, I could feel it in my spirit that they were not the one that God wanted me to be with.  I guarded my heart after I got that feeling.  I still dated them hoping that God would change the plan.  I spent most of the relationships trying to prove to God that I would be good with them.  But the plan never changed.  Eventually I had to let them go because it wasn’t fair to them.  It wasn’t fair of me to be in a relationship that I knew wasn’t going to go anywhere.  My last boyfriend was talking about marriage.  As soon as he brought it up, I knew that it was time to break up.  I couldn’t marry him.  He was a good man but I couldn’t spend my life with him.  I was still waiting to be rescued from my unhappiness.

I decided I needed to be by myself and get to know myself.  At that point, I wasn’t even comfortable being by myself.  I liked being in relationships.  I equated being single with there being something wrong with myself.

I also decided that I needed to rescue myself.  I couldn’t wait for a knight in shining armor or my future husband.  I wanted to be happy now and not put it off for a future date.

Asking for help has never been my strong point.  I knew I needed something different, if I was going to rescue myself.  Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it means that you were strong enough to recognize that you needed help.

Rescuing myself meant that I was going to have to get to know myself, good and bad.  I was going to have to face myself and change.  My dreams were showing me what I was going to be in the future.  I could see that new Shavawn and see how happy she was with herself.

The first step I took was to look for a therapist that specialized in eating disorders.  I wasn’t able to find any in my area.  I felt that if I got to the bottom of why I turned to food to soothe myself, I could then work on my other issues.  Thankfully I found a life coach.

The second step was to do the work and change.  I had to change my eating habits and get to know myself.  My life coach broke my goals down into small doable steps.  Sometimes it was easy and sometimes it was hard work.  I do like that she never told me to give up the doughnuts.  She allowed me to give them up when I was ready.  When I found out why I turned to food to soothe myself, it became easier for me to give them up.  Change isn’t easy by any means.  Change asks that you get out of your comfort zone.  That can be down right scary at times.  I was scared right before I did my first ever open mic night but I did it anyways.  As my life coach says, “showing up is the hardest part”.

Now I’m no longer waiting for the “knight in shining armor”.  I know who my future husband is.  I love him flaws and all.  When he finds me, he will find a woman who is happy and loves herself.

Now that I’ve put in the work of rescuing myself, I can live the life of my dreams.   If I could talk to the old Shavawn, I would tell her that she can do this.  I would tell her that it may be scary at times but that you can get through it.  You may lose some friends along the way but you will gain so many more people that love you.  Trust in your dreams.  The universe will take care of you.

I have finally fallen in love.  I’m in love with myself!!

Is Anger just Hurt in Disguise?



Anger rose in my chest.  A friend had posted something on Facebook that triggered my anger, and before I could think about it, I wanted to post something in retaliation.

I wasn’t just mad at her, there were other people posting similar things.

I thought of blog posts to write and even looked up the nursing code of ethics to post.  But thankfully, I didn’t post it.

Before I reacted, I sat back and examined my feelings and made an unexpected discovery.

I wasn’t angry, I was hurt.

And since it was true for me, I wondered, how many people if they examined their feelings would realize that they aren’t angry?  They are hurt or disappointed by what someone else has done.

The other person didn’t do what they would have done or they did do something that they wanted to do.  I asked myself this question,

“Is Anger Just Hurt In Disguise?”

The reason that I was hurt was because me and this friend had really clicked, I was able to share my dreams with her that I don’t share with just anyone.  I don’t have a lot of friends or people that I connect with so easily, and had just lost my closest friend a couple of months prior over something very similar… my hurt disguised as anger.

Looking back on losing my closest friend, I realized all the mistakes that I made.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

I posted on Facebook, how she was making me feel and unfriended her.  At the time, I needed a break from her.

I know everybody has the right to post on Facebook what they want to post.  I didn’t say her name in the post but she knew it was about her.  I even made the post public so that she would still be able to see it.

I didn’t tell her directly how she was making me feel because I was scared that she wouldn’t listen to me or care.  It was hard to love someone else when I didn’t love myself.

I feared that she wouldn’t consider how her comments and actions were impacting me.  I feared that she would just say that I was being too sensitive.

But having some time to process, and look at things from her perspective, I understand what she was trying to say, that I have dreams about the future and I should trust in them.  I shouldn’t worry.

She would tell me that I had spiritual gifts and that I should be at peace.  She didn’t know that at the time, I didn’t have the tools to make those dreams become reality.  She was my best friend and she didn’t know what I was going through.  Again, I didn’t know how to love anybody when I didn’t love myself at the time.

My eating disorder was consuming my life and I didn’t know how to stop it.  I trusted in the dreams that God had given me but I also knew that they couldn’t come true unless I changed some things.

Needless to say that when she saw the Facebook post, we had a big argument.  She decided to end the friendship.

Over the past 15 years of our friendship, we never really addressed our issues.  We would just sweep them under the rug and not deal with them.  That night everything just erupted.

I should have just talked to her about how she was making me feel.  I should not have posted it on Facebook.  I was definitely hurt and I hurt her too.

Hurt people hurt people.

The night we had the argument, I couldn’t process her feelings.  I had just done my first open mic performance and I was feeling great.  I think we both were not listening to each other.

I realized from that incident, that you have the right to post what you want to Facebook, but you have to except the consequences of what you post.  The post may make one of your friends think differently about you.  It may be the straw that breaks a friendship.

I had one of my best friends tell me that I had been petty to unfriend her on Facebook.  I agree.

Looking back on the recent incident, with my new friend, I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot.  I got some advice from my life coach and my best friends about the situation.  I took pieces from all of them.

And get this, rather than make a public post about it, I actually talked to her.

We were able to resolve our issues and remain friends.

I was nervous about talking to her.  I didn’t know what she was going to say or how she was going to react, so I took a baby step and texted her.  I’m not always comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations.  It’s easier to have uncomfortable conversations with my patients because they aren’t going to be in my life for a long time.  When they leave the hospital, I’m not going to have any contact with them.  I will see my family and friends again.  Part of my growing up means learning how to have uncomfortable conversations to build stronger relationships to people that I value.

I also think that it is good to examine your feelings before reacting.  If I had not stepped back and examined my feeling, I might have said something to hurt my friend and that is the last thing that I want to do.

I realized that, for me, it is easier to be angry.  When I’m angry, I blame other people for me being angry even though I chose to be angry.  No one can make me angry.  To tell someone that they hurt me, leaves me in a vulnerable place.  I have to open myself up to that person and they don’t have to respect my feelings.  That person could just tell me that I’m being too sensitive and dismiss my feelings.  I learned that being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing.  It helped me to keep a friend.

I realized that when I’m angry, I’m really just hurt.