Enough.

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I don’t even know what to call this blog entry.  I just know I need to write because I’m angry, fed up, and disgusted.  And I’m tired…sick and tired of being sick and tired in the words of Fannie Lou Hamer.  I’ve had enough.  More than enough.

Another police officer gone rogue in a scenario we Black people know all to well.  Brother is pulled over or otherwise confronted by the police, and the police become the judge, jury AND executioner.  MY GOD…when will it stop?!  If you are a Black man (or woman) and you leave home and encounter a police officer…you may not make it back.  I remember posting something where I wondered what we could do to ensure we make it home to our families if we are stopped by the police.  We need to appear to be damn near docile.  Compliant. Submissive.  Weak.  Obedient.  Accommodating.  And not just in the “regular” sense of respecting authority but going out of our way to appear to be non-threatening so that we don’t end up dead.  And then Philando Castile, while sitting in a car, was shot and killed by a police officer in Minnesota.  His hands were up…and he was reaching for his identification.  Several bullets were pumped into the beloved cafeteria worker by a police officer and he died right in front of his girlfriend and her young daughter.

And then there was the case manager who was trying to help his mentally ill patient.  The patient had a toy truck in his hands, oblivious to what was going on around him.  The black case manager was sitting down with his hands raised.  Telling the police officer please don’t shoot, that he was gainfully employed and he was trying to help get this guy back to a group home facility.  He was shot after he got on the ground.  Thankfully, he did not die because as in all of the cases, seldom do the officers call for medical help quickly.

And then on Friday, Terrence Crutcher had his hands up as well.  Had just left night classes at a community college.  He ended up shot to death for being a “bad dude” – an assertion made by a police officer in a helicopter over the scene.  Why he was a “bad dude” is unclear but at this point, one can only assume big, black = bad dude = he has to die by gunfire.

And then today, a disabled Black man (Keith Lamont Scott) was sitting in his car reading a book and waiting on his son’s school bus in Charlotte.  His son will never see him again because he was shot and killed by the police.

So I have no answers on what we can do to ensure we don’t end up the latest story on social media…no answers on how not to have our names in hashtags next to #BlackLivesMatter….because everything I thought would save us….did not.  Black men are being shot and killed for working (selling CDs….managing the mentally ill), eating, reading a book, breathing, existing.  White men can kill up whole nightclubs of people….fire upon people in Manhattan and other major cities…shoot up theaters…schools….bomb federal buildings…kill worshippers in a church….and yet somehow, even as heinous as those crimes are….still be taken into custody ALIVE.  How does that even happen?  Makes me wanna holler.

Sadly, the only answer I have for saving ourselves is to turn white when a policeman pulls you over.  That doubles your chances of making it home alive.  Since that won’t work as a practical matter, I would remind everyone to vote in your local elections.  Get involved in the political process.  Understand who appoints the police chief and figure out how to be a part of that process.  Figure out a way to come to some type of mutual understanding  in meetings between citizens and the men in blue who solemnly vowed to serve AND PROTECT.  March and protest peacefully for required training for officers that include sensitivity, diversity and race relations. That could be a real start.  We have to do something though…because at the end of the day, EVERYBODY deserves to either come home or go to jail (if a crime is committed).  No one deserves to be handed the death penalty without a trial.  Black Lives Matter.  They do.  Every Black man that has been murdered by police officers was someone’s son, husband, father, uncle, colleague, classmate and friend.  Black Lives WILL Always Matter.  Maybe if we say it enough, the rest of America will catch on.  Or they just may be too busy being mad at Colim Kaepernick for kneeling on the truth…

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @soshaydee

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Chest Under Construction….Again

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I’m looking at this title and thinking I could do better.  Maybe something funnier like “No New Boobs…Just Playing” or “The Girls The Girls…Will They Love Me?” or “I Got Boobs in Atlanta” ‘cept I’m not in Atlanta.  Well I’m not going to let the title of this blog worry me…I’ll just work on the content.

Headed to Denton Presby (a whole ‘nother story since my hospital of choice is right around the corner).  The only problem I have with Denton is all this construction….but maybe it’s fitting today since my chest is under construction.  My surgeon couldn’t get me in the other hospital until late October and well, I don’t need any more delays since I have delayed this a year.

For those that are new to my story, I am a two-time survivor of breast cancer (Halleluyer!).  GOD is good.  I’m still here to watch my baby grow up, argue at my husband, and kick it with my friends.  And to live out my purpose – breast cancer advocacy.  I serve as Board President of an organization that provides life-saving medical care for uninsured women diagnosed with breast cancer.  I started my own non-profit, Sock It To Cancer, providing comfort items to women in treatment for breast cancer.  I serve on the Race Committee for Komen Dallas (Survivor Tent Co-Chair) and serve on the Speaker Bureau for Dallas and Komen North Texas.  I speak one on one with those going through this battle all the time.  My pain has become my purpose.

The first battle with breast cancer was a blur….my 46 year-old mother-in-law had passed away of the disease the year prior.  My main focus was to get through the two lumpectomies (first clue that I should have had a full mastectomy!) and 6-8 weeks of radiation at age 34.  Had stop using birth control pills almost 2 years prior so I could have a baby….but that wasn’t in the cards.  And then in 2009 A.C. (after cancer), I had a little girl.  GOD is good.  And then in 2013, before her 4th birthday, breast cancer again reared its ugly head.  I had a full mastectomy, reconstruction and chemotherapy.  I lost my hair, my eyebrows and lashes, my balance, but didn’t lose my faith.  That and family and friends got me through.  I had to fight with everything that was in me because that baby deserved it.

And then, midway through my chemo treatments, one of my expanders (temporary breasts) started going bad.  I had what is called radiation dermatitis recall…my previously radiated skin started showing the effects of radiation.  The skin puckered, then turned black, then cracked and got small sores that seeped.  My surgeon said we’d watch it and maybe after chemo it would clear up.  It didn’t.  It burst open one morning and blood was everywhere.  The skin was too weak to hold the expander.  I ended up in emergency surgery with a gaping hole where my expander was supposed to be.  I wore a wound vac for 31 days…and had to have a home health care nurse come to the house 3 times a week to change the dressing on my wound.  The. Most. Painful. Thing. Ever.  My wound started healing and then the other expander puckered up and became swollen.  I asked to have it removed when it became painful.  I wanted to get rid of my Uniboob (the uglier distant cousin of the Unibrow).  I was now living life as the “not as young and the breastless”.

My plastic surgeon wanted to try again, but my body needed a break.  I had four surgeries in less than a year, and I was TIRED.  I had pretty much healed by December 2014, but decided to take some months off from visiting hospitals and emergency rooms.  Months became a year…and here I am (after those requisite pre-visits you have to have).  Sad it’s today because I had tickets to Diddy’s Bad Boy Reunion Tour (I was going to do all the all school dances, see my girl, Lil Kim, and recite “take that, take that” a few times, and I got selected to be a volunteer for the National Congressional Black Caucus Convention.  I was going to be a greeter at the dinner where I’m sure one of the Obamas was going to be in attendance.  So sad to be missing my one shot to at least be in the same room with the President.  It’s funny though because the coordinator told me she would keep me on the list for next year, and I thought, I don’t want to come next year (ha ha).  It won’t be the same, but maybe I will.  Maybe I’ll have another chance to be in the same room with the President and/or Mrs. Obama…because truthfully I don’t care who we elect, he will always be my President (they should just make him King or something and end all elections), but I digress.

I’m here…at the hospital…in the waiting room.   Ready to do this reconstruction thing all over again.  I pray that this “lat flap” (it’s an interesting google read if you care) works.  GOD is good…..And if it takes….you ain’t gon’ be able to tell me and my new girls NOTHING.  I might even be out in them streets topless under sheer shirts…..

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @soshaydee

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About That New Movie – When The Bough Breaks

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First off, can you and I just talk for a minute on how Morris Chestnut is STILL fine as an ol’ aged Malbec?  And I’m not even sure if you supposed to AGE Malbec, but “that thane” if 55 kinds of fine!  There…now that THAT is out of the way we can talk about the movie.

Now I don’t want to give too much away in case somebody reads this..and just in case (cause y’all know I can’t hold water in a cement bucket with a top on it), I’ll go ahead and say “spoiler ahead….” even though I will try not to give anything away.

Truthfully, if you are like me, you’ve seen some version of this movie whether it was on Lifetime (Surrogate) or the big screen (Obsessed, Hand That Rocks The Cradle) but you haven’t seen it with Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall.  I was a little bit worried about Regina Hall in the lead for this movie because I “know” her as a comedic actress.  Would she be believable in this serious role and pull it off?  Well, let me put your mind at ease.  She does….in a major way.  I thought she was great.  Morris was great obviously because when is he not as the hot guy that everybody wants?  And he still looks great half naked which is a definite plus.  I swear he must be drinking the blood of 10 virgins or something because he is aging backwards.

But back to the movie (Morris old fine arse keeps distracting me).  The young actress who plays the surrogate (Jaz Sinclair) also does a great job of playing crazy.  The acting was pretty stellar with a solid cast of characters, even if you think you can predict the storyline.  Which I guess you can to some degree.  Successful couple cannot have children of their own as the wife has suffered miscarriages….intimacy is lacking as a result….down to one last frozen egg and need to find a surrogate.  Surrogate becomes pregnant.  Surrogate wants husband.  Surrogate pulls out all the stops to get the husband but the pesky wife is in the way.  There is a real twist to this movie though that I didn’t see coming (and you won’t either).  I won’t spoil it for you.  I’ll just say it’s definitely worth spending a couple of your coins to go see….if just for that fine eye candy Morris Chestnut.  Suspenseful and engaging….it didn’t even make me look at my watch.  That often LOL.  It is also set in New Orleans which is a nice twist for a movie.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @soshaydee

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Memories of 9/11 – What Were You Doing?

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I always wondered how people could remember exactly what they were doing with a tragedy hit…down to the last detail of what they were wearing, what the sky looked like and even the smells surrounding them.  I could remember some things when I was younger but never anything detailed.  I remember that I was watching the Challenger take off (before school) and it exploded.  I remember school being let out early because President Reagan had been shot.  But I can’t tell you what I was wearing or what anybody else around me was doing.

That all changed when 9/11 happened.  I, along with the rest of my group, had been downsized from a national accounting firm the day before, with the fake promise of “we expect things to get better after the 4th quarter, and may put this team back together”. And with that and a nice severance package, my partner and the rest of my team were packing up our stuff.  It was especially heartbreaking because I was lured away from old position with more money and business travel but the projects hadn’t materialized over an entire year.  At any rate, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I had nowhere to be and could sleep in for the first time in years on a weekday but woke up early anyway.  Conditioning I guess.

I was listening to a local urban radio station (K104) as I usually did on my drive to work except it was on the radio.  They casually announced that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York.  I seriously thought “some fool daredevil in a little plan has run into the World Trade Center trying to make the news”.  I turned on the tv, and remember rubbing my eyes trying to fully wake up.  I saw the burning hole in the side of the building…and as I was watching, I saw another plane…and I was thinking ‘wow that other plane is flying very low…..why is it flying so low…’ and right in front of my eyes….it went through the building!  I could not believe it.  I stood there silent and shocked.

And then there was a split screen on my tv that showed the Pentagon on fire.  Apparently, it had been hit by a plane too.  I remember thinking “oh my GOD, we are under some kind of attack” and thinking about all the other planes out there and wondering what other buildings would be hit.  And then as the news started to pour in about it being a terrorist attack, I got ANGRY.  I was soooo angry.  I wanted to sign back up for the military and FIGHT whoever it was that was behind this tragedy where so many innocent people were killed.  How dare they bring their behinds over HERE on U.S. soil and use our own airline system and planes against us?

I was glued to the tv…could not pull myself away but called all my family members.  I worried about friends and coworkers in NYC….worried about my husband who was near downtown.  I prayed about 100 times.  I was sure that the Bank of America building in Dallas would be hit.  The phone lines were a mess…calls were not going through…and I remember breathing a sigh of relief every time I discovered that someone else was okay.  I was really, really worried about my college friend Tonya in DC.  I would later learn that she had to walk home.  For SEVERAL miles.  And if you know my friend Tonya, you would know that she likely had to do it barefoot because she always wore heels.

I was relieved to find out that all planes were grounded quickly but nervous that there were a few that were unaccounted for.  One by one, they all came in…except for one.  I was devastated when that plane later crashed in Pennsylvania.  The passengers on board got wind of what had happened with the other three planes and tried to take that one back from the terrorists and the plane had gone down.  More lives lost.  I remember the news stories all that day of people who died on the planes….people who died in the buildings that were hit….people who jumped to their deaths from the burning buildings.  Saw the images….  Saw both of the towers come tumbling down, their foundations and structures weakened by the burning metal.  Cried for the emergency personnel who had gone in to save others who died as well.  It was truly a tragedy where so many and so much died that day.  My naivete about enemies and people hating us definitely died.  I realized that wars were not always waged in foreign lands…and that other people could come to this country and kill us.  And that the weapons didn’t always have to be bombs, or guns, or some type of gassing agent.  But in the wake of that tragedy, I also learned about resilience.  I saw acts of kindness I had never before witnessed and a coming together of this country I had never seen.  And then as time passed, things went back to normal.  Crimes, murders, hate, racism….And here we are 15 years later.

I have NEVER forgotten though.  And I will NEVER forget.  WE WILL NEVER FORGET.  Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @soshaydee

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Get a Life & Stop Coming for Gabby Douglas!

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Now y’all know SoShaydee will provide snarky commentary and “shayde” folks but it’s almost always done in fun, love and admiration. I draw the line at bullying people. I also draw the line at old people (they my people), kids (chile I got one…even though I’m still amazed that it actually happened even though I sho’ was doin’ thangs to get one), and special needs people (the most courageous people EVER). I am really sitting here shaking my head at all these “Innanet” thugs coming for Gabby Douglas. It’s not fair and it’s downright mean as hayle.

In 2012, that girl won GOLD at the Olympics and foke were worried about her hair, when some of the main ones talkin’ ain’t got edges. Temples just barren and ain’t had hair sprout since the early 90s. Then she won team gold, and y’all sayin’ she didn’t put her hand over her heart when they played the National Anthem. That baby stood there at attention, giving respect, after putting on a team performance that won the gold and bragging rights for her country, and once again, y’all have proclaimed her to be worse than rye bread on a ham sandwich. Then, y’all said she was sittin’ in the stands lookin’ mean and salty when her teammates were performing individually. Have any of you actually been ATHLETES performing at the highest level, let alone at the Olympics? It is stressful just getting there to represent your country and it is even more stressful performing. She was in the ZONE…likely upset at herself and over-critiquing her own performance. Her teammates said she helped them get ready and was asking them if they needed anything as they got ready to do their routines.

Gabby powered through her floor performance to the end even after she didn’t do what SHE came to do. And then she stared at her phone and CRIED, wondering what she did to all these people who hate her just because she dares to be GREAT. Because that’s what it’s all about. You can’t be too confident, too great, too bold, too awesome, too amazing….especially when you are a Black woman because the powers that be will surely try to bring you down a peg or seven. Comb your nappy head…you angry…you got an attitude. You know all the stuff they say about Black women that “boss” up.

I know it’s easier said than done…to let comments roll off your back, but Gabby, Baby, you are winner. A CHAMPION on a WORLD STAGE. I swear you don’t need to put stock in somebody in Idaho typin’ mean things on an internet and livin’ out of their mama’s basement. Hold your head up high, and “backflip on your haters.” In the words of that old sage Beyonce…the best revenge is your “GOLD” Girl!

Follow me on Twitter @staylorclark and Facebook @ soshaydee….

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Hillary You Gotta Knock That Thane Outta The Park!

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Psssst…Hillary. Hey Girl. I need you to get closer to this screen so you can hear errythane I’m bout to say. Your husband delivered your game ball….Joe Biden put the ball into play…and President Obama pitched or passed the ball to you with that rousing speech tonight. It is up to you to come to that mic tomorrow night and knock that thane out the park OR slam dunk it (whichever sports analogy you choose).

Now I realize you are a bit of an introvert. You come off as buttoned-up (might be those high collars and necklines on them tea length jackets/blazers you be wearing and those sensible shoes you be tippin’ round in), a bit mechanical and ice queenish. Tomorrow night is not the place for all of that. Be you but deliver the speech of your LIFETIME.

You been working for the people for 40 years to shatter that glass ceiling on political leadership…well now you standing on a ladder (and the shoulders of those who have come before and made cracks) with sledgehammer in hand. This is the moment you have waited for your entire life. If you can do the damn thane Thursday night, you will be back in them people’s White House like you never left, ‘ceptin’ this time, Bill will be picking out the china, carrying YOUR purse  and going to the store buying YOUR personal items and unmentionables.

Now you gon’ need some bomb arse theme music but don’t pick Alicia Keys again cuz she don’t wear makeup and we need all the extra lip gloss and blush we can get tomorrow. Errythane is on the table for your speech ‘cept cussing and the N word. I KNOW you can do this.  Just like T.I., we’ll be jus watchin’..and waitin….. #ImwithHer #ButLawdImGonMissThem #DNC #DemsInPhilly #DNCinPHIL #hillaryclinton

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Black Lives Matter – Maybe If We Keep Talking About It…Everybody Will Get It

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Black Lives Matter is not a racist movement.  Black Lives Matter is not instructing people to kill police officers.  Black Lives Matter is simply that – a movement to let the majority know that a Black life is worth something.  That we are mothers and fathers….sons and daughters….that we mean something and matter to somebody.  And that should matter to everybody.

Tonight, I was driving home from a Komen Dallas Race Committee meeting.  I’d picked my daughter up from the after-hours childcare facility that was close to where the meeting had been convened.  We went next door to Paciugo’s for gelato.  McK (my daughter) got a wild berries and chocolate sorbet mix; I had the Turtle cheesecake and salted caramel.  Just like most 6 year-olds, her face got really messy.  It was both endearing and bothersome because I didn’t have any more napkins.  After finding a napkin in my purse, and cleaning her up we were on our way.  It was 9 p.m.–way past her bedtime, so I wasn’t surprised when she quickly fell asleep after we headed home.  I was thinking ‘it must be nice to have someone else drive so you can fall asleep’.

Soon, I was on George Bush Tollway when I noticed a police officer pull up behind me in my rear-view mirror.  I wasn’t speeding and I know my inspection/registration stickers were up to date, so I had nothing to worry about.  Which is why I cannot explain why I was in such a quiet panic (if there is such a thing).  I can’t say that I have ever been that freaked out having a police car right behind me.  I was scoping out the exits because I just knew those blue lights were gonna come on and I was going to hear sirens.  And I didn’t know what I was going to do or what kind of police officer I was going to encounter.

Would he be a good cop?  Would he be a bad cop?  Would he be black or white?  Would that even matter?  Would he still be reeling from last Thursday’s ambush of his five brethren in Dallas and looking for retribution or revenge?  Would I know what to do to survive being stopped?  Would my daughter wake up in the back seat terrified?  Would I keep my hands on the steering wheel or would I instinctively go to my very large purse to retrieve my ID?  I keep my insurance card in my glove compartment.  Would I attempt to open it?  Would I have to verbally list out every action I needed to take “Sir, I am going to go in my purse and pull out my drivers’ license.  I do not have a weapon…”  Would I have to put my hands up?  Would I be shot putting my hands up…or reaching for my ID…in front my of my child?  Would the officer really fire into my car with a child present?  I knew that I would have to exercise EXTREME caution and be overly cooperative to make it home.

Thankfully after what seemed like forever (but probably was actually only a few minutes), the police officer decided I was driving too slow and went around me.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  And then I felt weird for feeling weird.  Why did I immediately panic and think about not making it home?  Why was I scared for my child?

I think because in that moment, when the police officer got behind me, I remembered the video that Diamond Reynolds recorded to Facebook.  In it, her dying fiance’ had been shot 4 or 5 times by a police officer who still held a gun on him as he lay mortally wounded and bleeding.  In the backseat was Ms. Reynolds’ daughter, 4, who witnessed the shooting.  I cannot even begin to imagine.  If that could happen in Minneapolis, it could definitely happen here in a Dallas suburb, especially after those 5 police officers were slaughtered and 7 more were injured last week by a crazed gunman seeking retribution in the most recent cases of police brutality that ended in the murders of two Black men.

It is very sad that I, along with my Black brothers and sisters, have to fear for our very lives during a routine traffic stop.  My white brothers and sisters don’t have that fear.  We shouldn’t have to be scared when we are pulled over or have interactions with those that are to serve and protect.  Unfortunately, some not so nice people with preconceived notions and prejudices wear that badge, and those are the ones we hope we don’t encounter before they are weeded out or retrained or prosecuted for murdering others.  Until that training happens and there are consequences for police officers using deadly force against us without cause, Black Lives Matter will have to remain our battle cry.  Because the hope is that if we say it enough…maybe everyone else will get the message too.

Follow me on Twitter @staylorclark and Facebook (“So Shaydee”)…..

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