Sleepy Sundays: Lifeforms

Lifeforms
Lifeforms

This next little design was inspired by the thought that life can come in so many infinite forms. I’ll be using it for an upcoming project.

I’m not buying into the hidden agendas of those who say we have become a nation divided. Somehow, in some cases, that warped thinking has them believing things are better that way. I’ve heard it both whispered and shouted.

Yet my groups of friends are as diverse as NY and NJ when my family first came to this country not but two generations ago. I consider my friends my extended family and I always have. We sit together, all from different backgrounds and cultures and yet we love each other, and share so much in common.

I guess what I’m trying to relay is, going into this new year, we must remember the past but we must also move forward if we want anything to change.

Otherwise, if we don’t ALL work towards loving one another then evil starts to grow.

It takes over.

Like a virus in the air spreading and spreading amidst the wind and latching on to your insides.

I know our world and humanity itself is better than that. I know there is true noble beings and real good amongst us. Some of you reading this right now are fighting for good and I am in awe of everything ahead of us. There is a brand new time on the horizon. We have a great opportunity here with this new year. Let’s put all this negativity behind us and start anew, keep an open mind, and spread love through all that we do.

What are your plans for the New Year?

Have a wonderful 2017!

& A magnificent Sunday

SS_Oct_theme

Blood in the Streets: Part III, The Children

Why

TheChildrenIt’s been just a few short months since the first two parts of this series were shared. Already, there have been a shocking number of more violent incidents. During that short time, a famous athlete, Mr. Colin Kaepernick has gained national attention for his form of silent protest. Other athletes, soldiers, and even students have followed in his footsteps.

Still it feels like we are no closer to a solution.

What is the solution? Is there a solution?

These are questions that can be heard tossed around on both sides. It’s obvious something needs to be done but not many people seem to have a clue where to begin. Many feel fear of “stirring the pot” so to speak, and my response is simply-perhaps the proverbial pot needs to be stirred.
We need to keep dialoging. We need to be uncomfortable in the conversations and situations in order to come to a positive middle ground. I’ve often feared bringing up these conversations myself; being one of the first ones. Some may say I’m placing a target on my forehead. I’m fully aware that I may be doing just that. This one, however, is personal to me. When my friends and family already have targets on their forehead, I guess I might as well join the bunch.

Vines

There have even been children who have fallen victim to this sort of warped society we’re living in both physically and mentally. As a PTSD sufferer myself, I have suggested to friends that there should be massive group therapies (as well as individual) taking place. These options need to be enacted in order to treat the trauma not only these children, but also adults, are facing.

Trayvon Martin was one of the first names in these modern times to hit home for me. So much so that I felt the need to speak up then too. That could have been my son. That could have been your son. The media and politicians like to spin these as “black issues” that only effect black people. That could not be farther from the truth. This is a human rights issue. The moment atrocities like this occur, it becomes everyone’s issue—whether you like it or not.

Sadly, we need to explain these issues to our children. As a parent of a young, sensitive child I understand how painfully difficult this can be. The weight of having to do such a thing could make us want to avoid the situation all-together. Though their lives could be the price we pay for avoiding these touchy topics.

So let’s continue talking, and moving, and changing, so that perhaps in our not-so-distant future there will no longer be blood in the streets. No more blood from my brother, your brother, sister, father, son, mother, daughter, cousin, lover, friend, or anyone.

Blood in the Streets Series

This series is dedicated to all of the people of color that have supported me both emotionally and professionally not only over these past few years, but through my entire life.

This one is for you Miss Sophia, “Filly” Felicia, Val, Meli, Ashley, Amor, Jess, Jason, O, Viv, Tony, Pam, Curt, Ka, Gloria, Ra, Hahn, and countless others.

I value and appreciate you.

Blood in the Streets: Part II, The Women

Why

In Part I we touched on the men whose lives were violently taken. 

Today we’re going to explore the women who have also been abused, mistreated, and in some cases, much worse. 


The Women

TheWoman

By now many of you know the name and story of Sandra Bland.

What we aren’t hearing so much of, is how her story seems to be repeating itself in prisons, and other institutional facilities across the country.

These are the lesser known stories, and why are we not hearing about them? Well, picking apart that question can create many theories. One may find those theories all lead back to a single assumption.

The black woman is one of the most disrespected women in our country.

This is a phrase I’ve heard kicked around lately. Some of you may beg to differ. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments, so long as you keep things respectful both to the site and to each other.

What I’d like to delve more into is the why and how do we fix this as a nation?

Vines

In kindergarden, I was not a sociable child. I was very damaged, having just lost my father. I wasn’t friendly and everyone was unspeakably cruel to me for it. The only person that was kind and brave enough to approach me was a beautiful little girl with giant pink bows and braids, whose skin just so happened to be a dark chocolate brown.

“They tease me too, ya know. But I don’t let it get to me. I know there’s still nice people out there.”

I hugged her.

She knew I was hurting and she sensed it on me. Her friendship was like a warm blanket after being left in the cold.

She told me stories of how they made fun of her hair, called her horrible names, and sometimes even threw things at her.

Even though we went to a diverse school, it didn’t matter. She still got picked on for being the darker-skinned girl.

Her story from back then breaks my heart to this day. (But I’ll have you know that beautiful little girl grew on to be an award-winning gymnast, graduating at the top of her class.)

Why is it that we as humans feel the need to categorize and label so much? Even those of us that don’t do it much are still guilty of it some of the time. If we’re all humans, then what is the need?

My fear is its something deeply-rooted in the blood that’s been spilled in this country, and many others. The blood that later, nations were built on top of.

I’m not sure where or how or why the first racist(s) began. Too much has been buried, written over, and smudged out.

We need to help end this kind of irrational fear and prejudice right now. If we sit idly by and pretend everything is dandy, there will be more women like Sandra Bland.

The black women I grew up knowing we’re not the horrible stereotypes you see portrayed on television. They were strong, nurturing, caring, powerful women that I admire.

One of those women took me in and tried to legally adopt me when she found out I was being beaten mercilessly at home. (Long story for another day.)

Another is a well-known musician that is part of this site’s success story. She still reads here to this day.

One is a grandmother. Someone who I consider family. She has been a mother figure to me since my own passed.

I could keep going.

Now do any of these sound like an “angry black woman” or “ghetto bird” to you?! Or any of the other disgusting terms I’ve seen thrown around so lightly on the internet recently?

I didn’t think so.

Now, can we start uplifting these women instead?

 

Blood in the Streets: Introduction & Part I, The Men

Why

Blood in the Streets is a three part necessary storm created due to modern injustice and violence in our current society. Although some of these occurrences are limited to the United States, their effects have been felt globally.

  • Part one of the series is titled “The Men” touching on topics of police brutality while highlighting the innocent lives taken due to senseless violence.
  • Part two is titled “The Women” and aims at spotlighting the lesser heard stories of women brutalized; sometimes for seemingly no reason at all.
  • Part three concludes the series with “The Children” and delves deep into fear and ignorance while highlighting the lives of children taken too soon.

CardCastles understands some of these topics are uncomfortable. With that said, the material shared within is not recommended for users under the age of 18.


The Men

TheMan

July brought in a heat that no one was expecting. I’m not talking about the kind of heat generated by the sun, or the kind manufactured by man, but the kind that seems to take on a life of its own once started.

On July 5th, video circulated the internet of something you may have seen an infinite amount of times portrayed on COPS. An unarmed black man was pinned down to the ground with a knee in his chest. We didn’t have much knowledge on what took place before. What was different this time was the end result. The officer fired into the man’s chest killing him. The officer’s life didn’t appear to be in any danger. He simply could not contain the suspect. That man’s name is Alton Sterling, and his funeral was just last Friday, July 15th.

This is not the first time this has happened. Nor is it the first time there has been evidence of such a thing. Though now, in today’s world of technology, the Average Joe can be a journalist. There was video everywhere and it circulated quickly.

No matter what side of the fence you stand on, there is no denying that black men die at the hands of police at an alarming rate. We can sit here and debate guilt. We can sit here and have a race war.

I’d rather ask you simply this:

If you believe there is corruption and you believe that innocent lives can sometimes be taken by people wearing the good guy suit, then why is it so hard for some to believe this is happening right in front of their faces?

Have we become so caught up in political ideals that we can no longer see right from wrong?

Vines

Disturbingly, less than 24 hours later, on July 6th, the world took in more news and video of a senseless killing. This time, from the up-close perspective of the victim’s girlfriend who sat in the car with him as his life slipped away. The video begins with a bleeding Philando Castile, whose arm is visibly swollen from a gunshot wound. His girlfriend is heard pleading with police trying to make sense of why her boyfriend had just been shot if he was complying. As she calmly speaks, perhaps most disturbing of all was the fact that his daughter can be heard in the backseat. Castile slips away on camera, in front of them both. His girlfriend is seen being thrown to the ground and cuffed shortly after. The video was a recording of the FB Live stream his girlfriend sent out during the incident.

The black community will tell you this sort of thing has been going on for centuries. The only difference now is we have video evidence.

I’m going to let that statement sink in for a moment, because it seems not to be with most of the media pitting us against each other.

There is something to be said about racism in this country, and how it seems to be just as alive today as it was back in the days of slavery. Some may not want to accept this, exclaiming “Oh no, but we’ve come so far.” Though, with all of the death, the harsh realities at our feet, and blood in the streets, you simply cannot be blind to it any longer.

Float Like a Butterfly

butterfly art, Floating Daydream

This was my reaction when I first heard the news late last night:

Though, it’s hard to express all of the emotion and feelings that were running through me in just 150 characters.

I remember first hearing a few days back that The Champ was in critical condition. This had me thinking back to those times as a child where my grandfather and I would sit in front of the TV in sheer amazement over old footage of Ali’s greatness in the ring. My grandfather loved boxing, and Ali was a hero of his. That love of not only the sport, but the man himself, got passed down to me.

He was a graceful giant, who danced around that ring like as he so beautifully said—a butterfly, in his iconic quote:

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

The world is outpouring with love and support for this man and his family—as it should be. I only hope his messages of loving one another resonate with all of us. That way maybe we can change the condition of the current state of our world. I’ve seen a beautiful thing today with people of every race, color, and creed coming together to mourn the loss of such a great and powerful human being.

Float like a butterfly, Great One.

butterfly art, Floating Daydream
Floating Daydream © 2013 CardCastlesInTheSky