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Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Last week my brother and I discovered that the GPS tracker on my Adidas running app was a bit off. On July 2nd, we ran neck n' neck, which surprised us both because my Obie is FAST. He finally caved and downloaded the same running app to track our stats. According to his app, he completed 1 mile at 9 minutes, 10 seconds. And, although we came in at the same time, my app said I needed to run an extra .15 miles to finish the run.

Before that July 2nd run, I started to lose all motivation and confidence in reaching my goal (1 mile in 9 minutes by July 1). I managed to get down to 9:09 on June 16th but the seconds kept climbing back up after that. I made the excuse that work/life was just too distracting, but honestly, I was just afraid of not reaching my goal in time.

And I didn't. I didn't even run on July 1st because I already made up my mind that I would fail.

I "failed" on July 1st but I decided to keep going. I paid close attention to how my mind & body responded to this failure (or rather my fear of failure) and where I needed to shift my mindset and push harder. I told myself, "The goal was great but the journey is greater -- so keep going".

I deleted the app and reinstalled it for my run this morning. My brother left for work early, which meant I'd have to go alone. I almost gave myself another excuse. I almost broke another promise. I almost didn't love myself.

Today I ran my fastest time: 1 mile in 8 minutes and 35 seconds!

The tracker was definitely off (!!!) but instead of being upset about its inaccuracy, I laughed it off and thanked it for the Mr. Miyagi lesson.

Today I was reminded that there will always things outside of my control and some of those things will try to get in my way. But I possess the will to find a way forward and keep going.

Today I ended a conversation with a group of youth activists by asking, 'Who do you do this for?" I was coming to our conversation with heaviness, struggling to reconcile what happened to Iyanna Dior and the deafening silence, mine included. Granted, stories about the violence against Black Trans women hardly ever go viral and I unintentionally scrolled onto the video of Iyanna being beaten by Black cis-gendered people in the same city that George Floyd was murdered.

These two lives are not in competition with each other.

I believe that Black Lives Matters. But blacklivesmatter is not enough when some Black lives are still valued less than others. I grieve the limits of our outrage. I grieve the limits of our visions for liberation.

And I grieve our lack of courage and willful cognitive dissonance. But I always believe we can and will do better (that's why I teach and am taught). It just starts with being clear about who and what we are fighting for. So I fight for the most marginalized of us because I know that when they are free, I am free. # blacktranslivesmatter #iyannadior

Note: I want to add that my question does not promote saviorhood or paternalism. We should be in community with the most marginalized of us and prioritize what they say their needs are.

I am a Black woman….and I want you to know how difficult it was to post this selfie. I want you to know how, before every selfie post, I host an internal debate between anti-blackness and self-love. I want you to know that I grew up obsessing over my Black features; I coveted skin lightening creams and prayed for Neutrogena, Clean & Clear and Maybelline to erase what society saw as blemishes: my dark skin, my wide nose, my thick lips.

I want you to know that I remember every time I’d been called ugly: my playmates who made fun of my skin tone and African name; my light-skinned elementary school “BF” who dumped me to take a white Latinx to the 5th grade prom because “the photos”; and my mother who battled her own internalized anti-blackness but used words like “monkey” & “ugly” against me.

I’ve felt the pain of anti-blackness and I’ve been deliberate & aggressive about healing & abolishing it. I’m impatient with conversations that don't interrogate the role anti-Blackness plays in our cultures, education, institutions, and movements. I’m also impatient with conversations about anti-racism or self-love that don’t examine how anti-Blackness is the root of racism and low self-worth.

I want you to know that the white criteria of desirability (thin nose, thin lips, thin body, clear skin, able body) not only upholds the hatred of Blackness. It proliferates the criminalization of dark people. That’s why most Black lives taken by police violence are dark-skinned. That’s why dark-skinned people suffer the most under racism and all systems of oppression.

I want you to know it’s constant work and unlearning to love myself and other Black people in a world determined to undermine that work. And even though I experience low self worth every now and then, there’s a spectrum where I’d be considered more desirable than others. I think about others who never hear “you’re beautiful”--never feel desirable or worthy because they don’t meet some shitty anti-Black criteria. I think about us and do the work.

I’m a dark-skinned Black bisexual woman & educator who loves Black people. I don’t tear them down--I build them up. I love and honor them, starting with myself.

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