I’m posting this story in honor of Black History Month in hopes that I can bring some clarity to the meaning of Black Lives Matter.
Recently I decided to take a solo mental retreat with myself, and I booked a cabin up in the beautiful Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains. I was desperately looking forward to this getaway of solitude, accompanied by my own noise, and no one else’s. I had been working tirelessly on building my Bon Appetit Y’all Gourmet Condiment company brand, and it was starting to take a tole on me, so this trip was surely needed.
I have never been a politically vocal type of guy. I have my own opinions when it comes to politics and especially the current social environment, and they are just that…my own opinions. But this particular trip was booked exactly one week from those tragic events at the capital and as I approached my departure date to the cabin, I was honestly feeling some type of way.
The vile hatred and overall disrespect displayed that week was intolerable to me. To see the mantra of racial hatred rear its ugly head in the form of white nationalist, supremist and others, I was very disappointed in a huge segment of our society not only that week but over the past several years, and I could now see how those feelings were encroaching in on my own personal psyche.
As I drove further away from my home on that two-hour drive heading to Blue Ridge, I noticed something, that to me what was somewhat disturbing. I noticed that I was on pins an needles on the drive up, and I found myself looking into every car that I drove by, or that drove by me. I was making sure that no one trailed me for a long period of time and that no one was glaring into my truck as either I drove by, or they drove by.
My truck is not an incognito type of vehicle, and even my local peers and colleagues always tell me that when we all meet out for an event, they know they are in the right place because you can’t miss my truck. It’s a large white ford expedition with logos, signage and tags all over the exterior, so you are going to look, if for no other reason but curiosity.
This commonly jovial, outgoing, positive thinking, gregarious, laughing, smiling black man was nervous as hell right outside of his own city. It even got worse as I entered into Blue Ridge and as I got closer to having to get off of the main road and take small country roads to the cabin. As I veered off the main road, and as I drove by every single house, I looked to see if anyone was out in the yard and if so, were they paying me any attention.
As I drove by this home with a huge confederate flag hanging on their front porch, my nerves went into overdrive. I didn’t want any of the neighboring folks to notice that a single black man was staying in a cabin in the woods by himself.
I finally made my way to the cabin which was at the end of a cul de sac thank God. I parked and unloaded my truck, and it stayed parked until that Sunday morning as I loaded up and headed out back to my comfortable haven.
Over the past year, many of my Caucasian colleagues have taken the time to reach out to me, to see how I was doing mentally and to show their support of what I and others have had to face in the past months and years. Many of my friends and colleagues support Black Lives Matter, and then there are some who truly don’t get it, nor do they see the big picture.
Bottom line….I felt that what could have been an incredible weekend experience, was slightly robbed due to the fact that I’m a black man in an unsettled racial climate right now. When it comes to Black Lives Matter, My Life Does Matter, and this commonly jovial, outgoing, positive thinking, gregarious, laughing, smiling black man should not have to live with this type of fear, doubt, hesitation and continuously looking over his shoulder.
For those of you who do support the Black Lives Matter movement…Thank You. And for those who don’t yet understand it, I pray that you put on my shoes one day, and hopefully you will see the light.
All lives do matter, but until Black Lives Matter, all lives CAN’T matter. Black Lives DO Matter. Thank you for your ear.