Covid-19 aka Coronavirus is currently sending an enormous ripple across the globe. Oddly enough, I happen to be living here in what is now considered the American epicenter of the virus, New York City. Brooklyn to be exact.
Its amazing to know that the last post on this platform, in December 2019, was in a world where I was not sitting here amongst billions of people impacted by the appearance of a new global threat. I could have never imagined there was a “thing” so powerful that is sent shockwaves through the entire planet like this.
I sat and watched, really listened (I have a free subscription to the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal via audible. You should check it out) to the outbreak begin oddly uniquely in China. How back then there were small percentages to the story, usually one sentence or so, to the idea that Corona virus would indeed impact the world. And that American ought to get prepared….
Its amazing to know that in 3 months time or so…. the impact is now being felt more amplified (do we know that? I don’t believe Chinas #’s… just saying) here in the states.
Life has changed. Drastically. The animal piece of me, worked to live in the shock. To realize it. To allow it to stimulate my senses. For the past 2 years or so I’ve been so focused on that for some reason. The ability of my sense’s to pick up messages along different frequencies… My senses told me to feel and receive the different messages sent up into the air. Process them and evaluate what you deem true, what you deem important, what you deem relevant to you in this time of shaking Earth. And now my brain is telling me to reset, to ground, but also be in action of moving my life along and forward in calibration to the shaking ground.
I’ve done a lot of breathing. I’ve fallen victim to a lot of sleeping. To which I lean in to. I’ve been untethered to many avenues in which I received life sustaining funding and income. I’ve been freed.
The response – now – is to germinate the Earth with what it tells me it needs.
I hope you find this message in peace. In a time of protection and personal stability. If not, that is ok too.
Allow your sense’s (sight, smell, taste, feel, hearing, and beyond) to feel the air. Taste it. Take it in. Hear it. Sense it. Feel it above you. As it passes through you and under your feet. And flows past and around your skin. Determine what your body needs. What your human package needs.
Give yourself permission to bring it here. To create it.
Surround yourself with the resources that will make it so.
In response to the Covid-19 interruption of daily living we here at MyEdgeMedia want to encourage you to be safe. Encourage you to stake claim to what you need to thrive. And wish to partner with you in bringing it to fruition!
Stay tuned as we re-calibrate and reconnect a strengthened and more steadfast signal.
We welcome comments and connections below from those interested in bringing their voice back to the Earth.
… agreed to support with 3 wellness workshops next month (How to develop you Nonprofit & 501c3, How to develop a video coaching platform for your business, and a Lifetime Fitness and Health Goal Workshop)
… and now blogged everyday
… and I’m actually rushing THIS post because my biz partner and I need to go follow up on an invoice we put in about 3 months ago worth 4-figure invoice we submitted for some transformation work we completed with a client.
The point of this month was to STRETCHHHHHH myself. I believe I’ve completed that hands down. I’m claiming a new life of bold declarations for my life! I hope you all have enjoyed the BEDA posts. I’ve used it as a tool to get me back into the game here. Thank you for your support.
This is ONLY a glimpse at whats in store. I hope you are inspired to challenge yourself to see how you can distribute your brilliance around the world. Corny, but I’m being honest!
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The Purge, was really a random project that came about as I finally began my much needed Christmas Vacation. It was the first time I’ve had to reflect in a while. In retrospect, I’ve had an amazing 2013. The Purge was my way of bringing all of the things that I experienced this (that) year to a close. And that wouldn’t be complete without thanking everyone who hasn’t been thanked before.
Family – Thank you for baking me in the oven that was your love and guidance. I’m forever yours no matter where I rest my head.
Viewers and Readers – Thank you. It would be more awkward than it already is if I was writing this and it still only reached my eyes. Thank you for returning when you do and sharing when you must. I was feeling myself and decide to plan an interesting 2014 for us – hopefully you’ll enjoy.
Inspirations/Guides – ET Thomas: Mobile Inspiration, first preacher I’ve listened to, and Jullien Gordon, The Innerviewer/SideHustla/New Year Goal Planner. Thank you both for being amazing inspirations to me. You preach excellence and practice it everyday. I’m grateful to even be able to learn from your teachings. (Word to the wise – I save their YouTube videos as audio and pump it into your ears in the mornings and during workouts.)
YouthBuild Crew – To my homies back at YouthBuild. Thank you for supporting everything I breathe on. You guys are truly the best to every do it.
Frat – Zeta Rho (ZPDC) and more specifically my line brothers from S.U.P.R.E.M.A.C.Y. Thank y’all for just making me who I am, and supporting me no matter what. I gain so much confidence in myself because of what we’ve been through. And it gives me so much pride to know that y’all still inspire me 9 years into the game. I love yall.
Roommates – New and old. Thank you for putting me out, taking me in, sharing laughs, and a few screams, cleaning up after me, putting up with my mad scientistness, marveling at my diet or lack there of, and just giving me the space to live this crazy journey.
Professors – Thank you for letting me go crazy with my assignments. Thank you for opening up your office hours when I bust in like I know everything. Thank you for offering alternatives when I get mad and threaten mutiny, thank you for pushing the rigor this year, and thank you for mentoring me in your offices when I know time is tight.
Fellow New York City Teaching Fellows – Thank you for letting me learn from you this year, sharing those difficult to share ideas and thoughts, listening to my input, and thinking I dress well. Most of all thank you for doing what you do everyday. A lot of times I don’t know where I find the energy to keep going. But it always helps when I remember that y’all are finding the energy each day yourselves and making it happen no matter where we vary.
Coaches/Co-Teachers/Co-Workers/ – Thank you to everyone on our amazing staff. It’s way too difficult for me to express the gratitude that is truly deserved to you guys. What we do is hard… but I honestly can’t see myself doing it with a more capable and well put together staff. Thank you for doing you so well that it allows me to do me!
NYC – Thank you for being this place of abundant energy. You feed my dreams of crazy and pump me full of your never-ending force that I pull from your streets even at 3:50am. I often walk home in awe that I’m here. Thank you for delivering the exponential growth you promised.
Black Scholars – Dr. Boyce Watkins and Dr. Ivory Toldson – Thank you for being there and offering scholarly advice to this random self-dubbed academic in random Brooklyn that hits you up at 3am on facebook. I appreciate your knowledge and am grateful for the contributions you’re making to the national conversations about Black and Brown communities. No matter where I fall in this continuum – I hope to be as accessible to those who seek my knowledge as you all have been with me. Dr. Juwanza Kunjufu – thank you for being a stellar Black Education Scholar. Your wisdom is abundant and overlooked. But I love the intimate connection it gives the people who know your work.
Art of War Team – WE DID IT Y’all!! Because of y’all we were able to have our first event and raise over $3,000 for the Creative Dreamer scholarship. We are a community of givers and carers and that is truly a beautiful blessing to bask in. The People are pleased!
Peers – Jerrell, Jeshaune, Aaron, Brandon, Hosbey, Carlos, Jamar, Seye, James, Seven – some of y’all may know me. Some of yall may not. Your passion and creativity for what you do gives me no excuses to not put the same passion and effort into what I try to do. Thank you for being examples of intelligence, integrity, hard work, and ingenuity that we can all follow. *Respect*
Up n Comings – Sean, Sean, Lloyd, Maurice, Derrick, Antoine, etc – Keep doing your thing! It makes me so happy to see and hear about you guys in your element. Here is to continued success and to more partnerships in the future!
Paulie – Thank you for being my gratitude accountability partner. You jumped on board out the blue, and hold me to it even when I lapse. With your help I was able to finish 2013 feeling strong, and more appreciative for my encounters and accomplishments.
Mishara – Thank you for being the beautiful educated sistah I turn to when I need book advice, or just to learn from. I’m so glad I get to learn from your intelligence and grace each day >pressure< When are you guesting!? >pressure<
Students – Thank you for being the mirror in which I’m able to gauge my own growth. I love you all and hope that one day you’ll be able to read this and see a side of your teacher that I’ve never been able to share. My hope is that this helps me become a better me to help you become the best you’s.
Paladin – Thank you for being crazily determined. This was never in the plan, but you’re making it into what it wants to be, and for that I commend you. Always remember why you started this.
2014 is upon us, which means it is upon us to do it better than we’ve ever done it before. – Paladin 2013
(This goes out to all the people who believe in me, and have helped me in any way to becoming the person I am today.)
I’m in the lab now. I started this (project) at 12:30am, and its 4:30 now, and I’m nowhere near done. This all began because I was inspired to write my roommate a letter telling her that I appreciate her. In the fog of war, I’ve been stupid congested. I feel things, but don’t express them in the moment because I’m usually processing something unrelated in the same moment that is taking my energy. In that way, I guess I am a bit robotic as a few people have alluded. To them I say, let me live – I bring difference to this life and my interactions. I actually do care quite a bit about people, but the messaging gets lost in the fray.
To everyone I care about family, friends, co-workers, and everyone else I know…
I care about you all – when I talk to you, think about you, or even when I don’t think about you, I’m always hoping that positivity is coming your way. The weird thing about my life is I’m always finding connections between what I experience and what I’m reading.
When I was reading Dr. Kunjufu’s Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys, he mentions that men are raised from birth to disconnect from their emotions. And that communication was a skill set that has been historically linked to women. I love Dr. Kunjufu’s work. Oddly enough his publishing house is located close to where I grew up in Chicago. I love that his books bring words to many of the things I’ve witnessed, thought, and experienced in my life. They give me the language in which I am able to communicate and think critically about my life and role as teacher, student, and researcher.
I didn’t initially believe or connect with his words. Dr. Kunjufu writes in a way that is too matter of fact for me. However, like Basquiat, I digest his thoughts and create my own interpretation for the world I touch. (Interpretation is actually a powerful concept I’ve been playing with in my head ever since I began teaching. It’s liberating to be exposed to something, think about that experience, and in return create whatever product my mind deems acceptable to produce. <<– Jargon trash)
In reflection, the book really does speak to my experiences right now. I absolutely know that I don’t communicate how I feel to the people in my life nearly as much as I should! For that I apologize. I really do appreciate you! And want to take this time to thank you for everything that you’ve done for me. Whether it’s cleaning the bathroom, picking up the slack in a class, calling me when I forget to call you first, sending me an interesting article to read, starting a Gay and Straight Alliance at my school, whatever…
“Much debate has taken place over the last decade concerning the significance of biological and sociological factors contributing to male development. Physiologically, males have X and Y-chromosomes, while females have X-chromosomes. Males possess the hormone testosterone while the female hormone is estrogen. The chemical make-up of the male body is 40 percent muscle, 15 percent fat; a woman’s is 23 percent muscle and 25 percent fat. These differences have given some researchers the rationale for explaining why men are more aggressive and excel in math, while women are passive and excel in communication. ” (17)
The whole time I was reading I remember going back and forth between accepting statements in the book and rejecting others. For example, I don’t think the opposite of aggression is passivity. (Well, in reflection I guess the opposite is passivity, but I don’t think in absence of one you must embody the other.) I think there is immense power to those that are able to identify and negotiate the usefulness of the grey areas that lie between everything.
I’m getting lost in the details. But overall, thank you for being you! You being you is helping me be me. I try to say thank you in the moment, but I often leave situations without showing my gratitude for the times when you have gone out of your way to show love, support, and camaraderie. This whole project germinated from the need to sit down, and show you what I was thinking about you. So thank you.
So I’m looking at this like it’s a masterpiece body of work, that’s what my Kanye, Jay Z, and Beyonce albums have taught me this year. When you drop your shit, let your shit DROP. Each operated outside of the industry norm, and thusly made history and garnered respect and attention on levels unseen.
I actually wonder if each artists’ contribution to history will be recognized for the real benchmarks they have set. Kanye completely spoke out against capitalism… 1 percenter, and global oppression to the masses. The fact that he did it aggitatingly, without relying on the very same industry (institution/rules/laws) promo channels was indeed genius. He really set the stage for Jay-Z to come out with his Samsung 1 million-unit presale deal. The premise of this deal is pretty ridiculous from an artistic standpoint when you think about it. Jay Z had them pay him, to buy his album to platinum certification level. It’s like the realization of commercial rap going commercial. The art-gallery performance to top it off was a great way to showcase his talents using an altered stage.
And now, Beyonce with this hidden jem of quality abushed by demand. Mind you this is Beyonce from around the block… I’m talkin No, No, No, Part 1 version – the one before Wyclef! If memory serves me right I believe Immature were the love interests in the video. Regardless of all of our politically correct-feministic assessments of her, she has clearly shown an immaculate history of presenting quality! Quality Talent. There is something to be learned here. Beyonce is making us know her as the standard. In real time. There is something to be learned here.
Anyway, part of what makes great art and a great story is taking chances. Or at least that’s what I’ve picked up from other “successful” people. I preach a lot on here. Which is intended more as a personal documentation. But there are things that I just doubt right now. I hate talking about doubt. It’s an expensive feeling to deal with and I’m already on fumes most of the time here. But, here is a list of things I don’t have the answers for right now.
– Am I doing enough for my community? I just don’t think I use my time as well as I believe I should and could. I spend a lot of time just stuck, without motion mentally. This usually happens after work and lasts for a few hours. It’s become a huge waste of time. I need to find a way to fix this, and soon.
– I want to do more mentoring work with my peers and my students. I think I get along well with my students in general. Perhaps too well, I’m at a point where I feel confident saying I know my students. To a point where I’m ok with my opinion being different than others, which happens frequently. However, I’m not sure I’m using that unique connection as effectively as possible in preparing newer academic entry points for my students. 1. I’m slippin. 2. I gotta get on that!
– I’m a complete goof at networking and socializing. It’s just not something I’m good at. Some people seem to have a really intimate grasp and understanding of that. And others don’t, at all. Which really just contributes to why I’m such a confused person to begin with. It’s a thing that I’m really trying to get better at. I’m just going at an awkwardly slow pace.
– I don’t connect with family and friends as often as I would like. It’s weird because I draw so much inspiration and value in who I am from my family and who they inspired me to become. We are a representation of the energy we absorb. I’m so grateful to have experienced and learned from the people in my life. For that I say thank you. But never enough.
– I love reading… my mind and eyes simply can’t consume as many books and thoughts as I would like them to take in. I’m experimenting with audio books and just audio in general. It may be a shift I soon have to make. The perfect listening time is during my transitions to and from work.
– A dream of mine would be to communicate as clearly as Malcolm. When he speaks I can visualize what he says, he made clear and vivid images, stories and points when he spoke. I always felt like I understood what the message was he was trying to send. Where as when I speak I repeat things a good three times and hope my students take away a tad bit from my lectures.
– I absolutely don’t ask probing questions. Part of it is a nature to just let you do you. And another is this assumption that you will share whatever you feel comfortable sharing. I don’t really dig for what isn’t given unless I’m compelled to. I’m starting to ask more questions just for the hell of it. But also feel like I have a long way to go especially in regards to my students.
– I don’t know what the I think about tenure right now, as in I don’t know if I’m looking to seek tenure. I mean… why?
Sometimes I don’t even know what is what in this world. Trying to run this site is a labor! My body and mind would much rather be sleep, watching movies, reading books, finally learning to cook or sew, or maybe even seeing what’s on tv for a change.
It’s coming up on the two-year mark since SkoolHaze began. I can remember a time when I dreamed about having a website. Having something that was my own. Something where I could just do whatever the hell I wanted to do. Ownership and having the ability to use that ownership creatively was something I’ve always wanted. I can remember when I first began applying for Americorps Vista positions in the Spring of 2009. One of the things that I thought would set me apart from all the other candidates was if I had a website that could show my growth and skill in electronic form. At the time I generously listed that I had created and ran blogs and websites before. It was half-true, I did create some blog somewhere that had a pdf of my resume and coverletter on it, and I had had my practice early on in life making Angelfire websites dedicated to Pokemon, Command and Conquerer Strategies, and Mech Warriors. But, it was all a gimmick to seem better than I was.
Now, 3.5 years later a lot has changed. I’ve managed to create a space online where I can and have shared. And that sharing doesn’t just stay within my own notebooks and head. Real life people actually come here to explore my thoughts – read these feelings that I post – rants that I rave – documents that I propagate – scholars that I support – news that I’m on to. And it in a way it became a cage. I started thinking more about them, than myself.
Why have this website if it’s not targeted to a specific public? Do I think my ideas are right? Do I think their ideas are wrong? That’s me getting lost in the madness of it all. Daily, every minute of my mind is wrapped up in a whirlwind of the future and the present. Often times I have a hard time separating the two.
When I started this, I started this as a way to reflect. A forced way for me to re-think about whatever it is I’m doing here and for however long I am doing it. I’m in grad school now, yes, so I talk about and analyze that. I’m a teacher now, yes, so I talk about and analyze that. The reflection process has pushed me by constantly serving as a tangible way in which I re-think about my practice as a teacher, scholar, and creator. This process was supposed to create something that served as a map for someone to pick up and make their own decisions from. But for them to do that I would have to show them in words and media the decisions I myself made.
At the end of the day, I love this #Artsperiment because it gives me a chance to flex my fingers. Flex my creativity. Flex my thoughts. Flex my strengths. Flex my weaknesses. Flex my goals. Flex my challenges. It gives me a chance to try to do it better than I did it before. Its my way of constantly coming through and breaking down what I thought I could do before only to do it better or at least differently. It’s a living document of my growth. Which means the focus is on me breaking down and rebuilding my walls farther apart and stronger each time. The Purge is me doing something different for my own growth. Selfishly, I’m obsessed. And this post is to reassure myself that that is actually ok.
In my head this was far more poetic…
But this is just a reminder that this… is all ok.
Addition – Actually… this shit is dope as fuck! I used to second guess doing this a lot because people close to me always had (have) something to say about how I spend my time…
This week has perhaps been the hardest teaching week for me so far (12/16/13 – 12/20/13). Grad school projects were due, and students’ behavior was just an OD management job. They’ve been extremely difficult to focus, and to keep calm. They’ve been screaming, cursing, sending subs, threatening, ignoring, complaining, joking, singing, beatboxing, rapping, harmonizing, old-school jamming, procrastinating, playing, ditching, sleeping, leaving just to return 15 minutes latering maybe…ishing, lovable, needy, supportive, childish, disrespectful, helpless, suprisingy ingenuitive, cunning, model, motivated, artistic, compelled, engaged, everythingish people to us lately.
I’ve almost lost my professionalism thrice over the past week, or maybe definitely once… who knows exactly, that’s not the point. At the end of the day, I’m a teacher, my students, the public, and myself expects me to teach these kids.
One of my many jobs is to see past these front(s) and in a way manipulate that student into learning. It’s a game of chess… trying to get these vessels to learn no matter what they’re wrapped in on their exteriors. I’m trying to frame my practice this way, and I will say that it has helped me really change the way I view my job, especially in how I prepare and approach this work.
Someone once told me that “Teaching is Activism.” A strong activist knows the importance of resilience. Even so, I’ve never felt as defeated as I did on Tuesday. The students were all coming in from their lunches and advisory classes from the day. I think all of the advisories had had pizza parties celebrating the holiday. I had already been a rough day week in general. (Just to be transparent I had actually tried pretty hard to mentally prepare myself to have a strong week going in to Christmas Break – this however is one of those times when my positive framing didn’t work.)
6th period was about to begin. They’re a class that has a lot of energy… but its more social energy vs. the back and forth energy of my 3rd period class. The late bell rang and students began wondering in one after the other rubbing their bellies and mumbling variations of “Damn, I got Niggeritus(is). I wasn’t ready…. For the devastating combo.
Sidebar: I almost feel like I have to be an assassin when it comes to the students’ casual usage of Nigga in class. The students say it a million times a day, and almost a million times a day I give them the screw face and remind that that I really hate when they use that word. Of all the words… THAT is the one I expect you to stop using. “I can’t stop saying saying it, it’s too hard.” or “Why? I am a Nigga?” or “It’s ok, Black people can say the word Nigga, followed by a quick google search of “Can black people say nigga?” which of course brought up results that they can.” The word is sooo engrained in the students language, I can tell they literally don’t think before they use it at least not in school buildings. I’m sure there are some settings like an interview where they would feel the need to track their language better than normal. Its just a terrible word to feel the need to police in a school setting. It’s the never-ending always happening battle in the classroom.
BACK TO THE STORY:
…I wasn’t ready…. For the devastating combo. I instantly retorted something about stop saying that word with my more than usual frustrations. This time was different, the students again replied in a “Oh my bad” fashion followed by the “I thought it was a word” coupled with genuinely clueless facial expressions. Unaffected they all began to drift back into the sea of off-task conversations going on in the room as my co-teacher and I tried to usher them into completing their journals. My expression turned from routine reminder mode to concerned and inquisitive.
By his time there were maybe 3 or 4 students (if I’m lucky) paying attention to my changing expressions. I half-way mustered out a “NO, it’s not a word!” in between my frustration and in disbelief. I stood there struggling for words. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt so powerless as a teacher. The bar had been reset in a way. My students have grown up in a time and in a culture where for them Niggeritus was as clearly a word as mother, or birth, or school.
”No, that is not a word, you won’t see that in the dictionary… Stop using that word, y’all really disappoint me when you use that word! You have no idea….(insert Peanuts voice)”
At some point I returned to teaching using the barely there energy I had left in me. The only thing that saved me were the slight tugs I would give my hair to pull me back into reality. I couldn’t quite deal with how overwhelmed I had become in that moment. It was a real moment of unwanted clarity. I saw what is always really difficult to see in this role – just how brainwashed my students had become.
Of course I was thinking about it on at least two levels. The challenge I had with teaching and really preparing my students to code-switch and track their language before they speak it. Furthermore, the level at which Black English and Common American English have mixed and diluted each other. (<– Overly complicated and vague description)
I don’t know if its right or wrong, but I was more hurt at the enculturation of the word Nigga/Nigger. And how in a very short time, my students have learned to completely devalue a word that carries such tragic history in this country. The painful part was just seeing how overtime language could be re-valued. Once language looses its meaning, how do you describe events and ideas that depend on those specific contexts?
Ferris State University has some great information about Black stereotypes and caricatures that I found a year ago. I read some of these a while ago and recommend them for anyone looking to learn more about historically demeaning Black Stereotypes and images. I’ve inserted just a few explanations and usages for the word Nigger below. It was hurtful when I read these… but pain can be the best motivator of them all.
Ferris State University: Nigger and Caricature
The word nigger carries with it much of the hatred and repulsion directed toward Africans and African Americans. Historically, nigger defined, limited, and mocked African Americans. It was a term of exclusion, a verbal justification for discrimination. Whether used as a noun, verb, or adjective, it reinforced the stereotype of the lazy, stupid, dirty, worthless parasite. No other American ethnophaulism carried so much purposeful venom, as the following representative list suggests:
Nigger, v. To wear out, spoil or destroy.
Niggerish, adj. Acting in an indolent and irresponsible manner.
Niggerlipping, v. Wetting the end of a cigarette while smoking it.
Niggerlover, n. Derogatory term aimed at whites lacking in the necessary loathing of blacks.
Nigger luck, n. Exceptionally good luck, emphasis on undeserved.
Nigger-flicker, n. A small knife or razor with one side heavily taped to preserve the user’s fingers.
Nigger heaven, n. a designated place, usually the balcony, where blacks were forced to sit, for example, in an integrated movie theater or church.
Nigger knocker, n. axe handle or weapon made from an axe handle.
Nigger rich, adj, Deeply in debt but ostentatious.
Nigger shooter, n. A slingshot.
Nigger steak, n. a slice of liver or a cheap piece of meat.
Nigger stick, n. police officer’s baton.
Nigger tip, n. leaving a small tip or no tip in a restaurant.
Nigger in the woodpile, n. a concealed motive or unknown factor affecting a situation in an adverse way.
Nigger work, n. Demeaning, menial tasks.(Green, 1984, p. 190)
Nigger has been used to describe a dark shade of color (nigger-brown, nigger-black), the status of whites who interacted with blacks (nigger-breaker, -dealer, -driver, -killer, -stealer, -worshipper, and -looking), and anything belonging to or associated with African Americans (nigger-baby, -boy, -girl, -mouth, -feet, -preacher, -job, -love, -culture, -college, -music, and so forth).4Nigger is the ultimate American insult; it is used to offend other ethnic groups, as when Jews are called white-niggers; Arabs, sandniggers; or Japanese, yellow-niggers.