Oh, White People

Screenshot_2017-07-31-18-13-56-1

If you can’t muster the courage to be an ally– at least be very mindful of what you do say!

Oh, white people it’s going to touch you

How much longer do you think you can ignore it?

You love your favorite basketball player, but the racism—you didn’t sign up for it

But it only starts with Lebron

It doesn’t end there…it goes on

It’s your boss, your neighbor—even your best friend becomes hate crime victim

While you sit idly by, still pretending there is no racism

I mean, what year is it?

You are above it

You voted Obama as president

You deserve the right to be passive and silent

 

I am just so curious

I need to know how long does it take to notice the elephant in the room has already had babies

And is raising an entire dysfunctional family

I am not asking you to fight for me

Just wake up and acknowledge that yo, you fucked up, B

Every nigger joke that you let slide—hell, every nigga lyric you rapped

Every all lives matter post you hashtagged

You don’t get it, and now you missed it

The revolution has already begun, son

And you have chosen Switzerland

Because of that we can’t be friends

I don’t have the luxury of ignoring social unrest

My mental is distressed

My brothers and sisters are dying

Please don’t say you don’t know why, because in the back of our minds we want to say fuck you

And your whole crew, too

We were brought here for your labor, allowed to stay for your entertainment

Cultural confinement

It feels like living in a zoo

And it’s cute when we have our rallies and marches as long as it doesn’t bother you

You are not neutral

You are lazy and apathetic

You are pathetic

And it ain’t right but I almost have more respect for the so-called “alt-right”, at least they had the balls to choose a side

You hide

Behind Facebook reposts and thumbs up on Kiana’s status

You don’t know what it’s like to live like this

It’s going to touch you

Better yet, hit you like a ton of bricks

And it will be too late to ameliorate this shit

“Black people should just stop committing crimes” is a phrase that echoes from your privileged lips

Tell me, who deserves to die from selling loose cigarettes?

Or for wearing a hoodie while carrying a Skittles packet?

Or from routine traffic stops

Just stop

And take this moment to tell yourself the truth

You don’t care as much as you say you do

OR

Maybe you fear the work involved and the loss of friends

Just remember, when you choose no side the evil party wins

 

It’s going to touch you

Creep into your soul; haunt your dreams at night

You Netflix and chillin while the rest of us are at war and we fight

I hope your grandchildren ask you your thoughts on fundamental civil rights

I hope they want to know where you were during the real emancipation

And I hope you give in and tell them something real

That you checked out because you just couldn’t deal

A “Fuck Trump” bumper sticker is as far as you could go

You didn’t know your voice could have a powerful impact

That you could do your part to pick up the slack and help bring decent humanity back

America is bullshit right now, for us it was never great

Your silence is not a worthy component to conquer all this hate

So sorry to wake you up out of your comfortable slumber

But are you grabbing a bucket or is this ship going under?

There is no fence to straddle

There is no grey, just black and white

Just wrong and right

…you gotta choose

Because my friend, it’s going to touch you

 

I have said it once and I am saying it again; I do not like talking about this stuff on the blog. The subject of race, politics, religion etc. is a minefield! As a practitioner and teacher of empathy I acknowledge that it is difficult to communicate with people in such a way that they not only come to an understanding of your personal plight, but also make the effort to change their way of thinking. Furthermore, addressing a group of people who consider themselves peaceful, non-combative and believe they are genuinely good people, free of bias and prejudice could perhaps even have me labeled as a bully. But it’s my blog, so here we are…

I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. I live in Prince George’s County Maryland—one of the most prominent and prosperous black counties in the nation—and I have always worked in either DC or Northern Virginia. For those who don’t know, Southern Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC is known as the DMV and is home to a unique culture in and of itself. We are a melting pot of different ethnicities and diverse backgrounds on top of including the nation’s capital where all the dirty politicians dwell. Because of our culture of political correctness I never understood the different levels of racism, prejudice and bias until well into my twenties.

As a teen in high school I didn’t understand why none of my white guy crushes liked me. When I entered into the workforce at 19 I didn’t understand why white people were so taken aback by how articulate I am, and I didn’t really understand that white people were capable of appearing woke as fuck, but more than likely went home to their white lives and immediately stopped giving a fuck. In the DMV area we are the nucleous. News stories have a deep impact here and if you are not talking about Kaepernick, insert-protest-march-here or Trump’s latest tweet then you are not a part of the conversation. Washingtonian white people are a part of the conversation because it is their business and in their best interests to be so. However, it took me longer than I’d care to admit to realize that being in the know is not the same as giving a fuck.

For me, the worst kind white people are those who immerse themselves in black culture and claim to not see color but do not consider themselves allies nor do they want to acknowledge that the need for allies exist. I sat in silence during the election season as I listened to my Republican friends say things like, “Ugh, I don’t know who to vote for– both Clinton and Trump are so awful!” It felt like a stab in the back to my face—if that makes sense. I thought to myself, “So you are ok siding with racism and misogyny because your loyalty is to your political party and not decency and humanity? Duly noted.” I didn’t purge as many friends as I probably should have, but I peeped the bullshit and I am aware.

I am aware of the white people in my life who remain silent or eerily neutral when the topic of racism comes up. I am aware of the white people in my life who are uber liberal arguing you down about feminist rights, pontificating about LGBTQ rights and debating you about the top ten hip hop albums of all time. But, I peep when those same people are passive, evasive and vague during group conversations about race relations as if they are too afraid or unwilling to say, “That is racist. That is unjust. That is not ok.” Period. I liken it to a silent gaslighting where I literally begin to feel like as if I’m crazy and I ask myself “Am I playing the black card? Was that shooting indeed a racist act of violence or am I overreacting?”

The kind of white person that quietly wonders to themselves why all lives don’t matter and loves black people but wishes we would chill and stop getting shot is fast becoming my least favorite kind of person. Maybe I am getting old, but I just can’t fuck with the duplicity like I used to. As tensions rise in our country, I am starting to treat silence as acquiescence. As much as I hate covering these kinds of topics I do it because it’s my life—and my life and my reality are not up for debate or opinion.

If you can acknowledge that fake news and sensationalism exists, then why can’t you admit that racism still does? Obama voted in as president does not magically erase the disturbing history of a country that was built on the backs of African slaves. Ignoring the existence of racism is a dangerous game—a weak one. It takes strength to dare to step out of your own delusion, admit that injustice exists and to check your own privilege and prejudices as well as those of your peers. It takes strength to make the decision to stand up to bigotry and hate when the safest move for your physical and mental health might very well be to try to remain neutral. The decision is not going to be easy, but you must decide.

If only people of color had the luxury of making such decisions.

 

I Ain’t Afraid of No Trump

batman-meme

I don’t want to write about this. I resent writing about this. The goal was to live my merry life in a box of words related to mental health issues and the struggle of being a single mom in the 21st Century. Now I have to devote my time to this shit and I am not happy about it. That being said, let me just get right to it.

I spent part of election night eating $3 tacos with a friend, paying half attention to a large television monitor displaying the election results. I knew Hillary Clinton was not about to be the next President of the United States. I wasn’t shocked by the results, I wasn’t devastated, I was not hysterical or in tears about it. I know America, so I took my ass to sleep and was completely unphased waking up to learn that our shiny new President-elect is dear old Donald. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise. What I felt deep in my soul was not disappointment or fear…to be honest, at the time I felt nothing. In my mind, I resolved to not speak to anyone at work about my thoughts on the election results. I work in Arlington, VA with the liberal yuppies who love to vote Dem but also love to treat me and racial and social injustice as if they don’t exist. The word “excuse me” doesn’t exist, nor does the common courtesy or general acknowledgment of me as a person. The yuppies laugh at the poignant race jokes on South Park and the Daily Show but that’s where it begins and ends.

Walls Closing In

It’s difficult to be black right now (or a person of color, or a member of the LGBTQ community, etc.—but because I am black I will speak to the black experience). I woke up the day after election day and I took notice of the silent white people on my social media timelines as much as I did the loud and outraged. I am on high alert but I am also doubting myself—have I become more paranoid? The more I watch videos of police brutality and observe reactions that range from apathy to “Black people should stop breaking the law…”, and listen to my Republican co-workers laugh at Donald Trump’s antics I feel it stockpiling on top of the regular ass racism and micro aggressions I deal with on a daily basis. I am a black girl, so I’ve had to sit and patiently explain my hair to white people, and at least once a week I am smiling uncomfortably as someone references the county I live in as the hood. NOT because it is the hood, but because black people live there. I remember years ago hanging out with some white friends at a venue that is known to be pretty multi-cultural and at one point, after leaving, my friend turns to me and says, “Oh I’m glad we left, I thought we were going to get beat up.” WHY? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT BLACK PEOPLE DO? NEVERMIND THE POINTLESS VICTORY RIOTS AT WHITE UNIVERSITIES WHEN THEIR FOOTBALL TEAM WINS A GAME—BUT IT’S BLACK PEOPLE WHO GET INTO GROUPS AND DECIDE TO JUST RANDOMLY BEAT UP WHITE PEOPLE.?WHAT THE ENTIRE FUCK?

Those incidents tend to embed themselves in our memories. I am dealing with anger. Anger that I have to stuff down every.single.day so that I don’t explode this aggression that stems from years and years of dealing with white bullshit. No more apologies—it. is. bullshit to pretend you don’t see or are not aware of the DIFFERENCE living life as a person of color versus being white. It’s 2016—EVOLVE already! I have a friend that moved to the DMV area from Wyoming years ago. I remember explaining braids and weaves to her, why she couldn’t call my dread locs as worms and why it was just plain insulting for the American public to demand that Presidential hopeful Barack Obama display his long birth certificate. That was years ago. Recently, she has expressed interest in talking to me about the Black Lives Matter movement and has stated plainly that Trump is awful and she does not side with him. EVOLVE. If you have lived in a multi-cultural area all your life and are still in your thirties asking to touch people’s hair you are stupid and wrong and ignorant.

I don’t have time to be as patient as I have always been. I am becoming exasperated by ignorance and I refuse to enable it. Once you start spouting things like “Oh, but he was criminal,” in reference to the brutal murder of a black man by police I am done with you. Once you start spouting things like “All Lives Matter” I. AM. DONE. Because guess what? We know that your life matters! That’s why you are all over the television screen, in the history books and in religion. If you are white you are the shit—you are winning, and for just one second black people thought we could win, too. Now Trump is President. I don’t have time to explain to you your privilege, I am busy working on my mental health and controlling this anger. I am busy preparing for war. I don’t have time to be afraid!

It’s Not Fear, It’s Dread

white-againJust as the term homophobia is the greatest misnomer of all time, so is the concept or the thought that black people are somehow fearful of Trump. I will speak for myself here when I say that it’s not fear, it’s dread and disappointment. I am disappointed in white people because as much as our culture is appropriated I was optimistic that it somehow came from a good place and would lead to acceptance. I feel duped! How stupid am I? I have been patiently explaining the plight of the black person, practicing empathy and ke keeing it up with white people who marched their asses to the polls to vote Trump then lied about it to my face. It’s one thing to keep quiet about who you vote for (it is your right as a citizen) but to lie means that you know it’s a betrayal. It feels like sleeping with the enemy. Anyone with half a brain can see that Trump is not about racism per se—he is definitely about himself. But in his quest to rise to power he has incited the hatred and anger lying dormant (or even openly) in the white supremacists and used that to fuel his campaign. You don’t have to be a political pundit to know that “Make America Great Again” is a slogan for white people. IT WAS NEVER GREAT FOR ANYONE NOT WHITE! (Hell, it wasn’t even that great for poor white people but whatever makes you feel good at the end of the day.) White people came here and started killing niggas and taking land off the bat, built an entire country on the concept and as soon as the country tries to progress out of it the ignorant and the hateful rise from the sewer and proclaim what they have truly been thinking all along. This means that the progression of black people was an illusion. We let white people into the gates of our culture and it was a Trojan horse this whole time.

 

Our movement of #BlackGirlMagic #BlackLivesMatter #Melanin– all those things have been interrupted by the truth. I am not afraid of Trump I am dreading the next four years and beyond. I have had a handle on my anger for quite some time now. I am a pro, I can handle a micro aggression or two, a racist troll on my social media timeline but I am not my ancestors! I don’t know if I can be harassed on the street by a racist spouting Trump’s tagline and be able hold my tongue or place my hands behind my back without swinging. I don’t know that I can go back to a time where black people addressed everyone as “sir” and “ma’am” and avoided eye contact lest they be accosted or beaten in the street like an animal. The only thing I fear is death because I realize my anger might lead to it by the hands of some idiot that would cry for Harambe the gorilla but justify a black man’s brutal murder all in the same week. Don’t come to me to teach you how to Dougie if you don’t care how l live my life every day. No one is so afraid of your skin that they are shooting first and asking names later. Until you sit down and try to understand that I have no patience for you and your lack of humanity.

etc-iaant

Make yourself the victim so you won’t be seen as the enemy…

 

Let the Unfollowers UNFOLLOW

…because I’m not sugar coating my art anymore. I have conquered divorce and heartbreak; I am working out single motherhood and overcoming body issues. I’m DOING THAT—it is child’s play to me now. There are larger things that are starting to occupy my thoughts and keep me awake in the late night hours. As a writer, I cannot connect with you about women’s issues, about self-confidence and depression if I am not alive to make the connection. I have no desire to be a political artist (I barely even like labeling myself as an artist) but Nina Simone is 100% correct. “An artist’s duty…is to reflect the times.”

I am grateful for the white tears shed after the election results. I absolutely believe we have allies now—people who understand injustice and inequality and genuinely want to make things better. Now stop crying and assume your position. Make the decision to be an ally in word and deed and DECIDE who you are going to be when violence erupts and you have the choice to watch a lynching in the making or prevent it from happening. Understand that there’s no time for semantics and playing the victim. If you are not a racist don’t waste time pontificating about how you have black friends and you don’t see color, just support and stand up.  Let’s not be ignorant. Racism has been a volcano in this country for years—ignoring  the tremors does not mean an eruption is not about to happen.

.

Loving A Soldier in A Time of War

2498721-soldiercrying

I had felt this pain before, I was no stranger to it. Except this time, I was more angry than hurt and sad. Here I was being stood up and utterly disrespected, mostly likely cheated on as well– I felt like a fool.

Because of work schedules, JW and I only have snippets of time together, usually meeting up late nights after I have a poetry event and he finishes his shift at his second job. It’s not an ideal situation, especially since my kids are with me full time outside of an occasional sleepover at their grandparent’s house, but we do our best to make it work. This night, we were able to link up and plan to meet at his house at 2am with the understanding that he would arrive a few minutes after me. A few minutes turned into several… into an hour. I was stuck. At the time staying with my parents temporarily and unable to enter into their household that late at night/early in the morning, I knew I was going to have to sleep in my car because this inconsiderate asshole had decided to stand me up!

Or had he? My mind raced back to a few weeks ago. He called me on my cellphone and put me on speaker as he was being pulled over by a police officer. “I’m going to jail,” he kept saying, but I feared much worse than that. It is never a good time to be a dark skinned male of 6 feet 4 inches. He was a threat without even trying, which I know because being in public with him is a bizarre experience. People have no sense of space; they seem to be always touching him. One time he was even challenged to a fight by some random drunk man who happened to be white—I don’t know if it was racially based. I do know that he was born with a target on his back, matching the target my two brothers and my father had on their backs.

In high school I wrote a poem in my journal called “No Peace in This House” because I knew there would never be any peace as long as my brothers were outside in the world. They were far from perfect young men, but the court dates and trumped up charges for smoking a little marijuana with friends never seemed to add up as punishment befitting their petty crimes. After hearing my brother tell the story of an officer harassing his friends and exclaiming, “Looks like that’s assaulting a police officer to me,” after brushing past a tree branch, I knew I could never trust law enforcement again. Fast forward years later, the stories pile up higher and higher and every black man has at least one. JW has several. JW with his long limbs, easy smile and soft voice is not a tender boyfriend and loving man to the world—he is a threat.

I felt a thud in my chest weeks and weeks after he and I had first had the conversation about his desire to never marry. It devastated my soul and I knew that this was an absolute in our relationship. I would never be MRS. JW and the decision to let go of that possibility was a huge thing for me to do. It was an emotional process. That night in the car as I sat and waited in fear and uncertainty I felt that same thud in my chest. Waiting here like this, heart beat accelerated and anxious about the unknown was an absolute in our relationship. As long as he is free to roam about this country he will be at risk of injury or death at the hands of the authorities or the afraid.

Is there any wonder why so much strength lies in the black woman? We are tasked with the challenge of turning our anxiety into a ball of fearlessness, optimism and emotional support for our men (family, significant others, close friends) every single day.

He eventually came home. I climbed into the passenger seat and said nothing as he looked at me with wide eyes and said, “I thought I was going down.” To be honest, I was scared shitless that he was, too.

What is it like to love a civilian? What is it like to have the privilege of loving someone without the added fear that you will lose them to the war…?

 

On Activism

Someone asked me if I was a part of the Black Lives Matter movement—and I thought it was a strange question.

I am black, and I don’t want to die.

So, yes…indeed I am. There is activism in conversation, donation, presence and in spreading positivity and love when the people are weary. Aren’t we all activists?

Whatever moves you– be moved and it doesn’t matter if you were moved late in the game. There is no bandwagon, there is no “too late” but there is always NOW.

 

10 Reasons Black Men Shouldn’t Release Derogatory Lists About Black Women (A Fuck You Tribute to Ice T)

image

Image from mediatakeout.com

Click here to read the original list.

10. Black women don’t need to jump in the pool to have a good time. Is it really about the weave? Most likely not, because women of other races wear just as much as we do! And really, how is not wanting to frolic in germ infested waters with harmful chemicals a REASON to not be with another human being.

This is stupid…

09. Black women are not afraid to challenge you. Do you want a “yes woman” or an active partner who will mentally stimulate you? I’m a grown ass woman, I’m not trying to fight you, but I do know there is a time to fall back and submit in a relationship and a time speak up. A romantic relationship does not give a man free reign to control your life.

Futhermore, there are weak women with low self-esteem of every race. To make the general statement that white women don’t talk back or argue is careless and racist. Sooo, you just insulted your girl, too.

08. It’s easier to introduce them to family. “Hey, this is Shaniqua.” Versus, “Hey this is Becky, my trophy girlfriend and gateway to finally escaping my black race. I hate myself and I have low self-esteem so I chose a woman with the lightest skin and the biggest (surgically enhanced) ass which is ok as my personal choice. However, I choose to shit on other black women and discourage other men from dating them as well because I’m a piece of shit human being with house slave mentality.”

07. Black women have no ceilings in the bedroom…we just don’t brag about it in Playboy or in the streets. When everyone finds out your woman is a freak in the sheets, they all start trying to fuck her (hence the lovely CoCo cheating on you multiple times)

06. Black women don’t need to be in a rap video. Who hurt you, boo? Sounds like you ran into a run of the mill gold digger and (surprise!) those come in all races. There are gorgeous black women in rap videos and there are ratchet women… but if you google their names you won’t find their vaginas all over the internet.

05. Black women spoil men minus the TMZ or social media coverage. In the bedroom, in the kitchen and in faithfulness and loyalty; material gifts do not equal love. Kim Kardashian gave Kanye a birthday present…ok, but the genital herpes she gave him proooobably didn’t get quite the same news coverage.

04. Any grown man should know that if you are treating a woman the way you should you won’t hear any complaining or nagging in the first place. Nagging is the sign that you are not making your girl happy period. Coco doesn’t go through your phone because she knows if you returned the favor you’d find out about ALL THE OTHER DUDES SHE’S SLEEPING WITH, old man!

03. Do you remember the sweat glistening on your mother’s black skin as she cooked and cleaned and took care of you? So who says black women don’t cook or clean? Furthermore, submission and service come out of a place of love, not for a man to hold over a woman as a control device. As I maintain house and home, what are you doing to uphold your part? Is she your girl or your white slave?

02. You ever hit a naturally big booty from the back?

01. Stupid women who don’t know any better are more fun. Period. I watch Keeping up with the Kardashians and only Khloe is even mildly interesting. A white woman is not more fun than I am because she can jump in a pool and pretends your penis is huge during oral sex. Women are not accessories or play toys, we are human beings and your list is bullshit you fucking sellout

In conclusion, stop parading around these HOES as if they are somehow better than the every day black woman simply because their skin is white. We have enough opposition coming at us from all sides and we don’t need our brothers, fathers, cousins, old washed up Uncle Tom ass rappers to disrespect us on top of that. You can date whoever the hell you want, we don’t want to be with someone who will make us ashamed of who we are anyway. Kanye felt he had to take several showers after being with Amber Rose but his current wife is famous for a (boring) sex tape she made with one of the biggest scumbags on the Hollywood D list. White is not always right, and when you are nonwhite and proclaim as much you are just broadcasting to the world that you hate yourself.

Maybe try rewriting this list when you at least have a wife comfortable in her own horribly aging skin, minus the plastic surgery and minus all the nudes and the hoe reputation. Please and thank you 🙂

Apples for Oranges

It is a strange paradox how the world treats us as if we don’t matter or exist, while simultaneously immersing themselves in our culture. We are some of the best people. We love the hardest, bring a cool swagger to everything we do, are inclusive yet coquettish, aloof and hard to read—passionate, longsuffering, loyal—all of those things. Still, I wonder; what are we going to DO with all of this anger.

Anger and passion

Oh, the Humanity

…seems to be missing from us lately, and some of us have become so cruel in our “I don’t give a fuck about anybody else but me and my people” mentality. I take pride in my identity; I find causes that I believe in and fight passionately for them in ways that I feel I can contribute. All the while, I try to remember that if I want what matters to me to matter to others at the very least I should continue to show respect for the lives of others. There is so much chaos going on in this world, every event and social issue cannot possibly relate back to my cause. At a certain point I have to examine whether I am comparing apples to oranges because of misguided emotion and bitterness.

There was fear in my heart just days ago, watching the news and the accounts of the terrorism in France. Terrorism is the kind of godlessness that makes you collapse to your knees and pray for the release that is the end of the world. Who wants to continue to live this way in suffering while bearing witness to the suffering of others? My Facebook page is a sea of red, white and blue in vertical lines—it is also an ocean of information that I simply did not know.

Apparently this past April, there was a similar terrorist attack at a college campus in Kenya. That familiar sinking feeling burrowed itself deeper in the pit of my stomach—why am I just now hearing about THIS attack? Why was there no Facebook flag app for THIS? I knew the reason—hence the feeling of dread in my belly. Fact: the lives of the ones with brown faces do not matter to the general public as much. The media does not find our plight interesting. The loss of lives in “savage country” is inevitable and deemed not newsworthy. We are the last page of your newspaper, a buried link on your social media timeline– we are an afterthought. The sheer outrageousness of this boils inside of me and it takes a whole hell of a lot of compassion to rise just above it in order overcome those feelings of resentment and bitterness. Who am I really mad at? And when the fire in my belly is extinguished, do I allow the ashes to cool into a pile of apathy? Perhaps cruelty? In our efforts to spotlight that we are people that do matter in this world, are we negating the value of other lives lost as a result of senseless violence…of other lives lost period?

When White People Speak

…they are immediately shut down and told to have several seats. For people who speak out of their asses, intent on trolling and spewing ignorance I am all for this. However, not every white or non-black person is wrong, or hateful or racist. Not every NON-BLACK cause is ANTI-black. Caring about the hundreds of people killed in a brutal terrorist attack does not mean that you do not care about the social and racial issues happening on your home soil. By that same token, changing a Facebook profile picture from one flag versus the other does not mean that one tragedy trumps the other. How much you care shows in your actions, in your charity and how you choose to advocate. Facebook profile shaming is frivolous and petty. We have to be better about not focusing on the negativity we see in the loyalty and passion of others and focusing on our personal goals we are trying to accomplish. No matter what cause you stand for it is not to be compared to that of another. I want to make sure that I can handle the load of apples that I carry without worrying about how the weight compares to your oranges.

Nickie vs. MileyPersonally, I wish we could continue to focus on educating those who are ignorant and fighting alongside those who are in the know. The media will report whatever’s sexy—they will report American politics, movie news, the Kardashians—but it doesn’t mean that the general public has to care about these things. Just because we can’t control the media does not mean we have to be controlled by it. This anger, this frustration and attitude can definitely be channeled toward something more positive that will ultimately help us to better communicate our point of views and bring about changes to the way society thinks. We don’t have to be bullies! When confrontation occurs, I don’t want to turn it into a keeping it real session. When our necks start twisting and the word bitch starts flying around our whole argument becomes lost. We don’t have to play in the field with those who choose to play dirty and we can choose how we channel our negative reactions.

Who is this “we” I speak of? Me and you. The world is hurting, and it’s ok to admit that it’s not just black people. In our efforts to influence the world and serve as voices for our various causes we mustn’t lose sight of our humanity. We are not the only ones who feel pain, and we might be surprised to find that it is those who suffer alongside us who can turn out to be our biggest allies.