Thursday, December 7, 2023

All is Forgiven by Lilli Lewis

 So let me start with I know Lilli Lewis.  My daughters call her Aunt Lilli so if you are like well Martha can't be impartial then that may be true, but I challenge you to go and listen to the album and then come at me.

Where do I start with Lilli Lewis's new release?  Do I start with the song that I love most? song that makes me dance?  song that makes me question life? I'll go down the song list!

I lied so general feeling first.  I love this album and not just because I've watched Lilli workshop some of these songs over the last year.  I'll be honest there is a track that does not make sense to me for this album but man do I love Lilli's voice.  I am always on pins and needles when I know Lilli is about to release something new into the world.  One, I love Lilli as a human, as an auntie to my girls, as a soul sister to my husband, the list goes on.  Two, because I love Lilli's music, I want others to love Lilli's music.  I want the world to be on fire for her because her music moves my soul.  I'll tell you the thing that worries me about the rest of the world finding Lilli is I don't want to hear covers of her music.  I want Lilli's voice only.  Light (O, Let Your Light Shine) has been covered, and the first time I heard it I was offended.  Like that is my song who in the world had the gaul to sing it!?  Anyways, it's an okay cover.

But to All Is Forgiven, the album is well worth your listen.  Like most of Lilli's music, you can enjoy it without listening hard to the lyrics but if you take the time to listen and really hear the lyrics you are in for a soul punch.  Lilli really likes to bring you in for a hug and then whisper in your ear, "Was that action really an act of radical decency or are you being an asshole?"  The funny thing is since she punches your soul in the midst of the hug, you are able to take it for what she is giving which is love.  When so many people are demanding you be kind, Lilli asks are you decent to yourself and others?  Why the difference?  Lilli believes in accountability!

So starting with Sin Eater, she wants you to not be an asshole.  Like I'll give and you take but don't think I don't see you taking more than you should.  To me, all of the kindness is life rhetoric implies taking shit.  Radical decency gives you permission to call out bs.  Also, the tuba/sousaphone if you don't bop to this then I don't even want to speak to you, like for real.

Happy Enough is a song I know from Lilli's The Shiz days.  I did not know she was bringing to this album.  I was shocked and at first, I didn't like it.  I mean where is Liz's voice?  The song feels different but in a good way.  The Shiz's version felt like a challenge.  The Shiz version with Liz on lead vocal is more like Liz was in your face and if answered wrong there was going to be a fight.  Lilli's version is more fun, and less dangerous.  It may be the mellowing of all of us, Lilli, Liz, and myself, all being in our 40s so rather than the need to fight, it is now an acceptance that if I'm not happy enough for you well that is your problem, not mine.

The title track, All is Forgiven, is the best throwback to the 80s.  This needs to be the theme song to a great family sitcom.  I can see Steve Winwood with some amazing backup singers just getting down to this.  Then Whitney Houston would cover it for a retro-film.  Anyway, the point is I like it and it reminds me of the 80s.

Lilli's Just One Ride is a heartbreaker.  I first heard it about a year ago when she was workshopping it.  My immediate thought was this belongs on Grey's Anatomy.  But very specifically over a scene where Dr. Callie Torres (played by Sara Ramirez) finally finds her own voice and takes charge of her life.  I don't know if that scene exists but it should and this song should play over it.  I pray that more people fall in love with Just One Ride.  

If You Really Mattered is a call to action.  It sounds melancholy but again, if you want to be melancholy you 100% can or you can listen to the lyrics and get off your ass.  This is a reminder that we have to practice radical decency with ourselves.  Hold ourselves accountable to be amazing humans with gifts and talents meant to be shared not hidden.  This is Lilli looking at you and telling you, "You are amazing and you are here to do amazing shit.  Get off your ass.  I see you!  I see you sitting!  GET OFF YOUR ASS!"  But in a soft tune so you don't even realize she is kicking you in the ass.

I think Possible is the part II to If You Really Mattered.  "To Trust You Back"  Just that line.  Can you trust yourself?  See accountability!  Get off your ass.  Stop listening to those assholes, you are amazing!

Okay and then you are lead into what feels like an oddball off the wall, WTF in Ciel Eternel.  Don't get me wrong it is beautiful.  If you don't know the ability of Lilli's voice, this shows it off beautifully but what is she saying?  I don't speak French so I don't know.  But it is pretty.

If you make it this far in this blog and the album then you know that you are going back into hell; you are being called back to radical decency.  Drink This Water Child is another slow song with deep lyrics.  Lilli often sings of water and uses water as a metaphor.  I wish she had punched up the vocals because they feel hidden behind the music.  The water is deep and I feel like I don't get the lyrical punch because I struggle to hear the actual words.  

The ending track is a piano-forward song named Firefly.  This feels like a southern porch in the middle of a hot summer night when you are having deep conversations with your best friend.  You are watching the fireflies and realizing that you are the light that this world needs but it is hot and late so you are just going to sit, talk, and drink some sweet tea.  It is a call to action and a reminder to move with intention so that the heat doesn't overwhelm you, no wasted energy.

So that is All Is Forgiven the new album by Lilli Lewis.  She is a profound music writer.  She can take a simple message, practice radical decency, and make it pretty or loud so that it is accessible to everyone.  Listen to it.  Tell me I'm full of it.  I am not a profound writer.  I am not a profound music critic.  This music I like.  I think you might like it too.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Open Letter to Brandon Flowers of The Killers

 So I don’t know Brandon and have zero expectation that he’ll read this but it is on my heart so here goes:

Dear Brandon, hope it’s cool I address you so informally.  

So it hurts my heart to hear you have scrapped the new album.  "boy" and "Your Side of Town" are the start of a fun record but I get not feeling it.  As one of your fans who despised Pressure Machine, it really hurts my heart you want to do more music like that.  See it was done well but you did it at the height of lockdown and well it is depressing as fuck.  I can almost love some of the tracks from the abridged version.  "Runaway Horses" live just spoke to me in a way that it didn’t just listening to it on the album but actually that isn’t the point of this letter.

To the point: sir, you mention not wanting to be the “Somebody Told Me” guy.  I totally get that.  The song hit 20 years ago.  You aren’t that guy anymore but see here is the thing, we aren’t the same kids who fell in love with that song as it hit either.  Believe it or not, we have grown and aged with you.  We are in our 40s too!  We are parents.  We are married.  We have lived through some shit same as you.  

You are smart.  This is something you already know so back to finding the point here.  We have matured and we understand you and your music has to too.  While I am probably never going to listen to all of Pressure Machine again, I understand where it came from.  But you aren’t just the Hot Fuss guy.  The Killers are more than a few hits, for your fans The Killers are old memories and new memories.

Sometimes I do escape into Hot Fuss.  I remember listening to it when it first hit and then everything since.  To this day, Sam’s Town is my go to for study time because it was all I listened to as I worked on my Masters of Ed.  My doctorate application is Battle Born.  I still remember having a complete crying fit in the local coffeeshop listening to "Runaways."  My actual studies are your solo album, Flamingo.  I will never be able to think of the 2020 election week without hearing "Imploding the Mirage" in my mind.  Every time the news mentioned the implosion of the red wave, I could hear your voice holding Mirage.  Your voice has colored my life for the last 20 years.

So what is my ask?  Release new songs that show us you as the man you are today.  Even if that place is dark and uncomfortable because at times we are dark and uncomfortable too.  Show us how to survive the rough parts of our marriages.  Talk to us about raising boys.  Sing to us about your crumbling illusions of life and the joys of creating yourself into something new.

Why?  Because we are living those phases too.  Way back on Battle Born, you had a song “The Way it Was” and you talk about wanting to go back.  The new life you have isn’t what you wanted and you want to go back to the way it was.  I have always had a love/hate relationship with that song.  Yes, the beginning of a romance is beautiful but so is the middle and growing with someone.  That is what you are asking from us, to let go of the way it was and meet you here and now.  So let us meet you here and now.

Please tour smaller venues where we can see the whites of your eyes. Play in places where Ronny’s sweat will get all over us.  Be close to us and see that yes, we have all changed and honestly it is for the better.

Brandon, darling, you are in middle life.  It’s cool.  I am having hot flashes as I write.  We have both aged.  Now is the time to work on ourselves, to work at being parents and good life partners.  Now is the time to leave the literal arena for the metaphorical arena of middle age.  Listen to Brene Brown.  She has some fabulous thoughts on middle age.  Please don’t kill The Killers.  Let The Killers evolve and age.  Your true victims will be there to listen.

Signed a middle age fan girl from Texas

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Music is life so when . . .

Music is life so when a friendship ends, the soundtrack of that friendship leaves me with songs I can't listen to for a while.  The fresh ending of what I thought was a friendship but since I can be so easily removed tells me that I was probably closer to a therapist than a friend means I have a whole new list of songs that hurt to listen to.  While the wound on my soul is no longer bleeding, it is not yet a scar so listening to certain songs is akin to picking the scab off a cut.

If you actually know me then you have heard me sing.  Choirs, band, concerts and any variation there in will illicit singing from me.  If you have heard me sing a made-up on the spot song then you are part of my inner circle or witnessed one of the few times I was comfortable enough to just sing whatever.  Catch me in at the right time and you can hear me singing about inventory, shelf shifting, making bread, walking down the hallway, or whatever the hell I'm doing to whatever tune comes to mind.  The point is music is life.

So with music basically being my love language, people get a song assigned to them in my mind.  I lierally created a presentation for one of my doctoral classes where I took pictures of my cohort members with songs that remind me of them; I got a good grade.  I think there are 2 songs that really capture what I'm trying to say: Trisha Yearwood's The Song Remembers When and Neon Tree's Songs I Can't Listen To.  Moments and people cemented with sing.  (Both great songs so go give them a listen.) The concert we went to.  The concerts we played.  The song that we sung while driving down the road.  The song that was playing when we were skating, running, walking, laughing. Songs now prune-y in sorrow and tears, sometimes metaphorical and sometimes literal.  

It isn't your fault I can't listen to them.  Honestly by in large, it isn't your fault my heart is broken.  I know I'll heal and I'll be able to listen to them again and smile at the memories. I'm not there yet.

One day, like the other day when That's Not My Name came on, I'll smile and sing at the top of my lungs and whoever is with me will hear me say "Hey, that songs always reminds me of so and so."  That's Not My Name no longer belongs to Soul Sister.  I have claimed it back and now it belongs to me and my memories of learning to play it and performing it.  The song helps me smile when I think back on those days but it did take years.  

I know the songs will be mine again.  The muzak version will no longer stop me and feel like a gut punch.  I know healing is around the corner but I'm not there yet.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The Invitations that never came

 So we are about 20 days after by birthday and I'm still all pruney in the hurt.  So I took some deep breaths and tried to work my mind through the hurt.  I need to find the base otherwise I'll stay stuck in the moment.  

A couple of days ago, a former student and now Facebook friend posted a graphic about getting okay with the invitation that never come and understanding that you were never part of their plans.  It resonated with me immediately.  This whole birthday thing really reminds me that these friends of mine aren't actually my friends but somewhat close acquaintances that I forgot were acquaintances.  I have to remember that not everyone who calls you a friend actually means it.

So this is not a new lesson.  Yesterday, I was almost on the other side of the hurt and then I saw a fucking video.  Oh, so you are back in town.  Then a post, oh so you are making big plans.  To her credit, the other one is keeping her plans secret as they seem to involve a secret so at least I don't have to see it yet.  Anyways, my feels got all hurt again.  So that leads to this morning; why am I still so in this hurt?  Why can't I let go of the rope that is clearly cutting my hands?

The NPR station started going in and out, which I hate, so I turned on my Bluetooth and basically played playlist roulette.  I couldn't remember what I had been listening to the last time I was listening to Spotify so it could be anything.  This is of course when the universe steps in: Cycles by Jonathan McReynolds featuring DOE.  If you don't know the song, it is a Christian song reminding us we have to break the bad cycles in our life.  We continue to repeat them unless we acknowledge them.  

Okay universe, let's turn inward and really dig.  What is bothering me?  Seriously, it's not like this is the first time "friends" have been asshats to me.  What is my issue?  My 44th birthday, really?!  A little deep breathing and boom: being in elementary school and not being invited to birthday parties but hearing all about how much fun they had the previous weekend.  Concerts my college "friends" would go to and tell me about it afterward.  The trips my work "friends" would go on during the summer and I would get to hear about later.  The invitations that never came.  

It is less that I'm not invited but that I'm forgotten or really my feelings disregarded. I understand why I didn't get invited to the parties, my parents treated us like my brothers and I were triples so you weren't just inviting me, you were inviting the whole family.  I get it, I didn't know the band or have the money for the concert and the car was full.  We aren't trip-taking friends just folks that work together.  So I do understand I don't count in those situations; why consider my feelings?  I'm not a consideration at all.  That doesn't mean it didn't hurt my feelings or that it wasn't until that moment that I hadn't realized I didn't have friends.  

So the hurt isn't 44-year-old Martha but 8-year-old Martha and 20-year-old Martha and 30-year-old Martha.  I keep letting myself get hurt and the worst part is I court it!  One of these "friends" once told me that he was going to join me at a drag show but then decided I wasn't the drive or effort so he didn't bother.  I still speak to this person.  Y'all why am I allowing myself to be hurt by someone who so obviously do not care about me?  He has his head so far up his own ass that this isn't a special statement about forgetting me, it is just who he is.  The one "friend" I have known the longest has always dropped me faster than fast whenever she gets a "better" offer.  The newest of these "friends" is just a workout partner.  I have to remember that she will never be more than that so why am I placing any blame at her feet?  The sharing ends at the end of the run, period.  When I had that straight in my mind, everything was cool.

So I am feeling better as I write this.  Finding the root of the hurt and finally putting everyone in their place in my life is what I needed to do back on May 28th.  I wasted a lot of energy on being hurt.  How do I fix this nasty pattern?  That is a much longer project and currently, I have no plan.  The easy flippant answer is to say I'll never speak to those people again and find actual friends but I know that this is a strong life pattern rooted deep inside of me.  I'll just do it all over again and again.  Pattern breaking is so much hard work but I know I'm worth my effort so step one: recognize the pattern.  Step two, I'm not sure yet.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Fucking Birthdays and celebrations or lack thereof

 It is approximately 15 days since my 44th birthday.  Not a single one of my "friends" has mentioned anything about maybe going to dinner to celebrate or a special non-Sunday run (we have a set Sunday 5K), or hell just a quick coffee  Nothing.  I got 2 text messages and 2 facebook birthday wall messages.  Now I got more than that but I'm thinking of the people that I make and effort to see each week.  The ones that when some shit goes down I hear about it.

I admit, I'm salty about it though less salty after 14 days.  My saltiness started a bit before my birthday and really it started as hurt.  Just geniunly upset about the lack of friends in my life that share their joy with me.  I get to always hear their bad stuff.  I understand I am a magnet for sadness.  This is something that is a recurring theme in my life.  Total strangers find me lay their burders down on me and walk off.  

However, in the last couple of months, all of these "friends" of mine have been posting their fun with their actual friends after I had spend hours cleaning them up.  I listen to their sadness and then suddenly they are out partying with other people.  I'm tired of being used as a dumping ground for their sadness while being excluded from their joy. 

I get the bad shit and everyone else gets the good shit.  I listen to you crying but everyone else gets your laughter.  You will literally plan someone else's birthday party infront of me, while telling me you would never take me out to dinner because you don't go out and do birthday stuff.  Like, why do I speak to these people?  We have tentative plans for my birthday and then you dissappear on a girls' trip without saying anything like plans with me for my birthday aren't shit.  I don't matter to you so why am I constantly dropping other people who want to be my friends for these shitheads?

Basically I'm not.  I haven't spoken to any of them since the run immediately after my birthday where one planned someone else's birthday party.  None of them showed up for my daughter's 1st superfight.  I had a co-worked from Wiley show up.  Another co-worker/friend from Wiley sent a message that they couldn't make it because they had another obligation and they were sorry.  These "friends" of mine all pretended like nothing was going on.  No, sorry I can't make it.  No, I'm out of town but.  Nothing.  

I'm working through the hurt and avoiding basically everyone because I know when I'm hurt I get toxic on everyone.  I am challenging myself to cultivate other friendships.  Like, I have people who are out of town who have sent money to my child for training, bought raffle ticktets, have come out to see her fight at an out of town event but the 3 people I though were like besties can't be bother.  

I deserve to be celebrated.  I deserve to the right to turn down a party.  I actually have an acquaintance ask if she needed to throw me a party because it's not like I have been quite about this bothering me.  I asked her not to because I knew nobody would show up.  Like, how sad is it when you know that the people you call best friends would not bother to show to a party that all they had to do was show up to?  While they fucking go to everyone else's fucking parties!  Like change all of their plans to party with people they have told you aren't as good as friend as I am.  

Since it is more than one person, I know it's me.  I'm the problem; it's me.  So I'm just not speaking to anyone.  I got a lot more miles to run before I'm fit to be around people again.  I will eventually speak to those people again because I do actually love them; they just hurt me deeply and for now I just can't.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

A dream come true: The Killers

Way back when the world was simple say Februrary 2020, The Killers accounced a world tour for their Imploding the Mirage albun included on this tour was a stop in Houston.  I immediately jumped to make plans to attend.  Then as you know in March 2020 the world shut down.  I know we all had hopes that this was a couple of weeks things that lasted so much longer.  The tour was postponed to September 2022.  Again I started making my plans.  Budgeting and planning to take time off and then they postponed the show again.  

Okay shit happens.  Budgeting is still on point and the days off still work.  I buy the tickets.  My husband is going and one of my peeps is going.  We are all set for the March 25 2023.  I'm vibrating with excitment.  This concert is 3 years delayed.  They have released 2 more albums since Imploding the Mirage.  This is the going to be the best day ever and that morning I notice an email from the Toyota Center annoucing a postponement!  What the actual fuck!?  They had just played an amazing showing in Oklahoma on the 24th.  How are they postponing with less than 24 hrs notice?!

I was pissed but really I was disappointed.  I know life happens.  Brandon Flowers was sick and it sounded like he gave his all at the Oklahoma show.  Who wants to listen to a barely there Brandon?  So I get it.  I quickly changed the hotel reservation and that was that.  Only thing left to do was wait for May 14th.

When The Killers resumed the tour a couple days and posted pictures, I acutally cried.  The hurt was more profound than I had thought.  I really wanted to go and relax and be a fan instead of a mom for one day.  But I had hope my day would come and I would in fact be a fan instead of a mom for just a few hours.  About a week before the concert I did have a nightmare tha the concert had been postponed again and I immedately opened my app to see if the concert had been moved.

Sunday, I checked all of the socials, my email, the AXS app, and the Toyota Center app to just make sure the concert was still on.  At 1pm as we were getting ready to go to Houston, the bottom fell out of the sky.  Pouring rain, just pouring.  We got on the road at 1:30 but it was still coming down in sheets.  At one point my husband almost gave up and wanted to turn around but we kept moving forward.

Once we stopped to fill up in Livingston, the rain let up and the rest of the drive was relaxing.  My excitement building with each hour that ticked by.  We have a nice dinner and then checked into the hotel to relax.  Our hotel was across the way from the Toyota Center so we would not have to search for parking just walk over.  This became a hipcup since my husband's ankle decided to attack him and left him hobbled.  Still, he powered through and let me just run around as I pleased with him following many steps behind.

So we get to the Toyota Center and it is huge!  I had never been.  We walk past the merch table and the line was hella long.  We find our way to the escaltor so hubby would not have to take stairs.  We find our nose-bleed seats and we wait.  

The Lemon Twigs kicked off the night with an okay set.  They are young and the sound wasn't quite right so the set wasn't great.  I think as they get more clout their set will be better simply because the sound techs will actually care.  Cool that was at like 8 for a 7:30 show.  They finish about 8:30 and we wait.  I'm almost jumping out of my skin.  Is this really happening?  Will The Killers go on?

Just about at 9pm, the band doctor comes out.  I have an announcement.  "Unfortunately . . . "  Like the crowd went silent and was ready to pounce if this was anything other than a joke.  Finally, yes, the band can go on.  After a loud cheer, the crowd again goes silent in anticipation.

The band comes out and we heard the first fews notes of My Soul's Own Warning.  I let out a massive scream of joy and then proceed to sing every single song for the rest of the night.  Amazing show!  Like epic!  Easily the best concert I have ever very been too.  They were worth the wait and I can't wait to go seem them again.

I told my husband that it must have been like what an Elvis vegas show was like.  Brandon had complete control of the crowd.  We sang.  We danced in our seats.  We stood and danced.  It was amazing.  Like the whole night was one of the best nights of my life.  

If you get a chance to see them in concert go.  My husband was not really a fan.  My peep was also not a massive fan and even they had a blast.  I was on cloud night.  I'm still listening to the set list.  I created a Spotify playlist and I just have it on repeat.  I will never forget the joy of that night.  A dream being better than expected.  A payoff that makes you believe that good things come to those who wait.

Monday, February 6, 2023

What is a friend?

 So this is a theme for me especially since I moved back to Texas in 2009.  What does it mean to be a friend?  What does is mean to have a friend?

Honestly at the age of almost 44, I still don't really know.  I feel like I have never really used that concept correctly.  If you had asked me today how many friends do I have, my answer would be zero.  But I know that isn't true.  

Here is the thing, like what really makes someone your friend?  I have a friend who lives in California.  I love her.  She truly treats my girls like they are her nieces.  She calls to check on me.  But there is a physical distance that keeps us apart.

I like to think I have local friends but this is the rub, if I can go weeks without seeing them, weeks without them reaching out, never get invited to anything outside of the box I fill, are they my friends?  Maybe what I have are close acquaintances.  On top of that is the feeling of being unthether because I changed jobs in October.  So all of my work friends are gone.  My current space feels at times really hostile and at other times really inviting.  I really feel unbalanced.

Now back to the friendship thing.  I know the problem is me.  Like I have no doubt I'm the issue so if you consider yourself my friend and are really this, it isn't you, it really is me.  Why do I feel so alone and disconnected?  What does the fact that I have people I only see to work out with or people who use me as soundboard mean?  

I do not know the friends of my friends.  I do not get invited to anything outside of running/working-out or to listen to someone's issues.  I don't get invited to parties.  No one mentions going to events together as a group.  I do hear about all of the cool things after but there is not invitation to actually join.  I don't want to be in spaces where I'm not invited.  Again, a me issue.  I don't want to be told well you can come if you want.  Or worse yet, well it is open to everyone so you know you can just show up.  That is not a fucking invitation.  That is your space and if you wanted me there then you would say that, right?

I'm rambling but I'm struggling.  I haven't seen what I thought of as a friendly-face outside of my family and work in 3 weeks.  No telling when if I'll ever see anyone again unless I go begging people for their time.  I hate begging.  I hate having to reach out especially when I'm feeling so raw.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Finding my running mojo: The Rise of Blaxican MMA

 As is often the case this blog post started from a conversation.  I was having a conversation with a friend about his goals for the year and he mentioned that not everyone does things with a goal in mind, implying I never do anything without a goal.  He pointed out that I run for races.  Now I have been saying that I haven't been running much because I needed a goal/race but that isn't really the issue.

So what was/is the issue.  Well when I took running up the last time, about 5 years ago, it was a way to get through the stress of my dad's colon cancer journey.  Thankfully he has been in remission for almost 4 years so what kept me going over the last 4 years?  Well the stress of my job and wanting to hit  certain mileage or races.  When I made the decision to finally change jobs to something with significantly less stress, my running also kinda dropped.  Now, the struggle for miles has been hard seemingly for everyone in 2022.  Both of my run partners worked through illness and injury.  None of us hit our mileage goals for the year.  The point is I wasn't alone but yes overall I had lost the motivation to run.  I had the least amount of miles since dad's diagnoses.

How do you reverse a trend, you want to actually change, especially when it is something that you use to love?  Well I started the year committeed to completing the None 2 Run program, again.  If you don't know this program I highly recommend it.  I completed C25K many years ago and let me tell you, None 2 Run is better.  Their app, newly released for Android, is wonderful!  Okay so I'm going to get back to running slowly.  Cool, right?  12 weeks to complete the program.  12 weeks to get back to consistently running 3 times a week.  Is that enough?

Yesterday, I decided to binge watch Harry and Megan on Netflix.  If you have been around at all in the 14 years of this blog then you know I have mixed-race children.  So listening to Megan Markle speaking about her experiences as a mixed-raced person, I tried to really listen not just hear but listen to her pain.  I got uncomfortable.  When her mother spoke about wishing she had taught her daughter what it is like to experience being Black, I felt a pang of terror.  I am not a Black woman.  My oldest daughter is Black presenting.  How do I prepare her to be Black when I have no clue?

How do I prepare a child who wants to enter the MMA ring when there aren't people like her in that space, at least not on the international stage?  How do I support her in her journey when I have no clue what that is like?  Now don't get me wrong, I know racism.  I grew up in deep East Texas as a 1st gen Mexican American.  I know what it is like to be called a wetback and told to go back to where you came from.  I know those.  It wasn't until I started working at an HBCU that I really began to understand that I don't know dick about being Black in America, that pain has deep roots.  I'm a newly formed American.  I am a rock in a shoe.  Black in America is the foundation of this country.  But like any foundation, the house doesn't acknowledge that without the foundation, it would fall.  The foundation takes all of the weight, the hits, the abuse and as long as it is quiet no one talks about the foundation.  How do I teach my daughters that?  

But to yesterday, I had just finished the next to the last episode of the Harry and Megan series and I just needed to run.  Run to think my way through the thoughts I don't feel like I can share with anyone because I don't know anyone who is doing this: navigating a Black-presenting MMA phenom on to the international stage.  It's not that I can't talk to people about it but who really understands?  Who can help me through the emotional side of the illogical (or maybe not illogical) arguement that I am a liablity to my daughter's career?

See the agruement in my head says that because she looks "like a Black girl" but isn't "all the way Black," Black-owned companies are not going to want to work with her.  Because she is Mexican but doesn't "look Mexican" then Latino-owned business aren't going to want to work with her.  Business need to invest in fighters that others can connect with.  Can the world connect with a fighter who doesn't match any of their sterotypes?

I have told my child that because of how she looks, she could in theory hide her Mexicaness.  She can exist as a Black woman but that she needs to be careful because you don't want your secret to be used against you.  I told her that and then created her figther social media account as Blaxican MMA (find her on Instagram).  I didn't give her a real choice because I don't want her career to be blown up by a "major revelation" that she isn't just Black.  

I have been to all of her major events and I haven't seen families like ours.  I have seen Black families and Latino families.  I have seen mixed families but not mixed like ours.  I watch MMA events, UFC, Bellaor, and ONE, and there aren't fighers like her.  What I have seen, mostly during UFC fights, is the hate thrown at the Black fighters.  How do I willingly put my child through that?

I have even seen it to some extent in her gym.  The teammates she trains with are creating personas that mimic popular UFC fighters, conservative White elite racist mysoginistic homophobic who play to the MAGA audience.  I have stopped following some of their accounts because I don't want their brand mixing with hers.  But y'all it isn't just about branding, it makes me question who is actually in her corner?  When people are throwing the "N-word" at her, will her teammates defend her or join in?  I have watch them use that word against other fighters.  So with the entire audience against her will they stand with her?  Y'all I don't know.  I honestly don't know and that scares me.

So how does that connect to running?  Well, one of the wonderful aspects of running for me is the freedom to process my thoughts and to cry freely.  No one questions why you are crying when you are running.  They assume you in pain and tears follow pain.  It is true, I am running through some pain.  The uncomfortableness of mile whatever helps me process whatever is going through in mind.  Where is the connection?  I ran yesterday to process these thoughts.  I need to talk (even if it is just to myself) about the terror that the Harry and Megan series brought up for me.  I need to work my way from I am a liabilty to my daughter's career to  my daughter's mixed heritage is a point of pride a selling point.  I need to remind myself that if a brand won't work with her because of her mixed-heritage then that is probably a brand we don't want to work with anyway.  I need miles on my feet to remind me that even if she never gets a sponsor and I have to take on more work to finance her career myself that doesn't mean she isn't a phenom.  Her skills and drive are worth any and all work I have to do.  I have to work on my mindset to be ready to stand with my daughter no matter the insults thrown at her or the opportunities that disappear because she doesn't fit a mold.  

I am no longer running to get through my dad's cancer journey.  I am no longer running to deal with job stress.  I am running to be a strong mom and help my daughter conquer MMA.  I am running through, to, for the rise of Blaxican MMA.