As expected, being home is a little tricky now. Everything is a lot more fast paced and I am slightly overwhelmed with it all. I’m like a kid learning to walk again after walking for all my life. Imagine someone incredibly frustrated because they can’t seem to hack something that they’ve already accomplished. It’s getting better each and every day though. I think jumping in is not the problem. My problem is maintaining the sense of peace I felt while in Canberra. I have found though, that the outdoors again is my retreat. I went on a hike with my friend last weekend and we’re planning another one for next weekend. I’m no advanced hiker by any means nor do I want to be outside 24/7 (I don’t even want to go camping…) but I like just talking and walking while in nature. Plus, because I’m a Mainer, the hikes are always incredibly beautiful.

Recently I also came to a really cool realization about post-abroad me. I’m a little more selfish now. I’ve never been able to be a selfish person. I’m in no way perfect – that is not what I’m saying – but in a lot of situations I used to make sure to “be the bigger person” and diffuse any possible uncomfortability as soon as possible. I think this is what always made me uncomfortable. I used to put myself in situations that I would be afraid or uncomfortable because I viewed each and every one as a learning experience. Only thing is, some of those situations taught me nothing and I knew from the get that they were going to teach me nothing. The only thing they did was please another party or make me sacrifice my happiness to fulfill a social construct about “politeness”. I learned down under that even when I stand up for myself and use my voice to express that I am unhappy with something, people will still love me just fine. Heck, some will like me even more.

I’m still incredibly naive — I’m only 21 after all. I still have a ways to go with heartache and heartbreak but I know enough to not place myself in situations that I know I will be hurt for no reason just to be the bigger person. Also, these situations that I feel are monumental usually are not. They are but “specks of dust inside a giant’s eye.” This point forward I am going to embrace being a little more selfish and focussing on speaking my mind when I want to. My mental peace is important. I still find value in being uncomfortable, I do. Making a big speech when at work is scary but it will be rewarding once you’ve done it a couple times. Telling that girl you’ve been flirting with that you like her, while it may not work out, will ease your mind and let you live without questions. Being brave enough to confront someone you think you’ve hurt will only help your relationship in the long run. Going to a meeting which includes a douchebag from your past that will only make you angry, sad or self conscious? So unnecessary.

Switching gears (#mocktrial101), I can’t not address what’s been going on in this country. I said I was having a hard time jumping back into American life. A big part of this is due to the fact that people who look like me, who have the same beautiful melanin rich skin as me, are being gunned down by those who are meant to protect us. I am saddened by the events of the last few days. ALL of them. I will proclaim this now: I am a pacifist through and the use of guns to harm others kills me. It saddens me that this country that I grew up in and hope to someday raise children in, seems like it is so against “my kind”. BLACK LIVES MATTER. Yes, this is a blog dedicated to my thoughts on my relationships but this important and needs to be discussed. I am scared as a black person. I am afraid that my life could be taken away just like that because my taillight was busted. I am scared that there is now the possibility that not only might I be shot to death, but that my loved ones will be forced to see my death playing over and over and over. What will it take to stop? Cameras watching is clearly not having an impact. What will it take for people, especially  those in positions of power to see black people and other minorities as human beings that deserve the same amount of respect as white people? To the Alton Sterlings, the Philando Castiles, and to the policemen and/or policewomen who lost their lives yesterday, I am sorry you had to go through what you went through and that you lost your lives due to gun violence. We live in a society that is divided racially in every way.

Think about this, Stranger. Racism is not just social. It’s systematic. There are laws and practices that create and expand upon racism that have been prevalent in this country since before its birth in 1776. If we worked on eliminating those systematic practices, especially in important fields like law enforcement, housing, education, the economy, etc, etc we might be able to reduce a police officer’s fear of black people. This means that Alton Sterling and Philando Castille might have been given a fair chance instead of being gunned down because they were black. I don’t care what anyone says, they were GUNNED DOWN because they were BLACK. The governor of Minnesota even said it himself that if Philando Castile had been white, he would probably still be alive. This is sad. America is beautifully diverse. We have so much opportunity to learn so many different things because we have such a huge variety of life here. I’m simply confused as to why people fear difference so much. What is so threatening about the darker pigmentation of my skin that makes you feel you have to murder me in cold blood? If you think I’m being dramatic, you’re part of the problem. People who look like me, happy smiling me that you can find as a cover of a recent post, are being shot just because they look like me.

Side note: how the hell is anyone supposed to get their license and identification without reaching for their wallet? Someone please let me know. If we’re suppose to do it telepathically now, I was never informed. I don’t have that gene so I’m taking away your right to shoot me just because I am reaching for my wallet to do what you asked. This second. That shit is gone. Bye bye.

Policy in this country needs to change. On law enforcement training and on gun laws in general. That’s another rant for another time.

Praying so hard for peace across the board. Please, please, please love one another during this sad time.

-M

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