Being Biracial Made Me History

Grow Gratitude welcomes our very first Biracial Awareness Guest Blog Post! Yet another perspective, read on to capture a glimpse of how “her story” made “history”!

I was born a biracial baby in a predominantly White, back-mountain town. As a matter of fact, I was the first biracial baby from the first biracial family in the town’s first founded hospital. Newsworthy perhaps, especially given the place and times. I do believe my birth was the beginning of my education in humor. Let me explain…


First, I want the atmosphere of my birth to be completely understood, if that’s possible. My mother is a White woman from England married to a Black man serving in the U.S. Air Force at the time of miscegenation (no interracial mixing). Although it was customary for the town’s newspaper to print the bouncing baby birth announcements, my mothers’ name, (and mine for that matter…the bouncing biracial baby), were not printed along with all the other proud mothers who gave birth in that small maternity ward. Somehow a brown baby was ok just as long as White plus Black don’t make brown.  Well hell they cheated me out of my big arrival!!! Worse yet, the grace it must have taken for minds to use such strength to control the smallness of their thoughts and actions in such a big world. Wow! Ignorance must be bliss! (LOL!)  

Now folks let’s be real!  You know how exhausting my birthday was?  My mother was perplexed by the endless stream of visitors through that maternity ward who stopped by to catch a glimpse of me. Yes, that’s right. They came to see me! Maybe seeing is believing. But if seeing really is believing, they still couldn’t believe it. Maybe it’s because they got a good taste of the full flavor of my evidently jaw-dropping exquisite existence.

First of all, I arrived with an impeccable British accent. I laid in my crib, sipping tea and used my proper princess wave as I continuously said “Ello!  Are you alright, mates?!?” And when the line of admirers moved along, I cooed, “Cheerio!!!”  

I can’t remember how long the biracial baby tour lasted that day but I’m sure I must have greeted lots of “newsy” (my bad), curious people, most who probably missed the point that there’s much more to me than what they saw (or were willing to see).

Now looking back at the anticipation and antics of my arrival I smile. What was initially a conscious act of overlooking my existence by the newspaper could not stop me (or my mother) from making history in the books. I am grateful that despite what they did (or didn’t do), I still exist. Because I am… Wendy!

Grow Gratitude thanks Wendy for sharing her biracial experience of the day she entered the world! And what an experience it was…entertaining for everybody! 

 See You Next Time!  Pink Heart


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Grow Gratitude Returns for Biracial Awareness Month!

Yes, it’s true. Grow Gratitude returns to celebrate Biracial Awareness Month (BAM)! Couldn’t let you carry on without me. We’re a little late getting started with BAM, possibly due to the inherent effects of the bth_2260507778_c5f00b7084CPT culprit. That is, according to the darker-hued half of me.

Who amongst us is not familiar with CPT? If you don’t know what CPT is then this probably isn’t going to make much sense, which defeats the purpose. Somewhere along the slippery stereotyping slope, Black people slid into group notoriety for perceived frequency of lateness to just about everything… including our own funerals!

I’m fairly sure most African Americans (and others) of my generation know what CPT stands for. Before we were “African American”, “Black is Beautiful”, and “Negro”, we were “Colored People”. Combine colored people together with time and you got CPT, “Colored People’s Time”.  Admittedly, I’ve enjoyed some pretty good giggles about CPT and I’ve witnessed some pretty angry “CPR” (Colored People’s Responses) to CPT.

My understanding of CPT originated from other Black people and in the context of some hilarious storytelling or commentary that made light of the CPT stereotype. This stereotype about Black people did not originate with Black people. I imagine some “non-colored people” imagined “colored people” as genetically predisposed to taking our own sweet time Snoop Dogg Style… “Laid back, sipping on Gin and juice…with our minds on our money and our money on our minds”. CPT is a myth, and evidently the myth lives on. Or does it?

To get a sense of CPT transference, I texted my intergenerational guru of all things biracial (aka, my daughter) and inquired as to whether she knew what CPT stands for. She did – she heard it from me…a number of times… in the context of time. What? Given my daughter happened to be with one of her African American friends at the time, I texted back, “Ask your friend if he’s ever heard of CPT”. To which his response was “No”.

Generalizations about a people, while sometimes humorous, have the potential to enlighten through levity, but seemingly have a greater propensity to promote and perpetuate racial stereotypes, which often leads to prejudice, which often leads to discrimination. But enough about CPT…

I’ll take “Biracial Slurs I’ve Been Called Before” for $500 Alex. What is Half-breed, High Yellow, Zebra, Oreo, Half-Caste, White Wanna-Be, and Nigger? The biracial jeopardy game gets played simply because people have a time figuring out who we are (racially) and accepting what we represent. The result: an inaccurate perception of mixed up, racially mixed misfits who become so pervasive that they render the number of “pure race” Americans minorities and destroy the perceived “wholesomeness” of America due to an overwhelming belief that, if this keeps up, one day we’ll all look alike. Maybe it’s frightening. The neat and tidy census categories of days gone by with an “other” catch all for the trouble makers who insisted upon making what “American” was traditionally perceived to look like, look like what America really looks like, are no more. I didn’t fit easily and neatly into a mutually exclusive box and I’m certainly not an “other” who you can’t figure out where to put because I refuse to be swept under the RIG (Racial Identity Rug).

One thing I know for sure: I was born biracial and I’m going to die biracial. I am African American and White. My mother is British and my family was substantially influenced by that culture as well. I identify more with my African American side because that is my American experience and I very proudly proclaim my White, British side. I know that pisses some people off, but I’ve grown to not be too concerned about other people’s perceptions and opinions. I’m proud and grateful that you can’t box me in. I don’t fit in and I wouldn’t want it any other way! We be diversity naturally, and that’s something all Americans should celebrate.

Please join us this month as we once again explore the unique experience and perspectives of being biracial in America. We’re diving deep and shedding light and we couldn’t be more on time!

Next week Grow Gratitude welcomes our first guest blog! Stop back for yet another perspective on being biracial in America. Hot-diggity BAM!

See You Next Time!   Pink Heart     OXOXO

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Brace Yourself for “Branding-Bravery”… Cheerios Brings “Scary” Sequel to the Superbowl!

Yes, that’s right. Cheerios is at it again…and so is the CRAZY controversy!  Whether you plan to watch the Rita ProfileSuperbowl this Sunday for the game, for the commercials, or for the array of party endeavors  that are sure to be plentiful, do plan to catch THIS commercial. Or perhaps you already have. It’s “out there” and so are the haters. Still, clearly, win or lose, Cheerios ain’t backing down. And while it’s evident that they have much support, let me go on record for saying that I, too, have their back! (in case you were wondering)

So in celebration of CHEERIOS (and in light of the Superbowl), I am re-posting the initial Cheerios commercial clips. If you didn’t catch it last time, take just a minute and check it out. The first video clip is the initial Cheerios controversial television ad. The second “commercial” is the parody of that ad after an astounding number of people expressed their hatred while simultaneously revealing their hearts. Isn’t it amazing what the internet and  anonymity can do for those who espouse ignorance and hatred yet lack the courage to stand by what they so seemingly and adamantly are compelled to “openly” convey “world-wide”?

WORD OF CAUTION!!  The last video clip IS the upcoming Cheerios Superbowl commercial. If you, like me, await watching the game with high anticipation of the Superbowl commercials, DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK!  I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. On the other hand, given the controversy is running rampant  again, take a peek perhaps and when the ad airs during the game, take note of who surrounds you. If you don’t know, their reactions (or lack thereof), may prove to be more telling than you ever imagined.

Cheerios BoxCome on America, get it together and let it go…and better yet, embrace it. Clearly, that’s really the only choice we have. You might as well embrace it , and ideally with open arms. It’s not going anywhere, but it is coming everywhere. We Be Diversity…that’s just who we be. Like it or not, it’s reality. We be diversity, the “we” is essential, you see,  ’cause we wouldn’t be We without You AND Me. But I digress.

Enjoy the Game and/or the commercials! Oh, and by the way, “Go EAGLES”…oops, my bad. Never mind…bring on the commercials and/or half-time!

The link below is growgratitude’s original blog about the Cheerios Controversy, FYI.

See You Next Time!  Pink Heart             OXOXO

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Happy You Year! Getting Back to the Present…

The end of a year and the dawn of a new year routinely MP900412054[1]allows for the opportunity to consciously reflect and take stock of our life.

Not that we couldn’t or don’t take stock at other times during the course of a year, it’s just more collectively prevalent and pervasive as one year draws to a close and a new year is ushered in. It’s a healthy sort of annual ritual that requires reflection, conscious consideration, contemplation, and an assessment of the accomplishment status of one’s dream for life. That is, of course, assuming one has a dream. Behind every ending lurks the prospect of a new beginning. Out with the old and in with the new. Welcome 2014!

So, let me ask you a question: Are you living life or is life living you? Lately, I’ve been considering that question and delineating the difference. Actually, the difference is pretty basic. You’re either actively engaged in life (living life) or you’re


routinely responding to it (life living you). Either way, you’re making choices that help create how you experience what you experience.  And so it is wise that we periodically take a moment to pause and consider what it is we want from life (or, perhaps, what it is life wants from us) as well as how well what we have been doing has been working for us. Whether or not we are actively engaged or routinely responding to life does not negate the fact that we cannot, in either case, necessarily control what happens; we can, however, consciously choose how we respond.

Ever notice that the older we get, the faster time goes by? When we are children, it feels like forever before a much anticipated day or event will arrive. We hold anticipation for the future while remaining primarily in the present. So as children, we are more inclined to be aligned with  present-time than when we are grown. We can’t wait to grow up as if we don’t believe it will ever happen and yet once we do, we can’t believe how quickly we did. The passage of time somehow accelerates with time and we begin to really recognize the impermanency of all things.

Once we’ve reached that marker on the seemingly never-ending-trek to being “all growed-up” we yearn for ways to slow it down. We become more anxious as opposed to excited about time and we can more readily get lost in time. The longer we live, the more we have to reflect upon. We can choose to feel some type of way about the past and we can expend our energy trying to hold on to it, or worse, living in it. We can fret about what’s to come recognizing that the longer we live, the less time we have and the less time we have, the faster time goes. Or so it seems. We can get caught up and carried away so much so that we make rare appearances in the present and are more apt to be found in the past regretting or in the future fretting. Meanwhile, tick-tock goes the clock!

Mind the time. There’s no time like the present and there’s no time but the present. Time is our most precious commodity and how we spend it contributes to our happiness and overall well-being. We can accept the past for what is done and recognize the future is yet to come, but if we are to be happy, we can only be happy in this moment, at this time; knowing that happiness is not only a state of mind, but a choice we actively make.

So, as the song says,” don’t worry, be happy”…or perhaps more apropos, “if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!”      

Best wishes for a very Happy You Year!

 See You Next Time!    Pink Heart    OXOXOXO

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Was GrowGratitude a Bad Idea?


First, let me begin by saying that I have been mulling over writing this post for some time now. I’ve had a number of different working titles in my head ranging from “GrowGratitude…Really?!?” to “GrowGratitude Wants to Gripe” to quite frankly, “F@#k GrowGratitude!” But what it really boils down to is nine months ago I made a decision to challenge myself to seek and find the silver lining in every life experience, and in the process, share my experiences and effort to do so with you. My hope was that if I could always manage to find a “silver lining”, and hence, grow grateful – no matter what, then you could too (just in case you thought you couldn’t). And if I routinely grew more grateful and you routinely grew more grateful, then GrowGratitude would be worthy.

But here’s what else I believe. I believe that what you put “out there” comes back to you and I also believe in the importance of being, as author Don Miguel Ruiz puts it, “impeccable with your word”. However, my very next thought is be careful what you ask for.

The past 12 months has been one of the most challenging times of my life. (“Challenging” is GrowGratitude’s word, not mine).  Of course that‘s completely relative and subjective. Trust me, I’m grateful that things have not been worse and am absolutely aware that they could have been. I guess I see the past 12 months as a sort of series of unfortunate – or in my case, ironic events. I’ve always tipped the scale when it comes to irony and one of my fears is that when I leave this world, I’ll do so ironically. Like the guy who died at the motorcycle rally to protest mandatory helmet wearing, and somehow managed to get in an accident during the course of the rally. His death was attributed to not having a helmet on at the time of the accident. Notice I didn’t mention him by name. That’s because I don’t remember it. I just remember the irony in how he died and my thoughts of “checking out” equally ironically. But I digress.

I’m having a moment, but I’m human so I’m sure you can relate. What I’m about to tell you might be the equivalent of what old school taught us not to do, which is air our dirty laundry. So know that at this moment, I’m a bit uncomfortable. However, my “airing out” my dirty laundry will not reach the equivalent of what is seemingly prevalent in today’s “reality” culture. Don’t know how that makes you feel, but here we go. I’m about to hit auto-rewind and take you along for the ride. Be forewarned, there are moments where all we can do is hold on.

Last year at Thanksgiving, I lost my job. Sucks, right?! But given that my career for two plus decades has entailed working on grant-funded research studies, the possibility always existed. So, I was grateful that in 24 years of having a grant-funded salary, I had never been laid off before. And I was grateful for the 2 month forewarning that I received of the potential lay off contingent upon a rather sizeable grant application being funded. And you now know how that ended. Unfortunately, the two month forewarning that I received proved to be more “painful” than the actual lay off. Watching your position (and perceived value and purpose) being phased out over the course of two months is not for the insecure. Talk about feeling useless! But still, it was holiday time and with the small severance package (received with great gratitude), my benefits and pay continued into January. This was an opportunity to experience the holidays with my daughter as I always dreamed of without the added responsibility of working full-time. And with the fast approaching New Year, comes a new beginning. Bring it on, I’m ready. Happy New Year!

On January 3rd, my grandmother passed away. She was an amazingly strong woman, having endured unimaginable loss throughout the course of her life. It wasn’t until her death that I realized what a tremendous blessing it was to have had her as a member of our household throughout my childhood. She was 96 years old! Awesome!

Next stop, the Presidential Inaugural Ball. It was my experience at the Ball and my save-savvy inclination to utilize what could amount to thousands of dollars in therapy by reviving my use of writing as a cathartic outlet that gave birth to GrowGratitude. In case you missed it or care for a refresher, you can read all about my time at the Ball here

But don’t leave me yet, there’s more…let’s wrap up January by withdrawing my daughter in the middle of her Junior year from the school that she attended for years and fully expected to graduate from. This could amount to some serious culture shock, amongst other things! Are you ready for me to cue the violins? Well, you’re going to have to wait. After all, this is MY daughter we’re talking about and GrowGratitude is still hanging in there.

So what did my daughter do? She did the damn thing! She adjusted to a completely different academic “vibe” and experience and completed the semester with her name on the honor roll. No easy feat by any means. Take a breath. No, wait!

Note that we have just slid through several months and are now in June. Wondering if the previous months were uneventful? Of course they weren’t! But the old school in me, time, and the length of this post prevent going into the sordid details. Let’s just say that during those months, my daughter and I both learned who our real friends are or at least what values matter with who we choose to call “friend”. For me, that’s nothing new. But for my daughter, that was an invaluable life lesson that completely reinforced what I have tried to ensure she understands: people SHOW you who they are AND you TEACH people how to treat you. Although those months were filled with deep disappointment, my daughter and I began to consider what (or who) did not serve us well. If I had a bucket list for invaluable life lessons that I would want my daughter to know before I left this earth, this one would most definitely be on it. Grow, GrowGratitude!

In August, my daughter, fully equipped with her natural GINORMOUS curiosity (don’t know where she gets that from) took to the internet to research some symptoms she was experiencing. I’m all for information gathering as long as the source is valid and reliable and that what you do with what you learn is productive. My daughter knows this. So when she told me what she thought was going on, the doctor’s appointment was made, tests were taken, and her self-diagnosis confirmed. We were then introduced to our new normal. That’s the best way I can put it. So we take it one day at a time which is all any of us can do; it’s just now we’re more inclined to be mindful of it and proceed accordingly.

TIME OUT!!  Truth of the matter is I really want to stop with this positivity thing. It’s been exhausting and I’m really pissed. When I started GrowGratitude, I thought it would be fun, even entertaining, to capture the year’s events and share my effort and success in finding the silver lining. That’s what I put out there. But when I said “challenge myself”, I certainly didn’t mean like this! WTF?

OK, I’m back. I figure like this, that that don’t kill me can only make me stronger. I also believe everything happens for a reason and life’s events unfold in an effort to prepare us for our greatest purpose.

And now last, but most definitely not least.  I recently learned of the death of my first and forever love. I could dedicate an entire post, if not blog, to how much he meant to me. It’s an amazing love story with what currently feels like the most tragic ending. Most of it unfolded decades ago, but I never forgot him. I never could. Even my daughter knew who he was – she was the one who informed me of his passing. And as I learned from his daughter upon meeting her at his memorial service, it was painfully clear that he had never forgotten me either. I now know how it feels to have a hole in my heart.

So, as we approach this holiday season, I hope the year has been good to you and no matter how life unfolds, may you always be blessed with love, health, happiness and the ability to find the silver lining. As for me, I’m going to continue on my path to GrowGratitude – it can’t be bad…and who knows, maybe I’ll meet you there!

Happy Thanksgiving!

See You Next Time!   Pink Heart    OXOXOXO

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30 Years to Life

30 years ago today, I stepped inside a chapel to pray and as I sat in silence there, my truth became my solemn prayer…

“Lord I come to you on bended knee, praying that you will set him free. He’s no longer who he used to be and it’s becoming impossible to see a reality where he returns to me. If there’s no miracle in store I cried, then please no more, just let him die.”

Within an hour, God’s grace replied. My prayer was answered and he died.

And in that moment, the world changed. In, up, out, down, rearranged. Banged around, tossed about, gasping for air. Turmoil, shifting soil, life isn’t fair. Spun around, upside down, trying to get my grounding. Day in, day out, life spent rebounding.

Holding on for dear life, my days filled with strife, my faith in the One above. Not wanting it so, I had to let go of the first man that I ever loved.

That night the heavens poured, there would be no more, he was with the Lord. And as it rained the radio played, “there’s a little black spot on the sun today”.

But here’s the thing about suffering and why it’s so demanding. Once done, the battle won, lays the peace that passes all understanding.

And what I know with certainty is that his blood flows through me and all that he instilled in me, I am my father’s legacy.


I hope I do him justice.

In loving memory of my father – the greatest father a daughter could ever have hoped for.


 See you next time!    Pink Heart       OXOXOXO

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How Heart-Healthy Cheerios Harvested Hate-Filled Hearts

They say Cheerios can help lower cholesterol and thus is considered a heart-healthy cereal. Of course, it stands to reason that overall health, lifestyle factors, and behaviors including regular exercise also play hefty roles in the bth_Family(1)health of your heart. And who doesn’t want a healthy heart? So how is it that Cheerios manages to help lower cholesterol, but recently raised the collective blood pressure of so many Americans? Because, intentionally or not, Cheerios stepped “out there” and put it in our face in a big, or shall we say, non-big-oted way. We couldn’t side-step it if we tried. It was, after all, the “elephant in the room”. What, exactly, was Cheerios thinking? Certainly they knew that a backlash was brewing, but they pressed on regardless. Perhaps they recognized the potential purchasing power of the market they reflected. And I’m fairly sure they were conscious of the practically predictable controversy that would ensue. Perhaps they didn’t care. But did they realize the ridicules reach that backlash would have and the potential repercussions and ramifications  not only for Cheerios cereal sales, but for General Mills products in general? Did they expect the intensity of the nature of the backlash that was unleashed?  Did you?

Cheerios BoxIf you’re still wondering what exactly I’m talking about and even if you’re not, check out the Cheerios commercial below. Keep in mind that this 30 second clip raised the ire of so many Americans that any shock value the commercial may have wrought, is overshadowed by the shock of the sheer number of Americans who felt compelled enough to take time out to express their dismay (putting it mildly). So many, in fact, that YouTube had to disable the comments section for the video clip due to the nature and number of hate-filled “comments” being spewed. And if you don’t believe that America has a ways to go before the issue of race rests, when tolerance and acceptance pervade, and we reach our true potential greatness, the clip below should help clarify that. And even more so, the response to the clip cannot and must not allow us to continue to pretend otherwise. Welcome to 2013 America.

But true to form, America is a nation of diversity and there are plenty of Americans who were equally dismayed (still putting it mildly) that in the year 2013, we can still be completely aghast by the backlash of the core issue. And also true to form is that when ridiculousness reaches reality, somebody’s going to run with it and/or make light of it. I love that! Those of us who get it don’t get why those who don’t get it just don’t get over it. Despite the fact that there is an ever-growing market yet truly untapped as a powerful motive, could it be that Cheerios wants their product to reflect that market as well as all of the “markets” that collectively makes Americans, America? And why not?

The complexion of America is and has been undergoing a magnificent make-over. And along the way, if we are open to it, we get to appreciate a glimpse of the “before” and “after” pictures. We may or may not like one or the other picture, but we cannot go backwards. Where there’s a market, there’s money to be made. If that market happens to reflect the current and unfolding complexion of America, kudos to the company(s) wise enough to not only realize that, but to step up awareness and the issues of acceptance and tolerance by putting themselves “out there”. In response to the Hater’s response to the Cheerios commercial, below is a parody of the commercial that nicely sets the stage for yet another fast growing American family market harboring a wealth of potential purchasing power. If you must, brace yourself. It’s just a matter of time. Cheers to Cheerios!


See You Next Wednesday!     Pink Heart      OXOXOXO

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