entrepreneurship

The Day After. Life. Politics & Friendships.

Please help me. I can not breathe. My chest is tight. And there are tears in my eyes as my son lies here next to me.

This is not about an election. It's about our ability to keep going - our ability to believe. You see next week my son; he turns three and as a former preemie that means we should be happy.

Another year. Another life. Another opportunity. Another chance to raise him to be an amazing, beautiful, kind, brilliant and loving man, just like his daddy.

As I sit here nauseous at 3:10 am I know deep inside that this has nothing to do with an election. This feeling is about me. I am a wife. A mother. A boss. People are counting on me. And tonight, as I sit here, I am struggling to breathe. This is not about an election.

An election is nothing but a process - it's just plans and forms which without context are irrelevant. They don't matter. It's the people behind the polls that count. It's my "friends," colleagues, teachers, mentors, and mentees that with all my positive vibes, charm and wits went into that booth and didn't think once about me.

It's about my former best friend, a woman who I have known and loved since high school, who believes that a Donald Trump presidency will be ok for me. She thinks that because HER children will benefit the same goes for mine because, in HER view, we're all the same, like a Dr. Suess nursery rhyme - we're just thing one and thing two.

It's about her husband who, she admits, has said Nigger more times than I'd like to count, but still is considered a "good guy" so his insulting, degrading and racists words do not count.

It's about how my friend's parents, one who is an immigrant herself, have been provided with the luxury of light skin and have chosen to use it to "blend in." Their kids do not have to worry because they are the epitome of white privilege.

This is not about the election. It is about the fact that we were never friends, just acquaintances, and I am heartbroken because I let you get too close to me. It's about the fact that I believed that we were equal; that we were free. But we're not. At least I am not, because as you wake up happy and relishing in your victory, my husband, my son and my family wait silently for a sign that it is safe to come out.

We. Are. Afraid. Don't you see?

The new president-elect is being supported by the KKK. They do not care about the issues impacting me and my family.

For example, did you know that one in three little black boys born after 2002 will spend life behind bars mostly because of racially bias government policies? Or that the black family has been dismantled and is suffering drastically because of issues that happened back in slavery? Nearly 70% of black children (that's seven out of ten) do not know what it's like to have a father to hold. How about the fact that as an African-American, a women and a business owner my path to success is so fucking rocky. No one believes in you but you. Every day is spent proving people wrong and in the world of "hustling," you are left physically exhausted, mentally beaten up, isolated and completely withdrawn.

As I said before, this is not about an election.

An election is a set of processes and forms. No. This is about the humans behind the booths who found the changing landscape of this country threatening.

It's about you. It's about me. It's about the fact that today, November 9th, the day after election day, America has shown it's true colors. We were never friends, just acquaintances and I let you get too close to me.

Right now I can not breathe because I believed it when you told me that I could be anything. I had hope after my friend's father made a racists comment that he was the minority. I sat silent after being raped in college because I knew no one would believe me. I ignored the sexist comments and worked my way up the corporate ladder in IT because you told me to "Lean In." I believed you when you vowed to protect and serve even after you put my husband's life in danger because he looked "suspicious." I was a good friend.

In your quest to make America Great Again you forgot about me. My son. My family. The America that you seek is designed for you, not me. It is filled with negativity, lies, and deceit. It embraces segregation and hatred. The America that you seek looks just like 1963

This is not about politics. This is about the pain that comes after you realize that a friend has betrayed you. This is what it feels like when you realize that history is and always will be true. There is no progress without honesty. There is no truth in our lies. And for this, I am saddened because I have to tell you goodbye.  

I will never forget this day and how it made me feel. Today I am left scared, lonely and confused. But tomorrow I'll pick my head up and keep going because I have to. I have a son to raise. 

But, today. Today, I am going to sit here and remember. Today, I am going to allow myself to feel this pain because some of us (people of color, women, Muslims and the LGBT community specifically) have been betrayed. 

Good luck as you work to Make America Great Again. Good luck as you turn it into a world that is designed JUST FOR YOU. I wonder if you'll notice that I'm gone. I wonder if you'll realize that this was never about me or us. No. This entire relationship has always been about you.

This is not about an election. This is about how when the time came to stand up for someone else, someone you called a friend, you thought about no one else but yourself. And now we have to live with the consequences for at least four more years. 

This is not about an election. This is, and has always been, about you looking out for you. 

When life meets work.

For ten years... 

I dedicated my life to my work, committing myself to every project, every deadline, every boss and every opportunity that came my way.

I drove initiatives, built products, launched new services and made the companies I worked for lots and lots of money.

Coming from a working class family, putting in hard work was just something you had to do. I viewed it as a right of passage, for moving up a tier, and I took it on as a challenge.

I gave the best of me to my career and to the people I worked with. Anything they threw my way, I ran with. Were there challenges? Of course, but I always had the strength to get past them and the drive to keep going. I was committed. I was loyal. I was young. And, I was also smart.

I knew how things worked, especially in technology. Your value is defined by the last project you complete, not by your past experiences. The challenge, however, is that once that project is finished, there would always be another and then another and then another. To keep going, you had to stay fresh and on your toes. There was no time for breaks. Things had to be done. I remember my husband, Kai-Saun, pulling me aside one day and saying, "Amber you need your rest. You can't keep working like this. You're going to burn out." At that point, I was waking up at 1 a.m. every morning to work and had pulled a couple of all-nighters. I smiled at him and gave him a kiss. I knew he was right, that I couldn't keep this up forever, but I couldn't stop. Not now. I was so close. I was almost there. So, I waited until he fell asleep and then got back on my computer and picked up where I left off.

I remember justifying my actions in my head. "I have to do this." "He doesn't understand; I'm almost there." "I'm the breadwinner of our family." "We need this. I need this." "Don't worry. One day, they'll notice me, and when that happens, I will rest." But that day never came.

In November 2013, after returning home from a business trip just a few weeks before, I went into labor with my son. I was 31 weeks pregnant (9 weeks early) and at work when my water broke. His name is Kayson. His weight was 3lbs, 11 oz. His chance of survival was 50%.

 

Work. work. work. Life.


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For as long as I can remember, I have been focused on where work would take me. However, in reality, everything that I needed and wanted I already had. It's hard in today's society to stop for a moment and think. Put your phone down, and think about what really matters to you. Think about the people in front of you. Think about your family. They don't care about the new product you built, or how amazing your startup is, or how quickly you can get your company to grow. They just want you.

Today is Wednesday. It is the third day of spring and a few weeks after spring break. Most children are back to school and parents back at work. Everyone's settled back into his or her routine. Old projects are closing, and new ones are opening, and it won't be until the next holiday that everyone will be able to "relax" again.

After Kayson was born, my life changed drastically. I contemplated going back to work but decided not to because I knew that I did not have the energy to "keep up". Nor was I willing to make the sacrifices it would take to remain "competitive".

It was hard at first, seeing all of those years of hard work left behind and someone younger, more eager, with more time and more support, take my place, but I try really hard not to own that, because it's a false sense of reality.

Success is not defined by what you will obtain in the future. It is defined by where you are today. And, for me, the only things that matter are the opportunities that allow me to soak up as much time as I can with my Kayson and Kai-Saun.

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