Why We Should Forgive Ray Rice

posted by Momo Fali on December 2, 2014

Hold on. Let me tell you where I’m coming from.

Before I met my husband, to whom I’ve been married for over 17 years, I was in an abusive relationship. This does not make me an expert on domestic violence, but it gives me a unique perspective. I know what it’s like to look into the eyes of someone who is supposed to love you and feel nothing but pain.

Ray Rice did something wrong. Very wrong. Without exception, a man should never hit a woman (and vice versa) and there is absolutely no excuse for his behavior. He should be punished for it, and if it is determined the punishment is that he is never signed to an NFL contract again, then he should accept that. This isn’t about the football player, this is about the man.

Can I say that I would forgive him if I were Janay? No, I can’t. I was never knocked unconscious. I can say that I chose to forgive someone for hitting me, or at least to look past it, again and again, for years. I should have left after the first time it happened, but I think Janay should stay.

Why the double-standard?

Because I believe in second chances. I believe in forgiveness and that people can better themselves. I believe in becoming a stronger, more-focused, enlightened person by owning your mistakes and understanding your future choices. I also believe there isn’t one person reading this who hasn’t done something shameful in their life.

Ray and Janay have both said that this was the only time he had ever hit her. I don’t necessarily believe that, but I don’t know for sure. What if it was? What if this was Ray’s shameful moment?

The difference between what happened to me and what happened to Janay is that Ray is sorry. He has expressed regret and asked for forgiveness. I stayed with someone who didn’t. There can’t be change within a person unless they see the need.

We have to determine whether we look at Ray Rice as a violent, indifferent person who doesn’t deserve forgiveness because he’s only concerned about his career, or as a remorseful man who made a terrible mistake, loves his family and should get the opportunity to prove it. Trust me, there’s a big difference between those two types of people - an infinite difference.

Which Ray Rice do you see?

I choose to see the latter. I choose to believe in second chances.

Just Listen

posted by Momo Fali on November 25, 2014

I didn’t grow up with black friends. I lived in a white suburb, surrounded by white neighbors. I don’t remember a single person of color in my elementary school and there were only a handful in my very large high school. I’ve worked with one black man in my entire career.

After my husband and I got married, I gained a black niece and her four children have become my great-niece and nephews. Through blogging, I have met some of the most thought-provoking women (and men) of color. These people, this family, and community is mine, regardless of the shade of their skin. Where I came from and what I experienced growing up no longer matter.

Right now, these friends are hurting. People act out because they are hurting. Just the other day, I was slamming doors and drawers and I actually punched a wall because I was hurting. It is not fair for me to judge others for their reaction to pain.

My niece and friends live in fear for their sons’ lives and my heart is breaking. I’m not even talking about the people protesting in Ferguson, I’m talking about my family across town and my friends in Cincinnati, Chicago, New York, Houston, Albany, Austin, Atlanta, and every other city across the United States. These are American mothers and fathers who go to work, love their families, and shouldn’t have to live under a different system than white people. It’s really that simple.

But, of course, it’s not simple.

At church last week, the homily was about treating every person you come in contact with as if they were Jesus. It’s hard not to gossip, judge, and be open to new thoughts; I know I am guilty of it. But, don’t we owe it to these young people in our midst to try? Just listen to the stories. Really listen. Without judgment. That should be simple enough. It’s a start, at least.

Just because I was privileged enough to be born with white skin doesn’t make me privileged enough to not care.

My great-nephews lives may depend upon it.

The Epitome of Morals

posted by Momo Fali on November 24, 2014

My daughter is currently working on a paper for her English class which she has titled, “The Epitome of Morals.” Obviously, I am the subject matter. Oh, okay that’s not true. It’s Atticus Finch.

I’m going to try really hard not to take the moral high-ground here, because I am nothing if not flawed. I have a lot of remorse and regret over past behavior and I still make errors every single day. That’s because I’m human. It’s not an excuse, but it’s a fact. None of us walk a perfect straight and narrow.

But, at what point do we draw a line and say someone has morally crossed it?

The truth is, not much has changed since Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. Mockingbirds are still being slain while bluejays fly free. More and more and more, every single day. Are you a mockingbird? Are you making the world a better place? Do you treat people with love, kindness and respect? Are you singing a beautiful song?

We would all be better people if we had a little Atticus Finch in us; if we were courageous, strong, calm and kind. Maycomb isn’t just a symbol of my town or your town – it’s a symbol of me and you. It’s the good and the bad within us and which one we choose to display.

I’m thankful my daughter recognizes the morals of Atticus as a citizen, lawyer, father, neighbor and friend.

It’s too bad he’s just a character in a book.

Friends

posted by Momo Fali on November 23, 2014

This post was inspired by Netflix. Come see what we’re watching.

If you had to pick one friend with whom to get stuck on a deserted island, who would you pick? I would be hard-pressed to choose between my very sensible, resourceful, crafty friend and the friend I have who would slap me in the face and tell me to stop freaking out, instruct me to enjoy the sunshine, and help me figure out how to make alcohol out of coconuts.

I am fortunate to have a diverse group of friends on whom I can count. They each speak to the different parts of my personality – though, I’ll be honest, I’ve yet to find one who will hang with me at my gym or meet me on the running trail. That’s okay, though, because I don’t usually have enough air to breathe, let alone talk.

I have family-friends, work-friends, church-friends, online-friends and drinking-friends. I even have dog-friends; not people with dogs, but actual dogs. My two Labs listen to me more than anyone else. Sometimes, I get them drunk and I have drinking-dog-friends. Then we play poker.

Honestly, I couldn’t choose just one person to join me on that island; I’d want to bring them all. One thing’s for sure, it would be one heck of a good time. Unless we had to eat each other. That would kind of stink.