From the WR Files: I Was Overwhelmed, So I Guess I’m Ready For The Race

My goal has been to go into this experience without any expectations. But training camp was nothing like I expected.

Almost from the moment I got there, I was overwhelmed by the number of people, the constant interactions and the magnitude of the year ahead of me. For the first time, I saw the bigger picture of what life on the race was going to be like. And it terrified me.

On Day 2 of training camp, I crawled into my tent around 11 pm, and decided I couldn’t do it. I was going home. I didn’t know how, but I knew that if I put my mind to it, I could find a way. Because I certainly didn’t have the strength to stay.

But then I stopped and prayed. I asked God to give me the strength to make it through the night, and prepare me for His will the next day. And even though I wanted to go home, I knew that He wanted me to stay. I fell asleep in shambles, but I woke up the next morning ready to take on whatever camp threw at me. And it was in that moment that I knew I had made the right decision when I chose to go on the World Race. It was in that moment that I knew that God would carry me through whatever struggles and hardships are going to come at me in the next year.

I prayed a lot last week. And it was mostly for strength because training camp was nothing like what I expected. It was hard. It was trying. It was hot and cold and humid and rainy. It was never comfortable. It was everything I imagine the Race will be like, but in a much more condensed time frame.

I considered not telling you guys any of this. Mostly because I still need your help (prayers, please!!) to make it to the starting line, much less the finish. But one thing we talked about at camp was being honest and not keeping secrets. If I want you guys to trust me, support me and believe in me, I can’t just tell you the good stuff. If I’m going to grow as a person and as a Christian, then I have to be willing to bare it all. And for those of you who know me, you know that won’t be easy.

But I promise to be accountable, not just to God, not just to myself, but also to all of you. Community was a huge focus during camp. We’ll be living in a group of people 24/7 for 11 straight months, sharing food and clothes and living spaces. We started doing all of that last week. It’s important that my squadmates and I are living for each other as part of this experience.

But for me, community extends beyond the 6 other women that I’ll be sharing my daily life with from September of this year until July of next year. Community includes the people that love and support me at home. The ones who will only hear from me via this blog or the occasional Facebook post or tweet. The ones who are giving me the chance to grow in God and share His love around the world.

I’m accountable to all of you. If you have anything that you specifically want to hear from me, please let me know in the comments. And I hope that you’ll keep commenting throughout my entire trip. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with each and every one of you.

P.S. Keep your eyes open for a pretty cool little story from training camp that I’ll post either later today or tomorrow.

P.P.S. If you’re interested in donating to my mission, please head over to my WR blog tristianahinton.theworldrace.org

#FamilyFirst

#FamilyFirst

Yesterday, I woke up to all this chatter about Beyoncé, Solange and Jay Z (via the TMZ video linked above). I didn’t even know where to start. But I wanted to share with my blog fam what I said to my Facebook fam. First, mad props to Jigga for never even looking like he was gonna hit her back. Next, can we talk about the ill side eye B gives Jay around the one minute mark? He’s clearly being scolded and can’t understand why Bey hasn’t said anything to her sister. Finally, I give Beyoncé credit for not picking sides. Hov might be her husband, but Solange is her little sister, and older siblings everywhere know they’ve been protecting their baby siblings since the day the kids were born.

Before I get to my final point, I’m actually going to expand on that a little. I don’t know how many of you are older siblings, but I will tell you that honest to God, I would kill for my (not so) little brother. Many older siblings understand that your younger sibling is like your first kid. So Solange was Beyonce’s practice for Blue Ivy. Now, I’m not saying they’re the closest family in the world, because I don’t know if that’s the case. What I do know, is that you’ll be hard pressed to find an older sibling who won’t choose their younger sibling over almost anyone in the world. They might fight like cats and dogs, but at the end of the day, no one gets to mess with that person, but you. 

That’s especially true if they’re defending you. Of course, we don’t know what Solange was freaking out about. Maybe she’s just an angry drunk. But something else I know as an older sibling, you don’t set yourself up for failure. Bey isn’t going to put herself in a situation where she’s gonna have to deal with her husband and her sister fighting if she can avoid it. Not for either of their benefits, but for her own. She knows both of them better than she knows herself. So she’s not gonna have them in a situation where they’re beefing if for no other reason than it forces her to pick sides. 

My personal opinion? Jay hit her (Eat the cake, Anna Mae), and Beyonce might be willing to accept that, but Solange isn’t.  That’s the other thing about that sibling dynamic. We’re fiercely protective of each other, even if we won’t protect ourselves. 

My conclusion: I’m as curious to know what the ladies were upset about as the next overly interested American, but also it’s a family thing and not really anyone else’s business, in my opinion.

P.S. A lesson we all learn at some point: blood over water. Your sibling is ALWAYS your sibling. The divorce rate in America is too high to pick your spouse who might be gone tomorrow. 

No, I’m Not A Feminist. #SorryImNotSorry

I have a great career. I’m strong, independent and smart. I have a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and will soon have a master’s degree from Georgetown University. I can do anything I put my mind to. But I’m not a feminist.

Before all the spear-chucking, torch carrying members of the feminist movement try to hunt me down, let me start with this: suck it.

First off, the feminist movement isn’t about me. It’s about white America (as most things in this country are). Care to tell me the history of the feminist movement? If I recall from history class (and no, I’m not even gonna bother Googling it), it started with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and company almost 20 years before the end of the Civil War. Hell, the Emancipation Proclamation (which didn’t do anything to free the slaves, but that’s a story for another day) hadn’t even been signed yet. So your fun-loving, women-promoting time is all about white women. And that’s enough for me.

Having had a similar conversation in one of my grad school classes last semester, I know there are waves of feminism that have looked at different issues. But like an institutional organization, the origination is where the real basis of the group lies. The Klan and the Nazis could tell you that they’re now focusing on creating policy that will protect the white Anglo-Saxon man, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t the same terrorist organizations that they’ve been for the last 100 years.

But I won’t stop there. Let’s bring it to the 21st century. For those of you who don’t know, I went to a really upper crusty, all-girls private school in DC from 9th-12th grade. An experience that, as a woman, I can’t say I’m against. It was nice to be able to become comfortable with having a vagina in the years that it can be the most difficult to have one. But a lesson we’ll all learn is your experience in a place is most often defined by the thing that makes you stand out, not the one that helps you fit in. So my empowerment came not from being a girl in an all-girls school, but being black in white school; being lower middle class and on scholarship in a school full of upper middle class (or just upper class) girls whose parents could pay their tuition.

So at the National Cathedral School for Girls, I didn’t learn to be a feminist. I learned to love being a person of color in a world dominated by white people. I learned that there were certain things that I could not change about rich, white privilege. I learned that rich, white men were no more the enemy than rich, white women.

In my world, feminism was never more than an extra-curricular activity for women who had nothing better to do. It wasn’t about including groups of women who are oppressed in more ways than just the organs between their legs. Though the struggles of those women greatly contributed to the forwarding of white women’s rights.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a recent article by American Progess talking about the very real difference between the struggles of white women and women of color when it comes to pay.  And in case you decide not to read the link, here’s a snippet from the article that says just enough to prove my point:

Closing the wage gap is crucial for women of color. The racial wealth differences in the United States are consequences of disparities occurring over a lifetime and result in a median wealth of only $5 for women of color between the ages of 35 to 49—virtually no wealth at all. Conversely, white women in that age cohort have a median wealth of $42,600, and white men in that age group enjoy a median wealth of $70,030.

Sure, it sucks to be a white woman. But only if you’re comparing that to the life of a white man. I’m not particularly interested in fighting for a movement that never really took the time to stop and worry about the concerns of black, Latino, Native American, or Asian women. The feminist movement is a white movement. It is run by white women and continues to benefit them. It does nothing for me.

But let’s move past the racial disparities for a minute. Let’s talk about the general wants and needs of an individual and how it fits into the feminist agenda.

My mother stayed at home with me and my brother while my dad went to work every day. She taught me how to speak and read and write. When I got hurt, I called out for her, not some nanny who took care of me all the time while she slaved away at some job. She dropped me off at school and picked me up in the afternoons (except for those years I went to public school and took the bus).  If I was sick, I waited no more than 20 minutes for her to come get me. My brother and I were her sole focus, while my dad kept a roof over ALL of our heads, put food on our collective table and put clothes on each and every one of our backs. My parents had their problems, like all couples do, but that was our reality.

One day, I want to be a stay-at-home mom. I want my kids to have the same love and support that I did. I had plenty of friends whose moms were too busy working to help them with homework or pick them up after school or whatever the case may be. And that’s fine. Feminism grants them the option to do that without being judged. But you know what it doesn’t do? It doesn’t give me the option of leaving behind 20 years of school and however many years of professional work to do the one thing that I was given the ability to do the second I was born: devote myself completely to being someone’s mom.

I have nothing against feminists. Do your thing. I ain’t mad at you. But you just won’t catch me joining you. Granted, sometimes your accomplishments will benefit me. And I’m not stupid, so I’ll make sure to take full advantage. But for the most part, your life isn’t about me, and that’s ok.

You’ll see people say things like “This is what a black feminist looks like.” Cool. Good for you. But the fact that you have to say that you’re a “black feminist” is enough to prove to me that feminists don’t really want me around.

 

It’s Announcement Day!

My Big News

As promised, guys, I have some big news for you.

Some of you already know this, but most of you don’t.

In a little over 5 months, I will be leaving my cozy bed, supportive family, amazing friends and epic jobs to spend 11 months serving people around the world.  Two months ago, I applied for a program called the World Race, which allows people between 21 and 35 to leave the comforts of their everyday lives to work with the members of God’s kingdom that are often overlooked and forgotten.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there are people in this country who fit the same bill. But this trip is the opportunity for me to leave behind everything that makes me comfortable. The things that help me sleep at night.  I’ll live in a tent. Eating foods that I would’ve never touched a day in my life. No NetFlix. No Special Victims Unit. No Grey’s Anatomy. No Scandal. I’ll be missing Christmas, my 26th birthday, and my 5 year college reunion.

But this is about more than me. More than the people that I love.

“God. Family. Football.”

If you’ve seen “The Best Man Holiday,” you know exactly what I’m talking about.

No matter how much I love my family and my friends and my life, God has called me to this.  And I have to choose him first. Before my needs.  Before those of my family.  Before those of my friends. I’m learning that doing this doesn’t mean I love you all any less.  It just means that I have to love God more.

I haven’t even left yet, but I’ve already started to appreciate the little things in my life.  The hot shower.  The car ride home. The home cooked meal. I can only imagine how much I’ll cherish these things when I get back, because I’ve already started to realize how important they are without having experienced anything less.

So for 11 months, I’ll be gone. You might not hear from me very often (unless you check out my World Race blog).  I’ll be spending time with orphans, building homes, picking corps, praying for the sick, working with human trafficking victims or anything else needed in the communities I’m going to be so blessed to visit.

I appreciate any love, support and help you guys can give me.  If that’s just a Facebook message/post from time to time, that’s perfect. If you can help me financially, that’s great, too. As a part of my trip, I have to raise $16,000 to cover the travel.  You can find my support page here.

All in all, I just want to share this news with all of you.  I share my entire life with you, whether it’s job stuff, guy stuff, school stuff, fam stuff or friend stuff. And this is HUGE news. Something that I’ll dedicate a year of my life to. So sharing it with each and every one of you if a huge deal for me.

I love you, guys. And I’ll miss you. Thanks for listening, every single time I’ve posted something. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Sometimes, It’s Ok To Change For A Guy

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A few weeks ago, I met up with some friends after work and we played some pool. Apparently, the games were pretty one-sided before I got there. Now, I didn’t win a single game. But each one came down to wire because I happen to be a decent, though very out-of-practice, pool player.

A fairly random skill. I mean, like all other 90′s kids, we had that 7-in-1 changeable game top table with the pool and shuffle board and all that other stuff. But those miniature balls and sticks were not how I learned to play.

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I actually learned to play a few years ago to impress this guy I liked. I practiced 3 or 4 days a week for months and got pretty darn good. Obviously, that guy and I did not work out, but we’re still friends and even play pool from time to time.

And as some of you already know, I started learning French last week (though it seems like so much longer after all the times I’ve listened to those CDs). If you think I ever would’ve picked up a language learning guide from the library for kicks and giggles, you’re out of your mind. But I have a huge crush on a friend of mine, who is brilliant and speaks French fluently. He gave me a bunch of crap for not being able to speak it when we were hanging out one day, so I decided to learn. Yes, just to impress a guy.

Spoiler alert: that’s not gonna work out either (because I have terrible taste in men). But French and I have a total love connection going on. I’m obsessed. Dude, I can give vague directions and say that I want/would like to eat/drink something in a language I couldn’t even sort of understand 10 days ago. How freaking cool is that?

Everyone will tell you that you shouldn’t change for a guy (or a girl. Sorry, fellas). But that’s not true. We change for a lot of reasons. For our parents. For our friends. For our jobs. For society. And all of those things can be just as good as they can be bad.

So if will you make a trilingual rock star who can occasionally kick ass in pool, then go for it. Change is the essence of live. It’s how we learn and grow. And if your inspiration has to come from some hottie you want to impress, that’s totally ok.