When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong

Be Yourself, But Be Accountable

No, I’m sorry; this article will not be about the hilarious Dave Chappelle skits — well, not exactly, but it may resemble the skits, in theory, a little bit.

Yes, I’ve been on a kick, of sorts, trying to convince you that one of the best things that you can do for yourself (if you really want to live a happy life) is: A) let the Universe guide your mind and soul, and follow their lead, and B) don’t be afraid to be who you truly are inside.

I understand that both A and B are not easy to do — especially if it goes against what you are trained to do or believe. However, they are attainable. I know this because I’ve attained them both. The results have been that I don’t worry about things anymore, I am able to stay in the moment, and I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time. Am I happy with my position in life? Not entirely. I could use a new career and moving from the Dirty South will be heavenly. I am, however, happy to be alive, happy enough to work on my exit strategies, and furthermore, I believe in myself! I still become angry, impatient, and anxious, now and then — but nothing like three months ago. We human beings are works in progress, albeit, we also have human emotions. Nonetheless, overall happiness will make the more difficult emotions last only briefly.

But That’s Not What This Article Is About

Sorry, I got off subject. Now, to get to my main point…

I follow another blogger and YouTube vlogger, named Te-Erika Patterson. She’s inspired me quite a bit, because she’s done things that I am going to do. For example: she just up and moved to Los Angeles, and through all of the ups and downs, she not only made it work, but gave grants to others who had done the same as she did. She has also written books, and she’s a relationship coach. These are all things that I am going to accomplish soon! (Except for being a relationship coach. But I am currently studying to become a life coach amongst other things).

Oops! I got off of the subject again. Sorry for all the segues, but I am really loving life today. When that happens, I become chatty…

So anyway, Te-Erika did a live broadcast on YouTube a few days ago, and I was lucky enough to be available to watch some of it, as well as make comments. One of the things that she said, really stood out to me. I’m paraphrasing, but she said something to the effect of, if you suddenly become the real you, people, friends, and family, will either think that you’ve become a phony, or they’ll think that you have flipped.

That really caught my attention because I’ve been gradually revealing my true self for the last several years. I chose to evolve gradually, because there is so much to learn, as well as so much to unlearn. I didn’t choose to reveal myself in intervals for the sake of others.

In this revelation, that has been taking place for revolutions, I’ve gotten side eyes, blank stares, shaken heads, derogatory comments, inaccurate assumptions, and called unfavorable names. This doesn’t offend me for two reasons: 1) They don’t understand, and obviously, they’re incapable of understanding, and 2) It’s my own fault.

Taking Ownership of Your Sh!t

It was I who chose to “go along to get along” for years. It was my fault that the people in my life became acclimated to the person that they thought I was, but only because I showed them that I was more like them. It’s also my fault that those same people have had difficulty becoming climatized to who, or what, they believe I’ve become — even though it’s really who I’ve always been. I was afraid, before, to show my true self because I didn’t think I would be understood — and that assumption turned out to be more true than false. That misunderstanding is the reason why some people believe that it’s fake, while others believe that I’ve flipped.

“What’s up with her and all of this Universe shit? Planets, meditation, crystals, and energy, and shit — why is she telling us that our pasts and futures, don’t exist? What’s wrong with her? Is she for real? WTFudge is she talking about? Does she even believe in God anymore?”

I’ve heard them all, and I refuse to dignify any of it with a response. I like that there’s a bit of mystery to me (like Prince. Lol!). Anyone who does not understand me, can either read Afrologik (which of course, I prefer), or they can exercise their right to not spend time, or communicate with me. I’d hope that not many would choose the latter (depending of who it is), but if it has to be that way, so be it. My happiness is attached to my freedom to be me — so that’s first and foremost.

Brandi Badd Ass Encourages You!

The truth is that depending on who your true self is, you might be scrutinized, but you should not let that stop you from being the person that you know you are. If freeing your spirit will make you happier and at your best (which it absolutely will. I promise you!), then do it!

Ask yourself the important questions:

Who am I? What do I like? What are my passions? What makes me happy? What happened to me? How do I correct the things that are wrong with me, according to me? What, or who, do I believe in?

You may not be able to answer those questions all at once. It might take days, weeks, or even months. Keep in mind that it took your whole life to become conditioned to be who you’ve become; it’s not reasonable to believe that you can become deconditioned overnight. (In fact, if you are able to accomplish that overnight, perhaps you really are faking it). Take time to get to know, or become reacquainted, with yourself. Take my word for it — it’s worth it! It feels great!

You Want Patience FROM Others, So You Have To BE Patient With Others

I can tell you to expect to be scrutinized and to be who you are in spite of it, all day, everyday, but still, somewhere deep down inside of you, you’ll have a mild expectation of patience from your friends and family — and that’s not terrible. The truth is that your friends and family SHOULD be patient and supportive of the things that make you happy — even if they don’t agree (as long as it’s positive, and no one is getting hurt). Regrettably, that’s not usually how it goes, and because of that, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable. Remember that their expectation of you is your fault. It was your choice to play the game, for whatever reason. Regardless of how gradual your evolution into your true self may be, it’s going to seem abrupt to those who have known you the longest. You’ve got to be patient with them, because it’s also a transition for them. Your circle has to learn and figure out how to become acclimated to, and support the person that you’ve evolved into — if they want to deal with it at all. They’ll consider your transition to be “the new you”, instead of the real you. Your conversation, likes, beliefs, tastes — and in some cases, even the food that you eat, will change. The types of people that you choose to associate with and the places you go will also change. That’s a lot for your loved ones to take in, so give them the time and space that you would appreciate from them.

Stop Faking The Funk!

“Life Ain’t So Bad At All (Allllll), If You Live It Off The Wall!”

~Michael Jackson

You might as well come out of your shell, because I’m just going to keep pushing you. Why? Because, I want you to know how amazing it feels to set your spirit free, evolve, stop living up to the expectations of others, and hang up your hang ups. I want you to dance as if no one is watching — even if everyone is watching (I do it all the time!). If you open your mind, and let it, as well as your soul lead, you’ll find that the air is easier to breathe, the sun shines brighter, the moon is more brilliant, and you’ll be at home with the stars — because you’re a star! You’re a planet. You’re already everything that you’ve ever wanted to be. Just keep it real with yourself, and you’ll see that everything that you’ve dreamed of is not coming true — it’s already there!

“No other version, no matter how perfect it is, would ever feel better than being your true self.” 
~Edmond Mbiaka

PS: Check out my Vlogs on YouTube! New vlogs each Thursday!

The Journey of the Human Mind, Part 3: The Finale

Following The Lead of Mind And Soul

This is the final installation of my Journey of the Human Mind series. Throughout this series, it’s been my intent to examine mind travel, the use of words, and the use of our time. I hope that this series has inspired you all to pay attention to the things that enter our minds, and offer a different perspective of how to use and benefit from our cosmic resources — to achieve the peace of mind that is required to reach our goals, and live a more relaxed and rewarding life.

“It’s not at all fair that I feel as I do. Tell me something to make me feel better”

~Roy Ayers, “I Am Your Mind

Our minds and our souls are the most honest and powerful components of our spirit. They’re more honest and powerful than even our hearts and our brains. However, we never allow them to reach their full potential. Although our cosmic connection is tied only to our mind, soul, and spirit, we are constantly trying to train them — telling them what to do, how to feel, and what to think — even though as humans, we are not qualified to give such instructions.

The Journey of Mind And Soul

The mind and soul are on their own journey. The mission of the mind is to keep our vibrations and frequencies high by releasing serotonin into our brains which enables us to be cool, relaxed, well rested, and able to make reasonable decisions. The mind, on its own, is incapable of manufacturing negativity. When those thoughts occur, they are environmental, or self taught (usually as reactions to personal experiences). The human mind will always lead us in the direction of our purpose, as long as it is not being steered by us or other outside forces. Because we refuse to trust the power of our spirit, we are constantly trying to force it into the direction that we want it to go, based on our ideas, wants, and needs, until what once was a perfect mechanism of a perfect system, is no longer as functional as it was designed to be.

The soul houses our consciousness, morality, being, and in conjunction with the mind, our actions. It is our very essence. It’s the only part of us that will live forever.

As with the mind, we allow our souls to become congested with ideas, thoughts, and situations, that take us off of our intended courses — which is our true purpose. Outer influences can poison, as well as nourish, our souls, depending on whether we are allowing it to be steered, or if it is organically traveling in its own direction and reaching only those who are conducive to our evolution and well being. A soul left to its own devices, can only lead a body to its true purpose. It cannot be out-thought or, out-loved. Even if its true nature is suppressed for long periods of time, it’s true self is always revealed, eventually.

Let Your Spirit Be Your Guide

Masking emotions, hiding scars, and living a facade will not only prevent our true selves from reaching the souls of others, but it will also prevent accessory souls from reaching us. Since the soul is a component of our spirit, and our spirit is our connection to the Universe, it’s best not to disturb that connection. However, we do. And, then we wonder why things go wrong.

It’s not wise to selfishly try manipulate the mind and soul to work against their nature, to act in our favor. Together, the two must follow their own unique design to lead us to our divine destinations. When we act against the nature of our true beings, we become impatient, anxious, and depressed — which is counterproductive to our growth.

We spend a lot of time focusing on the worst case scenario, and unproductive thoughts, such as: memories of things that weaken our vibrations, deaths, loneliness, and other unhappy situations, instead of focusing on that which gives life –possibilities, each new day, the air, the sun, the Universe!

It’s fine to stroll down memory lane sometimes. Good memories can keep our vibrations high. However, it’s not okay to stay there. Remember, the past does not exist, and we can never go back to those times. Focusing on today, and making new memories, and meeting goals, gives life. When strolling down memory lane, STAY OUT OF THE GHETTO! The mind does not steer us there — we do!

Trust The Process

Humans are indeed obsessed with things going wrong. We can hardly enjoy the pleasant events of life without expecting the bottom to fall out. We think and speak these things into existence, and then agonize when they come to fruition. The weight and worry that we place on ourselves is unnecessary. The Universe is aware of our greatness and wants us to have the everything that we desire — love, prosperity, peace, knowledge, abundance, and happiness, but we have to stop getting in our own way. We must concentrate on that which will raise our vibrations, influence growth, feed our spirits, and provide a good source of energy.

We cannot do it by ourselves! This has been proven time and time again. We become emotional and we have a need to control things, which has a tendency to make things worse. Put your trust in your higher power, regardless of what you call him or her. Trust your spirit, mind, and soul to lead you to the path of your destiny, because you will never find on your own. And most of all, trust the process!

“In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.”

~Lawrence Sterne

Energy, Spirit, & Power: The Core of The Human Being

How To Use Your Power Effectively

Once again, we’ve made it to another weekend. Happy Friday!

As you enjoy your weekend, or, if you’re like me, and you’ll be working through the weekend, keep this in mind: we are all humans, and the core of our being, is energy and spirit. The human body, dies. However, our spirit and energy lives forever.

Not all spirits and energies are good, so it is imperative that we stay in tune with the Universe, as we are all susceptible to absorbing the energy of others. In the same respect, we also give energy and vibrations to everyone within our radius. We are all cosmically connected, so we influence each other. Through our spirits and our energy, we are also influenced by, as well as able to influence, the wind, the water, the Earth, and the sun. Because we are made up of the same elements as the sun, and the Earth’s crust (some say that humans are made of stardust), we are able to communicate with the planets, the stars, the moon, and the Universe, as a whole. We humans are more powerful than we could ever imagine.

What Kind of Influence Are You?

As individuals, we have to decide what type of influence we want to be. What kind of energy do you want to give? We leave remnants of our spirits everywhere we go, what kind of effect do you want yours to have on those who are exposed to it? Since you know that you’ll spend your life walking in and out of spirits and energies that have been left behind by others, how will you repel them if they are bad? Will you lash out and create more negative energy? Will you walk away without incident, or maintain a positive attitude that will perhaps, influence the current situation?

I’m learning to use my power to be a good influence on those who are exposed to me — and this hasn’t been easy. Usually, it’s nothing for me to go from, “Loving You” – Minnie Riperton, to “No Vaseline” – Ice Cube. All it would take was five minutes for me to cross an entire genre. But, by doing that, I was only satisfying my ego — I was not using my power correctly. We watch each other, learn from each other, and vibe off of each other — so we all have to be leaders, just as we are all followers.

I’ve said all of this to ask a favor of you all. If you will, please use this weekend to practice being genuine, look at everyone in the eyes, and feel what they are about (the eyes really are the windows to the soul). Smile, and keep your vibrations high — keep your frequency in check. Be the influence that you’d want to influence you.

Emergency On Planet Earth

Our planet is not in a good place right now. There’s an abundance of bad energy that has stirred up the spirits of the Universe, and we are all affected by this. We have the power to shift the energy and make the Gods happy, but this can only be done by us all working together to alleviate said spirits, by raising the vibrations. Individually, we are all in separate places, but as a spiritual collective, we are also everywhere at the same time. Let’s use our influence to be the light.

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”

~Wilma Rudolph

Time, Chance, & Circumstance

A Note To Self

When I moved from Michigan to Tennessee, people from back home, as well as people from other states, would ask me, “When are you going to come back for a visit?”. My answer was always, “When time, chance, and circumstance prevails, I’ll visit” — In other words, when all things line up and provide an opportunity, I might plan a visit. That was how I felt, usually. Nowadays, if I don’t want to visit, my answer is, “Probably never“. If asked about someplace that I am interested in visiting, I start planning right away.  That doesn’t mean that I’m going to hop on an airplane, or hit the highway that weekend, but probably soon.

If your plans are based on time, chance, and circumstance, working in harmony, you’ll never do anything, or go anywhere, as those three concepts rarely work together in unison. When you have one, you won’t have the other two; if you have two, you won’t have the other one. Before you know it, you’ve given up and decided to stay in your comfort zone.  Yes, it is very easy to become complacent with your situation, and it’s quite difficult to go against practicality and be a little radical (especially, if you are not used to it).

Let’s Break It Down

Time

Most people spend their time pretty redundantly, and in the same intervals: work, family, maybe some social activity, TV, rest — more of the same tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.  This is the same repetitive schedule that you’ve followed for the last several years. We have at least a little bit of control over this time, yet, we claim to not have time for ourselves, to try new things, or even start a new life.

There are also instances when time is working in our favor, but we believe that it is inconveniencing us, so we become angry and say (C’mon, we’ve all said it), ” I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT!“.  That kind of statement is usually warranted by situations like this:

You’re driving down the highway, and there’s a pick up truck in front of you moving at about 35mph, when the speed limit is 70mph.  You can’t pass the truck, because there is a mother in a minivan full of kids on the side of you, and it’s not moving much faster.  You’re becoming more, and more pissed by the minute, as time is getting away from you, and it’s going to cause you to be late for work, or whatever event that you were trying to attend, that required you to be on the highway, at that time.  As you cuss and scream at people who cannot hear you (which by the way, is stupid), and beat the steering wheel in anger, you look ahead in time to see a large truck bump another car (possibly the same size as your car), knocking it off of the road.  You can see and smell smoke.

The lost time that angered you before, might have saved your life.  Had you been allowed to travel at the speed that you preferred, it could have easily been you to wind up in the ditch. Losing time, actually gave you more time (on Earth), as it saved you from serious, life threatening injury, and possibly, death. 

At that point, you’re grateful, and you realize that time really was on your side, as your life and/or livelihood was spared. However, it’s unlikely that your gratitude will last for long. It’s more likely that you will immediately slip back into the same old routine: work, family, maybe some social activity, rest.

Chance

When things happen by design, we don’t have much (if any) control, because the situation is designed by the Gods.   However, chance, doesn’t have to be a deterrent, as there are other designs to follow.

Let’s face it, SHIT HAPPENS! People get sick, people die, cars break down — by chance. And of course, things will likely go wrong when you have plans (chance becomes happenstance). While any one of the above listed events can stymie you from taking advantage of an opportunity, it doesn’t have to stop you from devising a new plan. But, it’s more likely that you’ll lose momentum. When you had the chance, shit happened, so just forget it now.  What’s on TV?

Circumstance

Chance and circumstance usually go hand and hand, and most times, they’re one and the same. But, there is one circumstance that is probably most common, and we’ve all said it before, (all together now: 1,2,3…) I AIN’T GOT THE MONEY!

Yes, financial circumstances can quickly kill dreams and plans.  Just as James Brown is Soul Brother #1, “I ain’t got the money” is circumstance #1.  If you really think about it, money doesn’t have to have that kind of power.  I honestly believe that not having enough money, is mostly an easy excuse to use when talking ourselves out of things.  It’s really not a good excuse, because money is always there.  If your electricity is about to be cut off, you’ll find money to prevent that, so you can also find money to do something for yourself. Of course, I don’t mean that you should purposely neglect the necessities — home, utilities, food (if you’re into food), etc. However, I’m sure that there are some extras that you could cut back on in favor of giving yourself a real treat.

Don’t Overestimate Your Spending

You don’t have to have a new wardrobe to take a trip. If you don’t get out much, chances are, the clothes that you have are damn near new. If not, do as I do — raid your daughters closet, or your friend’s. Take advantage of whatever options are available for you, but DO NOT allow circumstance #1  to stop you from having new experiences and enjoying your life.

Make Changes, Not Excuses

I have used time, chance, and circumstance, as my de facto excuses for not going places and doing things. In the process, I am sure that I’ve let others down. I even used those excuses as reasons why I could NOT start Afrologik.

I had also accepted the idea of staying in a town that I don’t enjoy living in, because settling is so much easier than taking a chance.  Besides, under the circumstances, I’m broke. I could fall on my face, and ain’t nobody got time for that.  That was my mindset, and I’m a rebel, so it’s my nature to rebel.

Finally, one day I decided, “I don’t like living here, and settling is not acceptable. I will take a chance on myself.  I can change my circumstances, and I have a lot of time left on this planet; I’m going to spend the rest of it, my way!

There’s never going to be a perfect time; Circumstances happen, and change. But, you can certainly miss your chance — act quickly.

The subtitle of this article is, “A Note To Self“, because I have to remind myself of these lessons several times a day — everyday. I’m about to make a huge life change (details will be shared at a later time).  Even though I am taking special care in preparation for this new journey, and I know that the Universe thinks highly of me, and has my back; it still scares me sometimes. I know that this is what I have to do, as well as what I really want to do, so I’m making the time to change my circumstance, and take this chance.

I know that it’s going to be an amazing experience, but regardless of what happens, I’ll be proud of myself for taking the risk.

If this 5’3, 125 lb, big haired woman, who was blown into a puddle of mud by the wind (seriously, the wind blew me into a puddle of mud, about an hour ago.  See the picture below) can do it, any one of you can do it! Get out of your comfort zone; you don’t have to play it safe all of the time. Take a chance on life, take a chance on you — hell, take a chance on failure! Failure breeds lessons, and lessons (when learned and accurately applied) breed success.

Whenever I feel stuck, or afraid to continue, on the journey that I’m on — I play this song at full volume and it gets me back on task (that song and my vision boards). Find your inspiration and get off your ass — start living, and stop making excuses!

“Shit! God Damn! Get off your ass and jam!”

~Funkadelic

 

 

 

Celebrating Dr. King Day, Dr. King’s Way

Give Love For MLK Day!

It is very well known that Dr. King was a civil rights leader. However, when I listen to humans talk about and express discriminatory views toward certain groups of people, lifestyles, and classes — yet claim to understand and appreciate the struggles and sacrifices of the civil rights movement, it makes me wonder if they understand what the word “civil” means when relating to the civil rights movement.

Civil: Relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as district from military or ecclesiastical matters.

By that definition, “civil” means, everyone; thus, civil rights would mean justice for all people.

Of course, equal rights for Black people was at the forefront of the movement, due to the condition of Black communities — especially, but not exclusively, in the southern states. The plight of the Black populace was so horrendous that it definitely required immediate attention. So, yes, equal rights for Black people was the primary concern of the movement, but it was not the only concern.

The fight for civil rights included (but was not limited to): equal rights for women, poor people, alternative lifestyles — any people who were subjected to discrimination.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice, everywhere”

Any time we discriminate against each other, or unfairly stereotype each other, we are dishonoring an entire movement — people who sacrificed their livelihoods as well as their lives in an effort to make the world a better place for all people.

Nonviolence

In my lifetime, I’ve heard people criticize and say some pretty awful things about Dr. King, because of his use of nonviolence as a tactic. If this is what I’ve heard in my lifetime, I can only imagine the criticisms expressed as these events were happening in real time.

Hundreds of times, I’ve heard people say, after watching footage of dogs, and fire truck hoses being used on protesters in the 1960’s, that it couldn’t have been them — that they would have fought back. If I am to be honest with myself, I, too, would have to say that I would have certainly fought back. I’m not strong enough to be nonviolent, and neither are many of those who claim to have the stamina to to remain nonviolent while being spat on, called terrible names, kicked, pushed, beaten, and much more. Those of us who admit that we are not strong enough to withstand that type of abuse, even if it is for the betterment of the world, are more honest than those who say that they wouldn’t. It’s natural to strike back when struck or attacked in any way. It’s unnatural to stand still and allow yourself to be abused.

Going against nature and allowing themselves to accept abuse, because the greater good was more important, was very difficult. Unlearning human nature and learning to accept abuse and humiliation required practice. Classes were held in churches that taught protesters how to be nonviolent — how to take a punch, remain calm when they were being cursed at and spat on, and how to go limp and become dead weight when police would unfairly cuff them and drag them off to jail. Most of us could not handle that. I know that I couldn’t.

Nonviolence is the most courageous, revolutionary, and effective tactic that could have been used at the time. Most of us would allow ego and vanity to take over, because we are too weak to allow anyone to see or hear about us getting our asses kicked.

Dr. King knew that the news, being broadcast all over the world, was beneficial to the movement. If the world were to see how the United States treated its people, what would they think? Dr. King and the entire movement used the ego and vanity of a nation against itself (which is probably why LBJ became anxious to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But, that’s only my opinion). Those who would protest and march for the cause did so, fully aware that they would be beaten, humiliated, and that some would lose their lives, but that was not a deterrent, because they believed in the cause and was committed to making the world a better place. Conversely, we have people today who speak against marching, yet, none of those people are doing a thing to improve our situations. They’re weak. It takes far more courage and strength to take action, or be nonviolent, than it does to criticize and do nothing.

Although the efforts of the movement have increased our quality of life, we still have a long way to go. So, for MLK, 2019, don’t sleep in! Don’t have a lazy day! Celebrate our beloved martyr by taking action and becoming a part of the community. Take someone to register to vote (you don’t have to wait until election time to do so), help someone who can’t do for themselves, spend time with someone who is shut in or locked up, talk to young people about the movement, so maybe they won’t take their rights for granted. No effort is too small, if it comes from the heart.

If we can learn to love each other, we can live together without the use of racial or homophobic slurs and classist statements. There’d be no more need for some to be inferior so others can be superior. There’d be no division — just a a beautiful world full of beautiful people, beneath an awesome Universe. We are all afforded the right, at birth, to simply “be“. Love was Dr. King’s theme. Let’s pass it on.

“I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say, on that day, that Dr. King tried to love somebody”

~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April 3, 1968.

What’s That On Your T-Shirt?

The Importance of Knowing The Meanings of The Images That You Wear

Dressing up is really not a big thing anymore, save for those who genuinely enjoy getting dressed up. For everyday people, there aren’t many events that require formal or even semi formal attire. When I was growing up, everyone dressed up for church, weddings, funerals, and even some family gatherings. Nowadays, a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers are acceptable apparel for most occasions– and no one could be happier about that than me.

For years, I didn’t own a pair of sneakers. My hair was always done, and I was always in full make up. However, today, I have a shoe closet full of sneakers. I can’t remember the last time I was in a salon, wore a dress, skirt, or high heels. If the occasion for me to get fancy should arise, I could definitely do it well, and and carry myself appropriately. These days, I prefer comfort to lavish. On any given day, you can find me in jeans, a t-shirt, mix-matched socks, and shell toes.

You Are What You Wear

A t-shirt is pretty much a blank canvas. It can be worn blank, and look good. But they are much more fun when they are decorated with our favorite people, slogans, logos, and any other things that express who we are as individuals. That is why I like to wear them. Much like my Afro, t-shirts are a form of self expression.

Can You Back Up Your Statement?

The Dandridge / Monroe T Shirt battle of 2015

A few years ago, Marilyn Monroe t-shirts were the trend. Women of all races, and classes were wearing them. I’m a fan of Ms. Monroe, but I never had one (mostly because I tend to shy away from doing what everyone is doing– but that’s another blog). During the trend, there were a few Black women who took umbrage. They felt that we had our own Black sex symbol from that era, Dorothy Dandridge (who I am also a big fan of), and that Black women should instead, wear images of her.

Although I did not disagree, I had to wonder how much they knew about Ms. Dandridge. Aside from they learned from the Halle Berry movie, “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge“, had they taken the time to learn more about her? Had they even heard of her? Did they know that Ms. Dandridge and Ms. Monroe were friends? Or would they have worn a Dorothy Dandridge t-shirt simply because she was Black?

I (and my tendency to play the devils advocate) began asking women who felt that way what they knew about Ms. Dandridge. I know what I knew about her. As a fan of old Hollywood, I’m confident that I know a lot about her. However, most of the women that I asked, didn’t know much about her that was not portrayed In the 1999 movie. Some seemed annoyed by the question.

One day, I was at my local Walmart when I saw a woman wearing a Marilyn Monroe t-shirt in the check out line. I struck up a conversation with her while we waited in line. During the conversation, I eventually asked her what was her favorite Marilyn Monroe movie. She quickly admitted that she had never seen any of her movies and didn’t know much about her; she only liked the shirt. Somehow, I knew she was going to say that, but I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

If You Wear It, You Represent It

When you wear a depiction of a person, saying, logo, or team, on a t-shirt, tattoo, or anywhere on your person, you are telling the world that you are proud of said images, and that you represent them–so you’d better know a lot about them. By ignorantly donning random images, you could very easily send a message to those who chance upon you that you are for issues, and machines that are built to rage against you. You’ll look foolish, and you’ll feel foolish when a stranger informs you of what you are wearing, and what it means.

I’d have more respect for a Black woman, who is a fan of Marilyn Monroe, wearing her image on a t-shirt, than for a Black woman who is wearing a Dorothy Dandridge t-shirt, yet knows nothing at all about her. In doing that, it gives the legacy of Ms. Dandridge a black eye by making her into a fad. This happened in the 1990’s when people saw a the “Malcolm X” movie. People who had never taken the time to learn about the man were wearing Malcolm X gear, simply because it was cool to do. Making our legends and hero’s into a style means that someday, they’ll go out of style (just as Marilyn Monroe t-shirts seems to have done). There’s nothing wrong with wearing images and symbols, but we must first acquire the knowledge behind those images.

I Love T-Shirts!

I am a t-shirt fanatic. I have t-shirts of Prince, The Beatles, Earth Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye, and James Brown (to name just a few). If anyone should ask me anything about any of them (and this has happened plenty of times), I could go on for hours about them. I’d have to love them that much to even consider buying a t-shirt.

I Too, Have Slipped Up. But It Was An Accident

I am a huge fan of George Michael. After he passed away on Christmas of 2016, I bought a t-shirt like the one he wore in the “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” video. A white shirt with “Choose Life” in black letters.

One day while wearing the shirt, a friend of mine said to me, “So you’re pro-life?”. I had worn that t-shirt a dozen times and no one had ever asked me that. I explained to him why I bought the shirt, and what it meant to me. I think I even said, “Pro-life probably wasn’t even a thing in 1984.”. Nonetheless, I immediately changed my shirt, because he was right. Regardless of what it meant to me, the world would see a clearly bohemian woman, with a giant Afro, wearing a very conservative slogan– one that I do not support. I never wore that shirt again.

Do The Research

When my oldest son, Gabriel, showed me pendants of the Eye of Horus, and King Tut that he planned on buying, I insisted that he first learn the history behind them before purchasing and wearing their images. He did, and he is grateful for doing so. We cannot allow ourselves to become so controlled by what’s cool, or what looks good, that we do not stand for anything.

Tribal, spiritual, and religious symbols have deep meanings; and you should know about them, and believe in them before you wear them around your neck, on a shirt, or burn them into your skin. People are not always who they represent themselves to be for the media. It would behoove you take the time to learn about them, before you celebrate them. In the Information Age, ignorance is no longer an excuse.

You are voluntarily representing what or who you are wearing; so learn about it first. Because someone like me might ask you about it, in the check out line.

“Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is ignorance”

~African Proverb

No Idea’s Original… But C’Mon Man!!!

Giving Your Audience Something To Think About

Building a blog is hard and sometimes disheartening work. I suppose this could be said of any goal that a person sets for themselves. It takes time, hard work, tough skin, strength, endurance, and perchance the hardest of them all– it takes patience, and lots of it! At times it challenges my conviction of how bad I really want Afrologik to become a successful blog. However thus far, I’ve remained fixated on the end result. Whenever I feel discouraged, I imagine myself on the beach in a bikini writing the next Afrologik blog, with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. That is going to happen, it’s written in stone–and that’s usually all the encouragement that I need.

I’ve also received good feedback from readers who have told me that my words have helped them with some of their life situations. That is the cardinal purpose of this blog; helping people feel better. So that kind of encouragement and the various “high fives” that I’ve gotten from friends are also the jolt that I need to keep moving forward.

Each day I give my eight hours to “the man” (my nine-to-five job), and then I give the next four to six hours to Afrologik, plus most of every weekend. There have been days when I have written for hours and then decided that “this is garbage” and start over. I never throw anything away because I’ve discovered that when it comes to art, todays trash could be tomorrow’s treasure.

I only write about things that I am personally knowledgeable of and things that I have experienced. My core intent is to make my readers feel confident that they can get through anything that they are going through. In doing that, I share techniques that have worked for me and encourage my readers to look at life from other perspectives– not allowing themselves to become too caught up in the way that things are “supposed to be“.

Nonetheless, not following the “supposed to be” approach to life, and then encouraging others to rage against the machine, so to speak , is not the best way to amass a huge following. In fact, the best way to become popular is to do or say (1) What has already been said 900 times (in the last hour alone) or (2) What ever everyone wants to hear (which is usually (1)). To me, this is counterproductive. If all of these cliches and platitudes are tried and true, why are so many people still looking for answers or just something that makes them feel better? I am not suggesting that Afrologik is the answer, but I hope that it offers an alternate way for people to find answers within themselves.

Cliches & Platitudes — Fortune Cookies Are Deeper

You can’t please everyone

Who can you please?

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

Sometimes what doesn’t kill you makes you sick.

“Don’t be sad that it happened, be glad that it’s over”

Even death?

Life doesn’t give you more than you can handle

And you are content to merely “handle” things?

I’m not saying that there isn’t any truth to these sayings, but as I demonstrated, they are very easily challenged. However, it is rare that anyone who practices the use of cliches and platitudes ever expand on them or define them in a different context. How many times must the same statements be made? Now that social media is the nucleus of communication, people are changing one or two of the words and reissuing the same statements. Changing the words makes it theirs, but still they are not expanding on the meaning, so essentially, it’s just more of the same.

“No idea’s original, there’s nothing new under the sun. It’s never what you do but how it’s done”

~Nas

I’m amazed when I see hundreds of “likes” and comments on these posts and blogs. Wow! Are there really this many unoriginal people walking the planet? I’ve played the devils advocate a few times by challenging their statements with an alternate viewpoint– which is rarely understood by the author or his or her followers. They can’t even imagine a new take on an old adage. However, this is now what is considered “deep“.

Meanwhile, I have friends who are amazing writers, musicians, artists (painting), and some who may not be into the arts, but are enlightened and have something to say that needs to be heard; but they do not have considerable followings yet, because they refuse to sensationalize themselves. I respect that! One of my friends even made a song about it.

There’s No Price-Tag On My Soul

Cliche topics are easy to write about. I’m confident that I could post a new blog every day if every title included some form of trite phrase. My other creative friends could very easily jump on the bandwagon and enjoy a bit of the hype. But if any of us were to do that, we’d be selling ourselves out. I’m by no means implying that authors of such blogs and social media posts are sellouts, but perhaps a bit shallow.

When you have a platform and a following, you should give your public something to ponder beyond a random “amen” or a thumbs up. Your readers, listeners, or spectators should walk away feeling fulfilled and ready to make changes in their lives and in the world. With your platform you have an opportunity to use your talent to empower and influence your audience. You are selling them out when you do not encourage them to think deeper, question everything, and believe that it’s going to work out (whatever their dilemma may be).

Every subject has a genre and every genre has an audience. It will probably take a while to find your audience; but when you find it, remember that they are there to see you.