Consistency And Personal Achievements

Blog #30. THANK YOU!

It Has All Happened So Fast

I started Afrologik at the end of September, 2018, and posted my first blog in early October. Even though I started with vigor and excitement, I really expected this to be another thing that I’d start, full speed ahead, and then become bored and quit. I expected to wake up one morning and reach for my “go to” excuse: “Life has gotten in the way“, and just like that, Afrologik would come to a screeching halt, as all of my projects usually do.

I’ve Done This Before

Afrologik is not my first blog. Over the years, there has been: Wyldflow3r, Wyldflow3r In Words, In The Hip Pocket, (I’m sure that there are at least one or two more that I can’t remember). There has also been a few podcast projects, that were huge to me for a while, and then suddenly I’d decide, “I don’t wanna do this anymore“. And once again, the projects ended.

People would ask me why I stopped and when I’d get back to it. I usually answered with a lie, ” I had to work on some other things, but I’m gonna get back to it soon“. LIES! ALL LIES!!! I knew that I wasn’t going to “get back to it“. I lied as if I was ashamed to say that I had become bored with it.

As time passed, people stopped asking and I no longer thought about former projects, or starting new ones. Do you know what I did with the newly available time? Nothing! I did absolutely nothing! I didn’t work more, spend more time with my family, I didn’t begin dating anyone, I didn’t give birth, no one got sick, and no one died. None of the usual events that people use as an explanation of why they made a sudden life change had happened to me. I went to work, and after work I’d do nothing, except: make 700 Facebook posts per day (700 is an exaggeration, but I posted very often), and play text tag with my friends– and I didn’t feel bad about it.

Gotta Be Consistent At Something

Although I was not consistent with any of my projects, I was at least consistent at quitting! Ideas would pop into my head, and I would write them down in one of my notebooks and then put it in a box, where it would stay for several months. This would go on for years. I should have felt horrible about that, but I didn’t. By this time, I had accepted that I would consistently start things and the bail on them. My attitude about that was “meh🤷🏽‍♀️”.

Every now and then, I’d still write. Not regularly, just sometimes. I wrote short stories, listicles, I journaled, I even wrote a few Haikus (DO NOT ASK! I WILL NEVER SHARE THEM BECAUSE THEY SUCK! LOL!). What I didn’t realize was that I really wasn’t as consistent with quitting as I had given myself credit for. In fact, I was pretty flakey when it came to quitting. I was most consistent at writing–I had never stopped writing.

Fast Forward

I’ve already told the story of how Afrologik came about, so let’s fast forward to September. A friend of whom I respect more than probably 90% of all of the people that I know, or have known said, “Someone can write their ass off. But she doesn’t listen” and then BOOM! AFROLOGIK! Well, it went kinda like that.

As life would have it, I stumbled across the notebooks that I had been jotting in over the years while reorganizing a closet. I started to flip through the pages and skim through what I had written over the years. While life was “getting in the way“, I was writing it all down. I didn’t know it back when I was writing, but I had started Afrologik! The theme, the premise, everything that Afrologik would become, had been written years ago. I cleaned some of it up, rewrote, and shared some of those writings here on this site. Others have been dissected into several ideas for future blogs.

I’ve Got No Game

The greatest MC ever, Nas , once said (I’m going to paraphrase as to exclude the expletives) “I got no game, it’s just some people understand my story“. I feel that I live up to that lyric. I don’t talk about things that I don’t know or have not experienced; verbally or in writing. I also thrive on the lessons learned from the wisdom and experiences of others. Not only do I not have a problem with it, but I am proud to admit that I really don’t know much at all. I’m not always a happy person, and most of the time, human beings drive me NUCKIN FUTS! (That’s mine, but you can use it 😉). Writing is cathartic for me, even if no one reads it. However, everyday I celebrate because people really do read what I write–EVERYDAY!

Thus far, Afrologik has regular readers from 17 countries, I think that is amazing. I regularly receive positive feedback and encouragement from many people via WordPress, Facebook, Messenger, or text messages. I’m forever grateful for all of the love and positive energy acquired from those who support my blog. You all will never know how many times your words have talked me down from a ledge.

THANK YOU!!!💜💜💜

Of all of my former projects, this is the first time that I’ve done something 30 times without getting bored and quitting (except for one podcast). I usually quit before I get to 15! It feels good to reach this milestone. I’m overwhelmed with pride and gratitude. So here on my 30th post, I want to thank you all for understanding my story!

“Thanks for coming out. God bless you, good night”

~Russell Simmons

Tell It Like It Is

Preparing To Start The New Year Free of Dead Weight

With 2018 wrapping up, soon everyone will be talking about the holiday/ winter pounds that they are planning to lose in preparation for their 2019 “beach bodies“. Some will actually accomplish this, while most will have given up by March. There is weight that I am sure that many of us could stand to lose. It requires no exercise and can be accomplished before January 1st. Surely, a lot of you are now buck eyed in anticipation of finding out how you can lose weight in less than two weeks. Well, it can be done! We can all get rid of (drumroll)…

MENTAL WEIGHT! Let’s not start a new revolution with words unspoken that perhaps, need to be spoken. Dig?

Easier Said Than Done

I wouldn’t say that this is easy to do. In fact, I know that it is quite difficult. Whether the statements that you need to make are nice, or not so nice, saying what is on your mind can be an onerous task.

When you need to bear your soul, or clear your conscious, you are taking a big chance, because you really have no way of knowing how your message will be received. This is especially true when dealing with matters of the heart, because of the fear that said feelings may not be shared. It seems that it’s much easier to conceal our feelings than to share them and risk the current status of what is considered a valuable relationship–that’s not unreasonable. However, by speaking your mind, at the very least, you will become aware of the possibilities (if there are any) and you’ll know where you stand– or, if it is time to position yourself for better opportunities.

Don’t move into the new year with false hopes that are binding you to an idea that will never come into fruition. Instead, make space for newness and all of the great things that are awaiting. Chances are, they’ve been trying to get in for a while, your mind was just too congested, in vain, with “what could be“. Or, maybe it can actually happen. You’ll never know if you never make your intentions known. Throw caution to the wind and take a chance on success or failure. Either way, you’ll win.

STOP THE MADNESS!

I’m certain that many of us are carrying anger that is probably several years old. Stored anger can be very dangerous, unhealthy, and heavy. If allowed, it can turn the most positive people bitter and miserable.

This year, I got a lot off of my chest, as far as stopping the madness. This meant losing and/or creating distance from some of the key people in my life. It took a while to readjust and I often feel all alone, but I no longer feel anger. Being alone is fixable–even if only temporarily. Anger festers and blocks light; when you think it’s gone, it pops up out of nowhere and ruins your day. It’s robs us of the energy that it takes to get through the day, and inspire ourselves or others. Inspiring, and being inspired is crucial to the cycle of life.

It’s not a good idea to take unresolved issues into the next year. It’s important to get whatever you have been holding in, for however long, out of your system as soon as possible. It is conducive to your growth. Angry thoughts are counterproductive to your evolution.

It’s best to try to accomplish this as tactfully as possible. I know that it can be fun to “cuss out” a person who has caused pain and hurt. It’s understandable to want that kind of person to feel as rotten and they have made you feel. Nonetheless, if tact is not employed, most likely, the discussion will become an argument, and nothing will be resolved. You might even walk away from it feeling even angrier.

If the object(s) of your discontentment are people who are not capable of having a mature, civilized conversation, consider writing or texting them. Actually, I prefer this method and I have applied it many times this year. If nothing else, writing (or typing) will allow you to say everything that you’d want to say without interruption, or worse; someone charming you into relenting.

Face to face or phone conversations are great also, but keep in mind that even the most civilized people will want to respond, and if they feel necessary, defend themselves. Writing is the best way to clear yourself of anger towards others because you are not required to read their rebuttals (if they have any), and unless you choose to, you don’t have to respond. What is most important is that you are no longer carrying that anger.

The Best Policy

Holding on to secrets? If they are weighing you down with guilt, let them go. Start the new cycle with a clear conscience. It’s true that secrets can destroy relationships, and so can revealing them. If you are holding information that is hurting or hindering you from achieving peace of mind, you’ll have to weigh your options.

Freedom Isn’t Free

Even if the revelation results in the end of a relationship, exposing the truth could prove to be best for all involved. After time passes and those involved have time to heal, who knows, the friendship(s) could be restored. If not, you’re no longer a slave to the guilt that you’ve been carrying, and people that you love are no longer living under false pretenses, or maybe, have the answers to something that has been troubling them. It takes courage to be honest.

Show of Hands 🖐🏽

How many of you are going to honestly try to get rid of the deadweight in your lives before January 1st?

How many of you are apprehensive about doing so?

(You can’t see me, but I’m raising my hand)

For some, it’s easier to do some more-so than others. Myself, I know that it had been much easier for me to inform a person that I was angry than it was for me say, “I dig you” or, “I dig what you do“. Even with it being easier for me to express contempt, I still allowed unfavorable treatment from people to go on for years. I was apprehensive because of what those relationships meant to me at the time. Because of that, I gave a lot of second, fifth, and one hundred and third teeth chances! Had I spoke my mind years ago, it might not have been necessary to completely sever friendships as well as familial relationships. However, I don’t feel bad about doing what had to be done. When we value ourselves, we will not allow anyone to break us.

In 2018, I followed the example of one of my favorite movie characters: Michael Corleone, “I settled all family business“.

I urge you all to do the same. Freedom feels wonderful, so take a chance! Tell him or her that you love them and want to be with them; tell him or her that they’re cool, but you don’t feel as they do; (calmly) tell those who have hurt you to STEP! Get rid of those secrets that have become cement in your shoes. Whatever it is that is stifling you, now is the time to wash you hands of it.

Life is without precedence”

~Marty Rubin

 

When Your Strengths Are Their Insecurities

“Just Be Thankful For What You’ve Got”

~William DeVaughn

We all have those moments when we are feeling the three F’s: “fine, fly, and fabulous”. There’s nothing wrong with that. If we don’t think highly of ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to? Contrary to what most of us are led to believe, we can be proud of ourselves, and even demonstrate that pride, without making others feel bad or awkward due to our own self esteem.

Confident people are often regarded as conceited and/or arrogant; this isn’t always true. When a person works hard at what they know, what they have, or even how they look, they should not feel compelled to “dumb it down” for those who are less confident.

Even though we all have resources and access to the same information, and sometimes the same opportunities, not everyone takes advantage of said information and opportunities. It’s been my experience that most of the time, it is these types of people who are quick to offer a negative opinion, mostly because they lack the nerve required to try, do, or say, the things that they really would like to express. Unfortunately, we often experience these types of attitudes from close friends and relatives–the very people of whom we are proud of, and would expect to be proud of us. Instead, they’d rather keep us in a box with them, because that makes them feel better about themselves. But, what about us?

My Story

I’ve always been told that I am an attractive person, but it took me years to believe that. Even though I was told often told that I was pretty, personally, I couldn’t see that until much later. However, I’ve always been intelligent, and this I have always known. I was a poor student (mostly because of my disdain for being told what to do), but even my teachers knew that I was far from stupid.

Growing up, I had many friends. I’m an extrovert, and people tend to gravitate to me. It has always been that way. I’ve also always been funny, so my thing was making people laugh, which I thought was extremely cool (in fact, to this day, laughter is my favorite compliment). As adolescence approached, things amongst my peers changed, and as result, the whole paradigm for what was accepted as “cool” changed. The focus was now more aesthetic than conscious. In other words, no one really cared about how smart or funny a person was, as long as they were cool and looked good. Those who possessed all four were golden, yet rare.

And Then Things Changed

By this time, I knew that I was all four, even though this couldn’t be proved academically. I was extremely comfortable in my skin. Most of my friends were guys. That was cool because there was no competition amongst peers. However, there was a lot of time spent defining roles and the rules of friendship. The few girlfriends that I had were quite different, save for those who, like me, were devoid of esteem issues. While in the presence of some of my girlfriends, I found myself playing the dummy– asking for advice on things that I understood better than they did. Basically, I had allowed myself to be the Black Chrissy Snow (Three’s Company) of the crew, as an effort to leave them something to feel good about. The problem with that was, of course, I didn’t care for being Chrissy Snow. In fact, I’m sure that I was smarter than they were.

I’ve always been very well read. Between my mother and my favorite aunt, Lee, I always had books, but still, I really enjoyed being a teenager. I’ve also always been a free spirit, which is an awful lot to take for those who are not. Although I’ve never been a religious person, I was (and still am) interested in all faiths. This gave the “so called” smart girls one up on me (so they thought). Where I’m from, there are two choices: of the church, or not of the church. I had tried the church and eventually chose, “not of the church“. This would become another case of “dumbing it down“, because even though I wasn’t into religion, I understood it.

Enough Became Enough

This went on and on pretty much all through the ’90s and and part of the early ‘2000s. Finally, I got tired of being the Black Chrissy Snow, when I was more like any one of the main cast of “Girlfriends“. My mother told me that this would happen. She even told me who I would have to distance myself from. Mama was right on both accounts. As I began to allow myself to be myself, without dumbing it down for the sake of those who did not have the nerve to be bold, my original circle got smaller, and that was okay by me. The universe replaced them with people who couldn’t care less about who I was aesthetically. I was now aligned with people who fed me consciously, and I, them. No competition, all love.

When I think of all the years that I spent playing a role and depriving myself, as well the world, the benefit of my true self, I feel cheated– and I am right to feel that way. I only have myself to blame. I never went out of my way to make anyone feel bad for what they are or are not, so I should not have had to appeal to their insecurities. By doing so, maybe I had made things worse for them.

It’s Not Your Problem

The moral of the story is that the blessings that have been bestowed upon you are meant for you to use. You can’t be responsible for how others feel about themselves, and you certainly cannot allow their insecurities to affect your happiness, energy, or growth.

When you are feeling fine, fly, and fabulous, don’t feel that it is inappropriate for you to act as such. Never give anyone the power to make you feel bad about feeling good and celebrating yourself. When we show the universe that we appreciate the gifts and talents that we are given, it tends to send us more.

“It’s your thing, do what you wanna do”

~The Isley Brothers

Afrologik’s Top 6 Funniest Movies

Laughter Is Therapy

The weekend is back! Yay! We’ve made it through another week!

As always, I like to make Friday’s blogs light and fun. With that being said, I give you a list of six of my favorite comedies (in no particular order).

*Disclaimer: These are not the only movies that I find funny.

1) Life (1999)

Even though Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence would not make the top 6 of my list of favorite comedians (Yeah, I said it!), they are hilarious together in “Life“. The whole movie cracks me up, but if I were to choose a favorite scene, it would definitely be “The Boom Boom Room“.

2) Which Way Is Up (1977)

Which Way Is Up is my absolute favorite Richard Pryor movie. He plays three characters and they’re all funny (in my opinion, the old man, Rufus, it the funniest). As hysterically funny as this movie is, it is also a tale of the importance of being true to oneself self, mixed with a bit of social commentary about unions.

A comedy movie with a message. Imagine that.

3) Black Dynamite (2009)

70’s satire at its best. Very easily, one of my favorite films EVER!

Although it only has a cult following, Black Dynamite has got to be one of the most quoted movies. Everything about the movie is authentic, from the soundtrack to the slang and visible errors (due to low budgets during the Blaxploitation era). In fact, they do such a good job of satirizing the genre that it is very easy to forget that this movie only came out in 2009. I’ve heard that there is supposed to be a sequel. Fingers crossed!

4) Uptown Saturday Night (1974)/Let’s Do It Again (1975)

These two are grouped together because I can’t watch one without watching the other.

Say whatever you’d like to say about Mr. Cosby, But “Uptown Saturday Night” and “Lets Do It Again” are classic comedies. He and Sidney Poitier were an awesome team! Besides, where else will you find characters with names like: Geechee Dan, Leggy Peggy, Kansas City Mac, and Bubbletop

5) Watermelon Man (1970)

You kinda just have to watch this one.

A racist white man, who lives in suburbia with his wife and two children, accidentally turns himself Black with a tanning bed. Of course, his life changes drastically after this. He spends a lot of time and money trying to go back to being white, to no avail. His neighbors force him to leave the neighborhood and his wife leaves him. Eventually he accepts that he is now a Black man and not only adjust, but he learns to appreciate Black culture. The things that he encounters along the way are hilarious!

Watermelon Man was directed by Melvin Van Peebles and stars Godfrey Cambridge (as both the white and the Black man. That’s funny all by itself!)

6) Blazing Saddles (1974)

In my opinion, this is the funniest movie of all times! “Blazing Saddles” is so stupid that it’s gut-busting funny. If you’ve never seen this movie, click the link and check it out. You can thank me later.

What are some of your favorite comedies?

“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious”

~Peter Ustinov

Those Who Trespass Against Us

Resisting Revenge

“Beware of the man who does not return your blow: he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself.

~George Bernard Shaw

Several years ago, a high school classmate of mine started dating this girl. Because he and I were always close, I also became close with his girlfriend. For years, she and I hung out together, shared secrets, and was there for each other in trying times. I really loved her, and I believed that she loved me.

One day, my classmate told me that he had said to his girlfriend, ” Brandi is cool. Just don’t make her mad”. I had mixed feelings about that. Even though I knew that what he said was true–I’m a good friend, but I truly believed in payback if crossed. His girlfriend had been around me long enough to know that. But, why was he warning her of that now? I have to admit that I thought it was kind of cool that this personality trait of mine was known. Maybe it would ensure that the people in my life would treat me as well as I would treat them. After he told me this, I didn’t ask any follow up questions; I just laughed.

Months later, my good friend tried the theory that was previously issued to her as a warning, and all Hell broke out. Perhaps she thought that, because of our close relationship, I’d eventually get over it. If so, she was wrong about that. She had committed the most gross offense that anyone could commit against me: she lied on me. That was unforgivable.

In response to that offense, I made some phone calls and did a few things that would guarantee that her life would be difficult for a while. Unlike her, I didn’t lie–there was no need to. The truth was much more powerful. While her life had become unbearable, it was no longer my problem. I heard very little about it after that.

And Life Went On… Or So I Thought

This was not the first time that I was crossed by someone and immediately returned the gesture with an equal (or more dire) gesture. I’d skip off into the sunset with a false feeling of redemption, but it was always short lived.

My sensitivity antenna was never as strong as I wanted it to be, and in turn, I wasn’t as ruthless as I thought I was. In fact, I wasn’t ruthless at all. I’d lose sleep as well as my appetite, and things in my life would seem to go wrong all at once. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was agonizing over the grief that I had brought on those who really deserved it. This went on for years, and during that time, I continued to distribute retribution to those of whom I felt had it coming.

I’ve always been who I present myself to be. I’m honest, trustworthy, and loyal. I’ve always expected the same from anyone that I called a friend. That was my standard, and it wasn’t a bad standard to have. However, people are who they are and you don’t always get what what you give. Some people don’t know how to be loyal, trustworthy, and honest, so it’s futile to place such a high expectation upon them.

Revelation

Sometime, in my late 20’s, I really started to feel drained, though nothing had happened that would cause me to feel that way. I pondered reasons that could have been contributing to that feeling. After days of thinking, I realized that years of retaliation, even though warranted, was weighing on me. I felt really bad for the things that I had done to people in attempts of evening the playing field. Did it help? Did it really change anything? No, it didn’t. They were all acts of being emotionally hurt, feeling betrayed, and having a bruised ego. There were proper channels that should have been taken. Instead, I decided to interrupt the livelihoods of those who had offended me.

Eventually, I began to understand that I am not built to destroy things; I am here to build things. Going against my nature had proved to be damaging to me, perhaps more-so than to those who were on the receiving end of my wrath. Surely, they had all gone on with their lives; yet there I was, years later, still agonizing over past events.

Universal Law of Cause And Effect

Universal Law of Cause And Effect: for every effect there is a definite cause, likewise for every cause, there is a definite effect. Your thoughts, behaviors, and actions create specific effects that manifest and create your life as you know it.

Plain and simple, whatever you give unto the universe, the universe will return unto you. When I was returning bad favors with bad favors, I was no better than those who I felt had wronged me. The right thing to do was state my case and walk away from those people, grateful that such beings had been removed from my life. My attitude should have been, “Wow! I feel sorry for you. I would have walked to the end of the earth for you. It’s not likely that you’ll find that kind of friend again, but I hope you do. And I hope that you will treat them better”, instead of, “Oh, you wanna play? Let’s play!”

By allowing people and situations to bring me to their levels, I was essentially asking the universe to send me more of the same, and the universe obliged.

Unforgivable

I did not forgive myself for any of this, and I never will because it doesn’t deserve a pass. However, I’ve taken the lessons and I continue to move forward. I’m much more cautious of who I choose to call a friend, and much more flexible with my expectations of people–in fact, I only expect them to be who they are; this eliminates any chances of being let down. When someone shows me that they no longer belong in my life, I try to leave without hard feelings, but sometimes that isn’t possible. In either case, my conscience is clear.

This Does Not Mean That You Have To Be A Doormat

Disrespect is never acceptable. You have every right to feel the way that you feel about it, as well as express said feelings to your offender. It’s very unhealthy to keep your feelings bottled up (a lesson that I’ve learned the hard way). State your case and make your point without allowing yourself to stoop to the levels of those who have disrespected and/or hurt you. Your continued greatness is the best retaliation. In the interim, be a sunflower!

Regardless of who hit whom first, you are only responsible for your actions–not the actions of others.

“Those who do not have a pure heart usually destroy themselves”

~Brandi Badd Ass

Finding Yourself Without Losing Yourself

The Art of Being True To Oneself

One thing that has been consistent over the decades is that people are always on some kind of trip. Be it political, religious, or health (to name a few), we are all on a journey for truth and a better life.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call these concepts fads or trends, because there are many people who are stringent about their beliefs and lifestyle choices. However, for many, they really are fads and trends. Of course, they don’t start out that way. As stated earlier, we are all on a journey; and that usually requires trying many things until we find a process that works for us as individuals. In any case, in the experimentation phase, we are afforded opportunities to expand our minds, learn more about each other–as well as ourselves, and gain a better understanding of the way things are and perhaps, should be. Those are all good things.

On the other hand, belief systems and ideological differences can be quite divisive (especially political and religious differences). Bible thumpers have problems with spiritual people, counter cultures, and alternate lifestyles; Republicans and Democrats hate each other; normal people are envious and afraid of so called weird people (even though they’ll never admit it), traditionalists don’t like hippies. And then there are the really important differences; you know, like: 2pac or Biggie, who won the rap battle between Jay-Z and Nas (Nas won. Ether? C’mon son!), Coke or Pepsi, winter or summer; and everyone has the right answer (in their minds). It’s sometimes all fun and games, but other times, people become offended and it can escalate to violence.

Don’t Get Lost In The Divide

If you know who you are, and you are true to your convictions, there is no reason to feel a need to choose a side or become confrontational. It is possible to stand your ground and still appreciate the perceptions of others. I can love people who are not Prince fans (I probably wouldn’t like them very much, but I could still love them).

You don’t have to be a “social chameleon” to give others the benefit of expressing their opinions. In fact, I can’t stand the term “social chameleon” and I don’t care to be in the company of those who identify themselves as such. Those types of people usually sway with the wind and you never truly get to know who they are. Contrary to popular belief, chameleons do not change their colors to blend in or camouflage themselves for protection–only humans do that. Chameleons change colors to reflect their moods. By that rationale, a true social chameleon would be able to stand their ground even when their opinions are not shared by present company.

Express Your Beliefs Without Being Condescending

Have you ever been the odd person out in a room full of people who have decided to make an attempt at converting you? Maybe it wasn’t a room full, maybe it was only one or two people, or perhaps a family member. I’ve been in that situation, and it isn’t fun. There are people who have given themselves the pseudo importance of being so righteous that they can not only change your life, but improve upon it. That type of person is extremely inflexible and lives in a completely black and white world–no gray. The gray area of life is very important because that it where understanding happens, even if we are in disagreement.

No one has the right to force or shame a person into submission. It’s better to share information, lead by example, and allow others to do their own research and make their own decisions. Whether or not a person shares the same beliefs and opinions should not decide whether or not they are a good person.

Some People And Things Will Have To Go

Currently, people are gravitating to the Keto lifestyle in droves. Some of my friends have lost weight and are now healthier since adopting this lifestyle. I think that is awesome! I had similar success years ago when I adopted the low carb lifestyle. The results of Keto will vary for each individual, as it is contingent upon what each person is willing to give up. This is true with any lifestyle change.

As we evolve and become more conscious, it’s likely that we will no longer be as tolerant of some things as we had formerly been. We might not laugh at the same kinds jokes, go to the same places, or spend time with the same types of people–that’s a component of evolution. We become more attracted to that which elevates us, and better able to identify that which holds us back.

Distancing ourselves from people cannot always be done as abruptly as distancing ourselves from certain foods. People have feelings–food does not. As our tastes and ideals in life change, we should not cop a “holier than thou” , “I’m better than you” attitude to the people around us. Ostracizing those who are not, or no longer aligned with who you are is counterproductive to evolution. We must be tactful in our restraint. Like attracts like, so the universe will send us people who are aligned with our beliefs, and people who will elevate us. The time will eventually come for us to be a beacon for someone else.

Be True To Yourself

Regardless of whether you are certain that you are on the path of your destiny, or experimenting and trying to find your bag; be true to yourself and understanding of others.

One of the greatest things about this planet is that there are so many different kinds of people, cultures, and ideas. There is always something new to see or learn, but we can only make use of that accessibility if our minds are open to the possibilities–which are endless.

If we all make love our “trip“, the rest might be a little easier.

Always remain steadfast on your journey to greatness”

~Avijeet Das

10 Music Artists To Relax With

Music Therapy

The weekend is here! After working all week, we finally get a couple of days to chill and relax. The universe is awesome for that. I’m sure that many of you have exciting plans and things to do, while others may not have any thing planned; except for maybe some housework and “me” time. I will be doing the latter, and I’m perfectly alright with that.

For those of you who are going to spend the weekend as I am, don’t allow boredom to take the wheel. Alternately, take the chill time as a chance to let your mind work out some of the things that might need working out.

I know that when it’s quiet and we don’t have anything planned (especially on the weekend, when we feel that we should have plans), it’s very easy to slip into worry or depression. Since I am very well acquainted with that concept, I have a way of combating it: MUSIC!

There are artists who are able to take me away from worry and despair with their voices, time signatures, grooves, or styles. Listening to them immediately smacks me into my happy place.

“Music has charms to soothe the savage breast”

~William Congreve

(That’s not a typo. It really is “breast”. I’ve always thought it was “beast”, didn’t you? I Googled it and checked several sources and it really is “breast”. Imagine that! Click here to learn more.)

Listed below are 10 artists (in no particular order) whose music have the power to keep me happy and at peace. There are several other artists that I listen to daily, but this list contains artists who calm me down when my mind is getting the best of me.

1) Jamiroquai

Jamiroquai’s music obviously has some kind of magical ingredient that makes it impossible to be anything other than happy and at ease–and that’s just the music. If you pay attention to the lyrics, not only will you feel happiness, you’ll also become ambitious. Jamiroquai makes me want to bring positive changes to the planet. They are definitely my “go to” band!

2) Amy Winehouse

Amy, Amy, Amy! The last time I fell in love, it was with Amy’s voice. If there was an album of her singing the phone book, I’d buy it. She is indeed my favorite singer.

Lyrically, she’s amazing. However, most of her songs have sullen or melancholy themes. Amy usually wrote about whatever was going on in her life at the time.

Her delivery and the musicianship on any one of her songs is so vibrant that I can’t help but feel good. Who could possibly feel down when Amy is playing?

3) Prince

HE’S PRINCE! Do I need to say more? #HisRoyalBadness

4) Earth Wind & Fire

Play any Earth Wind & Fire album, and you’re instantly reminded of happier times. They are lyrically uplifting and without doubt, one of the baddest bands in the land!

5) D’Angelo

He’s a musician’s, musician. Much like his idol, Prince, D’Angelo is a perfectionist who has no desire to sound like everyone else–he’s a musical revolutionary.

Voodoo” is my favorite album of all times, but all of D’s music is relaxing and laid back. In fact, it’s so laid back that it’s very easy to forget about what is going on around you when it’s playing.

6) Stevie Wonder

Stevie is pleasing to the endorphins. His music always sounds like “home“– wherever home may be.

Besides being a hell of a singer and musician, his music is down to earth and relatable. That is why he will always be on my list of favorites. He is the definition of “feel good music“. Everyone loves Stevie!

7) Marvin Gaye

A smooth voice and smooth grooves to kick back and chillax to. For such a troubled man (pardon my pun), his music can put anyone into a good mood. And speaking of trouble man, Marvin performed some awesome instrumentals on the Trouble Man soundtrack.

8) Erykah Badu

The big sister that I’ve always wanted.

Ms. Badu makes me think deeper. It sometimes takes a while to fully understand the meanings of some of her lyrics (people often claim that they do, but they don’t). The lessons, the stories, and the voice makes it worth the mind power used to figure out what she’s saying. Erykah drops knowledge in every bar.

9) Steely Dan

Their music was designed to put its listeners in a mellow mood (according to Donald Fagan, lead singer and cofounder). Some of their lyrics are kind of sordid, but they are smooth in the way that they deliver them. Musically, they’re addictive. Over the years, the band has included some very impressive personnel, such as: bassist, Chuck Rainey, and keyboardist/singer, Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers).

10) Esperanza Spalding

If you don’t know about Esperanza, go to your favorite music streaming service and check her out–you won’t be disappointed. Start with “Ponta de Areia” and then “Precious“. Be prepared to become hooked on the lady bassist with the big Afro.

Enjoy Your Weekend Your Way!

I’m going to spend my weekend with those characters, and probably a few more. However you decide to spend your weekend, enjoy it and do something that makes you feel good!

“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something that can be changed in this world, then it can only happen with music.”

~Jimi Hendrix

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

Realizing Your Superpowers

Accessing Your Inner Strengths

The Get Down” is my favorite Netflix series. It broke my heart when it came to such an abrupt end after only one season. The show quickly became a favorite for more than the obvious reasons: the plot was set around the beginning stages of Hip Hop (I’m an old school Hip Hop Head), and the series is narrated by by Nas, who happens to be my favorite rapper. The best thing about The Get Down, to me, was something that was never really underlined.

The five main characters was a Hip Hop band who called themselves “The Get Down Brothers“. Each one of them had a superpower, and when of all those powers came together, they were a force to be reckoned with.

“Some things are just too great to fight alone, so that’s when you gotta combine your superpowers into one great one. I’m talking about superheroes with the unity of purpose”

~Ra-Ra, The Get Down Brothers

Several times in the series, the odds were stacked against them, but The Brothers defeated them all as a super team.

Superpowers?

When I say that they had superpowers, I don’t mean it in a fictitious sort of way such as “The Justice League” or “The Avengers“, I mean that they each had a skill that they were proficient in, and each of their individual superpowers was conducive to the success of the group.

In the beginning of the series, none of the characters were aware of the powers that they possessed. As time went by and the band formed, they were each able to channel said powers, and make them work–not only for the benefit of the group, but for themselves individually.

Much like Zeke, Shaolin, Boo-Boo, Ra-Ra, and Dizzee (The Get Down Brothers), we all have superpowers of our own; the problem is that most of us never realize them.

Afrologik spends a great deal of its time speaking against life’s “supposed to be’s” and encouraging its readers to dare to rage against the norm, love their oddities, and embrace their true selves. It is usually those “supposed to be’s” that have hindered many people from realizing their superpower. Instead, people tend to put more effort into fitting into society than digging deeply into their selves to find their true talents and true purposes. Society is designed to brainwash us with conformity. However, in the words of the late Bernie Mac, “If you wash the brain too many times, it’ll fade“. As will our superpowers, if we do not access them and use them.

Everyone Has A Superpower

Regardless of how good or bad a person is, everyone is good at something. In some cases, talents are easily identified. Some people are born with amazing singing voices, some have profound athletic abilities, there are some who are able to masterfully play music instruments even though they’ve never taken lessons and are unable to read music. There are also people who are intellectually gifted and are able to quickly catch onto things. And, of course, some people are naturally attractive–which is absolutely a superpower. Oftentimes, those who identify their looks as a superpower are assumed to be shallow, prideful, or conceited, but the truth is that the gift of physical beauty can open many doors, when used correctly. All of these attributes are not only easily identifiable, but they are also very marketable examples of superpowers.

Talents and skills that are not outwardly noticeable are rarely realized. As a result, the conventional life is accepted: school, job, marriage, and kids. There’s nothing wrong with a traditional lifestyle, but what if you found that thing that lives inside of you, that you are amazing at doing, that makes your life more fulfilling and exciting?

Discovering Your Superpower

The Get Down Brothers had to find their superpowers before the band would become successful. Through trial and error, each of them were able to discover their strengths.

Shaolin– Vision, survival, ability to notice talent

Zeke– Use of words, voice of reason

Boo-Boo– The Secret Weapon

Ra-Ra –Ability to organize, manage, and negotiate

Dizzee– Ability to see and articulate the world from an abstract point of view

They didn’t learn to do those things in order to pursue careers in the music industry–those traits were always a part of them. When they found something that they loved, they began to realize their talents and apply them to their passion. This is true for us all. The greatness that lies within us have always been there, but sometimes it takes a while for us to grasp, or for a situation that forces us to use them comes along. Its not always that we need to “discover” our superpowers, sometimes we simply need to “uncover” them.

What Is Unique About You?

There is something about you that stands out, or something that you are great at doing. Maybe it’s one thing or maybe it’s several things. Whether it’s giving advice or baking a cake, if you enjoy it and excel at it, it’s probably a superpower.

That Thing That Everyone Asks of You

If everyone is asking you to perform a certain skill, you must be pretty awesome at it, even if you don’t realize it. Zeke was an amazing writer, but he rarely shared what he wrote. The few who knew of his talent not only asked him write more, but got upset when he wouldn’t. Ultimately, he became a great songwriter. Case in point: it sometimes takes an additional set of eyes and ears to recognize your strengths and talents. If this were not true, there’d be no Afrologik. Pay attention to the things that people call upon you for. They wouldn’t ask if you sucked at it.

Align Yourself With Super Beings

Time spent with anyone who does not bring out the very best in you is time wasted. Super Beings are very adept at bringing out the best in the people around them. In associating with such people, you will undoubtedly learn things about yourself that you’ve never noticed, or perhaps, had forgotten. Revealing the capabilities of others is a common superpower of Super Beings. They are rooting for you and will support you in finding your strong points.

Be Willing To Sacrifice

Even though your superpower may be something that comes to you naturally, you will still have to work hard to keep your skills sharpened. As times change, you’ll likely have to adjust your skill set to remain relevant.

It’s very easy to become overconfident after finding something that you can perform with excellence, and that is a great way to fail! You have to be willing sacrifice, if your goal is eminence. If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for. Be willing to sweat and lose sleep for it.

Remain Humble

Super Beings are always willing to take time out to listen to or help someone who is trying to find their superpower. This is as beneficial to them as it is to their mentee. When their mentee finds their light, they can become an asset to the super team.

It’s inevitable that the day will come for you to return that favor to the universe. Being willing and available for others can only make you more powerful. #payitforward.

Remember that every superhero has a nemesis. Be aware of who your opponents are and protect your power without destroying theirs (if you can). Those who do not have a pure heart, usually destroy themselves.

“Do you want your own kingdom; or do you want to be peasants in someone else’s kingdom?”

~Shaolin Fantastic

The Get Down Brothers had two choices: they could dance to someone else’s music, or they could hone their superpowers and make music for other people to dance to. That’s what it comes down to. Not everyone is meant to make the music, and the dancers are as important as the musicians–both sides are necessary. However, some people with serious skills as musicians have settled on being dancers at the party. They will never know their full potential because they will not, for whatever reason, challenge themselves to go further. Acknowledge your powers and don’t let them run idle. Give greatness and the universe will correspond with greatness.

“When I dare to be powerful– to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I’m afraid”

~Audre Lorde

Positivity VS Happiness — Are They One And The Same?

Accepting Positivity And Happiness As Separate Entities

While scrolling Instagram a few days ago, I ran across the meme posted above, and it really hit home for me. “Staying positive doesn’t mean that you have to be happy all the time“. Well, that’s a relief. If being positive meant always being happy, then I’ve failed so miserably that there’s really no reason to ever try again.

The word positive is so often misused that people tend to think that the words “positive” and “happy” are one and the same.

Positive is defined as: a good, affirmative, or constructive quality or attribute.

Whereas happy is defined as: feeling and showing pleasure or contentment.

So by definition, although one can influence or be the result of the other, the two do not have to coexist.

There are people who are capable of being happy about negative things. And on the other hand, there are also people who are able to maintain a positive mindset, even though they are not happy.

Humans Have Bad Days– And You’re Very Human

I’ve had plenty of bad days where it seemed that everything went terribly wrong. Even though I’d try to keep a positive attitude through it all, the bottom line is that I’m human, and at some point I’d have to call it a day (a day that was either a total waste or a total disaster). This is usually the part where friends and loved ones enter to remind me to keep a positive attitude, as if I never thought of that. Really, they only say that because they feel that they should say something; they just don’t know what.

It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s even okay to become upset sometimes. Every 24 hours, we get a chance to hit “reset“. No, our problems and situations most likely will not go away overnight, but as long as we continue to wake up, we have an opportunity to make it right, learn from yesterday, feel better, and perhaps, help someone else. Knowing that we have the power to make changes is what positivity is, and it can lead to happiness and peace.

Things Will Work Out, They Always Do

My mother used to say “Things will work out; they always do“, and that is very true, if we are doing the work, making wise decisions, and not repeating the the same mistakes and expecting different results (insanity). Those acts alone require a positive attitude. You would not make those changes or do the work if you do not believe that things will work out in your favor.

Keeping a positive attitude, even on bad days, can ensure happier tomorrows; however, there is really no reason to force the two to coexist all of the time–that’s not realistic. Both attributes are strong enough to survive independently.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”

~Helen Keller