Not Feeling Guilty About Our Guilty Pleasures.

Embracing Your Interests And Curiosities

I’m sure that we all have a few oddities that contributes to the people that we are–perhaps, some interests or hobbies that do not reflect our cultures or outer selves. To avoid criticisms and judgements from those who may not understand our unusual interests, we might choose to enjoy our “guilty pleasures” in private. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I used to do. I didn’t want to waste time and energy explaining my interests and defending my right to choose what I am passionate about.

People can be very quick to set parameters for what others should do, how they should dress, act, talk, what kind of music they should listen to, or what kind of movies they should watch (to name a few things).

Black people don’t...

Ladies shouldn’t …

White people can’t…

And the list goes on.

I don’t understand why some of us humans prefer to limit ourselves to the societal “supposed to be’s” when there is so much to explore on this planet. The more we know, the better we will understand each other, and nothing but good things could ever come from that.

Definitely, there is more to life than what is in front of us at any given time. We live in the Information Age. We have access to anything that we would like to learn 24 hours a day. Why not take advantage of that?

I’ve always been a curious person–always interested in how things work, what happens in other places, what words mean and where they come from, and pretty much everything else. Because of the environment that I grew up in (outside of my childhood home), rarely were those interests shared. Instead, they were met with blank stares, brazenness, or eye rolls nine times out of ten. But, that tenth time was always golden! Since I’ve never allowed my environment or stereotypes to curb my enthusiasm about about being turned on by new and, perhaps, abstract things, I’ve grown to be an open-minded and eclectic person. I’ve met plenty of like-minded people, and I’m not afraid to try new and exciting things.

Here are a few things that are of great interest to me that most would probably never guess just by looking at me.

1) The Golden Era of Hollywood

When you chance upon a Black woman who wears a 58 inch Afro, distressed jeans, Shell Toe Adidas Superstars, and a T-shirt that reads, “Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud“, it’s reasonable to assume that she’s an old school Hollywood fan, right? Lol! Whenever I tell anyone about that part of me, they are usually quite taken aback.

I’ve always been fascinated with the culture, characters, and stories of the Golden Era of Hollywood. On my first trip to Los Angeles, I really didn’t care to do all of the typical tourist stuff (that’s really not my thing), but I absolutely had to see some of the homes of movie stars from that era, the Knickerbocker Hotel, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and of course, the famous Hollywood sign!

I’ve watched hundreds of documentaries and interviews centered around this subject, and I am not ashamed to admit that I am a fan of the era.

2) Mafia Movies And Mafia Stuff

That’s really not too far of a stretch from my love of the Golden Era of Hollywood (Lol!). Once again, it’s the culture and the vibe that attracts me. The structure of organized crime is fascinating to me because it’s set up like a government inside of a government. They had very strict rules and a unique set of morals, and they controlled everything– from the entertainment industry to politics–not just vices, as what is usually portrayed. There is a torrent of life truths and life lessons to be found in Mafia Movies, if you are capable of looking deep enough to find them instead of simply concentrating on the violence. In my opinion, some of the most important things that we need to understand about life can be found in The Godfather (the greatest movie ever made!).

3) Charles Manson

Let me make this clear from the beginning: I do not love Charles Manson! He was a horrible person and the world would have been a much better place if he had never been born. (It’s usually best that I lead with that disclaimer so no one will mistake my fascination with adoration. I certainly DO NOT adore him!). Nonetheless, it’s undeniable that he was an interesting little man. And if you are able to listen to him, apart from the gibberish and nonsense (which can be quite difficult), he was an oddly intelligent person. The entire subject of the minds of psychopathic people is an area of interest for me.

These are only three of the many things that I could call guilty pleasures, but I won’t, because I don’t feel guilty about my interest in them. Believe me, there are many, many , more, but these three are probably the most far fetched. I’ve been picked on and ostracized about them, but those reactions have never made me less interested or ashamed.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and learn new things or look more deeply into the things that go on, or have gone on around you. Satisfy your curiosities without regard to what your type is “supposed to be” into. This planet is full of subjects and ideas that we can explore. The masses will always try to pigeonhole us into staying inside of a jaded and stereotypical box that they have created for us; don’t allow them to stifle you. Most of us carry hundreds (and maybe thousands) of dollars in media devices that allows us access to immeasurable information. It’s shameful that most of us limit the use of said devices to Facebook and Instagram.

Challenge!

Try spending ten minutes per day learning something new, regardless of how crazy it is (in fact, the crazier, the better). I can promise you that you will be surprised at what you’ve been completely clueless of; that alone is fascinating. You have the time to do it. If I can do it, anyone can!

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”

~Walt Disney

Taking Care of Your “Right Now’s”

Allowing Yourself To Be Vulnerable

In my quest for some level of mental stability, I sometimes find myself quite angry, which usually leads to sadness. This is no good because I really do work hard to stay in the good vibes zone, but how can I stay in the zone when I have trouble finding it?

The fact that I know that such a place exists and that I own and control it helps. However, on occasions, my mind overpowers my soul, and I have trouble finding balance. The first step in resolving any problem is identifying the issue and its components, so when recently I began to feel myself slipping into despair, I immediately checked myself.

Nothing new has happened. So what is wrong with you? Why are you upset?

Self Assessment

I’m sure that I overstate the importance of self assessment in my blogs, and I am a woman of my word. I perform self evaluations regularly. Sometimes, while evaluating myself, I have bouts of nostalgia and words or events from the past present themselves. Many times, this leads me to the answers that I seek. There are also times when these strolls down memory lane are more damning than productive.

Back Down Memory Lane…

With music playing in the background, I placed my head in my hands and began to question myself as to where these feelings could be coming from, and what, if anything, are the triggers. If I can figure that out, I can possibly create new triggers that would help to keep me in the good vibes zone. I closed my eyes and thought about it long and hard.

Recently, I have been cleaning my life out– especially after being diagnosed with BPD. I have eliminated some people from my life and minimized the roles of some people and activities. Although this was done as an attempt to free myself of dead weight (and that has been the positive result), it also left me with a lot of free space in my life, which introduced me to an emotion that I had never in my life experienced: loneliness. While I have plenty of things to do, I have little or no interactions with other human beings. All of my life, there have always been more people around than I wanted. Now that no one is around, it kind of hurts. I hate to admit it, but I kind of miss it.

I live in a town that I really don’t like. I don’t know anyone here, nor do I want to know anyone. From what I’ve seen thus far, I’m not missing out on much by not being socially active in Clarksville. Apparently, I had become dependent upon the very people that I had to sever ties with. However, I don’t regret severing those ties as those relationships were no longer productive–in fact, they were holding me back, mentally. As I evolve, I require more, and I don’t feel bad about that. I also have no intentions of reviving those relationships. This is just an uncomfortable part of the process. It will pass.

That Can’t Be All…

I’ve accepted that I am lonely but too stubborn to go for the quick fix. Okay, that’s good! I’ve got a standard and I’ll accept nothing less than what or who makes me genuinely happy. Since up until now, I would usually settle for close enough, this is actually reassuring. I can work with that. Being alone explains the sadness, but why do I become so angry?

By now, my head is flat on my desk and Aretha is singing about “the deepness of your eyes“, while I come to some serious realizations.

I’m pissed. Why?

I’m pissed that I’ve been a fad in the lives of people that I’ve loved. I’ve been shown that I am replaceable– used and tossed away like a Kleenex. I’m pissed that people are so stupid that that they’d toss away someone who would support all of their efforts, but none of their bullshit. That’s the kind of friend that I’ve always been to people and the kind of friend that I’ve always valued. To this day, I’ve got three friends who have always been that for me–two of which I have known since high school. We don’t talk everyday but I know that they have my back, but they will also kick my ass if necessary. Those feelings and actions are mutual from me to them as well.

As I continued to assess myself, I learned that I am angry about a plethora of other things :

I’m angry with my youngest son for bringing me grief and having a cavalier attitude about it. I’m mad at entire neighborhoods in my hometown for making me feel as though I did not belong just because I was different. I’m mad at some of those same people to this day for acting as if none of that ever happened. I’m mad at several relatives for being two faced, bitter, miserable, and perhaps, jealous bitches–who never really had my back, and in fact, caused and/or perpetuated many problems for me. I’m angry at anyone who has ever looked at me wrong or insultingly called me crazy. I have hatred for a conformist society that makes it difficult for people who are cut from a different cloth, but are not causing harm to anyone or anything. I have disdain for the Black church for perpetuating such ideas in the name of God. I am violently angry with my mother for dying. But most of all, I am not at all pleased or impressed with God, who despite my kicking, begging, and pleading, continues to awaken me morning after morning, sometimes after very little sleep–just to repeat the same stupid process. That’s not merciful, that’s sadistic!

Then the song changed and Donny Hathaway’s “Lord Help Me” began to play. I love music, but it can be pretty sarcastic sometimes. As the song played, I began to cry. Usually, when I feel myself tearing up, I’ll get up and move around, or hit something, or hit myself (anything to stop the tears), but this time, I allowed myself to cry.

While sobbing, I thought back to a few years ago when I googled “how to disappear without a trace“. I was pretty sure that I could do it; it had been done plenty of times before. Before I could give that idea any serious thought, the words of one of my high school friends came to me:

“B, you’re regal. Queens don’t carry bags, walk through back doors, or run away”

Damn… Can’t Even Run Away

There’s no need to runaway because I have identified my problems and their components; now I can work on the resolution. I’ve identified that I am lonely, hung up on some events from the past, and that people suck and sometimes they die. But, I’m still here!

I needed to take a break from it all. I needed to meditate, breathe, reconnect, get tuned in. It took a while, but I was eventually able to slow myself down enough to ask myself an important question: what’s next?

What’s Next?

James Brown’s “It’s A New Day” started to play. By now I am certain that the universe has taken control of iTunes and is now directing my thoughts. I couldn’t deny that it was true, it really was a new day, and I needed to make some pretty quick decisions. I could allow the past to have access to my emotions and control of my actions, or I could do something about it. It was time to compartmentalize these issues, fix what is repairable, and create a defense mechanism for dealing with things that cannot be changed.

I made a list of people that have treated me badly over the years, and from that list, I decided who needs to be addressed and how I would address them–by phone or in writing. Apprehensive of their responses, I almost decided against moving forward with this idea. There’s really no reason to be concerned with their responses, because this is something that I have to do for my own peace of mind, and nothing could possibly be more important than that. If they choose to respond, cool. Either way, it would be up to me as to whether or not I would continue the dialogue.

I had already decided to accept loneliness right now, as it is obviously imperative to my evolution. The universe will provide the right people at the right time. As for now, I’ve got to be strong and steadfast. Since I am free of distraction, I have plenty of time to build a plan that will accomplish my dream, so YAYYY LONELINESS!

Mourning My Mother

As for my mother, I didn’t deal with her death appropriately when she left. I’ve been holding my feelings about that back for 20 years, and now it has manifested itself as anger. Of course I know that she would never have chosen to leave; she loved life. My mother didn’t have any sons, so I know she would have loved and been proud of my boys (even that youngest one) as well as her “twin” granddaughter. I’ve got to allow myself to mourn her and not think of that mourning as weakness. Allowing myself to be vulnerable could actually make me stronger. I’ve always had a problem with vulnerability, so allowing myself to grieve just might be a giant step in the right direction.

Single handedly, I cannot control society and its views of how people or things should be. However, more importantly, I cannot allow that dichotomy to change me. I’ve been “different” all of my life, and I really wouldn’t have it any other way–even with knowing that it has caused people to say hurtful things and treat me unfavorably. Actually, I feel sorry for those who are too closed minded to accept diversity, too afraid to be themselves, and are happy to be slaves to society. I also feel sorry for those who found me replaceable and/or tossed me away. It’s their loss because I’m precious and rare, like Black Opal.

There are plenty of reasons why God continues to awaken His people. Some people have yet to realize their potential and He is giving them every opportunity to successfully complete their missions. Then there are people who have not suffered enough for the evil that they have inflicted (that’s just my opinion). I believe that there is a Divine plan for me and that He is confident that I’m going to get it right. Therefore, life is not a punishment, it’s a gift, but I have to start treating it as such.

Why Am I Sharing This With You?

I’ve always been proud of my ability to stay in the moment. Two of my many mantras are, “There is only now” and “Take care of all of your ‘right now’s’ and all of your ‘tomorrow’s’ will be fine“. All of that time, I was not taking care of my “right now’s”. In fact, I had allowed them to build up so much that it’s going to take time to deal with and get past many of them.

So many times we mistake “Eff it” for actually dealing with an issue, and before long, it seems that the problem is dead. Then we find ourselves giving life to said issues because they were never really resolved; we only “Eff’d it“. “Eff what they said“, “Eff what they did“, “Eff all of it“. That’s not the factory installed defense mechanism for human problems. We are designed to respond to pain. Contrary to popular thought, ignoring things do not make them go away. Whenever your mind or body is trying to tell you something, listen and respond appropriately. Time does not heal all wounds. Sometimes it only covers old wounds with new wounds–each one worse than the last, until we reach our breaking point. I’m learning to allow myself to feel whatever I’m feeling, whenever I’m feeling it. No more being tough, cool, or macho (yeah, I can be kinda macho at times). It’s a major adjustment for me, but I believe that it will pay off for me in the long run.

Allowing ourselves the freedom of vulnerability is essential to our evolution.

Oh, by the way, in case you’re wondering what’s playing now; it’s Roy Ayers, Searching.

Isn’t the universe amazing?

“Our great human adventure is the evolution of consciousness. We are in this life to enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain.”

~ Tom Robbins

Turning The Holiday Blues Into Holiday Yellows!

Don’t Let The Holidays Get You Down

Yellow is my favorite color because it’s such a happy color. The sun and it’s rays are yellow, and so are sunflowers. Regardless of how bad things become, the sun and or sunflowers make(s) me feel better. In fact, the face almost forms a smile when the word yellow is pronounced; try it. With the exception of yellow tape, yellow is just awesome! When I begin to feel “blue” about things, I think “yellow” instead.

Traditional Holiday Blues

Many people struggle with depression during the holiday season. This is understandable since family and togetherness is heavily promoted during any holiday season, but especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. While most people are making plans to gather family, prepare meals, and making Christmas cards and gift lists; as television is saturated with programs and commercials that display holiday cheer and familial togetherness; and holiday music is playing everywhere, many people are not afforded the feelings of family, love, and joy during this season as they are alone.

This is a hard time of the year for those who may have lost close family members or friends, are in a hospital, or are far away from their loved ones and unable to travel to be with them. This is also a tough time for those who cannot afford, financially, to give as much as they’d like to. And, some people simply have no family and friends and are just alone. Lots of people feel the negative pressure that this season can provide.

Decorations Only Enhance Natural Beauty- Decorations Are Not Independently Beautiful

Beautiful, colorful Christmas lights shine through the nights and have a wonderful effect on many people, but they also cause many people to feel the strain of the season. Those lights are attached to trees, bushes, and structures that have been beautiful all year, sans the profanity of ornamentation. That natural beauty does not intimidate or make anyone feel inadequate. However, somehow colorful artificial lights have more power over the way we feel about ourselves than does the sun.

Don’t Let Media Encourage Your Depression

I’ve noticed that on social media, people are speaking of holiday blues as we near Thanksgiving. It seems that, just as togetherness is promoted during this time of year, so is loneliness and depression. Perhaps it is possible that people who ordinarily would not feel the sting of the holiday season may find themselves in a depressed state, because depression is also an expected emotion during this season. Just as laughter, smiles, and yawns are said to be contagious, maybe depression is also. The good news is that you do not have to choose which end of the holiday spectrum you will occupy. Instead, you can just choose to BE.

Who’s Your Boss?

Personally, I’ve got a problem with allowing a calendar to decide when I should be happy, giving, or helpful towards mankind. I also refuse to allow the calendar decide when I should consume large meals with my loved ones. There are twelve moths in a year, but I should be most concerned about spending time with my family during the last two? In my opinion, that’s asinine! I have to be a slave to the clock for forty hours per week, I will not allow the calendar to control me also, just because it is now November.

No Distractions

Being alone during the holidays has benefits that very few realize. Of course there’s the obvious: saving a few bucks and not gaining those dreaded holiday pounds. There’s one other thing that almost always gets overlooked: NO DISTRACTIONS!

While everyone else is busy obeying calendars and and media expectations, you could take this time to work on yourself, that project that only exists in your mind as of now, that book that you’ve been meaning to read, or even that book that you’ve been wanting to write! This would be a great time to plan for the quickly approaching new year. While many will begin the new year with debt incurred by the holidays, you could plan a vacation with the money that you saved. Spend that time working on your “right now’s”, because by doing that, you ensure that all of your “tomorrow’s” will be fine.

My Holiday Yellow!

I will be spending this season alone–and I am perfectly fine with that. All of my friends and family are hundreds of miles away and my job (the man) prevents me from traveling at this time. Since I show them all love throughout the year, and they show me the same, there’s no urgency to conform to the holidays. I’m looking forward to an eventful 2019, so in my downtime without distractions, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.

However you decide to spend the holidays, I wish you all nothing but greatness. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want you all to know that I am grateful for all of you who take the time to read, comment, like, and share Afrologik. You all are my gift– twice a week!

Happy EVERYDAYS!!!!

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
~Vincent Van Gogh

Darkness, Static, & Light

Staying In The Game

The day that I learned about the particulars of Borderline Personality Disorder was one of the hardest days that I’ve had to endure thus far. The first thing that came to mind was:

Most likely, I once had a chance at being great at something. Everything that I have done, been through, or dealt with was not necessarily the result of bad decisions alone. All of this time, I’ve had a friggen chemical imbalance? Maybe I should have told someone that I needed help… OH WAIT! I did tell someone, about 30 years ago, but I wasn’t taken seriously. Well now, what will I do with this new/NOT NEW information? I know what I’ll do, I’ll hate the rest of the world. I’ll stop talking. I’ll stop caring about anyone or anything. Let’s see… I’m 43 years old now, depending on who you ask, that’s middle age. By that rationale, I’ve got 43 more years on this planet to live a completely mentally unstable life. If that is the universe’s plan, the universe is a sick, twisted, and sadistic bitch! In my silence, I’ll just try to find a painless way of shortening that!”

It All Makes Sense Now…

I thought about all of my past relationships–romantic or otherwise, and how I’d rush into someone’s life full speed ahead, only to become tired of that person and exit with the same urgency. I had the same consistency with jobs. I’d be excited about a new position for maybe the first six months to a year, after that I was no longer motivated; not even by money.

Every romantic relationship that I have ever been in should never have happened. They were all wrong for me, and I was wrong for them. Those relationships only came into fruition because I thought I needed someone, or because society said that I was supposed to have someone. Three kids and a failed marriage was the result of those false needs.

Getting tired of the kids and giving up on them was never an option; but I’d be lying if I said I never thought about it, even today. I never left. I stayed and did the best that I could. My motivation was that we were all that we had. I find solace in knowing that I’ve at least been consistent in one area of my life.

I graduated high school on time, but barely. I was in and out of college for years; I was always on the Deans or Presidents List, yet I never earned a degree. I’m sure that I have hundreds of college credits. Staying focused on anything was always extremely hard for me. For years, I’ve beaten myself up for this.

Self medicating with alcohol and sex–lots of both, mismanaging money, unstable relationships, choosing the wrong people, always worrying that I’d be left all alone, a DUI, bad decisions and more. What I learned from all of this was to be tough, so I trained myself not to care. Since I was always worried that people would leave as soon as I showed them that I had invested feelings in them, I’d make sure that I left first–even if only emotionally. I trained myself not to need anyone, even if I needed someone. Instead, I’d always choose to suffer alone since people couldn’t be trusted.

Speaking of people–people enjoyed my back and forth lifestyle; it provided them with much to talk about. “Brandi is lazy“, “She can’t keep a job“, “She’s not doing anything with her life“, “A damned shame...”. Out of those same mouths came scriptures and prayers and declarations of being “Blessed and highly favored“. Now, I had to question whether or not I could trust God, because his so-called “people” could kiss my ass. Not knowing if I was a Christian, an agnostic, or an atheist, I eventually chose what would be called spirituality–but I really don’t care for labels. All I knew was that I never wanted to be “blessed and highly favored” if it meant hypocrisy.

Even though I know that I am different, and I love that I am different; I’ve never enjoyed being treated differently by the ostentatiously cool. I tried to fit in at one time, until I realized that I was lying to myself. Through it all, I’ve always been honest with myself–case in point: I knew that something was wrong with me.

Diagnosed with a battery of conditions–most of which made no sense at all, I went from therapist to psychiatrist to psychologist and on and off different medications–all to no avail. And on THIS DAY, I find out that ALL OF THIS WAS TOTALLY AVOIDABLE! Basically, my whole life up to this point has been bullshit.

Unqualified Opinions

Everyone in my life had been counselors with nary a credential in any form of psychology–but they all had masters degrees in Dr. Phil, Oprah, and to illustrate the length of time that I’ve been dealing with this, even Phil Donahue! If not one of those icons of sixty minute solutions, they’d try to counsel me with their own common sense and logic of things that they had absolutely no experience in. I’d console myself by thinking, “common sense is for common folks–I ain’t common” or “oh well, you’ll continue to age in logic. I’ll continue to not age and stay crazy and cute“. I believed that this was all I had! It seemed as if this was all that I was supposed to be.

I spent several days in silence while pondering all of this. It did nothing to raise my mindset, but it did everything to progress my feelings of hopelessness and desolation. In a matter of days, I had shut myself off from the world and decided to accept being alone and perhaps, silent–forever. I didn’t want anyone else to have to endure me.

Knowing that this problem has a name and is treatable made me feel worse, because it had the same name and was just as treatable 30 years ago when I first said the words, “There is something wrong with me. I can’t turn my mind off“. When I was snatching handfuls of hair from my own head and coloring and reading dictionaries to occupy my mind–this condition had the same name and was just as treatable; if only I had been taken seriously.

Then Anger Commenced…

One would think that this new revelation would fill me with hope for future revolutions. My kids are not babies anymore; they don’t need me as much as they used to. I could fix this issue, and my future chapters could be great. I’d have a second chance. I couldn’t see any of that because I was fixated on the time that I had lost; the bad decisions, and so on, and how they were all completely avoidable. I was pissed! I felt hatred for people.

My downward spirals and side steps were not calculated, but I was confident that that many people enjoyed the show. Pissed and embarrassed, I wanted to give up. Just as I had become accustomed to, I could not turn my mind off. I could not redirect my thoughts. Caught up in my own static, I was replaying the same events in my mind repeatedly until I became so irate that I was trembling.

Revelation

One morning while meditating and trying desperately to slow myself down, the universe showed me one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite TV shows, “Six Feet Under

“…everything in the world is like transmission making its way across the dark. But everything–death, life, everything–its all completely suffused with static, you know? But if you listen to the static too much, it fucks you up”

~Nate Fisher, “Six Feet Under”

That’s exactly what I was doing! I was listening to all of the static and it was indeed effing me up. I had to break from that because just like Borderline Personality Disorder, melancholia and self pity are not my nature. I might go there now and then, but I can’t stay there.

Everything was still very true; I had lost a lot of time and made some terrible judgements that could have been avoided with the right treatment. Had I gotten that treatment and support, my life might have been different–but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it would have been better. I believe that it would have, but that’s only a notion. With my head a little more clear, I was able to see what was gained during that time; I had 3 great kids, I’d seen things, gone places, and I learned things. Because of what I experienced and learned, I’m able to help other people–and I feel good about that. Age plus experience doesn’t necessarily equal wisdom unless you’re smart enough to learn from said experiences, so I’m grateful for the wisdom; but I was still pretty pissed…

I reached out to a high school classmate who’d recently had a similar revelation which required him to make some life changing decisions. When I spoke to him, I made it very clear that if, (and it was a BIG IF) I decided to take the necessary steps needed to treat this condition, it would be most important that I not lose the core of who I am. I could not imagine feeling better as one of the crowd or as a zombie. I will protect my natural spirit at all costs–even if it meant accepting the monster that I had become used to. His exact words were, “No matter what happens, you will always be a different/crazy mfer. Nothing will ever change that!” He went on to tell me that if I consistently follow the program that my doctors arrange for me, and WANT to get better, I’d be surprised at how much my quality of life will improve. My friend had the same apprehensions and fears that I had at first, and he’s doing a lot better now. “You’ll write books after you get your head right!”, he said. Not only is this someone that I trust, but he’s been through it. He’d known about the stigma and stereotypes surrounding mental health issues, especially in the Black community, but he had made a decision at age 43 to do something about it. If one of my best friends from back in the day is strong enough to fight, so am I! And if I should ever feel that I don’t have the strength to fight, I’ll borrow strength from him.

Still In The Game

As of now, I am in the baby stages of controlling Borderline Personality Disorder; researching the condition, and learning more about myself. My therapist and I meet once a week and I am doing mind exercises. I really, really, dislike the mind exercises–but it’s a part of the treatment. No one ever said that it would be easy. I’m optimistic and excited about feeling better and living a more stable life. I’ve surrendered to the universe and I trust my doctors (until they show me that I shouldn’t. Lol! That’s the BPD talking. Or is it…😉).

Whenever a loved one comes to you and tells you that they have a problem, take them seriously. Don’t play therapist or pretend to understand things that you’ve never experienced. Novice attempts at therapy can prove to be dangerous and or life shattering. No one can force anyone to want help, but when you notice changes in people that are outside of the norm or if they tell you that they are not well, help them help themselves. Your support and compassion could change someone’s life.

The universe likes to boss us around sometimes, when it does, question it before you fight it. Actually, you really should not question it–just go with it (but if you’re Socratic like me, you’ll question it). Very likely, it’s trying to show you that an important change is necessary. It’s also likely that the change will be uncomfortable at first, but better for you in the long run. I’ve got a lot to readjust to, but this is a part of my evolution. Everything that I went through was for reasons. Some reasons I understand, while I am completely oblivious to others. However, I am convinced that the right help and the right people came at the right time. I’m still in the game, despite my best efforts. Stay tuned for more awesomeness!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”
~Nido Qubein

Afrologik’s Top 5 Hype Jams!

Songs That Will Get You Off Your Ass!

Music is a spirit. It’s a spirit that moves and grooves. I can only speak for myself, but music has gotten me through all of my rough times and has provided the soundtrack for all of my awesome times. I haven’t done a top five in a while, and since I’ve sorta had a rough week last week, I decided to share some of the music that gave me the energy needed to make it through it! As usual, feel free to share some of the songs that get you off of your ass when you’re dragging.

1- Proceed- The Roots.

It’s just something about a few conscious cats taking a break from the deepness to brag about how dope they are on the mic. Yo, they are really dope on the mic too, plus that bass line is HYPE! It’s a motivator for me because of the beginning lyric. Black Thought says: “Just think, what if you could just, just blink yourself away”. That’s an opportunity to get out of what’s bothering you if only for a second. Throughout the song, they remind us that no matter what, they shall PROCEEEED, and continue to rock the mic! Rock the mic then, homies!

The Roots- Proceed

2- Vapors – Biz Markie

If you can listen to Vapors and NOT get hype… I don’t think we can be friends. Even if you forget about the dope sample of James Brown’s “Papa Don’t Take No Mess”, which is totally IMPOSSIBLE, this song has to move you because it’s about making it even though no one believes that you can!

Biz Markie- Vapors

3- It’s A New Day – James Brown

Undeniable funk, first and foremost. This is my FAVORITE James Brown song! The inspiring part: in his own mysogynistic way, James is saying that if you disaplay confidence in what you do, you can have what/who you want. Yeah, I’m reaching a bit, but I’m not too far off. But really, it’s all about the groove on this one.

James Brown- It’s A New Day

4- Prince – Kiss (Extended)

Prince is Prince. But an extended version of any Prince song is a holiday. Kiss is dope anyway, but he becomes very nonconformist, lyrically, in the extended version. The radio edit has no bass line, however, the extended version has a bass line from God!

Prince- Kiss (EXT)

5- Aretha Franklin- Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)

Some songs just feel good, and this is one of them. I cannot hear this song and not dance. RIP Auntie Ree Ree!!!

Aretha Franklin- Don’t Play That Song

Drama: The World’s Guilty Pleasure

Admitting That You Kinda Dig The Drama

Sometimes I think that us humans give drama a bum rap. We have all of these sayings and ideas that suggest that we do not care for it; that we wanna be “drama free”. We want “no more drama”. And of course, you can “save the drama for your mama!”. All we want is happiness and peace. Whenever I hear these or comments like these, I think to myself, “What a bunch of crap!”.

Humans love drama! Humans need drama! You never hear anyone complain about it until they are the center of it. That is just a part of the cycle of life. Eventually it will be your turn to be the main character in the stage.

Personally, I don’t seek it beyond a good movie, and rarely will I listen to anyone speak ill of another person. However, I’ll admit that I have at times been entertained by stories about people as long as those stories do not celebrate low points in that persons life. As far as what goes on in the everyday lives of people, I really don’t care.

Nothing Sells Like Drama…

Drama is the worlds most marketable product. We actually spend thousands of dollars a year to support our drama habit. Cable, internet, cellular phones, movies, books, even music are all forms of drama that we spend money on. Although I am sure that most people genuinely wish greatness for fellow mortals, we want to hear about their bad times. We want to hear about the stupid thing that someone did or said. And we want to talk amongst each other about it. In a sadistic way, we are entertained by it. I’m sure that most people won’t want to admit this, but it’s very true.

When life becomes hard on us, we become the drama and begin to entertain ourselves. For instance: a person could be experiencing a string of unfortunate events that leaves them feeling defeated, that person could make a conscious decision to stay down about it and talk about it with every assumed listening ear, and then go vent on social media. As this person talks more and more about the troubles they’re having they start to embellish. Suddenly small dull events are being described as huge and exciting! Simple head colds are articulated as pneumonia, a stumped toe now requires a wheelchair. As this story is shared with the masses, people begin to feel sympathetic about the situation — for a while. Before long, the listening audience is now complaining amongst each other about this persons whining. Eventually it gets back that person and they become so upset that they forget all about the ailment and take the farce to another level. This goes on until the issue takes on a new form and lands in someone else’s life as an entirely new dramatization.

Let’s not leave out the most dramatic social media move that a person could ever make: leaving social media. Not just leaving, but making a grand announcement to their public that they are going to go on hiatus. Without that announcement, no one will know that they’re leaving and thus, no one will beg them to stay. Drama.

Even before going to family events, people pre-plan familial drama. In the days leading up and even on the drive to the event, we think about what uncle “So and so” will say to aunt “What’s her name” and how they will react to each other. On the way to work, our minds are set on what that annoying co worker is going to say to piss us off. We concentrate on things that have not happened and may not happen at all. There is a place inside of us that actually look forward to these productions. After all, these things will provide weeks of entertaining conversations.

Give Peace A Chance?

I don’t think human beings could handle peace for more than a couple of days at a time without becoming bored. Even in those couple of days we’d rely on manufactured drama like television or the internet. When we don’t have our own drama we adopt that of others. Reality TV  and  soap opera’s are huge because people have a very strong need for drama. What’s life without the occasional bump in the road? It’s part of the balance, a source of strength and at times, quite entertaining.

This does not have to be a bad thing. We are all guilty of this. What makes it bad is when a listening ear is listening maliciously and people get hurt, or we react to these situations in an uncivilized manner. It is also important to take extra care not to let the drama get so deeply into our psyches that we carry it all with us. Deal with the situation at hand and move on. There will never be a shortage of life’s theatrics. Carrying the same drama with us day after day will weigh us down and eventually, it has to be dumped somewhere. Usually when that happens, the vicious cycle repeats itself. Use the drama for what it is, and then let it go. But don’t deny that it is the worlds guilty pleasure.

All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed .

~Sean O’Casey

Returning To The Good Vibes Zone

A Short Story About Brandi Badd Ass

A while back, I was having trouble staying in balance. Suddenly, I started losing weight. I wasn’t trying to, and I had been eating as much as I usually do. Within a few weeks I had lost nearly twenty pounds; I was barely 100 pounds. I would also become very easily agitated and it became increasingly difficult for me to concentrate on anything for more than a few seconds at a time. When speaking, I would repeat myself unknowingly. People that I would talk to would tell me that I had repeated myself, and it was very embarrassing for me. I was always sore and my vision was blurred. My energy had decreased and it was difficult to get out of bed each morning. As days would pass, my condition worsened. I hated mirrors; I hated my clothes because most of them didn’t fit anymore. I hated the whole situation, and I couldn’t understand what was going on with me and why it was happening. I refused to accept the possibility that I might be sick because I’m a fighter; I don’t get sick. Besides, I can’t stand doctors.

Before all of this happened, I was doing fine. My days were broken down into a series of routines which were written on dry erase boards on the walls of my bedroom. I followed these routines meticulously everyday. Each day I would meditate for 20 minutes before doing anything else. No TV, social media, coffee, or food until 20 minutes of meditation was completed. Some days I would go to the park and meditate by the river, but most days I did it at home. Next, I’d go walk or run a few miles–nothing major, then I’d come home and say goodbye to my sons as the left for school. Then I’d eat and have no more than 2 cups of coffee while watching TV or looking at social media, study my vision boards to check my progress and make plans to further that progress, then I’d start my job. I would repeat this routine in the evening after work, sans the exercise. I always felt great after completing these routines. It gave me time to think and plan and I was able to work a lot of things out. Nothing was ever urgent and even in stressful situations, I was able to remain cool.

Gradually, I started to minimize steps in the routines. Some days I wouldn’t exercise; some days I’d stay in bed and watch TV for an hour before meditating. I’d stop everything to talk to anyone who was trying to communicate with me, and eventually, I had stopped doing any of it. I felt horrible that I had broken a routine that was working so well for me, but I was feeling so weighted at the time that I could not resume it–even though it was written on my wall positioned so it was the first thing that I’d see upon opening my eyes each morning. I kept telling myself that I was “just taking a break” and that I’d “get back to it when I’m ready“.

Had I become lazy?” I asked myself, even though I knew that was impossible. I can be called a lot of things, and a lot of those things could be true, but lazy is not one of them. My problem has always been that I have more energy and ambition than I have things to do, so laziness was out of the question. Maybe I had become bored with the routine, as I tend to do. Perhaps, I could have rearranged it or substituted some of the steps in the process for other things. Whatever the reason was, I clearly no longer desired doing any of it anymore. I felt as if there was a Baby Grand piano strapped to my back, and I almost always had a headache.

Since I had stopped giving time to myself, for the benefit of my own progress, I had plenty of time for everyone else. I was spending more time on the phone and social media–hearing and reading unpleasant things. I was spending too much time on bullshit and listening to people who make conscious decisions to be unhappy. This was draining, and I knew it, but I allowed it.

Trying to sleep at night was the worst! When a person suddenly loses substantial weight, it’s difficult to find a comfortable position to lay in. I’m used to sleeping on my side and now this was very uncomfortable–so I tossed, turned, and awakened frequently. Lack of rest made doing my job unbearable. I was attitudinal and very impatient with my customers. My attitude was, “I don’t feel well and I don’t care about what you need”. That attitude guaranteed that everyday was excruciatingly long.

ENTER AFROLOGIK

I had been toying around with the idea of starting a new blog or a podcast for about a year. I’d start planning and then abandon the idea. One day, the name “Afrologik” came to me. I liked how it sounded and felt, so I started hashtagging it. After seeing it, I liked how it looked. At this time, I hadn’t yet decided to write a blog, but I kept hashtagging it because I knew that I could eventually do something with such a cool name. In the interim, I still had not returned to performing my daily routines, my attitude had not changed, I still felt sick, I hadn’t gained any weight, and I was still wasting my time with people who were siphoning away what was left of my spirit.

One day a friend told me that I am a pretty good writer. This meshed with what was going on in my head as far as using the name “Afrologik” and that I had thought about starting a new blog. With that encouragement, I decided to give myself a nudge. Since I was already familiar with WordPress, I did some research, viewed some blogs, and ultimately chose a plan and purchased a domain name. I was off to a good start. Now I needed to get busy building the site and writing.

People Can Be Anchors

With a domain name, a WordPress site paid up for a year, and encouragement from someone that I trusted, one would think that I had all of motivation that I could possibly need, right? Well, obviously, it wasn’t, because my behavior hadn’t changed at all. I had the name and the site, but I hadn’t written a word. However, I was still allowing the same people to bombard me with their lives to the point where I was adopting their issues as my own. I felt as though large anchors were chained to my ankles preventing me from moving forward.

I could not move, but I could sit. So, one day, I opened a notebook and begun to write. The more I wrote, the more inspired I became. From this, a new routine was formed. Regardless of what I’d have to do on any given day, I’d have to find time to write. It didn’t matter what I wrote about as long as I wrote for an unspecified amount of time each day. I became so excited by this new habit that it was all I could talk about. And when those ridiculous “anchors” would call on me to intrude upon my day with mindless nonsense, I’d immediately redirect the conversation to Afrologik and how much I was enjoying writing. Even during this change, I was still underweight, sore, my vision was still blurry, and I was still crabby–but I was having less headaches.

I became reacquainted with a friend from middle school on Facebook. While chatting with him on Messenger one day, I told him what I had been doing and asked him if he would mind editing for me. He agreed and shortly thereafter, “Welcome To Afrologik” was written and published, followed immediately by “12 Steps To Staying Youthful“. Both articles received great responses and people started to follow my blog. This was intriguing as well as reassuring. Soon, everything in sight became an idea for a blog. I was happier, but my mental and health status was still unstable.

I started seeing a therapist, because I needed help in creating a plan to regain some level of mental stability. I believed that if I could just “get my head right“, the health issue would also be resolved. My therapist is awesome, and I’m not just saying that because she’ll probably read this (LOL!). The first two meetings consisted of me crying hysterically and telling her that “no matter what I do, I end up feeling like this!“. Talking to her once a week and doing the homework that she assigned helped me feel better–for a while, but my behavior still hadn’t changed. I was still wearing those anchors.

That’s What Friends Are For

With Afrologik off to what I considered to be a decent start and receiving good feedback, I noticed that the anchors hadn’t visited the site, but I was still being a sounding board for their ridiculousness. When I spoke to one of them about this, I was told that although they will offer moral support, they would not follow my blog for reasons that are so fantastically stupid that I refuse to insult my keyboard by typing them. Another anchor posted part of the “12 Steps…” on Facebook as their own. What AWESOME friends I have, right? LOL!

Emerging From The Water- A Brand New Day

Days later, while listening to more of the same nonsensical excerpts of the lives and times of anchors via video message, I had finally heard enough. I stopped the message– probably in the middle–and decided to go take a shower. After I showered I wrapped myself in a towel, stepped out of the bathtub, and walked over to my vanity. As I reached for a bottle of lotion, the towel fell from me. I saw myself in the mirror at 105 pounds, and I did all that I could to keep from crying. I said out loud to my reflection, “You cannot lose ANYMORE weight! What you need to lose are PEOPLE! Lose some people weight! You know that it’s time for some people to GO!”

Our AWESOME Universe

I have not yet decided if the universe was waiting for me to say those words, or if what happened next was all happenstance. I’d like to believe that the universe wanted me to make the realization on my own before it would take action.

One of my anchors contacted me to tell me that our “friendship” was over without giving much of a reason. This was the best news that I could have gotten because I had already decided to bring communication to a screeching halt without any explanation. I really didn’t care how it happened, as long as it happened! In fact, that’s exactly what I did with the other anchor. Just like that, it was all over and neither party would ever have to endure the other again. Harmony!

That night, I lit a candle, filled the bathtub with water–as hot as I could stand–and poured some sea salt and lavender oil into it. With some old school Roy Ayers playing in the background, I laid back in the water until only my face was not underwater (because you know, I still had to breathe). As sweat beads formed on my forehead, I imagined that I was releasing all of the toxins that I had endured and that I would emerge from that water brand new, and that’s exactly what happened. I had returned to my good vibes zone.

The next morning, I resumed my original daily routine, as written on my dry erase boards, and added power writing each night. Within two weeks, I gained seven pounds and my vision was no longer blurry. I’m still working toward my usual weight, which is 125 pounds, but I’m no longer losing weight. I still see my therapist every week, sometimes every two weeks. And guess what? My life isn’t perfect! I have personal ups and downs; I have bad days at work; I still make myself available for my children and my friends, and when they are not happy, it weighs on me. I don’t mind, because they carry my weight at times as well. Balance.

The intended purpose of this story is that having the wrong people in your life can affect you mentally as well as physically. Anyone who does not celebrate you in your victories, support you in your efforts, or tries to attach themselves to the things that you’ve worked hard on, does not belong in your life. The anchors that were in my life are not bad people at all; we just no longer fit into each other’s lives. We weren’t feeding each other anymore. When you discontinue to feed any living thing, it dies. Those relationships were once alive and vibrant, and I will always cherish what they were at one time. Towards the end, the kinship was already dead; it just hadn’t been buried yet. As soon as they were given a proper burial, my health improved. I hope that their lives improved also.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice people and things; this enables us to grow, and it creates space for new people and new things that will carry us onto further greatness. It’s important to be smart enough to recognize what or who is hindering us, and strong enough to walk away. Change can be difficult at first. For instance, after those deletions were made, I had no one to talk to, as most of the people in my life are extremely busy. That turned out to be a good thing, because it encouraged me to become extremely busy–working on myself.

It’s all a part of the process of life. Trust the process and believe that you can take flight. But, you will never leave the ground, if you have anchors chained to your ankles.

“When you wake up, each day looks the same, so each day should be a new beginning”

~Prince

Jealousy: A Useful Tool

Making Your Own Envy Work For You

The mirror can be a far more deadly weapon than a gun or a knife. It can be dangerous because it not only shows us who we are, but also, who we are not. A lot of times our own mirror images does not add up to who we believe ourselves to be, and that can be a very hard pill to swallow.

Nowadays, we are constantly being shown images of the way things are “supposed to be”. Media gives us much to compare ourselves to. Images of happy couples, happy people, pretty faces, gorgeous bodies, awesome vacations, self sufficiency, fantastic careers, and so on. If we let it, it can become a major bummer. Very easily these images can leave us with a feeling of “I’m never going to have that”, which leads to despair. Although it’s hard to admit, even to oneself, we become jealous of what we see, without even knowing how real these effigies are, what these people had to go through, or what they had to sacrifice to achieve their current status. Perhaps it was more than we are willing to endure.

Although jealousy has stigma attached to it and we are not supposed to feel envy towards anyone, if you think about it, it’s a useful emotion as long is it does not become malicious. I’ll admit that I’ve fallen victim to becoming temporarily envious of images and ideas. I mean, is it really hard to digest the fact that most of us want greener grass? As a lover of nature and horticulture, I understand that greener grass does not just happen, it takes a lot of time, work, and care. I’ve also been on the receiving end of jealousy and lost friends.

WYSIWYG… Really?

Flip Wilson made the phraseWhat You See Is What You Getpopular in the 1970’s with his character “Geraldine“. In reality, what you see is not necessarily what you get. In 2018, we have social media and many times what you see is merely what they want you to see. What you get is up to how you perceive it. I’m active on social media but I rarely (if ever) share my lowest points. Instead, I simply take a hiatus and keep my personal problems personal. So even in the case of myself, what you see is only what you see.

I’ve seen gratuitous posts and thought, “Wow! It must be nice to be so appreciated“. I’ve seen happy couples and thought, “That’s beautiful. I hope to have that someday“. Even though I may feel the slight sting of envy, I never let it bring me down; instead, it gives me hope. Knowing that these things actually exist in real life and not only in my mind means that they are possible for me as well. Although I might be temporarily envious, there is no malice. I never discount the happiness of others. I am genuinely inspired by their success and excited about finding my own and becoming an inspiration for someone else.

Help me to inspire those that need inspiration/ Let my life be a sign of a coming generation”

~Donny Hathaway

Why Not Just Ask

Happy and successful people are usually elated to talk about the journey to their present status. When you encounter people who live the lifestyle that you are seeking, ask them how they did it. You could be closer to your goal than you think, or conversely, you might learn that you are not willing to stomach what they experienced to reach their standing, and that’s okay too. Go back to the drawing board and devise a new plan or improve upon their course.

If You Want It –GIVE IT!

Being appreciated for the things that we do for one another, regardless of the size of the deed is an amazing feeling, but not every deed is recognized. The most efficient way to prevent feeling under appreciated is to never do things with the expectation of gratitude. Only do what is in your heart, without regard to a reaction. However, if you seek gratitude and recognition, GIVE IT! I’ve got several friends who are working on personal projects–music, literature, art, and some have personal issues or health problems. I am their biggest cheerleader. I’m always happy to share their work to help get it noticed, celebrate in their victories, or hold their hands when things aren’t going well. I offer my support without the expectation of rewards and it is usually reciprocated. In fact, a few nights ago a friend contacted me really late as I was dozing off. I was awake enough to receive the text message so I answered it. My friend wanted me to listen to a song that he had recorded, so I sat up and listened to it (it was heavy metal so it was loud and woke me all the way up. I went to sleep about an hour later. Lol!). Give support and you’ll receive support, but never let the lack of reciprocal appreciation stop you from being a giver.

“If you always attach positive emotions to the things you want, and never attach negative emotions to the things you don’t, then that which you desire will most invariably come your way”

~Matt D. Miller

Jealousy is a natural emotion that everyone experiences now and then. It can be harmless, as well as a useful tool when used as an opportunity to learn from the topic of your envy. Yet if you are unable to check your reactions and decisions, it can turn your mirror image against you. Let this emotion motivate you to become better, work on your dreams, and accomplish them. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in it until you become so bitter that you no longer have the positive energy to improve yourself.

You are not great because of what you have, who you are with, or where you have been. Your spirit makes you great! The power to become whomever you want to become resides in you. *note to self*

I Know We Just Met, But I Don’t Think I Like You

How To Handle Introductions To Unpleasant People

Have you ever met someone that you instantly did not like? I’m sure that at some point we have all experienced this. It’s not always a bad thing.

I had an experience a few years ago where I was invited to a friends house and when I arrived, my friend had other company — a couple of ladies that I had never met. After being introduced to these women, I shook their hands. I shook the hand of the first woman, it was a normal handshake, she seemed nice. The second woman’s handshake sent something through me that I can’t quite describe, but it was not a good feeling. As this woman spoke, the bad feeling intensified. Eventually, the sight of her made me feel sick to my stomach. Mind you, I was only in this woman’s presence for an hour at best. There was something about her that just did not mesh well with me. I made a polite excuse and left. As I drove off, I began to feel better. Whenever my mind wandered back to that visit I’d become sick again. By this time I had reasoned that I felt bad about my instantaneous dislike for someone that I didn’t know.

During the hour that was spent with this woman, she did nothing offensive. She was just annoying and spoke non stop. I live in the south where this is common, its not a reason to dislike someone. Maybe it was just a case of bad chemistry. This really hurt me because I try to give everyone a chance before making such a judgment. I had to be honest with myself: I just didn’t like her, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Intuition: The ability to understand something immediately without conscious reasoning.

Also known as a “Gut Feeling”*

When meeting new people or going to unfamiliar places trigger feelings, emotions, or or affect your natural demeanor, that is intuition — don’t ignore it! Usually, intuitive feelings are correct. Since as humans we have a need to have control of our feelings we might try to out reason our intuition. It is always important to consider our intuitions and why they are telling us that something or someone is not good for us.

After checking your intuition and trying to bear the company of someone of whom you are hopelessly incompatible with, it is probably best that you part ways. In order to do so respectably, keep a few things in mind.

  • Consider the source

If you were introduced to this person by someone who is your friend or a family member, don’t allow your intuition to make them uncomfortable. Be respectful and exit the situation. Do not make faces, speak in innuendo, become preoccupied with your phone, or make snide remarks. When you make your exit, make sure that you also offer a “goodbye” to the person that you don’t prefer as well. It is okay to dislike someone, but it is never okay to be discourteous. Explain to your friend later that it is best that you are not placed in the company of that person.

  • Consider yourself

Maybe it’s you. Consider the mood that you were in when you met this person. What happened that day? What was on your mind? Could you be jealous of this person? How where you feeling? These are all things that can effect the way that we treat people. Before making a final judgment, take a look in the mirror.

  • Don’t Be Cruel (Well, try not to…)

You never know who you are going to need later in life. Each person is a resource–we are all good for something. If you find yourself dealing with someone that you do not prefer, be honest with them but not cruel, if it can be avoided. However, if it cannot be avoided then remember that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

I had a co worker a few years ago whose conversation I could have done without. I dealt with her random babbling’s the best I could and for as long as I could. One Sunday night while preparing for the work week, I thought about how I would at some point on Monday have to hear a bunch of nothing about this woman’s weekend. That night, I decided to be honest with her.

Sure enough on Monday my co-worker tried to put me to sleep with boring details about her weekend. This time I interrupted her tirade with honesty. I told her that it wasn’t necessary for us to discuss non work related issues. Her feelings might have been temporarily hurt, but she got over it. That was better than me repeatedly enduring the boring tales of her weekend adventures. Had I not tactfully put an end to this, I might have said something that would damage the work relationship. Many times after this conversation I would need her help with on the job tasks and she had no problem helping me.

Always listen to your gut, but do so with an open mind.

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.