Shut Up, Sometimes

How To Respond To Other Peoples Situations

I really enjoy writing Afrologik. From it’s inception, I’ve grown with each article, and, according to the feedback that I get, so have my readers! I am extremely grateful for that, because growth, has always been the purpose of this blog — we all grow together, and I think that’s amazing! However, with growth, comes change, and sometimes that change is difficult to adjust to, but we do. Still, we continue to be who we are, and evolve in spite of what may be going on around us.

Some of us have support systems, while some of us don’t. Ironically, those who don’t, often find themselves being a pillar for someone — or everyone else. It’s kind of sad to be a person who cries in private, or scream in empty rooms, because no one is there. No one really checks up on them; or worst of all, those who feel a need to advise on things that they have no experience with. In that type of environment, it seems much easier to deal with our situations without reaching out to those who are closest to us — those we trust the most. Although that seems easier, it’s not healthy.

The Questions

Usually, I’m pretty cool. I’m there for those who need me in any way that I am able to to be — and I’m not complaining. I really don’t mind at all. Especially with people who are in conflict with themselves, because I’m all too familiar with that. So, I’m willing to at least be there for anyone in that situation, whether I know them or not. I don’t offer advice, unless I’m asked. Just because a person is struggling with something, does not necessarily mean that they are seeking advice.

What I have found effective with helping others who are in trying situations, is to ask appropriate questions that allow them to figure things out on their own. If you are a person who is often leaned on for support, try this technique. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.

The Problem With Advice

The reason why why advice doesn’t work, is because it is usually given at the wrong time. Trying to reason with an emotional person is akin to fighting fire with fire — there can be no progress. In many situations, when a person comes to us with their problems, they’re not necessarily interested in our take on it. There are cases when those people only want to vent, or a hug. More times than you would probably realize, they want someone to talk to who will listen and respond with something like: “That’s messed up. I’d be mad too. Let’s go kick their asses!”. Of course, you’re not going to go out and engage in violence (I hope), but sometimes, people who are having an emotional breakdown of any sort, only want to know that they are not alone in how they are feeling.

Humans Are Not Very Smart

And that’s exactly why they usually should not give advice (unless asked). We are all growing and learning together. Every one of us are a work in progress — subject, as well as prone to error. Sharing experiences is helpful, but none of us are truly qualified to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do. When asked, don’t speak authoritatively, because you’re not an authority. You’re just another human being living the human experience.

Don’t Internalize. Find An Outlet

As said earlier, I’m cool most of the time, but I’m human, so things pile up on me from time to time. I have people in my life who are there for me, but not many who “get it“. Most assume the aforementioned roles: adviser, authority, the smart one. So, I’d find myself crying to myself, and screaming in empty rooms (that’s how I knew to use those examples earlier…lol!). It’s also how I know that it doesn’t work. It’s a form of internalizing.

During those times, I compare myself to a bottle of pop (soda for some of you) that has been shaken, continuously. When someone takes the top off, there’s going to be a mess. This is exactly why internalizing is no good. Eventually, somehow, that top is going to come off. With that being said, you’ve got to find a way to let go — with or without the help of others.

Here’s What I Do

What works for me, is the tub. I simply take a soak. While lying in the tub, I stare at the ceiling, and I work things out. As I do with others, I begin to ask myself questions, and I keep asking until I run out of answers — without the unwelcome interruption of advice, ideas, and statements, that have the potential to make things worse. Sometimes, I’m able to devise an action plan that makes me feel better, and many times, I find solutions to what is bothering me. I’m not suggesting that anyone should make this exercise a practice, I’m only saying that it works for me.

Be A Friend To Yourself First

Sometimes, you have to be your own best friend, and treat yourself as well as you treat those who depend on you in any capacity. Understand that those who cannot be what you need, when you need them to be, does not mean that they are bad people — or even bad friends. They’re only doing what THEY believe is the right thing. I’m sure that we have all done this at some point.

Find A Way That Works For You

When something doesn’t feel right with you, find a way to deal with it. Don’t keep it inside. I have a therapist, and dig this: she never gives advice! Yet, I always feel better when I leave her office. And on my down days when I don’t have an appointment with her, there’s always the tub. Find what works for you!

Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it”

~Benjamin Franklin

Don’t Overestimate Your Personal Best

Your Best Will Fluctuate

Yes, we should do our best at everything that we do, and be the best people that we can be at all times. However, don’t be foolish enough to believe that your best will be at the same level with every effort. That’s not always possible. Our personal bests will fluctuate.

Really, your best is the only thing that is required of you. If you choose not to give your finest efforts, you’re not being true to yourself, or making the gods happy. As you release lackadaisical efforts into the Universe, the same will be returned.

Your “A” game will not always give the same results, even with tasks that you perform regularly. It’s unrealistic for anyone to set such an unrealistic standard for themselves. Give your all and rest assured that you’ve done all that you can do — because, that’s all that you can do.

Think of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was the undisputed King of Pop. Never was there a bigger Pop Star before him, and likely, there will not be a bigger Pop Star after him. There was a time when everything he touched, turned into gold. I’m sure that I don’t have to write a bio on MJ (since he was the biggest Pop Star in the world, everyone knows his story), so, I’ll fast forward to his multimillion selling album, “Thriller“.

Thriller” sold tens of millions of copies, and changed popular music forever. While I have no doubt that Michael was thrilled by this (pardon my pun), it also raised the bar for him. I’m sure that there was pressure to repeat that performance with each album that followed.

Although, he never produced another album that sold more than, or as much as “Thriller“, he still created quality product that made his public happy enough to continue to buy his music.

In 1982, “Thriller” was his best effort. That doesn’t mean that his following albums were not given his best effort — or that they weren’t great– but, they were his best for the time that they were recorded. Never matching the success of “Thriller” did not reduce his audience, and he remained one of the most influential and sought after entertainers in the world, for the rest of his life.

Your Performance Is Based On Several Factors

Our personal best can depend on several factors, for example: mood, health, time, place, if we got enough sleep, if we haven’t eaten. And sometimes, we’re simply off balance. In any case, when we measure our personal best to our current performance, the results could be slightly, or extremely different. As long as we have given our all to the tasks at hand, we have fulfilled the requirement of being at our best.

When you’ve done all that you can do, yet your usual “A” game, is a “C” game, don’t beat yourself up. Tomorrow is another day to be great!

“Perfection is impossible; just strive to do your best.”

~ Angela Watson

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Keeping Your Cool When People Are Trying To Take It

How To Not Lose It!

Not so long ago, I had a hair-trigger temper, and would quickly become upset and curse people out. Regardless of how minor an offense was, they all seemed major to me. Caring nothing about whether I was right or wrong, what was most important to me was that my feelings were fully known. Usually, after thoroughly expressing my position by cursing a person out, I’d feel much better. Feeling that I had set that person straight for their heinous (or not so heinous) offense, I’d walk off into the sunset — my arms swinging behind me, like George Jefferson.

A bruised ego can be an ugly, and potentially dangerous thing. When we feel disrespected (a word that I feel is often misused), we instantly go into defense mode — even if it’s not necessary.

The Loudest Person In The Room, Is Also The Weakest Person In The Room

Some people choose to enter situations, or go around people with the intent of “stirring the poop pot“. They’re basically verbal riot provocateurs. They believe that reacting with hostility proves that they don’t “take crap” from anyone. Others, react that way because their egos are fragile, so they are always prepared to protect said ego, and avoid hearing or seeing something that makes them feel bad about themselves.

I’ve never entered a situation solely to cause confusion, but I know people who do just that. However, my problem was that my skin wasn’t thick enough to take the words and actions of other people who preferred to be offensive towards me. So, I’d distribute verbal retribution without assessing the situation at hand, the source of the offense, or if it was something that would have any effect on any part of my life, other than my ego.

Since I’ve always been a small person (5’3 and thin) I had been picked on and considered an easy target for jokes and bullying. With that being the case, I believed that if I allowed this kind of behavior towards me to continue, it would never stop. Being a bit strange, compared to my peers, didn’t help. Because I suffered from “Little Persons Syndrome” cursing people out became my defense mechanism.

What’s Your Ism?

Everyone suffers from some sort of syndrome or –ism — they are our weaknesses. When we feel cornered, we act as a cornered raccoon would; we claw and bite our attackers until they are no longer able to attack us. For some, claws are words. For others, claws can be physical violence. In either case, it’s avoidable. When someone makes us feel bad, making them feel worse is not the best solution (even though it might feel good for us). In fact, it’s not a solution at all. That act alone only brings us down to their level, and when that happens, we’ve given the opposition an easy win.

With Time Comes Maturity (😫😫😫)

As I’ve gotten a little older, I’m more selective in deciding which offenses are deserving of verbal wrath. Still, I am human, and there are times when I allow other people to get the best of me, even though I practice being peaceful, positive, and patient. I’ve always had a razor sharp wit (apparently, it’s hereditary), and that has caused me problems in the past, because I didn’t control it. I’d let emotions take over and I’d say anything. Since learning to control my wit, and use better words, I no longer feel the need to become loud and explicit. Wit can be distributed politely, so vulgar people are usually defenseless to it, as they only know how to respond angrily. I’m not necessarily suggesting that this is the best way to handle these instances, but it works for me.

The best solution is to ask yourself if whatever it is that’s been said or done is going to interrupt life as you know it (most of the time, it won’t). However, stooping to the level of someone who does not have enough self control to be tactful, could repeatedly play in your mind, preventing your progress. The way that you choose to respond is ultimately your choice. Ask yourself if it’s worth it — even better, if they’re worth it.

It’s natural to want to return hurt unto someone who has hurt you. People are going to upset us now and then, and we are going to upset people as well — that’s human nature, and humans are fallible. It boils down to self control, and that’s not an easy task. Even the most passive person has desires to lash out at those who have offended them. Those people are able to practice restraint, even though they may be scrutinized for it.

Protect Your Energy

Never allow anyone to disturb your energy and spirit, as that is the core of who you are. By acknowledging the lack of decorum of others without employing tact, you give life to the ugliness that they represent, and in turn, you’ll become a part of it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should let people antagonize you. Always stand your ground. But, there are people who cannot understand peaceful disagreements without vulgarity, and they’ll try to force you into a position where you might have to speak to them in ways that they understand to get your point across to them. Even that can be done without mirroring their ignorance and contradicting your true self.

Anyone who disrupts your energy by making you mad enough to cuss and fight, should not be there. It is your decision as to whether or not you should keep those types of people around. If you decide to stay in the company of such people, then they are not bringing you down to their level — you were already there.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Change Starts With Change

I had to make a decision to not respond to insults with more insults. I was able to do this by asking myself two questions: “How do I feel about myself?” and “Is there anything that anyone can say or do that has the power to detract from the way that I feel about myself?”. The answers were: “I feel great about myself! In fact, I feel so great about myself that I refuse to lend my power to those who display dislike for themselves by attempting to engage me in their toxicity.”

If we carry ourselves with class and dignity, the Universe will send classy, dignified people into our orbit. Those are the people who will help us achieve greatness, as we will help them.

“Right now I’m trying to be in a place of calm. A place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get there overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle.”

Jackee Harry

2 Days Left In 2018: What Writers Block Looks Like

A Look Back…

I can only speak for myself, but 2018 was an awesome year! I traveled, I met some Facebook friends, I found myself, and I found the place that I really want to be (California); I’ve even started making plans to make that a reality. Most importantly, I started Afrologik, which has been an amazing journey. Afrologik is the earmark for the greatness that is to come. Also, it is the first of my many endeavors that I have stuck with, and plan to continue. I enjoy writing this blog, and I’m grateful to my audience. Your encouragement made that possible.

In writing for Afrologik, many times I have experienced writers block, (as writers tend to do). There are several ways of combating writers block, such as: taking a break and doing other things until inspiration hits, exercising, eating, and much more. I’d often feel guilty about running out of gas, so I started looking on Google for ways to fight it. All I found was more of what I mentioned earlier. So I thought, “writing is art, and artists have to be creative. I’ve got to do something creative to awaken my own creativity”. With that idea in mind, I turned to Snapchat and it’s filters. You know what? It worked every time!

As the end of 2018 is more imminent, I’ve decided to share with you some of what I did to combat writers block. This is my invitation to you, to the sillier side of Brandi Badd Ass.

When Writers Block Commence

This Christmas – Donny Hathaway

If You Want Me To Stay – Sly & The Family Stone

Annie Don’t Wear No Panties – Erykah Badu

Cosmic Slop – Funkadelic

Goldmine – Take 6

School Boy Crush – Average White Band

Blues And Pants – James Brown

‘Round Midnight – Amy Winehouse

🍋 Lemons To Lemonade

Anything can be fun, if you make it fun. For writers, running out of words and/or ideas is the worst! It doesn’t have to be a drag. Whatever it is that you have to deal with, is probably not as much of a drag as it seems to be. Take a break from it and have fun! The answers usually come after you’ve separated yourself from the frustrations, this is something that I know all too well, so you can take my word for it. If I can do it, ANYONE can do it!

We’ve got two more days to get our heads right for 2019. Enter the new year in the good vibes zone. Love, laugh, and relax–it’s not that urgent.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade “

~ Some cat who probably had a lemonade stand

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

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

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*