Giving Yourself The Freedom To Be Pissed

Bad Days Happen

I think that a lot of us have our ideas a bit twisted. Many of us believe that living a peaceful life means always being calm, never becoming upset, and only producing positive thoughts. Well, I’m here to tell you that the ideas listed above are completely unrealistic. We are human beings, and by nature, we are emotional. We respond and react to things, and sometimes, we react in ways that may not be positive.

Living a peaceful life does not guarantee that you’re going to smile your way through all of life’s ups and downs. Do not let anyone tell you that you must always maintain a positive mindset. Not only is that not true, but it’s impossible.

I’ve explained in former blogs, that it is most important that we be lead by our mind and soul, and to not try to steer it in our favor. Instead, allow them to take us on their journey. With that being said, sometimes, the mind will lead us to what we consider to be a negative place, because it is trying to show or tell us something important. Pay attention to the signs. What is this reoccurring negative thought, and why is it lingering? Is this thought about something that is presently going on (remember that the mind does not travel backwards, or jump ahead unless it’s being steered)? These are types of questions that you’d want to ask yourself. The Universe will communicate with you in ways that will get, and keep your attention, when it’s trying to show you something. Don’t ignore it, because it might not be “just you“.

But…Maybe It Is Just You

A couple of days ago, I had a very bad day. Unfortunately, the day began going south in the morning. It felt as though with every passing minute, things got progressively worse. I had done everything that I know how to do, in combatting the negative thoughts that were rapidly forming. I stopped to breathe, I counted, I used my save word, I thought about the beautiful things in the world, I thought about how great it is to be loved, and how much I love myself — but to none of that worked for more than a few minutes at a time. So then, I pulled out the big guns: I thought about (and looked at pictures of) Prince, I listened to Amy Winehouse, and Jamiroquai (which has always worked, until that day). I tried so hard to check my frequency, that doing so, only frustrated me further. By 2:00pm, I was a completely unhappy and unstable person. That day was a wrap.

Call It What It Is

Deciding to wrap up the day was the best thing that I had done for myself all day. Simply telling myself to stop fighting it, and allowing myself to have a bad day, took the pressure off. It didn’t exactly make my day any better, but I no longer felt a need to change it. I said to myself, “One day. I’ll give you one day — the rest of today, to be pissed. But, tomorrow, we will not spend even one second on what is going on today, because it will no longer exist“. So that’s exactly what I did. I gave myself that day to be grumpy, angry, unbalanced, on edge, and quick tempered. I only promised myself that I wouldn’t hurt anyone — and I didn’t.

Letting go and giving myself permission to wild out had actually calmed me down. By the time that I had gone to bed, I was very relaxed. The next day, none of the prior day’s events existed anymore, and I made the most of the new day.

Life Happens

It’s okay to have a bad day. Shit happens! Life happens. And, if no one has died, everything is fixable. It’s inhuman to not respond, react, or live on autopilot, as though nothing can ever bother you. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. We have to release. As described in the example of my bad day, forcing yourself to remain positive can be very strenuous, and cause more frustration. Being positive should not add pressure to our lives.

As we practice peace and Zen, it becomes more and more natural; and before long, it’s second nature to us — and even then, there’ll be times when we’ll have to throw our hands up, and start over, tomorrow.

Your Life Is Real, Not A Meme

There are so many memes out there telling us that we need to keep a positive mindset and everything will be okay. That’s bullshit. It takes hard work to make everything okay, and in the process, things have a tendency to go horrendously awry. However, if you are honest with yourself, and you accept that things don’t always go smoothly, you’ll allow yourself to have a bad day (when you can’t change it). Accepting that you’re having a bad day does not make you a bad person. When it happens, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this situation?” There is always a lesson to be learned, regardless to whether your experience is positive or negative. Make the day count. Let it make you into a better, and more informed person.

Trust the Universe, and trust that it’s only trying to point you in the direction of your destiny. Know that it will use any tactic that is necessary to get your attention. The Universe knows that you are human, and will do human things. It’s not going to beat you up for that, as long as you are doing the right things, so you shouldn’t either. Always remain true to yourself.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a bad day. Let yourself feel the emotions because every emotion is validated.”

~Iskra Lawrence

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

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

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

When You Become Bored…

Changing Your Mind Is Fine

I’m not sure how many of you visit the Afrologik website, or if most of you read it via email. For those of you who do visit the website, you’ve noticed that I’ve changed some things. Well, actually, I’ve changed everything except the content. Why, you ask? Because I became bored with the original theme so I decided to (as I often say) add some funk to it.

When I started building the Afrologik website, I never wanted to post my picture on it (except for on posts, as I have done a few times). Somehow I felt that having my picture on the site would seem pretentious. I never wanted it to seem like I was trying to lure people to the site or that I am at all self absorbed. I wanted the content to speak for itself. However, when one becomes bored, the mind wanders.

I Googled successful WordPress blogs and spent some time surveying blogs. Most of them included pictures of the author on the homepage, so I decided that if they can do it, so can I.

It didn’t take long to find a picture (since I don’t particularly care for most pictures of myself). In fact, I don’t think it took even 5 minutes. After the picture was selected, I put a black and white filter on it, cropped it, and VOILA! There I am! I’m still getting used to it, but the site is no longer boring to me.

Most Things Have A Shelf Life

That is indeed the life of Brandi. When things become routine, I’m no longer excited about them; I can only find excitement in planning to change them. “It’s cool until it ain’t” is a statement that many people have heard me make.

As written in “Welcome To Afrologik“, I’ve been living in Tennessee for 8 years. I’m now excited about living elsewhere. I’ve been employed as a Customer Service Representative for a major corporation for almost 3 years. I’m VERY excited about moving on. In fact, I am one more “you’re not doing this right” (paraphrased) from things going terribly wrong. I was married for 9 years; the relationship had gone as far as it could go. I became excited about moving on, and that’s what happened. Many people, some familial relationships, have come and gone before, during, and after the above stated events. I’ve never wanted to walk away from relationships, jobs, or even states on bad terms. As a matter of fact, I’ve almost always been able to move on without hard feelings–almost. There have also been times when there was ill feelings. I can honestly say that I currently have no grudges. As long as there is distance there is no need revisit bad times. I wish everyone the very best.

Believe it or not, I’ve even grown tired of music a few times. I’m actually very grateful for that. That temporary boredom lead me to explore other genres and sounds. Thus, my boredom with music has made me love it even more.

Am I Flakey?

Admittedly, I grow tired of people, places, things, and website layouts, apparently, but Brandi is certainly not flakey! When I can no longer give light to someone or something, or I am no longer receiving light from people, places and things, I’d rather move on before situations escalate and become irreparably damaged. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel stifled–especially me! I am a free spirit and I am best cultivated when amongst other free spirited people. So, no, I’m not flakey. I just know when to move on.

Creative people are usually quite excitable, so we require new content- CONSTANTLY. The “same-shit-different-day” routine will quickly kill our spirits. We thrive on new experiences, people, and places. When things become mundane, we become drained (hey, that rhymes!) which can come off as moody, irritable, and distant. This has to be fully understood when dealing with innovative people. Don’t take it personally; just give us space.

Bored? Don’t Like It Anymore? Change It!

Afrologik spends a lot of time encouraging its readers to find their good vibes zone. That also includes being self aware. Maybe you are comfortable spending time with the same people, in the same places, doing the same things, and if so– there’s nothing wrong with that. We all require a certain amount of stability in our lives. Contrarily, if you find yourself in a slump and need a change, seek it! Do the work and [try to] be patient. Don’t overstay your welcome in a position that is no longer making you give the planet your best self. As the late, great Chuck Brown said, “Bustin loose can be pleasin’“. So bust loose!

Only you have control over your mind and you can change it anytime you choose to do so. You can change your beliefs, ideals, lifestyle, location, appearance– anything that you desire to adjust– with or without reason. May we all live long enough to contradict ourselves! (Another Brandi-ism).

Every choice that you make–good or bad– is part of the process. So trust the process.

*Please let me know what you think of the new Afrologik website layout!

Change can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s a part of life. Most of the time it can be handled in one of 3 ways: (1)Acceptance (Adjust)- deal with it. Change with it. Don’t resist it . (2)Protest/Concession (Dissuade/Acquiescence)- disagree with it, perhaps fight it and win, or lose and eventually give in and conform to it. (3)Emerge (Evolve)- use what you learn from an uncomfortable situation to create a more comfortable situation. I hardly ever choose #1.

Plan “A” Is All That You Need

10 Reasons Why A “Plan B” Isn’t Necessary

Plan B“, “Alternate Strategy”, “Back Up Plans” are all very practical and safe reasonings. After all, we have all been conditioned to think with the logic of the cliche “Plan A is always have a ‘Plan B’”. We all feel much safer knowing that we have several systems in place just in case something goes wrong (as they usually do), right?

The problem with “Back-Up Plans” is that they almost always become lifestyles, careers, and sometime even spouses! Plan B is nothing more than an excuse for allowing ourselves to become lazy or complacent, instead of putting the required work and effort into our original goal, dream, or passion. Sure, it may be a safe and comfortable place to settle; but it might not be very fulfilling to spend the rest of our lives that way.

The alternate plan is not a crutch, it’s a couch. A place to lounge and be comfortable while watching television, reading, or any other form of entertainment that is being provided by people who have worked hard and put in the time and effort to to live their “Plan A”. Sometime you have throw practicality and safety to the wind and take a chance on yourself!

The second that we form a back-up plan, we have decided that our primary plans will fail. If we really think about it, in the time used forming alternate plans we could have been building a stronger process for our primary goals. The questions to ask ourselves are: “How badly do I want this?” and “What am I willing to risk?”. For our goals, our dreams, and for ourselves we should be willing to risk everything!

1 Devise Your Plan A And Put It Into Motion

Take the necessary time to find your goal. Do the research. Go online, talk to other people that are in the field that you are interested in. Make sure that this is the move for you. If you are positive in your heart and mind that this is something that you not only want to do, but was born to do, then there is no need for a Plan B.

2- Work Hard At It Daily

If you already have a full time job, now you have two! This is going to require all of the time and brainpower that you have. I work forty hours per week for someone else’s company. After I’m done with my “job“, I spend the next four to six hours working on my passion–this blog (even though I’d rather eat and then fall asleep while watching Sanford & Son). Why? Because I believe in it. Goals are not accomplished by flukes! You will have to sacrifice some of the things that you enjoy to accomplish your goals, but it will pay off!

3- Decide To Either Sink Or Swim

When you eliminate Plan B, that is exactly what you have decided to do; either sink or swim. But don’t worry! This is the push that is going to lead you to success! When everything depends on it you’ll work harder because you have to.

4- Learn From Your Errors (There Will Be Many)

Don’t be discouraged by mistakes, consider them opportunities for learning. Wisdom is gained through trial and error — so in a way, mistakes are necessary. Take the lesson, fix it, and move on!

5- Put It Out Into The Universe

Self affirmations works! Tell yourself everyday that you are going to succeed. Speak it verbally as well. Create a vision board. Create several if necessary, and place them where you will see them daily. Make a list of all the great things about yourself and read it every chance you get. Soon you will believe that you will succeed at what you are working on. Michael Jackson used this method while recording the “Thriller” album. I think it worked for him…

6- Only Share What You Are Doing With Informed People

This is VERY important! Some friends and even family may not be capable of understanding what you are working toward. Their incapability could very easily knock you off of your square. These are people that you do not need to discuss your dreams and goals with. Discuss your mission with people who are in the field of interest that you are working on and people who are encouraging. And also, be prepared to lose and or limit some relationships. It is most important that you stay positive. Do not waste time on people who are not conducive to positivity and success.

7- Accept No Excuses. Not Even Your Own

Plan B’s are built on excuses. If you are alive, you can do it! Accept nothing except success!

8- Don’t Expect Instant Success

This will likely be a long and winding road, be prepared for that. Stay in the game regardless of how long, hard, and tiring it becomes. During this period of building your goal or niche, you will learn how to keep it and nurture it. This is a very important part of the process. Patience is a must!

9- Accept Constructive Criticism

No one enjoys being criticized, even constructively. When criticisms come to you from informed sources (people in your field/niche) or people who genuinely care about you- listen! You may or may not agree with it, but you should still consider it. There are times when another set of eyes or ears are needed to catch the mistakes that you might have missed. An outside appraisal from people that you respect could also encourage you to work harder.

10- NEVER GIVE UP!

You are strong! You are resilient! You are beautiful! You deserve all the greatness that life has to offer…unless you give up.

It is better to edit, edit, and re-edit Plan A than it is to have a Plan B. Anything that is being built will need adjustments as it is being constructed, so will your process. Make the adjustments, but do not destroy the structure.

There is no need for a Plan B if your Plan A game is strong.

It’s Really Not That Serious…

How To NOT Take Yourself Too Seriously

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times–ADULTING SUCKS! It’s overly consumed with responsibility and accountability–two things that have never been associated with fun. Even when we get a chance to let go for a while, we eventually have to remind ourselves of things like: getting to bed early enough to not be late for work the next day, not overspending because there are bills to pay, or not having too much fun (God forbid anyone from our professional world or church home see us out having a good time on our own terms). Those are some of the chains that we attach to ourselves and not for unreasonable consideration. The truth is that we do have to go to work, pay bills, and perhaps not do irreparable damage to our reputations (in case we decide to run for office someday).

Adulting requires that we always think ahead; that’s just how it is. However, if we do not break free from those chains now and then, life will become completely monotonous. We have to deal with uptight, bureaucratic, policy pushing sheep for at least 40 hours per week– plus deal with other “life stuff”, and it can change who we are at the core if we allow it to. It’s important to “de-adultize” ourselves from time to time as an effort to preserve the real human being that resides inside of us.

1. Laugh At Yourself

You are not perfect, and that is why you are amazing! When you make a bad decision or judgement-LAUGH! As long as no one will die or get hurt, it’s probably not as bad as you perceive it to be. Think of all of the bad decisions and judgements that you’ve made in the past. When it was happening in real time, you probably thought that the world as you knew it was going to come to an end, but it didn’t. When you think about it now, it’s hilarious. Guess what? It was most likely just as hilarious in real time. As the saying goes, “Sometimes we have to laugh to keep from crying“. I can only speak for myself, but I’d rather laugh. If I cried over every bad decision that I’ve made, I’d be dehydrated. Point and laugh at yourself and then move on. You’ve got more mistakes to make!

2. Say “Fudge You” To Responsibility When You Can

I am a parent, but sometimes I take “parenting breaks“. That means that I am not cooking, cleaning, signing permission slips, or fixing a damned thing- and most of all, I’m not going to feel bad about it (My children are in their upper teens. This is not suggested for anyone who has young children unless you have a responsible person who will take care of them). If I am able to, I’ll even take a day off from the job. Giving a proverbial middle finger to adulting is a great way to reconnect with your bearings. Take a day off to not give a shit.

3. Get Up And Dance!

I must first admit yet again that I CANNOT DANCE! My parents sent me to dance classes for two years, and the only thing I learned was how dancing works. I never learned how to properly execute dance movements (I’m actually saving money to pay my dad back for those classes). Not being a good dancer has never stopped me from dancing anyway. I take “boogie breaks” everyday–even when I am depressed. I love music, as I wrote in “Welcome To Afrologik“. It has a great effect on my endorphins. When music is playing and I’m dancing, nothing on this or any other planet exists.

Music might not be your thing, but something is. The idea is to take time to get lost in something that makes you feel so good that you don’t care about whatever is going on around or within you. Find your good vibes zone and have a good time.

Brandi Badd Ass Snapchat video. Music courtesy of the mighty, mighty J5! Motown Records

4. Snapchat

There’s something about seeing and hearing how you would look and sound if you were a cat, rabbit, mouse, or monster that makes life seem not so serious.

5. Look At Nature

Look outside at the grass, trees, and wildlife. They have to deal with the weather and ungrateful humans who take their beauty for granted, yet they continue to grow and flourish. They are living things just like us and they never take themselves too seriously. If they can do it, so can you.

6. Give Your Emotions Carte Blanche

Our emotions are always warranted- don’t discount them. If you feel mad, sad, unsure, or just down, don’t try to control the feeling–only your reactions. Many times resolution is in recognizing our emotions. We can’t always be positive in negative situations. Allow yourself to feel however you are feeling for a while. Sometimes that is the minds way of working things out.

7. Treat Yourself, Don’t Cheat Yourself

(A scene from the 70’s sitcom “Good Times“)

Florida: One nice dinner isn’t gonna put us any closer to the soup line.

James: I know. If we were any closer, we’d be in the pot.

That was their attitude and they was living in Chicago, in the Cabrini-Green projects- barely keeping their heads above water. They made a good point though. If it’s not going to find you and your family hungry and homeless, treat yourself! You only live once and “live” is the operative word. You work hard for what you have and of course you want to maintain and/or enhance your lifestyle, but treating yourself when you can could very well be the fine line between sanity and insanity.

* Later in that episode, James became frustrated and threw a chair. You don’t want to become a chair thrower, so take time out to treat yourself.

Life is short, as they say, however it can be long and harsh when we take it too seriously. We spend most of our time on this planet being cautious. Break the chains sometimes and do something careless and selfish!

LIVE, LAUGH, & LOVE 💗

Or as my good friend Dav (like David lost his ID) would say:

BE STRONG, STAY SAFE, & HAVE FUN!

Feeling Good About YOU!

Loving Your Flaws When Others Do Not

“If you’ve not been criticized, booed, jeered, or such; it’s not because you have no flaws, but because you don’t count so much”

~Danny Thomas

I fell in love with that poem when I heard Danny Thomas say it at the end of a Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roast that was held in his honor. I’m not sure that these are his original words, but they really hit home for me. I’ve always had to deal with harsh criticisms from people who don’t understand me and aren’t interested in trying to. All they know is that I am different from what is acceptable as normal, and it sometimes seems most important to these people that I know that they believe me to be “weird“.

Some of Us March To Our Own Drummers/ Some of Us Have Our Own Rhythm Section

People who are not afraid to march to their own drumbeat often endure the criticisms of other people– sometimes even the ones that we love. Personally, I’ve been labeled with a plethora of adjectives that were used on me with the intent of hurting me or breaking me. Terms like: different, weird, crazy, strange, even retarded! Even more outlandish terms such as: snooty, stuck up, and selfish! (Clearly these are people who have never gotten to know me, or people who did something to get on my bad side). I think my favorite snide remark about me is: “You’re too much”. Because of the context in which it is used, that is ACTUALLY supposed to be an insult! I’ve always wondered if they knew that being “too much” is so much better that being “not enough“.

There was a time when those types of remarks would really sting. Especially when they came from relatives and so called close friends. I spent many years feeling as though I really did not “fit” anywhere. I felt unwanted so I tried to follow trend–at least enough to fit in amongst my peers. As a result, I started losing myself. Sure, I fit in and everyone thought I was cool, but I didn’t like myself so much anymore. I decided to take a time out for self assessment. I needed to decide which was more important: that “they” like me, or that I liked myself.

You Have To Live With Yourself

Of all of the components of this issue, there would be one thing that would never change– I would have to live with me for the rest of my life. No one else would ever be obligated to live with me forever except for me; so I’d better get as comfortable with myself as possible. With this mindset, I decided that fitting in to avoid criticism was no longer an option for me. Regardless of the general consensus, I would always be the me-est me that I could be!

I won’t pretend that this was easy– it wasn’t. In fact, at times it was physically and emotionally draining. I felt alone and misunderstood which moved me to create a fence around myself. That might not sound like a good idea but at the time it was necessary. I needed the time and space to get comfortable in my own skin. Even though I felt alone often, I believed that I truly needed the time to myself. I’m an extrovert, so this was a difficult but necessary step to take if I really wanted to get back to “me”.

I stopped going to clubs and parties. Most of the times that I spent time in these kinds of places was at the behest of people that I thought I needed to blend in with. Instead of going out to night clubs and parties, I started hanging out at Barnes & Noble at night on weekends. I’d always loved to read but I hadn’t read a book in a couple of years because I was too busy fitting in. In fact, books became an important part of this odyssey. I spent a lot of time in libraries as well. I read about everything that I saw. I had so many questions and there was a book or 100 for every question that I had. This new behavior aligned me with others who shared my newly reformed interest in reading. These were people that I met at Barnes & Noble or the library. Eventually, I started taking classes at a community college where I met even more people who loved to read and learn.

I did not completely cease contact with my party people–instead I inserted reasonable distance. From time to time, I’d still communicate with a few of them. I told the few that I still dealt with what I had been doing and where I had been going, and to my surprise, one or two of them became interested also. I will not take this as an opportunity to pat my own back but I have a couple of friends who are now very well read…because of me-the de facto weirdo.

Conversely, there were also people from my former band of associates who felt that I was “acting funny“. Being called uppity and sadity (I really cant stand that (non)word) didn’t bother me at all but rather, showed me that I was better off being in my own “little world” and away from such people. This would prove to be much better for me. I felt lighter, I smiled more, and strangers always seemed happy to have me around. This felt right. This was the life that I knew before my experiment with conformity.

Loving YOU

As time has moved on, I’ve found that I can comfortably be myself in any company and I never feel the need to readjust myself. On the rare occasion that I am uncomfortable in certain company, I simply remove myself–physically if possible. If I can’t remove myself physically, I remove myself mentally. I worked hard and had become brave enough to be accept my eccentricities –not take umbrage from those who couldn’t appreciate my “me-ness“. To this day, I dress differently, I speak differently, and my belief systems and are ideals are different compared to those of my peers– and if that ever changes, it will be only because I want to change them– not because they do not work with the masses. And people…well, they still have things to say. It usually comes back to me through the grapevine, but I never spend any time on their opinions. I wish them all well and move on with my life.

Stand Up To Stand Out/ Inventors vs Consumers

Not everyone is meant to be one of the crowd; some of us were placed on planet Earth to stand out. I call it “inventors vs consumers“. You have to be a little odd to be an inventor. To create something, you have to be able to think differently than the masses. Most of the things that have become necessities in our everyday lives were invented by weirdos–people who were talked about, ostracized, picked on, and misunderstood. The same can be said about the greatest leaders of the world. But they worked on their crafts and they made a difference in the world. They are all very important people and life as we know it would be very different had they decided to become one of the crowd in order to avoid ridicule. Consumers are equally important because obviously, someone has to buy and use these inventions, and by nature they follow. It’s us weirdos who provide the crowd with what they need in order to be cool.

I carry Danny Thomas’ poem in my mind because it reminds me that no one takes the time to criticize, jeer, or put down insignificant people. We actually have to qualify to be subject to insult. Our flaws are integral parts of who we are, they make us beautiful. Love your flaws and be flawsome as you go on to do great things– be they public or private victories. Stay steadfast, confident and vested in yourself!

Saying, “I Don’t Give A Shit”, And Then Actually Not Giving A Shit!

2 Steps To Not Giving A Shit

I know that the title is more pungent than usual, but that was the softest word that I could use to articulate my point. I suppose that I could have said something like, “Saying That You Don’t Care, And Then Not Caring“, but that really does not illustrate what I would like to say.

Humans spend a lot of time and energy on: things from the past, people from the past, current situations that can’t be changed, what others say, do, or think of them – and for what?

Anyone who has that kind of time and energy to waste should run to the nearest homeless shelter and put those resources to use with positive things. Wallowing and dwelling in the above stated issues is not only a waste of time, but no good can ever come from it. Why would you choose to exhaust mind power on things that make you feel terrible?

There are very few things in this life that us Earthlings have total control over. Other than ourselves, we really don’t have complete control over anything. Since that is the case, it’s wise to be very selective of what we choose to give a shit about. After you break it all down into sections, it’s plausible that you’ll conclude that most of the shit that you give a shit about isn’t worth a shit.

Family

Finance

Freedom

Friends (real friends)

Health

The world around us

Those are the best reasons for giving a shit. You have control over some, and are affected by them all. Quite honestly, from time to time it becomes necessary to not give a shit about some of those topics as well. However, those 6 topics serve as a good template for deciding what is worth your time and energy. If the situation at hand does not have an effect on any of the points that are listed above – why give a shit?

Say It Loud! And Then Do It…

Not giving a shit keeps you in the Good Vibes Zone. It’s amongst the most freeing statements that you will ever make- but only if you mean it. Can you fully commit to not being bothered by the things that you can’t change? Can you go through life knowing that people you really cared about have said unfavorable things about you? Can you sleep at night knowing that your most recent ex has moved on?

  1. Decide That You Are Not Going To Give A Shit
    This might take practice at first, but you have to commit to not giving a shit. That means not talking about it to every free set of ears that you come across, no taking your anger out on others, and no posting innuendo on social media. Any and all of the above stated acts means that you do give a shit. It’s important that you make sure that you’ve gotten past the emotional part of the situation. Not giving a shit does not always happen instantly. Take your time and wait until you are mentally and emotionally ready.

2. Don’t Give A Shit

    Go on with your life. Be busy, be active, be happy. Don’t let anyone intrude on your space with their drama. Simply tell anyone who tries, that you don’t give a shit. It’s funny how usually, you only have to say that once per person.

“This doesn’t affect me. I don’t give a shit”

~Afrologik

Priorities are based on personal perspective. Your own health, happiness and welfare should always be your first priority. Without those principles, you can’t function normally. We need to have you out here making the world a better place so if it doesn’t apply, let it fly. Simply, don’t give a shit!

12 Steps To Staying Youthful

Just a few moments ago, I went to the store to buy a nice bottle of Merlot (my favorite wine). I placed the bottle on the counter to be rung up by the cashier. The cashier; a man that I assumed to be in his early 40’s like myself, had a goatee with flecks of grey. Not a bad looking guy and very friendly. He asked to see my ID and of course I obliged him. He read my drivers license and looked back at me, “No way! No way were you born in 1975! I thought I was older than you” he said in what appeared to be amazement. Without conceit, I have to admit that I am used to this reaction whenever I am carded. I smiled and said, “Yup! It’s true. I was born in 1975“. I’m also used to his next statement (I could almost say it with him) “What’s your secret?” I gave my signature response, “Good genes“. He completed the sale after some brief banter, bagged my bottle and I was on my way.

While sitting in my car, I thought about it; is there anything that I am doing that increases my youthfulness, or is it really just genetic? I am vegetarian and I get at most the minimum amount of exercise in each day, nothing special. Maybe it really is just genetic.

As I began to to drive, I gave it more thought. What if anything am I doing differently? Slowly, some ideas started to materialize.

I’m going to make this perfectly clear before I give you my list. DO NOT STOP READING HERE! I am not going to state what is usually said about “How to stay young”. You know, the typical spiel: eat right, get rest, exercise. Honestly, I don’t do any of those things (even though they are all important). I’m vegetarian, as I said earlier, but a vegetarian lifestyle does not necessarily mean a healthy diet. Most days, I have to remind myself to eat. I’m an insomniac. 3 or 4 hours of sleep for me is a lot! Also, as I said earlier, I get the minimum amount of exercise in daily (and I have to force that sometimes). I’ll add (because most blogs on staying youthful include “Living a stress free” or “Less stressful” life) that I do not live a stress free or less stressful life. I am a mother and an employee. In other words, I. Have. Stress. So what is it that I do?

1- Don’t Call Yourself “Old”

You are what you say you are. If you say that you are old, then you are old and you will behave as such- plain and simple. When I look in the mirror, I see me– the same me that I saw at ages 10, 20, 30, and now 40+. If you do not think about age, then it will not become a factor.

2- Slow Down

Not everything is an emergency. Take time out during each day to breathe. Meditate. Focus. Assess. While doing this, often you will see that the situation isn’t really that urgent. Chill and don’t let little things get you riled up. Appreciate the the things that are presently right.

3- Don’t Act Your Age.

Us 40’s and older folks like to assume that certain things “come with the territory“. Why think of it that way? In fact, why think of it at all if you don’t have to? When you make up your mind that “these things will happen“, guess what? THEY WILL! And if they do, so what? It doesn’t have to interrupt your quality of life and it definitely does not have to affect your mindset. Whether you travel the Earth on two feet or roll through it in a wheelchair, only you have control over your mindset. Remind yourself that you’ve been through things before, and if you continue to have birthdays, you’ll go through more. Push through as you always have.

4- Don’t Carry Other People’s Weight

We all know people who seem to always have “drama” going on that they can’t wait to invade your space with. It’s okay to be an ear or even a shoulder, but leave the conversation at the last syllable. In reality, it’s not your problem. Earthlings will dump all of their issues on each other and as a result, the listener will walk away feeling tired and heavy from things that are not their problems. It’s okay to say to them, “I can’t listen to this anymore. I wish you well and I’m confident that things will work out in the way that they are supposed to“, and keep it moving. Allowing others to interrupt your energy will make you age like a banana.

5- Don’t Assume That Young(er) Means Dumb

Younger people are not dumb, they just have a different perspective on life. Watch them. Listen to them. Learn from them as you’d want them to learn from you. Let some of their youth transfer onto you by association. And shut up sometimes! Let them talk. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.

6- Try Something New

Don’t let age stop you from being daring and adventurous. Be as vibrant as you ever were. Be crazy! Go to a nudist beach, skydive, bungee jump (do people still do that?). Okay, some of that might be a bit far fetched, but you know what I mean. Break your old fogey, conformist chains and do something different and exciting. Maybe something that you’ve always wanted to do but never did. Revisit or create your bucket list. Awaken your inner child! He/she is probably getting bored…

7- Get Rid of Useless Relationships

As my children have heard me say millions of times : “If it ain’t growing, it’s dead“. Surround yourself only with those who feed you spiritually and or mentally, otherwise you are feeding yourself death. Don’t waste time on trying to change anyone or waiting for them to “get it”. It doesn’t take long to identify whether or not a person belongs in your life. Once an identification has been made and you find that they do not belong, either reassign their position or omit them from your life. There doesn’t have to be hard feelings on your part–only you have control of that, so choose to not have hard feelings. See! I just saved you from Crows Feet!

8- Dance As If No One Is Watching (even if everyone is watching)

Sometimes it’s fun to be foolish, so act a fool sometimes! You all should see me when the dancing mood strikes. I’ll get up and start dancing at any given moment. Am I a good dancer? HELL NO! But it puts me in the good vibes zone. I’m not always at home when this happens. I’m reminded of a day when I was at Journeys shoe store with both of my sons. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen played over the stores speakers and I began to sing along. LOUDLY (yes, even the operatic part). Soon, the sales staff had joined me in singing and acting out the lyrics. My sons were embarrassed but the salespeople and I had a great time. Throw etiquette to the wind now and then. In other words: get the stick out of your ass!

9- SMILE!

Even if you don’t feel like it. Walk into every room as if you are the star and everyone there is lucky to have you in their presence. Smile at people as though they are stars and you are lucky to be amongst them. Create that atmosphere everyday no matter where you are and your heart will grow more youthful.

10- Don’t Worry About What “They” Say Or Think

“They” can’t live or die for you so be happy and comfortable with who you are. As long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else– do you! There is a reason why there is only one you and there will never be another– because only YOU can do it! Do not let the “theys” of the world rob you of yourself. If your “circle” can’t subscribe to who you are, create a new circle. The world is HUGE and there are approximately 7.44 billion people in it; there is definitely a genre out there for you.

11- Make The Rules Work For You

I wouldn’t suggest that anyone break laws. The consequences probably wouldn’t be very enjoyable. However, rules are often easily manipulated. Go against the machine sometimes and make the rules work for you on your own terms. Be radical! That’s usually how change occurs.

12- Live Out Loud

Enjoy being you! You only get one time in space to do it. How do I do it? I do it to death!