Consistency And Personal Achievements

Blog #30. THANK YOU!

It Has All Happened So Fast

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

I’ve Done This Before

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

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

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

Gotta Be Consistent At Something

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

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

Fast Forward

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

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

I’ve Got No Game

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

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

THANK YOU!!!💜💜💜

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

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

~Russell Simmons

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

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*

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

How To Handle Introductions To Unpleasant People

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

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

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

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

Also known as a “Gut Feeling”*

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

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

  • Consider the source

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

  • Consider yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!