Breaking Free

Blog #50! I Did It!

Blog number 50! I’m so proud. yet so humbled. I’m proud of myself, because I’ve stuck with it, and I’ve enjoyed the whole ride. Even with a crazy work schedule and life happening here and there (as life tends to do), I’ve hung in there and kept a schedule of, at first, two articles per week, and eventually three blogs per week, plus one vlog per week. Not too bad for a habitual quitter! (LOL!)

I am humbled, because of all of you who read my blogs, give input, and positive encouragement. It thrills, as well as drives me, to know that as I share my life, experiences, ideas, and logic with my readers, I am also helping others to deal with the craziness of their lives.  It feels great to know that my trials, demons, and mistakes have not been for nothing.  Thank you for allowing me to share parts of me, with you.

And a VERY special shout out to the world’s best editor, Dav Peters.  Sometimes, I miss an edit here and there.  If you should ever notice it, it’s me — not Dav! LOL!

It has also been cathartic for me.  As I said in “About MEEEE“, while writing Afrologik, I am growing with you, and we will get through “this thing called life” together.  I am inspired by you all and I hope that I have been as inspiring to you.

We All Go Home At Some Point

It’s kind of funny how, regardless of where the journey of life takes us, and no matter how far off course we may stroll, we always come back to our true selves. It may take longer for some than others, but eventually, we all come home.

Our mental and spiritual “home” is not necessarily who we were groomed to be. We all spend a great deal of our lives asphyxiated with the idea of doing things the way they’re “supposed” to be done, or acting the way that we are “supposed” to act. Responding to the concept of “fake until you make it“, it’s very easy to lose ourselves and conform to the norm.  We fake ourselves out, and lose the true spirit of who we are — usually to appease the masses. In the process, we even give ourselves the pseudo-importance of judging others for not being afraid to be the way they are — without regard to the masses — and without concern for the judgments of others. They are the true superheroes.  Their superpowers are strength and tenacity.  Those who judge, only do so because they are so afraid or ashamed of their lack of nerve, that they can’t understand those who possess the temerity to be, not who they were trained to be, but who they want to be.  It’s much easier to shield your natural self when you fear that you will not be accepted, than it is to express yourself.

The “Mean Ole Lion” Theory

I’m reminded of the movie, “The Wiz.  The “Mean Ole Lion” hid inside of a statue that sat on the steps of a library for a very long time, afraid to face the world, because he was different.  Unlike most lions, he was sensitive — scared even — instead of ferocious. Eventually, he had to break free from the statue, and when he did, he scared the hell out of Dorothy, The Scarecrow, and The Tinman.

A statue on the steps of a library is not unusual; we see statues everyday. However, it is unusual to see lion bust out of a statue — and even more unusual for that lion to burst into song and dance. But that was the kind of lion that Fleetwood Coupe de Ville (that’s the Lion’s real name) was. Even if he was frightened into becoming his true self, he did it!

So many of us humans spend our lives perched on the steps of a library, or any other building, hiding inside of a statue; because like the Lion, we are afraid that, if we show the world who we really are, it will scare the hell out of them.  The Lion being sensitive and not ferocious does not make him any less of a lion — just as you breaking free from your statue and embracing the person that you are makes you no less of a person who deserves love and respect.

Normal People Suck

Normal people pretty much suck.  Think about it; they are content to live in a statue, rather than enjoy life as the people that they are inside.  Normal people are lead by “supposed to be” and “supposed to do“, instead of their minds and souls.   I’ve been there, and it was very uncomfortable.  I can’t imagine how people can spent their entire lives that way; it would bore me to tears.  In fact, it did.

I’ve always been kind of quirky.  I come from a small, close minded town (I love my hometown, but it’s small and close minded), and quirkiness is not exactly accepted there.  While living there, I played the game for years (I played it my own way, but still, I played the game).  Around 2003, while working at a health food store, I met a real life hippy, named Mike.  Even though he and I bumped heads often, I learned a lot from him.  It was Mike who introduced me to holistic remedies and crystals.  I didn’t want to believe in the power of crystals, because it kind of went against everything that I had been taught, but I was very interested in holistic remedies and health food.

Mike, also had a machine that could zap parasites and other impurities in the human body. I’ll be honest, I thought Mike was a little crazy, but that was only because I was conditioned to believe that when you’re sick, you see a doctor, and when your heart is heavy, you pray. What Mike was showing me contradicted those ideas. Mentally, I was interested in everything that he had to say, but I couldn’t let him know that.

Don’t Be Ashamed of Finding Yourself

One day, Mike had a giant clear quartz crystal, and he called me over to the counter and asked me to touch it.  I held my hand near it, and I could feel it vibrating, so I drew my hand back.  Refusing to touch it after that, I looked at Mike and said, “nah man.  I ain’t touching that”, he laughed.  Later that day, when Mike wasn’t around, I went back to the counter and placed both of my hands on the crystal, and again, I felt it vibrating. I picked it up and examined it more closely as it continued to vibrate.  I looked it over, looking for a battery, a cord — something! It was no way that the crystal was not powered by electricity, I thought — but it wasn’t. It was just a powerful crystal. I never told anyone about that experience, because I knew that no one would understand it. However, that experience aroused my interest in the power of crystals, even to this day.

Over the years, I’ve met human beings (very few) whose spirit quality was as high as that of the quartz crystal that I touched on that day. I could feel their vibration, simply by standing near them — even more so if I touched them. Had I not allowed myself the right to be curious, and unashamed about trying new things — even if they went against what I had been taught to believe — I never would have allowed my mind to expand, and educate myself on things that most would dare to investigate — much less believe.  In part, those experiences brought me into myself, and out of my statue.

Energy And Spirit

The mind is very sophisticated.  If you feed it junk, it’ll learn to live on junk, and you’ll find yourself stuck in position, afraid to come into yourself.  And, ostracizing those who have. But, if you feed it life, it will continue to give life, and you will grow and try new things.  You’ll also learn to be happy with the person that you are.

Human beings are walking balls of energy and spirit.  As we travel through life, we cast that energy onto others. You are light, but when you stifle your growth, you are putting a lamp shade on that light.  Be a bald bulb. Be a flame.  Be the sun! Be a source of energy that gives life and promotes growth.  You cannot do any of these things from the inside of a statue.

You are amazing, and can go on to do amazing things, it you break free from  the chains that life, as well as yourself, have placed on you.  Expand your mind, and consider every possibility as beautiful; that’s the short cut to loving life, and loving yourself. Find people who will facilitate your growth.  I have three people in my life who inspire me to be happy with myself, and when I feel weak, I lean on them.  A strong support system is everything!

As “odd” as I know I may seem to be, it feels damned good to be me! I want everyone to feel that way about themselves.  Learn from the “Mean Ole Lion” and break free! If he can do it, you can do it!

“I’m a free spirit. A spirit that evolves. I’m a diamond. I’m just refining it. Polishing it. Glossing it up.”   

~Simeon Rice

 

 

When Your Strengths Are Their Insecurities

“Just Be Thankful For What You’ve Got”

~William DeVaughn

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

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

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

My Story

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

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

And Then Things Changed

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

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

Enough Became Enough

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

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

It’s Not Your Problem

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

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

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

~The Isley Brothers

Not Feeling Guilty About Our Guilty Pleasures.

Embracing Your Interests And Curiosities

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

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

Black people don’t...

Ladies shouldn’t …

White people can’t…

And the list goes on.

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

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

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

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

1) The Golden Era of Hollywood

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

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

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

2) Mafia Movies And Mafia Stuff

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

3) Charles Manson

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

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

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

Challenge!

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

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

~Walt Disney

Taking Care of Your “Right Now’s”

Allowing Yourself To Be Vulnerable

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

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

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

Self Assessment

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

Back Down Memory Lane…

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

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

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

That Can’t Be All…

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

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

I’m pissed. Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Damn… Can’t Even Run Away

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

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

What’s Next?

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

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

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

Mourning My Mother

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

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

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

Why Am I Sharing This With You?

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

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

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

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

Isn’t the universe amazing?

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

~ Tom Robbins

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

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.

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.