Celebrating Dr. King Day, Dr. King’s Way

Give Love For MLK Day!

It is very well known that Dr. King was a civil rights leader. However, when I listen to humans talk about and express discriminatory views toward certain groups of people, lifestyles, and classes — yet claim to understand and appreciate the struggles and sacrifices of the civil rights movement, it makes me wonder if they understand what the word “civil” means when relating to the civil rights movement.

Civil: Relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as district from military or ecclesiastical matters.

By that definition, “civil” means, everyone; thus, civil rights would mean justice for all people.

Of course, equal rights for Black people was at the forefront of the movement, due to the condition of Black communities — especially, but not exclusively, in the southern states. The plight of the Black populace was so horrendous that it definitely required immediate attention. So, yes, equal rights for Black people was the primary concern of the movement, but it was not the only concern.

The fight for civil rights included (but was not limited to): equal rights for women, poor people, alternative lifestyles — any people who were subjected to discrimination.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice, everywhere”

Any time we discriminate against each other, or unfairly stereotype each other, we are dishonoring an entire movement — people who sacrificed their livelihoods as well as their lives in an effort to make the world a better place for all people.

Nonviolence

In my lifetime, I’ve heard people criticize and say some pretty awful things about Dr. King, because of his use of nonviolence as a tactic. If this is what I’ve heard in my lifetime, I can only imagine the criticisms expressed as these events were happening in real time.

Hundreds of times, I’ve heard people say, after watching footage of dogs, and fire truck hoses being used on protesters in the 1960’s, that it couldn’t have been them — that they would have fought back. If I am to be honest with myself, I, too, would have to say that I would have certainly fought back. I’m not strong enough to be nonviolent, and neither are many of those who claim to have the stamina to to remain nonviolent while being spat on, called terrible names, kicked, pushed, beaten, and much more. Those of us who admit that we are not strong enough to withstand that type of abuse, even if it is for the betterment of the world, are more honest than those who say that they wouldn’t. It’s natural to strike back when struck or attacked in any way. It’s unnatural to stand still and allow yourself to be abused.

Going against nature and allowing themselves to accept abuse, because the greater good was more important, was very difficult. Unlearning human nature and learning to accept abuse and humiliation required practice. Classes were held in churches that taught protesters how to be nonviolent — how to take a punch, remain calm when they were being cursed at and spat on, and how to go limp and become dead weight when police would unfairly cuff them and drag them off to jail. Most of us could not handle that. I know that I couldn’t.

Nonviolence is the most courageous, revolutionary, and effective tactic that could have been used at the time. Most of us would allow ego and vanity to take over, because we are too weak to allow anyone to see or hear about us getting our asses kicked.

Dr. King knew that the news, being broadcast all over the world, was beneficial to the movement. If the world were to see how the United States treated its people, what would they think? Dr. King and the entire movement used the ego and vanity of a nation against itself (which is probably why LBJ became anxious to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But, that’s only my opinion). Those who would protest and march for the cause did so, fully aware that they would be beaten, humiliated, and that some would lose their lives, but that was not a deterrent, because they believed in the cause and was committed to making the world a better place. Conversely, we have people today who speak against marching, yet, none of those people are doing a thing to improve our situations. They’re weak. It takes far more courage and strength to take action, or be nonviolent, than it does to criticize and do nothing.

Although the efforts of the movement have increased our quality of life, we still have a long way to go. So, for MLK, 2019, don’t sleep in! Don’t have a lazy day! Celebrate our beloved martyr by taking action and becoming a part of the community. Take someone to register to vote (you don’t have to wait until election time to do so), help someone who can’t do for themselves, spend time with someone who is shut in or locked up, talk to young people about the movement, so maybe they won’t take their rights for granted. No effort is too small, if it comes from the heart.

If we can learn to love each other, we can live together without the use of racial or homophobic slurs and classist statements. There’d be no more need for some to be inferior so others can be superior. There’d be no division — just a a beautiful world full of beautiful people, beneath an awesome Universe. We are all afforded the right, at birth, to simply “be“. Love was Dr. King’s theme. Let’s pass it on.

“I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say, on that day, that Dr. King tried to love somebody”

~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April 3, 1968.

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

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!

Are You Blocking Your Own Happiness?

Finding Happiness Within Yourself

2015 was a terrible year for me. Anything that could go wrong, did; from very minor things to very major things. Some things seemed to go wrong simply for the sake of going wrong. In fact, whenever I think back to that year, the sentence that comes to mind is: “That year tried to kill me!”. I know that sounds ridiculous. How can a year try to kill someone? Yeah, it can’t happen right? No, it can’t. However, the events of that year tested my will, strength and spirit so often that following an incident that I felt was “the last straw“, I really tried to end it all. Obviously I survived it, but my life changed forever.

Fast forward to 2018. I am here on planet Earth in physical form and everyday is not a good day. In the past three years, plenty of things have gone wrong. Some of those things were happenstance and many of them were entirely my fault. I’ve always taken responsibility for my own indiscretions; some of which have been redundant. I’ve often questioned myself as to why I choose to repeat certain behaviors or actions that have proven themselves to be self destructive (at most). My answer was always “because I’m unhappy”.

If you know me personally and have spent time around me- or even if you only know me from social media, you know that I am almost always laughing, joking, and smiling. But I’ve spent a lot of time being unhappy, even when I’m seemingly elated. If you’ve never worn that mask, you cannot know how tiring it is to live that double life. So, I asked myself a different set of questions: What would make you happy? What makes anybody happy? Are there happy people? Well… first, let’s define “happy“.

According to Webster Dictionary:

Happy: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.

In my opinion, happiness is also a feeling of fulfillment. In fact, since I don’t like the word “contentment” (sounds too much like settling) lets replace it with “fulfillment”. So, what makes a person feel pleasure and fulfillment?

That would depend on what a person want’s out of life. Most people believe that money will do it. If you hit the $250 million dollar jackpot, would you really be happy? An even better question; would you really be happier than you are right now? Probably not. And if so, not for long.

Of course money offers security and less worries about financial issues when used correctly. It can also afford you some of life’s luxuries — but it cannot improve the quality of your life if you do not value your life in its present tense. Affluent people are not always happy. They suffer from some of the same issues that us regular people have. A monetary issue cannot be the sole source of your unhappiness. If you do some soul searching you might find that personal happiness is already inside of you, but it is you who keeps burying it with worry.

Why Are You Robbing Yourself?

Most of the time our problems are merely the results of our own bad decisions. If you are alive to read this, no matter how bad the situation may be, you can do something about it.

1. Is It Something From The Past That You Can’t Forgive Yourself For?

If so, then don’t waste time trying to forgive yourself! I made it a rule to never make apologies to myself but only to those that I have offended. Instead of forgiving myself, I take the lesson and move forward with it. That is much more valuable than a self apology. Growth comes with all lessons and we all need to grow for as long as we are alive. So let it go, but keep the lesson.

2. Are You Not Doing Your Best At Everything That You Do?

You are not going to be an expert at everything that you try — And that is the good news, my friends! If everyone was an expert at everything then we wouldn’t need one another, and it would be a lonely life. What matters is that you always give your personal best and don’t be afraid to fail, because you most definitely are going to fail!And that too is good news! Some of life’s most important lessons are learned through failure. Use your strongest skills to give to your family and community. Doing for others and making a difference will provide happiness that is immeasurable. Even when you are at your lowest, give if you can. Never do things for recognition. If your deeds are acknowledged, awesome! If not, you did it from your heart and the universe will recognize that. You never know, it could be a test.

3. Is A Bad Relationship Bringing You Down?

If doesn’t matter if it is a friendship, familial, romantic, or even a business relationship. If it is not making you feel like giving the world your best “You” — you don’t need it. Smiles show on the outside, but they start on the inside. The people that you choose to have around you should provide that for you, and you for them. Life won’t be a field of sunflowers everyday in your personal relationships but the bond needs to be strong enough to assure you that the storm will indeed pass and soon it will be sunshine and sunflowers again. Are you getting as much as you are giving? Are you afraid to make a change? Sometimes taking self inventory is a very hard thing to do, but it is necessary for growth and happiness. Maybe you won’t need to end relationships but change their positions. I was talking to my Aunt Lee once about a friendship that I was in that suddenly changed, and she asked me, “Is he/she your best friend for 20 years, or was he/she your best friend 20 years ago?”. When someone is not bringing out the best in you, it’s time to either make omissions or rearrange the ranking of the relationship.

4. Love: Are You Getting It/Giving It?

One area of my life that I have always felt as though I am the luckiest person in the world is in the love department. I have always been surrounded by people who love me. They might not always like me, but I know that they love me. I can only pray that I can love them all back as aggressively. I don’t know what it is like to feel unloved, but I know what it is like to feel unlovable.

If you are blessed enough to have people who love you in your life, reach out to them when you are feeling down. You don’t have to tell them what is going on with you if you choose not to. Hearing that the people you love are doing well could aid in lifting your spirits. It might also give you some ideas about what you would like to do with your life. Or it could simply reassure you that being happy is still possible — even for you!

For those who are short on family or friends, you still have love to give. Go out and do something for a stranger. You could also take a class or join a club; these are all things that can give you a feeling of accomplishment and ultimately happiness!

5. Get The Chip Off of Your Shoulder!

Okay, okay, okay!!! So life is hard sometime. In fact, sometimes it just plain SUCKS! We’ve all been there once or twice. That is no reason to wear a permanent scowl and spread your bitterness. Positive energy can change anything. If you throw positive energy into the universe, it will return that energy to you. If the world is afraid to approach you because you decide to wear your wounds, then you will be miserable. Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it (I hate platitudes, but that one fit). Wearing your wounds and dwelling on what is wrong will only guarantee you more misery that you will likely suffer through alone, so don’t alienate yourself! However, if things are so bad that you cannot fake it through the day, take some personal time to work things out at your own pace. If necessary, seek professional help.

6. There Is No Microwave Approach To Happiness

Beware of “instant happiness” for it will leave you as suddenly as it comes. New cars get old, the latest wireless devices are upgraded on a yearly basis, new clothes are only new until you wear them. I could go on and on… Take your time and dig deeply into your heart and psyche and find what makes you smile on the inside. Focus on that! Whatever it is, it should not be something that you can physically touch or even describe. Find the thing inside of you that is holding your happiness hostage and free yourself of it. Then you will exude happiness. Others will feel it simply because you are there.

Us humans vibrate 24–7/365. If we all vibrate toward positivity, it can be a happy life for us all!

And to answer my own questions:

What would make me happy? As I evolve, so will the things that make me happy. I send and receive love. As long as that is a constant, I am happy.

What makes anybody happy? That’s up to them.

Are there happy people? Yes, there are!

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

2 Steps To Not Giving A Shit

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

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

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

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

Family

Finance

Freedom

Friends (real friends)

Health

The world around us

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

Say It Loud! And Then Do It…

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

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

2. Don’t Give A Shit

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

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

~Afrologik

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