Musings of a young black weirdo

Maybe…

Maybe if I [verb], [noun] can/can’t/will/won’t/would/wouldn’t [verb].

Maybe if I act white, people won’t think I’m a stereotype.

Maybe if I wear expensive clothes, I can impress the cool kids.

Maybe if I have sex with him, he will love me.

Maybe if I act smart, people won’t realize I don’t know what’s going on.

Maybe if I act dumb, people won’t think I’m so weird.

Maybe if I act straight, I can keep my friends.

Maybe if I smoke weed, I can forget about my problems.

Maybe if I don’t get in his way, he won’t hit me.

Maybe if I cut myself, I will feel better.

Maybe if I throw up my food, my parents will stop fighting.

Maybe if I steal these shoes, my mom will finally pay attention to me.

Maybe if I get all A’s, my dad will come back.

Maybe if I act “normal,” I will eventually be “normal.”

Maybe…

Get uncomfortable.

Why is it that we focus on what’s easy to obtain over what’s difficult? Since when has “easy” been better than “hard”? Whatever happened to being proud of a conquest? There’s no pride in catching roadkill over a giant deer. There’s nothing to be excited about when you get an A in PE class as opposed to an A in organic chemistry. Why is it that people have gone against their natural instinct to hunt just so they can go for what’s right in front of them?

I think it’s part of being in the ME generation. We are used to and expect people to give us everything we want, and when they don’t, we get discouraged. We aim way lower than we know we’re capable of so that our self-esteem is not in danger of being bruised.

It’s so easy for us to continue doing what’s comfortable and easy because we’re used to it. We can stay in the exact same place and not have to worry about failure, getting hurt, or being vulnerable. We don’t have to challenge ourselves. But if we never challenge ourselves, we will never grow. We will never be able to look back and realize how far we have come. Challenge is uncomfortable and scary, but it’s completely necessary if we want to continue to survive.

A lot of challenges in life involve you taking control of your life and not just “allowing” things to happen to you. Sometimes, a challenge can be as simple as getting more sleep, eating a little better, or taking more pride in your appearance. All these things will result in you taking better care of yourself, but they’re challenging because they call for you to begin a new habit. Other times, though, challenging yourself involves taking initiative at work, at school, or in your personal life. Do you want more money? Pick up more hours, ask for a raise, or get a second job. All these things are scary because they challenge our current lifestyles. They change our perception of life and the world around us. They keep us from staying comfortable.

There is always a choice.

One of my favorite quotations is from the second Fantastic Four movie. Sue Storm is talking to the Silver Surfer, and she’s asking him why he’s destroying all the planets. (I hope this doesn’t ruin the movie. Oh well.) He says, simply enough, “I have no choice,” and Sue Storm replies “there is always a choice.” It’s a really short exchange between the two characters, but it’s always stuck with me for some reason. We always have a choice. No matter what.

Every time something happens to us that seems to be out of our control, we complain instead of fixing things. Whether your boss cut your hours, your car is messing up, or you’re fighting with someone close to you, instead of doing something about it, you complain. But why? The quick answer is because we can’t help it, we can’t change things, or we don’t know how to change it. The real answer is because we are so comfortable (even in bad situations) that we don’t want to change from the familiar to something foreign to us.

Logic tells us that if something in our lives is bad, we’ll attempt to avoid it at all costs, but we see people and situations that prove otherwise every day. We all have that one friend that keeps going back to a horrible boyfriend/girlfriend, that one family member that is always in and out of jail, and that one co-worker that absolutely hates her job but hasn’t been looking for another. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we stay in unhealthy situations when we know those situations are taking a toll on our physical and mental health?

We’re creatures of habit. We would rather stay in a predictable situation than take a chance by changing something, even if it is for the better. Searching for jobs is hard, especially in this economy. There aren’t any good men/women out there and I don’t want to be alone. If I stop doing what my friends do, then who will I hang out with?

I know so many people that complain about living in Kentucky. How many of them have left or even made an attempt to leave? Not that many. Sure, most of those people are in school, but if KY is that bad, then get out. Credits transfer. You always have a choice. The choice isn’t always pretty. It may be full of difficulties and sacrifices. You might have to go to a more expensive school, lose your scholarship, get pushed back a semester, or meet new friends, but for some people, the change might just be worth it.

Take responsibility for yourself and your happiness. If you know a certain situation isn’t good for you, don’t let any person, place, or thing keep you from finding peace or pursuing your dreams.

The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that’s the day you start to the top.

Life is too short to be unhappy or blame other people or circumstances for the quality of your life. Change or don’t, it’s up to you. But don’t make excuses.

I was at work today, and one of my co-workers asked me to cut a few dead leaves off a plant. Other than those two or three leaves, the plant was big and beautiful with thick, green leaves. I cut the dead leaves off the plant, and now it looks even healthier than it did before.

I tell that simple story to make a point: pruning the dead leaves off a plant doesn’t harm the plant; it helps the plant to thrive. Getting rid of people/things/situations that aren’t healthy for you may be uncomfortable or scary at first, because you are afraid to lose something that you have been accustomed to for so long, but at the end of the day, you will grow and thrive even more than if you were to continue to hold on to it.

Take the time to reflect on why that is. Are you afraid to let go because you are truly sad to see that person/thing/situation go, or is it because you don’t know who or what you’ll use to fill the void left by your friend/significant other/job/unhealthy lifestyle? Most likely, it’s the latter. The familiar, as unhealthy and dangerous as it may be, is comfortable, and we as humans love to be comfortable. We hate change, we hate different, and we hate anything that messes up our “normal,” even if our versions of normal include toxic people, toxic environments, or dangerous habits (binge drinking, drugs, overeating, compulsive shopping, etc.). Taking these things away mean creating a void in our lifestyles.

What will you use to fill that void? I can’t answer that question for you. What I can say is that you will find something to fill that void if you are truly ready to let go of negative people/things/situations and create more positivity in your life. Good luck :)

**This post is partially inspired by the book I’m currently reading: Bad Childhood Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.**

Nothing.

I’m gonna preface this post by informing/reminding yall of something really quickly: I’m like 80% hippie, but I’m gonna try really hard to make this NOT into a rant about how the government and corporations don’t care about us. Ok, with that being said, here’s my latest post *pulls back curtains*

Look around. Right now. Look around you, especially if you’re in your house/room. Do you see all the stuff everywhere?! Now look again, but this time, look slower. Make a mental note of all the stuff you haven’t looked at, touched, or interacted with in more than a month. Granted, most of the stuff you use frequently is in plain sight, but bear with me. Since you haven’t interacted with this item in more than a month, why do you still have it? Is it sentimental, something really trendy that you have only worn/used once, or maybe a book/magazine you finished reading last year?

Stuff tends to accumulate quickly. A keychain here, a shirt there, a DVD somewhere… They clutter our rooms, our minds, and our lives. We buy it or get it for free. We collect it, clean it, lose it. We allow it to take up space in our [usually cramped] living spaces. For what? Does it add value to your life? Does it truly make you happy? [I'm gonna pause here so you can think about that one.] And while you’re thinking about that, think about the things in life that make you happy, whether it be puppies, your significant other, or going to the beach. I’m willing to bet the things that make you happy aren’t sitting around cluttering up your room.

Advertisers are paid to make you think you need more stuff. More stuff to be more productive, more happy, more beautiful, and more perfect. Yall know how I feel about perfect. [Hint: read my last post :) ] Perfect is in the eyes of the beholder. So are productive, happy, and beautiful. When was the last time Google Docs, Kevin Hart, or Maybelline made anyone happy? You are bombarded with advertisements for everything dozens [hundreds?] of times a day. Buy this, eat that, go here. For what? For happiness? I can guarantee you were happy that time you went to that party because you were slightly inebriated with your friends, not because you were dripping sweat in a $15 brand new dress from Charlotte Russe and some Cover Girl makeup.

How often do we buy things because they’re trendy, new, or the latest updated version? Why do we do this? So we can compete with everyone else? So we can feel worthy? So we can feel important? More importantly: does it work? Do you put on your new J’s and feel important? Or are you secretly sick to your stomach that you just spent $200 on shoes that are too expensive to get dirty wear? How often do people come in your house and look at your collection of J’s that are never worn… in boxes… in the back of your closet?

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” - Will Rogers

I’m not telling you to get rid of everything you own. If you feel the need to, go ahead. Google “minimalism;” you’re in good company. What I am telling you is that your self-worth and self-esteem don’t come from stuff. They come from inside you, and no amount of designer clothes, iWhatevers, or food can change that. You control your stuff. Don’t let stuff control you.

“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” - Donald Horban

The next time you’re in the mall, watching tv, or flipping through a magazine, I challenge you: look at an advertisement and realize that the newest Polo shirt, junk food, or hair product won’t make you happy. YOU decide what makes you happy, not some advertising executive 2,000 miles away.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” - Will Rogers

Perfect.

I hate Perfect.

Perfect is what makes people compare themselves to others and hate themselves.

Perfect is what stole integrity, honesty, and trust from human relationships.

Perfect is what keeps people from enjoying their lives, forces people to turn to substances for understanding, and allows people to tear others down.

Perfect is the cousin of impossible, the husband of society’s beauty standards, and the brother of every -ism and addiction in society.

Perfect is a human creation used to describe the unattainable and the ultimate good, but it has turned into a reason for people to lie, scheme, and connive their way to the top.

Perfect is anxiety.

Perfect is depression.

Perfect is envy, anger, and sadness.

Perfect is hate.

I hate Perfect.

I will NEVER understand why someone will have a perfectly good man or woman who treats them well and go and mess it up. I’m not talking about people who cheat or do shady stuff in general. There are plenty of people that talk about you every day. I’m talking about the people who are the first to brag about their relationships and how great their boyfriends/girlfriends are but then take advantage of, ignore, or are just horrible to them. I know a handful of young ladies who have good boyfriends right now. These young men will wine, dine, and take good care of their women. These men will give their women any and everything if the could, and they are giving 100% of themselves to their relationships (and they’re cute on top of that!). These are the men for whom women search for years.

I know you’re probably thinking “dang, if I had a man like that, I would do everything for him!” [Insert neck roll, lip smack, "mmhmm," or other stereotypical "sista girl" behavior here. I won't tell anybody.] The sad thing is, some women have these men and are constantly picking fights, nagging, or just being rude to them. For what?! What did he do to make you do that to him? I’m no expert on men, but I’m 99% sure a man doesn’t want Wendy Williams, his mother, or a Eva [from Deliver Us From Eva] as his girlfriend.

We women are good for expecting men to treat us a certain way [like a princess, queen, or other royal figure], but we don’t deserve anything from him. We earn his love, respect, and devotion. Your appearance may catch his eye, but your personality is what keeps him.

Ladies, our problem is that we don’t want to lose in the eternal power struggle that is man vs. woman. If we spend all of our time catering to a man, we are weak. But guess what? If we spend all our time rejecting a man’s love, we’ll be not only weak [strong people are able to accept love, compliments, and affection], but we’ll also drive the man away and be lonely. Now don’t get me wrong; you don’t have to tie his du-rag on, run a bubble bath, and cook dinner every night. You don’t even have to go buy him the new J’s when they come out or a G-Shock in every color in the rainbow. All you have to do is……… [wait for it.....]

Just love him. It’s that simple. Remember all those conversations yall had when you first got together about each other’s favorite movies and songs and colors? Why not go and buy him Transformers on DVD since he still hasn’t gotten around to buying it? Or make him a mix CD of his favorite singers/rappers? Or just listen to him if he wants to vent about his day. If he asks you to do something [within reason], do it for him. Without complaining, expecting something in return, or rolling your eyes. Is it really that hard to run by the store and get him some deodorant because he’s about to run out? You know you don’t want him stinking anyways. Just do it. Especially if he just took out YOUR trash at YOUR house, changed YOUR oil, or bought YOUR mama something for Mother’s Day. Don’t expect him to keep taking you out to eat if you can’t even do the simplest of things.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me, but if your man just went to three stores looking for that specific type of ice cream and all you did was snatch it and walk away, don’t expect him to stay there getting played.

And men, this also applies the other way around. :)

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