Ending It Before It Ends You

Ending It Before It Ends You

You find yourself in the middle of your floor, once again wiping your tears of heartbreak, frustration and anger.

Here you go again, crying over the same old shit.

You can’t call on your friends because they’ve listened to you until they reached their own breaking point and to be honest, they are tired of giving you advice you refuse to take.

“You gotta leave him alone”  is what keeps replaying in your head, something that has been told to you countless of times and something that you told yourself more than a million times before.

But you can’t.

You seem to have an unbreakable addiction to someone who is simply no good for you.

You go through the tortuous cycle of saying you’re done and you even keep your word to yourself for a couple days, weeks, even months and then suddenly that person may call or text or ya’ll might talk because you initiated the conversation and suddenly everything you said you wouldn’t do goes out the window.

Of course you’re drained emotionally behind this, but no matter what– you can’t seem to close this chapter in your life.

Your personal situation may not be exactly what I described above, but I know for a fact that if you are reading this, you may have issues in ending certain things and moving forward.

I will also say that it is something incredibly terrifying about letting someone go.

Toxic people are kind of like our favorite books: We keep re-reading the same stories over and over again because we feel connected to the characters, we know the entire story line and plot twists and overall, its honestly a good read. We can curl up with that book anytime we please and even though we may read other books from time to time, we come back to our favorite because we enjoy the familiarity of it.

Something else I have noticed is that most of us have a hard time letting toxic people go because of all the time and the energy we’ve invested into them.

To put it simply, you may feel like if you leave them alone for good then that means you have wasted your time. You may not want to see them with anyone else, because you feel that no one deserves to know them like you do, feel what you’ve felt from them, or simply be able to bask in their presence. You may have been their shoulder to cry on, their ear when they needed someone to vent to, their number 1 supporter in all their endeavors, and so on and so forth. You feel like you built them up so you stay, going against everything your mind is telling you.

But… there’s always that little tiny voice in your head.

You know deep down inside that person doesn’t deserve you.

You know deep down inside you should treat yourself better.

So where do you find that strength?

Where do you find the balls to end things before it ends you?

First things first: Be real and I mean really be R E A L with yourself and acknowledge that you settled bruh. Stop sugar coating the situation and shed the light on what’s REALLY going on.

Here are a few things I constantly have to remind myself so that I can keep moving forward:

  • The amount of time you have spent with someone should not be an excuse for their mistreatment. Stop holding on to those pleasant memories because you refuse to face reality. As a habitual daydreamer, I’ll be the first to let you know that you can’t live in fairy tale land forever. When people  show you their true colors, believe them!
  • Stop thinking you need closure! Sometimes you have to leave situations and people exactly where they are. You may be “done” but the moment you tell yourself that you need closure will be the moment that you re-open the exact same door you were struggling to close. Toxic people are experts at emotional manipulation, so they know exactly what to do or say to keep you in their life.
  • Stop putting yourself in the position to make the same old mistakes. Nobody is perfect and we all have slip ups, but you must be able to hold yourself accountable as well. Discipline yourself! So for a while, you may not be able to kick it with that toxic person, hang out in the same friend group, respond to their phone calls or texts or be friends with them on social media. Your best bet is to stay away from them until you are completely out of your vulnerable state.
  • If you are a praying person, you must CONSTANTLY pray that you stay strong and break your addiction to this toxic person. Pray for your heart to be healed and for your mind to stay sane. Allow God to fix the emotional damage you’ve experienced. There are a lot of things I KNOW I can’t handle on my own no matter how hard I try, so I had to learn to leave it at God’s feet.
  • Lastly, you have to forgive them AND yourself. Forgiving them will truly free you from the situation, but that does not mean they deserve to be back in your life.Set your boundaries! In the spirit of accountability, you must forgive yourself for allowing yourself to be mistreated for however long and settling for less than what you knew you deserved.
  • I’ll conclude by saying this: There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving someone unconditionally. But when that love you have for someone else is compromising your sanity, morals, and own self value, then its best to end it before it ends you!

 

#WriteYourselfALoveLetter: Dear Kia…

#WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge

Dear Kia,

First of all, I must admit how awkward it is to write a letter to myself but even more awkward for me to let everybody and they mama read it LOL. But I created this challenge for a reason, so I must play by the rules.

As you know Kia, this letter comes at a time when you haven’t been feeling like yourself. Your energy has been off, you haven’t felt loved, you haven’t felt inspired or inspiring, you haven’t felt pretty enough, you’ve been feeling used and disrespected. You’ve been feeling stuck and unappreciated.

But somehow, despite what you may feel, you look at each day as an opportunity to start fresh and new, and that is something I really admire about you Kia.

I love you because your heart and your spirit is one that can transform the world and touch the lives of everyone you come across. I love you because your love is the fire that will ignite anyone, the passion to fulfill any dream and all the words needed to uplift and encourage. You love so openly, yet you protect yourself because you know how fragile and valuable your heart is.

I love you because you’re giving. Whether it is a listening ear or aiding someone in need, you give without ill intentions, without throwing it back in someone’s face. You give without conditions and your heart to serve others is boundless.

I love you because you are unafraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Your flaws have made you who you are at this very moment, and they give you a unique story to tell. I love you because you strive to take care of yourself mentally and that you encourage others to do the same. I love you because you are growing to be very unapologetic, and that even when people don’t like or agree with who you are, you don’t try to please them.

I love you because you seek to define yourself to yourself. You don’t allow yourself to be put into boxes, and you embrace how multifaceted you are. I love you because of your complex layers, for they bring you a special surprise each day.

I love your humor. I love the sound of your laugh. I love the lines that form around your mouth when you start smiling, and the way you throw your head back when something is hilarious to you. I love the way your eyes sparkle when you look at people and how brown they are. I love the way your eyelashes curl and I adore the shape of your eyebrows.

I love the way you think and your curious intellect. Not only are you book smart, you are filled with so much wisdom too. I love how you ask questions, how you form your opinions, how open your mind is. If there is one thing that no one can take away from you, it is your ability to think for yourself, regardless of what anyone else is saying.

I love how both introverted and extroverted you can be.. It means you understand the tranquility of being alone, but you also know the power of being around like minded people.

I love you because you understand how much of a loving, beautiful, and valuable woman you are. I love how you refuse to let anyone or anything stunt your growth, how you won’t allow others to mistreat you and how you refuse to settle for less than you deserve. Sometimes its hard for you to believe because you may make the same mistakes over and over again, but then you snap out of it and realize that in life there are truly no mistakes, only lessons learned.

I love how dedicated you are when you truly want to achieve something. You never give up, you keep going no matter how long it takes. You don’t wait around on others to anything, you have always had such an independent and innovative spirit.

I love you because you value healthy relationships with both friends and family. I love that you will go above and beyond for them while still holding on to your sanity, yet love them fiercely enough so they don’t want have to question you. I love how you strive to always love them unconditionally, encourage them and support their dreams.

Speaking of dreams, I love that you believe in the power of your own. The things you want to do in your life will change the hearts and minds of many, but I love that you believe that if you touch at least ONE person, you know that your work matters.

I love how you support others. It literally brings a smile to my face to see how you will show others that you care.

I love your passion and intensity. In a world where so many will force themselves to be robots, I love how you will show your anger, your temper, your love, your sadness… It shows that your heart is working and that you care.

I love how you are constantly growing. You are not the same person from 1 year ago, 5 years ago and I am sure that you will not be the same person 15 years from now.

I love you because you command and demand respect everywhere you go, from everyone you meet. If you are disrespected, I love how unafraid you are to correct that person and go about your day.

I love you because you will always stand up for people and stand up for what is right. No matter if people disagree with you.

I love you because you are working on having a more forgiving heart. It is not easy, but you are trying and I commend you on the effort.

I love you because you are beautiful, but not only because of the way you look. It is more so because of the way you make yourself feel, and how you touch those around you. You are inspiring. Own that. You are inspiring. You may not see it right now, but I see it everyday.

I love you because you know that there is sometimes “good” in goodbye and how you will protect yourself from negative energy by any means necessary. I love how unafraid you are of hard work and how you adapt to change so well.

I love you because you don’t let your life’s circumstances define who you are, hold you back, or keep you down. Though you’ve been in some tough situations, you always bounce better than ever before.

I love the fact that you are a writer, and that you know your pen can take you places. I love how you let it describe your feelings, how it has told amazing stories and how it has healed you.

I love you because even in the midst of life’s storms, you manage to find peace within you.

I love the woman that you are but I know I will really love the woman that you are becoming..

I love you simply because you are you.

Kia Smith.

Kia Cherrice Joy Smith to be specific.

Filled with sugar, sass, and a whole lot of class.

Who is about as multifaceted as they and as outspoken as she pleases.

Who loves God and herself.

Who loves herself and others.

I love her. And I love you.

I love you Kia and don’t you ever forget it.

 

Sincerely,

Kia

Write Yourself A Love Letter Challenge

Write

Hey everyone!  I know it has been a while and I honestly have so much to share with you all but before I get into all that, I come to you all with a challenge.

Often on social media, I notice how easy it is to compare ourselves to others. It has always amazed me how easy it is for us to to make our lives seem so perfect on the camera.

How many of us find it hard to be confident in ourselves due to that person on Instagram with the thousands of followers, that girl on Twitter with the pretty hair, or that person on Facebook that is always sharing their success stories?

Though there is nothing wrong with people celebrating and affirming themselves, I know how much of toll that can take on people who may not feel as confident.

You may not feel pretty enough.

You may wonder how that person affords to go on so many trips.

You may wish your body looked as good as someone else’s.

You may wish you were as inspirational, funny, wise and witty like your social media faves.

 

I get it. We’ve all been there before. Hell, I have even been there before.

Therefore I have a challenge.

Why not celebrate you?

Why not affirm yourself instead of pointing out your flaws?

Why not share with the world what makes you so great?

Why not…. write yourself a love letter?

You heard (well, read LOL) me right.

This challenge is an idea I came up with so I could help people have healthy perceptions of themselves using social media. As I stated above, social media sometimes distorts our view of other people’s lives and may cause us to doubt ourselves. While constantly looking at the lives of other people, we may begin to question ourselves and point out our flaws.

In my opinion, that’s not healthy. You shouldn’t compare yourself to others because you don’t know what another person is going through to achieve a lifestyle that looks good on camera.

Also… no one else is YOU, and that fact alone is exactly what makes YOU so great.

If you kept reading this far, I’m sure you’re wondering..

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?

It’s super simple. All you would need is.

A pen, pencil, crayon, or anything else you use to write with.

A piece of paper or whatever you use to write on.

Now here’s where things get interesting.

You can either TWEET a love letter about you using the hashtag #WriteYourselfALoveLetter

You can use a mirror and record yourself reciting your love letter on either YouTube or Twitter or Instagram. Or even Periscope if you use that. Please use the hashtag #WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge

You can choose your favorite picture (preferably a selfie) of yourself or a collage of pictures of you and post it to Instagram or Facebook, and copy your love letter in the caption.

Whatever you choose to do, please remember to link back to my blog. With your permission, I will post your love letter to yourself on my blog weekly or bi-weekly.

I will post my own love letter to myself, which will be dropping very soon… *winks*

This challenge is open to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, etc. There is no time limit on this challenge, and the only rule to remember is that this challenge is to promote positivity, self-love, and healthy perceptions of yourself. No negativity, no pointing out your short-comings… Just all love.

Happy love letter writing everyone! I can’t wait to read you all’s letters..

 

The Myth of The Power Couple

24755ea176d0372bd243bec29278bb02

Once upon a time, there was this girl who was MADLY infatuated with this guy because she was obsessed with being a power couple with him.

She was a writer, and he… well let’s just say he was an upcoming entrepreneur as well. He was talented, attractive, and deeply engrossed in his grind. Literally nothing stopped him and every obstacle he was faced with, he overcame.

Needless to say, she was enamored with him. She thought they could be the next Jay-Z and Beyonce, Kim and Kanye, hell even the next Meek and Nicki… powerful people making powerful moves while loving each other and looking good while doing it.

They started off as friends and she was one of his BIGGEST supporters. She was there for the long days and nights, supporting every event and giving him pep talks when he needed it.

She decided she wanted to BE with him, although he made it very clear that a committed relationship and settling down wasn’t something he wanted for himself at the moment.

She didn’t listen and she definitely didn’t care.

She figured she could MAKE him want to be with her, so she gave herself to him: mentally, sexually, and emotionally. The more she got attached to him, the more he pulled himself away.

Because nothing she did seemed to work, she began to question herself.

“Is it me? Am I not good enough?” she asked herself aloud one day.

Her feelings constantly got hurt because while she was infatuated with him and made herself available to him whenever he wanted, he carried on as if she didn’t mean much, as least not as much as he meant to her.

She began to get angry and presented him with many ultimatums.. All which he didn’t care about. So she decided to fall back to see if he would come to his senses.

She wanted him to see how great of a woman she was.

She wanted him to realize that she was “the one” for him.

She wanted all her hard work that went into getting him not to be in vain.

She wanted him to reciprocate what she poured into him.

She figured that since he was a man with dreams, he needed her as a woman with vision.

She wanted him.

But the sad reality was, he didn’t want her.

So again, she began to question herself.

Then one day, she began to examine herself and him.

And what she learned about herself was mind-boggling.

She learned that she was awesome just the way she was.

What she learned about him was that although he was attractive and ambitious, he was not the one for her mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

So while it hurt her in a way that she couldn’t explain, she knew she had to let him go for good.

It’s always a weird range of emotions when you figure out you and someone else aren’t on the same page. You may feel angry, you may even feel hurt– not because of the honesty, but because she realized they were NEVER on the same page.

And probably never would be.

MORAL OF THE STORY

  • If someone is sleep on you, it is NOT your job to wake them up.
  • Self-love is important. You should never have to MAKE anyone want to be with you.
  • If someone is TRULY meant for you, they will recognize how great you are off bat.
  • The concept of being a power couple is cool and all, but are you and that person equally yoked in other ways besides your individual success stories?
  • Stop ignoring the signs and LISTEN to people who say and/or SHOW they don’t want to be with you. Otherwise, you set yourself up to be taken advantage of.
  • Don’t settle. You’ll only end up getting your feelings hurt in the long run.
  • All relationships take WORK to maintain and the truth is, everyone isn’t cut out for the job description.

 

It was a hard lesson to learn, but eventually she caught the drift and moved on with her life. She figured that once she knew better, she had to consistently DO better and KEEP doing better.

And while some days she wished he would’ve came to his senses sooner, she knew in the end that them not being together was for the best. True love loves you back, and she now knows that there’s more to being a “power couple” than just having great things going for yourself… You have to be a great person as well.

What My Exes Taught Me

A conversation with one of my sisters about ex-boyfriends and loving yourself first has me thinking a lot on everything I’ve been through with the opposite sex. Though I’ve had many heartbreaking moments, I’ve had many hilarious ones as well. Sometimes I think my love life or (lack thereof) is a television sitcom or reality show with everything that goes on. One thing I can say for sure is that I don’t regret any relationship or situationship (Ok, maybe that ONE) I’ve ever been in because I learned something.

Before I take ya’ll down memory lane, here are a few #MajorKeys about my love lessons:

  1. If you try to love someone more than you love yourself it will always end in disaster.
  2. Being single is not the end of the world, it’s just a time to figure yourself out AND what you want in a partner.
  3. Some men are simply just bored. A man truly interested in you will act way different than a bored man.

 

With that being said, here’s what my exes taught me:

Middle School Love Lessons

I debated if I was going to add middle school dating because who really takes relationships serious at 11-13?

Well apparently, I did.

5th or 6th grade brought me my first boyfriend and not much happened except I received my first of many kisses and that two months after going together, dude left me for my “bestfriend.”

I guess that’s what I get for dating the popular guy in school huh?

I remember feeling embarrassed and insecure about myself because I was very self conscious about my looks and body. I remember being pissed he and my friend betrayed me in such a way, I guess you could say I was heartbroken.

Lesson here: You can manipulate yourself into being any type of woman a guy wants you to be, but at the end of the day he will do whatever he wants to do. You might as well just be YOU. Also, I learned I should pick better best friends.

In 7th grade, I met a guy that was a much better fit for me than my ex, the problem was that a few months into our relationship (we dated the whole school year up until he graduated 8th grade) I began to become uninterested in him. He was very nice and sweet to me (I recall us telling each other that we loved one another) but I also wanted to be single again, especially since he was going to high school before me.

Lesson here: Sometimes you outgrow people no matter how good they are to you. And that’s OK.

High School Love Lessons

Everybody wanted a high school sweetheart and I sure I would be apart of that.

A girl can dream, right?

My first high school relationship was with a guy that I should’ve left in the park I met him at LOL. What’s worse is that I used to LOVE that boy with EVERY cell in my body. I wanted to marry him, have his babies, the whole nine yards. Unfortunately, he had a problem with staying faithful and I had a problem seeing that I was too young, intelligent, and beautiful to deal with that foolery.

Lesson here:  First of all, life is too short to wait on a guy to act right. Second of all, your body is yours and yours only, if you don’t feel comfortable doing something don’t be afraid to say no. Lastly, I learned that you should never get caught up in the potential of someone. You literally cannot force someone to change, they have to want to do it themselves. And another thing, abuse comes in MANY different forms, not just physical. Educate yourself on the signs and decide if you want to put up with it. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t.

My second boyfriend in high school came from after months of being single and deciding I would give love another shot. Not much happened in this relationship except that he was real messy and girls liked to play on my phone asking me about him LOL. Eventually I ended it after three months of dating, because I was bored with where things were going AND I was tired of getting confronted by different girls 24/7.

Lesson here: Give yourself time to grieve a bad breakup and just because you’ve known someone for a long time doesn’t mean you NEED to get into a relationship with them!

My third relationship in high school was interesting. This relationship was probably one I should’ve never pursued either, but you live and you learn right?

What started off as sweet and promising ended up leaving us both bitter and angry, I suppose. I won’t blame everything on him though, because he was a young man that was brought up never to express his emotions, and the only ones he WAS allowed to express were the anger and rage. Our arguments were over the top and unnecessary, but we stayed with one another because we felt like we needed each other. It was no longer love between us, but dependency. When he and I both turned 17, he began to change, to find himself I suppose. We started growing apart and I began to cling more. But when I started not to feel him anymore, he began to cling to me. It was a very toxic cycle.

Lesson here: If a person does not love themselves, they cannot truly love you.

After those relationships, I stayed “single” throughout the rest of high school. In high school, I also got into the first of many situationships. I went on dates and talked to a plethora of dudes but had no one to call my own though I could have had another boyfriend if I wanted to. I think I settled for situationships because I just wanted to HAVE somebody, without the headache of HAVING somebody, if that makes sense. Needless to say, I’m a serial monogamist who didn’t like being alone.

Lesson here: Just because you’re having sex with someone doesn’t guarantee you a relationship. Also, if a relationship is something you want, then stop settling to be someone’s sexual conquest and hold out. Lastly, being single isn’t the end of the world.

College Love Lessons

College is the place of hookup culture with a person like me who just wanted love like Whitley Gilbert and Dwayne Wayne.

My first college boyfriend was a situationship turned relationship. Dude was cool, but he was very controlling and didn’t like the fact that I was learning so many things and getting so many new ideas, you know GROWING as a person like you’re supposed to do when you go off to school. Something I noticed about the controlling and the manipulative types is that they always prey on the most vulnerable and with me having semi-low self esteem + a mix of personal issues I was an easy target. I got tricked into thinking I needed him cuz I went through a period where I thought no one would want me except for him. It wasn’t until I cheated on him that I figured out I didn’t. Call me what you want for cheating, but I eventually ended it because I couldn’t take it anymore.

Lesson here: As you journey through life, everyone is not meant to take the ride with you, not even the ones you thought you would love forever. Also, most of the men I dealt with respected me as long as they were able to have me. Once I wasn’t “theirs” anymore, I was disrespected just like any other woman. Lastly, it takes TWO people to ruin a relationship. Instead of cheating on dude, I should’ve just ended it.

Prior to getting with my college boyfriend, I was in another super messy situationship. Basically, dude lived a double life and somehow, I became a side chick LOL. I didn’t love him, but I did love his companionship and he was a pretty cool guy, just a habitual liar who used me.

Lesson here: Listen to your intuition girl. You are usually not wrong. I knew something may have been fishy about him, but instead of listening to myself I continued to let him into my space mentally, physically, and emotionally. Next thing you know, I’m looked at as a homewrecker LOL.

My last college relationship is still a complicated work in progress…. I say this because this person is someone I was with for the last two years but no matter how hard we try(ied), we just can’t get it right. It’s evident that we love and care deeply for one another, but sometimes two people need to work on themselves before they can work together. Like I said, this breakup is fresh so out of respect I won’t go into detail (mostly because he’ll read this) but here’s what I learned from him:

  • If I don’t love me, I can’t love you.
  • The words you say to people are important. Use them to uplift, not tear down.
  • Communication is key.
  • Situationships are stupid if a real relationship is what you want.
  • We say we want honesty, but its the truth that really hurts.
  • Again, situationships are incredibly stupid.
  • Sometimes you may be better off as friends.

 

With that being said, I’m grateful that I learned these things from my exes. While many situations were hurtful, I have learned that you can’t force love out of people. I’ve learned that everyone has baggage, you just need to figure out which baggage is worth unpacking. And lastly, I’ve learned to work on me first, put me first and love me first before anyone else.

 

What lessons have your past relationships taught you?

15 Things 2015 Has Taught Me

img_3817-2Of course I could’ve tweeted this, but who doesn’t love an end of the year list? For me, the year of 2015 was a year of revelation, reflection and restoration. With that being said, here’s what I learned this year.

15. Stay prayed up. Prayer changes things. This year, life really challenged me & within those challenges I had to develop a more serious & consistent prayer life as well as a better relationship with God. Prayer really works y’all. I learned that God will NEVER forsake you and never leave you alone. All you have to do is reach out to him.

14. If you’re going to pray for something, make sure your actions align with those prayers. Actions will ALWAYS speak louder than words. For example, you can’t pray for a financial increase if you are still spending frivolously. You can’t pray that negativity gets removed from your life if you still dwell in it. Make sure you are in the position to receive the blessings you are praying for.

13. Be more proactive, less reactive. This applies to fighting for social justice. When we fight, we want to be clear what we are fighting for & PROACTIVE in the strategies we use to fight injustice. Simply reacting out of anger with no clear plan only leads to unproductivity.

12. You don’t have to clap back all the time. The energy we use to drag the ignorant is energy that can be used to do something else. Block, delete and move on with life.

11. Don’t compare yourself to others, your journey is yours for a reason. Success is a journey, not a destination. We may see those around us succeeding in areas we want to succeed in and wonder what’s wrong with us. But there is no reason to compare yourself to them. You don’t know the things they go through, or what they have to sacrifice. Just continue working hard, things will fall into place in due time.

10. Stop living in fear. What’s the point in wanting something out of life if you are too scared to really go get it? The only person in your way is you. If your dreams terrify you, then GOOD. That means that they are exactly what you need to get out your comfort zone.

9. Give people room to grow & change. People can change, people can grow. Stop bringing up the old them when they are trying to do so.

8. Practice self care. If you are someone who takes care of a lot of people, make sure to take some time out for yourself as well. Learn what makes you happy, and indulge in it often. I promise it will keep you sane.

7. Setbacks often mean something greater is coming. I got rejected from a lot of things this year, but I believe that it is because something better was in store for me. Rejection hurts of course, but it’s not the end of the world.

6. Give yourself time to grieve. When something traumatizing happens in our life, we never really take the time to process it. But if we are to be mentally whole individuals, then we must grieve properly.

5. Counseling works. Sometimes you need more than prayers & encouraging words. If you have access to affordable counseling services, use them to get to the root of your problems.

4. Love yourself before you love anyone else. This is pretty self explanatory. Show yourself some love. Heal from that past pain and bitterness. Your future relationships will thank you.

3. You are never too old to learn and unlearn. You are never too old to learn something new and you are never too old to unlearn something problematic. Give yourself that room to grow.

2. Your circle is a reflection of you. Check yourself, check your friends. Are you all good accountability partners toward one another? Are you all uplifting and inspiring one another? If not, make some changes.

1. Be mindful of who you let into your space. More than anything, pay attention to who you let into your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual space. ENERGY IS TRANSFERRABLE, and everyone will not have your best interest at heart, no matter what they say. Pay attention to actions. Never settle on anyone and anything that may not be good for you.
So now I want to hear from you! It doesn’t have to be 15 things, but what are some things you learned this year?

Capture

The Cat’s In The Cradle

I don’t watch a lot of television, but if it’s one show I WILL watch religiously, it’s the show A Different World. This show is a spin off from The Cosby Show and because it is my absolute favorite, I have deemed it as one of the greatest shows of the 90’s.

Set at a fictional HBCU in Virginia called Hillman College, for six seasons the show followed the colorful lives of Whitley Gilbert, Dwayne Wayne, Ron Johnson, Kim, Julissa and so many more. We watched as the characters navigated life, love and everything that in between that concerned being young and Black in America.

Incredibly ground breaking during its time, A Different World tackled tough subjects such as colorism, domestic violence, and even living with HIV.

Much of the show’s content matter is still relevant today, so it was no surprise to me that clips of Season 5, Episode 14 were appearing on my Twitter timeline in response to all the racial and other acts of social injustice happening all over the world, but particularly college campuses.

In this episode, we see that Hillman has a huge football game against their rival, a PWI called Virginia A&M. Ron ends up sitting outside his car during the game, and has a few words with some white guys.

One of the white guys tries to spray paint the word N*GGER on Ron’s car, but is busted by Dwayne before he gets a chance to spell out the entire word. Ron and Dwayne and the three white guys start fighting one another until they are busted by campus police and hauled off to jail.

I apologize if you have no idea what I am talking about, but if you have Hulu or Netflix, you can watch this episode and all the other seasons there, but here is a quick snippet (the one that is circulating all over Twitter) I found on Youtube:

Two versions of what happened were told while they were held in the jail cell. Ron and Dwayne’s side of the story implies that they were just minding their own business when the white guys got hostile with them, while the white guys said that Ron & Dwayne antagonized them from the beginning and THAT’s why the altercation broke out.

To Black people:

There are many parts of our identities that are oppressed  living in the United States. Racism is constantly reinforced in various systems, such as access to education, quality healthcare, and even grocery stores in our neighborhood.

But even though being Black in America is oppressive, there are parts of our identities that privilege us as well. If you are a heterosexual, able-bodied, absent of physical and mental health illnesses, speak English and able to attend college, then in many ways you are privileged.

I don’t believe Black people can be racist, but we are capable of being prejudice and we have the ability to stereotype people.

For example, we can look at Ron’s interaction with the Native American who sold him the football ticket in this episode. Ron assumed that this man grew up on a reservation, among other things. He called him a “scalper” which is offensive to Native Americans. Ron also reinforced the stereotype that all Black men are capable of doing is playing a sport exceptionally well and being more endowed in the sexual organ department when he taunted the white guys.

On the contrary, the Native American presenting character assumed that Ron grew up in the “projects”, or a housing development usually found in large urban cities that have inadequate living conditions for predominantly Black people.

Though Ron’s interaction with that character was humorous, I want us to think about the language we use to prejudge other persons of color and even ourselves.

I think stereotypes and prejudice comes from a lack of exposure to different groups and sometimes diversity isn’t the problem, but being inclusive of one another’s identities is.

To White people:

I plan to officially address this in another post, but you must understand what your privileges are. Regardless of the parts of your identity that are oppressed, (such as coming from a poor background) as a white person you still are more likely to have access to education, adequate healthcare, the criminal justice system usually rules in your favor (for crimes between you and a Black person), the list goes on.

There were three different types of white guys in this episode plus a bonus one in the officer that I will describe to you.

Guy #1 – The overtly racist one who blames his shortcomings on Black people’s accomplishments. I’m really not sure where his source of anger comes from, but  this type of person was obviously taught from a young age about who was inferior. Then he grew up to become a man and feels that things like “Affirmative Action and Quota filling” has hindered his chances on being successful. Chances are, he’s probably mediocre and doesn’t even realize WHY things like affirmative action and even HBCU’s were created in the first place.

Guy #2 – The one who pulls the “my grandparents were immigrants!” card. Contrary to popular belief, all white people who immigrated to the United States did not automatically receive the benefits of white privilege, such as the Irish and Italian. Some had to gradually work their way into being seen as an “acceptable” white person, whether it was through indentured servitude, the owning of Black slaves, and acquiring land.

HOWEVER, as Dwayne Wayne eloquently pointed out: “Your grandfather was an immigrant and gained respect. My grandfather built this country, fought wars for it, etc and still couldn’t go to certain places and get a cup of coffee. ”

What white guy #2 was trying to do was spew the “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality like his grandfather did, which is a hardly applicable to Black people who are/were purposely disenfranchised in America.

Guy #3 – He’s the guy who would rather see no color and love everybody. He may not understand his privilege as a white male, but he benefits from it; but he HATES blatant acts of racism. Being known as a racist is probably the last thing he wants to be known as, but when you hang out with bigots, I can imagine how easy it is to be influenced.

Bonus White Guy/ Mr. Officer – This white guy is particularly interesting to me. He represents the “Down with the struggle” white guy, you know the type you’ll likely see out protesting with us and he reminds us every chance he gets. Though he means well, I don’t think we should be so quick to give him praise. You can march with whomever you like, but even white abolitionists thought black people were inferior and not fit to lead our own movements. Make sure you are including us in your power structures and believe we are on the same level as you before you start trying to “humble” us, which I think the white officer did to Dwayne and Ron.

Though only about 30 minutes long, this episode fuels some very interesting thoughts on race and racism in America.

The officer describes his time marching with Dr. Martin Luther King and says:

“Maybe you should look at me as an individual, and NOT as a color.”

Capture 2

Now that the cat’s out of the cradle, let’s talk!

  1. Do you think as Black people, we judge others (specifically white people) too much? Are we wrong to do so?
  2. As a white person, do you understand what white privilege is?
  3. In lieu of everything going on at college campuses such as Mizzou, Yale and U of I, do you think the reactions of fellow persons of color are justified or an over-reaction?
  4. Black people, what do you need white people to understand about you?
  5. White people, what do you need Black people to understand about you?
  6. What did you think about this episode of A Different World?

 

 

My friend Candice and I at the Million Man March on 10.10.2015. Her shirt is from https://teespring.com/Black-Nutritional-Facts

A Super Late Recap of The Million Man March

I’m aware that this post is several days late, but it’s honestly taken me this amount of days to process what went down at the 20th anniversary of The Million Man March. This year’s theme was Justice Or Else! and had representatives from almost every oppressed group across the globe give a 7-10 minute speech on what it means to have justice in this day and age.

The Million March was organized by Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan and was intended to promote unity, love, personal responsibility, etc.

Just imagine being in the beautiful city of Washington, D.C. surrounded by beautiful black, brown, and indigenous people all anxious to hear what the honorable minister had to say. That experience alone was something I will never forget.

…However, given that this was my first encounter with Farrakhan, of course I have some critiques about what was said.

What I Liked

  1. As I stated, I LOVED seeing the different people who represented oppressed groups in the Americas. Everyone from Native Americans to Haitians and Dominicans to the families of Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin to founders different social justice organizations were present.
  2. Rumor has it that 20 years ago, WOMEN were banned from attending the march… While some came anyway, that rubbed many women the wrong way. This year, many women were not only in crowd attendance but spoke phenomenally as well. One of my favorite quotes: “Imagine how powerful we would be if we brought the sisters with us all along”
  3. A quote from Farrakhan: “What good is life if we are not free?”
  4. I liked that Farrakhan had every woman that was there (who was pregnant) place a hand over her stomach and he said a prayer for them. He prayed that they would bring their child to term and that the child would be a warrior for change.
  5. I liked that he shunned men who committed atrocities such as rape towards women and girl. He said that you are worthy of death if you do that.
  6. Another quotable from Farrakhan: “A fearful people can’t be free. A fearful people will bow down when it appears that the enemy is so strong when we are so weak.”
  7. I expected Farrakhan to condemn LGBTQ+ people, but he didn’t. In so many words, he said that we all sin in some type of way, and that no one is exempt from “sin.”
  8. In reference to how Malcolm X and MLK didn’t have a lot of money in their lifetime because they were NOT sell outs, he said: “Great ones don’t amass wealth to leave to children. Great ones amass wealth to leave to institutions after they are dead and gone.”
  9. Farrakhan said that our young people will not listen to those made in America, by America. He said that we need leaders that are willing to sacrifice their lives for a better future.

What I Didn’t Like

Now, while being apart of history was cool and all, I did have many moments during the speech that made me wonder what Farrakhan was talking about…. He was all over the place, and to be honest, the entire speech was underwhelming at best. With Minister Farrakhan being an 82 year old man, I didn’t expect his worldview (especially about women) to be progressive. Unfortunately, I was right.

  1. While he acknowledged the LGBTQ+ as family, out of all the people who spoke before him, To my knowledge I saw no queer people represented, speaking about the oppression they faced. If a system cannot fail who it was never meant to protect, then how can a movement help those it purposefully excludes?
  2. Right after Farrakhan said a prayer for all the women pregnant, he told a seemingly painful story about how his mother tried 3 different times to abort him. He said women shouldn’t abort because they have no idea who their child could become; but I am a firm believer that every woman is not meant to be a mother. Every woman does not HAVE to be a mother, and that the topic of abortion should not include any man or woman who did not have anything to do with her pregnancy.
  3. Somewhere in the midpoint of his speech, Farrakhan described how Thomas Jefferson was the most brilliant of the Founding Fathers. He talked about how Thomas Jefferson said that slaves should be free and that the US government should give them land, etc. While Farrakhan praised him, I couldn’t help but to think of Sally Hemmings, a slave woman that Jefferson basically had as his sexual conquest. I don’t care how brilliant Farrakhan thinks Jefferson is, a man like that does not deserve my admiration.
  4. He briefly addressed his accusations about him getting Malcolm X killed. While he denied it, he did say something very sketchy. He said “We were angry that Malcolm spoke out against his teacher (Elijah Muhammed) and his persona life.” … To me, that translates to the notion that I think many older black people share: “What happens in this house stays in this house”  and that is problematic. No wonder many think that Farrakhan had something to do with Malcolm’s death, hell I would too.
  5. During the latter half of his speech, Farrakhan had some words to say about women. A few of the ladies in the Nation came upon the stage, and looked absolutely radiant. But, Farrakhan ruined that time of admiration by saying: “When woman are clothed, they earn respect. If you put this woman next to a woman who was in a mini skirt and low cut top, which woman is more likely to get talked to like “Hey baby?” Not our women. And if they do, they will soon regret it.”

COME ONNNNNN FARRAKHAN! -_-

I am not a fan of performing certain behaviors just to please men and “earn respect.”

A woman’s clothing should not give men the right to determine her worth. Women who are completely covered are just as likely to face street harassment, rape, sexual assault and discrimination as a woman who is not covered. And if more men understand that, I hope that respectability politics would end!

6. “Women are starting to lead more and show more strength” … Farrakhan. Women have ALWAYS been leading, where have you been bro? From Ida B. Wells to Betty Shabazz, to Rosa Parks, we’ve always been the strength to keep any liberation movement going. We didn’t just wake up in 2015 and decide we wanted to be vocal, but maybe this IS the year you started to pay attention.

What exactly is the “Or Else?” So now what?

Despite the many eyebrow raising things I heard at the rally, I am glad I got the opportunity to go. To see so many people gathered in one spot peacefully was truly a sight to see. It’s a shame that no major news outlet wanted to cover it besides C-Span.

I like how Farrakhan said “If this is a day where we come together and then go back to doing what we’ve been doing, then this is a day of vanity.”

Marches and rallies are a great symbol of unity, but that is not where the work should end or begin.

An organization at my school called The Black Male Roundtable (BMR) hosted an open discussion where we discussed how do we move forward. While the answers varied from “not participating in Christmas” to “getting involved with city council” One thing is for certain: We are ready to DO something. We are ready to become these warriors of change and make the world a better place for those who may come after us.

  1. What are your thoughts on the Louis Farrakhan?
  2. Did you attend this year’s Million Man March? What did you think about it?
  3. What is the next step to move forward?
  4. Did you or anyone you know attend the march in 1995? What are some of the differences?

Just Keep Going, Sis

There is nothing I enjoy more than being young, educated, female, and black. Last year, there was a statistic about Black women ages 18-24 being the highest enrolled in college and I felt ecstatic that I am apart of such a magical group.

However, I know that the hustle and bustle of college can get overwhelming and I myself have wanted to quit more than a few times. Because of this,  I’m interested in not only seeing Black women enroll in higher education, but to also graduate and find amazing careers, and not lose ourselves in the process.

Here are a few things to keep YOU going:

Do not apologize for your blackness and don’t apologize for your education. You have a right to be here.

Depending on the demographics of your college campus, your blackness will often be questioned and scrutinized. You may carry the burden of feeling like the official spokeswoman for The Blacks in your all white class, or have trouble getting the hang of the academic world if you are first generation student.

But be unapologetically you.

So what if they don’t get you, so what if they do everything in their power to make you feel worthless. You have a RIGHT to be where you are, no matter how long it takes you.

Just keep going, sis.

Never feel bad for choosing you.

College is a weird transitional period, and sometimes the people who you thought would be around forever are not going to be. Sometimes we may run into toxic friends, relationships, or jobs. Sometimes you have to let these things go in order to move forward. It will hurt, but never feel bad for choosing you. In the long run, you have to be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing you made the best choices for you and your future.

You will make mistakes—And it’s OKAY.

I have noticed that with all the advice out here about college, people tend to gracefully gloss over the mistakes that can and will be made during this period. While I will always advocate for common sense, some things are truly unavoidable. Make your mistakes, but do not feel bad about it. For every mistake, there is also a lesson to be learned.

You gotta get out your own way, Sis.

This is something that I struggle with. But in the midst of my own struggle I’m aware that you miss 50% of the chances you do not take. So what if their GPA is higher. So what if they have more credentials on their resume. So what if they’re more attractive. Forget all that self-doubt and realize that whatever you lack in one area is just room for you to grow in another.

Boxes are for shoes. Don’t let them put you in one.

The world is under a false assumption that women can’t be both intelligent and carefree. Classy and a little ratchet. But of course, I beg to differ.

Pride yourself on being multidimensional. You can make good grades and twerk. Have an extensive vocabulary and curse like a sailor. It is okay not to be crouched into other people’s fantasies of who they think you should be.

No matter who they say you should be, just do you and keep going, Sis.

Take care of yourself, Sis.

You can’t be great if you are spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally burnt out love. You need to take the time make sure YOU are okay, especially if you are always helping someone else. Self-care can be something as simple as taking thirty minutes to journal every night or something more serious like taking an impromptu trip by yourself.

To conclude, it doesn’t matter if you’re a current student, recent graduate, temporary dropout, or working woman. We can ALL use some encouragement, because we all know encouraging words go a long way…

Just keep going, Sis.

Thoughts on The Shift

If you walk into my bedroom, the first thing you will notice (besides the plethora of clothes dysfunctionally placed everywhere) is that my walls are filled with birthday cards, inspirational messages, and art.

I turned 21 this past March, and my mother gifted me with 21 birthday cards, each inscribed with uplifting and encouraging messages that pierce my soul and filled my heart with so much love and joy.

After all, there is nothing better than encouraging words from Mama.

In one of the cards there is a message inscribed in her pretty handwriting and bears the scripture of Jeremiah 29:11.

“For God knows the plans he has for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (New International Version)

At first, I thought this bible verse was a common go-to scripture that everyone around me said… Meaning that it wasn’t one that I relied on.

And then, my life started shifting again.

EVERYTHING around me was changing, and the past couple of months have felt like I was on a very fast ride with no brakes. Besides my personal life, everyone around me was graduating, starting new careers, moving far away, and just overall separating themselves for elevation.

My heart and mind couldn’t take it. I am literally like a fish out of water when I am taken out of my comfort zone. While I can eventually adapt, you can bet any amount of money that I am going to complain about it first.

I hope I’m not alone here, but have you ever felt like everyone and everything is propelling forward, and you’re just stagnant?

Have you ever felt like your life is in shambles when its too much change happening at once?

Have you ever felt that you have to force yourself to stay positive (because that’s what everyone expects you to do) when really you just want to wallow in your sorrows because you are legit tired and fed up?

This entire summer I’ve felt this way, and it has NOT been easy to deal with.

But last week I had to get real and ask myself WHY.

Why am I so uncomfortable with change?

The answer I came up with is that I am accustomed to doing things my way. If things are not following the plan I wrote for myself, I first allow myself to get angry then I get sad. Then I try to wallow in my sorrows, but the people around me love me too much to allow me to do that. Then I pull myself together and become upbeat and positive until something else in my life shifts again and I find myself going through the same old cycle. LOL.

It’s so comical hearing the plans we make for ourselves. We have step-by-step instructions and then God catches wind and purposefully throws us a curveball like “Nah bruh. This is MY show, buckle up for the ride”

AND WHAT A RIDE WE GO ON, JESUS.

So when this happens, we tend to panic because well, this wasn’t apart of (Y)OUR plan.

But that’s the point… Jeremiah 29:11 says “For *I* know the plans I have for you, said the LORD.”

Once I realized that, I turned to my favorite scripture (Phillipians 4: 6-7) and remembered to worry about nothing and to pray about EVERYTHING.

My shift isn’t over, in fact it’s constantly happening. But I will say that life isn’t meant to be comfortable, it’s meant to be lived and when living life, there will be uncomfortable moments.

Uncomfortable moments can include being broke, homeless, unemployed, opportunities missed, WHATEVER.

But they happen… and there is nothing much that you can do to prevent that.

Just remember that you are where you are in life right now for a reason, and you should focus more on the lessons you need to learn during the shift than getting out of the shift.

During this shift, it is important to remember that obstacles don’t exist to stop you, instead they help you realize how struggle builds character.

It is also important to remember to take time for yourself during the shift. I think self-care is very important, especially during uncomfortable periods in your life. Travel. Turn off your phone for a few days. Stay in bed and do absolutely nothing. Its all okay. I mean, you’re already going through an uncomfortable period, why exasperate yourself even more by trying to figure out every plot and plan to get out of it?

My shift isn’t over.

With life constantly changing it never will be, but I’m slowly but surely accepting that. Being able to finally understand Jeremiah 29:11, and relying on Philippians 4: 6-7, I realize I was cut out for this. The feelings of uncertainty will waste away, and I’ll have new challenges to face.

Only next time, I won’t panic (as much) and I won’t try to force the universe to align with my plan. I’ll just buckle up for the ride and know that the best is yet to come.

One day, I’ll even be able to say that I embrace the shift.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Is your life shifting?

What are some of your tips to get through the uncomfortable periods in your life?