Becoming Cultured

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As a society, we can sometimes become wrapped up in what is acceptable actions, religion, music, activities, etc according to our nationality. Not realizing, what makes us different and what another culture does can sometimes unify the different races. Over the last few weekends, the togetherness I have seen amongst those I have encountered at Comicon and Renaissance Festival have been a reassuring sign that there is still awesomeness amongst us.

Fantasy Does Exist!!!

I went to Comicon and immediately became overwhelmed by the hero’s, the cosplay, the artist who cater to our need to escape reality. I met legends, saw Vader (I wanted him to say ‘Luke, I am your father.’ but jumbled my words and could only say ‘LUKE!’), purchased pieces of art that expressed me. I was amongst my people – not “black people” but, my people, those who enjoy comics and movies and fantasy. The cool thing was, there was no shaming, no judgment of the color of your skin; it was meant to be fun and fun was had.

Then, I had my first experience at the Renaissance Festival. It was full of pirates, wenches, nymphs, fairies, and pride and guess what?!?! Again, the crowd was diverse. We came to enjoy the artist and be entertained. Again, I was amongst those who luved fantasy, the era of the Renaissance, amongst culture; I was amongst my people.

Look at Me Becoming Cultured!!!

So, what does this mean? Experience is what drives perspective, gives new outlooks on life. Being cultured is not just about learning the history of your race but also, being willing to learn things from other cultures. We don’t have to stick with only “black culture” because that’s the only thing we know or that’s the color our skin. As a society, you can’t grow that way and have a full understanding of what life is through just one set of eyes. Accepting differences, interacting with other communities is what makes the human race great. And for the first time, I finally understand it completely.

My challenge to anyone who reads this: just as you would go to the museums to experience pieces of history, read the required books while in school – don’t stop there. Find local festivals to attend, don’t be afraid to try something different because it’s not apart of your comfort zone, if your children speak to you about religion or other cultures, don’t dismiss them; rather encourage their inquisitive nature. You never know, you too may find something fascinating – I know I have.

Next stop…New York Comicon

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Tryna Get Chose

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From movies, to songs, to our parents pressuring us to settle down, someone to spend the rest of our life with; it has been engrained in us to find luv. We often try to find luv in a hopeless place, attempt to complete a puzzle with missing pieces and when it doesn’t work, we curse luv, ask the Lord why He chooses to have luv elude us, sink in to a depressive state because of one failed relationship after another, we begin down the road of jealously of those who are in luv, all the while not understanding the real reason behind why relationships didn’t work…we never fell in luv with our lesson.

Finding Luv in a Hopeless Place

I met this dude who I thought was the yin to my yang. We would have conversations for hours about poetry, music, movies, “loose” philosophy, fiction to non fiction – I found my match. Every morning I would wake up to words of affection, during the day words of encouragement, and at night poetry to bed. I was in luv with the idea of being in luv; the idea of having met my soulmate or kindred spirit (whichever one you subscribe to) even though, in the back of my mind or should I say in the front of my mind, my intuition was telling me to let it go *sings in Frozen.* I tried to find alternative facts to provide answers to the questions I already knew the answers to.

Missing Puzzle Pieces

You reconnect with a guy from your past, you pick up right where you left off, the two of you still take interest in the same passions – you motivate each other to pursue their dreams. You talk about marriage and a future but, there’s a piece missing. You can’t put your finger on it but, you can feel its presence as if it was a dense fog holding the weather hostage or, maybe you didn’t notice it because you were wrapped up in euphoria of being with the familiar. Until one day, the missing puzzle piece is found; only this puzzle piece is missing a connector and as small as it may be, that missing puzzle piece does not make the puzzle complete.

The Curse of Luv

We end up blaming the person we fell in luv with, we curse them for making us feel luv’d and then taking it away from us – they took a piece of our soul, why? We try to analyze those around us who are finding luv – what do they have that we don’t have? How is it, I have made sense of my life and still “don’t deserve” to be in luv? Why do I even want to be in luv, it feels like it is nothing but heartache? Should I lower my standards?

Falling in Luv with Your Lesson

In reality we are the one’s to blame, to an extent. We meet someone, we here the voice/intuition/gut telling us he or she is not the one; we mistake it for our comfort zone being tested. We see all the possibilities, the potential – we plan our future with the person we are with before we allow any substance to be formed, to verify or denounce the little voice/intuition/gut. We never fall in luv with the lesson. Hence why repeat the same mistakes (relationships) over and over again. I can’t say what you are supposed to learn from your life’s lessons, I can only speak for myself. As much as the familiar feels sound or the guys shows signs of being the perfect fit for my life; listening to the inner me, paying attention to the signs, learning to be okay being single, not lessening my standards so I can be “happy,” and not giving up on Luv because it’s hard are signs of me falling in luv with my lessons.

Impression

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We search for acceptance from our friends, family, co workers, children, husband/boyfriends, the person walking down the street, the waiter at a restaurant, not realizing that an impression has already been made.  A person has already looked at you and assessed your actions based on their standards.  It’s not until one decides they want to know you that their initial impression ranges from dislike, content, and/or admiration.  Questions: “So why?,” “Why should you care?” and “What is the fix?”

So Why?

Why do we try to make an impression? Why do we care so much? Why? Why? Why? My five cents…we do it because we were conditioned this way.  Think of when you were a kid; before you left the house your parents would warn you not to “act a fool,”  “your actions are a reflection of this household,” they would say.  What about your first date?  The unwritten rule, “Don’t show him/her who you really are.  “Wait a few dates/months’ or the crazy one “until you are married and he’s trapped.”  You go on a job interview, wear certain clothes, you speak and conduct yourself in a manner that is so uncommon that you have to coach yourself days before the interview; then you get the job and the first few months you are on your best behavior and once you feel comfortable you become a little more relax.  Restaurants – same thing, there are even social etiquette classes on how to conduct yourself in a social setting; as we speak, there is a format on how to engage your audience when blogging – “Social Norms” we call them.

So…why should we care?

I have a coworker who wants a James Jean “Crayon Eater” tattoo, however, is hesitant because of the social stigma that blinds our creativity and individuality.  She’s not sure how she would be perceived.  In speaking with her, this is one of her favorite artist, his work describes perfectly what is in her head.  Why should she care?

My son, a young black boy growing up in a “free”  but racist, discriminant, world.  Why should I care? Especially when, as much as you try to ensure they speak /respect others, peoples hate can sometimes affect how they treat people of color.  Why should I care?

The Fix

If we were meant to be the same, we would all be the same color, height, weight, sex; we would speak a certain way, conduct ourselves as a “Collective.”  My response to my coworkers hesitancy about getting the tattoo, “Tattoos are extensions of art, an extension of you.  If this is something you luv, do it.  When you luv it, you don’t regret it.”  In her situation she should not care what others thinks.

Me, I am 7 of 9.  I was once part of a collective: I had to think, act, and dress a certain way until I realized there was a way to construct my social etiquette without losing sight of who I am.  As I mature, I realize there is a need to “instruct” others on how they conduct themselves.  Every action will have a reaction.  We as individuals choose how our first impressions to others will be and should accept the reactions given.

My son, I should care.  I want him to make an impression, his impression.  So, what do I do?  I explain to him what I have learned, show him what happens when he goes left, or goes right, I teach him to think for himself, I provide him with the good, the bad, the ugly; I explain to him my idea of life and what it’s about, and as he grows/matures I pray that his impression is a positive lasting impression.  I pray whatever path he chooses, he thought about it and accepts the journey he will take.

As long as we are aware of our actions, impressions though needed should be our own.

Conviction

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Conviction: a firmly held belief or opinion.
I guess you can say growing up I was not raised to see color; instead people’s actions are what constituted how you should act towards them. In high school I knew I was discriminated against but never fully comprehended it. When I began working, segregation was created in an unconventional way but in order to get your check, you dealt with the conditions you were in unless you lucked up in your position and found a group of coworkers who treated each other as equals and gave respect. In the meantime, you do what you have to do in order to get to where you want to be. It wasn’t until a few years ago I found my conviction, my beliefs, my voice, my passion, my purpose with caveats. Now, how do I hone in? Relay my truths? Affect the masses in a positive way? Reach the youth? Keep my sanity? Keep my mind clear? Stay balanced? Support my family? And be true…to me?
I wrote a while back that being an Aries is a tough job, because we want to succeed and accept any challenge life gives us. We want to take life’s lemons and create a wonderful lemonade to share with others but, it’s a tough/daunting process. And sometimes trying to reach that zen like feeling especially, when you have dual hats – family provider and a want to be the voice of the community becomes a struggle. How do you choose? Or, do you have to?
So, before I go so far off the beaten path that I lose you, let me explain. Over the last few weeks I have asked various people  “What it meant to be black in America?”  The further I did my research, it should come to no surprise that there are others who have sought this difficult and unyielding quest. I tried anyway because again, I like the challenge.  And while the answers received were somewhat no different then other answers or views I’ve read, I still found them to be unique. I realized this is an open ended question because, answers can change from one persons experience to the next. I also listened to several interviews to give me another way of looking at the reality; giving me another perspective. For that, my eyes have widened and my plate is now the size of a Thanksgiving dinner.
With that being said, over the next few weeks, I will be posting people’s opinions, questions and truths. Conduct more research in hopes that I can condense people’s truths, make it palatable, and the work towards figuring out how we as a
whole can come together and show those who do not believe in unity that unity is as not as bad as you think it is.
Something for you to think about, “What do you think it means to be ‘Black in America’?”

Un – Traditional Thanksgiving

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Over the last month, we went from “this isn’t real,” “this just happened,” “WTF,” “to Anger management and needing counseling,” and finally, reality setting in – what’s next (in regard to politics) and Oh! by the way…it’s Christmas!  Let’s rewind that last word; it’s Thanksgiving.  While mainstream media wants to “gloss” over Thanksgiving and go straight to Black Friday and Santa, I want to take it back to the good times. Back to when all of your family came under one roof and cooked, laughed, slept (itis kicked-in), and reminiscing took place.  I missed those days.

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Growing Up

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day my mom would begin the labor intensive preparation of making sure I didn’t eat all the cheese for the macaroni and cheese and let me lick the bowl the left over pie filling was in. She allowed me to help her prepare our Thanksgiving meal.  We didn’t have a traditional Thanksgiving meal we had an awesome one.  We had crab legs, shrimp, stuffed salmon, mac n cheese, ribs, greens, sweet potato pie and “itis.”  Thanksgiving Day, we would sit around the table and express our thanks, commune as a family, sleep, watch tv and repeat.  The Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after, we did not rush to the malls to buy Christmas presents rather, we continued our family time together and went to pick a Christmas Tree, hang decorations, decorate the tree, and watch movies.  Those were the good times.

Now

I have dinner with my family, some plot on which stores they will go to right after dinner and those who aren’t shopping either still sit and connect with the family or go back home.  Me, I go home and now that my son is old enough, he and I will do like my mom and dad did me, put up a Christmas Tree, hang decorations, sit and watch movies and enjoy the company of family.  This the one day out of the year where you would actually sit with family (which I intend to do) and now, it has become a day of spending money on “great deals” when most “great deals” are generally the day after Christmas.  I’m Just Saying.  Thanksgiving Day is not the same and I am blame Mainstream Media. 

What I am thankful for…

Now, in the spirit of things I would like to start back to how things were and where they should have started by being thankful for the blessings that happened to me throughout the year; reflecting on the good things.
I am thankful for staying “consistent” with my blog – I generally start something and when I get stuck (hit a barrier in creativity) I don’t go back to it for awhile.  So, I am proud of myself for my unrelenting determination.
I am thankful for my son who is challenging me to be a better me, mom, and a human being.
I am thankful for my wonderful Support Group who understands my struggle and helps out in any way they can.
I am thankful for each struggle that has come my way and I did not let it beat me, instead, I fought it and prevailed.
I am thankful that “Conscious Rap” is making a comeback.
…this is just to name a few
Thanksgiving was that one day where you were forced to be thankful, hence the name.  If we continue to lose sight of ourselves, our family, and our community, how will we ever unify and pay it forward to those who need help?  To help the next person we must work on ourselves, we must luv one another, we must stop and appreciate our blessing and through those blessings help someone else.  As I leave you with my wonderful past and my present and my thankfulness, I also ask you, “What are you thankful for?”

What’s Your Sign

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Being an Aries is a difficult feat.  Our conviction, our ideas, our truths our need for progress are what drive us.  We are often criticized for our “Negative Traits” as if they define us and most over look our positive traits.
Traits of an Aries

Negative: Impatient, Impetuous, Selfish, Jealous, Vain, Prideful, Egotistical, Ruthless, Possessive, and Violent are often associated with us.

Positive:  Spontaneous, Brazen, Action Oriented,  Courageous, Open, and Innovative are never seen

As a Daughter (Child)
We love and respect our parents even though they see us as wild and rebellious.  We stick to our beliefs.  We have a vision and while we may not express it in a way you can understand, our respect for you is constantly at the front of our minds.  We are destined for greatness and a lot of time we try to show it but, what you see is us acting out.  We want to prove to you, we can achieve what you need from us but, let us do it our way (we are thinkers; always looking to find a better way to be successful).
As a Friend
We “feel the more the merrier” meaning it’s ideal to have more friends however, our friends find it difficult to befriend us because we do not place energy in the same ideals/places.  If we say we are going to do something, we do it.  And, we hope friends would do the same, show us the same enthusiasm we show them.  It’s funny because I always tell those whose company I enjoy, “You are my friend in training.  I’ve already accepted you as a friend, I am waiting for you to friend me.”

As a Lover
We are know for our flirtatious and proactive pursuit.  We don’t like to “beat around the bush.”  Monotony and Aries do not equal long lasting relationships; we like to be engaged, passionate, and have adventures and while it is not easy to build a relationship with us, once we are committed we are honest and loyal for life.

As a Mother
We luv to dominate and are protective to a fault.  Very strict at times because we see the potential in our children, we want them to succeed.  We want our children to be well versed and happy, however, we as mommy’s demands compliance.  lol.  I have been told I am too hard on my son, and sometimes it is true but, I am not here to be his friend, I am here to prepare him for the world.  He knows he is loved, not only from me but his family too.

Moral of the Story
We are the first sign of the Zodiac, known for our fiery passion and exuberance.  We want to be known as pioneers; we like to take the road less traveled to give us a challenge.  Charisma and leadership is an innate ability we cherish and most wish they had.  We are forward in our thinking, leading us to express our love and feeling without thought.  We try to be understanding and sympathetic to others plight and while we may not show it, we are listening to you. We are also trying to figure out how we can help you.  Yes you did not solicit advice from us and as hard as it is to not give advice when you didn’t ask – don’t judge us, we are problem solvers.  It’s what we do.

I wrote this as a generalization of the community of Aries however, this is truly about me.  Haha – Ego.

Understanding someone’s sign can sometimes help you in understanding and dealing with a person.  And, while I don’t agree that you should solely go off their Zodiac Sign, I can say that it would definitely help.  As an Aries, I hope you were able to glimpse into who are we, via me and in return have an affinity of anyone who is an Aries in your life.

 

1-Luv

D