Ism’s

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Religion has been around since mankind has been in existence. Along with religion has also been Agnosticism and Atheism. However comma as soon as you mention the latter, those who associate with them are immediately judge. It’s funny, as much as I think I have an “open mind” and try not to judge – I find myself judging associates of mine because of who they are. Is it because I grew up in a semi religious household? Certain religions have taught us not to accept homosexuality, races, Atheism/Agnosticism, or anything and anyone that does not agree with the “rules” of their religion. It wasn’t until I went to the 13th grade and took a “Religion of the World’s” course, that I began to learn about other religions and what they have to offer. Even with the new found knowledge, I still hadn’t learned, truly, about Atheism or Agnosticism. Not until now, now that I have people in my life who associate with these ism’s.

Atheism, the absence of belief in the existence of deities – there is no higher being. The etymological root of the word means without god. French philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre believes, “Atheism existentialism are concerned less with denying the existence of God than with establishing man needs to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God.”

Agnosticism, is the view that the existence of God, a divine being, or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. William Rowe is quoted as saying, “in the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exist or belief that God does not exist.”

Religion does not need to be explained. In fact, one could say it has been over explained. It is what drives many decisions, what the majority associate themselves with whether it be the various forms of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim, Taoism, and many more. If however comma we wanted a more formal context… according to Webster Dictionary: “the state of religious; the service and worship of God or the supernatural; commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance; a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”

What does all this mean, I gave formal definitions with no real world context. I think I can sum it by quoting one of my newfound favorite scientist. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “The moment someone attaches you to a movement or philosophy- they assign all its baggage and all its philosophy to you. And, the moment you begin having conversation they insert that know everything important about you because of your association. That’s not the way to have a conversation. Why not just have a ‘real-time’ conversation and explore each other’s ideas/thoughts rather than assign a label to it and insert you know what’s going to happen in advance…I’d rather not be associated with anything.” All of this is exactly what I did. I had a preconceived notion of cynicism being synonymous with atheism and from this I had to take a step back, understand what these forms of ‘isms meant and respect those who associate with them. While this post may be superficial/lack depth I think one could surmise the importance of judgement.

There is a lot of knowledge I have gained from those I meet because of the respect I have for them. Do I agree with everything they say? No. But, I am willing to have an open conversation and understand the various points of view without a pre conceived notion that their view is one way because of who they are associated with rather, the facts they provide regarding the point they are trying to make.

1-Luv,

D

(May not fit entirely with the post but, still a good listen.)

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Single Black Female

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Being me is not easy.  I am supposed to speak a certain way, dress and date conservatively, wear my hair “traditionally,” and succumb to societal norms.  I am not defined by my actions and character but, my outer appearance or the tone of my voice.  I am told I have to work twice as hard as any other race.  And no matter how much I tried to concede to the provided standard, acceptance never chose me.  So…what do I do – I go back to the drawing board, the real me.

What did she say?

You go to school and taught to speak properly, annunciate your words and speak with diction and conviction.  Subjected to peer pressure, you defy what authority states you do and become creative with your words.

In 1999, Aaron Peckham created the Urban Dictionary for fun but, unbeknown to him, it became more than just fun; it became life.  In 2012 there were more than 6.3 million untraditional words defined – proving urban terminology carries as much weight verses the conventional way of speaking.  Proving vocabulary is meant to be colorful and explored.  I say “Good Morrow” or when asked how I am doing, I say, “Well” and mocked in return.

Which is it, do you want me to speak properly, speak with urban dialect, merge the two or…? I sure as hell don’t know.

What is she wearing?

I could never dress the way society would socially accept me because of the contour of my body.  I learned what best fit my figure and made it work for me.  However, if I wore a pencil or skater skirt, I was condemned or said as being too racy for the clothes I wore. “Oh! She’s trying to get a promotion.”  The only way I could get away with appearing professional was by wearing clothing twice my size and who wants to do that. The same with the African American female teacher in Atlanta, who wears bodycons to work with sweaters and is still chastised where as others wear body cons (no sweaters), mini skirts and see through shirts and they are viewed as professional.  Still confused.

Why does your hair look that way?

As I began to embrace the skin I am in, I also began to luv my hair in its natural state.  The versatility it yielded.  But I had to be different; it wasn’t enough to have natural hair, I also had to dye it red.  How dare I?  My cousin said one day, “My mom won’t allow me to dye my hair red because she said it is ratchet and ghetto.” Hmmm.   I guess I am ratchet though none of my actions exemplify it.

Then, I arrive to work one day after I changed the style and color of my hair and my coworker says, “Oh! Your hair is nice.  The color is more inviting/welcoming. (My current color is more of a natural “dark brown” color with burgundy/auburn highlights)” versus my fire-engine red hair.

Basically saying that I should succumb to the standards of society – blend in. However, Marc Jacobs can appropriate our culture of having all white females on the runway with locs because if “black females can appropriate their hair by straightening it then, why can’t I do the same.”  Oh! Aight.

Doesn’t she want to succeed?

If she wanted to succeed, she should listen and do what is asked of her.  “Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.  Do you your job.  No more, no less.” He said, “As long as you are providing steady income, what does it matter if you are right and they are wrong.” He exclaimed definitively.  “You will not elevate your success if you keep ‘bucking’ the system.”

Okay…

Well you know what?  “I reject your reality.”    I’ve tried fitting in and “keeping up with the Joneses.”  It failed.  I am not your ideal truth.  I am a black female, with curvy hips, natural hair, poetic speech, determined mind, and person who does not accept no as answer.  I grind, for what I want, I have conviction for right vs. wrong.  I may not always make the best decisions but, I try to a fault.  My hair is red, my skin is a beautiful chocolate brown, my accent has a hint of urban in it but, she speaks proper; this does not define me.  What defines me is my humble personality, my luv to help others, my thirst for knowledge, the want to make a change – a positive change, the need to laugh and in doing so, make others smile.  I am a single black female who is succeeding on her own terms.  It may not be the traditional way but…I am doing it my way (in my Sinatra voice).

afro

picture courtesy of Pinterest

Loveee Pt. III – Family

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Over the weekend, I witnessed a beautiful union of friendship, luv, respect, companionship, truthfulness, and security and was honored to be a part of it alongside friends and family.  As everyone gave their speeches and congratulated the couple on their union and as the bride and groom thanked everyone, it got me to thinking what it means to be a family.  According to Merriam – Webster family is:

  • “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.
  • a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage.
  • the children of a person or couple.
  • a person or people related to one and so to be treated with a special loyalty or intimacy.
  • a group of people united in criminal activity.
  • Biology – a principal taxonomic category that ranks above genus and below order, usually ending in -idae (in zoology) or -aceae (in botany).
  •  group of objects united by a significant shared characteristic.
  • Mathematics – a group of curves or surfaces obtained by varying the value of a constant in the equation generating them.
  • all the descendants of a common ancestor.”

However, none of the definitions speak of friends being family.

I come from a huge family, I have 11 aunts and uncles and 40+ cousins…and that’s just in Maryland.  I am not including those in other states because the numbers would increase tremendously and still wouldn’t change the fact I feel closest to a single handful of my fam.  For some of my family members, I feel like we are associates more than anything.  Don’t get me wrong, I luv my family and wouldn’t trade them for the world however, there are times when it feels as if my handful of family and my handful of friends are the only family I have.  I have friends who would go to the end of world and back for me and I them, when some of my family would rather take advantage. 

So, as I witnessed the union over the weekend and listened to the bride speak of her friends being her family, again, I realized definitions are frameworks to be enhanced by one’s interpretation of their life.  In this instance, she spoke of bonds between her best friends who when told that she was getting married, they stepped up and asked “what do you need from me?”  Their joy and excitement for her happiness surpassed what she expected and that spoke volumes during the event.  Those who are mother’s to other’s became her adoptive mother in a single moment, and “sister’s in law” lost the “in law” title because they are more than what society has deemed her to be, instead she became a true sister/and supporter.  And, the wondering of why “true” family did not receive invitations faded away from my mind and an understanding of her definition of family became the truth.  This was and is not to say that she luvs her family any less than she luvs her friends; rather to say, family comes in many forms.  She chose those have always been there to support, luv, guide and nurture her to be there to witness her union.

As I end, family is what you make of it, friends, unions (marriage), pets, and/or your true family as defined by Webster.  After seeing a different definition of the word “family,” I have come to respect all aspects of what my family is the good, the bad, the ugly, the dysfunctional, and the wonderful.   

Three Musketeers

Loveee – Part II

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You’ve met someone, they make you laugh, you have some similarities, he/she accepts your “flaws and all,” your relationship starts to become a little more serious, ya’ll start doing a lot more together, you guys are taking the “test” trips to see if you can handle each other for more than 24hrs and then it gets real, the question of, should we move in together?…Oh my gosh!!! YOU ARE IN LUV or are you?

I used to think that luv did not exist and sometimes I still don’t.  I believed that people fall into lust and because they so badly want the idea of “love” they are willing to accept anything and settle for what crosses their path.
I looked up the definition for “love” and it seems so simple but, nothing is simple when you have the human factor involved.
Love (according to Webster):  an intense feeling of deep affection, a person or thing that one loves, or a feel of deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).
Let’s look at the definition of “lust.”
Lust: very strong sexual desire, have a very strong sexual desire for someone
Definitions sound kind of similar don’t they?  Just stronger adjectives to make it seem as though they are not the same.
Now, back to the scenario above.  You guys chose to move in with each other.  There are quirks you don’t particularly care for but, you “let that shit go” because you know how to pick and choose your battles.  However, there are certain things that “grind your gears” and you fuss about.  That’s part of a relationship, communicating by fussing… right? Wrong.  You are beginning to find more faults that you know you did not sign up for but, you trying to make it work because all relationships take work.
Wayment!!! You didn’t tell me that you were gonna have a child.  Was that in the picture or was it a surprise?  Either way, what you are gonna do?  What are his beliefs in raising children?  How does she want to raise the child?  Were your upbringings good ones?  Will they affect what you do or don’t do with the munchkin(s)?  Questions you never thought to ask until now and probably still won’t.
The child has arrived, the right thing to do is get married so, this union can be legit.  We don’t want another broken home.  The faults that you tolerated before are intensified now.  You have a little human being constantly needing attention and your significant other being them but, because of the new variable in the complex equation called life, you are viewing things completely differently.   Those little quirks that you thought were cute before are no longer cute.  You are constantly upset.  “Here it is, I am taking care of a baby, and you want to go hang out with your friends and leave me here by ‘myself?’” “Fine, be selfish.”  “You ain’t no baby so, you need to clean up after yourself cuz, I ain’t the one.” Arguing has become a part of your daily or weekly routine.
Your relationship takes a spiraling turn (possibly for the worst)?  Did lust wear off?  The idea of being in luv finally fade away?  Where you ever truly in luv? Did you not understand when you signed up for this luv thing, that “falling in luv can be easy, staying in luv is too tricky” – Raphael Saadiq
A friend once told me;
“I believe in love, love is a selfless act, an act that does not expect anything in return because it is genuine. You would do anything for your love without strings attached…the problem is, most mess up when they become angry when they are not “loved” in return. If your love is pure, regardless of what the other person has done, their actions should not change who you are. If the love is not reciprocated, you move on and respect the situation for what it was.” That is my paraphrase but, it is so true.
For me, I take it one step further.  Luv first starts with luv’n yourself. Once you have come to learn to luv you then it is okay to safely search for a luving relationship with another.  Luv is about communication, respect, appreciation, truth, lust, independence and friendship.  If you don’t have communication you will never know what the other is thinking; arguing is not the way to communicate.  It is a whole bunch of noise yielding no results.  Respecting someone and their feelings, opinions, and their being says more about  you and who you are as a person.  Appreciating one’s individuality, independence and luv for you makes a relationship so much better.  The truth is always key.  No matter how much you don’t want to speak it at times (it’s called tact – I haven’t figured out how to be tactful yet), it needs to be said.  If it weren’t for lust, you two probably would not have been together in the first place.  Hello?!?!  Lust give spark when needed and keeps your drive for the person strong.  And friendship, if you don’t have friendship, then why are you together.  Friendship equals respect, trust, security, appreciation, and communication.  Think about the many friends you have.  There is a reason why you guys were friends for so long and now, your partner, the one you have chosen to live your life with should be your biggest friend, your confidant, your ride or die.
Do I believe in luv? There are glimpses of hope from time to time but, I still find myself straddling the fence of optimism and pessimism when it comes to “true luv.”  I believe in the idea of luv.  I believe that it could happen…believing and seeing is two different things.  I know this is not how all relationships are; this is a compilation of relationships I have went through and witnessed with others.  I have seen true love and while I know it exist the human nature in me is a little skeptical at times of its purity.  However, when luv happens to cross my path, I will be ready for the challenge.

Let’s Start with Me – Part I of Loveee

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I am a conceited emotional mother of one. I am plus size, full figured, or overweight (pick one). I have anger management issues, no patience, and somewhat of a “no holds barred” personality; some would call me rude or non empathetic. I’d like to think I am sympathetic when needed. I make sure that I put the caveat out there, if you ask me for my opinion understand, it’s my opinion and if you don’t agree with it then take it with a grain of salt. I am silly, love learning, love playing video games, and love being a black woman. I am not a woman scorned from relationships that didn’t work, I am a glass half full once I release my anger, and I am a self motivator. I am a thinker and a semi perfectionist. I am humble. And, I am an ARIES. All of these things I did not understand nor accept until my late twenties. When I was younger, all I knew was that I was an emotional kid.

So, let’s take it back before I found out all of things about me…back to childhood. A childhood, I truly don’t remember. Only bits and pieces, as if I suppressed memories (which I would luv to remember). From what I do remember, I know, I was a handful. I would sit in my window waiting for my dad to come and pick me up everyday (from Friday to Sunday), cry because he didn’t pick me up then be excited because two weekends later he finally showed and then come home and boast about how he was my “hero” when all he did was drop me off at my grandmothers house and take me out to eat on Sunday before I went back home. I remember people always telling me I had beautiful skin and that I could be a model, but for me, as I stated in a previous post; peer words when you are a child are stronger than any adults words of wisdom and truth. If a kid tells you you are ugly, you believe it. I remember always trying to fit in and no matter how hard I tried, it would only last for a little while. I remember me and my younger sister always clashing; I would want to play dress up and she would want to be by herself and go and build something, I would want to play doctor and literally stick a sewing needle in her skin to see the blood (what was I thinking). Don’t judge me. I know I did my sister dirty. I was not the best to her. smh

Let’s fast forward to my teenage years. My dad came around a lot more often then. He would pick me up, buy me things (I guess to show me he luved me) and we would actually “spend” more time with each other over the weekend. When we went out to eat on Sunday’s before I went back home, he would force me to try something different. He would order it, tell me to eat it, and after I said I liked it he would tell me what it was. That way I could not say it was nasty if I already said I liked it. Clever tricks. Clever tricks. Now, at this point in life, my life’s mission was to make sure my hair was cute all the time, my clothes were on point, and that I knew the latest song, or “club” music mix. Mannnnnnnnn! Every thursday evening at 2100hrs, I would turn my radio on put my tape recorder next to the radio and make sure I did not make a sound so I could record the club music being played on the radio station. This was my way of having something to listen to on the way to school the next week with my friends. Because I couldn’t relate to the other things they were doing, watching and wearing, this was my way of being hip. However, by the time I turned 15 and 9 months, I got a job and was able to purchase upon approval from my mother the clothes I needed to be cool. I was going to the gym because it was everything to be skinny and by the time I went to prom and graduated, I thought I finally made it. I was cool. I had friends. NOT!!! All of that faded as soon as graduation was over.

19, working as “Top Flight Security” and I have a boyfriend. Oh! and I am living on my own. I am no longer a size 6 but a size 14 and gaining; things change when you have a man. lol. I am job hopping – chasing money, drumming up a lot of debt, and doing all things I thought I was supposed to do in order to keep a man… going down the rabbit hole of Loss Identity Syndrome©. Things didn’t work out, I am now single, depressed, delving into alcohol and video games (that was so much fun), shopping for therapy, and constantly trying to find solace in what? I don’t know. At this point, I am in my mid twenties receiving negative attention because of my assets. I mistook this wrong attention and used it as crutch for my newfound “self confidence.” I began to be rude and nasty to people who didn’t deserve it and clothes were just as worse. As I type this, I can only shake my head. Then, something happened where it finally clicked, that I needed to change my life around. I think it was my grandmother passing away that made me want to do better.

I was in my mid/late twenties at this point, I found a mentor to teach me how to budget and take care of me financially. I finally accepted the fact that I was overweight and accepting the fact that you are overweight is 50% of being on your way to a healthier you. So, I began going to the gym, not to be skinny but to be healthy. I began loving the skin I was in. I began taking school more seriously and graduated with my associates degree and I even took my job more seriously. I learned how to be humble. I started outlining my negatives I needed to work on and consistently enhancing my positives. And, while I am still plus size, I know that I will always be a work in progress, I know who I am and finally luv the person I became to be.

“I am the goddess of war
I am filled with passion
I love
I lead
I am honest to a T
I am an Aries”

Loving and knowing who you are is the first step into a fruitful future. Without it, you maybe successful but, there will always be a void. A want for more. If you have a mentor, counselor or therapist they can aid in self approva. At the end of the day, it is up to you to accept and/or change the person you are. It appears the average time to “learn” you is late twenties early thirties. The reason could be because of our maturity level and hard knocks we may have went through. Or, we may not have went through any struggle but have become more aware of who we are as a being.

In the famous words of Ru Paul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell do you expect somebody else to love you.”

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Unless you are not a part of my progress, Do NoT eNtEr!!!

Who are You?…the prelude

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Our truths are what scares us,

Our fears try to drive us,

Our courage is what defines us.

Our destiny is written

and, our path can be driven

by the amount of effort we put in.

We are what holds us back.

Only we can demand

and, determine our success.

Before we fulfill our destiny,

We must accept our truths,

Understand who we/you are,

Acknowledge there is no wrong path,

Never give up,

Never accept nothing less

than the best

from anything and those around us,

Strive for excellence,

And, once life catches up

Sit back and watch your destiny manifest.



1-Luv

D

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4 P’s In A Pod

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You ever have that one friend you want to punch in the face because they “can’t get right?!?”  Always with some drama, never learns from their mistakes, never “drops” knowledge, wisdom, or laughter (not at someone’s expense) in others lives.  Question: why are you allowing them to be in your life?

Oh! I get it… initially it was to help them, guide the in the right direction; no one should struggle on their own, especially when you have the means to help.  However, when they take your kindness for weakness, you should probably time to let them go.  Hopefully, they will find their path in life.  In the meantime, make sure you keep building your circle; circle of success.

Start out with who you are?  Who are you?  Then make sure that each vacancy is filled.

Vacancies are subject but, not limited to:

  • Rachetness
  • Knowledge Drop’ers
  • Motherly Figures
  • Mr./Ms Spontaneity
  • Spiritual One
  • The Boughie One
  • And, always an Apprentice

While few try not to admit it, everyone needs that “Ratchet” friend; they bring that spice to your life and will do things you only dream of.  Your “Knowledge Drop’er” is the one you go to for information/perspectives you never thought of, the “Motherly Figure” is exactly what the name implies.  She keeps you in check when you are getting out of hand, makes sure you are okay whether it be feeding, comforting, protecting you or, telling you about yourself when you f’d up.  “Mr/Ms. Spontaneity” will remind everyone that you can work hard but, you also need to play harder.  The “Spiritual One” is your Zen, your spiritual base; they are the one’s who views life from a holistic perspective (you need clarity).  The Apprentice is the next in line; everyone needs someone who they can look  up to.  Whether it be you, someone else in the group or, a collective effort, your apprentice will feed off the knowledge you bestow and continue to pay it forward.  And then, the “Boughie One,” their attitude and fashion is something we can all take and mold to form us.  Remember, there are levels to anything in life.

And, that friend that can’t get right…Girl, BYE!!!

So, while you do not need to label your friends, it is always fun to figure out who you are in the group and assess who you friends are.  In one of my miniature circles, we gave ourselves names, Classy, Fast, Ole, World Wide; I am the Classy One.  The good thing about our circle, we have been friends for years, we have our good days and bad days, we feed positivity off of each other, accept each others flaws and individuality.  We are four peas in a pod, and I luv it.

Circles do not have to be big.  Your group of friends and family should distill nothing but positive energy in your life and if they don’t then maybe their season has come to an end.  I think sometimes, we as humans get so caught up in status of any relationship and don’t realize how drained we are from those who are slowly taking our energy away from us.  We sit and allow them to do so until one day we become so fed up that we say things we really didn’t mean to say and hurt them in the process.  Once we figure out who we are and what mark we want to leave in this world, we can begin to chip away at those who take and never deposit and reach our full potential.

Growing up, if you did not finish eating your vegetables (peas) you could not leave the table.  Those veggies were what made you healthy and strong is what your parents would say. LOL!!!  Well…

1-Luv

D

P.S. This post is dedicated to my crew “4 P’s in a Pod”