Unbridled

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One of life’s most rewarding moments happens when you begin to value yourself. It’s quite astonishing how most people aim to please others so much that they forget to cater to their own needs. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being selfless, however, you shouldn’t ever have to make yourself less than to build others up. For so long I’ve been selling myself short. And to what gain?

Friday night I was having a conversation with one of my coworkers. It all began when I asked her if she was still dating this guy from Ghana. She replied, “No, I’m just into that anymore.” Of course, I prodded a bit more because she used to talk about this guy non-stop, like head over heels and whatnot. At this point she opened up a bit more and she began to talk more candidly about her former guy friend. Essentially, she was only talking to him because she was lonely at the time, and not only that, he had been promising to come visit her stateside for months but the plans seemed to always fall through, so she nixed him. We go back and forth a bit more and somehow the conversation turns from relationship talk to self-love. The two seem to go hand in hand nowadays. She’s 35 years old and according to her she’s been insecure with herself ever since she was age 16.

She always thought having the perfect body, the perfect smile, the perfect boyfriend would make her happy and it hasn’t. 35 years old and she’s been in this mindset since she was 16. Almost 20 years. With me being my emotional self, I became a bit teary-eyed because I could see myself in her. So much of my life has been about me changing myself to make spaces for other people more comfortable. For example, I used to be extremely overweight as a child and well into my adolescent years. It held be back a lot, but that wasn’t the only thing, I was closeted, too. So I was trapped in more ways than one. Trapped mentally and physically. Years go by and I slim down considerably which is all well and good, but a lot of the time I really thought that once I became svelte I’d be more appealing to guys. It’s such a sad thing to say, but it’s true. Oddly enough, I still battle with this mindset but not nearly as much.

I cannot keep living this way of thinking external forces are going to save me or make me happier. It’s detrimental, and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. I just want to live authentically. With me being 25 years old and not wanting the next 25 years to be like the years before, I’ve got to make some serious changes. Everyday I will remind myself that my happiness is paramount.

With that said, I am so grateful to have this eureka moment. I am slowly chipping away the trash that has been mentally taxing for years. Anyway, forward we go! No turning back.

Gettin’ bodied

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I swear few things are worse than trying to get back in shape.

Anyway, if you need some new tunes to get you back in the groove of things, here a few that I’d suggest:

1. “Cannonball” – Lea Michele

Play this song when you need to go that extra mile. You’ll feel all empowered and whatnot.

2. “Partition” – Beyoncé

Maaaaaaaan! This song will instantly boost your confidence, and before you’ll know it you’ll be feeling like the sexiest person in the gym.

I only have those two for right now. I’ll try to add more gym songs each week.

 

I am not insane, I promise.

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A few weeks ago I went to NYC for my 25th birthday, and it was absolutely phenomenal.

I drank, danced, and ate too much, but most importantly, I experienced a ton of personal growth in just a few short days.

I appreciated meeting up with friends that I hadn’t seen in years, but one connection that genuinely touched me on an entirely different level was when I met up with my friend Sean. We’ve been friends ever since we set foot on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill, and I’m grateful that we have been able to maintain a friendship for so many years.  I only have a few friendships where myself and the other person can go periods without talking and then pick up where we left off without missing a beat. In my opinion, those are some of the best friendships you could ask for. Those people understand that life happens, and while you love your friends dearly, you don’t always remember to reach out. Sad, I know, but that’s life.

In some ways, Sean was like the straw that broke the camels back. For weeks and weeks I had been getting “signs” that I needed to reach out to someone with all of the issues that I’ve been faced with lately. There are moments when I will just feel down for no reason at all. Life’s not perfect, but it isn’t terrible either. I spoke with my mother months ago and she suggested counseling. I spoke with a good friend of mine named Zena about three weeks ago and she brought up counseling too. My cousins also said something about seeing a therapist very briefly during a conversation we had. Then, just a few weeks ago, Sean did the same thing. So, I decided to take advantage of my health insurance and see a counselor. It’s so odd admitting that, but I know I’m taking a step in the right direction. I’m not comfortable enough to disclose everything that has been bothering me, but I know that if I can get over this I will truly be able to conquer my dreams.

I’m just the type of person that keeps things bottled in, thinking that I’ll eventually remedy the issue. And what’s even weirder is that I think I’ll eventually solve the problem, but I don’t truly even know where to begin. I know seeing a therapist isn’t going to be the same as seeing some sort of magical genie, but it is a start. I really want to live and have an amazing life. I just have to get rid of a lot of the things weighing me down.

This is going to be great, though. The next season in my life is blossoming, and I am ready for better.

 

OK, there’s obviously an issue here

In the last few weeks two tragedies have taken place within weeks of each other.

First, there was the horrible incident at the Washington Navy Yard, which involved a man by the name of Aaron Alexis who went on a shooting spree and is responsible for the death of 12 innocent people. Fast forward a few weeks down the road, and there are headlines with Miriam Carey, a woman who was killed after she tried to escape police during a chase through Capitol Hill.

The two commonalities between these folks are, of course, their race, however, both were confirmed to not be in the best of mental health when they began to act out. In fact, it’s been stated that Alexis had gone on to say he’d heard voices in his head earlier this year, and Carey suffered from postpartum depression, a disorder which occurs after childbirth in some women.

What’s most saddening to me is how the media has covered the Alexis and Carey incidents and the way in which they report on each issue involving the two perpetrators contrasts from how they cover folks of a lighter skin tone who are also mentally ill.

For example, think about the Sandy Hook School Shooting. The perpetrator was a white male, and he’d had a history of being mentally unstable. For weeks and weeks on end the television outlets couldn’t stop talking about this guy. The way in which they discussed his transgression always, in my opinion, seemed to have a sympathetic undertone and I attribute that to the fact that he was white. Mental illness in White people is always dissected, but when it comes to Black people, it’s dismissed. Shoot, think about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado last year. The guy responsible for that crime was the subject of so many water cooler-esque chats on a multitude of media outlets. And this lasted for weeks. The coverage was inescapable.

Now I am not condoning that we should glorify Black people with mental illnesses who violate the law the way in which their White counterparts are (killing people or endangering innocent lives isn’t ever acceptable and that behavior doesn’t deserve acclaim), however, why is it that Black people who commit heinous crimes when they are essentially help captive by an illness that is taking over their mind, yet White people who do these same crimes are pitied? Black people with mental illnesses are deemed crazy, White people with mental illnesses are given the proper resources to get better.

It would be wonderful if Black people were shown the same type of grace. We need it, and we deserve it.

Loveeeeeee

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Last night I went to see “Baggage Claim.” I wasn’t even planning on going to the movies, especially since I get off work at 9:00 PM (I work second shift) and I’m usually exhausted by the time I get home. Anyway, I get home and my mother and sister wanted to go see “Baggage Claim,” which stars Paula Patton and Derek Luke.

The film is definitely a cute romcom, and I encourage everyone to go and see it. Nothing Academy Award worthy but definitely a feel good film. After watching the film one thing that stuck with me, even though I laughed it off was when my mother compared me to the lead character in the film, Montana Moore, who’s portrayed by Paula Patton. Montana is, in every sense of the word, a hopeless romantic. She’s smart, funny, great personality, but for some odd reason she has trouble finding someone to complement her amazingness. Montana is nearing 30 and she’s not yet married, and she doesn’t even have any suitors.

Although I know my mom didn’t mean any harm by comparing me to Montana, it still made me feel a bit sad. I’m only 24, but I turn 25 in less than two months and the thought of getting older and still being single is kind of scary. And I’m not saying that I want to be married or anything within a year, but as humans we need companionship.

Right now, love would be wonderful and it’ll come, but it isn’t one of those things in life that you can perfectly calculate. You literally have to wait for it. Sure, you can date but ultimately I think that the person who’s going to knock you head over heels will strut into your life when you least expect it.

And so I’ll wait. I’ll wait for someone who’s smart, compassionate, handsome, quirky, ambitious, adventurous, etc. I want an extraordinary partner. I want someone who gives me chills, who gives me butterflies every time we kiss, someone who will sing off key with me, someone who will console me when I’m down, someone who will lift me up, someone on the same spiritual wavelength as me. I want someone who is the embodiment of all the sentimental love songs that I’ve heard over the years. And I deserve that, and so does everyone else in the world that’s looking for love.

It’s sad to say, but at the age of 24 there were times when I felt like I wanted to give up on love (absurd, I know!), but love is one of the few things that makes life so thrilling. Love is sublime, and it’s something we shouldn’t ever give up on.

In short, keep waiting.

<3

Just My Thoughts: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

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I recently finished reading “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. I’m honestly ashamed to admit that it was the first novel by Morrison that I’d read, and I’m pleased to say that it was so worth it.

For those who don’t know, the story depicted in the novel revolves around a little girl named Pecola Breedlove who is, in the eyes of many folks in her small town, an ugly child. As soon as I borrowed the book from my local library and began reading it, it was hard to put it down. The story was fascinating, and I’m glad that Morrison shed light on an issue within that Black Community that usually gets swept under the rug: Colorism.

Recently, race has been a big issue (although it’s always been a big issue for people of color) within the mainstream media, but when it comes to how we in the Black Community view and treat one another, we’re usually mum on the topic. Pecola prays and prays and prays for blue eyes. She wants them because she feels that this is a feature that will make her more beautiful. It’s been a while since my heart ached so much for a fictional character. I loved the sharpness and clarity of the words that Morrison used to describe characters within the novel. She’s so thorough with her writing that it feels like you’re actually there experiencing everything her characters are witnessing, the good, bad and ugly.

Overall, the book was really great. I know I didn’t talk about it much in terms of specifics, but it did get me to thinking about how I treat other Black men and women. Although this novel was published in the 70s, the themes of beauty and self-worth still echo loud and clear today. If you ever have the chance I highly recommend reading this book.

America Is Not A Post-Racial Society

Travon Martin

America isn’t a post-racial society. You may scream and shout that it is, but you’re wrong. Why is this a post-race society? Because we have a Black president? That’s laughable. Tell me something, if we were so over race in America, why are Black people still made to feel inferior just because we sport a darker hue than our white counterparts?

Like most of America, I am disappointed with the verdict in the case of the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman. When the verdict was announced I was already expecting the worst, but I hoped for the best. How is it that a 17-year-old was, in essence, blamed for his own murder? On the night that Trayvon Martin was killed, he was walking to his home. He had every right to be outside in the same gated community as George Zimmerman. The message sent to Black people, and more specifically, Black males, was that we do not matter in this country. We are less than. If you perceive a Person of Color as a threat you have the right to kill them and there will be no repercussions. White privilege is a helluva drug. It’s so inconspicuous that those privy to it don’t even know they’re benefitting from it.

From the moment that Zimmerman jumped out of his vehicle race was an issue in this tragedy. Why did he feel the need to pursue Martin? Why did he feel threatened by a Black teenager who was doing nothing but minding his own business? These are questions that have truly never been answered. Race was brought into this when the media questioned Martin’s academic record and the fact that he’d been suspended from school before, instead of focusing on the fact that he was murdered. They acted like it was his fault he was killed.

I’ll never forget hearing the conversation between Zimmerman and the 911 dispatcher, “Dispatcher: Are you following him? Zimmerman: Yeah. Dispatcher: Ok, we don’t need you to do that.” I am angry. Why did he follow and kill this child? I’ll never forget the screams I heard coming from Martin on the 911 tape. He was scared. He was defenseless and no one helped him.

In the 148 years that have passed since the American Civil War ended, Black people have had to fight to tooth and nail for every basic human right. And we’re still fighting. Think about that. It’s been less than 150 years since one of the most horrific wars in the country ended yet people think that we’ve progressed to overlook race. We’re still dealing with race issues that manifested after the war ended.

A child is dead and the only “crime” that he committed was being in the midst of a trigger-happy, wannabe cop. So where do we go from here? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. I just feel numb because I cannot believe that justice didn’t prevail for Trayvon Martin while George Zimmerman, a murderer, walks free.

American justice failed once again.

 

 

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