Let go.

I have an intense problem with control. I am calculated and deliberate by nature, leaving as little room as possible for chance to have its way. If my life were a meme, it would be this one, as I am constantly contemplating my next steps. For the first 19 years of my life, this has served me well. I have been able to micromanage the everyday and manipulate everything else. But, what I was not prepared for was the total curveball life threw me the minute I turned 20 years old. I have been 20 for three months and, in that small span of time, my sense of control has been shattered. I realize adulthood is a completely different animal. I'm doing and saying things I wouldn't normally do or say. I'm thinking more radically, taking more risks, and trying to push my mind to imagine the unimaginable. And let me just tell you, it's scary.  

But two things have helped me during this time of transition. 

(1) The word of God. I'm finding solace in the consistency and love of God amid the chaos and unpredictability of my life. Isaiah 41:10 -- don't be afraid, for I am with you. don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you...-- has been a great encouragement that though I don't know everything, he can help me through anything.  

(2) Taking everything one day at a time. My mom always tells me you can never swallow a whole elephant at once, you have to cut it up into bite size pieces. This is the mantra I have adopted. It has helped me to process things bit by bit and focus on the things that are immediately in view.

Though adulthood is scary and letting go of control makes me feel like I'm losing my mind, I am learning to become comfortable with that. It's not easy and sometimes it's not fun but I think I'm ready to approach life differently. I'm ready to let the cards fall where they may and simply roll with the punches. 

Just a little update...

Life has been pretty interesting these past couple of months. I've been adulting more, developing myself emotionally, having some necessary mental breakdowns and keeping my nose to the grind. I took a break from writing so I could get my head together. Nursing school kicked my butt this semester, forcing me to take time to refocus. However, I have missed writing, a lot. I have missed transforming my thoughts into words on this forum. 

During my time away I inadvertently conducted an informal psychological study. What I intended as a simple conversation starter morphed into something that got me thinking a whole lot. My question was, what would you do right now if nothing was stopping you? Without fear, the influence of other people, or unavailable resources; what decisions would you make to reach that next level of life fulfillment?  This question made me think about the self-fabricated mental blocks that turn us away from doing the things we actually want to do. While money and various circumstances can be an actual hindrance; our attitude and way of thinking doesn't have to be. 

Though I did not ask a ton of people, a majority of my responses included traveling the world. Others said they would get with or spend time with someone special. And still other responses included pursuing dreams and robbing a bank. However, there was one response that differed from the rest. When asked the question, this person almost immediately responded, "nothing is stopping me, I'm doing exactly what I want to do." Without fear or apprehension, this person is crafting the life they desire. 

I think we should all strive to reach the point where we live without imagining or anticipating obstacles. We should take advantage of the time we have now to do exactly what we want to do. So, everyone, besides the criminal mind that wishes to rob a bank, I challenge you to think about the actual and potential hindrances that are keeping you from living the life you want. While you may not be able to wake up tomorrow and fly across the world, are you exploring the world in front of you? While your dreams seem out of reach, what are you doing right now to make sure they do come true? 

Showcasing Accomplishments

Just a bit of weekend encouragement. Don't be afraid to showcase your accomplishments. They have tons of shows where people unafraid of ridicule show off what talents and skills they have. If they can get in front of thousands and sing or juggle or whatever, I think you can show off that grade or acceptance letter or bomb outfit to a few hundred Instagram followers and handful of Snapchatters. So, this Saturday morning I encourage you to take that leap, do that thing, share your talents and seize that opportunity. 

Cabin Fever

I am craving something new. Like being trapped in the house by spring's unwarranted wintry gift, I feel trapped in the daily routines of my life. I wake up 2 hours before my class begins, complain about having to wake up early, wash my face, get dressed, brush my teeth, and leave to start my day. Everything occurs how I plan it with no real procedural deviations. I am craving something different. Now, don't get me wrong I am content with the state of my life at the moment. It would just be nice to have something that interrupts the usual hum-drum of life. I have no idea what that something is though, is it a permanent something? is it a one time something? is that something a someone? (insert curious emoji eyes). This brand of monotony is the kind you buy because it's functional and doesn't disappoint, but the more you use it, the more you realize you deserve a brand that doesn't leave you wanting more. It's the difference between Chocolate Sandwich Cookies and Oreos. I am currently snacking on Chocolate Sandwich Cookies; functional but not satisfying. 

If anyone has any ideas on how to shake the funk of everyday predictability, I would love to hear it. Anything at all. 

20 Something

It is so great that my birthday and the addition of a new post on A Saturday Morning fall on the same day. I am usually able to write with ease and come up with conclusions, reflections, and witty inspirations. But, I am at a loss for words as I'm writing this. I wouldn't chalk it up to writers block. I wouldn't chalk it up to not having enough energy to write anything. It's just that I have so much I could say about turning twenty that I have no idea where to start. But, I think that's a great way to enter into your 20's. Being so full and ready to pour out but having the freedom to remain silent for a bit; drawing conclusions about what brought you to where you are now, reflecting on the previous nineteen years of your life, and thinking on the things and people who have inspired you. So, this morning as I am crowned an official twenty-something I'm choosing to be silent and bask in the gentle, sensitive, intelligent, loyal, beautiful woman that I am.

Happy birthday to me! *balloons and confetti fall from the ceiling*  

The Bleck Pantha

(You know I HAD to write about Black Panther, you knew it was coming.)

I'm usually not one to buy into the hype of who's who at the moment or the trends of the season. I don't say this to brag or seem superior, I'm just a naturally skeptical person. However, I made a huge exception with the film Black Panther. This earth shattering, stereotype busting, powerhouse  film completely evaded my initial filter of skepticism and hesitancy to "jump on the bandwagon". The moment I saw the first teaser trailer last year I was geeked. How could I not, knowing that my two loves, superheroes and black people, were being combined in such an awesome way. Since seeing the film twice I have been bursting with opinions and perspectives about T'Challa, Okoye, the visuals, the metaphors and everything else. So, before I explode, I'm going to share some of my unsolicited reflections about Black Panther

  •  Marvel grounded it's usual fantasy and implausibility with reality in a way unseen in the other films. Black Panther took full advantage of the opportunity to speak on real issues in the black community. It made it so easy to relate to what was playing out on the screen. This film transcends mere entertainment. 
  • I don't think Killmonger should have died at the end. (Not just because I love Micheal B.) His points were way to valid for his life to be ended in the typical good guy wins, bad guys loses trope. With constant monitoring and effective integration of his less radical ideas I think he could have been integral in helping Wakanda expand it's reach.
  • Furthermore, I don't think Klaue should have died either. I would have loved to see him escape and reappear in the other Marvel films stealing vibranium, acting brash, and blasting his arm cannon. But, then again, it may have been appropriate for him to die as Marvel ushers in a new set of intergalactic foes for our favorite heroes. 
  • I loved the themes of unity in the film. One instance, when the Jabari chose to help thwart W'Kabi's plans of dissension and discord. M'Baku recognized the security of Wakanda was more important than any reservations he may have had. The other instance was at the end of the movie when T'Challa revealed he bought a block of apartment buildings in Oakland and was going to start a science and information exchange under Shuri. 
  • My words cannot capture the strength, fierceness and beauty of the Dora Milaje.

Wakanda Forever.

A Different World

I have watched all six seasons of A Different World three times. How do I love it? Let me count the ways...

1. A Different World gave me my first view of what life could be as a black female in college doing her thing and shaking up the world. I went into college knowing that I could become forever friends with my roommate, that I could meet an Earth conscious hippie who challenged my world view, and that I could fall in love with a skinny math nerd sporting flip-ups. I am grateful that A Different World showed me that the world is glowing with possibility. 

2. A Different World beautifully showcased just how multidimensional black people can be. We can love math, we can come from a place of affluence, we can be the eternal class clown, we can wear the colors of the rainbow, we can live with our head in the clouds, we can speak our mind, we can be wanted for our intellect and not to fulfill a quota, we can love, we can laugh, and we can live our lives unapologetically. As a result, I recognized my own multidimensionality by finding a piece of myself in each of the characters. A Different World was truly a show of representation.

3. A Different World presented issues with a sobering seriousness that you don't find much in current pop culture. It presented unfiltered truths about the cultural taboos in the world around us. My own ignorances were confronted in those episodes talking about AIDS and racism and sexual harassment. It made me think, am I guilty of adopting an attitude of indifference toward the issues plaguing my people? (Are you?)

4. There aren't many things that hold my attention for very long. My attention span is about as long as my pointer finger. However, I have been captivated by the entertainment A Different World provides. It is a genuine show that doesn't rely on the crutches of obscenity or crassness. I can laugh and enjoy it without looking over my shoulder or wondering what my parents would think if I watched it. 

5. I just love it, is there any better reason than that? 


What's your favorite television show, past or present?

Stuck

Two years ago I wrote a poem entitled, "Where do I fit?". (Sorry, no I won't let you read it.) At the time I was pretty broken, unsure of who I was and where I fit in the greater perspective of life. I was being crushed under the weight of rejection and loneliness and couldn’t see the path in front of me because of the slump of my shoulders. 

I live in the suburbs where neighbors rarely speak to each other and community gatherings aren’t a thing. Trying to imagine my life playing out differently, I wrote this poem envisioning my neighborhood bounding with life as people sat outside shooting the breeze thoroughly engaged in each other's lives. Though a bit far fetched, this scene expressed my desperation in trying to create a world I felt apart of. But, as the high of my illusions began to fade I was again forced to face the reality that lay in front of me. I was forced to look at myself and ask, “What is really bothering you? Surely living in the "wrong" neighborhood is not the extent of your problem."

Looking back at this poem I understand that my fascination with fitting in was less about the physical parameters of a people group or a community and more about the holes I was trying to fill. I understand that the drywall and sandpaper and spackle needed to fix my holes is found in Christ. As I’ve spent more time with him, a slow journey with ups and downs, I am learning to trade my rejection for acceptance and my loneliness for comfort in Him. Everyday I choose to wait for the Lord to lovingly put me in a place that suits me just perfectly where my needs are met and I am whole. 

(Disclaimer: By no means am I perfect. By no means do I have it all together. I am learning and growing and not completely whole.)

Going Out By Yourself

*Queue the scary music and the horrified gasps* Yes, the title of this post is Going Out By Yourself, as in just you with no other people. The first time I went out by myself was to the movies to see Get On Up, the biographical film about James Brown. I was met with a million questions from my parents about what boy I was actually going to meet and where I was really going. Unafraid, I assured my parents I was going to meet me, myself and I and would be back before dinner. Leaving behind odd stares and unfinished remarks of disagreement I strutted into the theater with my popcorn and candy ready to experience something I had never experienced. I can't lie and say I didn't feel the 20 pairs of imaginary eyes searing into me, ogling me for being at a movie by myself. I felt strange and began to feel regret for my decision. 

But, as the credits rolled and the lights came on, I felt so good about my decision. I was thinking why hadn't I done this sooner? Going out by myself just felt ... good (for lack of a better, more lyrical description of my experience).  I didn't have to engage in a 3-hour decision making session about what movie to see, I didn't have to wait for anyone, I didn't have to make empty small talk, and most importantly, I didn't have to share my popcorn. I could be the purest form of myself without being diluted or influenced by the presence of someone else.

In a world where being with someone at every waking moment is the norm, going out by yourself is scary, it's new, and it's exhilarating. Learning to be comfortable with your thoughts, your likes and dislikes, the way you process, is the greatest favor you can do for yourself. Hey, if you can't be comfortable with yourself how can anyone else?

Pain Demands to be Felt

"Pain demands to be felt." - The Fault in our Stars

Everyone feels pain. Since the fall of mankind we have been battling with pain; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Everyone's pain wants to be the center of attention. Why do you think Twitter rants exist? or anger that is invisible on the inside forces itself out through tears and shouts? Pain demands to be felt. While pain is a necessary part of life, I contend that we give it too much power. Anything that demands something from us without giving anything in return is by definition a parasite. Pain sucks all of our energy without thinking twice about the frail entity it leaves behind groveling for relief. Why do we allow pain to have it's way with us?

I am guilty of allowing my pain to smother and leave me broken. I am guilty of allowing my pain to demand from me. I would be lying if I said that in 2018 I would no longer allow my pain to dictate my actions and thoughts. I acknowledge that pain is powerful. However, I also acknowledge that in 2018 I will feel my pain and deal with it properly. I will no longer allow my pain to operate haphazardly. Pain demands to be felt but I demand control physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

Unpopular Opinions

When I was a devoted Twitter user there was a hash tag floating around, #unpopularopinion, where people were allowed to push aside political correctness and share their unpopular opinions. I could not stop grinning as I scrolled through thousands of unpopular opinions. I felt like Oprah during her annual Christmas show, handing out likes and retweets to opinions that resonated with me. You get a like! You get a retweet! You get a retweet! It felt good to give virtual fist bumps to those thousands that felt comfortable deviating from the norm, even over minor things. I feel it's healthy to be a rebel and voice your dissent with the way things are operated and the way the masses think. So in honor of being a non-conformist, I will share a couple of my unpopular opinions...

I hate the smell of fresh cut grass. When people express how lovely and sweet it is I call a flag on the play. I do not like seafood Sam I am, I will not eat it here or there, I will not eat it anywhere. Oatmeal raisin cookies are the best cookies (you cannot debate me). Mulan is the greatest Disney princess. Bacon is overrated. 

oprah meme.jpg

Source /shemazing.net/ 


What are some of your unpopular opinions?

I LOVE BEING BLACK

I really, really, really love being black. I am in love with the way my skin turns glowy bronze in the 4 o'clock sun; I love the way hip hop, disco and soul makes my body feel electric; I love that the fullness of my lips is enhanced by the wide bridge of my nose; I love that my culture includes Katherine Johnson, Jackie Robinson, D'Angelo, and Goldlink; it gives me chills to see #blackgirlmagic being sprinkled all over; I love the versatility of black men and women from durags and 3-piece suits to box braids and quick weave; I love how multidimensional we can be; and I love how Boyz II Men can make a Christmas song sound like a slow jam. There is nothing like black people.

I am more appreciative of my blackness now more than ever as I didn't always realize I was black. Yes, I knew I had brown skin and African American features, but I never understood what it meant to be black. In other words, I was the dictionary definition of identity crisis. I always felt too black for the white kids and painfully too white for the black kids. Throughout middle school my nickname was Oreo, essentially a perpetrator of the black race. Throughout high school everyone's first impression was that I was stuck up, presumably because of my "white tendencies". I allowed others misunderstanding of black multiplicity to alter how I presented myself to the world. I was wrapped up in my own head trying to prove that I was black enough.  

It has been a constant, arduous, uphill battle to remember that I am who God created me to be. I am not what people have labeled me or what people project onto me. I do not have to prove anything to anyone. Though some days are harder than others, I can say that I am a more confident black girl. If you put me side by side with the girl I was 2 or 3 years ago, we would be completely different. I say all this to say that I love being black and I am going to fight as hard as I can to make sure no one makes me question who I am again. *Lifts fist in the air and lowers head*

 

New Friendships

With another year quickly approaching its end, I wanted to reflect on friendship and how it changed my year for the better:

I have never been one to initiate friendships. Most of my friendships have been sparked by the law of proximity. This law states that objects that are near or proximate to each other tend to be grouped together (study.com). Being in the same space with the same people made it easy for friendships to form in spite of me, with no real effort on my end. I let the relationships take shape however they wanted and if they didn't pan out I shrugged them off. I didn't realize, until it was almost too late, the destructive and constricting power an attitude of passivity can have on relationships. My budding friendships were being choked and I could not understand why. I became so acclimated to feeling apathetic towards relationships that it took a sobering season of deafening isolation for me to finally understand that there is beauty in friendships nurtured with intentionality and hard work. It was a hard lesson as I had to learn to shift my energy, once robbed by apathy, to cultivating meaningful relationships.

2017 has awarded me a set of friends that don't deserve to be handled with apathy or passivity. My 2017 has been filled with being present, perfecting communication, listening, spending time, suppressing fear, putting myself out there, and taking initiative. Though it has been a challenge, my friendships are blossoming because I have chosen to care for them properly. Going into 2018 I am leaving inadequate friendships behind, for good, and putting my all into beneficial ones. I can only go up from here.


What has changed your 2017 for the better?

15 Facts About Me

I thought I would start by sharing 15 random facts about myself. There is no significance behind the number 15 besides my feeling that 10 facts wasn't enough and 20 facts was a bit overwhelming. 

1. My favorite color at the moment is yellow

2. I would travel the world for the rest of my life if I could

3. I broke my elbow during a 6th grade kickball game

4. When I find a song I love, I have to listen to it over and over...and over

5. I love learning new things

6. My favorite food is hash brown casserole, made by my lovely momma

7. My favorite dessert teeters between cookies and cream ice cream, chocolate sour cream pound cake and key lime pie

8. I have about 90 or so dreadlocks

9. Dogs and kids hold a very special place in my heart

10. I am a super indecisive person

11. The first Transformers movie is my favorite action movie

12. Strawberries and nectarines are my favorite fruit

13. I am not a huge fan of socks

14. I feel most comfortable in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt

15. Nothing would make me happier than being able to eat a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit at 2 o'clock in the afternoon


What's one or two or three random facts about you?