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African American Transition: Celebration of History, Change, and Movement

In light of black history month, I felt it necessary to pay homage to all of the men and women that came before us. As well as remind us to keep in mind what these people created during challenging times. It’s impossible for me to write about all, but I would be remiss if I didn’t write anything.

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We usually always hear of such leaders as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela. But one day at work, my students were learning about Ruby Bridges. And immediately I felt the need to write a little about her. She was a young girl from the south, who excelled in her class. She was then offered an opportunity to go to an all white school, when schools during that time were segregated. Her father wasn’t sold on the idea, but her mother knew that it would be a great opportunity for her daughter to receive a great education.

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As the first African American girl to go to an all white school, the transition was more difficult than they had anticipated. From Ruby being looked down on, called horrible names, parents of the white children pulling them out of school to be away from Her, and even having her life threatened. No matter how hard the situation was, Ruby was still in school every morning. This very challenging time brought about great change in America. This was the beginning of something great. This took great persistence. Although it was her parents decision for Ruby to go to this school, it took great persistence to keep going having to endure all of this. Her parents could have seen what it was doing to her and decided to take her out of the school, but they didn’t. Ruby could have completely shut down, not wanting to reach out to those at school when the other children returned, but she didn’t. One night Ruby walked into her mothers room crying telling her that she was scared. Her mothers response was, go pray. And she did just that. Every morning Ruby prayed for those people who treated her terribly. They continued anyway until it was no longer out of the norm for black and white people to be together.

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Along with Ruby and her family, there are many others who created change and such a movement. So we thank them for what they had to endure in order to pave the way and make things better for those behind them.

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Now how do we celebrate what these people have done on our behalf? We walk in their footsteps. We take what they have done and relate it to our lives. We take what we’ve been given and use it to create a movement just as huge as theirs. We have a responsibility to carry out their legacy. All that they’ve done was not done in vain. When things become difficult, we consider all those that have gone before us and keep moving. Allow those people to be inspiration and motivation to keep striving for better. Keep praying and believing God. If they could do it during those times, we too can create the change we want to see.

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Live in the Moment

Often times we wonder what it’ll take to get from one point to another. We fail to realize how simple it is. All it really takes is a single moment. All it takes is now, the time that we’ve been given. We’re sometimes so stuck in concerning ourselves with what took place in the past, therefore causing us to doubt positivity or success for the future. We have to learn to take advantage of now. Learn to live in the moment, realizing what we do now has the power to change yesterday as well as tomorrow.

There was a time in my life where I was literally stuck. No movement, no progression. This was a result of the fact that I wasn’t taking advantage of the moment I was given. Somewhere in my mind I had an idea of where I wanted to go, but because I focused so much on the past and failed attempts, I wasn’t sure how I’d get there.

We may not have done everything right in the past. However, if we continue to focus our attention on how wrong we were, it’s possible that it’ll negatively effect what we do in the present or lack thereof. We miss out on opportunities when we are not taking full advantage of the moment.

We can’t be concerned with what people say or what we see around us. If we do, it’ll cause us to miss the moment. Miss the opportunity that was placed in front of us.

I’m currently without a laptop or computer. My laptop crashed twice and I lost a good amount of writing. I now do the majority of my writing from my phone. And I’ve been to the place where I thought to myself “I’m over this. I have to wait until I get a laptop to finish working on my writing.” But I realized I can’t think that way. Had I not taken advantage of my iPhone and began to share my work, I’d miss out on the opportunities that are coming and going to continue to come my way. Not only would I miss my opportunity to move forward, I’d also miss the opportunity to reach, encourage, and inspire others.

So I encourage you to take full advantage of “the now.” Live in the moment. Don’t allow circumstances, people, or situations to cause you to miss out on an opportunity that will further your success!

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Sit Back and be Lovely

So this past weekend I made an unexpected decision to go to Philly. As I sat in the nail salon Saturday afternoon on the phone with the BFF, hearing their plans of a Philly trip, I immediately wanted to join. One, we (the circle) were all off for MLK day and I know every time we get together, it’s a good time. I knew ahead of time that I’d gain something through this. I thrive from gaining new knowledge or even seeing things from a different perspective or point of view. And that is exactly what took place. I originally had plans, but I knew this was something I needed to do for me.

Overall, it was a pretty good time. But I love discussion, so that was the best part for me. Anytime the four of us get together we have late night conversation. So as we talked, and I listened to a situation that I’ve been too familiar with, I received some great insight about the whole friendship stage leading to a relationship. Being on the other end of the spectrum, to hear from a mans point of view was great.

These were the simple words that summed it up for me: “Take your hands off of it. You’re trying to move the pieces around. Your hands are in it too much. Just chill…sit back and be lovely.”

Sometimes we (females) do too much and don’t give men an opportunity to do the things that we ultimately want them to do. And all the man wants us to do is sit back as they do what they’re supposed to do.

I’ve found myself in situations where I tried to make things happen. I kept putting demands on things and putting my hands in it when I probably should’ve just fell back. Sometimes we have to sit back and let the man do what he needs to do. Rather than try to make a man pursue us, let him do the pursuing. Stop questioning and let him do things because he wants to do them.

It makes it difficult for a man to do what he wants to do when you tell him to do it. Yes, a man will always do what he wants to do, but let him do it because he feels like doing it, not because you said it. Men don’t like to be chased, let them do the chasing. Let them put in the work.

I’ve now come to a place within myself where I’ve made the decision to just chill, sit back, and be lovely. Remaining consistent in my decision, regardless of how it ends. If you’re willing, go along for the ride, staying in your lane. Build a friendship and keep building until you’ve reached that point. Don’t take it further than that.

So ladies, I encourage you to take your hands off of it. Sit back and be lovely when you need to. Be the woman and allow yourself to be pursued. Let’s not be so quick to tell men what to do, make demands and expect it to go the way we have it played out in our heads.
And men, be honest and upfront throughout the extent of it.

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Positivity all Around Me. Go Where I’m Going.

As I was waiting on line to get into Wendy Williams this morning, I overheard a conversation behind me. As these two were talking, one was sharing with another about an event that they would be apart of. She then told him how she wanted to put him on the bill, and would look out for any openings. Then the other shared what they were about to embark on. They went back and forth sharing and encouraging one another on their projects. This made me think of where I’ve been recently. I’ve been thinking about this quite often lately, I really love and appreciate genuine relationships. Where you encourage one another and support in their endeavors.

One day, after not seeing her for about a year, I went out to lunch with a friend of mine. This was around the time I made the decision to really focus on some of the things that I needed to in order to prepare for my future. This was by far one of the best conversations I had. We were both able to share the things that we desired to do, as well as encourage each other to do it rather than just talk about it. Some things we hadn’t shared with anyone else. Endeavors we anticipated embarking on. We supported one another’s ideas and pushed one another to pursue it.This is just an example of what you call genuine friendship. When you don’t always see each other, but can still take interest in one another’s future.

You should always surround yourself with like-minded people. People who are going in the same direction as you. People who have the same drive and determination that you do. People who are going to always be able to push and motivate you to do and be better. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” You have to have people around you that will keep you on your toes. People who aren’t jealous of your growth or who don’t mind putting you on to things when you fall off.

So I encourage you to evaluate the relationships in your life as well as your own motives within those relationships. Are you giving and receiving as much support and motivation as possible?

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Building the Vision

We all have goals and places in life we desire to be. We’re building to one day reach that place. Building is a process. And during a process there’s always much for us to learn. One thing we must know is that timing is everything. We have to get to the place where we understand that sometimes things won’t work out the way we want because it may not be the right time.

Don’t stop working because you don’t get immediate results. I’m learning this. I don’t know if it’s just me, but for some odd reason, I like to see change when I’m putting in work. And when I don’t see it right away, in the past I’ve gotten discouraged and wanted to fallback. I’m sure I’m not the only person that’s been there. But I’m starting to realize and learning to accept that, some things aren’t happening because it’s just not the right time. And I have to trust that as long as I’m working, it’ll happen. When the time is right.

One thing in particular I’ve struggled with, is my writing. I’ve started, stopped, started and stopped. I came to the place where I just put it on hold. This was all because I didn’t get immediate results. And I’ve seen so many people get to where I’ve wanted to be so much faster, so I thought. But I began to think, some of the content I needed to include hadn’t developed at that moment. I wasn’t ready to be at that place as of yet.

I may not be able to flourish in all of the things that I want to pursue as of yet. There may be a lot more for me to learn. So to avoid my downfall, it doesn’t work out.

Of course you may feel a little uneasy when you see someone in the place you hope to be in.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong and they’re doing it correct. Doesn’t always mean that what they’re doing is something that you should be doing. That may not be the route you need to take to get there. In some cases, it’s just not the right time.

It’s not our place to compete with anyone. When it’s your time, it’s your time. This is where we mess up, we stray from what we should be doing and follow the pattern of someone else. Don’t worry about what others are doing. Celebrate with them and keep working. Keep doing what you’re supposed to do and at the perfect time, you’ll be where you should be.

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2013: Growth, Transition, Process.

As we come to the end of the year, why not take a little time to reflect and share. This year if anything at all, has brought great growth. The fact that I’m able to share my thoughts and experiences through my writing is growth in itself.
This has also been a year of transition and process.

Transitioned from one job to another, transitioned into leadership positions, transitions within relationships with those around me, as well as personal transition. Although the process may not have always been easy, it’s all learning lessons and stepping stones for where I’m headed.

My employment journey has been quite interesting. The job search process after graduating from college was not pleasant. But I can honestly say, I’m grateful for where I am. My transition from college, to one job, to the next, was rather difficult; but I believe it was to teach me a lesson. It’s preparation.

When it comes to my relationships (friendships), I’ve become distant with some people and closer to others. But by the end of this year, I can say I’ve made amends with a few people. Some of those people I can see us being very good friends while others will be kept at a distance. We have to use wisdom in our interactions with others. Not every relationship has been great, may have been hurt, but I’ve been able to take something from each of them. I’ve been able to forgive people. Even when I wasn’t given an apology. In this year, I refused to become bitter by harboring ill feelings toward someone else. What sense does it make to be sad and moping while the person who hurt you goes through life unaware and living freely? None, none at at. One of the most important things though, I’ve learned to be wise when it comes to people and their motives, but to still be open to new relationships.

I’ve been put in leadership positions that I probably would not have accepted had this been a few years ago. I’ve began to share my writing and been able to reach and touch a few people. I’ve been given the opportunity to help others make positive changes in different areas of their lives. This has always been a desire of mine, but I haven’t always thought I was capable of doing it. I’ve now been able to take risks. That leap of faith.
This is all to show how much I’ve grown. I used to be the shy quiet girl who never wanted to be in the forefront, and always had a wall up to keep people shut out from knowing who I was. But now that’s all changed. I’ve found true freedom. I’m completely free to be myself. And I absolutely love who I’ve become. I’m at a place where I can willingly and openly display my thoughts through my writing as well as open behavior without being afraid of who won’t like it or who won’t like me. I’m no longer concerned whether people like me or not. I know the right people will. And I realize if I’m not myself, the people I’m supposed to reach won’t get what they need.

My faith has been increased through all of this. My faith in God as well as my belief in myself.

When you’re open to it, you can grow as much as possible. When you’re willing to take risks, it’ll take you places. I’m not where I want to be, but I’ve definitely grown. And I know that my openness and freedom will take me a whole lot further.
So I encourage you to be willing to take risks. Be open to growth. Trust your process.

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It’s Never Impossible

Public transportation chronicles, part two…

I’ve always loved taking public transportation because it feels so peaceful and freeing. I can sit and process all of my thoughts. I can listen to music, meditate, etc, with no distractions. Well that really depends on where I am. But anyway, I’m beginning to love it even more. At this point in my life, I’ve become more open to people. I’m always open and up for a conversation with a random person. So, it’s story time lol..

Last night as I was waiting for the bus, I met a lady. I just missed the 7:50 bus by a few minutes, so I had to wait for the 8:30. While I waited, there was a big argument going on with a couple of Hispanic men. I had no idea what they were arguing about because I don’t understand the language, but it started dragging out and getting louder and louder. So of course myself and everyone around became rather annoyed. So this lady turns to me and laughs, which led us to conversing.

She asked which bus I waiting for to see if we were getting the same bus. She then began to talk about how she lives in a residential area, which is boring, so loves that she works in the city. She then went on to say that she’s from Guyana and how things in America are so much different.

After a little while, she explained to me how her parents raised her and all the values they instilled in her at a very young age. One thing in particular was young women never left home until they were married. She was taught never to move in with a man before she was married to him.

She then told me how she came to America on her own. She explained how she came here with absolutely nothing. When she first came, she realized it wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be living here. She lived and started working for her cousins. Although they were her family, they only paid her $2 an hour when minimum wage was about $7. Because of her kind nature, one day while she worked someone offered her a job as a nanny. She said she had to think about it first because had she gotten another job, her cousins wouldn’t allow her to stay with them. She was able to live in the basement of the family that offered her the job, so she took the position.

While she was working with her cousins, she met her current husband. She explained how when they first went out she was so shy to even eat around him because in her country they were never allowed to go places with the men. They dated for three years before they got engaged. After he proposed to her, he asked her to move in with him, but she said she wouldn’t until they were married. She talked about how although she was away from her parents and at an age where she could make her own decisions, she could never forget the values her parents taught her.

She’s now married to a teacher working at a shoe company owned by the family she worked for as a nanny. She’s getting paid good money and makes her own schedule. Also living in a very nice residential area.

There are so many things that I took from this twenty minute conversation. Definitely an inspiring and motivating encounter.

If someone can literally start from nothing, making two dollars an hour, why is it impossible for me to take all the I have, the education I was given, and the job that I don’t always feel is enough, to make things happen for myself. I have something I can build from. Everything that we desire in life is going to require work. We can’t sit and expect things to just fall into our laps, we have to keep working despite the struggle. And that’s something this woman did.

When things become difficult, begin to think about this. Not just this lady in particular, but many other people have had to start literally from nothing. If they can push through it and make something of themselves, why can’t we?

Another thing I took from this, never forget your values and your teachings. Many of us grew up on certain beliefs and taught by our parents. Many times when we reach a certain age, we just forget all about those things. Sometimes we just get that little taste of freedom and take off. In some cases, all that we’ve been taught can take us places. This women stood her ground and didn’t let go of her standards because of what she was taught. How many times have we or someone we know let go of our standards because of someone else and ended up in a place we didn’t belong. So never lower your standards and push your beliefs aside to appease someone else and put yourself in the wrong place or position.

One last thing, this woman was kind to everyone although things were tough for her while she worked for practically no money. Her kindness opened doors for her to become a nanny and have a place to stay. And because the family she worked for loved her so much, she was able to receive a job at their company. We have to realize our attitude also takes us places. If this woman kept her mind on her situation, she probably wouldn’t be where she is today.

So let’s remember, it’s never impossible to get further ahead in life. Learn to take what you have and build from there, stand firm on what you believe without lowering your standards, and keep a positive attitude through it all, being kind to everyone you encounter. It’ll all take you somewhere!

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Trust Your Struggle

LOVELYMISSJONES

As much as we dislike struggling, we all go through it. We may not want to; but as I’ve realized, it’s necessary.

Recently, this has honestly weighed heavily on me. My mind has been constantly racing with the struggles of life. This week in particular I’ve been back and forth with a few things. However, I received a bit of a reminder this week that I can’t allow these struggles to cause me to give up.

So the other night as I was coming home from a concert waiting for the bus, I met this man. As I waited he looked and said, “since you’re here, I have to vent to you”. So I laughed and said, ok. He begins to tell me that he left his laptop at work after the company party. And how it was ironic being that he’s the head IT guy for the company. This…

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Trust Your Struggle

As much as we dislike struggling, we all go through it. We may not want to; but as I’ve realized, it’s necessary.

Recently, this has honestly weighed heavily on me. My mind has been constantly racing with the struggles of life. This week in particular I’ve been back and forth with a few things. However, I received a bit of a reminder this week that I can’t allow these struggles to cause me to give up.

So the other night as I was coming home from a concert waiting for the bus, I met this man. As I waited he looked and said, “since you’re here, I have to vent to you”. So I laughed and said, ok. He begins to tell me that he left his laptop at work after the company party. And how it was ironic being that he’s the head IT guy for the company. This then led to further conversation after asking whether I was working late in the city as well.
I’ m a very detailed person when sharing an experience, but to make a long story short lol… He offered me his portable charger so it led us to conversing on the bus about life, work, music, growing up, so forth and so on. We both shared several stories, and I mentioned my writing of course. He asked what I wanted to do with it; and I shared how I aspire to motivate, encourage and inspire others through relatable challenging experiences.

We talked about my struggle and how things weren’t always (truth be told, still isn’t) the best. After sharing a little, he said, “so I guess that (my struggle) made your life better.” And I thought about it, and said yes. He then went on to say, if you never went through what you went through, you wouldn’t have anything to write about. In other words, I wouldn’t be able to encourage, motivate, and inspire anyone else. He continued to share words of encouragement with me. Everything I’ve gone through made me the person that I am. He shared a few very kind words about what he could see in me from our conversation. He also encouraged me to continue to write no matter what obstacle comes my way. I don’t even know if this man realized how much he inspired and motivated me to keep on going.

I shared all of this to say, every single struggle is for a purpose. There’s something greater behind it. We can’t allow it to hinder our progress, we have to learn to press through it. And when we’ve overcome, we have a story to share. We’ll be able to reach people in ways we probably can’t even imagine. To be able to relate to someone who has gone through the very same thing you’ve gone through, gives them hope. They’ll see that if you were able to get through it, why not them. So let’s learn to look at the bigger picture. It may be uncomfortable now, but in the long run it’ll all be beneficial to your growth. Trust, all that you go through isn’t in vain!

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Use it or Lose it

When you don’t spend time and effort doing a particular thing, you lose your niche for it. In order to do anything effectively, you have to work at it to grow in that area. So if you stop and after a period of time try to go back to it, for the most part you won’t be where you once were. You’d have to start all over again. You lost it because you didn’t use it.

This can very well go with our abilities, gifts, and talents. If you don’t use it where you are, chances are you’ll lose it. When you don’t use all that you possess on a consistent basis, you begin to become less familiar with it.

No matter how great you think it may be. No matter how insignificant it may seem to you, you have to do it. You have to work to grow, to assist, support, and become a resource to others.

It’s impossible to produce anything if you’re not functioning properly. If we don’t put as much effort as possible into what we’ve been given (our abilities, gifts, talents, etc), we cannot be fully effective.

We have to understand that it’s not all about us. We have what we possess so that we can benefit others. We have the ability to encourage and inspire people with our gifts. There’s no way one can be fully effected if we’re halfhearted in our doings. If we don’t put in all, they won’t get all that they need.

So I encourage you today, work with what you have, on whatever stage you’re on. We all have to start somewhere. And although sometimes it may be discouraging when we’re not where we’d like to be, trust the process. Have faith in the fact that every stage in our lives is necessary for our future. Let’s move so we won’t lose.

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