Inspirational Quick Speak is a blog that focuses on staying positive, motivated and trying to always see the better half in all situations. Most people only see things in black and white, but I love to waddle through the grey. Yes, it does exist! We experience so much in our lifetime, and even more with the youth of today. Young people who have experienced foster care no longer have to feel like no one understands what it’s like. I do. I’ve seen, I’ve heard, it’s happened to me too. This blog is for me to reach the other youth who are like me, and I like them. We’re in this together! With great trials, there will be tribulations, but staying positive and motivated pushed me to do better and to be better because I already knew what the statistics would label me, so I decided to label myself first!
LET'S TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH!
Being mentally healthy, in my opinion, is more important than being physically healthy. Our mind leads the body. It's scientifically proven that without the functioning of your brain, you won’t work as a human properly. When you are mentally unstable, everything seems to fall apart. You can’t think straight, your emotions are dull and scattered around and your favorites are less than tolerable now. You are not happy. I think in the end we are happy with ourselves, just not with the circumstances that we find ourselves in. I get it. Some days, we get overwhelmed. But we have to remember to take the time out for ourselves.
Loving yourself starts with liking yourself, which starts with respecting yourself, which starts with thinking of yourself in positive ways. In my last blog, I spoke about how we harbor negativity. It is physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually draining us.
Getting help should not be taboo. When you’re sick, you go to the hospital to feel better. When your pet is ill, they go to the vet. If your eyes are bad, you go to the eye doctor and the dentist for your teeth. Why not go to a counselor or therapist for your mental health? There is nothing to be ashamed of for making yourself better for you, and for those around you as well.
Taking care of your mental health can ease a ton of stress that you are carrying. Stop living inside your head! Stop saying you are fine, or okay, when you know you're a moment from a break down. Find someone to confide in. Sometimes going to one person who isn’t a professional can harbor your pain and then it manifests in them. That’s why getting professional help is better. They're trained to detach themselves so that their services are best used to help reframe our way of thinking. Getting help also does not mean you are crazy. You are far from crazy! You're just overwhelmed.
Let go of that pain, worry, anxiousness and doubt. Get rid of the negative things others said about you or claimed for your life. Let go of that negative revenge and animosity you hold inside. That pain you’re holding onto is killing you metaphorically and for some of us, unfortunately, literally. Holding onto negativity is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to feel its affects.
“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.”
I am one of those people who needs to have complete control over their life. I planned my entire year, year after year from the age of 10. I always had a plan..and other backups just in case. I planned my career goals from graduating high school to getting into my dream University. I wish I was mentored more in the many options for Historically Black Collleges and Universities but, that’s another discussion.
I just always knew what I wanted for myself and I knew where I wanted to be in life. Ultimately back then, I was just trying to dream a way out of that situation. I began to become more open-minded as well. I don’t look at everything with the same perspective and consciousness. I didn’t understand it then. I used to always say “Why me?” Well what do you mean why you Gabby, don’t you know that there are others in worse situations than you? Don’t you remember the reason why you chose to pursue social work, don’t you see what’s happening on the news and so forth?
I have to remind myself in times of adversity that I am not being singled out. Even those whom on the outside seem to be stress free are usually the ones suffering mentally the most. It’s sad how we can look at the positive things in life and see them, accept them, and love and enjoy them in the moment. We indulge in these moments, but only for the time being. We barely reminisce. We barely tell the stories of the times that our stomach hurt so bad from laughing, we never talk about how much love and laughter we enjoy and miss dearly with our old, passed on, and new loved ones.
Mr. Negative gets all of the attention in our minds and hearts. We allow it to manifest and cloud our judgment and make us feel less than and we ask ourselves, "What’s the point?". The point here, that I am trying to make is that, bad things happen to bad people, but so do GOOD. Stop allowing injustices rule over you. That’s why I try so hard to plan every chapter of my life. I have some control but I realized I would never have complete control because there are variables in this equation that I haven’t even run into yet. Usually, those moments happen when I feel like I am on a roll and things are falling into place, but then everything stops....
I wasn’t ready yet. It hurt me, it may have set me back and I dang for sure didn’t feel well emotionally, but mentally I told myself: "You be stronger because remember those other people who don’t even have or will ever have what it was that you lost!" And a bigger notion worth mentioning is that WE ARE ONLY YOUNG ADULTS! I’m not saying to limit ourselves, I am just saying to remember to live and to go with the flow. What is meant to be will be. Stop fighting new courses and ideas. What is presenting itself to us may be just the break we were looking for. Like when you can’t say what it is, but it’s on the tip of your tongue. This is it!
Be cautious, but not reserved. Try new things and discover the growing you, we want to move forward not staying stagnant. The world is ours to explore. Take up hobbies, eat something new, enjoy today!
Only one more week left until the semester starts. I am getting so anxious, yet I feel a sense of relief. I’m not sure if it is because I have my routine almost back on track, or that I am that much closer to graduation, or because I feel like I won't have to try as hard because everything will be online. To be honest with myself and you, I am not that much excited to start classes back. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love staying educated and updating the knowledge I already possess. It’s just that I am not here for the online classes. I am more of a direct/ hands on learner. I need to be able to ask questions and handle things in real time.
There really isn’t anything that I can do about it. I just need to adapt. Which is so funny because I was recently asked what my strengths were and if I could identify them. I thought quickly and I immediately thought of many different things that I would construe as my personal strengths. I realized that my strengths are all tied in together: Adaptability, Perseverance/Resiliency, etc. All tied into my personal strength in who I am. I am strong, I carry a lot of weight in my mind, on my heart, and over my shoulders. I push myself to my own limits because no one can tell me them, besides me.
My education is very important to me. Although a new challenge has presented itself, I will try to fight it head on. Life never promised me it would be easy to be here. I have never really had an easy path. I just took my situation and controlled what was able to be manipulated and what wasn’t able to be, I worked through it or around it. Going back to the topic at hand, (classes) I want to motivate myself, along with you guys.
I know this new chapter in our lives seems so crazy and we’re unsure of how we want to move forward. Some people didn’t want to continue. Some felt college was stressful enough without being forced to take online classes. But think about this...when your car breaks down, you don’t just put it away and quit on it. I know for a fact that some of you will continue to drive that car until its wheels fall off and some of you are like me who hate their cars to do anything but what it's supposed to do! We gather our supplies/materials to get the job done. The same applies while shopping with little money or meeting a new date for the first time. We encounter uncomfortable things all the time, but the real key is not allowing the situation to change us. We need to learn how to adapt and then we will begin to feel more successful. By dealing with the problem instead of running away from it.
I’ll leave you with this:
Albert Einstein said, “OUT OF CLUTTER, FIND SIMPLICITY. FROM DISCORD, FIND HARMONY. IN THE MIDDLE OF DIFFICULTY LIES OPPORTUNITY.”
August 21, 2020
I am a Black Woman.
I am a Proud Black Woman.
I am a Successful Black Woman.
I was not always PROUD to be who I AM.
Growing up, I was bullied by all of the children about my body type and size, along with my hair and my outer appearance. This would really get to my mentality. I couldn't help my situation back then as a child and they knew how to make me feel inferior. But I wasn’t thinking logically. I was thinking emotionally. I would start to believe them when they called me ugly or commented how slim my physique was. But, then as a child, I was wondering what made them want to look at me sexually in that way anyway? I'm just trying to have fun and learn. Isn’t that wat school was supposed to be for elementary and middle schoolers? Ultimately, every day I was teased. I was just different.
In high school, as people matured, so did their bodies, molding them into the men and woman they were. I would occasionally compare myself to them. Not only did they not understand that I was strongly mentally and emotionally as a teenager finding my way through the noise, I now had to worry about something I couldn’t change or at least without the right money and connections.
Yes, it got to me so much that I wanted to alter myself. I had a friend that regardless of what she tried to say to justify her words, made me feel less than, always, when I was with her. Why were we friends? Because I knew the real her, I knew her fears and secrets and I knew how she wanted to live her life but couldn’t because she fell in the same boat as me. I, however, didn’t feel like I needed to cover up my beautiful chocolate skin to fit someone's narrative of what a Beauty Queen looked like. I am a Queen regardless of what brands of makeup I may choose or not choose to press onto my face. Regardless if I choose to wear a weave or not.
I choose to be au natural because I love the woman that I am. I am a YOUNG BEUATIFUL BLACK GODDESS! My coils are just enough and it does not have to fit your standards or the Worlds because it fits mine. I now choose to wear my Locs to be closer to my Heritage. My Locs are my Crown and I have literal loc jewels because you can't have a crown without its prized pieces.
June 29, 2020
I apologize if my last blog has offended you in any such manner. I apologize if my truth hurts you. I am sorry that my life, that has been directed and written for even before my parents knew that wanted me. I am not sorry for telling you and teaching you how it is. I am not giving any leeway because none was given to me. So, if I am too much for you, I would appreciate you, to if you haven't before, you need to watch Jane Elliot at this link provided.
This video shows just how easy it is to feel displaced in a room full of diversity. How easy it is to become a target. And most importantly, how easily it REALLY is to notice injustices within an environment. What seems like nothing to you, is nothing, until it happens to you. Another thing that I learned from watching Jane’s experiments was about this case where there are two moms with two sons. One family is black and the other is white. They are both asked an identical series of questions.
To the mothers, they are asked, “Are you proud of your son?” The White mother begins to showcase a mass amount of affection for her son who is kindhearted, hardworking and an innovator. When it was time for the Black mother to do the same, she did not. In fact, she said, about her son, that he is “a troublemaker, hardworking but with a short attention span and forever goes off the beaten path. Both relay similar things about their sons, just in a different manner. What was looked at as positive in the White mothers' son is seen as negative in the Black mothers' son. This is due to PTSD Trauma from Racism, Segregation, Inequalities and so forth.
They then are both asked if they are proud of their sons. To each, they both smiled big and cheerfully with a “YES” spurting from their lips. How is it so that the Black mother is proud of her son when she just said all of those demeaning things about him. She did so to protect him when he no longer needs that same protection from the Slave Massa. Let me explain. So, whenever a Slave Master would go out on his prowl for the next strong black boy to build up into a man working for him. They needed one that they could easily break and control with the most ease. So, to combat this separation of mother from son just as they did for man from family; she downplays her son's abilities. She does this to make her son less appealing to the Slave Master. There is a significant amount of trauma surrounding this situation, so they lie to protect them from generational pain. So, when we speak low of each other, it is a negative habit that was imbedded into us through history. It is wrong and we need to do better, but the next time you judge us, make sure you know the root of why.
June 25, 2020
What to do? Where do I go? How do I begin again? Is this even real? What are they hiding from us? When will this be over? Is there even a normal? Was it ever, to begin with?
All of these questions make me feel uneasy about this whole Pandemic. There are riots amidst the Quarantine, there are still killings of Black Americans in our “free country”. They say that we hung ourselves as a choice for suicide. Really? Do you all really believe that is true? For some, I can see why you say it may very well be possible for them to have hung themselves. But I say no. I don’t know for a fact, but I know within my heart of hearts, I know that We would never lower ourselves to even want to go back to the oppressed way that we were murdered in front of our families.
You think this is too much and not on topic within my blogs and the atmosphere? I tell you, Oh well. I am writing right now, to those who feel the pain I feel. For those who have the same unanswered questions I do. Why? Why did it take you so long to do the right thing? Why is it that we have to fight for justice, but those who don’t deserve it right out, get it immediately. We are lied on and about and to for generations, but we’re labeled as the troublemakers and the ones with no ambition or drive. We strive everyday to do and be better but we have been so conditioned to believe otherwise, that it's hard to believe it.
My African people have been struggling for centuries. CENTURIES! The pain that every black mother feels is from the years of oppression for our people. The pain that every black male feels as they step foot out of their home doors, preparing to be discriminated against. It is our normal! To live this way, it is sad that we have been pushed to believe that what they have given us is all that we deserve. We were stripped for many years of the tools that were needed to elevate ourselves, to educate ourselves, to build prosperous families. We have been psychologically conditioned to think less of us, to deprive our men and women of true leadership and try to put us against each other. Back then, they would take the biggest and strongest male and literally tear him APART in front of his BLACK Family & Friends and this was done as a warning, a promise, and a threat that this was our destined future had we found our true calling and lived to our true potential. We are tired of not being heard! Not being seen! Not being taken serious! We are here!
I am not saying these things to make you feel a certain type of way or to cast judgment, I am saying these things so that you will have understanding. So that you won't fear us. So that you can stop killing us. We should not have to say BLACK LIVES MATTER. You definitely should not say All Lives Matter. No duh all lives matter but if your house was literally in a blaze on fire and your family were inside dying...and the fire department was stopped by the rest of the neighborhood saying what about our houses, don’t they need water too. NO!! They do not! Yours is the only one that is currently burning, the only one that needs this immediate attention. Stop putting us last like we aren't humans too. We bleed like you. We eat like you. We breathe like you and we are just as foreign to this land as you. We are like you, but you fear us, and we fear you. Not because of hate or for our differences, but for our lives. “You” isn’t one group of people though; it comprises of a group of PEOPLE whose hearts were once shattered and grew hateful borders to protect itself from harm again.
June 8, 2020
Inspiration, Perseverance and Resiliency
I have always been inspired to do things differently because things have always seemed to be different for me. Growing up, I was always deemed the people pleaser or the goody-two-shoes. It was used as an insult to me for years. Externally, I felt shameful, but internally it felt good. They didn't know why I was being so nice or extra. I knew why, it was because I figured if it was done for them, it would be reciprocated back to me. Sadly, I was mistaken.
Being there for others when they needed me always felt good. I wasn’t receiving what I thought I deserved or what I presumed to be normal in a family. I didn’t realize it until now that all of these years, I have been self-consciously doing what I was predestined to do; helping those who need it, regardless of the rewards that follow. Being a foster child really shaped me and thus I decided to dedicate my life to those who felt similarly. I am committed to helping those who have given up just like I had wanted to for so long.
Within the next 10-year span, I hope to have reached many young people with experience in foster care across the globe. I hope to instill in all of them that persevering does indeed pay off in the end. I want to encourage the youth and adults who also have a difficult time finding themselves. I aim to inspire everyone around me to lend a hand and to stop pre-judging with no solution follow-up. I won’t stop until I have helped many non-profits reach young people who need support. We deserve someone who will never give up working for us, for our education, for our mental health and most importantly our rights. I am pursuing a degree in Social Work on the Macro level to break apart the injustices and inequity many of us face due to our time in care. I will work alongside others until we all have the same access to be successful. We deserve to be happy, educated, loved, understood, given a chance.
Okay so to be completely honest, I thought this was all going to be a breeze because I would be doing nothing more than what I always wanted to do after a long day, chill at home. However, this quarantine has been nothing short of a headache. I know for my household, we were all go-getters. Always up at 6:00AM getting ready for the day, whether it was a 2+ hour workout for my brother or a 30-minute talk or read before the day started. This was an unspoken routine that we always found ourselves slipping into in our household.
The minute the Governor issued the Stay-At-Home Order, I knew this wouldn’t be as easy for others as it was for me. See, I’m an introvert. This means that I gather my recharge from being alone. My solitude is my safe haven. As for extroverts, they’re the complete opposites. They are their lowest when they are alone and get recharged from the company of groups. This isn’t to say they are more social, it’s what they are comfortable with. I guess as introverts, we prefer to be left alone with our thoughts to sort them out alone. The worst part about it though, is that I still have this overwhelming sense of anxiety even when things are okay.
What I discovered early on was that routines were helpful to cope with the stress and anxiety of quarantine, and I think routines can help all of us! Routines help people cope with their anxiety and depression and live their everyday natural lives. I spend a lot of time making sure that I meet my objectives daily, at around the same time so that my day can run smoothly, and nothing gets too built up for me at once, thus, causing an anxiety attack. My anxiety affects my breathing, muscular system and mostly, my emotions.
Times like these require routines! Our minds can wander and our emotions will flare, but as long as we keep close to what every day was like before quarantine, the better the chance we will come out of this better than before. Take this time to be better and to do better. You have the time. Remember to wake up, eat, and clean yourself and your home as you would any other day. Develop better habits and keep the Peace. Stay safe and healthy!
Online Classes: Finish Strong
As I started talking with my friends and family about the Stay at Home Order, I began to realize things about them that I hadn’t noticed before. For instance, the fact that no one is reaching out to each other to just check on them is insane in my opinion. We have all of this free time to contact our loved ones, yet we haven’t. Some have even used the excuse that the Quarantine was getting to them, which I am not judging. I just don’t understand why no one is trying to check on everyone. Some people may have struggled with mental health or physical health complications that even their closest friends and family wouldn’t know about. This is the time to do what you have been saying you would do for the longest. Some of y’alls grandparents haven’t heard your voice over the receiver in years. Reach out and let the people you love know that you are thinking of them!
Now please don’t get me wrong. I do understand this was a difficult transition for a lot of people. It was hard for me too. For one, I was enrolled for in-person classes and had to then turn my Dance and Philosophy classes into online instructions. Can you image learning to dance virtually? Yes? Well for this class it didn’t go the way I would’ve hoped or imagined. We had to write a 7-page paper… for an African Dance Class. Now, I won’t lie, I did learn some interesting facts about Benin, Africa, and Marie Base. Nonetheless, its purposes were served.
On the other hand, my Philosophy class was very difficult to transition to online. This class was already a little difficult for me as an in-person class. I asked as many questions as possible to grasp the concepts before midterm rolled around, but failed the test.
So as the days rolled closer and closer to the Final Exam, COVID-19 has put everything on hold. Now this once tolerable class moved to online and was even more confusing than before. I wasn’t able to ask the questions that I needed to ask and have that in-person relationship the professor. We really needed the in-class discussion to understand the material! Teaching myself logic was difficult and made preparing for the final exam even more stressful. The notes I took seemed endless and the questions in the group chat were redundant. But I still pushed on and tried my best! So in the end, he ended up using a curve to grade the final exams after receiving many emails from students needing help comprehending the material. I passed the class with a C.
The moral of my story was that I haven’t allowed the Pandemic to push what’s important to me aside. I still made it a thing to reach out to my loved ones. Especially those I know may be suffering from the anxiety of not being around people, such as those get it from being around too many people. I also want to make a point that I stayed focused my studies, even though it was really difficult to move to online classes. My grades didn’t stop being a priority because school didn’t stop. Although we have to stay home, life doesn’t stop. I did my best to finish strong.
"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." -Vince Lombardi
Every day is a new challenge, a new beginning, a new day full of opportunities. You take your losses with a grain of salt, similarly to those of harsh words said from a hater. I dislike seeing faces full of defeat when a plan carefully thought out wasn’t executed that way you assumed it to go. Just because you planned something doesn't mean it is meant to be.
Just as a relationship that started from high school and ended in college. Perhaps even the recipe you followed to the “t” and it still wasn’t great. Maybe a test that you studied all week for and just knew you were going to pass, until you didn’t. That’s what I mean, we can prepare for it all...still does not equate to Must be fulfilled.
Your success should be taken from the journey. Not whether or not a plan was fulfilled. Plans can change even as they’re happening. They’re not concrete; there’s always room for improvement as long as you continue the ride. The real learning happens from the journey you took to get to your successes.
Everyone looks at success differently as well. For instance, person A thinks that success is measurable by the amount of zeros in the bank account, opposed to person B who believes that success is the knowledge you received along with the money made and the business grew. I identify more with person B because I believe there is true value in the journeys you travel on, because those are what truly teach you about who you are, what you’re capable of and where your ideas are capable of going.
I know that I may not have succeeded in the area I wanted, but I know it wasn’t a lost cause because along the way, I learned more about myself. I learned which parts of my plan need revising or this effort needs to be more pressed here and this one thing is misplaced here, etc. The point is to go through the seasons and to take at least 2 things from it.
That recipe that failed, it might've been too dry, now you know that your stove gets hotter quicker so adding more water is best, or maybe that those two spices taste great together. Most people only look at the negative side of things when a plan doesn’t go as planned. The thing that I want others to start realizing is that this wasn't for “nothing.” You got a lot out of this than you may believe or understand initially.
For instance, a school exam that you failed. It was down to two questions and you chose option C, over D and that’s what cost you the passing grade. You know that the answers could both be relevant and true to the question, however there’s one point that you missed. Now you know that difference between the two for the final.
We must look at every situation as that. You may not have been able to take away from it what you wanted, but at least you left with more understanding or knowledge. If you choose to not do so, you will continue to look at the world as half empty instead of half full. You see it as empty because you’re trying to pour into the world what you are drinking from yourself to get through your days. If the glass was half full, you would have understanding that you were the one refilling the cup from your already overflow to those that need it, because you are able, due to your overflow.
Feed yourself before you can feed the people. Teach yourself before you try to lead a village. Become one with yourself before you try sand tell someone about themselves. Be who you want others to be. Do what you want others to do. Take from each encounter a lesson that was learned. Go forth in the world and take from it always, but remembering to give and replace what you’ve chosen to cherish. Your daily choices are what serves your daily purpose. Your daily thoughts, turn to daily actions. Those actions create reactions and thus a cycle begins. You can break those cycles. You can change your outlook on life. You can choose to be happy again, to not let the negativity eat you away and manifest within this time. You can choose to rise above and become greatness. It is your choice to look at success and grade it as you go. Success is how you look at a situation. Doing everything right, doesn’t guarantee a win and doing everything wrong doesn’t necessarily guarantee it won’t work. How you say? I was one of the math students following the formula incorrectly with the right variables and still got the problem correct. Yes, by chance it was correct but nothing was guaranteed for me. Just like that exam you thought you were just going to pass and you flew thought not believing how easy it was for you. Yeah, that passing grade wasn’t for you, because you missed the mark someone else. Find it and then yiu will be successful because that mistake won’t be made again.
There is not competition when you are manifesting your own lane. When your morning starts, your first thoughts, energies and emotions will be the first things to manifest into the beginning of your 24-hour cycle. No matter how good or bad your day is, wake up each day and be thankful that you still have one.
Some mornings when my boyfriend and I awake, we start of by naming 10 things that we are grateful for while trying not to repeat the same things. Eventually, it gets tricky trying to think of only ten measly things to be grateful for. But at number 5, there are starting to be long pauses in-between answers. Here, why don’t we give it a try, but for time and reader purposes, let’s try only 5.
NAME 5 THINGS THAT YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR, except for the mobility of your limbs, organs functioning, and for awaking every day. Go!
I am GRATEFUL for the mental strength that I have, to be able to maintain control of my actions and feelings more than most people.
I am GRATEFUL that I have a wonderful team of individuals who are selfless that I have the opportunity to work closely with helping others.
I am GRATEFUL that I can be looked at as a leader because that position is a prestigious position and it carries a lot of weight but, for that I am grateful because I am elevating myself.
I am GRATEFUL that We have a platform available for all of the Youth to connect with each other and vibe and share experiences to bring closure for some and understanding for others.
I am GRATEFUL that I am I stopped waddling in the comfort-ability of the pain that was all too familiar whilst missing out on my happiness, although I am still working on this one.
How did you do? Was it tricky to say them? Were others easier to think of? Why do you think that is?
One thing is that all of these came with a choice. I chose to find the good when I may be feeling down and seeing all bad. I am choosing to make the next day different than the one from the last. I don’t like certain routines. I don’t like being stuck in cycles because eventually you don’t realize how long you have been circling and missing out on everything else surrounding you.
The struggle you are in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up. A loss does not automatically equate to defeat; you must have learned from it because you know not to do it the next time. You feel uneasy in this situation, you know what not to do so it does not surface again. You don’t like feeling down so stop doing things that make you unhappy and replace that examples variables with any other emotion and/or thing.
So, think back to the activity. What thoughts, energies or manifestations are you carrying with you? Does it reflect what you were intending to project into the world? Are you truly grateful or skimming through your blessings and choosing which ones you would prefer to flaunt and keep near and dear? Be careful, never take anything for granted. What is here one moment can be gone the next, just as quick.
Self-image is one of the most important characteristics of ourselves that we need to improve daily on. I, contrary to belief believe that having too much “love” for yourself can be a bad thing. These people we call conceited. A self-image, by definition, is in its most basic form an internalized mental picture/idea you have of yourself. It's how you think and feel about yourself based on your appearance, performance, and relationships that consistently impact your outlook on life as well as your level of happiness and fulfillment. See guys, even Harry Potter, though a fictional character, understands. He said, “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” More often than not, our enemies tend to be the reflection of ourselves. What I mean by that, is that we are our biggest supporters whilst being our biggest bully.
We criticize ourselves so much that it has now become more of a habit and harder to recognize when it is happening. Sadly, we are the ones that bully us the most. We do so, by comparisons. Everyone has compared themselves to something before. I won't say how often, because it varies by person, but what I will say, is that, either way you do it, stop it. The more conscious you become of your actions, the more control and confidence you will possess. I say this because when we lack in one area, we pull from other areas in our life to fill that one gap that we NOTICE. Failing to realize that all we did was pull that energy and attention from one side of us to the other. Thus, filling up one gap, whilst leaving many other gaps now lacking. This is the glass half full/empty theory.
Everybody is literally different. Even twins! Yes, there are fraternal and identical twins, but did you know that even identical twins aren’t truly identical; they’re similar. From a quick google search, I found that,” studies have concluded that, even though the fingerprints of identical twins may be similar, they are not identical. They share the same genetic makeup because they were fertilized in the same zygote (egg). This is also what makes us special as individuals. No one could ever replicate you. No one could ever be you. They may come close or do a real good job at copying who you are and what you look like, but there will always be something lacking. I speak so much of lacking because that is what we see from ourselves when we compare to others. That we’re lacking in height, weight or too much weight, hair length, eye color, body measurements (wait, bust, hips), lip, eye, and nose size/shape. I could go on and on with the things that I’VE WANTED TO CHANGE ON MYSELF.
We may have agreed on the things we want to change, or your list may have been shorter or longer than mine, but the point I want to really get at, is that these list need to no longer exist. We are all chasing beauty standards that are different standards of beauty defined by a variation of types of people. In the end, I realized that what I thought I wanted was impossible because I would never be happy with what I had as long as I cared that someone had something different. I also realized that the things I may want from someone else's body, is just the thing they HATE! This made me realize that the way I saw myself needed to be that of myself and not what I thought I was supposed to look like. I don’t want to dislike myself so much that I go under the knife and ruin something that was perfectly fine before. I often see the men and women that went to alter their bodies and ended up hating the post op. But this is what “YOU” truly wanted right? To be “beautiful” right? Is this it?
February 10, 2020
Oscar Wilde said, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
Growing up, as an adolescent, I would always look at my surroundings and analyze what it was that I noticed was different with me and my family to those around me. I would start first with their faces. The facial muscles always tell what it is that you may be truly experiencing internally but can’t figure out how to make your face match what you’re telling your brain.
Do these people genuinely seem happy or are they simply forcing fake smiles on their faces so that someone doesn’t say, “Hey, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Why is it that those phrases pull at our emotions so strongly? Those dreaded words that would release all that pain I had been forcing myself to swallow. But why? Just to torture myself so that I don’t have to say what I am feeling.
So, as I look across their faces, some of them I can see that light in their eye that sparkles when they smile, the heartiness of their laugh and the creases beside their eyes and mouth as they bare teeth to show that...they’re happy. But as I look at my own face, I saw tears well in the pools of my eyes as I searched for those same lines, but mine only showed around my mouth as a frown with no sparkles in my eyes and the slightest chuckles, very far from a hearty laugh.
So okay, I’m not as happy as they appear to be. But I wonder to myself, maybe they're just good actors, just as I. Just as those who pretended to care for me when I needed them most? I trusted the smiles and their laughs after my jokes, or was I desperate to believe it to feel better about my situation? Even now as I look back on old childhood photos, those same tears pool in the well of my eyes as I stare back at myself. I look so cute and innocent, I know, but take a deeper look. As I celebrate birthdays and family gatherings sharing memories, my eyes still show sorrow, darkness, emptiness, sadness, confusion, and a desperation for change.
As I continue, I look from their faces to the clothing and the way they carry themselves. Some show pride and some you can see defeat in the way they may slump as they stroll, maybe their clothes are tattered or unorderly. Some seem to wear things that didn’t fit, like me. Did they do it to follow a new trend or were they hand-me-downs, like mine? Was it by choice or not?
Something that I didn’t know would happen was me finding a deep interest in the social standards of society. What I didn’t know would happen was me being fascinated with Human Anatomy and Physiology. What I didn’t understand was that my surroundings, my environment would shape me, but only as far as I allowed it.
I was exposed to death at an early age, through family tragedies and through my mother working for the county morgue. I didn’t know that this would lead me to pursuing my Mortuary Science degree. I knew that if I didn’t wear the newest hottest stuff that I’d be bullied, what I didn’t know was that it would create character. It would push me to be more individualized and on my own current instead of trying to vibrate on someone else's when mine was meant for me and theirs for them.
Ever notice that when we try to be like someone else or we follow in the footsteps of a goal that we don’t have interest in, it never works. I found my purpose, my calling, in following myself and not attempting to be a person I am not. I would rather my baggage than that of another I am pretending to be. All this time, I was focusing on what I couldn’t control instead of accepting that this was my temporary reality, because I wouldn’t always be a defenseless child. The things that separated me from everyone else is what has shaped me and helped me realize that my uniqueness of my story is the blueprint for who I am and why I operate the way I do. I decided to take what was given to me and use it, just as scrap artists do with “trash”.
I know it may seem cliché to follow the “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Well, it’s true. Why self-sabotage? Why isolate yourself because you’re afraid of the what-ifs? You forgot to think about the positive what-ifs. Had you taken that leap back then, you wouldn’t have been turned down this road trying to find your way back, right? Everyone isn’t out against you, hoping for your failure. Your biggest supporter and your worse enemy are and will always be yourself. Only you may determine your abilities by how much you work for it or at it.
Take it from me, I know it is easier to keep screaming “Why Me?” when it seems like the world is against you. Maybe you’re looking at it with the wrong perspective. Why you? Because you made it about you. You chose this decision. You chose to give in. You chose to dwell on the negative and allow it to eat you alive. You also could have chosen to learn from what was happening around you and to look for answers instead of accepting your assumed fate. You may not have had control then or now, depending on who you are reading, but you WILL gain control now or in the future.
Keep holding on. You’ve made it this far for a reason!
January 15, 2020
“You don’t lose real friends or relationships when you stand up for yourself and set clear boundaries. You lose abusers and manipulators. A person in 2 months can make you feel what a person in 2 years couldn’t. Time means nothing, character does. Here’s the hard truth- It's’ your fault if you get hurt holding onto someone who’s shown multiple times that they’re not good for you.”
Contrary to popular belief, I believe that respect must be earned and not given. I grew up on the traditional old school reasoning that elders deserve kindness and respect no matter what and then that trickled down to respect everyone at all costs. I do not agree. I believe that no matter who you are, you will receive what you put out. This goes for family, friends, bosses, and strangers.
I do not agree with the mentality that I must always be courteous and willing to move at the sound of the finger snap, metaphorically speaking. Times have changed and we must change with it. We’ve found out that the only reason that Adults feels like respect should always be given and not earned is because that is what they are used to from their pasts. They have to give respect out of fear of retaliation. That fear no longer resides as deeply with us, so we must adapt.
There are people out there that have stolen from us, lied to us, and cheated on us; you really believe that we should just turn the other cheek? I say no because we are starting to teach people how to treat us. Now I understand that some of us are truly genuine people at heart and will do what’s right no matter what. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I do not condone violence or outright disrespect. However, for example, if you’re in a setting and you need help finding directions and you turn to an elder and that response is rude and snobby, I see nothing wrong with saying your thank yous’, if you got your directions but something needs to be said to that individual. That’s where I believe the change will begin, is forcing people to acknowledge their behavior by calling them out.
Learning to tell others about themselves and gaining your respect that’s rightfully deserved is one of the most difficult things to do as a millennial because we’re caught right in the middle of grown and childlike. We aren’t taken seriously and it’s time to change that. Adulting is real; just because your aged doesn’t mean you’re more knowledgeable, not to say we can’t learn from our elders because that’d be naïve to say, I am simply stating that we can learn from each other.
If we start looking at each other as loving humans who too are going through what I am going through, whom may be struggling but a different struggle than mine. Some of these attitudes and arguments could be prevented if we all understood that we are all dealing with things that aren’t easily shown so we should take a second and evaluate peoples remarks to our subtleness and kindness. If we do that then we can take a second to accept this attitude we were given, but now we have a better understanding that it is not necessarily me that’s upset this person and that their mind is probably occupied and being overwhelmed by the many thoughts our brain transcribes by the second.
January 8, 2020
“Sometimes, the fastest way to reach your dream, is to help someone else reach his or her dream.”
We, as a society needs to do better. We’re too focused on the wrong things, the surface things when we need to look deeper. There is more of those less fortunate than those whom are doing “okay” compared to those living “lavishly and comfortable”. Instead of helping those around us sharing wealth for the greater wealth there is, Life and Love. I know it may seem kind of cliché' or I a cliché' writer, but that would just add to the issue. Why is it annoying that I write to spread love and peace? That is what we are all craving, and all understandably need.
To fill those voids, we surround ourselves with things. We think that tangibility makes us feel better, more secure, I guess because its physical and we can clearly see it. Unlike the intentions of others or how they truly feel about us. So instead of surrounding ourselves with people, we choose objects because they can't hurt, lie, or cheat us. Just as we hold close to those objects, we should hold tight to our fellow neighbors.
As a mentor and mentee, I know the value in helping everyone to help reach their goals. I do not see myself as successful unless those around me are in wealth too. If not, then at that point I'd feel like those that are in control now. I disagree with the ideology that we need to help our own selves up by our bootstraps because no matter how you want to look at it, we have all received a break from someone down the line somewhere to be able to continue to push ourselves to where we are or want to be.
My success is by the hard work of myself and nothing of those around me that may have given me their last $5 so that I may have gas in my car. Maybe they gave me some money off a loan but didn’t want a repayment. I was blessed by others and I am grateful for it, so I give back. I also give back because I know how it feels to have nothing while watching someone right next to you is figuratively “eating good”.
Greed gets you nowhere but overfull, overstuffed, tired, sad, depressed and sometimes alone. We have to stop thinking selfishly. For ourselves, not sharing or thinking we’re above another as well as for others, whom feel like they deserve the life they live when they’ve tried to elevate themselves but because of the structure of our Government and Nation, can’t. It’s going to take a team effort to make a change. Fighting against each other only makes it harder for the majority, as the minority have no problem helping themselves get richer. Let's take notes lol.
Gabriella is currently pursuing her degree in Social Work at Wayne State University and is currently a student participating in the CHAMPS Program at Wayne State. Gabriella describes herself as an African American young woman pursing her goals and aspirations with continuous perseverance, hope, trust, love and faith within herself. Gabriella is a leader, innovator, advocate and proud to be a TNFC Youth Leader Ambassador!
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