It’s Black History Month, Let Me Celebrate.

“But, why isn’t there a white history month?”

This an argument I’m all too familiar with hearing once February rolls around. If I’m being honest, it gets exhausting having to explain why there’s nothing wrong with taking one month (which is also the shortest month) out of the year to celebrate the history of your culture.

This year, the all too familiar question came in a different form. Recently, I was asked about my thoughts on Morgan Freeman’s opinion about Black History Month. If you’re unfamiliar with what he said about it, I’ll give you a quick rundown.

Back in a 2005 interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, when asked about his thoughts on Black History Month, Freeman summed up his thoughts in one word- “ridiculous”.  The actor backed up his reasoning by saying black history shouldn’t be relegated to one month because black history is American history, and asking Wallace “Which month is white history month?”.

As the interview goes on, Wallace asks Freeman how we can end racism.

“Stop talking about it.” he says. “I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”

Morgan Freeman hasn’t been the only celebrity to vocalize their opinions about Black History Month. Actress Stacey Dash also sees Black History Month as unnecessary and calls it “a double standard.”

I don’t doubt that person who asked me what I thought about Morgan Freeman’s opinion genuinely wanted to know my response. But, I also felt that it was a roundabout way of asking me why Black History Month was necessary and not a form a “reverse-racism”. So, here is my response to not only to Morgan Freeman’s thoughts expressed in that interview, but also to those that don’t understand why we have this month to remember our history.

“You’re going to relegate my history to a month?”

I get it. Black history shouldn’t only be recognized during the month of February, it should be celebrated year-round. But, when it comes to examining the question of whether Black History Month is necessary, it’s extremely important to look at why it was created in the first place. Black History Month, which originally began as Negro History Week, was created by Carter G. Woodson after noticing the lack of black representation in history books and school teachings. Woodson’s intention wasn’t to diminish the accomplishments of black people and dwindle it down to one month. He created Negro History Week to ensure that black people would have an opportunity to remember their history despite the attempts of others to erase it. So yes, black history is a part of American history, but it wasn’t always treated as such, which is why Black History Month was created.

“Which month is white history month?”

White history month doesn’t exist because there was never a danger of it being forgotten or erased. It’s celebrated year-round and is what’s predominantly taught to us. The argument that there isn’t a white history month ignores the question of why Black History Month, and other months celebrating the accomplishments of marginalized people were created. These months aren’t created as an attempt to diminish the contributions white people have made to history, they’re created to recognize history of others that might otherwise be forgotten. So, before asking why there’s not a white history month, take the time to think about why months like Black History Month were created to begin with.

“Stop talking about racism” 

Race is a social construct. Someone created labels like “white” and “black” and used them to create a social hierarchy. I can see how someone who understands this would believe that the simple solution to abolishing racism is to stop talking about race. The fact of the matter is, it’s not that simple. Although race is a social construct, it’s one that still exists, and is used to systematically oppress people of color today. Until this construct ceases to exist, conversations about social injustice will be necessary in order to make progress. Talking about race and racial inequality is hard, and for some people, uncomfortable. But, without confronting the injustices within our society how can we go about changing them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Setting Attainable Goals (What I Want From 2018)

I told myself that I wouldn’t make any resolutions this year. After many years of failed attempts at New Year’s resolutions, I decided that setting unrealistic goals for myself resulted in nothing but disappointment. I don’t know if it was the hopefulness the new year brought, or seeing everyone’s positive attitudes about their resolutions, but once 2018 rolled around, something in me changed.

I started to think about not only what I wanted during 2018, but out of life in general. I knew that this year I wanted to be happy, go on adventures, try new things and take risks. But, I also knew that once January 1st came around I wouldn’t suddenly morph into this new and improved version of myself.

I realized that making lifestyle changes in order to become the person I wanted to be would take a tremendous amount of time, effort and patience. Rather than creating huge seemingly unattainable goals, I’ve decided to treat my 2018 resolutions as stepping stones towards the larger goals I want to accomplish.

After taking the time to think about what I wanted this year (and hopefully future years to come) here are a few changes I’ve decided to make for the new year.

Be more positive 

I have no problem admitting that it is hard for me to maintain a positive mindset. I find it especially difficult when things don’t seem to go the way I desire them to. I’ve come to realize that you’ll never have complete control of every situation and that things not going according to plan is simply a part of life. Having a negative mindset or focusing on what’s going wrong has been nothing but draining in the past, so why not start making the effort to think on the bright side?

Take more risks

I’m not a person who enjoys surprises or straying away from the status quo. That being said, I don’t often take risks. I find it easier (and a lot less stressful) to stay in my comfort zone. But, I’m beginning to realize that saying about risk and reward is true. You can’t possible begin to gain anything worthwhile without taking some type of risk.

Read more

I’ve been making it a priority to read more. I find that reading not only relaxes me, but is a great way to open my mind and educate myself about different topics that interest me. One of my favorite quotes is “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. Keeping yourself mentally healthy is just as important as keeping yourself physically healthy, and I find that reading is a great way to do that.

Travel more often 

Whether it’s to a nearby city, or halfway around the globe, I want to travel more this year. Traveling has always been something that I’ve desired to incorporate into my life, but never felt I had the time or money to do so. This year, I want to make an effort to actually venture outside of my house even if it’s just to a city a few hours away.

To be more consistent 

Being consistent is not one of my strong suits. But, I strongly believe that consistency is one of those things that can drastically change your life. The one reason most people don’t reach their goals is because they fail to be consistent with whatever it is that they’re pursuing. Just think about it. Any area of your life that you want to see improvement in requires being consistent in some form.

Overall, I just want 2018 to be a year of self growth, self discovery, and self love. These aren’t all of my resolutions but, I wanted to share a few of the ones that I felt would help me reach these goals.       And if I don’t end up accomplishing everything I want to in 2018, there’s always next year right?

For more of my resolutions for 2018 check out this video on my YouTube channel:

 

5 Things I’ve Learned From a Year of Blogging

It’s been exactly one year since I made the decision to start this blog (happy of birthday to us!). I started this blog for a number of reasons, the main one being that I was tired of feeling lost and confused. After a year of stumbling through life and attempting to figure things out, I can confidently say that I am still completely and utterly confused…just not as confused as I was a year ago. I guess you can consider that growth right?

As I spent another year of my twenties stressing over college, living paycheck to paycheck, going through dating ups and downs, and attempting to balance taking care of myself while having a social life, I tried my best to document what I could on this blog. The idea behind recording my ups and downs while going through my twenties was to hopefully help me (and whoever was reading my posts) navigate life and not feel as alone.

Taking the time to share my thoughts and experiences was more difficult than I expected. Not solely due to the fact that I was exposing many of my innermost feelings, but also because I had to set aside time to write out and analyze my thoughts about whatever I was going through. After a year of blogging and sharing my experiences through this platform here are 5 things I’ve learned so far.

Growth takes time 

When I first started this blog, I expected things to take off right away. Not only did I expect to gain a following and traffic quickly, I expected my personal growth to suddenly develop overnight as well. After a year of blogging, I’ve realized that significant growth takes time, and happens slowly. Sure there are some people who can become overnight successes, but most people who have grown into individuals that others admire, overcame numerous obstacles and most likely failed more than once over the course of their careers. Although I am not where I thought I’d be when I first started this blog, I’m happy with the growth I’ve made so far after one year.

Not to compare yourself to others 

When I first started blogging, I would compare my blog to other blogs, and begin to feel disappointed when I felt that my blog was lacking  where another blog showed strengths. The reality of this was that comparing my work to other blogs did nothing but cause me to feel like my work wasn’t good enough, when that was never the case.  This lesson is one that can be applied outside of blogging and to life in general. Never get caught up on comparing yourself to someone you feel is doing more than you. Always acknowledge your work and be proud of your accomplishments no matter how small they may seem in your eyes.

Stay consistent 

If I’m being honest, this one was the most difficult for me throughout the year. Some days, I would feel inspired to turn whatever I was feeling into a blog post, while most days I would be so tired from work and school (and sometimes just plain lazy) and end up binge watching Netflix rather than writing. Although choosing to binge watch my favorite shows and fall asleep was the easier option, I noticed that the most growth occurred on my blog whenever I was consistently posting.

Be honest 

As I mentioned earlier, one of the hardest parts about blogging was being completely honest about whatever I was feeling at the time. I would get embarrassed about writing about feeling lonely, or being single, or feeling stressed and having a breakdown (even naming these now makes me cringe), but my most honest posts are some of the ones I’m most proud of and also some of the most viewed posts on my blog. I believe this is because they’re the most relatable. A lot of people are probably going through the same things you are, but are too afraid to talk about it.

Stay inspired 

I found it most difficult to blog when I lost inspiration or lost sight of why I originally started. After finally making it to a year with my blog, I’ve realized that finding ways to stay inspired was extremely important. Any goal or vision you’re attempting to build, is almost impossible if you forget why you started or lose passion for it.

As 2017 comes to a close, I plan on taking all of these lessons and applying them not only to this blog, but life in general. This year has been somewhat of a rollercoaster, but every twist and turn has had a valuable lesson within it. To everyone that has supported my blog during this first year thank you so much! I hope you stay tuned for the visions I have for 2018. Happy New Year!

How to Stop Procrastinating and Develop Your Side Hustle

I’ve always wished I could be my own boss. I love the idea of working on your own time, not reporting to anyone and developing something you’re passionate about. The only problem with being your own boss is that there’s no room to procrastinate. I, as an avid procrastinator, loved daydreaming about achieving this vision, while putting off the work by scrolling through social media and taking periodic naps in between. Although I spent a lot of time daydreaming about becoming my own boss someday, I could never seem to push myself to do the work to get there.

procrastination-meme

As all procrastinators soon realize, you can’t always put everything off. I woke up one day and had to face the fact that I haven’t done much work to change the position I was in. I began researching what it would take to turn my passion for writing, and creating content, into an actual business, and found that turning your side hustle into your career requires constant work behind the scenes. If I really wanted to branch out and get serious about my passions, I should put in just as much work as I do at my day job fulfilling someone else’s dream. Here are 5 things I’ve found to be helpful when trying to stop procrastinating and turning your side hustle into a possible source of income.

Figure out what you’re good at 

The obvious first step to developing a side hustle is finding one, or at least one you’re good at. I figured out that I wanted to develop my writing through blogging by making a list of my skills and then narrowing them down to the ones I enjoyed doing the most. If you have a lot of hobbies or passions that you would like to make money from, figure out what you’re best at and most passionate about and look into ways to developing it further.

Study it 

One of the best ways to learn is from observing. In order to get better at your side hustle you need to study it. Research some of your favorite influencers in your niche and learn what worked best for them, and what didn’t, on their journey to success. Read books, watch documentaries or listen to podcasts about your point of interest. Do whatever it takes to find out as much information about your passion as possible.

Practice 

Practicing your side hustle will only make you better. You can be great at something, but never putting the work in to produce it will get you nowhere. If you enjoy writing and want to turn it into a business, create a blog or work on getting your work published on other sites. Make practicing your craft a part of your daily routine.

Build up a portfolio 

Once you’ve began practicing and putting in the work, develop a portfolio. A portfolio doesn’t have to be the typical black book that comes to mind with the term. It can be a website, or even a social media page with images of your past work. Having a great portfolio can make you stand out against other people in your niche. Find a creative way to showcase your talent and make people want to invest in what you have to offer.

Remain consistent 

This is the one thing I find myself struggling with the most, but consistency is key when accomplishing anything. Things may not take off when you want them too, but it’s important to keep in mind why you started. Nothing great was ever achieved overnight. It can take months and often years of hard work and dedication to begin seeing even a little success.

I Chose My Happiness Over My Dream Job

I’ve always been a person who seeks advice from others to help me solve a problem. Recently, I was faced with a dilemma that could have potentially changed my life…or at least the course of my career. I was given the opportunity to take a job that was seemingly perfect from an outside perspective. It would have been everything that I wanted to do career-wise and maybe even more.

As I progressed throughout the interview process and became closer to being offered the position, one thing didn’t sit right with me. An encounter I had with a person, who would have been my direct boss, was unpleasant to say the least. I came to discover that his form of communication was a combination of aggression accompanied by a splash of verbal abuse. After speaking to sources close to him, I learned that was simply the way he was and dealing with his personality was just another part of the job. Now, I completely understand that not everything in life is handed to you wrapped to perfection, but was this something I was willing to endure in order to potentially advance my career?

Deep down I knew the answer to this question, but of course, I had to consult with a few family members and friends to make sure I was making the right decision. After listening to multiple pieces of advice and hearing the phrase  “If I were you I would…”  over and over with different responses at the end, I only became more confused. It wasn’t until I got the best advice of all, did my decision become crystal clear. Everyone can tell you what they would do in your situation, but you have to decide what choice is best for you. It’s easy for others to tell you what they would do in your shoes when they’re not standing in them, and at the end of the day, my family friends wouldn’t have to work the job, I would. I ultimately decided to respectfully decline to continue with the interview process. Although not everyone agreed with my choice, I did what I felt was right for me in the end and I feel at peace with my decision. Everyone is unique, and when it comes to making decisions that can heavily impact our lives, it’s important to make sure we’re taking the steps necessary to make the right choices for our own individual needs which includes:

Following your instincts 

I could feel it in my gut that this was not the right move for me, but I still toyed with the possibility of taking the job anyway. When you can instinctually feel a situation is not right, often times the best choice is to go with your gut feeling.

Weighing your options 

Even though I knew what decision I wanted to make, I made a pros and cons list to help me weigh out the possible benefits of taking the offer. When faced with a difficult decision, weighing the pros and cons on each side can sometimes help you go in the direction that’s best for you.

Doing what feels right for YOU

This falls in line with following your instincts. A lot of the time, we know what decision is best for us, but we still seek advice from others for validation. It’s completely ok to get counsel from people you’re close to, but they don’t have to live with the decision they’re telling you to make. Ultimately you have to end up doing what’s right for you, and the rest will fall into place.

Cutting Off Dead Weight- Knowing When to Let Someone Go

More often than not, we keep people around us who are dead weight. They can be the ex who keeps popping in and out of your life, the frenemy who serves you backhanded compliments or even the family member who passive aggressively belittles you. My circle used to contain one or more of those people. By keeping them around, I noticed that I began to feel mentally and emotionally drained. I’ve come to a point where I’ve realized that if someone isn’t positively fueling the energy around me, there’s nothing wrong with distancing myself away from them. 

It’s easy to become what you surround yourself with. If you’re constantly surrounded by people who promote negative energy, you’re bound to feed off it. Although we’re aware that someone may be detrimental to our overall wellbeing, it can be difficult to cut them off for several reasons; emotional attachment, feeling obligated because of familial ties, or even the simple fact that you’ve known them forever. The truth of the matter is that if the person you’re questioning cutting off brings more harm than good to your life, should it even be a question at all?

Here are some surefire ways to tell if it’s time to walk away.

They’re making you unhappy 

I feel like this is the most obvious reason to let someone go. If a person is clearly sucking the happiness out of you, it’s not worth keeping them around. Everyone deserves to be around people who spread positivity and good vibes.

They don’t support your goals 

You tell them about a dream or goal you’ve had forever and they immediately shoot it down, and make you question if it’s worth doing anymore. I’ve come to learn that people who shoot down your aspirations are simply too afraid to chase their own. If someone is stunting your growth by encouraging you to remain stagnant, it could be time to cut them off.

You can’t be yourself around them 

If you have to change who you are to continue a relationship with a person, then it’s likely that it’s time to let them go. You should never have to compromise who you are to make someone else accept you.

You always have to put their needs before your own

If you’re constantly having to put someone before yourself, it could be a sign that it’s time to let them go. Relationships should be give and take, not consistently one sided.

Stagnant AF

As twenty-somethings, we all go through a phase of feeling stagnant. We have no idea what we’re doing, where we’re going and feel like everyone around us is moving ahead while we’re seemingly at a standstill. I’ve been guilty of feeling like this myself lately, but haven’t been sure how to pull myself out of this little rut I’ve been in for the past couple of months or so. These past couple weeks, I’ve been tired of feeling like I’m at a standstill, and as result have been pushing myself to take small (but significant steps) in the right direction. Here are some things I’ve been doing that have been helping me feel like I’m finally beginning to move ahead again.

Trying something new 

I feel like one of the main reasons we begin to feel stuck is because we don’t try new things. We get stuck in our daily routines and become comfortable with the lives we’ve created for ourselves. Everyone loves comfort, but the only issue with becoming comfortable is that it’s a complete success killer. Anyone who has ever accomplished anything significant has had to step out of their comfort zone in some way. Sure, it can be intimidating trying new things, but even if it’s something small, it can be a step forward in the right direction.

Finding inspiration for your goals 

Often times I end up feeling stagnant when I’ve lost inspiration for whatever it is I’m trying to achieve. One of the things that has been helping, is constantly looking for ways to stay inspired. Some of my favorites have been picking up a new book, listening to some of my favorite inspirational content creators or simply taking a look back at old projects.

Stop procrastinating 

I am an avid procrastinator. It’s a horrible habit I’ve been trying to get rid of, and one of the main reasons I feel as if I’m not progressing. After all, how can we move forward if we keep putting things off? Sure, procrastinating may be the easy way to deal with a problem you don’t want to, but it only makes things worse.

Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you 

This is one of the main causes, at least for me personally, for feeling stagnant. We live in a world where we have open access to everyone’s lives via social media, and it has become easier to compare ourselves with the images people present of themselves online. Rather than constantly comparing ourselves to others, realize that everyone reaches their goals at their own pace, and that people who seemingly have it all together are sometimes feeling just as stuck as you are. In order to stop feeling like we’re stuck, it’s important we focus on ourselves and the personal growth we’d like to achieve. After all, how can you move ahead when you’re constantly watching the person beside you?