A year book from pre-kindergarden…this is the answer I came up with for today’s Daily Post. At first I thought about a hair brush that I still have from when I was in 6th grade…but that’s a whole other story and was outdone by my old crusty yearbook.
I remember sitting in pre-k putting the yearbook together. The night before I had my mom fussing about having to give pictures from the album in order to complete the school project. I was told to take care of the pictures and not let anything happen to them. Once I came home with the finished project my parents looked at it, then looked at each other, then looked at it again. “This is it?” They asked with a puzzled smile on their faces. “Oh….it’s nice….”.
It was tacky. It didn’t make sense and it just wasn’t that appealing. Over the years, it got tossed around between moves and relocations. I lived in another part of the world for a while and mom held on to it for me along with some other junk I refused to throw away. Now, over 30 years later, I still have it with me, taking up space in my basement. I’ve been clowned and ridiculed for still holding onto this “yearbook”. Pages are missing, torn and faded. But it meant so much me as I put it together and I’m still not ready to part with it.
Okay, here’s another North African proverb; what do you think it means and how does it apply to everyday life?
“Who is brave enough to tell the lion that his breath smells?”
I think this can be applied as a writer. We often come face to face (or laptop to laptop) with confrontation that may involve disagreements or vastly different opinions on a subject we’re passionate about. In any case, the writer shouldn’t feel inferior when expressing their perspective.
I don’t know if that saying comes from someone else, but I’m claiming it as my own quote! Copyright!
Alright, on a serious note, a lot of us have been taught to thank God for another day, or that it’s a miracle to be alive another day…if that isn’t a lie, then I don’t know what is. Furthermore if that’s what’s considered a miracle of God, then the standards of what God can do for one’s life is pretty pathetic. I will expound on that in a later post. Right now I want to focus on the fact that a lot of folks are just looking at survival. Very little thought is actually given towards living. I realized this for myself not too long ago and I’m still learning now.
Don’t wait for everything to be perfect
If that’s the case, you’ll stay waiting because things will never be perfect. You can go out on a limb today if you want to. Get out of the comfort zone and do something different. I used to be scared to go places by myself because I was worried about what people would say about me. Now, I could care less. That decision alone has brought new ideas and revelations for my betterment. All because I decided to step out and go walk by the harbor by myself.
Make a decision
You’ve probably read and heard many things about living successfully and making changes. Well, nothing is going to happen if you don’t make a decision. Once you make your mind that you want to live and not just exist, the first thing you have to tackle is your mindset. So many harmful things have been programmed in us – from our own doing and from others. You will actually have to let go of certain beliefs and fears in order to make progress. If not you’ll be stuck at square one with a lot of regrets.
Are you afraid of living?
At some point, please ask yourself that question if you haven’t already. We get very comfortable in living paycheck to paycheck or by being reactive instead of proactive. When it comes to living a better life we’re afraid to step out because of the changes that come. Don’t let situations or emotional occurrences make the decision for you. They can serve as a guide up to a certain point, but use your mind and determine what direction is best for you to do more than just exist.
Many times when we overcome or survive a touch situation, we get stuck in survival mode. That’s when the victim mentality creeps in and takes over. Everything goes downhill from there. Victims can NEVER live. Once they decide to stop being victims, then they can live.
The image above is the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Dr. Angelou’s passing. It’s vivid for me because it was the first time I’d ever heard of her and it wasn’t by choice. Not only because of the major news coverage of Clinton’s inauguration, we also had to do a dreaded homework assignment on the poem.
“The poem’s so long!” we whined to our teacher. “What is she talking about?” Besides having to do a writing assignment about On the Pulse of Morning (also known as the Inaugural Poem). I had to get used to the fact that it wasn’t going anywhere. She wasn’t going anywhere either. I had to familiarize myself with this woman and her work anyway. It was like her words followed and faced me at significant stages in my life. Phenomenal Woman spoke to me so vividly at a time when I needed to be lifted up and feel good about myself. When I wanted to express myself properly to my significant other on a special occasion, cards usingher words were always in sync with what was in my heart.
I just wanted to share a quick homage to a woman who’s words resonated with so many people, including myself. She will be missed.
Recently I came to the realization that going above and beyond can have a serious backlash. A couple of years ago, the staffing in our office were cut short severely; mainly because of retirements. So I decided to step up to the plate and really prove myself as a worker and even a leader. Mind you I was already a productive worker and management was aware. I just wanted to take it to the next level. I went all out, attending meetings, staying late, volunteering to take projects no one else wanted to touch and so forth. Before I knew it, I became the go-to person of the office. Whatever management needed at the drop of a dime, they knew who to go to. I never failed to disappoint. As time went by this new go-to role grew. The work increased – everything increased….except for the pay. Naturally I started wondering when something would happen to compensate me for the hard work I was putting in. I eventually started asking questions and got round about answers. There was of course talk of budget constraints and hands being tied to do anything for me. After a while the lines started to get old. I had to face it – I had been hustled, bamboozled, played, you name it.
I was pissed.
But then I had to really analyze myself and the situation. Why did I work so hard? Why did I put in all those hours (no overtime pay by the way)? Why did I really volunteer for the projects? Well of course I was looking into advancing my career, so I took on more work to prove myself to management. You see, the “plan” was that they would recognize what I was doing, speak up for me and then I would get promoted. Yeah, it didn’t work out that way at all. So I was left completely exhausted, hardly motivated and extremely disappointed. Why couldn’t anyone look out for me? I wondered if all my hard work had gone in vain.
Fortunately, new opportunities have opened up for me that include advance for me and my career (Yay!). So I am moving forward on good terms with lessons learned. The next time I go above and beyond, it will be for the right reasons because I am a mission-oriented person and I have to show that before any skill or project is displayed.
Questions still remain thought. I wonder why things played out the way they did. Is it because I had selfish purposes? Or was it just not meant to be?
I know I’ve already posted for today, but I came across the Daily Prompt after the fact and just couldn’t resist. 🙂
I love lists, I use them for just about everything, all the time. So when I saw the Daily Prompt’s assignment to make a list of something it made me dig a little deeper. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to develop my personal voice in the world of blogging. So, here it goes!
1. How to show affection.
2. Relationships aren’t only defined by who does favors for you.
3. Hold your own.
4. Emergency funds!
5. It’s not “unchristian” to speak your mind.
6. God is a person, not some wizard or genie in a bottle.
7. Secrets can kill.
8. Cherish good people and their friendship.
9. Let shit go – it’s not that serious.
10. Be real – open your heart and let emotions flow. It’s not a weakness to do so.
I was doing my usual channel flipping the other day and came across one of Oprah’s programs (I can’t remember the title). They were talking about “the here and now” and it basically sent my mind racing. It triggered various thoughts as the the words resonated with me.
I thought “hmmm, I think I get it…”
A lot of the times we worry about what’s going to happen, what we can do about it and how everything is going to play out. Because of worry and fear, we make a lot of bad decisions to gain insight into the unknown. Bad intentions also develop because of this type of fear. A person may work themselves nearly half to death just for the sake of having a safe cushion financially. This is fine but when do they actually take the time to enjoy the fruits of their labor? It’s pretty pointless to keep such a mindset if you never have peace of mind. How about if you’re trying to lose weight? You’re focusing so much on your target weight that you get frustrated in the process and just give up after a while.
The reality is, we can only control what we are doing today. Sure, it’s great to set goals and aspirations, but those are vastly different from trying to form and control the future. From my experience, we can only take one step at a time. Get rid of each bad habit and develop good ones….one day at a time.
Do what can be done TODAY.
This is where the self-discipline war comes into play and a lot of folks fail or just give up. The fact of the matter is you won’t be able to skate your way to anything good no matter how much you pray, how good of sweet talk you may be or how magnificent you are at plotting and scheming. Again, I’m speaking from experience. At some point you need to nurture the drive by strapping on your boots and getting to work. No one can help you with that. Its about what you can do in this moment. Over time, it just may set you up for tomorrow and things will be taken care of.
So what are you going to do? Are you going to stay comfortable in your habits, which include worrying about the future, or are you going to tackle it a day at a time?
As a writer, there are a few things more important than having an opinion. Think about it; those articles or books that grab the most attention and make the most waves are often the result of an author who has a clear opinion of their own. Even if it means going against the mainstream population, they’re ready to express what they think.
In a way, it’s often disturbing how those who’s opinion differ from the masses are often attacked or berated for having a different view from everyone else.
Calm down people. It’s just an opinion.
Express Yourself Truthfully
It’s a waste of time to put effort into writing material that agrees with what everyone else thinks. Where’s the originality and insight? If everyone liked the same thing, life would be pretty pointless. So standing out from everyone else shouldn’t make one dislike what others think. Their perspective is just different and they’re not afraid to express it. Just because the view is different does not make someone a “hater”. When this term is used, it’s often to say that the person is just jealous and carries a different view out of spite. For example, it’s seen all the time in social media when someone has a different opinion about a favorite entertainment artist or passionate topic. Even if your work doesn’t gain a lot of attention, at least be true to yourself with the intention to express your thoughts in accordance with your views and experiences.
The Other Side
As a writer, it is also important to be open-minded to others and their own views. Not everyone will agree with what you write or say. How will you handle the naysayer? What about the nasty comments that may come your way? Something for both you and I to think about in our journey as writers.
Please keep in mind that the moral is to ignite everyone’s emotions and be offensive, it is just wise to stay honest within yourself and the views you choose to express. Whatever the topic or issue may be, having an opinion is not about being hateful.