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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Can a hoe become a house wife?

Witnessing a crack head in DC aggressively asking for spare change, you can’t help but to wonder how did he end up in this predicament? It’s hard to believe that this crack head was once an innocent child, who was told that the possibilities of a bright future were endless. He could have been anything he wanted to be. Or at least that is what they say. I once asked a friend if he thought Presidents were born or were presidents made. He replied with the ingenuous answer of ‘President are made’. In a way this is true. Presidents are made but they are also born, and they are set to fit certain criterion which includes an education from an Ivy League school and/or military background, they have certain connections and big dollar signs behind them to influence and support their campaign/agenda. So when they tell us that we can be anything we want to be, I cringe inside. Some positions, some goals, some aspirations in life is not fully in our control. You can hold your breath until you turn blue, but that won’t make you the President. There is no way in hell I can run for president in 2016 and win without being accepted and endorsed by ‘the people who make dreams come true’. There is more to the story than just hard work, blood, sweat and tears for most success stories. There are different paths set up for us because in this world we need our crack heads, we need or burger flippers, criminals, police, we need our teachers, doctors, presidents and prostitutes. Everyone plays an important role and without one, you wouldn’t need the other. Some take the path of an Urban Crack Head while a selected few become President. It’s a matter of preparation meeting opportunity… a vast percentage of chance.
Some hoes, can infact become house wives.
As long as you work hard, you can achieve your goals. I know I am pretty fledging in regards to corporate politics, but I can aver that working hard isn’t tantamount to success. I remember sitting in one of my college courses when I heard the phrase ‘work smart, not hard’. Just look around, in this land of opportunity, the people that work using blood, sweat and tears are your factory workers, farmers, custodians, car washers, construction workers, miners… all minimum wage jobs. You get paid more to use your brain, rather than using your body/strength. Education is important when it comes to ‘success’, whatever ‘success’ may equate to. The smarter you are, the more knowledge you possess in that peanut brain of yours, the more the likely hood of you possessing something that some company/consumer wants. Which means you don’t have to work that hard, you just sit in your office in front of the computer and make sure the blue collars are doing their job like they’re suppose to.
I took an Organizational Behavior course my last summer at FAMU and in the course we briefly talked about POWER and its definition. I mean, we hear it all the time, but what makes someone powerful? Well, power is having something that the majority of people don’t have. Power is having something that everyone else wants. You see it now, where people have a lot of money and that grants them power. The mistake with just having power due to money is that once you lose the money, you lose the power. I am more of an advocate for power through knowledge. And as long as you possess this knowledge, you will maintain your power, which in return will present money. Think about innovators – Apple for instance, and the brain power behind that company. Apple has nine executives that made an estimated $441 million in 2011, which averages to $49 M per executive. Now, let’s look at Foxconn, the contracted company based in China that assembles Apple products. Foxconn has an estimated 95,000 employees with an estimated total pay of roughly the same amount, $441 M which is about $4,642 per worker per year.
It’s unfortunate that everyone can’t be a millionaire. Unfortunately, one of the inevitable truths is that there will be the rich and there will be the poor, the educated and the uneducated. But what we can be hopeful about is that being an American means that you have access to education. Yes, the trust-fund babies may have access to the best education (if they even care enough to be educated… but why would they when DADDY has them covered for life). The children in poor communities, they have to work a little harder to get the same education since those same resources wouldn’t be made available to them, not including the fact that people in poor communities usually don’t value education as much as they should. Not to mention, poor communities are usually saturated in crime, which then trickles into the classrooms, causing the teachers to focus more on discipline rather than educating, taking away from students who may have ‘bright futures’. But hey… the sky’s the limit and hindsight is 20/20. If I would have been thought the importance of an education, and given BIG words to study in high school maybe things would have been different for me and my SAT scores.
I am not saying that you can’t be anything that you want to be. You could, depending on the opportunities presented to you. But what I am saying is, you could have been that crack head on the streets in DC. Don’t praise yourself too much in regards to the things you have accomplished. Some of that was just chance (or God’s will, whatever you want to call it). Because I am sure there is someone more qualified, more educated, more deserving than you, but they weren’t presented with the same opportunities.
Disclaimer: I am not saying you can’t turn a crack head into a president, a criminal into a judge (may have to check the laws for that tho) or a hoe into a house wife… I am just saying that you can’t have one without the other. Everyone isn’t going to be ‘successful’ for whatever reason.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vanity Fair




Mirror, mirror…on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?


Well, who is the fairest? People Magazine recently published their 2012 Most Beautiful Women issue. And you wouldn’t be surprised to find out what women were in the running. These women are usually canonized in the media for their good looks and unblemished bodies. And even if they are not as beautiful as the plastic surgery, airbrush, and make up would portray… These women create America’s ‘standard of beauty’.





The media is to blame for our current conception of beauty.  Actually, we are responsible for our own perception of beauty. Haven’t you heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder? With all human beings having their differences in size, shape, color and so forth, how did we develop what was considered beautiful overall? It could be possible that media has influenced our perception of beauty, but I think the media has been a scapegoat for quite some time. We have to remember that the media is similar to a corporation; supply and demand. Give the people what they want. And if the people want skinny, flat stomachs, long hair and blue eyes… they WILL give you just that. At the end of the day, they are trying to sell magazines… and we’re apparently buying them.


At some point you have to stop pointing the finger at the ‘media’ and admit to yourself that you also may find those typical features represented in magazines as beautiful. Looking at myself, for years I covered my natural hair with 14 inches on Indian Hair because I felt like it enhanced my look. I still think I look better with long, straight, dark hair although my natural hair is quite the opposite. But who’s to blame for this European complex? I would cover up my need for weave by saying ‘I like having different looks’ or ‘I don’t like doing my real hair’. When the truth was, I didn't know how to do my own hair, because I was always running from it. I didn't think my natural hair was beautiful. I was seeking maximum beauty potential and weave did that for me. Yeah, I’m cute with coily hair… but it was something about that long, straight, dark brown hair following in the wind that made me feel beautiful.


With plastic surgery becoming more acceptable, people are completely willing to change themselves to fit the standard of beauty. This is what I would consider a First World Problem; we see where our priorities lie as citizens in America. We don’t have to worry about our next meal, or shelter over our heads, so we worry about more arbitrary things… like ‘is my butt too big?’ For example, I know for sure, there isn’t a woman in America who hasn’t been concerned about her weight. Rightfully so! It’s important to be healthy. But these obsessions with beauty aren’t motivated by health, but rather meeting a standard. We are using someone else’s measuring stick to measure ourselves. 



WHO’S MEASURING STICK ARE YOU GOING TO USE TO MEASURE YOURSELF?

If only we were more concerned with changing our insides, rather than what is visible on the outside. If it were the option of beauty vs heart, beauty would win every time. And at the end of the day, this alteration of self is done to please others. To be considered beautiful amongst your peers. It’s a good feeling to be desired. To have someone tell you that you are the most beautiful women in the room… but where is the heart in that? Beauty (not considering weight) is something given to you… you didn’t have to work hard to be beautiful… it just so happened that way… some were born with good looks and some had to purchase it. GOOD GENES or GOOD DOCS. But a good heart, that requires a bit more than inheritance. 


It could be possible that the next generation of young women will be dealing with insecurities as a learned behavior. I remember growing up and hearing older woman complain about their bodies and what they didn’t like. I felt like this was their way of acknowledging the elephant in the room, even when there was no elephant to be acknowledged. It’s a defense mechanism. There have been times where I would have a blemish on my face and believed that everyone I encountered that day was looking directly at my blemish. So, in order to acknowledge the ‘elephant’ in the room, I would mention the blemish on my face casually. Usually the person on the receiving end would respond with ‘I didn’t notice it… but now that you've said something, I can see it.’ They didn’t notice it until I brought it to their attention. Which reminds me of the saying ‘You are your biggest critic’. We over analyze our bodies and at times, we make up problems that do not really exist.


Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a psychiatric term for a person who exaggerates a problem with their body to the point of delusion. They might perceive a minor flaw as a hideous disfigurement, and become fixated on it. According to Hullet, a cosmetic procedure may expose an existing issue or possibly even trigger one. ‘They develop a new obsession’ he says. ‘They get the nose fixed, and then it’s the eyebrows. They fix the eyebrows, and then it’s the ears. The perceived abnormality keeps moving.


What we aren’t cognizant about is that from puberty to the age of 18, children are especially vulnerable to body image issues, says psychiatrist Hullet. If they don’t fully understand the reasons and observe a family member take the drastic step of an invasive surgery, they may learn a skewed lesson about the importance of appearance. A teenage girl who sees her mother undergo a breast augmentation, for example, may then view her own small breasts as deficient or unattractive, affecting her confidence or future behavior. Plastic surgery doesn’t change your genes, so it’s likely that your children will have the same (or a close resemblance) physical features that the parent may have considered ‘abnormal’. So, how does a parent tell their child that their nose is beautiful, after they had plastic surgery on their own nose?

Real Housewives of Miami's Marysol Patton and mom Elsa Patton

And plastic surgery isn’t a walk in the park… which is why I don’t understand why so many people opt to do it. When you go under the knife to alter your appearance, your body goes through trauma. Serious physical complications like any surgery, it is a major stresser to the body and needs to be taken seriously," says surgeon Wallace. "People think it's like going out to lunch." Many may not be prepared for a lengthy recuperation that entails fatigue, swelling and scarring, or are not thoughtful about the potential risks, like damaged nerves, infection or bleeding. There is also psychological trauma. Frequently have unrealistic expectations and become deeply disappointed if the result isn't "perfect," even if it is an improvement.

It’s understandable to be concerned about your appearance. You appearance tells people a story about you without using words. But the obsession of ones appearance is the line drawn, indicating an unhealthy perception of self. Struggling with my own insecurities, I decided to let it go. I have been living with my body for 26 years… it’s about damn time I start loving it since it isn’t going anywhere. I considered cosmetic surgery… but I knew that would be the definition of vanity. I truly believe that God didn’t give us this body on earth to be BEAUTIFUL (although it is a plus). This body is a vessel, temporarily loaned to us during our tenor on earth. Our focus should be on mankind, loving our neighbor and becoming the best person we can be. 

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7


Recommended reading and source of quotes used in this article was taken from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2011/06/16/hidden-dangers-of-cosmetic-surgery/

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Adam & Steve

Disclaimer: My views are a lot different now.I wrote this blog a few years ago when I was more religious. I no longer see things as "sin". And to be honest... who gives a fuck what anyone else thinks? As long as it is between two able-minded consenting adults... do what feels right in your heart. 



Why they mad tho?


It seems like homosexuals are public enemy number one these days. And it’s in due time. Every ‘minority’ group will have their turn in the lime light, and it looks like homosexuals are on center stage. You would think THE GAYS were the reason taxes where increasing the way some people hate them... Like 'GAY' did something to them personally. And what's the motive behind this entire pillory? Many people would point to the good book. Is the Holy Bible the reason why people hate gays? It reminds me of slavery and how slave holders used some scriptures in the bible to justify their actions. Should a believer of Christ ignite makebate? 

The pharisaic SELF-RIGHTEOUS have the most to say about THE GAYS. As an active reader of the bible, I have seen it written that a man should not lay with another man (Leviticus 18:22), and that it is an abomination. This goes into the dialogue of whether one sin is greater than another… Some believe that sin is imponderable. In my humble opinion, there is severity in certain sins and by labeling homosexuality as an abomination is to say that this sin is more severe than others. Webster dictionary defines an abomination as extreme disgust and hatred. On the contrary  I may be mistaken, but I was always under the impression that God hates all sin whether it was labeled an abomination or not. And technically… the bible doesn't say that a man liking a man is a sin, but rather, it states that a man lying with another man is a sin. So actually, gays aren't sinning unless they are actually having sexual relations. So what about a woman lying with another woman? Is this too a sin? The bible doesn't distinctly mention ‘women’… so should we assume that when it says ‘a man shall not lay with another man’ that women are included?


Whether you believe homosexuality is a sin or not, it is up to you. However, if you read the bible it says that it is. Now, is this the reason why people hate THE GAYS; because they are sinning? We all are sinners. He without sin cast the first stone (John 8:7). I believe that people need to hate something in order to help them feel better about themselves. You have your insular people that hate blacks, Jews, Latinos, and the list goes on. They hate what’s different; what they don’t understand. Presumably it is because these minority groups pose a threat to what they would consider uncontaminated. They have their image of a picture perfect world... the American Dream... and it doesn't include what many 'minority' groups have to offer. They can hate you without knowing you as an individual, and this is the definition of bigotry.

All the sinning in this world and homosexuality gets singled out. And so many people have their theories as to why people are gay. They have every pastor debating whether they are born that way and if they can change. I, for one, can never speak on this subject because I am not gay. And I don’t think anyone who isn't gay should speak on behalf of the gay community unless he has a PhD and has done extensive research. Being gay isn't some impetuous choice for most… but rather a feeling that I believe gays initially battle with before they learn to accept their true feelings.

You can’t force someone to believe what you believe. The bible means nothing to someone who is atheist. So to deny them their right to marry based off of the bible is denying them their rights as human beings with out probable cause. You cannot force someone towards salvation. You can’t make someone follow the law of God. Who is God to a non-believer? God gave us free will and with this free will we make our own decisions. And I personally don’t care for the government’s exploitation of the bible when it’s convenient for them, because every other circumstance they prefer to separate church and state. And if the bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman… let THE GAYS have a civil union. The same thing as a marriage, just called something different. The SELF RIGHTEOUS should not have a problem with that, since it would no longer be called marriage. Their biggest argument is that the bible defines a marriage as a union between man and woman... Therefore the state should define a civil union as the union between a man and a man.


There are more gay people in this world than you may think. So many people will die and never let anyone know that they are gay. Some people live a double life... And I am sure that the propensity is due to the backlash and fear of being ostracized that they may anticipate. It’s sad because people use the bible when it’s conveniently justifies their actions. But when Jesus came he stressed the importance of loving one another. We shouldn't judge. Because you may hate your neighbor that’s gay but in your own home your son may be gay and you wouldn't even know it. Condemning someone because they are homosexual is too easy. Condemn yourself for the hate dwelling within your heart. Our hearts should be filled with love not hate. 

Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. (John 8:15)

They say ‘hate the sin and love the person’… but it should really be ‘love the person and hate your own sin’. How can you take the plank out of someone else’s eye when you have a piece of wood in your own eye? I could only imagine what homosexuals have to endure every day. The pain and hurt they have to endure just because they desire the same sex. It’s not up to us to judge or to declare what human rights they should not have. They deserve ataraxia. God will judge us all accordingly at the end.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Lesson From Mommy: Live

I thought that things like this get better with time
But I still need you, why is that?
You're the only image in my mind
So I still see you... around 

- I Miss You by Beyonce 

Tomorrow my mother would have turned 54 years old. Sometimes, I try to image how life would be if she was still here. I know during my darkest hours is when I miss her the most. The times when I feel like no one understands me, I know she would. Times where I feel that the world has turned against me, I know she wouldn't have. After 6 years of not having her around, I still feel as if I need her. When I see my friends with there mothers, it’s a constant reminder of what I don’t have. But I try to stay positive. I had her in my life for a good 19 years... and for that, I am grateful. Some people never got the chance to meet their mother

Now that I am beginning womanhood, I find myself repeating many sayings that my mother would often quote. When going through difficult times, I wonder what advice she would give me. I think about what other memories we could have shared. I do thank God for placing wonderful women in my life... My Grandmother, Aunt Carol, Tante Choupette, Tante Phoebe, Tante Gisele, Claudette, Tante Junie and Mrs. Inge... and these woman have helped fill a void in my life.

The funny thing is, the greatest lesson my mother thought me was not when she was alive but after her passing. After my mother died I felt like I had to grow up over night. I became more family oriented, appreciated things that I took for guaranteed before and I strived for a closer relationship with God. Sometimes it takes great sorrow and heartbreak to teach you how to truly love. Life is a gift. Life is short. If people didn't die, people wouldn’t appreciate life. 

This is a cliché saying but if you really sit and think about it, you see that it has profund meaning: You only have one life to live. So how will you spend it? With only one life to live, you might as well be confident… be brave… be happy… be loving… be patient… be kind. I am sure if my mother could come back she would tell me to live.

I am pursing happiness.




Monday, August 20, 2012

Limerence

Updated 12/3/2014 
If you haven't contemplated murder, you ain't been in love. If you haven't seriously thought about killing a motherfucker, you ain't been in love. If you haven't had a can of rat poison in your hand and looked at it for forty-five minutes straight, you ain't been in love. If you haven't bought a shovel and a bag and a rug to roll their ass up in, you ain't been in love. If you haven't practiced your alibi in front of the mirror, you ain't been in love. And the only thing that's stopped you from killing this motherfucker was a episode of CSI: "Oh man, they thorough. I better make up. They might catch my ass."
- Chris Rock
UNREQUITED LOVE... 

Love by itself can cause people to do crazy things [and in some cases... people actually go CRAZY]. Now, try adding rejection in the mix of love... Oh... What a tangled web we weave. To love someone and not have the feeling reciprocated; the feeling of unrequited love is unavoidable, and the feeling is quite devastating. So what’s wrong with experiencing unrequited love other than the fact that it leads to depression, anxiety, and insecurities? Why is it that in order to truly love someone, the feeling must be mutual? You would look a bit psycho cathecting someone who has made it clear that they do not share the same feelings. How about when the feeling is mutual... if you could measure love, how likely is it that you would find two individuals that are in love with each other share the exact amount of love for one another? Love is selfish, is it not? Love is also needy. For one to say love isn't needy, well… that would be specious because love needs love in return. Love needs expressions of love and words of love in return. And without the indication that the love you have for someone is requited, one would either fall out of love or be encouraged to do so.

Limerence, a term coined by the psychologist Dorothy Tennov, is considered as a cognitive and emotional state of being emotionally attached or even obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings - a near-obsessive form of romantic love (Wikipedia 2012). So when you are up late night creeping on Facebook, looking through his/her photos, rereading old text messages or emails, checking your phone to make sure it’s ‘working’ just in case the person tries to call, constantly replaying a scene in your head from your last encounter with the person… or even fantasizing about your next rendezvous... well... Those actions can be associated with limerence. This is a form of obsessing. It may not be quite the fatal attraction but nonetheless, it’s an [mild] obsession. 

The main concept of limerence is that the love is unrequited. You are infatuated with someone who does not want you in return. And being as dysfunctional as humans are, we tend to want something more when we can’t have it. In my humble opinion, limerence reveals more than just your desire to be with someone who doesn't want you. It also reveals the way you feel about yourself. I have been there... consistently day dreaming about someone that I knew I could never have (and its unhealthy to say the least). But what limerence really reveals is the way you feel about yourself. During those times in my life where I found myself infatuated with someone who had shown little interest in me, I would have had to say that I was lonely. I lacked self-confidence. I allowed myself to fall into this land of self-pity where my only rescue from the troubles of my life would come from this single person... this single person that did not want me. 

First and foremost Limerence is, a condition of cognitive obsession. Someone experiencing limerence tends to emphasize what is admirable in their desired partner and tend to avoid any negative or problematic attributes that the person may have. Limerence develops and is sustained when there is a certain balance of hope and uncertainty. The base for limerent hope is not in objective reality but reality as it is perceived. The inclination is to sift through nuances of speech and subtleties of behavior for evidence of limerent hope. The components of limerence include intrusive thinking and fantasy, fear of rejection, hope, physical side effects, and sexuality.
"Little things" are noticed and endlessly analyzed for meaning. Such excessive concern over trivia may not be entirely unfounded, however. Body language can indicate a return of feeling. What the limerent object said and did is recalled with vividness. Alternative meanings of those behaviors recalled are searched out. Each word and gesture is permanently available for review, especially those interpreted as evidence in favor of "return of feeling." When objects, people, places or situations are encountered with the limerent object, they are vividly remembered, especially if the limerent object 'interacted' with them in some way.

[Side note: Tennov suggested that the only cure for being in love is to get indisputable evidence that the target of one's love is not interested.]

I think it's very important to reevaluate yourself, your state of mind, and the person you are infatuated with when experiencing limerence. You could be lonely and longing for someone to be in your life... this person may possess a few qualities that you would ideally want to have in your significant other which may cause you to put this person on a pedestal. You are more caught up with the 'idea of having this person' rather than the reality of things. You get caught up in qualities that this person possess, rather than the person himself/herself. 

I over looked many of his 'bad qualities' because I was so wrapped up in the idea of 'us'.

Regardless if the person’s behavior demonstrates that they do not want to be with you... you begin to filter through their words and actions and cling on to any subtle gesture that would suggest that they may be romantically interested. As aforementioned, it's important to exam yourself during this time and to better understand what state of mind you are in when this is going on. Self-love, self-confidence and your self-respect may need to be fine-tuned. You’re worth it, and if that person can't see it, why continue to waste your time?

Even when dealing with uncertainty [rather than unrequited love], remember that love isn't uncertain. So if someone is sending you mix singles, it would be best to walk away from the situation until the person can determine what they want. If someone loves you, it shouldn't be a feeling of uncertainty in the mist of things. From my own experiences, I've learned to not 'read between the lines' when dating (or attempting to date someone). Things should be straight forward. Things should happen naturally. I've always left relationships with a broken heart when I tried to force the feeling of LOVE. Love is not forced, coerced, or confusing, but rather crystal clear.


I must admit, I experience limerence from time to time when I meet someone that appears to be TO GOOD TO BE TRUE [which they usually are]. However, the first step is admitting you have a problem!

Monday, August 13, 2012

When someone shows you who they are... believe them!



It’s easy to get caught up in the game. The whisperings of sweet nothings in your ear. This guy seems too good to be true. And he is coming on so strong… but why shouldn’t he? You’re worth it! He is giving you the attention that you need and everything looks good on paper. You didn’t want to like him, and eventually you fall… and you fall hard. Sometimes the guy is who he says he is and other times... well... let's just say he could be blowing smoke.


People can only hide their true colors for so long. And if the guy your messing with is flaky... Eventually his actions won’t back his words up. And this is when you need to separate potential from reality. Yeah, he has the potential to be the man he claimed to be, but reality is… he isn’t.


My friend, who I will call Tiffany, was set-up with a guy through one of her co-workers. Before they meet in person, they talked on the phone for several days. Tiffany was really feeling this guy. Tiffany always knew how she wanted to be treated and he fell right into place as 'Mr. Charming'. He appeared to be supportive, non-judgmental and willing to communicate any difference they may or could possible have in the future. They talked everyday and she was getting use to him being a part of her daily routine. Before Tiffany went to meet him, she said to me ‘This is too good to be true. This guy is a bit older, established in his career, financial secure, and never been married,’ Tiffany and him shared similar cultures, valued the same ideologies and had many other things in common.


Well, I coached Tiffany before her first date… ‘Be you! Be confident!’ and that’s what Tiffany tried to do. Unfortunately, the guy seemed to be the opposite of what he made himself out to be. Before the initial date, he stressed how important ‘respect’ was to him and how he valued being able to communicate in order to work out differences. On the contrary, he was quite disrespectful to Tiffany. Tiffany, being a non-confrontational person, tried to look over his rude remarks… she felt as if maybe she was reading too much into the things he was saying. But as the night progressed, it was clear… this guy was not who he claimed to be. She kept wondering what happened to the guy on the phone? The guy who she had so much in common with? The one who valued the same things she did?


Well, Tiffany… that guy was just a front. A cover-up. Yep, Tiffany was bamboozled. And although she realized that this guy was a bi-polar, narcissus, pervert… she was waiting for the night to get better. She was waiting for him to be the guy she thought he would be. But that never happened.


Anyway, after meeting him, Tiff was ready to drop him like a bad habit. After being in many dysfunctional relationships, Tiff wanted nothing more to do with him. And that’s when the mind games started. He called Tiff explaining to her that he did nothing wrong and that she was over thinking things and that she needed to loosen up a bit. And when that didn’t work he started pointing the finger at Tiffany saying that she was spoiled and high maintenance, and that she thought that it was all about her.


Tiffany, being ingenuous, questioned her own reasoning…. But her friends came back with damaging details about what happened on the date to remind her of why she should never talk to him again. After a week of debating on whether or not she should eliminate this guy (or not) from her life, Tiff decided it was a wrap! Throw a bow on it. When someone show’s you who they are believe them. Anyone can tell you that they are kind, loving, God fearing, gentle, and so forth. But what you need to do is listen to the actions and not their words.


Although, I have never met the guy, from what I hear, he may just be a psychopath. A master of disguise to the people he is closest to. But Tiff got a rare glimpse of who he truly is and that should be enough for her to run in the opposite direction… FAST! Track & Flied Olympian Gold Metal Fast!




Thursday, July 26, 2012

I think. Therefore, I am.




First, let me make it clear, I am not a 'Crazy Christian' per say. And after this entry I will try to give religion entry's a rest.

Crazy Christian (noun) – one who protest in front of abortion clinics, adult toy stores, or in front of the White House preaching against homosexuality or the fact that the world is going to end, therefore you must repent.

In all my attempts to avoid ambivalence, I am a crazy Christian. I am a crazy Christian because I believe differently. A lot of my beliefs go against what I should believe. However, I try to challenge the word. I have never been the type to just believe everything someone told me. I challenge the word intellectually, to the best of my ability. Some may say I have little faith, but this is how I build my faith. My goal is to ultimately prove myself wrong and prove that the bible is veracious. I may never be that Christian that does everything right by the book, but in all my getting… I want to get understanding.

I have many questions for God; many questions that may never be answered. I read the bible and I imagine the stories of Noah, Abraham, and Moses, and I marvel at how God openly spoke to them. God walked with Adam through the garden. God walked with Enoch. God wrestled with Jacob. God once made himself very evident to his children. (Maybe he is still present as he was before; it’s just harder for us to notice him these days.)

Another question I ask myself is why is there so many religions? And with everyone believing that their religion is right, is anyone really wrong? There are so many Holy Books. And just from the bible alone you can name copious interpretations.  I believe Gandhi said it the best:

I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian. - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I believe that every religion serves its purpose and that there is more than just one truth, as ambiguous as that may sound. I would never tell a Muslim that he/she is serving the wrong God, although I am a Christian.

I am sure we all have asked ourselves, if God knew that Adam and Eve were to fall, why did he create them? Why didn't he just make them perfect? Why did he create the evil? Why did he create sin? My way of viewing this is by seeing life as a test. It’s a test of character. It is a test of faith. We are in this world to learn about him while learning about ourselves. Does it not take for one to be able to love himself before he can love God? Does it not take for one to be able to love God before he can love himself?

I don’t thank God for my existence. Not to sound melancholy, but if I was never created, I would not have known anything, so I wouldn't be able to miss it. But since God did create me, I try to get an understanding of 'why'? What is my purpose on this earth? (And as a side-note: Many people consider their job as a clear indication as to what their purpose on earth is. i.e. I am a doctor so my purpose on earth is to save lives. This may be true; however, you must remember that Jesus was a carpenter. Yet, that was not his purpose on this earth. Your purpose on earth may not have anything to do with your job. But rather what happens outside of your job.)

What does God expect from us? How could he expect patience from me when I was given an irascible temperament? (Many of our traits are embedded in our DNA, while some are based off of our environment during childhood development). How does God expect those attracted to the same sex (homosexuals) to live as heterosexuals? Did they ask for this desire or were they born like this? I know many would not agree with this but, at times, I have sympathy for serial killers, pedophiles and other such menaces to society. To live with a desire that you cannot control has to be tormenting, especially if you want nothing more than to be normal. Many people would say that they can just learn how to control themselves. But when you exam yourself, and you look closely at your own habits, you will see that there are things that even you are compulsive about that you can’t control in your own life. Although they may not be as severe as a pedophile or a serial killer's compulses, they are just as hard to control (i.e. over eating, drug abuse, cheating, stealing). We all have our demons. Some demons are uglier than others.

I can aver that there is a God. But I cannot say what religion is the right religion. Christianity has served me well, but just as the world has different languages the world will have different religions. Maybe this is how God intended for us to be. As long as you believe in something, they are all commensurate in some way, shape or form… right?  You pray to Allah and you feel a connection. You feel his love. You receive his blessings. How can I say that your faith is invalid?

I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him. - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I am sure my pastor will disagree with me, but this is my view point.

I think doubt, therefore, I am.



Monday, July 23, 2012

2 Cents 2 Many

In my attempt to seek self liberation, I have decided to write about my journey to self acceptance. To some readers, self acceptance may not correlate with the title. However, it is all too apposite.

I am a people pleaser. I am passive aggressive. I lack satisfactory communication skills when facing conflict. And I give one damn too many in regards to what people think of me.

Conflict cripples me. I shut down. I shut out. And I get stuck in time. The world keeps revolving. Time keeps ticking. But I am stuck. I replay the situation over and over and over again. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. What could I have done differently? What could I have said differently? How could I have avoided the situation entirely? And then it starts to eat at me. I question myself. I question my relationships and then the depression kicks in.

Now with me, I have a tendency to go AWAL. I shut people out when I feel this way. Regardless if it makes the situation worse, it’s the only way I know how to handle it. I image what the person may think of me, and in my mind, their opinions start to define me. In my attempts to put an end to these mental breakdowns, I started asking myself questions. Why are you responding to the situation like this? And this is when ish started to get real. This required self awareness and I tried to analysis myself as I went through this episode of conflict.

I discovered that I react like this because I care too much about what people think… and this is due to lack of love and respect for myself. I shouldn’t need someone’s approval to live my life. I shouldn’t need to feel accepted by the people around me in order to accept myself. I try to please people. I want everyone to be happy with me, and at the end I always end up pissing someone off in the process. As my sister would say, ‘this is a vicious cycle’. However, it is to the point where I have lost touch with parts of me. I can see myself becoming more of what I think people want me to be. Now, discovering this about myself is only half of the battle. What can I do to fix this?

I can learn how to communicate. I can say how I feel and not ask for permission. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am 26 years old, and I have been taking care of myself for a long time. So, why do I need other peoples blessing in my life? Well, It is nice to have support and someone to stand by you, but at what cost?

In many situations I feel misunderstood. And we all have moments where our actions have been mistaken for something entirely antipode to what we intended. But in my world, this occurs to often in my case. And I have realized that this occurs because somewhere, I have missed a step in communication. It all can be a side effect of not being able to speak up for myself, or not knowing how to communicate in situations where I feel as if the person is expecting something from me outside of what I want to accomplish.


Dwelling about the situation would have to be my greatest down fall. When you play the situation over and over in your mind, you tend to over analyse. And majority of the time, your analysis of what triggered the other person will be incorrect.

THE CURE

So my first plan of action is to stop asking for permission. It’s my life.

People-pleasers often worry that after they say no, the fallout will be catastrophic. But as Newman said, “the fallout is never as bad as we think it is.” In fact, “it’s usually very insignificant.” Why? For starters, “people are not thinking about you as much as you think.” Usually after you say no, a person is more focused on who they’ll be asking next to help them than your so-called betrayal, she said. - 
MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY

Second plan of action will be to be confident. Walk boldly. Talk boldly. Say what I mean and mean what I say. Words have meaning. And I want to be calculated with my speech. I don't want to leave any room for interpretation. I want to lay things out on the table (politely), no beating around the bush.

Third plan of action will be accepting the fact that I can’t please everybody and really stop trying to.

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

– Bill Cosby 

"People-pleasers yearn for outside validation. Their ‘personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others,’ said Linda Tillman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta, GA and assertiveness expert. Thus, at the core, people-pleasers lack confidence, she said. 

They worry how others will view them when they say no. “People don’t want to be seen as lazy, uncaring, selfish or totally egocentric,” Newman said. They fear “they’ll be disliked and cut from the group,” whether it’s friends, family or co-workers. "
- MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY

And lastly, I will love myself. Although, this has never been my priority, it will be now. And I will fake it until I make it. If no one on this earth loves me, at least I will love myself.

So… with that being said… I am ready to live my life... if that's okay with you? LOL.

For do I now seek the favor of men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Galatioans 1:10

Recommended reading: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/21-tips-to-stop-being-a-people-pleaser/all/1/

Monday, June 11, 2012

Religion Without Sacrifice


 



One of the seven deadly sins: Religion without sacrifice. - Mahatma Ghandi

For most of my adult life, I have identified with Christianity. I would go to church when I could on Sunday's and prayed every now and then. Looking back at it, my life was really no different from any nonbeliever. I would do my dirt, and repent afterward and it was all good. I never really expected God to hold me accountable for my actions because it seemed to me that blessings would always come my way regardless of if I was doing right or wrong, because 'God knew my heart'.

Well, I got a huge wake up call. It started around the time I was graduating from college. I didn't have a job, nor did I have any acceptance letters from graduate schools and I didn't know what I was going to do. To make a long story laconic, I ended up living with my boyfriend after graduation. I knew it was wrong, no doubt about that, but I did it anyway. I assumed that God would forgive me because no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. I have come to realize that the phrase 'no one is perfect' is rightfully so, however, it is an excuse to avoid striving for perfection. [Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. - Matthew 5:48]

During my time shacking up, I felt disconnected from God. I would pray, but I felt as if he wasn't listening. It seemed like everything I would attempt to achieve slipped right through my fingers. I felt alone and empty inside. During and before college, I managed to do whatever I wanted without feeling abandoned by God, but then I realized that I was getting older and God was holding me fully accountable for my actions now. [When I was a child, I spoke as a child; I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. - 1 Corinthians 3:11] Just as we grow older every year in age, we must also grow older in Christ. God was showing me that it wasn't about me professing Jesus, but about me possessing Jesus. To believe in God is not just to say it with your mouth but to show it with your actions.

Needless to say, after four months of unfavorable behavior, I decided to move out and it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I started to go to church more often and I felt convicted. I went to my boyfriend and told him that I didn't want to have premarital sex anymore and he was not on the same page [SURPRISE! SURPIRSE!] nor was he interested in seeking a relationship with God at that time. A month or so after that, we broke up. It was a very devastating break up because it happened at a time where I didn't have much going for myself. I graduated college but I couldn't find a job, I was living with my father in the middle of nowhere (Kissimmee, FL) away from all my friends and now I was broken hearted on top of that! It was overwhelming, but it needed to happen for my spiritual growth. I started going to church more and I began to read my bible everyday at home. I started to read scriptures I never even heard the pastor talk about. It was like a whole new world. My understanding of God began to grow immensely.

The importance of reading the bible is imperative for your sanctity. It is similar to being a doctor or an engineer. In order to work in these professions, you must read, review lectures, write papers, and study it. You must take test and advance. The same thing goes for Christianity. Jesus' life and story is captured in the bible. If you do not read the bible, how can you truly be a Christian? You have to know who Christ is and what he came on this earth to tell us. [For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellence of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to them that have it. - Ecclesiastes 7:12] Reading the bible gives you the whole picture as to what God wants from your life and what God promises us as his children.

I am not an erudite Christian, nor am I the 'Crazy Christian' protesting in front of abortion clinics. Honestly, I just want to be a better Christian, and through my journey I learned that God's mercy is like car insurance. You go out and you insure your car with Geico to protect yourself and your car if you happen to get into an accident. Geico won't cover you if you intentionally cause a car crash. Car insurance only covers accidents. And the same thing goes for God's mercy. [Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. - Galatians 6:7] Many times we sin and think that God will just forgive us. He will, if you are sincerely sorry (meaning, you are ready to change). Every sin we commit, we will pay for. God's mercy only covers sincere MISTAKES. And if you are doing the same sins over and over, it is not a mistake. It's what you intend to do.

The more I read the bible, the more I see what I need to change in my life. I recently discovered how much God despises someone with pride. Before, I only considered the 10 Commandments as what I needed to concentrate on but there is so much more. When studying the behavior of Jesus, you see the humility he had to endure, which was all of part of him being humble. People spitted in his face, falsely accused him of things, and even denied that he was the son of God. However, Jesus never mumbled a word, he never became defensive, nor did he hate the people who nailed him to the cross. Instead Jesus prayed for them. ['Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do'. - Luke 23:34] In order to get to this point we need to sacrifice our own desires. A sacrifice could be as simple as holding your tongue when you want to say something rude or retaliate against someone attacking you. Your sacrifice could be making a pledge not to have premarital sex or vowing not to curse anymore.

Would you be able to say sorry even if you felt you did nothing wrong? Or not lash out at someone who has lashed out on you? [A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1] These are sacrifices that we have to make. So pick up your cross.

As aforementioned, being a Christian isn't just about professing Jesus but possessing him in your heart and showing you love him. How do you show God that you love him? [If you love me, keep my commandments. - John 14:15] You show God you love him by denying yourself. So many things that we see going on in the world, goes against what the bible says. Getting drunk, swearing, disrespecting elders, revealing your body, getting tattoos, having a love for money, and the list goes on. In order to severe God you have to make sacrifices. If you don't make sacrifices, what is the difference between you and any nonbeliever?

God is a good God, and he is also a merciful God, but we must remember that God favor's no man, however he favors our actions. [For there is no partiality with God. For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous before God, but those who do the law will be declared righteous. - Romans 2:11-13] So next time you say you are blessed and highly favored, ask yourself 'Are my actions favorable?'. We should strive to be like Christ and we should know that God will hold us accountable for our actions. There is no religion without sacrifice.

I am not perfect by a long shot. My ultimate goal is to seek perfection and every day I am striving to get closer and closer to that. But we have to be real with ourselves now that we are getting older. God has expectations for us.

Recommended reading: Ecclesiastes 2

Thursday, May 24, 2012

To All My Single Ladies



"Some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies." - Sex in the City







The obstacles we face day to day.


It’s single awareness season. You can’t run from it, because it’s all over your newsfeed. Everyday friends are posting new pictures of their coupledom, and changing their relationship to engaged or married. And some are even giving birth to little adorable babies… meanwhile, back at the ranch, I…. well…. I am enjoying the single life. [Blank stare]


With all the love in the air, it kind of makes it hard for single women to breathe. I could be patient and wait for that day when I will be in a committed relationship, but its getting a little harder to put these feelings on a backburner because you’re home girls are dropping like flies. If everyone is married or having babies, where will that leave me in a couple years? Well, in order not to get depressed I decided to write about it. I decided to turn my Idiotic Asylum into a haven for the single, the bitter, the stir crazy and the I-don’t-need-a-man-because-I’m--An-Independent-Woman women. This is my journey and you may be able to relate or you may not. But hopefully you will gain something as I discuss things that many women are trying to overcome.


First up… INSECURITIES. My biggest insecurity is my butt. I look at it in the mirror and I curse it. If only my butt were bigger, I would have a man by now! I know it sounds crazy, but this happens when I am looking for something to blame. Well, maybe it’s my walk. I should try to walk sexier. Or maybe it’s my hair; a lot of guys don’t like girls that wear weave. Or maybe I should lose weight. Or maybe it’s my skin tone! You know light skin isn’t ‘in’ anymore!


I have come to the realization that I am single because I just haven’t met the right person yet. I try to find physical flaws about my self and pin point that as the reason. When in all actuality, none of these things matter. I see my friends getting married and I ask myself ‘what’s wrong with me’? But I truly believe that it's simply due to the fact that I haven’t met my match yet. If my flaws were the reason why I am single, then no one would be married because we all are FLAWED.


We all have a potential mate out there. Even if you have a face that only a mother could love. I know I am not the only one who does this, but when you are out you may see a girl who looks busted, and I mean tore up from the floor up, and she has a man! So, then you ask yourself ‘How does she have a man and I don’t?’ It’s because there is someone out here for everyone. Pretty, not so pretty, tall, small, big, fat; there is someone out there for you. So this is why we shouldn’t beat ourselves up, obsessing about our blemishes. Because the right guy for you is going to love you and your blemishes.


What I am trying to belabor is, as single women, we should practice having confidence; remembering that confidence and arrogance are two different things. Know who you are, love who you are and accept who you are.


There are no rules to love. If someone wants you, they want you. You don’t have to do back flips, and you don’t have to study Steve Harvey’s book 'Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man'. You just have to be yourself (while working on being a better YOU each day). Not only that, but you must also know when a guy is just not that into you and learn how to let it go! (And sometimes, we learn the hard way.)


Then there is ‘the place to meet hot guys’ and I have been there. I have been to the happy hours, the clubs, the house parties, meet ups, volunteering, lunch dates... you name it. And I still haven’t met the right person. I do believe it’s important to put yourself out there but I also believe that it will come when you least expect it. Strategically placing yourself in certain environments may increase your chances of meeting someone but ultimately it will happen when it’s meant to happen. You can’t force it to happen. It may take a week, or it may take years, all you can do is wait. And while you’re waiting, I would recommend dating, but just don’t settle.


The older I get, this saying seems to become more and more apposite. ‘Men are like parking spots... All the good ones are taken’. It does seem like all the good ones are taken. And when I say good ones I am referring to the overall GOOD GUY, including looks, ambition, finances, and personality. You can be a great guy but if I am not attracted to you we can’t take anything to the next level. I don’t want to come off as being shallow. Trust, I have dated my share of unattractive guys. And if I am going through this dating process, I would prefer it to be with someone I enjoy looking at. And what I would consider attractive may not be what others consider attractive. At the end, it’s all about what you like as an individual.


And please, take heed to the advice given from your friends. I am sick and tired of my friends giving me dating advice telling me to go after what I want and approach the guy. NO! Why would I do something that is completely out of my character? If you are a girl that doesn’t mind approaching a guy, to each his own. I don’t mind giving a guy hints, or making the first move (i.e. starting a conversation) but I won’t pursue a guy. I would much rather date a guy who pursues me, that is what I like and that’s what I expect from a guy. To be the aggressor.


You can't take advice from all your friends. Do you have that friend who always tells you what she would do if she was in your situation, but she wouldn’t practice what she preached? ‘Girl…. If that was my man, I would have left him a long time ago!’ But she will be the same person who gets beat, cheated on and lied to, and won’t leave her own man… Yeah, don’t listen to girls like her.


Also, don’t let your friends make you feel bad for wanting to be in a relationship. It’s natural to want a companion. And to suppress your feelings isn’t going to necessarily change how you feel. However, I wouldn’t want it to consume you either. Life goes on, whether you have a man or not.


There are many other obstacles that come up when dating other than physical and personality, such as income, spiritual beliefs, distance, age. It’s just a matter of all the pieces fitting nicely in the puzzle. You can’t force it. I believe in letting love find you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Life Notes

Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature.
- Michael Faraday

The truth is that a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses – Luke 12:15. Life is more than clothing, eating, drinking and money. Wealth is not the greatest good. It is just a tool and as all tools it should be in our hands and not in our hearts. Wealth is not the greatest rest, it is not the greatest happiness. It is not the ultimate blessing or the unconditional sign that God is with us.
-Tenny Thomas


I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him.
 - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

People often say "You never know what you have until its gone". I believe a better statement is "You never know what you have been missing, until it arrives."

A man cant ride your back unless you bend it.

Good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

If you're going to be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.

I don't mind living in a man's world, as long as I can be a woman in it.

All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they aren't.

It's not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on.

Dogs never bite me. Just humans.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also the for the interest of others.
 (Philippians 2:3-4)

"Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today."
- Malcolm X

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
- Joseph Campbell

“The way to find out about happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what is called following your bliss.”
 - Joseph Campbell

“I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”
- Joseph Campbell

"While in a state of philosophic pessimism and general depression of spirits about my prospects, I went one evening into a dressing-room in the twilight to procure some article that was there; when suddenly there fell upon we without any warning, just as if it came out of the darkness, a horrible fear of my own existence. Simultaneously there arose in my mind the image of an epileptic patient whom I had seen in the asylum, a black-haired youth with greenish skin, entirely idiotic, who used to sit all day on one of the benches, or rather shelves against the wall, with his knees drawn up against his chin, and the coarse gray undershirt, which was his only garment, drawn over them inclosing his entire figure. He sat there like a sort of sculptured Egyptian cat or Peruvian mummy, moving nothing but his black eyes and looking absolutely non-human. This image and my fear entered into a species of combination with each other. That shape am I, I felt, potentially, nothing that I possess can defend me against that fate; if the hour for it should strike for me as it struck for him. There was such a horror of him that it was as if something hitherto solid within my breast gave way entirely and I became a mass of quivering fear. After this the universe was changed for me altogether. I awoke morning after morning with a horrible dread at the pit of my stomach, and with a sense of the insecurity of life that I never knew before, and that I have never felt since. It was like a revelation; and although the immediate feelings passed away, the experience has made me sympathetic with the morbid feelings of others ever since."
– William James

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Almighty Dollar




"Cash Rules Everything Around Me. C.R.E.A.M. Get the money. Dollar, dollar bills y'all." – Method Man


Money Over Everything.

Everyday I’m Hustling.

Steady Getting Paper.

 We praise you, Almighty Dollar. 


Sounds crazy, right? I’m praising money. In fact I worship it. No, I don’t light candles and sacrifice a lamb to the Almighty Dollar, but I pursue it. I need money. I want money. You see, we may not realize it but a majority of us have the propensity of making the Almighty Dollar our God. I didn’t realize how much I loved money until I started going to church and the issue of paying tithes came up. Initially, I felt as if paying tithes was just a part of the churches get rich scheme. Why on earth would God put in the bible to give 10%? How did they even come up with that percentage?


Well, to make a long story laconic, at one point I was paying my tithes and then I stopped. I was now able to take that 10% that would have went to the church and spend it on myself. I was so excited to be able to keep this money. But something funny happened. For some reason I never got a chance to see the extra 10% that I was now able to keep. It would just evaporate. I didn’t know where my money was going. I would get paid and a few days later I would be close to $0 in the bank account. 


And then I had an epiphany. No matter if you think paying tithes is just a bunch of BS someone made up or not… paying your tithes is a test of your faith. Who are you going to put your trust in? The dollar or God? It took a lot for me to get back on track but one of my New Year resolutions was to pay my tithes faithfully. I am not going to sit here and say now that I pay my tithes I have been blessed with more money. No, that hasn’t happened. But I can say that I am not struggling. I pay my tithes and I can still pay all my bills, go shopping, have a little fun and even put a few dollars away in savings. I’m not hurting. I learned a valuable lesson; walk by faith and not by sight. Even when your bank account says you can’t, God says you can. And if you trust in him, well, he is going to take care of everything else. It’s a test of your faith. And even if some greedy priest added the whole 10% tithe passage into the bible, I don’t think God is going to hold it against you, if you show him that you are trying to follow what is written in the bible. In fact, I think he will be impressed by your willingness to serve him. But you must believe that the bible is guileless, its the only ground you have to stand on as a Christian. 


And then I came across this verse in the bible: 'But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matthew 6:33) and I realized then, that so many of us have our priorities in the wrong order. In this verse, Jesus pretty much says that all you need to do is seek God, and he will give you everything else. So when I sign-on to Facebook and I read down my timeline, I realize that so many of us are chasing after the wrong things. I am sure you have seen it. The Facebook statuses that read ‘I’m chasing this paper’, ‘Money over everything’, and all that other noise. We can declare our love for money but when it comes to declaring our love for God we become reticent. What they really should be saying is ‘I’m chasing God’, ‘God over everything’, and all that praise. The bible says that you cannot severe two Gods: "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matthew 6:24) But we can’t see that. We are too blind in this land of the living dead. We want money because it provides a false guarantee of ease, treasures and power. We want the material things that ostentatiously declares superiority. The diamonds. The cars. The clothes. But the bible talks about that too. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21) 


And just to make things a little more clear, I want to reference a few definitions. One of Webster Dictionaries definitions of God is ‘a person or thing of supreme value’. Webster defines worship as ‘to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion’.


We say we believe in God but what we really believe in is the money. On this earth, wealth seems to be the answer for everything. But it’s all an illusion and its not perennial. You will never be satiated with riches alone. Money doesn’t buy you happiness. It can provide you with convenience and luxuries, but happiness comes from within. And as we see with so many celebrities, wealth is sometimes onerous, pulling them farther away from God.  I am not saying having money is a bad thing. But having a penchant for money will corrupt your heart. 


Monday, January 16, 2012

Education vs Money Part 1



Have you ever heard that black people are the biggest consumers? I find that hard to believe when blacks in the US only consume a very small fraction of the country’s wealth. Maybe a more suitable phrase would be ‘Black people don’t know how to save their money’ and/or ‘Black people like to appear as if they have money’. Do you think these statements are true? These statements couldn’t be true because it’s a generalization.Let’s think about the blacks that we know that have an obsession with ‘making money’. Besides their skin color what else does this group have in common? 
One thing they want more than money is the appearance of having money: The fake-it-until-you-make-it syndrome. For instance, jewelry; there were more diamonds at the NFL Draft than there were at the Royal Wedding. Compare the two, who is wealthy and who has the desire to appear wealthy? Kanye said it best ‘They made us hate ourselves and love their wealth’.

Education
Education is an underrated investment. Education is liberation. Education leads to power. When you are in a community that lacks in resources, the best thing you can do is educate yourself.
Knowledge is power; cliché as that may sound it is true. The more knowledgeable you are, the less you can be manipulated. If you receive $100,000 today from an insurance policy, what would you do with that money? Buy a car? Or put a down payment on a house? If you buy a car, do you expect your investment to depreciate or appreciate? The more you are educated, the more likely you are to make informed decisions. The more likely you are to acquire wealth. Everyone isn’t going to go to college. However, you do not have to have a college degree to be educated. You must have ambition, and a willingness to learn.
The poor communities do not value education, however, they value wealth. This is one of the greatest tragedies.  If you do not have education you can still acquire wealth (you probably won't sustain it), but your chances decrease significantly. Acquiring wealth is not the real issue. It’s the way one decides to acquire wealth and the mentality that money can satiate all of your needs. If you spend your entire life in the pursuit of money, you will miss out on life. You’re pursing money in belief that it will make you happy, so you will not allow yourself complete happiness until you have money, and the money you obtain will never be adequate. You have now fallen into a vicious cycle.
One thing you need to realize is that you are rich. You may not be the richest, but you are in fact rich. Look at the other countries in the world and see how they, impoverished, still maintain happiness. However, you, with food, shelter, clothing, are lacking? You need the latest phone, the biggest chain, the flyest car, but unknowingly, you are only investing in products that depreciate and can be easily taken. Once the new phone, car, or jewels come out, your former treasure has become obsolete. However, the ones providing these materials will continue to maintain their wealth.
We have to learn where the true treasure lies. It is not material, it is not flashy jewels, but it is our own understanding. Treasures can be stolen; however, they can never take your education away from you.