I Don't Know WTF I'm Doing...

Entrepreneurial Truth -

Despite the smug look on my face and the relatively cool step-and-repeat in my background, I have no clue what I'm doing. Of course, this is in reference to my entrepreneurial journey. I have completed some very challenging works such as writing a book & ebook, aligning with a monumental cause (Silence the Shame), and a few other releases very soon to be announced...but even with all of those things on my list, I feel very incomplete. Here's what I know - leveling up is a process of consistent & diligent strides, it takes strategy, it takes networking, it takes endurance, and it takes personal/self-innovation. You have to become new to get new and, being fully transparent, this might be where I struggle the most.

A friend of mine was speaking to another friend and said, "You want to get more without becoming more." That line triggered a very direct emotion in me. It represented what I know myself to deal with all the time. I have the envisioning process down-pat but the evolutionary process is probably the hardest shit. I'm trying to find my way but it's like the old days of riding and getting lost then learning a route to where you were trying to go. 

People often congratulate you on things they see via social media promotions, but they don't quite realize there are so many uncertain moments that lead to those progressive ones. Better yet, that sometimes you're having to post highlight moments to remind yourself why you're doing it. I suffer from analysis paralysis - I over think things, I also can feel overwhelmed by the fact that I have multiple ideas that I want to work, or I can get caught in between the "working on a project" & "what the hell am should I be doing next" phase. There are days where I literally pray, "God, please show me the next move to make...please direct me to what I should be occupying my time with." Sometimes the answer is patience. Other times the answer comes in the form of a valuable connection.

All of this I know is a process and in my books, I fully encourage others through it, but I too feel the weight of needing sustainable tangibles. Maybe, in this moment I am creating this post to serve as a reminder for the future when all the work & confusion has manifested into a vision long desired. Nonetheless, there are times I feel a strong need to purge the truth of how I really feel.

I. DO. NOT. KNOW. WHAT. THE. FUCK. I. AM. DOING.

I'm just trying to make it work...

 

The Highlight Reel Is Not Real

With the new release of my book and some potentially progressive collaborations, I've been receiving an onslaught of congratulations and statements of reverence. So many people come to me saying how they wish they were in "my position", or one similar, I often get the "I want to be like you when I grow up" joke and a bunch of other seemingly supportive words that points to this idealistic perception of where people perceive I am in life. I often respond, "No one's highlight reel is real." I've been having this conversation so much that I felt it was necessary to write about it. 

First, social media is a curated collection of moments in people's life. In other words, you see what they allow you to see. They show what the few seconds of their days or months that make their life seem enticing. Do not get caught up in glimpses, we're all showing segments of our days which are seconds in a pool of hours. For some, those seconds might be the best time they have throughout that day. Speaking for myself specifically I don't ever show the times of doubt, anguish, frustration, laziness, distractions, stagnation, distance, numbness, confusion, self-inflicted chaos, stress, self-coping lust and countless other shortcomings that happen all within a day. It's very easy to look at the capture of accomplishment without any context and feel - "that person has it figured out." I'm here to tell you, that is not nearly the case.

This life thing is a process for us all and it didn't come with a blueprint on how to master it. There are countless people I speak to regularly that I feel are inspirations to the direction I'd like to go in life. Feelings of inadequacy are not reserved for the unaccomplished. I'll share this very honest moment with you -

Up until the LITERAL public release of my book, Fragmented Reality, I battled with a lack of confidence that this work was even worthy of releasing. I thought about all the ways it could and probably would fail. I felt like the work was done and maybe even old so releasing it would be a waste. I told myself, I live in a world that is reading less and less so I wouldn't probably be able to sell many copies. I just felt it wasn't worth the effort. 

When I finally released the project I posted how excited I was, and as true as that might have been a lot of that excitement was a mixture of nervousness and uncertainty. To everyone else, it was seen as a milestone. While that is true, it's a milestone to overcoming the struggles of whether or not something is possible. 

No one knows your process and how long it has taken you, nor how much it has taken from you. NO ONE. The only way a person has an inkling is if they are present and you allow them in. There are so many times when you can get lost going through your social media for hours looking over countless accounts and comparing their highlight reel to your reality and begin to feel "behind" in your process but remember you could be much further than what they are showing you of their own life. We are humans. That means we have an array of emotions and experiences, we are complex and evolving. Do not allow the temporary delay you from your long term. Use the social media highlight reels of others as inspiration to continue your own process. 

We live in an age where everyone is a brand and all their digital accounts are their marketing platforms, so think of it like this - I call it the "Selfie Reality" people often take countless selfies to give you one good picture. You don't get to see all the discarded pictures that lead to that heavily filtered "remastered" piece with all the likes. Such is life. Everyone is trying to make it ahead and for many, their marketing platform serves as a snapshot of what they intend their life to be. Be at ease we're all swimming upstream.

She Deserves More Than a Day: Mommy

From, Shank.

 

Sacrifice – n. • an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy

My mother sacrificed for me. My mother gave her body, her time, her mind, and sleepless nights. My mother sacrificed her life for me, her money, her dreams, and even her being. She decided to never be the same not mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. She let me live from in her, to with her, and I would never leave her dreams or prayers. I am the product of sacrifice.

Internally, the blood and skin that is "I" was built from the inside-out. Now, I thank my father for his identity, tone, talent, & delivery. His stamp and immeasurable contribution...but a mother's nourishing breast and distress are priceless. Her inability to separate from the moment conception infiltrates can never be replaced. I have searched every language, connotation, and denomination - and still, I cannot find the word to define the absolute Divinity of motherhood but God's design- so I say thank you. Thank you for your life and your time...

My mother sacrificed for me. She gave her literal blood, sweat, and tears...so these words can be written here, and over the years I pray from my mouth to center of God's heart, priority, and ears that I will be able to pay you back with love, financial freedom, and success that is limitless. To you God, I'll give it my best. May greatness be forever awake, and peace always at rest in our lives. My mother, I am the living and breathing example of your sacrifice.

Thank you Ma. 

 

 

Breaking News: New Work & New Ventures

Fragmented Reality:

After much work, stress, and readjustments I have officially released my first book.      Fragmented Reality has been a lifelong project. It's a compilation project that is a host of individual perspectives I have lived through to reach the age of 29. While most people would say this is a young age, my experiences have made this quite an adventure. My life has had a lot of mental anguish, lessons learned, and great stories and now I'm sharing this with the world. 

Click here → Fragmented Reality  ← to get your copy now. 

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This leads me into the next big news:

Silence the Shame:

I'm so excited to be teaming up with legendary Hip-Hop/Music executive Shanti Das for her new mental health initiative Silence the Shame. Shanti has over 20+ years in the music industry responsible for acts like Outkast, TLC, Toni Braxton, Erykah Badu, Goodie Mob, Usher and the list continues. She has worked as VP of Marketing & a Marketing Exec for labels like LaFace Records, Universal Urban, Sony, & Columbia and to be working with her on a life-altering project is a complete honor. 

 

Silence the Shame is an initiative centered around debunking the stigmas we hold against mental health. As an advocate and warrior in the battle of mental health Shanti has develop a podcast, panels/symposiums, and venturing into multiple other facets to combat the stereotypes. On Saturday - May 6th, 2017 Silence the Shame will be holding their first Community Mental Health Fair in Atlanta, GA. I will be selling copies of my book, Fragmented Reality at the event. Not to mention, I will be partnering with Shanti as an ongoing advocate and integral piece in working to beat the negative ideas about mental health and securing our mental wellbeing. If you are in Atlanta, please come out on Saturday to join us and support Silence the Shame as we take on the task of beating mental health.

For more information, check out my feature about the project on Blavity: LINK

How to Stay Sane Amid Trending Chaos

As of late, it seems we are being bombarded with tragic, controversial, & polarizing content that becomes a talking trend for weeks or at least until the next buzz hits the net. Much of this content has so many layers by the time we reach the base of it, we have over-consumed all of the sensational points and have no further interest in the facts, but there have to be lasting effects for this kind of constant behavior. We have become so desensitized and removed from humane engagement that we abruptly share videos, stories, and headlines without any consideration of their truth or impact.

We live in an era where watching black men, women, and children gunned down becomes a viral hit. Where psychopathic men use Facebook live to kill elderly individuals. Not to mention, we have a President who takes to social media and all other public platforms to boldly and falsely attack nations and distinguished figures creating a potential atmosphere for war and retaliation. None of this can be healthy for the progressive and positive psyche of our society. There are children being raised in a time where we value retweets more than sound and sane judgment of the context of the content. While one of the foundational purposes of the internet is to share moments, is it not necessary to discern the value of what we share?

It is realistic to believe that some individuals share the content for the sake of informing others, but undoubtedly there is a select group of people who share these clips for the sake of growing their own attention base. So now, how do we combat being overwhelmed with triggering images and material? Disengage.

For example, in the recent case of the Cleveland murderer who killed 78-year old Robert Godwin Sr. on Facebook live, the video has been shared countless times instead of just sharing the victim's image. You do not have to see the graphic details of a murder to feel the shock and compassion of tragic loss. Another example is the young teen who accidentally killed himself while playing with a gun, or the death of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and countless unfortunate others. We have to remember that these instances are not happening as a plot on your favorite scripted reality television show. This is real life and these circumstances have real effects. Consider if you were close to any of the circumstances would you want your memory reduced to a 30-second viral clip?

If we can acknowledge the influential power of advertising we must logically apply the same concept to viewing tragedy. Companies spend billions of dollars annually to grasp a moment of our attention with an expectation to drive sales, what becomes the mind of a person who ingests heinous material weekly without decompressing what they witnessed? It is more than ok to read the article without viewing the video. Investigate the headline and the sources before you spread the titling. Use the hide feature on platforms to weed out sensitive content. Do not be afraid to let your friends know that you have no interest in receiving that kind of material. Lastly, you are not obligated to be a part of every hot topic tragedy that the Internet trends. The need for mental stability far exceeds the need for social commentary.

Which Way to Progress?

There are moments where things feel stagnate and foggy. You find yourself feeling stuck and lost on the road to achievement, and this can lead to a spiral of doubt. It has the potential to derail your memory of previous accomplishments and has you questioning what, if any, progress you have made recently. You become overwhelmed trying to figure out what you can do next, what direction to go if you are doing it right, if it is all worth it. In this space, logic takes a backseat to emotion and next thing you know you have discredited all the hard work you have put in.

The truth is, for those who are actually putting in work, highs and lows are not reflections of lack progress — it is the opposite, it’s just a part of the process. This week, by Tuesday, I had been feeling very drained. I felt like I had not been as progressive as I would like to be. I had been feeling like the last few days were so challenging and I anticipated starting the next phase of my journey releasing some projects I had been working on. Instead, I was faced with a few setbacks and some readjustments. While, publicly, I’m an advocate for following (on social media) people and brands that excite and motivate you — I will admit that I had become displeased with myself comparing my progress to others. Although that phase was/is short lived for me I do experience it.

I felt myself beginning to come down on myself. I saw where I couldn’t bring myself to write, create, ideate, or even express how I was feeling. I just felt, blah. Humbly, I had a relatively good Q1. Within the first three months of the year I achieved nearly all my goals and exceeded some of my expectations, but while I was feeling detached none of that was at the front of my brain. I just couldn’t see past the fog. I felt like the last few days had been very slow and in that slow period, I felt unproductive. Then I received a message from one of my friends, reminding me to “keep doing”.

Sometimes the issue isn’t a lack of productivity, sometimes it’s an ego of needing to have a tangible achievement. We all want to feel accomplished. We all want to be able to point at something and say, “I did that.” We want proof our work is actually on the right path. That’s not only normal, it’s also a representation of goals achieved.

But, there are times where we become consumed with needing proof that we are actually fulfilling our task. Then what happens is that representation turns into validation. I have to be reminded that necessary validation can, at times, be a lack of faith. We have these serendipitous moments that are affirmations from God that we are on the right path, then with a minor change in atmosphere or temperature we through that out the window — seeking validation of rewarded achievement.

We have to be careful and learn how to discern when it’s about achieving our goal or wanting something to share on Instagram or Facebook. Trust me, I am fully aware of the joys of being able to share with your audience the progress you have made. It feels amazing to market work that you are genuinely proud of, but when there are down times and you have nothing to share find a way to stay aware of what you’re working toward.

That text conversation is just one screenshot of a few of honorable friends who keep me motivated and inspired. I immediately went over the progress I had recently made and started to write down what I needed to do next. Even though I had already written out my goals for Q2, I felt it necessary to rewrite them (pen & paper) to remind myself of where I am going.

 

Side bar: This could be the effects of Mercury being in retrograde…

 

Nonetheless, it is imperative that you find peace within times of slow and/or stillness. We live in such a fast-paced (mental) society…we rarely have time to just exist and reflect. We need to make sure we’re not looking for our lives to be as active as an infinite scroll timeline. There has to be a time for processing and reconstruction. I know this is true, but we all get sidetracked sometimes. These lessons are not mine to experience alone. They are meant to be shared as encouragement to others facing the same circumstances. Just know, it’s all temporary and keep in mind that every day is meant to be another step in your life journey toward your mission. Sometimes those steps are investments toward progress but look like you haven’t gone anywhere. Be assured, you’re still traveling.

 

I Was Raised to Disagree...

As I think back on my life there are some lessons from my childhood that stands out far more than others. One of those lessons for me was the ability to effectively disagree and formulate my own ideas. At an early age my parents would often ask me, “What do you think?” or “Free, what is your opinion about it?” Specifically, one time my mother told me — “You do not have to agree with everything I think or feel, it’s ok for you to have your own thoughts.” At the time I was no more than 7 years old.

I know part of you is wondering, what kind of radical parenting is this? Especially for a young Black boy who would later meet the societal adversities of being black and existing…but there was something quite revolutionary about what my parents did. 

When speaking to my peers and cultural-relatives most agreed that they were raised in a household where children didn’t get the opportunity to disagree or express their opinions that conflicted with their parental figures.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not have the freedom to openly disrespect, speak back, interrupt, or overstep my parents. In this package of “free thinking” was a necessary prerequisite class on etiquette and manners. I had to be respectful. There was a time and a place for me to voice my opinion. I also got into mischief & even got my share of NEEDED spankings — that now in retrospect to the crimes, was a light punishment.

Nonetheless, my household operated like a place where young humans lived and not a grounds for juvenile inmates. It wasn’t until my adult life where I began to appreciate the value of being able to fully access my own thoughts and draw my own conclusions. As the world has moved closer into divisiveness with polarized perspectives about every topic, you’re either for it or against EVERY person that is…you either agree or hate the entire sect of people who the topic favors…you either advocate or oppress…you either do or you don’t…and the proverbial dissension continues. What gets lost in all of this is that duality exist. Complexity is the very nature of life, culture, humanity, and existence. Simplicity in the midst of complexity is where we find our profound enlightenment. Yet, if we have to water down our varied perspectives into soundbites we’ll never grasp the context of our thoughts.

Now, for a second I might need to clarify, if you are in opposition to human rights sheer human rights — the life and wellness of innocent others, you are a shitty person. I won’t be a silent hypocrite and not admit that when I see people who speak up for everyone’s humanity & rights with the exception of black lives that their opinions & ideology gets discredited in my mind. In all fairness, that does not mean that I am beyond an intellectual debate with them. If anything, I might crave it for the sake of dismantling flawed perspectives or even to get a deeper analytical perspective of how their mind works. Confrontation has the potential to lead to understanding.

 

At this time in the shift of our collective narrative about “things that matter” it is imperative that we hold on to our own ability to discern, decipher, and disagree — amicably on our own terms. Without this very personal and intrinsic sense, you will get conflated in group-think. Right now, thinking independently from the masses is a revolutionary act…it always has been but in this climate all the more. I am watching how we often act as a society of bandwagon complainers weighing in on every parenthetical statement with the intent to gain retweets & exposure off of hot topics, but with very little intent on moving the conversation forward.

I think true intellect is a process of engagement, refinement/or not, and being able to entertain complexity or challenging ideology without having to take on the idea in which you’re engaging. It might be more advantageous for schools to start teaching children effective communication and conflict resolution rather than Shakespeare. I am so thankful that my family was built on a sense of loyalty to mental stimulation. Allowing us to vet our own ideas.

This process also encouraged creativity. It subliminally told us there didn’t have to be a limit on what we thought. We could respect the people we love while developing something that is beyond their own thought process. We could create our own world based on how we interpreted the one already provided for us. Everything about independently thinking gives us the chance to look at life and navigate it with clarity without pretense. The world does not have to be defined by the collective perspective and you do not have to stand in silence out of fear of disagreement.

 

Fundamentally, the greatest achievements have come by those who did not agree with the masses. Our greatest revolutionaries and free-thinkers from Garvey to X, Ali or Hampton were all cemented in history by their ability to disagree. The longer we allow others to create the limitations on our conversations and thought patterns we will always be subject to responding instead of setting the tone. Despite the level of resistance and controversy, we might meet from the cyber-police we are free to think and decide what we feel on our own. So to my parents, thank you, I appreciate your ability to hear me out and guide me without forcing me to suppress myself. I now know the value ofstanding on my own opinions while the world feels forced into a side. I know being a great person is not about acceptance, it’s about authenticity and loyalty to honesty & positivity.

 

My Attention Span F*cking Sucks…

When I think about how easy it is for me to get distracted, I get somewhat frustrated with myself but like a true self-analyst (just a fancy word for more time consumption) I had to think about surroundings and the state of the world I’m in. It’s no secret that with all of the social media, news, music, & content outlets there are a plethora of things to engage in so now the new groundbreaking path to productivity is not multitasking but honing & focus.

Despite my conspiracy theories, some very logical, about the purposeful growth of weapons of mass distraction I recognize that with any advancement people find a way to over indulge. Regardless, I find myself needing to do things immediately or I will surely forget. I have the, “What was I about to do-” syndrome kinda often. Yet I realize I’m not the only one.

It’s my theory that — as we have taken technology out of the lane of being a tool and moved it over into being a dependency we are losing our self-sufficiency. It’s kinda like, why think when you can google? Why talk when you can text? Why remember phone numbers when you have a phonebook? Why exchange names when you have social media handles? The whole thing is just different.

So now my attention span has taken a hit, and so I started to pay attention to the news and noticed how even they seem to jump around quickly. Everything seems to be moving quicker and with less time spent on development. We’re a fast mass production society. Sacrificing quality for quantity. Honestly, I don’t quite know the purpose of this post…but I felt like I needed to let this thought out. I’m sure there are quite a few people who feel the same way. I will say this, consistency is the key to the door of productivity.

In other words, even though our attention spans may need critical work the only true way to become more engaged is to practice paying attention. If we allow our attention span to dwindle we’ll sacrifice our awareness. To some degree, our attention span feels like a link between all our progress.

By the way, I took a break while writing this to make lunch lol. See what I mean, everything is all ass backwards. Blessings & Productivity to you.

Black People Are Going Crazy: Exploring The Black Male Psyche

As we turn on the tv, pick up newspapers, and watch the continuous unfolding of race relations in America, it seems to be a distinctive constant. Blacks are in a perpetual state of unrest when it comes to security in America. America has historically placed itself in direct opposition to the collective peace of Black Americans. Specifically focusing on the word collective. It is not enough, nor a fair representation, to view the few well off blacks as a direct result of the “changed times” in American history. So before we explore the state, and root, of mental distress in the black male psyche let’s keep a couple things in mind:

  1. Blacks, males specifically, face various forms of stress/trauma triggers
  2. The experience of blacks are not meant for debate, it’s meant for education.
  3. Trauma is real and has deep lasting effects.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder –

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. (Mayo Clinic)

According to the definition and studied cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the continuous reminders of trauma serve as triggers to fragile minds not giving them adequate conditions to develop a healing. As black men and women are forced to watch blacks gunned down by public servants, neighborhood watchmen, and terrorist with no justice served their perspective of life becomes less optimistic. Without giving a deep history lesson, we know that not too long ago it was the cultural norm to watch blacks lynched in public while being forced to look the other way.

In today’s time, we have various accounts of unarmed black individuals losing their life for trivial encounters that did not warrant the use of deadly force. Not to mention, the direct & personal ability of the majority of blacks to be able to recall their own unwarranted/highly intense run-ins with police officials that felt like the potential end of their world. Then to witness countless black deaths to no avail counts as trauma.

These experiences consciously & subconsciously tell blacks that there is no room for their safety, life, and justice in America. It puts them in a position of high alert. It numbs them to the death of those who look like them. It triggers anxiety, depression, anger, dissension, and confusion to name a few. It also serves as an advertisement of the role and value of black males in America. If we do not believe the constant circumstances of black men dying in public and broadcast nationally does not affect the brains/thought process of blacks — then we can’t believe the billion dollar advertising industry is effective either.

To see repetitive images of black males stretched out in the streets soaked in their own blood and not be affected is the equivalent of not knowing the McDonald’s jingle when the music starts. Not to mention, with all this reasonable anger that is being provoked and evoked out of the Black Community, there is a constant narrative on whether or not it is plausible enough to even consider changing the rules of engagement. Which further tells blacks your life, value, and rights are negotiable. This is not the only slight to the plight.

As black males find it in themselves to step and speak up about the trauma and inequities they face, a vast majority including media outlets do their best to dispel it and convince them it’s either in their head or their own faults. Victim blaming is the new politically correct. When we see countless experiences of white suspects being treated with alternative means of defusing the situation, it says you’re (blacks) below the standard of deserving this treatment.

Yet, all of these experiences somehow are not enough to prove to America that black lives are under a systemic attack from the judicial systems sentencing inequities to the police deadly force. How can the black experience in America find itself comfortable and progressive with these experiences lingering over their lives? If this tale was equally flipped to reflect the experiences of whites or homosexuals, would the value of life still be up for debate?

To My Fellow Black Male,

It is time you rearrange your thinking and desires for inclusiveness. It is time you find value in your distinction above all other contrived images of your presences in this society, and expand your views beyond the borders of America. I understand that watching black bodies constantly dropping around you tends to make you numb to your own mortality, but do your best to find more worth living for. At times it feels as if we’re all standing in a line waiting…either waiting for life to get better, or life to be over.

We have to take the power back into our hands. We have to shape our view of the world with tangible experiences. Travel is a must. Not from state to state but internationally. Go see the world, and take some time away from the traumatic American experience. We have been conditioned to see America as the place where all things wonderful exist, if you know that is not true for you go hunting to find where is. I am not telling you to pack your bags and move I understand it is much more complicated, for many than that. I am encouraging you to explore the world that was given to you by your mere divine right to existence. See what other cultures feel about life, and your value in it.

Read this amazing article by Kent Johnson, co-founder of Black & Abroad. Click here. The world is not America. There are so many places and experiences that are awaiting your presences. Go.

We have tried every form of negotiations, and to no avail. I understand, for us, living in America often feels like standing in quicksand. You are no longer obligated to making others comfortable with your blackness. You’re no longer obligated to speaking in a way that best serves the false sense of dignity America imposes on you. Your pain is valid, but it is also fuel to grow. It is fuel to organize. It is fuel to energize. You’re more than a hashtag, headline, and R.I.P. T-shirt. You’re more powerful than the system would like you to believe. The wellbeing and productivity of our future is directly in proportion to the status of our mental health. Protect your mind, and stay aware. From this moment forward, I forgive us for misunderstandings and things we did when we didn’t understand. I give you patience and love to forgive yourself. It’s ok to need help and even more ok to ask.

As the days continue, we will grow stronger and every attempt by this system to destroy us will fail and backfire on them. Soon, very soon, you will find the liberation and peace we and all those before us seeked. You are loved, you are valued, and you are worthy.

Kid Cudi: Rehab & Mental Sobriety #YouGoodMan

News recently broke that, rapper/actor, Kid Cudi will be checking himself into rehab for depression & suicidal thoughts. He released a personal message on his Facebook page where he went in depth discussing how long he has been battling depression, which spans back to his introduction into the public eye. Cudi has flown under the radar for a little while but has been popping in and out of the scene in different acting roles and musical releases. He is currently releasing music in the upcoming months, but Cudi candidly revealed his reclusiveness was due to his depressive experience:

“My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it. I can’t make new friends because of it. I don’t trust anyone because of it and I’m tired of being held back in my life. I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling. Why not me?”

After reading Kid Cudi’s open letter, I found it imperative to discuss the conflict between black male identity and psychological struggles. On a personal level, I have battled for many years with depression and balancing for as long as I can remember. Despite my outgoing demeanor, my vast experiences of friendship, deep faith, joyous times, creative expression, and any other counteraction to it depression has, and can, linger in the shadows. For black males like myself and Kid Cudi admittance of a struggle has a sense of “weakness” attached to it.

We have historically had our masculinity challenged, broken, and redefined. The hyper-masculinity projections on our culture have made innocent children turn to macho-boys in an effort to not seem under developed or lacking in strength. Not to mention, the constant state of visual & direct trauma from seeing people that look like them murdered and marginalized. We hold our heads up, assimilate, and do our best to not display the unattended turmoil within us.

For myself, and maybe many others, much of my stress and emotional yo-yoing comes from self-inflicted decisions and concerns. Although, it is human nature to consider one’s value and purpose in our world for many black men it is compounded with a need to define worthiness and often times prove that to those watching. We, as Cudi referenced, feel ashamed to discuss our lowness. Our battles come from various places and I cannot say where the root of Cudi’s struggles stem, but I can say I relate.

Kid Cudi’s public admittance has opened a door for other men, black particularly, to speak up about their challenges with mental stability under the hashtag #YouGoodMan. In the black community, it is taboo to seek help for emotional distress due to the idea that blacks are meant to be strong and faithful. Not acknowledging that strength is in numbers and faith is best rewarded when shared.

I recently wrote a piece entitled, “Black Men Are Going Crazy: Exploring the Psyche of Black Men” where I discussed the necessity for Black Males to know needing and seeking help is okay. In all fairness from a historical perspective, if any group of people needed space to heal the African American community would have priority on such a list. In my years of growth and battle, I have come to realize strength is found in the battle, not the victory. We do not know what anyone is silently facing, and our need for understanding and compassion is paramount.

On behalf of all those who can relate, I say to Kid Cudi there is no shame in bettering yourself. There is no judgment in healing, and there is no disregard in love. Your courage inspires more than you know, your transparency is healing, and your desire for wellness is humanity. I am willing to bet this decision by Kid Cudi will result in an overwhelming outpour of support. Deservingly so. We are not invincible humans, though we are close to it, we are mortal and our success and well-being are directly proportionate to the stability of our mind. I support Kid Cudi and look forward to the birth of inspiration and elevation he will receive from this journey to emotional sobriety.

God Does Answer: Prayer & Response

Tonight, like many nights/days before it, I sit and think about how blessed I am to see the manifestations of faith. Before I go into this topic I am aware that there are fundamental &!ideological differences on how people interpret what some of us call, God.

I know there are cynical views, unanswered questions, scientific enthusiasts, religious differences, & countless other dogmatic views on what God is. But for this conversation, I am referring to the immeasurable & inconceivable entity that responds and interacts with the open-minded faith driven individual in search of the inexplicable experiences, fruition, & existence of life.

For me, we can debate ideology & doctrine but the concept of there being a God is indisputable. Often times I find myself in a position where there are words & emotions within my heart that I am compelled to release but not exactly to someone specific but to some THING specific. It is my belief that because we on Earth, including the Earth itself, have life then the entire Universe must too be alive. Envision the universe as a mansion/compound and the Earth is just a room or guest house within it. Our existence then becomes completely parallel to all of the existence within the entire system of which we live. We don’t get caught feeling pompous about being the only life force, instead, we are a replica of an already alive network in which we inhabit. Many would argue, the universe is what others call God — in my belief, the universe is just a physical existence, much like us, of a much larger Creation that “felt” compelled to develop a work of mystery & art that can never be fully understood or contained.

Now enough of the disclaimers, to the message…

As I envision time to be a place where numbers don’t exist all we have is existence itself, I begin to feel the ability to tap into the ever molding source of this time-space. To me, God is the manager, not human figure but systemically, of this entire life thing — so much like when you are faced with an issue or have a great praise of a circumstance and you want to escalate to the highest level you seek the manager, this is how prayer & God works.

We have are no small creature subjected to the direction and disruption of people in higher positions than us. We ourselves are change agents. We are collectively and individually able to reach beyond the realistic, extremely temporary, realm of reality and begin to manifest a future much better than the present that we are currently experiencing. We are full of dreams and visions of a world made better. We are imparted with the gift of connectivity to the source. I’m a firm believer and experiencer of the results of prayer. Not only is the process cathartic but the results are miraculous.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were determined to see a positive and favorable result, then you found yourself rewarded with what you were seeking? This process is the call and response of prayer. The first half of the word question is quest and as we begin to humble our thoughts to surrender our preconceived notions of what is possible or definite we find that the world’s magic is much more vast than the human opinion. I speak to God in a very literal form, with the expectation of a response. I release my prayer and begin to look around as if I just got off the phone with someone who said, “I’m almost there.”

I look for the arrival of what I asked for. I ask specifically so when it arrives I don’t have to question who sent it. I anticipate that it will manifest from with affirmations of the thoughts I had about it. I am the vessel of effort but God is the author of response. Cause and effect is a universal law, but we do not know how every cause will effect us or how/what it will manifest. In a realm of infinite possibilities, even probabilities are up for debate until they reveal themselves. As a creative individual nothing excites me like seeing my dreams begin to leave my mind and arrive in reality. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing a prayer be answered.

Our dreams are just reality on standby waiting for your actions met with faith to manifest them. We can be rescued by our dreams. God is such a magnificent Source that the human mind can never begin to understand all the dots that are connected to make things happen. I believe sometimes the whole world has to be aligned for some of our visions to come to pass. Whether it’s getting yourself in front of the right person or getting your idea released at the perfect time. In order for those things to happen, that person had to wake up that day & make it through various possibilities just to arrive at you. This amazes me and gives my heart such gratitude.

Ultimately, the process of faith is one of much discovery and even growth. This post is not to tell you how to live or even what to think. The purpose is to assure you that there is a route to manifestation. There is an entity that favors the progress of your prosperity. There is an answer to your questions. There is a result to your request. There is a response to your prayer. I have found the quickest way to receive it is to undoubtedly believe it by anticipating the answer. LITERALLY, after you open your eyes and release — approach your next moments with anticipation of arrival. Wonder to yourself, “Ok God who/what form will this answer come in?” Search for the signs of affirmation they will be running your way. I am one of the most imperfect beings, but the quality of God is not dependent on our perfection — but instead it is based on our connection. Through this connection, we will find better sides of ourselves we had never met before. I encourage you all who read or see this, be open to knowing you are worthy of the fulfillment of life and in that package is a connection to the Host of Life itself. May your blessings arrive quicker than your doubt.

Free The Vision hosting the opening night of the Jermaine Clark Exhibit

Free The Vision hosting the opening night of the Jermaine Clark Exhibit