You ever really wonders what happens after we die?
When we die the held belief is that the soul leaves the body and ascends to the heavens. As we reach the gates of heaven, we will be judged over the span of our lives. Judged on our good deeds as well as our bad. And hopefully we have more good things in life that God approves of than bad. We all dream of those gates opening, and walking right on through as we meet and greet those who died before us. We will see our friends and families who have waited our arrival. We will embrace and reminisce about the times we spent together. Only this time we are able to spend an eternity together. Imagine that, eternal life together and not a care nor worry. A place in which we all feast and not one person goes to sleep hungry. Enough water to quench the thirst of a multitude of people and in this kingdom everyone will have a mansion. Well all of these beliefs are what we come to know as religious and/or spiritual happenings. No matter what religion you belong to, they all have to some degree an ideology about what happens as we leave this world and pass on into another. But have you ever asked yourself, what if? What if there isn’t another place and this is it? What if the bible is merely a way to live your life here on earth? What if heaven is the here and now? How would this effect people on earth?
For the longest we as humans seek to understand the afterlife, but let’s say this is it. Let’s assume heaven is this inner peace one must have to live here. Well, that means whatever a human experiences here on earth is what their ultimate existence will be. Why is that so difficult for people to come to terms with in regards to death? Why can’t we accept this as it? Why must we feel special about ourselves? One of the reasons being that people treat each other with such disrespect, with such disdain. We live on earth day-to-day with so many struggles that make living on this planet difficult. Man has set up society by putting into place various forms of living such as democracies, caste systems, as well as other forms of governmental and social order of structuring society. This is very unfair, why should I have to be born into an unfair world? Why is life unfair?
Well, life is fair people aren’t. Life gives everyone water to drink and air to breathe. Humans have found a way to regulate the water and air we breathe which makes life unfair. There is enough water on earth for all of humanity, but we waste it, we regulate, we consume it at levels of more than we need. Reasons such as these aim to understand why people can’t believe that this is all we have in this world. Once a person feels this is it, there is a complete lack of motivation. Logically, it would make sense to not move anywhere in life if you know this is it. That’s why religion is important, religion tends to be viewed as the reason to do anything. If you are from poverty and there is no belief in an afterlife what is the real reason to do anything. The only individuals who will get upset are those that fall in the category of the haves; have nots aren’t interested in progressing. So even the most atheist of people realize the need for religion. Man is an archaic species who needs to look outside of ones’ self because we have not yet learned to depend on each other. The closer we come to each other, the less man feels we need religion because we feel we don’t need anything greater than what’s on earth.
Overall, in my opinion the belief in God will never go away. The more advanced we get the further we’re actually getting from each other. Technology has made us more distant than ever. No one makes eye contact with the other person, we all stare down at our phones. With such impersonal behavior, need for something outside of self is relevant more than ever. So either people will be closer to God, or weather away into nothingness. So now, until whenever, people will remain close to a higher power until they are proved wrong or something happens that changes their outlook.
$39 per hour is the amount! $39 per hour is the minimum one must make to live comfortably on average in New York City. That is the amount per hour when observing over all five boroughs. Now when breaking down each individual borough it could be an even higher wage, especially if you live in Manhattan. And finding an apartment can be the worst, with landlords refusing to lease space to an occupant who isn’t making at least 30 – 40 times the rent amount. That’s right 30 -40 times, some places are as high as 50-60. This sounds ridiculous considering the average rent in New York City is approximately $3,000. So, you mean that if my rent is $3,000 per month. I must make in the range of $90,000 to $180,000 to pay for a basic apartment. Now, to add insult to injury, this doesn’t include the utilities, transportation, food, personal items, and God forbid you have children. In some neighborhoods upwards of $1 million income is still considered middle class. Whose making an income which allows themselves the ability to afford such a high priced city? I remember when I first went out into the city looking for apartments. There was one landlord who told me I must make at least 40 times the rent amount each month. Really, 40 times, ok, I’m not staying in that place. So what did I do, with my $9 per hour job and assistance from back home; I decided to rent a sublet.
And for those of you who don’t know what a sublet is, move to this city. In your city, a sublet may sound crazy, but not in New York City, especially living in Manhattan. Uh huh, I placed the key into the door of my sublet, turned the knob and for $900 per month I got myself a nice 150 – 200 square foot apartment. (Loud coughing noises) Oooo, pardon me, but when I was informed of this amount, coming from the Midwest I thought the broker was out of her mind. I pay how much for this here? They just say it like that, and with a straight face. I thought to myself $9 per hour for about 25 hours on the job and I got $900 before taxes each month. Then I asked my neighbor, how much she was paying for her spot because I’d rather have that one. She agreed to swap because she needed the extra space, so I now pay $750 for 90 square feet.
How nice, and to think there are more expensive, less spacious apartments in New York. There’s no wonder why the homeless population has risen so high over the recent years. Wages are remaining at an equilibrium while real estate is increasing. The question I need to ask is, who in the hell is purchasing in this city? I mean supply and demand drives a marketplace. If the prices are rising, is that the sign of more buyers coming into the market, right? I know what it is, those damn foreigners; that’s who. When looking at a country like China for instance, they have a middle class population the size of our country’s population; maybe that’s whose moving into the city driving the prices up. And let’s not forget all those Europeans flocking to New York City. You’ll see them if you come to New York City; with their Canon cameras and long lenses. They call themselves admiring the architecture and basking in the culture, but I know what they’re really up to in this city; they’re scouting. They are gazing at all the opportunities this city has to offer before piling in and moving us all out.
Whatever the case may be, New York City is not only expensive, it’s too damn expensive. Hell, at this rate I may have to resort to taking on a side job as a phone sex operator or gigolo; I hear they make descent money. Some people would say not to complain; living in New York City is a privilege not a right. No one is making you live here, and they would be right. This land we call America is vast and wide. Hell, I could throw a dart and land on any place I’d like to live. But you know what, I don’t want to live just anywhere. I love the masses of people, the culture, the variety of ethnic cuisines and diverse groups of people. I love seeing the models dressed in all Black with their portfolios in hand, running to their next shoot. Or how about the bright lights that make up Times Square. Oh, and what about long walks through Central Park, lounging in Herald Square, and people watching in Union Square. When thinking of the positives that come with the city they outweigh the negatives. Well, as expensive as the city may be, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I miss my city back in the Midwest, but would still keep my part-time job here and crappy apartment, for millions of dollars and a mansion back home. Wait, wait, wait, let me correct myself.; but would still keep my employment position here and studio apartment, for a little more income and living space back home.
No one prepares you for the life you’re going to encounter once you are no longer in school. When I say school, I’m referring to your entire undergraduate career. As a child you’re taught that going off to college and getting your degree is a way toward a life of stability. But what you quickly learn is that major adjustments will take place as well as letdowns once school is over. Some obvious adjustments are not waking up when you want to and going to sleep whenever. I’m still thinking about undergraduate school where I would sleep until noon are go to bed at 2:00 a.m. Who cares, doesn’t really matter because what’s that saying again when you’re in college, “C’s get degrees.” Grades are another really important discussing point. Grades in school won’t matter once you leave college. No one cares that you spent the bulk of your collegiate career on the Dean’s List or toiled late nights in the library studying. I have never been on an interview where I was asked how many hours per night did I study. Not once did the employer ask for my GPA in school or if I even paid attention in class. The fact of the matter is that no one really cares because you’ll be lumped into one big working space with everyone else.
We all would like to believe that the late night party goers and the late night book worms differ in success after school. The reality is that most likely an A+ student will be working along side the same guy who was vomiting in the bushes on a Friday night. The loose girl who was known for hooking up with random athletes on campus will be the coworker of a female whose waiting until marriage to have sex. How come no one tells you this when you’re going off to college? How come no one explains to you how little your college education will be brought up in a casual conversation? Don’t get me wrong, if you went to one of America’s top tier schools: Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, etc., employers will be creaming in their pants. But the facts are that the greater percentage of students won’t get into these institutions. So what’s left out there for the rest of us that didn’t get into one of America’s top institutions?
Is this the real America? A nation where we are cultivating students and prepping only a chosen few to run things, while the rest just twiddle their fingers or slave for a living. Looing at the outside in, college is this place where you walk through the doors and receive this aw-inspiring knowledge that you can conquer the world. Only you’re taught how to shut-up and follow orders. So all that challenging the theories of your professor won’t work on a job. All the times you were asked to contribute your input is no longer needed after college. If you’re lucky you might be asked to sit in and listen to the more important people talk. These are some major letdowns when you think about all the high expectations in life. Not to say you shouldn’t have high expectations, but you’re about to embark on not only a journey, but a life game called, “Playing Ball.”
Playing ball is not something you can easily teach or be taught, it comes with life experience. Playing ball has never been one of my strong points in life. To me, something doesn’t make sense I tend to questions, which makes me a bad ball player. In this world a lot of times you have to play along to get along. For example, I had an employer ask me about a method on a job that I was “comfortable” using. It caught me off-guard because I wasn’t using a method of comfort yet one of the rules I’ve always used. After she walked away, I was so frustrated because she framed the question in a manner that would render a response she wanted. These are the types of mind games no one explains to you. So what do you do, just shut-up and play ball, they’re right and you’re wrong. If I admit I’m wrong I have a job, if not, out the door you go. But admitting incompetence means affecting your next job opportunities. So you have to admit enough to give the employer what they want, but not to the point of losing out on open doors later.
So as you can see all the principles you’re brought up with as a child go out the window when you step into society. No one gives a damn about your outlook on life. It’s all about going to work, do enough not to get fired, come home, eat, sleep, and do it all over again. Rest on Saturday, then prepare for Monday work week on Sunday, and that’s the life parents insist upon their kids following. Not this high hopes future of being a rock star, playing professional sports, receiving an Academy Award for a box office movie, being the next great best selling novelists, or running for president of the United States. The majority of day-to-day life involves 8 to 10 hours of shutting the hell up and do as you’re told + a lot phoniness + plenty of ass kissing – the sacrificing of happiness equaling out to what your parents wanted you to become. Well not me, I am following my dreams, no better yet my passion. I can, no I will be the next great Steven Tyler, Michael Jordan, Ernest Hemingway, Steven Spielberg, or Barack Obama. Just as soon as I quite my 8 to 10 and find myself a good 4 to 6.
Growing up in my mother’s house, my sisters and I were always encouraged to attain our education. So naturally, as with any child who grew up in an environment of stability, I chose to go along with the flow. What I didn’t understand is the realization of education in our society. After high school, I went off to undergraduate as both my sisters have gone before me. From the moment I walked onto campus, students were all being helped into their dorms by their families. I, on the other hand moved in alone. Not only that, but in an entirely different region of the country. As I navigated through the campus, making my way to my dorm, something made me feel out of place. Not understanding where this feeling came from, I ignored it and kept proceeding on.
In my first semester this feeling of being out of place returned and I made the decision to return home for college. Transferring back to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Spring of the year 2007, I decided to major in Business Management with more of a concentration in Marketing. Now why am I bringing my major into play? Because at the time of applying to college, I was researching where numerous articles and countless commentary focused on business degrees. Being influenced by these opinionated individuals who were well-respected academics, I decided business just made sense. The only problem, is that all throughout my undergraduate studies college just didn’t make sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love education, but it’s school I don’t understand.
There are so many expectations for students once they graduate college, yet no one is telling you about the grim reality of the job market once you are no longer a college student. After going through my undergraduate years, and preparing for my college graduation I sat in my dorm room with an acceptance letter from my future MBA program in New York City. Some may say, “Why go back to college after graduating from college?” Well, in the year 2008, the economy started to go into a downward spiral and a lot of students coming from college didn’t have a job. Even though I graduated three years later, the economy was still at a standstill. So, going back to college was the excuse I needed to prolong heading into the bleak job market.
Now, in the year 2015, I have graduated with my MBA and working two part-time jobs. It dawned on me about two years ago that the American education system as it pertains to college is one big game. You are expected to go to college, and get your degree; graduate and get a job. The only problem is that no one guarantees you a job, yet when that six month grace period ends, the government wants their money back. Why would they insist you go o college knowing jobs are few and far between? For me, I realized in graduate school that I could make my own luck. If you make your own luck, how come so many people don’t follow their dreams. Parents are part of the reason and fear of failure is another. We get this idea that only if I go to college I can get a high paying job and won’t have worries of paying bills. Only getting a high paying job is like applying to college all over again.
You need references, resumes, and cover letters; it’s just unfair. But the game is that going to college won’t warrant a successful life. The are statistics that show a correlation between college educated people non-college educated. The fact of the matter is, is that success is the combination of ideas you come to the table with, as well as your own consistent work. So understand next time people say if you don’t go to college, you won’t be successful. Remember that as long as you have the brains and drive, you can write your own ticket; meaning becoming your own employer.
When it comes to relationships, I have always heard from both men and women alike that her way is the right way. There has always been something about that statement which has puzzled me throughout my life. So I’ve even asked the question to various women, “Why is the woman’s way the right way?” I keep getting the same reply which is, “Our way is better.” Even men have told me it’s their way because that’s just how it is. So, I took the time out to try to understand the logic behind such statements. My reason for breaking down the logic is because women say in the same breathe how much of a challenge they need out of a man.
In trying to understand why women feel their way is better, let’s analyze a woman’s life. When a girl is in her infant stage in life through her early pre-teen years she clings close to her father. From the moment he embraces her, before she steps into general population, her feelings increases toward her caregiving father. We know this is due to the, “hormone of love” called, “Oxytocin. Now, somewhere within adolescent years, she begins to slowly stray from her father. This is due to a hormonal change, but it’s a good sign because it wouldn’t be a stable environment for a girl to grow an attraction to her father.
After leaving her parent’s house, she may be separated from her father in living quarters, but she still holds a place in her heart for him. This is important because it could be the determining factor in choosing a partner for a monogamous relationship. Now, this is where I begin to ask the question regarding a woman’s way. From the moment a relationship becomes serious enough where feelings are developed between both individuals, the her factor comes into play. The her factor which is, why must things go her way. I have come to a conclusion regarding why her way must be the way, all the while, needing her significant other to be a challenge.
In the prior paragraphs, I explained a relationship between daughter and father. Well, chances are she grew up in a house where the father was head of household, with a few jointly shared duties. Now if she grew up in a house watching her father with such authority, why must things going her way now? It’s because her father was so responsible that he was seen as the leader of the household. So now it makes sense to me; women want things to go their way because it speaks to the responsibility of men. This theory came to fruition when I heard so many women ask for challenges out of men they date. A challenge is an objection or a question of authority. Why question her authority when she’s right? This is because the woman’s why is really not the right way.
The real reason a woman’s way is the right way is because so many men do things so wrong it must be her way. Once he comes with a better way of operating that proves beneficial to the household, women are more apt to follow his lead. This is true, otherwise she wouldn’t want a challenge. There is no logic in saying challenge me, yet do things my way. She is telling you you’re doing things the wrong way by asking for a challenge. Women have so many indirect ways of communicating when allowing men to know we are being irresponsible. Should we listen or should women be more verbal? Being indirect hoping for direct reasonable responses can be viewed as confusing and a lack of communication. Remember, knowing woman is like both men and women standing on the same side of a house door. He wants to enter the house yet she is holding the key. Women want you to ask for the key, yet men want women to just hand over the key. Women’s way is figure me out in all my complexity, men’s way is finding the most simplistic measure for results.
My name is Faheem Jackson, and this is my first of many blog post. For today, I will be introducing myself to this community. For starters, I was born September 20, 1987 in Racine, Wisconsin. My earliest memories of life date back to the first grade at Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School. It was here I began to develop so much many skills I would go on to use years after leaving this school. One example of a learning experience came about through the form of reading and writing. The teachers at the time were very insistent on everyone passing the textbook around the class and reading various passages from the book. This made me feel quite uncomfortable at the time.
It wasn’t because I didn’t know how to read because I had a mother at home who played a significant role in my education. Reading in class was nerving because the idea of mispronouncing a word, or reading too slow was always terrifying. Just the thought of skipping sentences which caused me to lose my place in a textbook or verbal fopa sent me into sheer panic mode. What helped me lose this anxiety about reading was finding out how many other students felt the same way. The teacher would say, “Who would like to volunteer to read this passage?” Everyone turned to one another in fear of reading out loud. Then the teacher would say, “Don’t make me call on someone.” This statement really caused children to sink slowly into their seats.
When no one would reply, the teacher would look through the attendance book, “Ok, uh, Faheem, you read.” Right, she had to say my name, especially with my anxiety. What’s interesting is that my reading was not as bad as I thought it would be prior to reading. These type of experiences took place over various points of my life as time progress. Another instance in life where I felt just as uncomfortable was in middle school starting school in a new environment. Feeling out of place, worrying I wouldn’t fit into my new social stratus, my first day was spent sitting at a table watching people converse with each other. This feeling proved to be more negative thinking because middle school is still to date the best experience in my life. The same discomfort was present going to a different high school as well.
After graduating high school in June of the year 2006, I went off to college in Columbia, South Carolina where I attended Benedict College; a Historically Black College and University. Yet it only lasted a semester, making me realize I missed being home. So I transferred and started January of 2007 at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Once again, anxiety and discomfort set in because I was moving into an environment where all students had built relationships. So, I wasn’t able to matriculate properly into college until the Fall of 2007, my Sophomore year in college. Now looking over my life, anxiety, fear, discomfort, and nervousness has been my life.
In my senior of college I was placed in a room with a roommate that was heavily into film. His love and admiration for cinema sparked my interest as well. So I took it upon myself to start writing my first feature length screenplay entitled, “Wood Road Revenge,” which would later become, “Retribution,” my first screenplay. At first writing screenplays was for fun, but I later realized that my anxiety and fears can be transferred to the characters I create. When I left undergraduate school, I decided to go into graduate school instead of the job market. The screenwriting continued until I graduated with my MBA in the year 2014. So far I have written five feature length screenplays and working on two books (a novel and a book of short stories), as well as completing my first short film entitled, “First Day Fears.” And surprise surprise, the film is about a child going through experiencing her first day at a new school where the students have a different ethnic, economic, and cultural background than her own.
So as you can see, my life has been mainly a life of fears and anxiety, fears and depressing moments. Writing has given me the out I have been looking for; giving me the ability to transfer the negative feelings into something positive. I feel optimistic about the future, as I continue to write, wondering what life has in store for me each and every day I awake.