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“Who should I listen to: me or them?”

family first

A lot of times, when we make decisions concerning our lives, we inform family members. But what happens when the very people paying for your education want you to pursue a career that they want you to pursue. How do you deal with this in life? Because we all have something that we want to pursue and then things others want us to do. Well, what choice do you make because we all want to please those around us. But we also want to be happy as well in life. So what to do, what to do.

cut loose

Easier said than done, but be prepared to cut loose. And when I say cut loose, I mean be prepared to have them not only be disappointed, but travel this road alone. Because if you are not what others might want then, you will ultimately not have their support either. And that is when we typically listen to those around us. We want to continue to eat off of them. Yet when you break free from others, you can make your own decisions. But still, we love the snacks, they taste too good. And breaking away from them means eating crumbs. No one wants to eat crumbs, we all want to eat well.

give them reasons to care

We want people to follow our vision, but the problem is that it’s your vision. And you can’t expect people, even loved ones to care about your vision. In reality, they will be the hardest critics of your passions. Because since they are family, they will assume they know you more than you. You will not be taken serious until you put your time and energy into your work. Just saying I want to do things is talk. Put yourself in harms way to succeed, and see what happens. When you fail and give in, that is when family tells you why you should have listened in the beginning. Proving them wrong is on you. Because until you succeed or at least show progress, they will never change their minds.

your vision is your vision

Like I said before, don’t expect your family to care about your vision when it’s yours. The images are thoughts swirling through your mind, not theirs. So you have to make things happen on your own so people can see where you’re coming from. But just saying I have dreams mean nothing. Have actual plans and goals, and consistency within them. You’ll be respected much more in the long haul.

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“Community involvement.”

Yesterday was day one of the celebration Kwanzaa. Day one focuses on Umoja, which is the community, familial, and ethnic unity. For those of you that don’t know what Kwanzaa is as a holiday, it was created back in the late 1960’s as a celebration to acknowledge those of African heritage. There are seven core principles, and yesterday was the day of that principle Umoja. And if you are African American, what does Umoja mean to you? I grew up in a predominantly African American family, but we celebrated Christmas my whole life. Now that I am an adult, I more and more lean toward the celebration of Kwanzaa. One of the reasons is because of the capitalist view of the holiday that is Christmas. But that is just a small aspect of the Christmas holiday. A second reason is that when you come from such a dismantled community, a holiday celebrating the uplifting of you becomes quite important.

And what I have noticed about the holiday is that it has grown year by year in popularity. More people are joining and leaving Christmas in greater numbers. Because of what it promotes, which brings me to day one. The community, family, and ethnic group’s togetherness. Nothing else in America is designed to uplift Black people. So with an introduction of Kwanzaa, it becomes very special. Bringing together friends and family, members of the community, working on a common core belief. And that belief is to take care of the people around you. Not just the ones who you share a kinship with, but the ones who live right next door. And with so much fragmentation, who could blame anyone for not wanting to take part in the festivities.

Day one is very important, if not the most important day because without that close bind between friends, family, and community, it becomes impossible to have the other six days that lead up to the last day. So I say Umoja, build relationships and get o know those around you. As well as strengthen the ties of kinship that already exist. (PERSONAL WEBSITE) (FAN PAGE)   

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“Sometimes they’re worse than enemies.”

We are connected by blood, grew up with each other, and as you age you may have to cut them off: family. I have not had to make this decision, but there are people who have had to do so. I was listening to the radio when I heard a hip hop artist talk about having to cut off his own brother for stealing money from him. His brother stole $300,000 and now that relationship has to be severed. Because it’s not really about the money as it is about the idea of him ripping off his own family. How do you steal from someone so close to you? But that is when you see people’s real motives, and how far they are willing to go when they want something. So what are other reasons that one must cut off family from their lives? Well, what about the entitlement aspect of being related to someone.

In family, you are supposed to pull your weight and aid those in need when they do from themselves. But what happens when the person has this give me because we’re blood mentality. You are not entitled to have just because you’re blood. You’re also not obligated to care for family like a child or children, especially if the person/s are able-bodied adults. My grandmother told me about life growing up in the state of Mississippi. She said that every family had a plot of land, no matter how big or small. And it was very important you tended to that land everyday. Because if you didn’t tend to your land everyday, then you and family didn’t eat when crop came through for everyone else. Hopefully, a neighbor and/or family nearby had some leftover crop, otherwise you were screwed. And it was that thought process which kept people together. Kept people strong as one. You had to get up when everyone else was getting up and sleep as well.

But today, there is this built in ideology that since we have the same blood flowing through our veins we are indebted to each other. And what’s crazy is that we are not part of the architectural design of each other. You have to not only be there in good, but in bad as well. You have to expect to give as well as asking for something. And as my mother raised my sisters and myself, “If you don’t call that person on a consistent basis, then don’t call them when you need something.” She was telling us that you are supposed to deal on the basis of sentiment, not cents. Call them to say hello, not just because you see some benefit in it for you. And once it becomes a relationship built on I need, and give me, then you have to disconnect. Because now, the person/people don’t respect you anymore. Because it’s easy to make a demand when you have not done anything to get what you are asking for form the person.

In the end, it’s all about respect and boundaries. They have to understand you have a life and they have a life. There is nothing wrong with under-girding those that are close to you. But once the relationship comes to the point of me, me, me, and you’re sacrificing your own piece of mind, then you have to disconnect. Because you never love anyone more than you love yourself. Even if the it comes at the cost of losing people. You only have one obligation to one person in this world, and that is you. Help those around you, but understand that help is purely voluntary and not owed. (PERSONAL WEBSITE) (FAN PAGE)   

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People on the Lawn Grass Running to the House during Daytime

“We may be connected by blood, but you don’t need to know everything.”

When it comes to family there is a question I must ask of all of you. And that question is, “Should you tell family everything about your life?” And my reply to that is absolutely not. We seem to think that it would be a good idea considering we are related. But at times, these are the main people you should keep at arms length regarding your personal life. You love them, and they love you, but especially when it comes to your personal life, be wary. Well well, how do you justify keeping family at arms length. It’s tough to look at life from this standpoint because you don’t want to alienate your kin. But there is still a human element to what we are as people that you must be careful with in regards to your own life.

For example, if you are in relationship, your entire family does not need to know every person you are talking to. I understand the safety aspect of dating when you want parents and maybe siblings to know who you’re dating. But it’s not always best to inform the entire family, especially if this is just casual dating. You don’t want to find yourself the topic of discussion because you told them all your business. Yes, they should have a little more decor, but you gave them the information to run away with. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll talk and speculate anyways, but when you tell people you gave them what they needed to talk. But you’re wondering why want people just respect your wishes and not talk. But like I said before, you gave them information and gossip is what people do family or not. But there are other reasons to keep family out of your business as well.

Another reason you shouldn’t tell family everything is because you want to have some sort of mysticism about yourself. I know me personally, I like to keep some form of anonymity, even if it’s something minor. That same type of guessing is not just in society, it’s good to have in family as well. When people know all there is to know about you, then there is nothing else interesting to find out. You always want people, even family, to wonder to some degree. The awe and wonder of who we are is what makes us interesting people. You should feed family little bits at a time about yourself. Otherwise, there is a bit of respect that is lost and you’ll find yourself defending your personal life when you shouldn’t have to do so. And you don’t want to find yourself on the defensive, especially with family.

So, in the end, you don’t want to be aggressive toward your loved ones, but depending on the circumstance, you may have to be. Your life is very important to you, and you should do as much as you can to protect it. I know it’s tough, especially in this environment in America where we are losing are ability to maintain privacy. But until we have lost all privacy, we should maintain that anonymity about ourselves. (PERSONAL WEBSITE) (FAN PAGE)   

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“The only time where last is first.”

Growing up, I was the youngest of three children. My two oldest are seven and three years older than myself. And there are benefits, as well as downsides to being the youngest kid in the family. And we all know the benefits of being the youngest. Punishments are doled out less to you than your older siblings, which means you get away with more. You might be the smartest sibling after the others that came before you also. The house is yours after everyone else leaves meaning you have more room to yourself. The bond between you and your parent/s are very strong because you are the last to leave the house. And spending is more geared toward you rather than your older siblings out of the house. But why is life like this for so many people?

Well, let’s take a look at the punishment aspect of growing up. My oldest sister for instance was punished a lot more than myself. Why, well, it is your job to set an example for the other siblings that are younger than you. Since there was no one younger than myself, I was not setting any example. So this way, I was more able to move about how I wanted with less restrictions. Even still today, my oldest sister is way more responsible than my other sister and myself. She babysat us when she was young, and even performed cooking and cleaning duties alongside my mother. But other aspects of being the youngest is the fact you get to learn so much because there are siblings older than yourself. Meaning, you get a chance to see all what they are learning and you can immerse yourself in what is to come for you.

Another aspect of being the baby of the family is to get a chance to spread your wings. You have a lot more leg room to move about the house when it’s just you. The living room is yours, kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, the everything is yours. That once small space seems so big now that you are the only one left in the house. And that small space brings me to another aspect of being the youngest. You develop a bond with the parent/s that is not quite like the older siblings. You are the last of the pack, and here is where the parent/s can spend really good quality time with the kid. And considering the older ones are living their own lives, you can have a lot to discuss with the parent/s.

And in the end, you have all these benefits of growing up the youngest. But with those benefits come the downside. That once vibrant house is very silent and no one is there to really converse with. You used to talk to each other, now it’s homework and television. For me, I was only about four years out the house right behind my second sibling. So for me it was not as bad, but imagine being in the house longer. Though even with any downside of being the youngest, I still wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love being the baby. (PERSONAL WEBSITE) (FAN PAGE)   

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Image result for no family

“We are not what we used to be.”

We can’t pick them, we can’t get rid of them; and that is our family. The problems we face in life are challenging enough, but what about trying to appease the people who are closest to you. How about trying to live your life while they stand on the sidelines and judge. Sad to say, but sometimes these are people who can become more of a burden on your life than complete strangers. But why, why are families so much more tougher than others in society? Why is that these are the main people who you should be able to depend on the most that are the ones you have to sometimes protect yourself from the most?

Well, for starters because people feel that since you and them carry the same bloodline that constitutes they have a say in your life. Yes we are connected biologically, but we mentally we are different people. Just because we are spawn from the same lineage does not mean you know everything there is to know about me. As a matter of fact one of the reasons why relationships last so long is not just because you admit when you’re wrong and love your significant other. It has a lot to do with the idea that when you two have problems in the household you don’t pick up that telephone to call your family. Because family members are going to give you advice based on their own personal situations not what is good for you in life.

Where does this entitlement that since we are related you’re owed to something come from? Because every family has that mind-frame, why? In my opinion, I think people have that mind-frame because the meaning of what family is, is a very ambiguous meaning. It all depends on the person who is interpreting what is family. To one person, family does whatever it takes to help each other, some believe tough love is the best method. I look at family as everyone pulls their weight. Meaning if I have milk, you have cereal, this person has bowls, and this person has utensils, then “WE” can eat breakfast. Family is not for a single person or few carrying the load of all. Because usually what happens is if that person is longer around, the family dynamics collapse.

See, in the end, your family are not something you choose, but it’s what you’re born into. But that doesn’t mean  just because we have the same bloodline we know everything about each other. In addition, you shouldn’t tell family everything as well. Some things are mean’t for them not to know and some things are mean’t for them to know. 

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“What is your style?”

Every parent, especially successful parents all have a style in which they raise their children. But no one has the best definition for how to parent their children. Some parents use the military style and others use a more lax form. From a household that comprises of a list of chores to a make your own decisions style. I myself was raised a little bit in the middle as it pertained to my mother’s style. She gave us strict rules to follow, yet also gave us freedom to make our own decisions as well. There were people who saw us as sheltered because they only saw the rules and others felt like we had so much freedom because of the openness of our household. But is there a right way to parent?

Some people feel that the lax way is giving your kid too much room. You let them make their own decisions and they’ll make the wrong decisions. This is why it’s your job to make the decisions for them. They don’t know what good decision making is, that’s your job. You point and their job is to go to wherever you point. When you say jump they shouldn’t say how high, they should already being in the process of jumping before the word jump leaves your mouth. These are the authoritarian parents who stand for no nonsense. They are the Tiger Moms who demand high academics and little to no fun activities. These parents feel that it builds a sense of responsibility and self control.

Now on the other hand, you have the parents who feel that a relax environment builds more character. They encourage creativity and self exploration. These parents want their children to grow up and choose to go on their own paths in life. A parent picking their children’s career, would be considered too invasive for these styles of parents. So testing the waters is more of their style. Let your kid make their own decisions and take the bumps and bruises early on in life. They will learn from these mistakes as well as you teaching them along the way.

Then, the third style of parents that are the middle people. And I think for the most part, a lot of parents are these types. They give their kids rules and also a life of their own. Give them a curfew, but also let them stay sometimes out late with friends. They let their children choose what’s for dinner as long as it is agreed upon with the rest of the family. These are the parents who give their child say on the college to attend, so long as it falls into the realm of the family’s finances. In the end, no one can define what good parenting is, but there are similar traits good parents have. We can tell a lot of times really bad parenting. But as long as there is a bond between the parent and child, it’s no one else’s business how you raise them.