You can control who you marry, the job you work, what you do until you die, and how your affairs are handled when you die.
You cannot control with whom you fall in love, your passion, what you naturally enjoy, when and how you will die.
Consequently, most of us, if we are honest, spend many days, months, years, and some sadly, a lifetime being unhappy. We have been provided — unbeknownst to many of us — with a script of how life should be and the decisions we should make; and when our heart or gut conflicts with the hard-wired script in our brains, we feel anxious, troubled, or sad. We have an inward battle, until most times, we choose to listen to our brains; and then praise our intellect, logic and maturity.
Maybe we are being logical: we are living the American Dream. We have shelter, food, a family, a car, a job. We, behind closed doors, belittle the cousin, the friend, the co-worker who didn’t follow the plan, who acted foolishly, who is still renting at 67, who never got married, who is still clubbing at 56, who is always broke, who always has a different date, and so on. We get a rush of self-satisfaction when we drive off in our new car, or get a promotion, or hit the button to put the garage door up, or have a conversation with one of your friends that indicates you’re more accomplished. You should be. You followed the script. You did what your teachers, parents, friends, articles told you to do. You did everything right.
But you feel wrong, if you are honest. You are miserable.
You spent your life listening to what everyone else told you to do. You filled your brain consciously and subconsciously (through media images) with what the ideal life looked like and you built your goals and dreams around those images. But, when creating your goals, dreams and eventual plans to achieve them — you left you out. Your voice was the least trusted, the least addressed when planning your life. So, while your brain tells you that you that have done things correctly, your heart and your gut are sick.
You may have achieved home ownership, while really yearning to explore the world. You may live in the ritziest, most enviable suburb, when you long for the bustle of the city or to hear the waves of the ocean. You married the perfect guy or girl, but you feel absolutely no connection. You have excelled at your job, but it bores you and you struggle to go every morning. You are a member of the most prestigious clubs and friendly with the most connected people; but, you don’t enjoy either. You play golf or tennis or scrapbook, but don’t feel joyful doing so.
You made all those decisions without considering you — who you are — uniquely. Every now and then, when you began to question yourself, you silenced your voice; the other voices screamed, “Are you crazy?” “I must be,” you think. “Who wouldn’t be happy with my life?”
But it’s not your life.
You are living a generic life that is as cookie-cutter as the home you live in. And that is not what was intended — not for any of us. If every snowflake that falls is unique; if there are –species of birds, –species of bugs, and — plant varieties; if each of us has a unique fingerprint, of course, we each were provided with different dreams, preferences and desires. We can’t all want an office job, a 401K, a house in the suburbs, marriage, a dog and 2 kids. Did our creator become lazy when it came to creating us?
Or are we the lazy ones, not willing to put in the work to discover what we really want? Are we the scared ones, who trust everyone’s voices but our own? Or we the arrogant ones, who think we know better than that voice — the one we’ve been ignoring – that is our own?
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more