Consistency Breeds Perfection

One of my favorite YouTuber’s is Shannon Boodram, aka Shan BOODY.  Last month, she uploaded a video called, My Career is NOT a Fairytale. When I watched this video (I’ve watched it at least 100 times already) there was this one line that stuck out to me,

“Never stop kicking the ball,”

I’ve always been a kid with a dream; I wanted to be famous. It sounds silly but, I’ve always wanted to be a superstar, though I’m ironically the most introverted person ever. My two career choices in terms of fame? A Musician (preferably a songwriter who sang occasionally), or just someone who got so famous that I ended up on Oprah, Lol. I had people I wanted to meet, fans I knew I had to inspire, but I never let myself be special, because I slowly realized…

I’m not that special, if that makes sense.

Hear me out; most famous people have that special something, that certain spark. They’re either really beautiful, they have these standout personalities, this incredible talent, or they just know somebody who knows somebody.

I don’t have any of that.

I mean, I’m cute, but it’s not this bam, in your face type beauty. I’m soft spoken, I’m really quiet, extremely introverted, I live in Mobile, Alabama, my parents aren’t super famous or super rich and I have no connections to anyone famous.

Still, that dream to be famous just wouldn’t let me go; it won’t let me go.

Of course, I’ve tried to be more practical, but life, or God rather, just won’t let me do that. So, I keep pushing at wherever it is life is leading me. Have you ever been at that point in your life where you KNOW you have a purpose, but you’re unsure as to how in the hell you’re supposed to get there or even what the hell that exact purpose is?

Yeah, that’s so me.

I live in this place where I float between uncertainty, self-revelation, and achievement. Once I reach that point of achievement, I plateau, and then I spiral downward and I’m forced to start the cycle all over again.

Do you know how annoying that is, to have a dream and then get SO close and then…you’re forced to start over again? It’s like, playing a game of monopoly and you’re always getting the ‘go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars’ card.

EVERY.SINGLE.FUCKING.TIME.

When life keeps kicking you in the teeth, it changes you and you lose bits and pieces of yourself. I used to have such high hopes in life and now, I’m a little bit tainted; happy people do not make me happy, optimism makes me sick and I do NOT think the world is a bright and shiny place. Still, I keep going, and I can’t stop kicking that stupid metaphorical ball.

When I was 18, I was so sure that my purpose in life was to become a social worker; it made sense to me. I loved kids, I loved being able to help other people; I had a job working with kids; it just made sense. Now at 26, I have no clue what the hell I’m doing, which is scary because again, I’m 26 and I’ll be graduating college in a few weeks. All I know is that I’m passionate about helping people, I really love to write, and I have a weird obsession with politics, namely social issues. That’s all I know and I have NO idea what to do with that. I’ve had several opportunities to move away from home and start a career in New York or LA, and a few years ago, I would’ve jumped at the opportunity.

Now, though, I look at my hometown and see so many possibilities. So many of my friends have the same vision or something along the same lines as me, in terms of wanting to see the city and our community be better. Frustratingly, I see all of my friends getting out there and doing something while I’m…stuck in the same spot, still kicking this stupid metaphorical ball and not seeing any kind of movement. It’s not that I haven’t had opportunities to do things, and it’s not like I don’t know people in high places, but again, I live in this sphere where whenever I make a move, I always get knocked down and I’m forced to start over again.

I’ve come to the realization that I will always be kicking the ball.

I don’t know why nor do I understand it but, there’s just something inside of me that won’t let me quit. Sure, I say that I’m going to quit all of the time but, whenever I reach my lowest point, somehow I manage to get up, gather my bearings and I go back and I keep kicking that damn metaphorical ball. Sometimes, it moves, but it’s not very far and that, that is frustrating as hell.

Slowly, I’m realizing that I am only marginally in control of my destiny, and I must trust in the higher power (God) and his plan for me. I must admit that I have been an idiot lately and I’ve been standing still because I’ve been hoping that this time, the ball will keep rolling. However, standing still won’t help me, so I have to keep moving. I have to believe that no matter what happens, there’s a purpose in my life and I must keep going. So here I am, patiently waiting, hoping that God has something up his sleeve because I know that I have a purpose, I just don’t know exactly what it is.

Because everytime, every single goddamn time I feel like I’ve got it, I find things shifting into a broader sphere, and I’m not sure where to go or what to do.

Take, for instance, my desire to help people. I was once so sure that my purpose was to specifically help children. Now, though, I want to help people of color, I want to help women, I want to help the LGBT community, I want to help inner cities and be involved in education. I also still also want to write, but I don’t just want to write books, I want to blog and possibly create my own screenplays and maybe get involved with music.

Do you see how annoying this is?

I know that my purpose is to inspire people but each time I find this space where I feel like I fit, I lose it and I’m sent back to square one. I used to think that I had to accomplish these goals on based on a certain time scale, which freaked me out. However, now that I’m 26 and it still hasn’t happened, I’m coming to realize that my purpose will happen when it’s time. It’s sooo annoying but, I learn to trust in that, every day. It’s still frustrating as all get out that this dream, this passion that’s stirring inside of me still hasn’t come to fruition yet but, I KNOW it’s there and I know it’s going to happen.

Which brings me back to the video that I mentioned.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, or rather I’m still learning, is that nothing can get done if I just keep sitting still. I’m starting to learn that I may not change the world on a grand scale, but I know that I’m supposed to change it in some way.  Maybe I’m not a huge Tsunami, maybe I’m just a small wave with an occasional huge wave every now and then. Maybe I’m not even a wave at all; maybe I’m just part of the tide that rolls in and out. Maybe I’m not even a part of the ocean, maybe I’m a river or a stream or hell, maybe I’m even a damn puddle. The point of those analogies is that no matter how I do it, whether it be large scale or small scale, I know that there’s someone somewhere out there in the world who needs to hear my voice, who needs to see my talent.

It sucks but, I’ve just gotta keep at this shit until I figure it out…

I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day, Barack Obama didn’t become president over night, The Civil Rights Movement didn’t happen in one try and the underground railroad wasn’t smooth sailing.

Things will happen, exactly when they’re supposed to; I just have to be patient and keep kicking the stupid metaphorical ball.

Xx

 

Charity Begins at Home

Charity Begins at Home

I’ve always wanted to be that person who went out and changed the world, and I thought that in order to do that, I had to leave my city. I used to think being a big name meant that you had to come from an equally big place. For years I had my sights set on moving to New York, Atlanta, or California. Now though, I’m okay with remaining in my hometown; in fact, it’s pretty great. Mobile, Alabama is an…interesting place to live. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that there are many interesting gems about living in Mobile that I now appreciate.
Mobile is chalked full of history, really cool places to enjoy, great schools, and a lovely since of community and stability. Interesting fact: there are TONS of famous people from Mobile who have become famous; though most don’t really recognize their hometown. Just to name a few famous folks from Mobile: The guy who wrote Forest Gump, Laverne Cox, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Hank Aaron, Satchel Page, the wife of former Attorney General Eric Holder, the late wife of Gospel sensation Marvin Sapp, former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, just to name a few. Honestly, Mobile is the place you could either raise kids or retire to.
Sadly, I see so many young Mobilians talk trash about how bad it is to live here. Most relocate and never look back. I have to be honest and say that I too used to down talk my city, but then I went through a few things and had to return to the very city I wished so desperately to run away from. In fact, I’m still stuck here, though it’s not necessarily by choice. At this point in my life, I have zero problems living and remaining here. Why is the question that most people would ask; for me the answer is simple: because I see potential. Mobile is a thriving and growing city with a rich history…but it’s also problematic in its systemic racism and discrimination, as well as the deeply rooted covert prejudice and classism. These things can be changed, but it cannot change if everyone who wishes to see change happen, leaves.
I have had TONS of opportunities to leave and make a difference in the world, but recently I’ve come to the conclusion that there are MILLIONS of change seekers and innovators in New York, Atlanta, and California. But who’s fighting for change here in Mobile? How many young people know who sits on the city council? How many young people have who have knowledge of how our city works? How many young people are actively starting businesses, working alongside the Mayor’s office and with the state to see Mobile and Alabama in general be better?
From what I’ve seen, not many; instead we’d rather sit and complain about how bad of a place Mobile is or run away to some new city that’s already established and become just another a face in the crowd. I understand leaving Mobile because there are no jobs in your field; I understand leaving because you cannot afford the cost of living, or because the cost of living is too low. I get that, and I can respect it. In fact, I’ve considered leaving for some of those same exact reasons. However, I’ve learned that no matter where I go every city has these same problems. It’s not just Mobile, it’s because the economy right now is shitty, and we have a congress and now unfortunately a president who would rather people struggle to live on a minimum wage of $7.25 than to raise it to something more affordable.
If the Presidential Election has taught me anything, it’s that I cannot depend on the government to make this country a wonderful place to live; it’s up to me. If I want change, I have to be willing to advocate for it.
So I challenge my fellow young Mobilians to stop getting on Facebook and social media and whining about how much Mobile sucks. How about YOU try and work to make your city better.

Charity starts at home…ijs.

Be the change you wish to see in the world,
Xx

Can You Be A Christian and Struggle With Depression?

Odyssey Photo I haven’t posted much on my blog, because well, real life has gotten in the way. But this week, I need to vent out my pain. As a writer, I must first be truthful to myself. This week, I am in one of the lowest places in my life, and I don’t know what to do about it.

This week, depression and anxiety are really kicking my ass. This week I’m struggling with how to deal with these feelings from a Christian perspective.

What do you do when your faith has grown so small that you can’t see your way out of the situation you’re in? What do you do when you’re a Christian, but you struggle with depression and anxiety?

That’s where I am this week, this week, I am struggling, trying to find my way through this maze of emotions I deal with on an everyday basis. Depression and anxiety aren’t something that get talked about much at church. In fact, it’s almost taboo to address issues of mental health. We tend to put a scripture on it or we tell people to ‘bind it up in Jesus name’ and to, ‘speak to your situation’. But what happens when you do that, and you continue to do that but it doesn’t seem to get better? What do you do if you’re going to church and serving and praying and reading your bible daily, and paying your tithes but you’re still stuck in the same situation? Why do people tell  you to ‘keep praying’ or ‘just believe harder’?

If you’re like me and grew up in a Black Baptist Church, depression wasn’t a part of the weekly sermon. In fact, it wasn’t talked about much at all. If I can be even more honest, Black families don’t talk about mental health, period. You learn to suck it up and keep it moving. You don’t have time to cry if you’re Black, you don’t have time to lose your mind because there’s someone out there depending on you. Oh, and don’t be a young person and say ‘I’m struggling’; the first thing an older person will say to you is ‘what are you struggling with?’, ‘You don’t have kids, you don’t have any bills’. But yes older people, we struggle too, believe it or not, a struggle is not just associated with having kids and having to pay bills.

Sometimes I find myself asking, ‘Who can I talk to?’ sure people will say ‘you can talk to me’, But can I really? Can I really pour out what’s in my heart with no judgment, without you trying to heap your problems onto me? Can I come to you in confidence without fear of it getting out or without you wanting something in return? In most cases, the answer is no, especially if you’re that person that everyone looks to for advice. But you should be able to go to your pastor/priest, right? Nope, sometimes even they can’t help. Sometimes, it’s impossible to talk to your pastor because he or she is too busy or you’re constantly hit with ‘You just need to keep praying about it’ Even worse they’ll ask ‘are you paying your tithes?’ or something stupid like that. Because sure, not paying tithes is really the cause of my depression. *side eye*

What do you do when the people you look to for spiritual guidance are nowhere to be found?

Do you keep trying, do you keep praying? The Christian answer is yes because God will see you through it. But how are you supposed to keep going when the waves of depression and fear are like a raging storm, and no matter how much you call Jesus, you can’t seem to see your way out of it? In fact, is there something wrong with you if you’re a Christian and you have anxiety or deal with depression? Where does it come from? Surely as a Christian if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do, you have no reason to be sad, lonely, or depressed, right? I mean, you serve a great and mighty God who made the heaven and the earth, you wake up every morning with new grace and mercy, Jesus died on the cross for your sins so, why are you sad again? Shouldn’t you just be ‘happy with Jesus alone’? Sure, the idea of just needing Jesus and nothing and no one else is comforting, but real life doesn’t work like that.

You cannot get through life without having someone to lean on, someone to confide in. Unfortunately, in religious communities, you are forced to carry your pain in secret. You must put on your mask of happiness when you walk into the house of worship, and you leave just the same. Sure, healing and deliverance can take place in the church; I don’t deny that one bit. However, the church has become so commercial in its pick up lines for why you should join and the even bigger commercialism that’s being put on tithing and giving an offering. As much as I love Jesus, some days, I can see why people are atheists or agnostic. The concept of a God who judges you to eternal damnation if you don’t abide by a book of rules that are badly misinterpreted by human beings to fit their own personal agenda can be a bit disheartening.

Sometimes, when you’re in a low place, you just wanna stand in the middle of the room and scream out ‘can anybody see me?’ ‘Does anybody see that I’m hurting?’ Sometimes, you just want to see if people really care as much as they say they do.

Depression and Anxiety are like rain clouds; it doesn’t come every day, but you know that rain is always somewhere around the corner. Sometimes, the rain can be a drizzle and then it’s back to sunshiny skies. Other days, the clouds loom for a while, taking away the sunshine and then things are back to normal. The worst days are the days where the rain comes and it brings with it darkness and thunder and lightning and floods.

The days where the rain can’t seem to end and you’re stuck with this stifling feelins are the worst. However, while you may feel like you’re going to be in your storm forever, the rain eventually ceases; the clouds go away. The sun comes back out to shine again and sometimes it will stay for a while. You cherish those days of sunshine and cloudless skies, but you also learn to be more prepared for the rain. But sometimes, though, the rain can hit you unexpectedly, and you’re stuck in the middle of a torrential downpour with no rain gear.

That’s how depression and anxiety work, it’s a constant process of ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys. This week is my week of low, right now, looking at things in the natural sense, I want to give up and quit. Sure, in the back of my mind I know that things are gonna work out because they always do. However, right now, in this moment, I don’t see it. Sure my parents have been a wonderful support system, pushing me, encouraging me to keep fighting and I will, but it’s just hard today.

The irony in this situation is that despite all of the bullshit I’m facing, I have hope. Isn’t that funny? On most days, I dare not hope or dream for better, because I’ve grown so used to life kicking me in the teeth, but yet I still hope. I often times call myself faithless or seriously lacking in faith, but just sitting here writing this blog I’ve learned, maybe my faith isn’t as small as I think it is…