Outwitting The Devil….pt. 1

I didn’t seek therapy when I should have…

This was from advice that I can now assume was made based on fear. Now, when I find myself out of clarity, not able to focus; I reflect on my choices. This instantly plunges me into a depressive state. I used music in the past to help with my moods, but it hasn’t been enough to quiet my mind. This week has been a dragging for me and I find  myself not being able to focus a lot. I keep searching for enough to do to exhaust me, I keep busying myself with list on top of lists on top of lists.

Upon referral, I purchased and started reading ‘Outwitting The Devil’ by Napoleon Hill. The very first chapter made me want to burst into tears. ‘If you wish to be of enduring service, not only to those now living, but to posterity as well, you can do so if you will take the time to organize all of the causes of failure as well as all of the causes of success’. Further, as I quote, ‘My experience has taught me that a man is never quite so near success as when that which he calls ‘failure’ has overtaken him, for it is on occasions of this sort that he is forced to think….if he thinks accurately and with persistence, he discovers that so-called failure usually is nothing more than a signal to re-arm himself with a new plan or purpose.“

At my lowest, I learned to be extremely calculating and present. I most importantly learned how life can be at a minimum. What is important and what is definitely a luxury. At my lowest I saw myself as my own salve, needing to pull back the covers and emerge as a viable, productive member of society. There was a major failure under my belt, but with this came a start to completing my degree, re-employment at my favourite place in the world and a school opportunity for my son. While my grades suffer a bit due to working, I can’t afford to quit and not be able to pay my school fee or my son’s. Either way, at my lowest or at my biggest ‘failure’, I was forced out of my own way.

‘Men are forced to change their habits and to think their way out of difficulty.’…’I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.’….

Where are you going?

I recently met someone that dreams BIG. I mean really huge; but realistically. They also share openly. It is always your call whether you want to laugh or not, but they are not phased. I say this because people either fear or mock what they themselves can’t comprehend. Growing up I was taught the opposite. Don’t talk about what you want to do in life, move in silence. This hails from lack of trust in people around you but also centuries of a ‘crab in a barrel’ mentality. It is so interesting to see to someone be bare and to listen to how fluidly they express and share these HUGE things they would like to do.

I don’t know their background and I don’t ask if they were well off growing up. Grandiose wishes are usually left to the well endowed. I intentionally don’t pry because I find that people sometimes asks you questions to find the excuse that appeases their insecurities. Like ‘oh you grew up rich’ ‘oh you didn’t have a dad’ or my personal favourite ‘oh you wouldn’t understand my life’ and ‘I just have too many xyz’s right NOW’. So many excuses not even a plan to fail is designed; much less a thought to do something. To move and rise above the mundane. Every conversation about the future leaves me so full! Slightly amazed at how free this person’s thinking is and extremely motivated to do all I need to get mine.

In this present day we need dreamers and achievers around us. Its still odd getting so much done in this lifetime, but their willingness to move their feet, inspires me. The greatest part is that it’s all very doable. All touchable with a single application or step. None of it is outlandish and abstract or super unique. Just the raw, naked, openness of it all held me for awhile. How often is it that we meet people so pure, nothing can dampen their will to live and be great? I had a selfish moment and said I know you won’t be around for too long. They responded with a smile and asked why, wouldn’t I, maybe for a bit? I found myself needing that hit. Modesty at best, as there is so much in the world to gain. When someone drives you to do better, you do.

I looked within myself and wondered, do you even dream anymore?….

The Evolution of 30….. 

I no longer search my mind for a connection with people
I no I am enough and no longer fight to fit in
I no longer obsess over catching it all and missing out
I limit my access to those around me and limit my mind space
I have found out that people don’t change
They are as their environment created them and will always hold that dear
I no longer seek to show people their ways
Nor do I fight for change in characters or space
My ‘NOs’ are definitive and firm
They are unmoved and secure.
I don’t care to pacify or sympathize in a lot of cases that would usually break me down
I hold people to their words and listen way more now, than before.
When you show me your ways once, It is cemented
Injustice and the severity of evil in this world is the only thing that brings me to my knees
I no longer hide myself
This is me, phenomenally.
Your approach to me will be controlled
Your language and texture will be filtered
Your vibe will be categorized and your interactions quantified
And noted
I’ve been on the edge of darkness, right where the silver line fades
I also lived within myself in earnest quest
I learned from the simplest of minds on how to live
I lifted my soul from the depths of despair and breathed new breaths
My self-care includes my life. My head. My figure, my mind and my core.
I can’t see me how you see me. I see me for me.
I give me, wholeheartedly
Bigots will only see you when they are at a loss.
They also always return to their ways.
Live fervently against the grain.
Fight breathlessly for your own identity
Never erase yourself
Stand embolden in your roots
At the end of the day, I’ve learn that ‘regard’ is expensive
Respect is not earned, it’s bestowed as first impressions last forever
Fairness is a fragile concept
We have been conditioned and indoctrinated to be one eye’s view
We don’t know that we must break free and live responsibly
Using our gut as our guide, doing what’s right to quiet our minds
As a mom I’ve learned to see people, watch their ways and build a shield
Your children are not safe in this world and people usually show themselves
Believe them and teach the confidence and strength it takes to be honest
Cowards should have no place in your circle, for they will cause destruction
If you were brought up in strictness and control, you will believe your oppressors
You are made to believe you are a not enough and will take this in your spirit everyday
You are. See that. Own it.
This is 30 for me. You cannot make me be. I am me.
Transparently.
Finances, family, fun and fortresses all look different
Stand in your journey and paint your own mosaic
Everything comes with perspective, accept your fights.
We were made to believe in a one-track journey and beat ourselves up when we fall from the percentile
The truth is that there are as many ways of life as there are living beings in this world
Break out of the ‘always done this way’
Leap into the ‘my own way’
Learn the importance of a closed mouth smile and practice self-reflecting when you receive one
What you cannot change, own
What you can, do, for you.
Strength is underestimated
Support is free
Love should never hurt
Live. When you look back, those evocative moments should be first and plentiful
Face your darkness and rebuild aggressively.
You are the most salient everything.

Wakanda Forever….

‘You can attempt to imitate, but soul you cannot buy’-Amanda Seales

 

When I feel compelled to write these days, I try to have a pen and paper close by to catch my thoughts. As such, I brought some post-it notes and a pencil with me so that I would not forget a lot of things. My brother in Atlanta video called me as my hubby and I were in the theatre. He and his family were on their way to see Black Panther as well. At the end of the call, without saying a word, we all held up our fists-it was our ‘sign out’. I felt right in my spirit but a bit nervous that the naysayers would be right, that the film is over-hyped. What I know for sure follows….

Hard truth? This movie made me want to do my Googles about Africa. The real Africa. Every depiction was represented well. We genuinely do not know much about Africa or Africans. A group of boys in front of us died laughing every time they showed the Mursi/Chai/Tirma lip plate. African history is lost on the youth. I’m way behind too. This show was beautifully written and pretty! I said ‘You see that?’ way too many times!

My review might be lengthy, simply because of my colour and what representation means to me and what this film represented. First off, this movie represented every kind of black people there is out there. None of them are thrown away, even when they are on their face. We as a community stands UNIFIED. The Meek Mill/Drake beef is a great example, we joined in and laughed at the ‘Ls’ but we speak out and advocate for the ‘homie’ to be out of prison. We speak about unity the most, next to the LGBT community. In our hard times, we are very quick to congregate and know to lean on our brothers and sisters. This is hereditary, slaves were not allowed to congregate but it was in our nature to come together. Our strength, is in our numbers. I keep repeating this because the ‘colonizers’ are the minority in the world, yet new racial issues are given birth every day.  As for Black Panther, that is the central theme, unity.

Killmonger was not wrong and his life experience cannot be brushed off as it is real out there! It’s his approach is what was damming. This is common for a lot those we refer to online as ‘ hoteps’.  T’Challa was perfectly right, It isn’t in our nature to war, that is the conquerors way. M’baku holds his own and do not interfare but knows that there is strength when forces of good are joined to take down evil. W’Kabi is just a man that wants change, a weary man who made poor decisions. The symbolism of the constant meeting of tribes made me look at how much we fight against each other. Though we do not ravage nations and strip them of their culture, we also do not come together in this way anymore. Power, money, material things and ego boosting comes first. This country has to always have the best of the best. There is a them over there and we over here mentality. I wish I could see more unity for progressive movements and not just in times of misery. We will always have each others back, but do we also pull each other up with us? There was a lot of talk about ‘our way’ and this resonates within black families as our strong matriarchs teach us right from wrong. There are obvious lost causes as mentioned in the show but nothing instills fear to do right like most black mothers.  I dare not use ‘black sheep’ as ‘black’ has enough stigmas attached to it. However, the efficiency of Wakanda made me feel like we could do so much more as a people.

On the plus side, this might be the era for change. Why? We are being represented differently on the media. The same media that controls everything we feel, think, hear and presume about everything and everyone in the world. The same media that only accepted a certain standardized image for representing races. The Stepin Fetchits are a thing of the past, thanks to Black-ish for putting me on. The same media that reach the masses by sensationalizing the news and continue to throw statistics up that scare our mothers. The same media that for years would allow one race to play many, no matter how horrible the characters looked. The same media, that pushes unrealistic, unnatural social ideals and images. This which we ‘lose’ many of our people over. That one image was to represent us all and so that was our aim and we tried in many ways, neglecting our roots. This is why representation matters. The upcoming generation can turn on their TVs and go online and see people just like the ones their parents tell them they could be. Even if you are stubborn as an ox, our representation on the public sphere is changing. There now is someone you can connect to. As odd as it sounds, we are the only race that calls ourselves kings and queens. This movie comes out with the exact thing we imagine ourselves to be and we need our children to see it. We need our impressionable teens to see it. We need our elders to see it and know their message is not lost. As for those who won’t support because the profits line the pockets of those who call Barbados -Bar-BAH-Dos, give us some time. We do not own the means to produce on these scales. Black people however are getting their time to represent….

An extra special shout out to the black women in this film. All of them represented us well. They all spoke up and were respected for their brain work. I could easily say that’s so and so eh and that’s my cousin. I see so much of my friends and aunts, sis-in-laws and mothers in these characters. Nakia was subtle and efficient and Okoye was strong and loyal. Ramonda was doting and open. Shuri was passionate and unapologetic. They all knew their strength and the fact that you cannot accept the status quo. They worked along side their men without needing to stroke their egos or use seduction. As equals. Mind powered and forward thinking. Listened to and accepted. They challenged their men, and they fell, knowing their goal is the same. There wasn’t a doubt in trust because they loved their selves first. Black women continued to be the backbone of society, ‘keeping the tempo’….

Not all heroes wear capes… Black Panther notes….

As for my notes:

  1. ‘Keeping the truth about this power from the outside world’- T’Challa. Listen to me, this applies to all facets of life. Business, relationships, friendships, culture, academia, language, love. Unless you know for sure and accept people for who they are and be assertive, there will only be loss.
  2. Motherf&^@in Sterling K. Brown. I literally said YESS when I saw him on the screen. Every scene he was in I listened intently with my listening face (the ugly one lol). I did not want to miss a drop of this man acting skills. He was a great introduction to this film and I just feel like there are so many great things in store for this man.
  3. I thought I saw Michael Blackson as an extra, turns out it wasn’t him. No shade, just saying.
  4. There were so many keen ways that they addressed so many social issues. One of them was with the child soldiers reality of being forced to do wrongs. In this same scene was a reference to Boka Haram and the kidnapping of girls! In same scene, once released, they were told to take the boy with them as his acting against his will. There wasn’t one dispute, which speaks to how quickly black people will forgive.
  5. ‘Don’t freeze when you see her’-Okoye. He did freeze. We understood why. We’d freeze too.
  6. The first sight of Wakanda, my jaw dropped. This is possible and it was magnificent.
  7. In black history, description of artifacts, representation in museums, there are ‘white experts’ just like this woman. I don’t mean South Africans either, I mean those who leave their countries (follow me) and observe the way of life and culture of the people (follow me camera). They ‘collect’ artifacts and ‘donate’ them to museums (sound like a Columbus cycle, right?). Here’s the best part, these symbols are showcased as being from an ‘uncivilized’ world and ‘the white expert’ interpretation of what these artifacts mean is what is fed to us and our children on field trips. There are some Rockefeller ‘donations’ at The Met in New York right now. They are in the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas section. I did not read all of the description, but knowing a lot of black history, I didn’t need to.
  8. So many able bodied eye candy. The only word that came to mind was STRENGTH. So many strong, sexy backs (NOT JT style), literal back muscles. Hello black men!
  9. M’Baku. Winston Duke. Helllo!
  10. I YouTubed that Chest-boobie dance done during the challenges and did it until I summoned the Black Panther, who then asked me to chill. *shrug*
  11. ‘Prove yourself and fight like a man’. Ok, so we gotta scrap. That’s our way for reals.
  12. Array of women shown. One of them MUST look like you!
  13. An array of African people shown, history and culture galore. Plenty of potential Google searches so you can learn something.
  14. ‘You’re going to struggle, so you need to surround yourself with people you trust’-T’Chaka. Parenting 101. Seriously.
  15. ‘This ridiculous thing’-Okoye regarding her wig. To each their own and to each their own level of visible tracks. #thatisall
  16. You CAN sniff out Americans ANYWHERE. Zero chill.
  17. ‘Please don’t make me listen to your music’-Ross to Klaue. We’re with you Ross.…again Americans only eh. They’re all in the comments on Insta/Twitter dropping links to their Soundclouds. It’s maddening.
  18. Klaue repeatedly talked about the people of Wakanda being savages, not deserving of their blessings. This is a conditioning from forefathers and the exact reason for D.Trump to behave the way he does. Now, this generation has taken back this term and it’s currently used as slang. While I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, now it doesn’t just mean black people. It means a lot of things, followed by a ‘lol’.
  19. Nakia driving barefoot was so real! Tastefully done, so it wasn’t associated with the fact that we are always barefoot. More of a nod to Africans, islanders always running around barefoot because it’s just more comfortable. I’m sure people didn’t realise that she was in the streets this way as well. This speaks to the goal of the film, and the directing. This was done not to be a race baiter, just to be relatable!
  20. ‘The whole world watches’-Nakia to the Black Panther mid annihilation of Klaue. Bystander effect. Black Mirror-Black Museum (Hi Letitia/Shuri) & White Bear episode. The obsession with getting ‘that’ footage is blowing minds. The conscious acceptance of ourselves is based on what we post that gets the most likes. We continue to strive to top that fragmented self.
  21. ‘Diplomacy’-Ross to T’Challa. THIS is what politicians use to rob you and tell you your acting out is wrong. It isn’t, people just hate being challenged loudly so it draws attention.
  22. ‘While we chased the gold rush…The golden city was in Africa the whole time’-Klaue to Ross. Colonizers gotta ‘colonate’. There is no shame in the colonizers game. Stealing is their way of life, they taught other races that. They also taught other horrible skills and used religion as a mask as a way to ‘save’ you.
  23. ‘More of the same’-W’Kabi to T’Challa after expressing his disgust with him not capturing Klaue and bringing him to justice. Who really like their government? lmao. This again, is how politics is. There is also the flip side, that unplanned things happen that derail the best strategies. There will always be disappointment in leadership.
  24. ‘Don’t scare me like that colonizer’-Shuri to Ross. I CACKLED! Unapologetic and she knows HIS rank and her history.
  25. ‘Didn’t life start here on your continent, so isn’t all people your people?’-Can’t remember. People knows the truth about Africa. Africans just aren’t allowed to tell it. They’ve been ‘shushed’ for centuries and we’ve been conditioned to not listen to them.
  26. Visits to ancestral pain is needed for healing. We pour one for the dead homies and say things like ‘ they would be here right now’. We also say ‘if they were alive this could/would not be happening’. When they ‘dream us’ we feel so refreshed and calm. These visits takes us back for us to see whether we are lost or is honoring a legacy.
  27. ‘No tears for me?’ ‘Everybody dies, that is just life around here’-Killmonger to his dad (SKB). That is life for black Americans that have to watch police brutality videos so much, we can’t watch anymore. It is the life for those in clusters for low-income people. It is also presented in the media in areas occupied by a particular race. Gentrification is the foil on this issue.
  28. ‘The fear of our discovery stops us from doing what is right’-this is because we do not hold the power and we know it.
  29. ‘Destabilize foreign countries’- Colonization main outcome. Too many foreign investments, too little local attention.
  30. ‘First king to come here in centuries and you speak of US’-M’Baku-T’Challa- Because UNITY-THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.
  31. Okoye and W’Kabi. She could do better, her choice is not ideal but HE knows he will LOSE her because she knows her worth. He knew to not call her bluff. W’Kabi kneeling to Okoye shows that trust in relationships is so important. It all became a very confusing battle for him and he knew she was right and he surrendered. A lot times men will continue on their stubborn way before ever giving in to what a women says.
  32. Excellent black fathers. Yes, T’Chaka did desert his brother’s son, for the most part there were no typical stereotypes (thank goodness).
  33. ‘Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from ships. They knew death was better than bondage.’- Killmonger to T’Challa. Happy Black History Month!
  34. ‘ For the FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, WE WILL BE SHARING OUR KNOWLEDGE WITH THE WORLD’-T’Challa in his address. I would have added willingly somewhere there, but I’m petty.
  35. When M’Baku shut Ross down in his Kingdom a lot of people laughed. I shook my head. Caucasians are KNOWN to speak out of place. They are KNOWN for feeling like they need to speak all the time about everything. Those passive-aggressive statements that are coming from the bile in their gallbladder are their daggers. They do not know how to let people be. Get trapped with one in an elevator, you will lose your mind.
  36. I appreciate that the presence of Ross throughout the film was not overly abused. They did not portray him as needed for saving Wakanda or made him seem less of a person. He was in his own lane, we all have value.
  37. Refugees coming in with their troubles is a genuine concern. Sorry.
  38. Killmonger could have done great things as he knows the pain of the people.
  39. EVERYONE and their mother is talking about the role of Black Women in this film. Uhhmmm… they have ALWAYS been this powerful!! They’ve also always had your back and the ones to pick up the slack! They have always been out here working and instilling that discipline! If their roles impressed you, good! If it shocked you, sad.

Assimilation….

I love observing immigrants. It is my weird thing. I just love their take on culture shock and seeing how they cope. They move with such caution, light footed. Their choices are so tied to so many things. It is almost a burden. We are so lucky to be in a country were compassion is natural response. As much as coming to this country was scary and had difficult moments surrounding navigating the systems in place; I cannot say migrating has been something to regret. I blame that solely on how I assimilated. Also, the birth of a Canadian-born child. You see, if you moved here with children from another country, they will be subdued and burdened with things a child shouldn’t. When you have a child in the country you migrated to, they almost seem to cruise through life. We find ourselves shaking our head at the simplicity and ease of my son’s life. This caused me to compare the resolve within that never truly let’s us settle. This isn’t our home, but it is his. He will never have to learn to assimilate and will naturally thrive in certain situations. This will be worse, once he goes through the various systems that span his life cycle.  No internal battle to attach himself to Canadian ways or to hold on to his ‘first culture’. A lot of immigrants become so stuck in their ‘first culture’, they refuse to adapt to the ways of their new world. Irresponsibly imparting certain views in a tolerant environment. Carelessly handling themselves in a way that makes them think their ‘first culture’ is an excuse. Recklessly throwing away all the sacrifices and investments made to pave the way. I say all this to say, assimilation is so important.

A lot of people think to leave their home country for a better life, but never check the culture of where they’re going. What is common place in the corporate world? How loose or strict are certain industries (of interest)? Something as simple as understanding what a ‘scent free’ environment is, knowing a sharp fragrance is a part of being fully dressed. You will have to go back to school. Period. Even to do a ‘small’ course. Are you open to learning and formal education again? Are you ok with ‘play-based’ learning for your children? The concept of free public schools may be new and seem like a relief, but can you accept limited say in your child’s education? If religious, how would you navigate the LGBT curricula that is taught in public schools? How would you handle private school tuition, knowing as an immigrant you won’t necessarily get a high-paying job right away? It is imperative to consider residences and learn about surrounding communities. Child-rearing will fall heavily on parents and a daycare provider. Are you keen on the cost both financially and mentally to get an older relative to come and help instill your values and morals? Are you prepared to leave your children for hours with someone who looks nothing like you? Are you aware of the political practices where you’re going? Is there civil conflict, uprisings or mistreatment of those marginalized? What are their considerations around health and healthcare?  What do their people look like? No, really, intersectionality creates clusters of people and what they look like is very important. Where is your community located and what are their social stats? What about social programs and views on community support? Who gets respect? Will your qualifications mean anything? Can you promise yourself that you will seek to manage your mental health when faced with coercion from societal pressure? Are you racist and known to discriminate? There is also more interracial dating because the culture of those who grow up or is born here is wholly Canadian with references to their parents’ culture. They do not live by their parents’ culture with reference to Canadian mores, no matter how much parents speak their language, take their kids to visit ‘back home’ or inundate them with stories of past times. Can you accept interracial relationships? Can you child marry who they please? Are you a person that will experience a language barrier? This will affect how far you get ahead in the corporate world, so can you learn a new language at your age? Immigrant health is known to decline over the years, what is your coping plan? What will you do when you are homesick? Do you laugh a lot and often, or know how to at all? You will have so many moments when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I say all this to say, research and prepare yourself so that you can assimilate, as this is non-negotiable when it comes to survival.