Relax You Were Never In Control

An ancient proverb. I heard it first from my fourth grade teacher, Sharon Hill. “Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” She pulled me aside after I’d gotten angry over something trivial. My guess, it had something to do with my nemesis at the time, Cosimo. An Italian boy who worked all my nerves daily. He’d do idiotic things, like waste a whole pen to mark up his forearms, pronouncing them chicken pox. Diverting the attention of the entire class with nonsense, making it apparent why he’d been left back twice. I absorbed her message, but didn’t apply it until I entered the school of hard knocks.

A perfectionist, who’d gladly bite off more than she can chew, to guarantee everything is done properly, that’s me. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. A control freak method that worked, until I stepped out of high schools structural realm. I was so type A, that minute things going wrong would send me into a fury.

From little stuff, like leaving my house an hour early to be fifteen minutes late, to a job, or class, that was only thirty minutes away, because shit happens between where you are and where you’re going. Even adding an additional thirty minutes to ensure timeliness, didn’t stop me from getting stuck on the L train, with the announcer broadcasting that the train was no longer heading into Manhattan. Let me get a cab. Except all 120 people, who were just in platform purgatory have the same idea (this was before Uber). To big things, like starting a business from scratch, using educational resources, researching every nook and cranny myself. I did such a good job I landed an investor and brokered a deal based on my business plan. Putting in more than my fair share of sweat equity didn’t deter me, eye on the prize. Everything was going well, until the investor went haywire. Last minute right before our launch, despite the extensive and elaborate contract he’d signed. Using the website we’d hired him to build as leverage, in an attempt to bully us into his vision. No way were two black girls, with a minimum of thirty years less life, going to tell him what to do. We had to start from scratch, weary of seeking outside help to speed us up. Plus the financial game is discriminatory, it is insanely difficult to get a loan as a black person. Double whammy we’re women.

Confirming what Sharon Hill taught me; that life is going to do what it wants, the only thing you can control is how you adapt to it. Anything can happen on this spinning rock, orbiting circles in infinity. Everything is probability, there are factors in your life that increase, or decrease the likelihood of what does and does not happen to you. Mere mortals, delirious in believing we have more power than we actually do in the cosmic universe. Yes we’ve ‘conquered’ nature, with our slabs of concrete and metal shapes. But nature can take us out in one breath, with some destructive force. As the Queen Of Dead-Ends, I’ve learned that faith is essential. Having so many horrible things happen that were beyond my control, taught me there’s a higher power you must yield to. It will force you in directions you didn’t know existed, it will do everything for your highest good. Sometimes your highest good is to reap what you sow, to teach you there are consequences, or rewards to your actions. To make you a better person. Keep the faith, with as many setbacks, I’ve experienced as many miracles. This virus is a lesson to humble yourself homo-sapiens. Surrender to the powers that be, for you are smaller than an ant in the bigger picture. Via: Arts Genetic

B-B-B-Boundaries

Standing in the middle of a desolate Parisienne street, so deep into the night it was morning, my friend and I converse with five strangers. We stand in a circle, waiting for our Uber after a night at Nouveau Casino. Singing, dancing, delighting in stories from whatever walks of life we’d derived from; an onlooker would assume we were long time companions. Everyone was so international, it looked like a United Colors Of Benetton ad. They wanted to exchange information to hang out at a later date. With great displeasure we informed them we’d be back in America by then. I thought about all the rejected invitations to homes in different countries, parties and events.

In America it’s very ‘no new friends’ ‘that’s my best friend, not yours.’ Tribal, valuing the length of the relationship over the quality. Whereas Europe’s like ‘hey cool vibe, let’s go on an adventure and see what happens.’ Europeans have this exquisite way of socializing as individuals, who want an experience with others. There isn’t this pressure of loyalties that rival gangs. So many times I’ve had to choose one friendship over another, due to some cataclysmic dispute. Despite my having no involvement, I was forced to pledge my allegiance to one side, or another.

This way of living resonates with me immensely. I wasn’t going to let my friends dictate my activities, I wasn’t going to snub someone over the ego battles of someone else, I didn’t have to explain my life choices, that I want to live out my dreams as an entrepreneur, not work to build someone else’s dream. It’s common in our culture to ignore all the red flags, just because we’ve known someone for 10 years. Before France I would place the groups happiness over my own. Finally I started setting boundaries, no it isn’t okay that you got drunk and tried to head butt me. Yes, I do want to hang out with Tamica. Drawing lines in the sand lost me a lot of ‘friends’, but if that’s the case, they were never my friends to begin with. Anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries, doesn’t respect you. Now I am an independent person, who has experiences with others without the unhealthy ‘ride or die’ duties attached.