Lesson No. 1: Life owes you nothing but in fact you owe yourself everything. You may think you’re in control until you abruptly realize that you never were. When that happens, don’t run from the pain. Absorb it — but not for too long. The secret to recovery is admitting your vulnerability while at the same time rising to the occasion. This process is a battlefield and because we all die in the end — we have no choice but to live for it.
Lesson No. 2: Social media is not only a necessary evil, but it is actually more dangerous than drugs and alcohol. It consumes every ounce of our being and forces us to become the very worst version of ourselves. Friendships are diverted to status updates and comment regulation, online journalism no longer holds any ounce of prestige. No matter how talented a writer you are — if you’re not wiling to tackle Kylie Jenner’s new lipstick line with the same passion you as you would the plight of young Nigerian schoolgirls at the hands of Boko Harm — you’re basically screwed.
But there is hope. The key to survival is not being a pathetic sell out. Never give in to the trappings of traffic numbers, the lure of accumulating an astounding legion of followers or the deceitful veil behind the “like” button. It’s all a farce.
None of those people give a shit about you. And those “friends” of yours are not really anything close to that definition. We are living in a time when people say what they don’t mean and don’t mean whatever comes out of their mouths. Don’t be gobbled up by the social media monster machine. Save yourself — and do it quickly.
Lesson No. 3: Racism will never be an outdated institution because most white people can’t stand black people. This is a hard pill to swallow but it’s the honest to God truth. Fighting racism is a losing battle. If a 12-year-old black boy, playing at a local park, can be shot in the stomach by a law enforcement officer, and left to bleed to death — then I think we can pretty much own the fact that we have absolutely passed the point of no return. It’s commendable that we have a slew of young black leaders who have garnered fame and recognition for trying their best to propel the cause but ultimately all that will come of that will be their own personal triumph resulting from their privileged existence.
Racism will never go away because it is understood that if a young black child is murdered in cold blood, he will be found guilty while his killer walks free. White people are essentially detached when it comes to comprehending the subject of race. It’s beyond their mental capacity. It’s not really clear when justice for Black America will finally arrive. It’s definitely not happening anytime soon and it most likely will not be here on earth.
So, in the meantime — there has to be a commitment to our race that surpasses anything ever done before. Forget white people. Let’s build from within and be a force of nature so strong — that we can override the continuous bullshit. It’s time to build our own army. Are you ready? I know I am.
Lesson No. 4: Doing some form of exercise is not just mandatory; it’s a lifesaver. I found that out the hard way after months of inactivity due to relocation. I went four months without working out and my body and mind literally became a mass of pulp. I couldn’t function or even concentrate on the basics of things. I became somewhat depressed and dislocated from my center. When I was working out consistently, back when I had a stable job and steady income — I took it all for granted. I did it because I wanted to and it was readily accessible.
Now, that I have reclaimed my regimen, I’m beyond grateful. Exercising opens up the pores of your mind and gives your body permission to loosen up in ways that will be rewarding in your later years. If you’re not already doing some form of exercise — you need to rethink that decision. It’s worth the time, energy and investment.
Lesson No. 5: Being a black woman is a lot harder than anybody who isn’t that can imagine. We are the casual castaways, which is mind-boggling because we are really the ones that should be held at high-esteem. We have virtually everything it takes to be worshipped, adored and envied but due to circumstances beyond our control, black women have been tasked with spending every waking hour of every day justifying the facets that encompass what makes us so divinely unique.
Our white counterparts can revel in their disposition without judgment or ridicule and when they feel a little adventurous — they can borrow from us and be heralded for their efforts while we observe with annoyance and disbelief. Men have no idea what to do with us. Black men use us and then discard with measured randomness. Men of other races treat us like an event that may or may not have an end date.
The status of black women in general is a messy affair but I am so proud and grateful to be one. I can’t imagine being anything else. I love my skin, eyes, body mass and tone and even though I grayed early — I still retained my thick, wild and acrobatic tresses. But more than anything I love being a part of a collective that possesses a level of strength, endurance and fortitude that is unmatchable.
And yes. If given another opportunity. I would do it again.
Lesson No. 6: Perfection is a myth so if you’re in pursuit — hang it up now. Yeah, there is no such thing as being completely devoid of physical or mental flaws. Don’t let Reality TV fool you and don’t get blown away by Caitlyn Jenner’s otherworldly makeover.
No mater how much money you spend or how much cocaine you snort — when the dust clears, you will ultimately be faced with the person staring back at you in the mirror. And whether or not she is donning enhanced butt cheeks, fake eyelashes or holding the phone to make an appointment for an emergency abortion — she is you. And she needs you to accept her for the person she is regardless of the burden that comes with that resignation.
Nobody is perfect. We will eventually relinquish our youth and make way for the absurdity of aging and trust me when I say that unless you’ve mastered the fundamentals — you’re in for an acidic experience.
If you’re young — indulge in forming your mind and temperament and spend less time on Instagram. If you’re old enough to know better — act like it.
Based on the current climate — we are in desperate need of more adult minds — if you fall into that category do everything you can to be viral. More people need to be infected.
Lesson No. 7: It is intolerable to be bitter about the things you can’t change or the things you can change but won’t. Take it all in stride and focus on what you have the power to alter. Mind over matter is not a myth. It’s a legit lifestyle that requires tendencies that you’re capable of — so don’t relent. Keep it moving. You have so many places to go.
2015 will soon be gone. I could die tomorrow and not see 2016. If that happens, I’m glad I lived long enough to map out the lessons I’ve learned, If I do make it to 2016 — then by God, that means I have the chance to implement what I’ve learned.
Being able to be your best self while also recognizing that you will never be the best is the biggest lesson of all.
I think I’m on to something…