When I’m not drowning in a bottle of Arbor Mist or gorging on packets and packets of edible gummies, you can find me at the local public school where I mold the young minds of America. As with most American schools, my building is populated with many, many women so there are a lot of “I like your skirts” and “What lovely earrings” and my personal favorite: “Oo girl, them shoes!” I am a big fan of giving compliments because with every one a small positive vibration is sent to the receiver of the compliment and positive vibes are always the wave.
The issue with compliments isn’t in the giving, but the receiving.
Give a man a compliment and usually he’ll hit you with a smile and a simple thank you but with women it’s different. When it comes to compliments the majority of women I’ve encountered (myself included) have a hard time just…saying thank you. The two most common responses I’ve gotten have been what I call the throw back or the throw away.
Throwing It Back
“Wow Shannon! I love your dress!”
“Thanks Linda……I….that’s a really nice purse you’re carrying.”
Can I just say I hate the throw back? I despise it!
Throwing back compliments is when someone gives you the compliment and you feel the need to return the favor by complimenting them back. STOP DOING THAT! Whether it’s meant to or not, it comes off as insincere and in many cases offensive. I remember one time I was sick as shit and this Black chocolate lady goddess comes by and I’m like, “you’re so beautiful!” and she looks at me: crustables in my eyes, nose coated in snot, dress made linty by my grocery store brand tissues and she says: “I like your shoes.” This poor woman had to really search for a compliment and my dingy old flats wasn’t it. If this was an isolated incident that’d be one thing but fifty percent of the time, compliments are always thrown back! It’s as if we feel guilty for just receiving a compliment and as if simply saying “thank you” would make us seem arrogant or narcissistic. So we search for something –anything –to compliment the other person on just so we can relieve ourselves of that “weird” feeling compliments bring, not even realizing that “weird” feeling is something positive. A sprinkle of love if you will.
Throwing it Away
“Ooo, girl! Your earrings are killin it!”
“Haha, they’re really old.”
I used to be a victim of the throw away: taking something positive and twisting it to shit on myself. I didn’t even realize I was shitting on myself: I just didn’t think I deserved the compliment. “Nice nails!” “Yeah, but I need a refill.” “Great speech!” “I should’ve practiced more.” People were seeing something that I was unable to see because I was focusing on the negative and unwilling to hear the positive.
Like I said: compliments come with positive vibrations and when you respond with something negative you’re robbing yourself the chance at some really good vibes.
Compliments can feel awkward especially when you don’t think you’re looking nice or that you did a great job on a project but life is about perception and sometimes the person with the worst perception is YOU.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Just Saying: Thank You
That’s it: just thank you.
“Susan what a wonderful hair cut!”
“Thank you Linda!”
“Caroline girl! Your presentation was DOPE!”
That’s all. You deserve the compliment: don’t throw it back because you feel guilty and don’t throw it away because you don’t think you deserve it.
Take that small moment and just add it to your love bank or whatever.
How do you receive compliments? Drop a comment in the space below!
So it’s motherfucking Spring bitches and as I do every Spring, I celebrated the occasion by pulling a Hotline Bling: wearing less and going out more.
One of these outings included a brunch with some friends over the weekend. While I was sipping on my Shirley Temple, one of my girlfriends told me how her boyfriend decided that he wanted to limit the amount of time they spent together. Of course, we all had the same reaction: dump him, leave him, kick his A-S-S to the C-U-R-B! (I don’t know why I’m acting like my friends are sassy Black women from the ’80s but I’m feeling that vibe right now). Anyway, as we attempted to yelled some sense into my friend, she simply shrank into herself and firmly whispered: “you don’t know what he’s been through.”
It was then that my heart sank. Because I understood what she was going through.
Back When I Watered His Garden
For about three years I was attached to a man who had been through hell and back. His mother died at a young age, his father wasn’t in his life, and he was in and out of jail. This man was the living definition of “a hard ass life.” This hard ass life made him almost emotionally impenetrable. But for some reason, I was able to see past his tough exterior and to his deep core. I saw through his pain and to his fear: I saw his love. He had a kind and beautiful soul.
Over the three years of our tumultuous “relationship” (relationship is in quotation marks because he refused to put a label on it) I helped him grow and take steps to break down the cement that encapsulated his warm heart. He went from calling once a month to once a week, from quick fucks to passionate love making, from telling me his day was “fine” to painting the most elaborate tales of his day. It was beautiful. I was so proud.
I watched him find his smile, thinking that that was enough for me.
So what if he never got me anything for my birthday? So what if he told me he’d never commit to me? So what is he refused to tell me he loved me, no matter how many times I cried those three words to him?
I was so obsessed with his growth and his progress and his gains that I forgot about me. Yes, this man lived a traumatic life that rendered him nearly incapable of loving and trusting another human being the way they deserved, but it was not my place to play the guinea pig. I am not a therapist. I was not getting paid for this. Yet I allowed myself to be sucked dry as I breathed life into this other human being.
Loving him almost cost me my life and I didn’t even realize it until it was almost too late.
But thank God I did. And as I sat at that brunch spot sipping on my Shirley Temple, I stared deep into the eyes of my friend and saw the same pain that lived in my own eyes for so long.
I think that some people in this world are empathizers: we look at someone and completely understand everything that they are going through and then feel like it’s our job to save them. Well I’m here to tell you it’s not your fucking job: unless you are a therapist getting paid mad bank, it is not your fucking job to save anyone.
Stop treating people or relationships like projects.
Stop watering someone else’s garden thinking that one day they will grow to water yours back.
Do you know what happens when you water a garden? They become pretty little flowers that give your sweaty, dirty ass allergies. That’s what happens. You’re left tired, aching, and with no one to support you.
Now this is not to say don’t ever help someone you love through a difficult time, not at all. This is to say don’t forget about YOU. Don’t forget that in any relationship there are two people growing together to become a we. Not two people working towards the growth of one person. That’s not fair and it’s not your job. Does someone with a severely fucked up past deserve love? Hell the fuck yes.
But so do you: and if they are not in a place to provide you with the love you deserve, then stop settling for anything less. Love yourself enough to let that person go.
SLIGHT DISCLAIMER: Now, it took me three years to hear that message so I honestly wouldn’t feel right ending this without saying this: YES you have to love yourself enough to let that person go, but also love yourself enough to forgive yourself if you aren’t quite there yet.
Leave a comment in the space below
You Are What You Eat
You are what you eat: this is a statement I heard a lot growing up. Eat a bunch of donuts and you will be slow and lethargic. Eat some celery and carrots, and you’ll have the ability to do magical things. Not really, but you’ll be more focused, remember shit with ease, and will be able to see better. Everyone always talks about the benefits of a physically palatable diet but no one ever talks about the benefits of a mental diet.
Defining A Mental Diet
A mental diet is defined by the editing what you expose your brain to. Eat a lot of shit and you feel like shit doesn’t just apply to food. If all you watch on television is ratchet reality television and all you read is Donald trump tweets and if all you listen to is American Top 40, this is the equivalent to eating nothing but fast food your whole life.
Time begins to addresses this concept slightly in their online article entitled “Social Media Is Making You Stupid.” The article states, “[Social networking] could be making you dumber by supplying answers and insights without requiring any actual thinking, so that your analytic powers begin to waste away like an unused muscle.” Not only are we not exercising our brains when we spend all of our time on social sites but on top of that, my theory is the more we indulge in entertainment and neglect other aspects of our brain, the more we stunt our mental and personal growth. If you aren’t eating your vegetables and instead gorge on nothing but Hot Cheetos and honey buns, don’t be surprised when you have greasy hair and a smelly vagina. It’s time to trim the fat…and the sugar
A Balanced Mental Diet
A balanced mental diet consist of all the parts of the food group.
You have your veggies: self help materials. Self help materials include anything that has you reflect on yourself and your growth as an individual. Self help books, psychiatry podcasts, motivational speeches, etc. these things, like your kales and your carrots, are essential to ingest on a regular basis. How can you grow as a person if you’re never reflecting upon yourself and opening your eyes to your flaws and ways in which you can improve upon them? (Personally, I suggest Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, it’s like the spinach of brain veggies…I’m a big fan of spinach).
Fruits: fruits are sweeter. They share many of the same benefits of veggies but our bodies like them better for some reason that a scientist would know. Your mental fruits are your self love materials. I make a distinguish between self help and self love because self help is to look at yourself from a critical lens and to dissect what makes you tick, hoping to fix it. Self love on the other hand is just living you for you. Yes you are growing as a person but you need to love yourself at every single stage in that process.
Good carbs: good carbs aren’t as great as the chips and the pastas but they’re still pretty tasty and they’re necessary to our development. This is where the politics come in. we have to understand our place in this world and in order to do that we have to understand the world. Brush up in your current events, understand what these politicians are up to and ways that you can use your voice to change the narrative in whatever level that may appear. Politics are carbs because yes it’s super important but too much of this shit and you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Protein: learning new things. We have to take the time to add something new. Growing means exposing yourself to knew things in the world. Take a dance class, learn French, finally master trigonometry. Not only is it never too late to learn something new, it is mandatory. Life is short so expand your bubble!!
Sweets and Fats: And now we have our sweets. Go on and indulge in that Kardashian whatever. These are sweets and fats because these things do not nourish you. No matter how you look at it, you’ll never gain too much from anything on VH1 except the same sick satisfaction that a Snickers gives you.We always need that little pick me up. Go ahead and eat your Snickers but know when to stop.
At the end of the day, we are all trying to improve ourselves. Being the best possible version of yourself does not start and stop with your bank account or your physical appearance. It starts with our brains and our mentality. We can only accomplish what our minds are willing to allow us to push for and if our brains are stuck on stupid then we will be too. No one is perfect. I watch enough Netflix and Hulu to fill a whole twenty-four hour period without stopping but it’s a process. We try Keto, Paleo, and all the other diets to keep our bodies healthy, how about we try something for our minds?
Question for my readers:
I didn’t include religion because I’m still figuring all that shit out for myself but I acknowledge that it should be somewhere. Where do you think religion or spirituality would fit in the mental diet? I don’t think I get enough comments to be asking questions but 🤷🏿♀️ gotta shoot my shot!
The Role of Television and Visual Media in Our Society
I am a strong believer that television and other visual forms of media are as important as literature. They are a form of art that imitates reality. As with any art, not only does television imitate our reality but it always adds a learning component whether it’s moral, satirical, societal, or what have you. TV is the reason why I know to do “pizza shape, French fry shape” with my skis even though I’ve never been skiing. Television shows and movies are fundamental in our understanding of society and how to be functional members of said society.
This is the exact reason why it’s fucked up that there aren’t many ugly people given representation and when they are the majority of the time they are written to have mean, insignificant, pathetic, or sinister personalities.
Let’s Unravel This.
First off, please try not to be offended by the term “ugly” because it’s a term that our society came up with to define anyone who is not conventionally attractive. Can these people be attractive? Well as a fat person who definitely doesn’t fall into the category of conventionally attractive, I vigorously nod my head and say, yes of course! But there will always be the tiny part deep down inside that still doubts that. There are many factors that come into play to create the mini me full of doubt but visual media plays a big role.
With all of the lessons that TV and movies teach and the things that they normalize, in often cases it is not always media mirroring reality but reality mirroring media, with people becoming more empathetic to others based on what they see in the media. Brian’s Song brought along a new wave of individuals questioning their racism. Ellen opened up the door for homosexuality, pushing people to question their beliefs on the subject. The Fosters gave voice to the hearing impaired, reminding audiences that there needs to be space for these individuals.
Visual media teaches compassion and shows us how to treat people so when the main character isn’t ever visually unappealing it sends the wrong message. It tells us these people don’t matter.
In the Netflix original Stranger Things, everyone was so hellbent on finding that little boy who got lost. You had a whole town of folk searching in the dead of night for this adorable little boy but what about Barb? Barb, played by Shannon Purser, isn’t exactly what our society deems gorgeous. I’m not saying that she’s extremely unattractive (because she is far from that) but she is more likely to win “most likely to succeed” than “best hair.” And look what happened to Barb? She went missing in the same fucking town as that boy and no one said a little bo-peep! Not even her fucking parents looked for her, like huh?! If she were a size two with Estée Lauder skin then maybe people would give a shit!
Even when unconventional individuals play a role in these TV shows and movies they still check off some box. They may be fat but it’s in all the “right places” so they are “good fat.” They may be nerdy but they’re “cute nerdy.” So all of the lessons that surround characters of “all sizes” or looks is still fit with the asterisk of, as long as they are attractive.
The Role In Our Real Lives
The lack of representation does hinder the way we view people in real life. To this day I still see magazines about JonBenet Ramsey, that adorable girl that went missing in 1745 (hyberbole: it was 1996) but every year there’s an update in her mysterious story. Now don’t get me wrong, what happened to her is tragic and it’s good that we do not let her name die but like….why her? What about the countless others who have vanished without a trace? What makes this little girl immortal? And I’m telling you, it’s the media.
We love attractive people. We love them to the point where no one and nothing else matters and it’s harmful to our society. Even Ted Buddy got as far as he did because people found him sexy. In a different post I’ll definitely talk about my theory as to why we are so fixated on making attractive people the stars of everything but regardless of the reason it needs to stop. Art imitates life and life imitates art and people really be out here thinking that ugly people don’t matter. People really be out here only helping and being kind to individuals that they find attractive.
A life shouldn’t add value or decrease in value based off of visual appearance!!
It’s fucked up and it’s selfish and it’s something that was taught which means it’s something that can be untaught. Let’s unteach it.
What Happens To A Dream Deferred?
My grandmother on my father’s side always dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower. She always dreamed leaving her Homeland of Haiti-just for a week or so to go straight to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. Raised under the strictest patriarchy rules, she was never allowed to travel without the presence of a man. Her first husband- the womanizer- never acknowledged what she wanted and her second husband-the wife beater-was too cruel to take her. When her second husband passed away and she decided she could go on her own “when the time was right,” she began getting these cloudy spots in her right eye. Merde. She murmured when those cloudy spots turned into blurred and impaired vision. She had developed glaucoma, and would never see anything clearly again, let alone the Eiffel Tower.
My father always dreamed of driving across America. Always the taciturn individual, this was the one subject that would make him quite talkative. His goal was retirement. Once he retired from his job he would go, just him and my mom. I was 15 when his eyes started getting cloudy. “Things are different here,” he’d tell his mother. “A couple of surgeries and I’ll be fine,” he assured her. When I turned 17, he stopped being able to drive at night and by the time I hit my freshman year of college, he could no longer drive at all.
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up from a wonderful slumber and half of my left eye wouldn’t work. It was cloudy.
Barriers Between Us and Our Dreams
This isn’t a story of glaucoma. This is a story of dreams deferred.
Every day of our lives is a chance- an opportunity to work towards our goals and find a way to make our wildest dreams come true. And the only person that actually stands in our way is us.
We give people the power to stop us from following our dreams. We set limitations on our goals. Even my dick head grandfather did not hold a gun to my grandmother’s head and tell her she could not go to Paris. She allowed her inner voice to tell her not this year, every single year-even after he died. My father worked at the same company for 20 years, they would have given him a couple of weeks off to have his adventure if he asked, if he pushed for it.
Moving Out of Your Own Way
The point is, we don’t know what tomorrow brings, we never do. Yet all we do is push things off until tomorrow and then blame everyone but ourselves when our lives don’t turn out the way we want it to. Shit, I’ve had a book written and ready to edit for years now yet I allowed my insecurities and fear of rejection to keep me from releasing it to the world. Isn’t that such a fucked up concept? That our own fears and insecurities can hold us back from living our lives?! Our best lives, as the kids say.
Stop pointing the blame at other people and other things and ask yourself: how am I standing in the way of my own success? How am I keeping myself from my dreams?
The thing about life is that it can take us anywhere. You can spend your whole life working out and eating right and still die at thirty from cancer or some random act of violence in the streets. Those are the type of things that are out of our control. When we decide to take a trip, publish a novel, see the world, ask someone out-those things are not. Stop waiting for a sign or for your body to look nicer or for your situation to change. Stop creating invisible barriers and live your fucking life. Do it now.
The Power of Our Minds
I think it’s important for us to start off by discussing the power of our mind.
So I don’t know how tv savvy you are but there’s this old Simpsons episode and although I’m a TV guru I can’t for the life of me remember which episode this is from. But anyway, somehow we end up in Lisa’s mind and she’s having this conversation with herselves. And no, that’s not a typo-like for instance writing be instead of been- she was actually having a conversation with multiple Lisas. I believe in this episode the different Lisas were representative of the ID, the Ego and the Super Ego, a Freudian model of the psych. This model basically showcases how there are three versions of you: the you who wants to just do whatever whenever, the you who is organized and thinks realistically, and the you who focuses on the good vs the bad and trying to get you to do good. Now I got my definitions from a skim of Wikipedia so please go there if you’re expecting this to be an in-depth explanation of Freud’s theory. I’m out here using that as a jumping off point.
I think there’s more than just three versions of us: three Lisas of the brain arguing over what decision real life Lisa is going to make. I think that there’s at least five or six versions of us that live up in our mind waiting for their time in the sun. Now, I’m not talking United States of Tara where one version of us takes over our whole body but I’m talking more of a dinner party. Yes here comes another analogy (high me loves these things).
The Dinner Party
Ok so imagine you’re at a dinner party filled with different versions of you: there’s the critical you, the angry you, the lonely you, the happy you, the horny you, and all of the other dwarves. Now just like at a real dinner party there’s going to those one or two people that love to talk and when you give them enough attention, they will take over the whole conversation not leaving anyone room to speak.
So here you are at your dinner party with these different versions of you. Like any dinner party, it’s awkward at first: everyone is just acquaintances, their only real connection being you. So they smile awkwardly at each other, making small talk, waiting for the waiter to finally bring those bread sticks he promised fifteen minutes ago. It’s up to you to break the ice and to start the conversation. So you turn to one of those versions: let’s say the critical you, and Critical You is far from nice. You guys talk and as you talk and give Critical You attention, they take up more and more airtime to the point where you forget the other players are there. Happy You tries to interject: “hey, that’s harsh! You’re great, don’t listen to them!” But it’s too late because you’ve been listening to Critical You for so long that that’s the only voice you can really hear.
Now in actuality the point of this dinner party is so that all voices get equal airtime and can influence you in a way that will only be positive and growth driven but because you are giving Critical You or Emotional You or Horny You more airtime, the rest kind of dwindle away and when you have your next dinner party, maybe Introspective You doesn’t show up, you never pay them much mind anyway. Then Political You “can’t find a baby sitter” and Confident You is “working late” and before you know it, your latest dinner party has become an intimate dinner for two: for you and Critical You-how lovely.
Essentially, we feed into our own thoughts. You think you’re not good enough because you’re only listening to the version of you who thinks you’re not good enough. Maybe this version of you spent a lot of time hanging out with your parents and seventh grade bully so their opinion is warped so technically you shouldn’t be listening to them anyway, but here you are.
What does this have to do with being high?
So in our introduction to the site we discuss how conversations can go to different levels and how being high takes you through these levels quicker and before you know it you’re on a level where you’re discussing your place in this multi-verse.
These conversations can be had with others but they start with yourself. If you’re having a conversation with yourself while high and going through the levels it definitely steers the conversation a certain way and effects if you even make it to in depth levels. If you’re having a conversation with Horny You and you ask them, why am I on this earth? They’re going to say, to procreate! God never intended for man to be tied down let’s give Him what he wanted and go fuck. And just like that you’re that person who goes around saying, “I get so horny when I’m high”
Of course you get horny when you’re high if y’all have a table for two at the restaurant! It’s the only voice you’re hearing and you won’t make it far with them.
Tip for the future:
At your next dinner party (whether it’s high or sober), turn to someone you haven’t heard from in a while and say what’s up. If you look around and you’re at a table for two, quietly excuse yourself and slip out the back door, texting Happy You to see how they’ve been.