Support System of One

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, forgive me I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)
Someone I know has been dealing with a recent traumatic event in their life.  This person has been in therapy to seek help on how to deal with what happened.  And they also told me that they have been talking to friends for support as well.  Even though they have reached out to different people, they told me that they don’t feel fully supported. The therapist told them that she didn’t think they would ever be able to have a relationship again because of what happened.  And slowly, one by one, the friends have sort of drifted off in reaching out.  Let’s start with the therapist……If you ever have a licensed therapist tell you some negative bullshit as above:  GET A NEW THERAPIST.  As for the friends…..Sometimes that happens.  People go on with their day to day lives and forget to reach out.  That or they are busy dealing with drama in their own lives.  To put it simply, those around you may not always be there for you.

That’s when you have to learn to be your own support system.  Now, this is by no stretch of the measure an easy feat. It took me years to learn this lesson for myself.  Yes, I had a few family members and friends who were there to lend a helping hand.  And other times to give words of encouragement or a listening ear.  But when they weren’t readily available, I had to learn to be there and do those things for myself.  I grew up in a single parent home with a parent that was really never emotionally available.  I was super close with my grandma growing up, so there was someone giving me that emotional love and support I needed.  And that was fine for the time.  But as I grew up (and started seeing examples of my friend’s relationship with their parents) I realized that wasn’t enough.  I wanted, needed and craved that sort of attention from just one person.  And they just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give me that.  So what was I left to do?

I learned that if I was going to make it in this life, not only did I have to learn to trust others in their support, but I had to be MY BIGGEST SUPPORT SYSTEM.  What that meant for me was if I wanted to do or try something, I had to learn to talk myself up.  If I was feeling down about something in my life, I had to find a way to work through it.  I started writing.  I have kept a diary (I call it a journal now that I’m adult, Lol) since the age of about 14.  In there, I can be whoever I want. I can say whatever I want about whatever I wanted.  It’s a judgment-free zone.  It’s a place for my eyes, emotions, thoughts, and opinions only.  It’s a place where I can work out my issues in a healthy way.  It’s also the place where I can let go of negative energy and replace with more positive energy.  When I feel like someone is putting me down (like my parent used to do a lot) I would write in the journal how I felt about that.  And I would write how what they said was completely wrong and inaccurate.  Doing this over time allowed me to build my self-confidence and support muscles.  I learned to stand on my own two feet because I wouldn’t always have someone there to hold my hand.  I found my inner strength and more importantly my inner peace.  If that meant that I didn’t talk to certain people anymore, then so be it.  If that meant that I had to spend more time alone to work through my own shit, then so be it.  If that meant that I would limit the number of interactions with my parent, then so be it.  And let me tell you the last one is a doozy when you live in the same house, but it can be done.

Becoming your biggest support system won’t happen overnight.  It takes a bit of time and that time varies from person to person.  Step by step, little by little.  You just have to figure out how that would work best for you.  Even though I’ve learned to become my biggest support system, it’s still a practice I work on daily.  Some days I still struggle and may need to lean on those around me who care.  And other times they are not around, so I have to lift myself up.  Sometimes you may not have access to a support system, so learning to be your own is even more important.  If you find others that give you the support you need, that’s great! But let them be your back up.  You have to be your own cheerleader, shoulder to cry on, positive person, and most importantly your own best friend.  Because no one is going to look out for you and love you as much as you would do for yourself.

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Dear “Scared White People,”

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used an online site to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

Dear “Scared White People”,

Hi. My name is Nyikia and I am a concerned black woman.  I’m writing this letter to you because I’m growing quite concerned (and getting pissed off) by your recent behavior toward black people.  I have listed a few examples:

1.) Calling the cops when black people are waiting for our friends in the local Starbucks. (Happened in Philadelphia.)
2.) Calling the cops when black people gather peacefully in the park to have a BBQ with friends and family. (Google BBQ Becky.)
3.) Calling the cops when black people are going to view a house that is for sale. Even though the person is a real estate agent, and had been authorized to do so.
4.) Calling the cops when black people check out of an Airbnb (with their luggage in full view) because you thought they might be burglars.
5.) Calling the police on a 9-year old that was just buying something at the local corner store because you think they “grabbed your butt.” (Google Corner store Caroline)
6.) Calling the police because a black father was cheering his son on during his soccer game. (Google Golf cart Gail)

I’ll stop here because the list goes on and on with your less than stellar behavior.  If you notice from the list, there is a consistent pattern.  That pattern is the calling of the police on people who don’t look like you.  Why is that?  I could understand if they were doing something that was suspicious.  But clearly, in the instances listed above, they were not. The suspicion you had was based merely on the color of their skin.  And also, the prejudices you have acquired over the years.  Now I understand that your prejudices could stem from a learned behavior passed down from generation to generation.  And some have come from outside sources:  literature, television, hearsay and most notorious the media.  I’m really trying to work with you “scared white people,” I really am.  But at a certain point in life, you have to take inventory of yourself.  Not everything you see and hear about people is true.  Even the cheeto in chief (aka our current realty star president) knows this.  Hence the term his administration loves to overuse, “fake news.” Although in his case most of what we hear about him turns out to be absolutely true.  But that’s a post for another day.

Let’s get back to the task at hand.  I understand having a little concern for the unknown. Dark places, stray animals, emails from strange addresses and yes our fellow humans.  I grew up in the 80’s with McGruff the Crime Dog, so I learned all about stranger danger. But the one thing McGruff never taught us was to be afraid of someone based solely on their skin color.  If you asked the average child today to describe someone that frightens them, I’m pretty sure a stranger’s skin color wouldn’t come up.  Unless of course, they were taught that type of racial bias in the home.  So why is it children are wiser in this regard than most adults?  I work with children for a living, and I notice that they have a tendency of seeing people for exactly who they are.  Race not included.  When they judge you, they judge you on your merits.  Race not included.  When they are leery of someone, it is because of the vibe they get from the person.  RACE NOT INCLUDED.  Children are usually both open and eager to get to know someone who is different than themselves. They ask questions without assuming they know the answer.  Children just see a person much like themselves with zero prejudgments.

So why haven’t adults learned to do this already?  For people who are older and intellectually smarter, we sure lack the intelligence of the average child.  I’m going to take this time to let you in on something you should have already figured out:  NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE BAD PEOPLE.  That is shocking right?  I know the truth can be most times.  But I feel you really need to know and understand that fact.  Let me be clear here, there are bad people in every race, gender, and country.  Being a bad person is not relegated to a racial thing.  It’s a personality and behavioral thing.  If I went around thinking certain things about certain races, then my belief right now would be that all white people are racist.  And clearly, that is not the case.

I have a suggestion on how to help you “scared white people” in working through your prejudices.  Provided you actually want to get rid of your judgmental nature and possibly make a few new friends.  BE OPEN.  Get to know more about the black people that you encounter in your everyday life.  That sounds like a lofty task, but it can be made easy. You can simply start by saying, “Hello.”  Easy enough right?  Have a real genuine conversation with that co-worker that you see all the time.  Get to know them on a level that’s based on common ground, common interest and a humane level.  You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll have in common with the average black person.  Everyone has that one family member that they don’t like in their family.  You avoid them at all costs at family functions until another relative asked you if you said hi to them.  You can easily bond over that.  Or how you love your kids to death, but could sometimes punt them like a football when they get on your nerves.  You can’t always judge a book by its cover.  You have to pick it up, read the description on the back or inside cover in order to learn what it’s about.  And the same goes for people.  All I’m saying is get to know someone who’s different than you before you judge them.  And for the love of God:  STOP CALLING THE POLICE.

With all love and sincerity,

Nyikia

 

ESP: Energy Sucking People

Have you ever been around someone that as soon as they appear, a large portion of your energy is drained?  I have.  And to be honest, I have been that person.  But here’s the thing:  I didn’t realize that I was doing it.  I think most ESP’s (Energy Sucking People) never realize that’s what they are doing.  As a former ESP, I can say I never knew it.  I thought I was doing one of the following instead.  I believed I was keeping it real (aka being honest) or looking for advice with my venting.  Turns out the “keeping it real” wasn’t always so good.  When I thought I was being “helpful”, I was actually being hurtful.  And the “looking for advice with my venting” was actually just whining.  I just wanted to talk about all the bad in my life because I was looking for sympathy and agreement.  And the minute I felt like you didn’t agree with me, the conversation was over in my mind.  ESP’s often times just want to know that you are feeling the same way that they are.  The last thing a ESP wants to hear is that life is going well for you.  As I stated earlier, I don’t believe that this behavior is intentionally done by all of them.  But there is a small portion of them that like to know that they are not alone in their misery.

For me, it wasn’t that I wanted everyone to be unhappy or down because I was.  But I did take some solace in knowing that I wasn’t the only one whose life wasn’t going as planned.  The other kind of ESP is the one who doesn’t know that they drain the life out of any situation with their presence.  They have been an ESP so long that it just second nature for them.  It has become ingrained in who they are.  (Raises hand slowly)  When I was an ESP, I couldn’t identify that my lack of positive energy was draining those around me.  That by my talking (aka constant complaining) about my circumstances, I was zapping away their energy.  I didn’t know that I wasn’t getting invited to hangout as much anymore because people wanted to limit their time around me.  By the time I finally did, I couldn’t believe those people stayed around me as long as they did in the first place.  Many said that they stayed around because they knew I was a good person and that they loved me.  (Insert crying emoji here)

As a former ESP, I can now identify an ESP probably quicker than the average person. And when I do I have to ask myself a few questions.  Why?  Why do I continue to talk to this person?  Why do I keep them around?  Some of the ESP’s in my life, unfortunately, are family members.  Truth be told I have zero problems distancing myself from family members that I don’t gel with.  But when they are immediate members that can be harder to do.  Here’s how I handle the ESP’s in my life.

1.) Focus on my happy.  I have one ESP that as soon as I see or hear them, my vibe can be lowered just like that.  I feel the lowering of my vibration, acknowledge it, and find something to be happy or grateful for.  It could be something as a simple as, “My hair looks really good today.  These curls are popping!”  Find something to bring you vibes back up where they belong.

2.) Venting Time Limits.  Everyone needs to let off some verbal steam from time to time. But a person’s steam starts to burn my skin:  I CUT THAT SHIT SHORT.  If they keep coming to me with the same stuff all the time with no sort of change:  I cut that shit short. If when I’m done listening to them I have a headache, my mood is down AND I feel I need a drink……(Say it with me)  I CUT THAT SHIT SHORT.  It’s ok to be there for the people you love and care about especially when they are going through something heavy, they need you.  But make sure to not let them ALL your energy while doing so.

3.) Don’t take their energy personally.  This one can be tricky because my first thought when someone is coming to be with an attitude is I did something to them.  Or when I try to give advice on things I do when I feel the same, they totally dismiss it.  Or worse than that, they lash out.  It’s taking me a while (because as much as I don’t want to admit it) I can be a bit sensitive.  I learned that their shit is their shit.  That their energy is their energy.  That their feelings and opinions are their feelings and opinions.  And that NONE of that has any bearing on how I should feel in my own life or energy space.

So if you find yourself around an ESP, just let them be who they are going to be.  And try not to let their low energy take away from your high vibrations.

Restlessness = Equals No Progess

According to the definition restlessness means, “a lack of patience; irritation with anything that causes delay.  Inability to rest, relax or be still.”  So far for the better part of 2018, the above definition has fit me perfectly.  All day, every day the same relentless feeling.  I don’t know exactly what prompted this feeling to begin.  But I think I may have figured out why it has continued.  My severe lack of belief, trusting the process and my patience.  My belief in knowing that I’m a great writer who is improving all the time. Knowing that my dreams and goals are coming true.  And the patience to know that all the above things are true, real and happening now.  I get into this never-ending cycle that I haven’t quite figured out how to completely stop.  I’ll get all gun-ho excited about something new.  Building a new positive habit, writing out future goals to work at, starting a new exercise routine, etc.  And it goes well for a few weeks, maybe even a month or more.  Then it’s like I hit that wall of self-doubt and impatience.  That in turns leads to me hitting that wall of restlessness.  BANG!  And I just sit there in a messed-up car and state of mind for what seems like forever.  No telling how long it takes but eventually, I’m able to open the door.  Step out of the car and walk away from the wreckage.  Only to open the door to the new car, sit down, buckle the seat belt and slowly approach a new wall to hit.  Smh….  When the restlessness sets in, I could be down for weeks.  But I don’t want too.  Who would?  I want to be up!  So how do I work to get back up there?

I realized that I was off balanced and not centered at all.  That’s the best way for me to describe how I was feeling.  I reached out to members of this group I belong to on Facebook called, “The Baby Elephant Group.”  It’s a group where people come together to share all things positive.  I have found a person in the group that I’ve really connected with a lot.  She always has a positive word of advice, encouragement or a helpful tip for me.  She basically told me that I must keep the faith that the universe is working in my favor at all times.  To think negative is to receive negative.  She told me that I was feeling off balanced because I wasn’t connecting to my higher self.  Meaning I was basically losing focus on what I wanted to achieve, and the time spent working toward those goals. I spent too much time looking at what was currently around me instead of visualizing my future that is already set in stone.  I have a tendency of letting my current surroundings get to me, especially because I often feel things are progressing fast enough for my taste.  After speaking with her, I decided to reconnect with myself.

I took inventory on things that I used to do, that I slowly over time stopped doing.   I began writing out my feelings about what I was going through in my journal.  Yes, I still keep a journal.  Try it, it works wonders.  I turned off the television (which truth be told I do love) and read more books.  I listened to more positive podcast that were speaking on becoming more centered and goal focused.  I started meditating again before bed.  I tend to do it before bed because it helps me relax and sleep better.  And the biggest thing of all, I began to focus more on feeling happy.  Even though I may not be exactly where I want to be in life, I can be happy with what I have overcome to get to this point.  I’m closer now to my dreams then I have ever been in my life before.  And to know that feels awesome.  If you come to a crossroad where you feel lost, unbalanced, unfocused or stuck, try a few of the things that I do.  Or find whatever could possibly work for you. Just remember that it’s totally ok to feel the way you feel.  You are after all human and we all filled emotions. But know that if you fall off track with your goals, feelings of positivity or forming a new habit, you can start anew.  Just get out of your wrecked car, hop in the new one, buckle your seat belt and know that this new ride will be smooth sailing from here on out.  Trust the process and enjoy the ride.