Still Not Asking For It

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Oh how quickly we are trained to pass judgment. With a caption and cover photo like this, how could you not? Well isn’t that the very question? Why is it that we as a society are so quick to judge? To place thought and opinion most often times on matters that seemingly play no relevance or sustenance in our lives?

Judgment, as defined by the dictionary is the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought. Careful thought, now, that’s not something I would initially think of when considering judgments that have been passed on me or most others for that matter. Judgment is passed every second, every minute, every hour of each waking day; its almost inadvertently instilled in our mindset. Collectively, we understand that it’s typically a negative action, and yet we continue to do it. We continue to do it without ownership of the effects our actions cause.

Though judgment can be internalized to where opinions formed are not verbally spoken, it doesn’t dignify them any more or less. For its not just our words, its our body language, its our demeanor, its the very mechanics of how we see the world through our eyes. And often times we fail to see that the judgements passed has little to do with the person we are judging and almost everything to do with the person passing judgment.

Most often, judgements are derived from insecurities, fears, loneliness or even the desire to seek change. And yet, we continue to impose and redirect our thoughts on others to further deter from the root cause; our own self. For the act of judgment is an act of pride, of monumental-enormous pride, stupendous pride, galling pride and this should be explicitly understood. When we render judgment, we have taken it upon ourselves to render thought without being aware of the consequences to following, without taking care of the responsible entities.

Morality is within us all; one of the very first things we are taught in society is right versus wrong. As children, we recognize decency and purity but somewhere along the lines of entering adulthood we have systematically changed the root definition of how we should treat others and we justify such behavior with self serving pride and ignorance.

Now, thats not to say that all judgements are derived from self gain and negativity, but the fact remains that judgments are meant to separate people, they are meant to alienate and scrutinize, which often times are derivatives of negativity. We must not only understand the potency of such hasty actions but take ownership in our own actions that lead us to such judgment. Though ownership alone is not enough, for in order to grow, we must first address and correct the core issues that derive judgment.

We must exemplify the change we seek. That is, we must show the very love that we desire from others. And a good step toward loving others is to develop an honest love of ourselves. We mustn’t risk squandering our own purposeful existence; we mustn’t continue to walk in lockstep with the crowd. Inheriting and owning bigotries, prejudices and hatred is a most irreverent betrayal of our right as free thinkers. We’ve seen where this divisive judgement has taken us. When we lose our judgmental tendencies, we will enhance our human experience.

Henry David Thoreau once said:

“It’s not what you look at that matters.
It’s what you see.”

 

The Lesson

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If you believe like I believe, there is a lesson in all that we do. The question is if you are bold enough to see it.

Someone once told me that people don’t come in to your life by happenstance, they come because of a reason, a purpose, regardless of how miniscule or profound, how deep the relationship or how foreign. Even utter strangers can be put in your life for a reason. The reason, is the lesson. Sometimes you find yourself the teacher, other times you find yourself the pupil. And when that purpose is served, that lesson is filled, relations often dissipate. Or maybe not, maybe the lesson continues to repeat itself until you learn to master it, maybe that’s the reason for commonalities.

Now what you do with that consideration is yours and yours alone. But can you consider the possibility of it?

Isn’t that what life is all about? One great big lesson? We think we understand what problems we have in the world, but so often we fail to actually see the truth to our problems. Instead we fixate on annoyances or imperfections in our life and disguise them as problems, further denying the lesson below the surface. Maybe we become so fixated in our problems that we dilute the lessons at hand.

What if for one moment you considered that everyone and everything that touches your life is being drawn to you for some reason or another? Maybe that reason isn’t always for you to receive, but for you to give. Can you imagine, that you as a stranger have the ability to touch another person’s life. To consider that maybe a simple compliment or spark of conversation to an utter stranger, could be a factor in changing someone’s course of their entire day? What if that person lost hope in humanity and just needed a little reaffirmation that kindness can prevail. Now, can you consider that one compliment to an utter stranger could leave you in the position of being a teacher? Could be the action that changed the very course of someone’s day?

Or maybe a lesson continues to recur throughout your life, maybe you continue to see the same actions and courses over and over again. Have you ever noticed the same form of circumstances continuing to unfold throughout your life? Not verbatim, but similar situations, similar occurrences, similar woes? What if, that is a form of a lesson, a lesson life continues to throw at you, until you find the wherewithal to master the lesson? Does that change your perspective any?

Now, maybe that belief, that thought pattern is not one you’ve pondered on. Not one you ever considered. For, I certainly had not ever looked at the world through those sights.

But isn’t it possible? Isn’t it logical? If we take away the doubt for just one moment to truly assess and ponder. Isn’t it true, that we all believe that there are variations of life lessons? And isn’t it typically those life lessons that impact us the most? Maybe we only recognize the most impactful life lessons due and fail to acknoledge the minor life lessons we learn and teach. Isn’t that a plausible way of looking at our lives as one stream of ongong lessons?

For isn’t it true that we actively learn and grow day in and day out? What of that? Do those lessons not account for profound meaning even if they didn’t come at a higher cost? Maybe we need to stop looking at our troubles at a surface level, and start to dig deeper into the foundation of what the lesson at hand could be. For I believe, that life is a series of nonstop lessons, and some days we are the pupil and some days we are the teacher. Maybe, just maybe, this is your lesson.

The Road Less Traveled

I am sure you’ve read the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost at some point in your life, or if you haven’t I strongly suggest you do. As the poem bellows to an end, Frost puts into words, a pivotal point that touches most of our lives. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

The road less traveled, what does that mean exactly? Well it can mean a variations of things, but what I most resonate it with, is going against the main stream of life. The road less traveled indeed. Can you picture that, what the main stream of life means to you and the expectations that holds? Whose expectations are you living up to?

Sometimes I like to defy expectations simply because it is my choice to do so. And sometimes it is in my actions, or my self expression that I go against the main stream simply because I was told I couldn’t, or I shouldn’t. Albeit there are consequences that are carried with such definitive actions, but I do it anyways. For the judgements to come, the slander to escape from those said actions, only show other’s character in their truest forms. And sometimes, we don’t see the masks of those around us, until we are caught in the crosshairs of beating to your own drum.

Though I appreciate a structure of some sort, a foundation per say that society has built for our modern day living, its not enough. For it is our freedoms in this life that allows us to thrive; our freedom of thought, of choice, of speech that I seek the most.

I believe we all wear a mask to some degree when confronted with the world we live in. When going into the world whether it be virtual or realistic, we choose to play a part, and the part we play depends wholly on the person we decide to be. For we decide to act in a certain manner, dress in a certain manner, and speak in a certain manner; a choice that is definitive on the road we choose to travel. We choose to play part of a role, and regardless to if we stop and question it, it has become deeply engrained in us, so much so, that its become second nature.

Questioning the authenticity of that statement, maybe even considering if it rings any truth to you? Consider this the next time you’re in public, assess how you demonstrate social etiquette, how you display a persona from the clothes you wear to the words you speak dependent upon the audience and environment.

It is natural to want to fit in, it is natural to fear being outcasted by our decisions, by our actions, by our choices.  But at some point we have to decide what is more important, that fear or that freedom? This isn’t the one size fits all life that social expectations push us to conform towards. But to go against the grain requires courage and resilience; the very reason why this road is less traveled. Not all of us are capable of putting down our masks and showing the world ourselves in our rawest form. Not everyone is built to defy expectations that do not conform to our deepest desires. For if it were easy, wouldn’t everyone do it?

I think part of the problem lies in the issue that we sometimes dilute the very course of our actions. We fail to recognize that every action, every decision leads to a greater one in some form or another. And if we don’t find it in us to stop and assess the picture at large, we won’t recognize how far down the road we’ve gone until we realize the choice we’ve led is no longer ours. So I challenge you to do just that.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

This So Called Life

Life; such a funny thing really when you think of it. One word holds millions of variations of meanings. We all think we know what it means until we start to disassemble it and really look at it holistically. And isn’t it in those moments that we are tearing it apart, searching for some definitive answer or inclinations as to what is supposed to be, that we truly understand everything it’s not to be?

They say time changes us, but isn’t it truly experience that changes us? Isn’t it the experience that leads to perspective that truly makes the difference when examining this so-called life?

Then there are the varying hues of shades in which you see life through, each slightly different based on your position in the moment. Truths and mistruths, illusions and allusions are present in every corner of our modern day society.  Learning to read between the variations then too becomes prevalent to the degree in which you observe collectively.

Distorted and distracted from the passion of what life in its most basic form is now drown out by unrealistic societal expectations or norms; further diluting the imagery of life itself. Wrapping our lives up into mechanical feats that often distract us from our truest form.

Our truest form, what is that? Can you even stop to consider that? Some may find it considerably harder than others. Truth be told, modern day living has changed the very course of our livelihoods. Our compassions, our time, our energies, they have in many ways been afflicted by things that further derail us from our truest self.

We live in a world where more than half the people are unhappy with their careers, their relationships, their futures to come; but do we ever stop to think why we do it? Why do we continue to sacrifice our happiness for lives that no longer serve us?

What a strange world we live in where we sacrifice our days for things? Our time is not something we can ever get back and yet we sacrifice it as though it holds no barrier to the course of our happiness.

Is it so commonplace that we as a society have forgotten how to be real with ourselves, how to cater to the needs of our wants, our desires, the passions that lead you back to your truest form? Instead society settles for temporary happiness, one that comes at a cost. Do you understand the value of that cost? Some people pay with their entire lives. Stop to consider what your life is worth to you; consider the prices you are paying. Now understand that you have a choice.

Life is not what society tells us it should be. It is not about social hierarchy, it’s not about wealth, it certainly isn’t about parallel lives on social media platforms. Life is the happiness you grant yourself in the moments between the demands and pressures of modern day living. Now how you depict that, is entirely to your discretion; the purpose here is that you stop to consider what this life means to you.

Don’t get too near for there’s lions; beware.

My head is foggy and everything I thought I knew and understood seems hazy. It’s as though for the first time I’ve opened my eyes to the sight that was always there, looming, a sight I chose not to see. Why is it that people always see what they want to see? Is it an inner dialogue that strategizes on desires? We know better and yet we allow the fallacies to overcome our instinctual warnings.

For isn’t it true that we see only what we want to see? What happens when you finally see everything as it really was, rather than what you thought it was? Well, when lies are at hand, you sometimes die a little inside.

Entangled in the lies, in the allure of it all. Ignoring all your gut reactions that wards off the dangers that are near. That warns you when conditional lies are at hand. For it’s both a blessing and a curse to feel things so deeply. To have the emotional side yet understand the rationale of it too; it’s a perfect combination of trust and misguided trust. I think the more damaging question is why do we do it? Why do we risk our hearts, our mental well being for a trust? Trust is a curious thing. It needn’t be earned nor deserving, sometimes it’s given solely from desire.

But it’s the lies that derail me the most. Maybe you don’t hold qualms with lies the way I do, but I destest lies, I detest the very thought of them, the ignigmy of them, their very existence. I feel them at the core of who I am. See, I find courage and strength in owning the truth. So in that very stance, I see cowardice and selfish acts in deceit and lies. I don’t understand how lying has become so commonplace.

Lies rarely elude me, as I feel them at my core. Deep down we all know, maybe not at first, maybe we only sense it, maybe we only wanted to believe in the lies that were told. But hindsight always gives clarity to the moments of passing. And maybe it’s the good in us that pushes away the notion of lies, the notion of deceit, but vibrations rarely lie, and a lie is a lie is a lie.

Lies lead to stolen time that resonates with the essence of robbery. Somewhere along the lines we lost sense of caring, of moral respect, of loving more than oneself, of common decency. I don’t understand it and maybe I never will.

I wonder why we do that? When our gut tells us one thing, but yet we push that warning away and hold on to hope. But it is not hope that lets us down, its people. It’s their actions, or lack thereof. Its the lies; the lies they tell themselves, the lies they tell another.  And yet we continue to be drawn by the fire, for sometimes we want to hear the lies over the truths ever-knowing the deadly aversions it holds.

Maybe it circles back to the fact that humans are selfish, we want what we want, and often times we fail to see the true costs our decisions lead to. We want instant gratification, and we to relish in the delights of our desires. We want ideas more than we often want actions. Maybe thats why people lie. Maybe thats why people cheat people out of the truths.

So what can I tell you? Don’t get too near for there’s lions; beware.

Time Tells a Tale

And no one will ever understand the depths of grief, until one goes through it themselves. No one will ever question the value of life quite like you will the moment you are weighted with the loss of it.

Life asked Death, “Why do people love me and hate you?” Death replied, “Because you are a beautiful lie and I am a painful truth.”

What if I were to ask you to look at life as a beautiful lie, how would you picture it? What would you see? We all understand that no one will survive this life, that we will all die, some with a long life, some shorter. But what of life is there, that we continue to negate the importance of living? We find ourselves inside this matrix of repetitive tasks that are coated as responsibilities, as expectations, but do we ever stop to question how they actually bring quality to our life?

Must we only value life to its fullest when we are at crosshairs with great losses? Why is it that the absence of life often is our primary reminder of the grave value of life?

Buddah, once said, “The trouble is you think you have time.” I believe that there is great truth to that. For tomorrow has stolen too many dreams and we as individuals often comfort ourselves by believing we have time. For if you were honest, and you saw through the lie of life, you would see that you don’t have time. You have no promise of time, so what you do, in this moment, in this hour, in this day, is all you are promised.

Time is the most important part of our life and yet we often take it for granted. What if you were to measure your days with time, how would you measure it?  Or better yet, compare it to monetary value. We are given 86,471 seconds each day, each day we have those seconds to use and what we don’t use, goes to waste. And what we make of those seconds are never to be returned.

Now if I were to ask you how you were to spend $86,471 dollars that were given to you daily, you would automatically shift your mindset to how you would absorb that day. Time is no different than that, now is it? Oh but you’re still not quite certain that time holds greater significance than money? Ponder this: Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found once it is lost; “life.”

Most often times we hear people whom are at the end of their life lines relishing in the reflection of their time. Pay attention. We mustn’t comfort ourselves with the delusion that time is on our side; that is a fallacy, that is a hope.  Hope is possibly the only thing greater than fear, but there is a fine line between hope and delusion. Understand that we dilute our lives with lies, innocent white lies that ultimately change the course of our directions and further shape our lives.

Remember to value your time, remember it’s a gift. Quite possibly the greatest gift of life. I hope you count your days in seconds and measure your worth by time. For life can sometimes be a beautiful lie, one thats often seen at the end of the line. Don’t wait for that, the time is now.

Beautifully Broken

“I feel like she just goes to pose! She is THAT girl that goes places just to post.”

It might not seem like that harsh of a statement at first stance. But what if I told you that statement came from someone I thought I was friends with? What if I told you it was whispered behind my back? Would that make a difference on your scope of severity? What if I told you that it wasn’t that long ago that I hated the reflection looking back at me? How does that change your perspective? Any? Well, what if I told you that I haven’t been back to the gym since then? How about then?

It doesn’t matter if it came from a friend. It doesn’t even matter that the post was meant to be empowering to women. What matter’s is that its unkind.

Why is it so incredibly difficult for women to lift one another up? Why is it almost instinctual to belittle or outcast? Do we even recognize it anymore or has it become so commonplace that its barely recognizable?

Women look at one another and constantly embark inward insecurities and place them upon others? And for what? What good does that actually do? I earnestly don’t think it does any good in any degree. So maybe you can stop and hear me, listen to the words and ponder on the following example for even the briefest of moments, just to consider. Just to consider that maybe there is more for us to learn.

More often than not, people have the wrong perception of me. The outwardly perception people typically form rarely matches the inward perception of who I am. Of how I see myself. And maybe that’s my fault to some degree.

Two years ago I lost the very identity I had of myself; I gained 25lbs after battling a nicotine addiction. After a few skips forward I found myself driving across country away from the life I had, away from a relationship and career that no longer served me. I found myself driving back to a life I had nothing to hold on to, emotionally, financially or physically; an all time low.

So in sum, maybe an identity crisis would be a fitting category for means of painting a visual. And there’s truth in the statement that often times you have to deconstruct in order to really build yourself back, so in short, that is exactly what I did.

I started over, from below ground zero. I was mortified by the image that lurked in the mirror. For all that I have ever endured throughout my life, I at least always knew reflection in the mirror, but this time was different. This time, I couldn’t find the girl I thought I knew; I didn’t recognize the image in the mirror; I couldn’t bare to look in the mirror.

And though physical admiration was never sincerely high in my spectrum, it was the fact that I no longer had a solid ounce of appreciation for my physical attributes that obliterated my confidence. I gained a derriere overnight, my thighs became thunderous and dimples started appearing in places they didn’t belong. None of my clothing fit; I was in denial, I refused to shop, I boycotted jeans for nearly two years. I refused to buy bigger clothing. I closed myself off from the outward world as I knew it.

I can honestly say I did not love myself in that stage, I couldn’t. I think most women can relate to that. I think all humans can relate to that. Being in a stage of your life where you absolutely feel disconnected from your worth, for your inner love, from your confidence, your solace.

It wasn’t until I found myself fat shamed by someone I trusted that I first understood it wasn’t just me that had disdain in my appearances. Even if he was remorseful and apologetic, it broke me in a way I had never been broken. Maybe I never had much else growing up, but I always felt grateful for my beauty; it was the one thing no one could take from, or so I thought. Something that I lost for the first time in my life; it was a new kind of empty for me.

It was that break that pushed me to stop wallowing, to finally do something. For as long as I can remember, beauty was effortless, I never had to work for it, I never really cared about it. It was all I was ever really defined by, beauty. Thats all most people ever saw. So when I lost it, I understood the value for the first time. I suddenly appreciated all that I never appreciated before. I decided if I were going to have to work for it, I was going to go for the best version yet.

Little by little, I began to pick myself up again, I began to learn to love the person I now saw. Of course, it wasn’t without tests of courage from myself, from society, from the people I love. It wasn’t without daring to defy the odds society placed on beauty that I found true beauty in life. It wasn’t until I began to let go of the ideal perception of what society interjects on beauty that I began to reclaim myself. That I began to love myself again. That I began to feel pride for the person I saw in the mirror. And through the process I began finding empowerment in the journey, in the transformation. Self love does that to you.

Slowly but surely I started to love the reflection in the mirror, I began to love the journey itself just as much as I began to love this newest me. Maybe I still have heaps to go in terms of growth and change, but I can honestly say I love myself,  for everything I am, for everything I am not, for everything I stand for.

Naturally as I grew, so did my confidence, so I started to be a light for the people in my life. I wanted to reinforce all that changed my life in hopes of touching others lives. In hopes of being a support, of being an positive example. Maybe I make it look easy, but maybe it’s a lot harder for me than it looks. Maybe just maybe it takes more courage than I let on. Maybe courage has been mistaken for vanity?

So the point? The point is you do not know what you do not know. You do not see what you are not shown. So when you make judgments on others it has a ripple effect in the world. When you say things that are unkind it has consequences. It either empowers or belittles. It either does good or harm. It either has sustenance or ignorance. There has to be accountability to our actions, to our words. We really should care about what we say and what it does.

I understand theres a delusion that beauty makes peoples lives easier, simpler for them; they are given more advantages, more edges; all mistruths. Beauty changes perceptions, it changes the way you are treated good and bad, it often incurs more ugliness than it does beauty. It often involves more challenges than it does the delusion of ease. Even the people I am friends with don’t know my struggles, don’t know my qualms. So naturally you won’t begin to know a strangers.

Maybe the lesson isn’t about me, but about ourselves. Our own self discovery. I often wonder if part of the reason people don’t maintain ownership is because they wouldn’t be proud of the person they see if they had to? Have you ever tried to be that honest with yourself? Maybe the change needs to come from the way we think, for its the thoughts that empower the words.

The truth is everyone wants what they don’t have; everyone. So the next time you see someone with something you don’t have, try to admire them rather than criticize them.