April Showers…

This week has been a specifically hard week for me. Actually the month of April is always a bit much for me emotionally. I spend much of April being mindful to stay busy so that I do not sit around idly thinking about why April is so difficult for me. However, this week, I was forced to slow down a little & address emotions I have spent the past 6-10 years avoiding. April signifies a sad period for me. Every year I am faced with the realization that in 2009 & 2013 I have lost 2 people very dear to me to gun violence. Both were too young to not be walking this earth so many years later. Although they were not perfect or without sin, they both were overall amazing people. Neither one of them lived a life that was expected to turn out this way; however, both lived a life that was left behind for those who loved them to mourn over. As often as I have tried to move past it; oddly enough, the recent death of an impactful visionary, rapper & community activist opened up the wound of emotions I had barely scabbed over all these years. To be honest, the passing of a loved one is always hard on those left behind but there is a different type of emptiness & vulnerability when the person is murdered. It is as if someone has robbed you of more time, more memories, more interaction– a feeling that never goes away. I would never wish what I feel on my worst enemy because although life does go on; so do the unanswered answers to questions on how it could have been prevented What is crippling though, is that this violence that often leaves families in mourning, children without parents, lovers without love & parents burying their children will never end.

My heart aches.

There are not enough rest in peace t-shirts, social hashtags & media posts to erase the reality that too often there is “another front step with flowers” & too many premature tomb stones to be visited. Despite this, the message does not appear to come across clear enough that we must stop killing each other. This violence has to stop. Someone’s life is being taken as easily as it is for most of us to wake up & breathe each day. There is no regard for the lives of others or those they leave behind. We are losing each other for things that can be settled outside of irreversible violence & definite ends. There are too many egos and broken spirits walking around, sharing & spreading that energy. We are a broken generation that only knows how to be broken & to pass it on. When a life is taken there is a continuation of generational misfortune– the children of the murderer & murdered both have to experience their lives without their loved one, which forces them to be influenced by other examples that are not their parents; both sides of the family lose someone to gun violence whether the people directly involved were the victim or perpetrator. Why does this keep happening to our babies & our families? Why must this be the example set for our communities? It crushes me to my core that the only solution to correcting a disagreement has been to take someone’s life. Someone’s life, no matter how sh***y they have chose to live it, is still valuable.

Oh, so valuable.

I can assure you that the people left to mourn for them agree. Because my goodness, the riches I would pay just to bring them back to live their lives the way they were supposed to has no max. I would pay the financial price, if I could– even if it put me in debt. Unfortunately though, there are no shortcuts in heaven & someone decided to take it upon themselves to send them there early. This continues to happen. I am disgusted that this is what it has come to. I am discouraged because no matter how many “stop the violence” messages are shared, the impact of these messages are temporary. I mourn because as my life continues, there is another part of their lives that they will never get to see. I thank the lord that this is not an experience I have felt often, but others are not so fortunate. As this continues to happen more people are faced to live their lives without someone they never imagined they would have to live without. Yet some how the realization that we are oppressing ourselves continues to be missed. We cannot take a moment for granted. We have to pray hard over our loved ones because they will never tell us everything they experience, the interactions they may or may not have or the people they encounter on a day-to-day that can end up being the reason we have to say our goodbyes. The ache I feel as I write this weakens me. I struggle because the realization settles in reminding me that this behavior is not going to get better. People are barely even living their lives before seeing the inside of a casket & we act as if this is the normal. This is a disgrace! We should want more! We deserve more! They deserved more!

As a people, we have more to do with our time on this Earth. Yet, some are not even allowing people to get into their purpose or make the impact they could before deciding their time is up. We have to diligently encourage others to do better- to want more, to make strong impacts while they are here. We have to remind them that their life is not only for them but that — we, as their loved ones, live for them too. We need to work on generational healing– depression, poverty imposed hardship, PTSD, toxic masculinity, deep rooted aggression, failure to recognize worth, egocentric desires— by promoting — talking about our issues, seeking help from capable professionals, & reminding each other that it is ok to love & walk away.

Most importantly, we need to understand that all actions do not require a reaction, especially reactions that are so definite.

Rest in Heaven:

Sergio Rivera
(2009)
&
Alvin Tyree Cushion
(2013)


“They hope the example I set ain’t contagious”- Nipsey Hussle (2019)

I am sorry that someone did not value your lives like the way we, who loved you, did. You deserved more than what you received.

Move in Silence

One of the most powerful lessons I have learned through out my life has been that everyone does not need to know my every move. Some things are really better left unsaid. It was a hard lesson, but the fact is, everyone is not ready for the things you are ready to show the world. Either they cannot envision your vision or their ego can not take it. Because of this, you must be mindful to identify these people around you– protect your dreams & ensure that you never, ever, ever become one of those people– if by chance you are one of those people, it is time to make some changes.

Your dreams & desires are too valuable to leave the fragile details in the wrong hands of the wrong people. Sadly, the story is the same– aspiring dreamers have expected support for their vision & in turn were disappointed because it was mocked or taken from them. You do not deserve that. You do not deserve for a mockery to be made of your goals. You do not deserve to lose motivation for something you believe in. You do not deserve to second guess because someone told you it was not good enough & you surely do not deserve to feel betrayed because someone went on & made a replica of what you outlined for them. Your vision is your treasure & it is the action you put into that vision that puts it in fruition. Remember that & act accordingly. People will spend their lives trying to do what you do therefore, the people you trust with the gems of your dreams should be chosen wisely.

You inspire someone every day & people will not gracefully tell you. I cannot tell you the amount of people who did not want to support Nickkie&Co. However, I did not give up on what I believe this brand could be. Once they saw what the brand was capable of, I have been able to recognize who has been inspired by their actions & statements, whether they mean for me to know or not. I have said before & I will say it again, people’s behavior will tell you clearly who has been watching & who is inspired (whether negative or positive). Therefore, keep dreaming & investing but protect it with all your might. Your dreams are your seeds to plant into the earth, it is up to you to harvest it. Although it is not a competition, what you dream up is your investment & yours alone. Protect it.


Claim Your Power

I have always been considered an emotional person. To some degree, I can agree. In both my personal & professional life I tend to be an emotional thinker with a high likelihood to respond the same way. As of recently, I have learned the importance of taking a “chill pill” & processing situations accordingly. One of the most important lessons I have been learning is that my reaction to anything that happens is my responsibility & my responsibility alone. There is skill in learning to be a master of your emotions. However, despite how much progress I have made, that is a goal I know will take a lifetime to fulfill & I am ok with that.

I lost so much time being angry at people who have offended me; thinking I was proving a point. In fact, the only person who lost was me. They went on with their lives, forgetting how I was feeling while I was left losing time I will never get back. I want us all to consider this as we encounter new people & situations that may be less than ideal. We cannot control other people’s behavior but we can surely control our own. Many of us do not work for ourselves, but work for an employer who dictates the terms & arrangements of our employment. In this relationship, we often find ourselves with little-to-no-say in how it effects us. Therefore, the sure thing we can promise ourselves is checking our emotions at the door while remaining empathetic to those around us. People will do & say things that will get us out of our element, but it is up to us to ensure they do not know the power they have to effect us & influence our behavior.

We have all reacted in ways that have given people power over us. Whether we were mad, sad, angry or depressed— but it is important that we bare in mind that no one is deserving of that from us; especially not for an extended period of time. If we can lose time festering on horrible experiences & horrible people, we can surely invest the time on other productive things like empowering ourselves out the experience & motivating others who find themselves in similar situations. After all, it is true what they say, “life is too short to be anything but happy.” Therefore, the first step to ensuring we remain that way is to control what we can & let go of the things we can’t. It is not up to us to change people but it is our job to change ourselves.

Put The Idols Down…

Our day-to-day activities can be influenced significantly by the phone in our pockets, unlimited access to the media & the our personal pursuit for wealth & “nice” things. We have gotten so caught up in this that we have become distracted by the influence these things have on our lives.  We work endless hours, we lose out on time with our loved ones, we lose time for ourselves, & put our spiritual pursuit on the back burner believing that it will all be there when we see riches. The thing about riches is that once they are obtained, the grind MUST continue in order to keep them. So in pursuing such goals, the likelihood that the things we neglected will still be there diminishes as time passes. Therefore, today my question to you (me too) is what has our full attention? What is serving as a distraction that inhibits us from having unforgettable moments with the people we love the most? When did we start idolizing our cellphones, cash & cars before we have taken the time to care for ourselves? At what point do we decide it is too much & it is time for a break? 

The sad truth is that we have come to idolize material things over taking the time for ourselves, our families & our spiritual growth. We are desiring more for our lives but fail to take a moment to step away & fast from the things that are distracting us. Idolizing is not limited to worshipping a false God but is anything that is over consuming our time that does not allow us to grow in other aspects of our lives. So today, I challenge us to recognize what may be crippling us from doing better & taking precious time away from us. Whether it is our phones, our jobs, our cars or what we aspire to have, we must do something about it. There is no way we can truly be our best selves in all areas of our lives if we become slaves to the things we have & don’t have. It is totally normal to want & strive to have nice things but we must aspire to have a healthy balance. The time we don’t lose is worth so much more than having all these things with no one to share it with.

The older I get, the more I realize how short life is. I reflect on the people I lost & wish life gave me more time. More time to tell them how much I love them, or to spend one more hour with them. Loss is inevitable but lost time due to distraction can be prevented. So, let us put the phones down a little more, go on social media hiatuses or plan a staycation with our families. Whatever it is, enjoy the moment, time is of the essence. We can not afford the distraction.