Tag Archives: personal conflict

Conflict of Passion in Success

16 Feb
dreams and wishes. 62/365

dreams and wishes. 62/365 (Photo credit: nicole.pierce.photography ♥)

“Success comes from following your passion”.

I often battle with this notion because I have been raised by generations of people who valued the privilege to work, not necessarily loving what it is that they do, most of the time steering clear of innovative methods of making an income. There are of course a few exceptions, but with the majority, the question I tend to get is “do you have a job yet?” Never once inquiring about my passion or even what my strengths are. Because of that, I find that a lot of my family can be surprised at what I have the audacity to dream of making money from.

They appear to view cultural icons (i.e. Toni Morrison, Soledad O’Brien, Kadir Nelson and yes even Kanye) as the exception more so than the rule, as is any other person who decided to take a risk and follow their heart in pursuit of finding happiness in a career as opposed to a benefits package and salary. The irony is that most of these people are handsomely rewarded in their pursuits and when asked, often admit to never truly feeling like they have “worked
 a day in their life.

After admitting to myself that I have not ever been employed doing what I love, I had to also ask myself why that was. A part was the pressure of feeling like I had to make money over pursuing fulfillment. But a bigger part was that while some of my counterparts were being asked by their families about their dreams, desires-what they would do with their life if money was no issue, I wasn’t. Although I demonstrated tremendous talent in the arts, rarely was I encouraged to pursue that as a possible career. I even remember clearly, someone telling me that those who major in arts, were meant to starve, so that wasn’t a smart path for me to choose. Although I now beg to differ, I was impressionable at a young age and looking for guidance as much as I was looking to please. That is how I ended up here.

For years, I struggled with those expectations of who I should be, as opposed to who I am. But acknowledgement as to why, has helped me to not hold a grudge. I come from a lineage of maintenance workers, factory workers, butchers, soldiers, admin staff, with the only professionals being teachers. Many of my family members operated out of need and who can dream when you’re fixated on making sure your family is fed? Better yet, who can dream when a system seems to tell you that you can’t? It took me a long time to even allow myself to think outside of the box, but I am committed to doing so because I believe I deserve and have the ability to do so. Moreover, I think I owe it to generations past and present to at the very least, try.

Whitney Houston (Facing My Reality)

13 Feb
The Greatest Love of All

Image via Wikipedia

Whitney Houston’s passing isn’t surreal for me. It’s very real. Bringing into question my mortality and quality of life, reminding me that tomorrow is never guaranteed.

It puts into perspective that which makes my heart sing; forcing me to acknowledge that if I had it my way, I would spend these moments with the love of my life, living close to the beach so walks along the shore would be a few short steps away. I’d want to fully indulge in the blessings of life, taking short breaks to write (because I adore doing so) and to share laughs with family and friends. I’d want to do so free from the anxiety and stress placed upon me by a chaotic world, that dictates my daily path by superficial faded pieces of paper with dead presidents’ faces imprinted on them.

Ms. Houston’s passing arouses the fear that I am anywhere but in this utopia of my dreams, and makes me question why not, as well as the possibility of such a world.

We all throw around phrases and mantras about tomorrow not being promised and the importance of living for today but I know I am not alone in being bound by the fear of truly doing so. That in some way by living each day as if it was our last, is acknowledging the possibility that it very well could be. We procrastinate because we hope and long for tomorrow and the years to come, and if we are truly honest with ourselves we aren’t living out our maximum potential because perhaps we are afraid to accept that at some point we will all breathe that last breath and continue to whatever destiny our beliefs have in store for us.
I do believe that Whitney Houston is resting in peace now, but I can’t help but wonder, if she had it her way, would she have rather her existence here on earth, to be as peaceful-overflowing with love, encouragement, joy, and the expression of her dreams as it has seemed to be in these subsequent days of her death; If perhaps she would have made different choices throughout her life had she known how brief it would turn out to be. I too have childhood memories of wishing I had a red and black tutu like Whitney Houston’s so I could belt out “I wanna dance with somebody who loves me”, but the mature adult in me is reminded of the reality that tomorrow really is not promised and if that is in fact the case (which proved to be true for our fallen icon), what am I doing about that truth today?

“Mirror Mirror”

7 Nov
Finger pointing

Image via Wikipedia

I have a hard time calling people on their crap. Partly because I question if that is truly my responsibility and I’d rather conserve my energy for something else with the better odds of return on my time investment. Now, this wouldn’t be so much of an issue if their baggage and missteps didn’t often become mine. The irony is however, that people do not exercise such caution with me.

I am no stranger to feedback. Thanks to those around me I now know that I am arrogant, stubborn, stuck-up, concise, stingy, too-quiet, conservative, at times loose-lipped, while disguised as the victim. After being on the receiving end of a verbal dumping I am often left to my devices as to how I am going to address all these observed flaws. And yes, these are my family and friends (Lord knows what my enemies would say).

But I often wonder, why people are so comfortable knocking you down, but don’t equally extend the effort to build you up. Or at least give you the blueprints to do so.

Here’s why: If people stay distracted, they can neglect their own issues long enough to forget them. They are no more a picture of human perfection than you are. They’re just hoping that while they are giving you your critic’s notes, that you will not notice. That’s not to say, that points of accountability from others are to be dismissed; I have learned a lot about myself, my intentions vs other’s perceptions of me as well as how pivotal it is to truly know myself, so that I can define myself and grow comfortable in defending that definition. I just also know, that I am not alone in this. So as opposed to beating myself up, I can take it all with a wink and a strut as I go to work!

“Blue Rose”

28 Oct

There was a time when I thought that if:

I got straight A’s, I’d be praised

If I was thinner, I’d be complimented

If I was quiet, I’d be intriguing

If I spoke up, I’d be respected

If I were social, I’d be popular

If I were wilder, I’d be a hot commodity

If I were liberal, I would liberated

If I were funnier, I’d be the life of the party

If I was docile, I’d be respected

If I loved harder, I’d be loved in return

I thought that if I somehow managed the perfect balance of being what other’s wanted from me and what I wanted, I’d finally be viewed as an obedient daughter, loving granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin, dependable friend, a gracious lover. But trying to be all that to everyone left me unfulfilled and spent because in the midst of considering everyone else, I forgot about me.

Now, I’m working on putting my desires first because I’ve accepted that most of the steps that I take in this life are lonely, meaning the repercussions of my choices are mine to bear. And besides dealing with my personal disappointment has proven to be easier than the disappointment of others.

“Stop This Train”

16 Oct

It’s been a while since my last post and all I can say is that sometimes breaks are necessary…

I’m finding more and more these days that I am rarely prepared or equipped to handle this ride of life; the speed bumps, abrupt stops, and fast acceleration. I realize that no book I have read, class I have taken, or advice given could have gotten me ready for the emotional tailspin I find myself in as I reflect and analyze my growth (which in some ways is stunted to say the least).

I have never been fearless, but I did approach life with tenacity and a clear vision of where I wanted to end up, what I wanted to achieve, a plan on how I was going to get there. I didn’t spend too much time analyzing my moves, I just made them. That was when I was younger. Before I felt the consequential sting of my choices.  Now I feel more tentative. 

While I’m not comfortable in this state, I have accepted that when you choose life, you are automatically signing up for the ride. So, I am not exempt from the ebbs and flows of growth and maturity. But honestly, being ill-prepared is so damn frustrating. So, in that frustration, I at times have to block out the noise and distraction so that I allow myself to be present in the moment; to grasp what I am supposed to learn and take stock of my strengths as well as opportunities as a means to keep it all in perspective. Hence my absence. Oddly enough though, writing is just the therapy I need to aid in my refocus, so here I sit at this computer committing to my growth. I often say that I don’t want to go into the ground the same as when I was born, so clearly as painful as it may be, this is requisite in the achievement of that goal.

The Facebook Reality

29 Aug
Facebook logo

Image via Wikipedia

We’re all grown right? So let me be frank: Facebook is not the real world! It is a fraction of reality in some terribly embellished gift wrap that we all feverishly open with high hopes and then become frustrated and hurt when it doesn’t live up to our expectations.

I’m not saying that it along with other social media sites don’t have their benefits and advantages (if used effectively), but it is maddening to hear that people are fighting, divorcing, and creating lifelong irreparable rifts over a website. Does anyone else find that odd?!

Now, when your relationship ends, you rush to change your status…and for what? To get the attention and compassion that you truly crave? And lets not start on the audacity of some people to get mad at you when they see you “online” but you won’t answer their phone calls. It’s a bit “stalker-ish” if you ask me but more immature than anything.

We should all be striving to be our best selves and hopefully somewhere in that recipe is true conflict resolution or communication improvement, where we can end (and in some cases start) a relationship maturely and perhaps not through a computer. Where we can be proud of who we truly are and what we have actually accomplished (or not) and not hide behind this over-inflated character that we have created (with a perfectly airbrushed AVATAR) to represent us online. Remember, it is supposed to be for social networking, not social disconnection.

Making Decisions

13 Aug

I often find myself at the crossroads when there is a decision to be made that will have an impact on others. Simply because I really despise messing up or better yet, messing over someone’s feelings. It’s a lot to take into account at times, following your hearts desires while keeping in mind the desires of others, which consistently leaves me in a state of paralysis of analysis.
I’ve come in contact with many who don’t seem to be affected by this problem, been on the receiving end of their “by any means necessary.” Rarely did it feel good, and while I logically grasp and even advocate, the importance of being true to oneself, I wonder where the line is to drawn when another person’s emotions are at play; is there even a line to be drawn?
Now in my analysis I sometimes wonder if my response or lack thereof in these scenarios can be solely attributed to my feminine wiring. In my interactions with males, it appears as though pulling the trigger on the opposition is not a task that is met with much difficulty. They sometimes even come across as heartless in the pursuit.
Recently, I had to make a choice between fulfilling a familial “obligation” or spending time with a friend. I felt the pressure when trying to decide what “the right thing to do” was. Was it right to do what was expected of me (basically because I always do) or be true to myself (which I believe would have the bigger long-term payoff). The first option had the potential of disappointing someone else while the second would cause me some momentary dissatisfaction.
This issue plagues me and the stress-filled emotional rollercoaster that making these decisions takes me on is definitely something I’d like to avoid.

I don’t have a sure-fire way to ensure that everyone is satisfied, but what I am coming to grips with, is that the only one who can make sure that I am satisfied is me, I cannot live with regrets, so in my analysis, I now ask, “Which decision will I regret later?” So far that is a good start…

if he pushes you he likes you…

1 Aug

Sometimes guys can be so harsh! I’ve had interactions with males that fall into the friends and lovers category that leave me thinking WTF? In 32 years I haven’t been able to grasp how someone who says they like you can also tease and lash out at you. What is there to gain from that except for the title and resulting discomfort of being emotionally unpredictable?
I mean, how is it that the move from cuddling to cussing happen so seamlessly? I’ve started off conversations with “good morning” that end in me being on the receiving end of a tirade that breaks down how selfish and stuck up I am! WTF? My girlfriends and I have exchanged countless stories of the guy who was super hot and then turned icy in a matter of minutes. Oh and what about the guy (who considers himself my friend) telling me that if he hadn’t “known me before, he wouldn’t be talking to me now”. What was I supposed to gain from that, that I should feel lucky to be in his company?! WTF?
These random (or perhaps not so random) interactions and responses just arouse unnecessary discontent creating a wedge between people who supposedly like each other. Shouldn’t we be building each other up instead? Showing love to one another because we feel that’s what they deserve-since we value the relationship and care about their feelings.
Or better yet, the guy who says “you can do what you want with your feelings” when you state that something he did or said hurt your feelings. The short guy who rags on you about wearing heels or cracks on you for wearing short skirts, when in fact, he met you that way. In the heat of an argument he “slips” and calls you a ho because you mistakenly shared too much about your past when you mistakenly took his word at face value when he said you could trust him. Even though he has even reaped the benefits of your so-called “ho-dom”.

Here’s the deal: Men and women are not all that different. Sure we are psychologically wired differently and are anatomically different, but we all want unconditional love and respect. We want to be valued and have our opinions validated. Most of us, don’t want to fight. We prefer peace. We also all have our baggage that has affected who we are as people, now and then rears its head in both positive and negative ways, but we are not from different planets (despite what the book says). We all deserve the reciprocation of giving and receiving regardless of how much of a woman or man that we exhibit or claim to be; Simply because we are people we deserve these things. In reality we could not exist without each other, so the hurt, humiliation and subsequent isolation that occurs is just as ridiculous as it is futile because face it, we need each other. So, please refrain from pushing unless of course you are encouraging me toward greatness because that is the only way that a push can be useful.

Friends with Benefits

23 Jul

In light of the two movies released this year, “No Strings Attached” and “Friends With Benefits”, everyone has been forced, if not already entertaining, the possibility of whether engaging in such a relationship is plausible, for them.
Is it possible?
Sure for the noncommittal types who shy away from relationships due to fear, because who wants to willingly be hurt?
What are the risks?
You could possibly cheapen some interactions that have the potential to be deeper and of more value, while promoting others to a level of credibility that they don’t deserve.
Also the heart often ends up tangled in a mess that you couldn’t have prepared for even if you tried. Even if you claim no emotional attachment, you still remember their face, what they may have felt, smelled, sounded, or even tasted like. We can’t erase memories. You could potentially be filling up your memory bank with meaningless memories of people that aren’t even an active part of your life. This may not appear to be an issue at first, until you need or want the companionship and cannot reach out to the individuals who you’ve shared some of the most intimate parts of yourself with.
Okay, so are there any benefits?
Perhaps. Depending on you and the state of your “maturity”. I say this because I believe that monogamous, committed relationships between two actually require a level of maturity that most can only imagine possessing. So, if you’re not ready to be faithful and in some ways responsible and accountable for another person’s feelings, then maybe friends with benefits is the way to go.
Also as I’ve heard it phrased, maybe you just need a thorough cobweb dusting and don’t want to have to commit in order to indulge in the luxury of such.
Here’s the real deal though: the operative word in the arrangement is “FRIENDS” with said benefits. It seems like by even the way people discuss entertaining the idea, people are getting it twisted with a one night stand or “booty call”, and subsequently discard an imperative dynamic in the “arrangement”.
Friendship is rooted in mutual respect and love for a person. Think about who you call your friends. You wouldn’t knowingly hurt them or disregard their feelings to maintain your own. Would you use your friend for momentary satisfaction and then put them on the shelf until the need arose again? Probably not. So the definition of the relationship itself isn’t really set up to meet what your expectations of such a relationship can turn out to be.
So therein lies the rub (simply put, the catch 22). Friends with benefits is not the same as a one night stand. The potential risk and subsequent loss is in fact greater. You can cheapen a friendship by reducing them to means for physical gratification and risk losing a relationship of actual value. You must ask yourself: why would I pursue something cheap and of limited value when I deserve and may (even if it’s truly deep down) desire a relationship that is so much more?

Love’s Greatest Killer

8 Jul
love pencil

Image by yanni via Flickr

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”— Anaïs Nin
 
Anais Nin was right. For some time fear has affected my ability to love, the way I love, who I love, sometimes even how long I love them (if the “love” was ever really there to begin with). I’ve been able to acknowledge this personal truth for some time and have analyzed the concept to death with some resolve. I have been able to attribute it (to some degree) to my discomfort with the societal paradigms that dictate how my life should be lived, rarely taking into account who I truly am. I don’t think I am alone in this place, but I do find myself isolated at times when I ask the questions that challenge the status quo.
What I have chosen to do in order to address this issue is to take time and understand myself, what I need and value. What does love look and feel like to me? This is imperative because sometimes the world seems like it is working overtime to cheapen what love truly is and reduce it to a symbol that was recovered from a mine, or roses that were plucked to die, or sex which can be a manifestation of love, but in modern times rarely is discussed as such. They reduce love to a stream of actions and words and less of a way of being which has succeeded in confusing people (sometimes I am one of them).
 Women are running around believing that a man will buy them a house if they love them or a ring resembling a small ice-cube, while men are convincing themselves that because she doesn’t offer to give massages or cook for him or give him sex on a regular, she doesn’t love him. To me, love is very personal. So much so that it cannot be defined by some global standard of tokens, talismans, and superficial expressions. Love is a body of emotions that shapes and defines me, so who I open myself up to is important. Not just what they represent or the lifestyle they can afford me, but who they are inside. Hence the anxiety. We are anxious because we have challenges being true to our own personal definitions of love. Perhaps we don’t know ourselves enough to uncover this personal definition, or maybe we know, and are too afraid of judgement to personify that truth because it is in opposition to what we have been socialized to believe.
What I know is that I am on the one who has to walk the steps of this woman I have become, and I have to live out the repercussions of the decisions that I make, so it seem only wise to be truly responsible and accountable for the life that I live as well as the love I give and receive. Doing so, will enable me to be true to myself which in many cases will diminish the fear overtime because true fear should come in living a life based on other’s wishes, and not my own.