Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday, the only day of the week where you do not get to whine, complain, or criticize. Now, if you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the first post HERE for more on what this post is all about.
The Four Agreements is one of those books I keep close to me alongside the Bible and Letters to a Young Poet. This agreement is my favorite and has been on my heart even without having anything to do with the book. You will find that you are happier when you don’t take things personally. When you know who you are, you don’t need people to tell you how good you are. When you receive praise, you don’t take that personally by letting it get to your head and start to think more highly of yourself than you should think. There is only one creator, and it’s not you. You understand that you are a vessel used for Yah’s purpose and that everything you are belongs to him.
Most importantly, when people say bad things about you or do not react in the way you expect them to, you don’t take that personally either. You learn to create healthy boundaries that allow you to cut people off who continue to disrespect you but you don’t take it personally. You know whatever they think is a result of their own belief system, opinions, and emotions. When people violate your expectations, whether that’s not calling/texting you back or not responding the way you think they should, you don’t see it as a personal attack on yourself. You’ll learn when people are happier, they respond positively but when people are not happy they respond negatively. And the good thing? That has nothing to do with you.
People who are not happy with their life will not be happy to see you happy and that’s okay. They are on their own journey. They can’t relate to you at this point in their lives. Otherwise, they would respond differently. They would be excited, motivated and charged. Why? Because they have been where you are and they know what it felt like when they had that same joy. But when things are not as joyous in their own life? They will respond differently. That’s okay. This has nothing to do with you. It’s an opinion given to you based on how they are feeling in this moment but you don’t have to accept it. The person is dealing with themselves, not you.
Taking things personally is a selfish act because you make everything about you when that’s not the case. What people do and say is not a reflection of you. It’s a reflection of their own selves.
The so-called Black man, woman, and child have been mis-educated on several levels. We’ve been mis-educated mentally, physically, and spiritually. We have lost knowledge not just of who we are (the children of Israel) but who our creator is (Yah) and what our duty is as a people (a nation of priests). My job is to do my part to resurrect truths that have been hidden and glossed over and whitewashed for too long. Not only is this my job, but it is also my responsibility. We are responsible for what we know. If I sugarcoat or water down the facts, I am responsible for the miseducation of the so-called Black/African American in much the same way as a History teacher is responsible.
One reason I am an Independent Artist is because of the freedom to speak the truth as it is, not as people want it to be, and I cannot deviate from this. I am not here to tickle ears or to make people comfortable. That’s not what Yah has called me to do. I am a writer and that carries with it exceptional weight. For it is the writers of history who wrote the textbooks that purposely left out vital information regarding the so-called African American people. It is the writers of the world who left out information pertinent to the true identity of the so-called African American and have instead scribbled falsehood with the stroke of the pen.
It is not for me to force people to believe the truth. My job is not to judge or to condemn. My job is simple. My job is to state the facts as they are without regard to who it may offend. Otherwise, I would help to perpetuate lies.
It is up to us, the writers of the world, to write today exactly as it is so that our children can see history exactly as it was and are not, therefore, subjected to the same regurgitated ignorance that we were subjected to. It is up to us, the writers of the world, to hold ourselves to a higher standard because we are responsible for how the next generation will look back on today.
Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works. Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at yecheilyahysrayl.com. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is available now on Amazon.com.
It is more challenging to work for yourself in my opinion than someone else. My husband and I both run our own businesses. Here’s why it’s more of a challenge:
You Can’t Be Lazy
I know, you work for yourself, why can’t you? The truth is that though it’s more freedom, this freedom is a doubled edged sword. Having and running your own business is different than working a 9-5. When you work a 9-5 you’re expected to be there every day and on time and you can have paid times off or vacations or just decide not to come into work today. Pull that when you’re your own boss and it’s the difference between buying groceries and going hungry. The truth is that when you work for yourself you can’t be lazy. Instead of getting paid per hour, you’re getting paid per client and it is how you pay your bills and provide for your family. Not putting in work means to literally not get paid that day.
This goes hand in hand with not being lazy. Working for yourself requires more discipline. The reason is because when you work a 9-5 you have days off. When you work for yourself, however, you have to create those days and it’s tempting to procrastinate or put things off. Even though I work from home I still must discipline myself to get up early. There are only so many hours in a day and the earlier you get up the more you can get done. First of all, I need to get a good workout in to get the juices pumping and then I have to get to work which works well if I get up early enough. For my personal business, it’s more so building. Since I don’t have any “clients” yet what I don’t spend in money I spend in time. Researching, writing, blogging, sending off packages, marketing, promotion, and organizing.
However, since I am also the Vice President for my husband’s contracting business, I only have a certain amount of time to do certain things so I do not neglect any key responsibilities. My husband calls it “clocking in”. I call it walking into the office with a cup of coffee in my PJs. Though liberating, I have to constantly remind myself to take breaks and because I make my own schedule I have to incorporate my own vacations. This isn’t as easy as it sounds because when you work for yourself you’re never off. Your phone is constantly ringing from clients, your email and text messages are overflowing with new messages, and you’re just overall always locked in. My husband had to literally talk me into writing last weeks Black History Fun Fact Friday article. If it was not for him you all would not have had a BHFFF article for real. After grocery shopping, putting up food, and cleaning the kitchen I certainly didn’t feel like researching on the computer. But my husband’s work ethic is amazing and he does not let me slack off. Truth is, people think that not having a “job” means you have all the time in the world and that you spend your days staring at the wall. In reality, I rarely have time to watch TV. (My version of TV is CNN as background noise). So, breaks such as movie night is something that we create.
Since I mentioned breaks, I figured I should go ahead and list this one for the last bullet point. When you work for yourself you must schedule your own breaks. This sounds simple, but it’s not. Entrepreneurs are largely made up of what people call workaholics. The truth is not everyone is a workaholic, it’s just that when you make your own money you’re constantly working (as I’ve just mentioned) because nothing is guaranteed and every cent is earned. Therefore, business owners must create schedules to ensure they don’t lose their minds. We must create our own days off and vacations (mine is coming up, whoo hoo!) When we return, we’re reminded of why working for yourself is so much more mentally challenging. Everything we put off has piled up and so the grind continues but….
I would do it all again in another lifetime.
When you own your own business, you don’t just have more control but you gain so many more valuable skills, such as being more accountable for your actions and being more attentive to your surroundings and the behavior of people. You learn to do things like take the initiative (doing what needs to be done without being told) which is a great leadership skill. There’s something about doing the work yourself that gives you a different way of looking at the world, a new perspective, and a higher level of discipline and responsibility. In addition, the reward for all of this work is well worth it. The benefits of entrepreneurship certainly outweigh the challenges.
Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release summer, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release (coming soon) for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.
You were pulled over because your taillight is out, your license is suspended, and you were speeding.
The reason you’re in the condition that you’re in is not because of the white man and its not just because your black. We are in these conditions as a people largely because of our own lack of accountability for our actions.
A nine year old boy is murdered on the south side of Chicago because of his father’s dealings. Where are the marches at Jesse Jackson? Where is the protest Al Sharpton? Where’s the movement against black people killing black people?
John Singleton said that he will never put another movie out like Rosewood again because black people don’t support it. Rosewood for those who don’t already know is a movie based on a true story, a dramatization of the 1923 horrific lynch mob attack on an African American community.
The Tragedy of Rosewood
In an article written in The Baltimore Sun, Stephen Hunter lists some reasons why the movie Rosewood did not excel calling it “a fundamentally immature, undisciplined work.” He goes on to say “Singleton probably over-romanticizes Rosewood.” Another major criticism was the cowboy theme, something we also see in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained but if you understand history you would know that blacks were the first cow-boys. The term comes from the plantation where black boys were in charge of tending to the cattle. They were quite literally “cow boys”. So not only do I disagree with Hunter, but critics are missing a key element that contributed to why the movie did not do well.
The conversation always comes back to the Rosewood-Booty Call debate. Rosewood came out a week before Booty-Call and almost destroyed Singleton’s career. Booty-Call on the other hand did extremely well, putting leverage to Jamie Foxx’s career.
The truth is that the black community must start taking responsibility for its actions. You are not pulled over just because your black, sometimes its because your illegal. If you know the system is biased, why would you behave recklessly? Even the bible says to give unto Caesar what is Caesars. So if I know its against the law to speed why would I risk getting caught? Likewise, a lack of black identity in film is not just because Hollywood does not want to see conscious movies about black people, but black people don’t even wanna see conscious movies about black people! As strangers in a foreign land we have been taught to hate ourselves and we tend to operate accordingly. If I hate myself I’m going to hate everything about myself. Yes, some of you hate yourselves but you can’t even take responsibility for that simple truth. Your afraid of your own people and you think dark skin a big nose, thick lips and kinky hair is the ugliest thing in the world.
Part of Rosewood’s failure is the fact that many blacks would much rather watch Tyler Perry’s, Medea Goes to Jail. You go to bed wearing a wig and you wake up with a wig. You go to bed with make-up on and you wake up with it on both literally and figuratively speaking. You put on elaborate personas because you hate who you are.
When you hate yourself but you don’t know that you hate yourself, this is a dangerous position to be in because a lack of love turns you into a monster. The stories of Jason and Michael Myers are not horror stories about supernatural beings. They were stories of children who were teased and abused and have consequently learned to hate themselves and it turned them into monsters. Michael Jackson is a real life example of childhood abuse turned horrific. This man was talented and has made great music but he also turned himself into a monster because he hated himself. He hated himself so much that he changed his physical appearance. That’s because when you hate your inside you hate everything outside and millions of dollars ain’t gonna solve it. Money can’t solve hatred only love can. The only way you can conquer self-hate is love, starting with self-love but to love yourself you have to first know yourself and knowing yourself begins with admitting your faults. Take some responsibility for the part you play in how you are treated. It doesn’t exempt anyone for their wrong but it helps you to move forward in yours.
When you know yourself only then can you love yourself and only then can you be yourself.
“This week marks the anniversary of the Rosewood massacre. Hundreds of black people were murdered and lynched and run off their own land and homes. We must never forget the domestic terrorism survived by our people. In 1997 I released a movie on the incident. It wasn’t one of my more successful pictures box office wise but I think it one of the best I’ve done. The same weekend it was released Booty Call came out. I think more black folks were comfortable watching Booty Call that weekend than Rosewood… Which is a shame…. I feel the more we embrace our history the better we can defend against being oppressed in our present. Just my thoughts this morning.”
I know I know it’s been a scarce week (or two) here on The PBS Blog. Truth is I began a number of projects years ago that are starting to show signs of fruit. I am completing my first short story series. In fact, Stella Book #1 Releases Next Week which will be promptly followed by additional parts taking me well into the summer and just in time to begin work on Pearls Before Swine Vol. #2 in the fall. Needless to say I expect to have a busy year (yaaasss). But the biggest project, the one I am super siked to be on the finishing end of is the audio for my Third Poetry Book Collection “Womanhood Don’t Begin in Menstrual Cycles”, which releases next month (March). But while I set out to organize my life offline, it led me to today’s post: Responsibilities.
This has nothing to do with projects or books, but life. As we go about our daily routines and the accomplishments of our goals there is a lot missing from the accountability end of this whirlwind of events and circumstances. We must keep in mind that we are responsible for everything we say, everything we do and everything that we write. There’s a quote that says ” We are what we write”, and what a profound truth. I speak and you listen and as a result of my speaking you in turn perceive. You may either accept or reject and that’s your business. I cannot be responsible for the way in which your eyes see, but I can be responsible for influencing what you see. In other words, our personal lives would be so much better if as individuals we took responsibility for who we are and what we are and those things that we influence, good or bad.
A young man dies on the street corner. He is 17 years old. By age 5 he can quote the rap lyric to every rap song known to man. His routine consists of school, TV, food and back again. Homework has been lost in-between. At age 10 he came into the house at whatever hour his youthful activities would warrant. By age 13 he was buying his own clothing and paying his mothers bills. By the age of 16 he was paying her rent altogether. At 17 years old a young man is gunned down on the street corner. The aftermath presents a distraught mother who cannot fathom the animal who would gun down her son. “He was a good boy”, she says. And while I would not doubt he just may have been a nice guy, what was he doing on the corner in the first place? What kind of activities led him there? And at what point does this mother take responsibility for the kind of behavior she approved the moment she accepted what she knew to be drug money? Or perhaps I trip over a rock and scar my face in the process. Oh and I was texting by the way so I wasn’t exactly looking up. I was not paying attention and as such I could not see what was in front of me. This is the kind of accountability in which I speak.
Healing can only come from personal accountability. I can never fix what is wrong with me if I cannot acknowledge my own imperfections. It is important to ask ourselves: “What is it about me that led to this? What is it about my heart that chose this?” Because only until we come fully into the understanding of our personal selves can we begin to make changes. Until then we will never progress in our lives. But once the process of personal accountability has begun, then we will begin to improve on those struggles we once thought were immovable. A bad situation is always a bad situation, but growth is optional. We choose to accept who we are and who we have become. We decide what aspects of our lives will change and which will remain based on our level of responsibility. When we are at fault we choose to accept or deny that fault. And when we have made a mistake we choose how that mistake will change us.