Yayy, #BeWoW is back! It’s been awhile since I’ve drafted a “Be Wonderful on Wednesday” post. I really enjoy writing on the prompts! Special Congratulations to Ronovan Writes for his new laptop and to the Blogging community for banding together and helping him out. I do not have a #BeWoW post for today, I plan to publish one next week time permitting. I just wanted to give a special post highlight for Ronovan.
Be good to yourself.
It’s easier said than done, but extremely important to remember. Humility does not ask that we think less of ourselves, just that we think of ourselves less. Many of us spend our days constantly looking out for others and it is a great work. We encourage, inspire, share, and overall put others above ourselves. But we have to remember to give this same kind of love to our own selves too. People who are good to themselves are strong enough to be good to others. On the other hand, there’s a saying that says to beware when a naked person offers you a shirt. What kindness can I offer you if I don’t first have the same kindness for myself? We have to learn to humbly accept compliments, rest when we need to, and treat ourselves every now and again. It’s not asking too much to implement some kind of exercise routine for your physical body, reading for your mind and prayer and reflection for your spirit. Our worlds can be so chaotic at times that we may even need to pull away for a while to tend to ourselves. This is not just a suggestion, but we need this. If you can’t function you can’t perform. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to be of service to others. So take some time today and be wonderful to yourself this Wednesday.
I’m not sure what the suggested topic is for today, but I am excited to be back after missing last week. My positive contribution to Ron’s BeWoW prompt today is Silence is Golden.
I believe there is a time to speak, but I also believe there is a time not to speak. When it is not the time to speak, Silence is Golden. It is worth more than the most trusted opinion, more than the long list of facts, more than the careful strung words we tend to place between our teeth. Silence, when implemented in its time, is a most powerful weapon; it cuts through to the meat and shatters the bones. It ceases the need for a humble snack, or the need to taste your words twice. Most importantly however, it cuts down on unnecessary negative energy. I have come to keep quite on certain matters, not because I am afraid to speak on them, but because I do not desire to give it my energy in the first place. For whatever reason, we tend to realize the need for these things far too late, a lesson we know all too well, that is, hindsight is always 20/20. But that’s life, and what is our existence without these lessons? I have come to understand time as our most precious and most valuable resource, why waste it for the sake of words spoken out of season? Even a fool is considered wise when he closes his mouth and watches his words. Silence indeed is golden.
feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity); a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.
Ex. “She immediately regretted her words.”
Today, Ron’s suggested topic for #BeWoW is on Regret:
In my opinion, the idea of Regret is good. In order for someone to change from a negative situation, thought, or feeling, he or she must admit to a wrong and feel sincerely sorry for having committed this wrong. There must be some kind of sadness from having done it. This repentance of sorts then will lead to proper change in whatever capacity that it is needed. So the concept of having Regret for having done wrong is a good thing. If I have no ill will toward having done evil in the past then the reality that it is evil has not left my heart and I do not see it as the evil (or mistake) that it is. If I lied but I do not Regret lying, then I do not see it as the wrong that it is. Life presents the opportunity for change and growth in many instances in our lives. And when I look around at the negative parts of me that I struggle to completely do away with, I see those parts as belonging to a time I have not fully regretted. I know that it is bad, but I do not wholeheartedly feel bad for having participated in that bad, I have not fully Regretted it. Instead, secretly, I still see it as a good thing.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
― Cynthia Occelli
On the other hand, the problem with Regret comes in when we wallow in that Regret and our repentance then turns not into positive change, but ugly depression, and thus causes us to regress in many ways. Even if I can Regret having made a mistake, I can never correct it if I continue to hold on to it. The amount of energy that I put into that kind of regret has the capacity to single handily destroy me. It leaves no room for positive change or any other feeling. This kind of Regret is a cancer, eating away at our life force until we are a mere reflection of what we used to be. It causes us to feel sorry for ourselves so deeply that we eventually hate ourselves because of it and are no longer any good; not to ourselves and not to anyone else. We fall down, but unlike positive Regret, we do not look on the fall as an opportunity to get back up, we look on it instead as a crutch and as an excuse to keep us down. This is the ugly side of regret and no good can come from it.
In closing, I say to my Regretters:
You should feel sorry when you’ve done something wrong because if not you are bound to repeat it. You should Regret it and be remorseful and sad because this is what is needed to change it from a negative to a positive situation. However, careful not to allow this sadness to turn into depression because it will destroy you. It’s OK to feel bad but eventually you gotta get yourself together and back on track. Your sanity and your growth as an individual depends on it.
Ron’s #BeWoW prompt today is to explain what ordinary and extraordinary means to us. As I pondered over and over again about the defining moment of these words for me, I found the prompt to be quite the challenge. It was with interesting difficulty for me to talk about these words. To present something more than definitions, but to really talk about these words. While it is an optional prompt, I thought more and more until I was deeply interested in writing on this topic, and there lies my definition. Ordinary and Extraordinary was right there in the midst of my pondering on whether or not to use the prompt at all, standing finger to face, keyboard to post. I could perceive in my mind a subject I thought far more worthy as it would also be easy. Or I could dictionary Webster’s mind for a sneak peek into the traditional history of these words. I could see each day this way too; commonly held thoughts and belief systems coming and going at average pace. Putting nothing less and nothing more into the day at hand. Never pushing limits. Never going beyond. Never taking risk. Never faithfully walking alongside the edge of possibility. The ordinary.
Or, I could create a post out of the challenging. I can break that level of comfort. I could perceive in my mind an opportunity to force the creative mind to produce. Not just to contribute, but to build. I could see each day this way too; holding fast to the individuality I was birthed with. Producing the unexpected. The perceptibly strange. The odd. The extraordinary. Putting forth nothing less than impeccable effort. Pushing limits. Never giving less than 100% of thought. Never settling for traditional, but embracing the different. Fearlessly and boldly walking alongside the edge of possibility. Immersing both my mind and my spirit in the groundbreaking. The unique. The extraordinary.
My submission for this week
episode of Ron’s BeWoW Blogshare is on mental strength and stability.
We often attempt to plan every second of our lives. As a result, our
minds are clouded by a conglomerate of possible and maybes that did not
turn out the way we intended. While preparation is good, over analyzing
and planning increases stress. You cannot relax long enough for things
to work themselves out smoothly because you’re too busy planning ahead.
You have no time for the present moment because you’re always thinking
about the next. Time then passes you by and before you know it today is a
memory. The question is now: what did we make of it? It is important to
work hard, and to fill each day with some kind of task but do not
forget to breathe. Don’t forget to smile. Don’t forget to hug the person
next to you or do something for someone else for a change. Let things
run their course as they were intended to. I understand this is easier
said than done and it may even require you to give up certain pleasures
for the sake of peace in your mind. This is important because the mind
is where it all begins, it is higher than the physical and where the
spiritual dwells. A lot of times we think we are weak in certain areas
when we’re not. The weakness instead is in the mind. It is clouded by
unnecessary burdens we place on ourselves. Plan, organize, and structure,
but go with the flow too. Don’t continue to allow yourself to
BeStressed because life is too short. Instead, clear your mind. It may
be hard to find, but try to discover the reasons why and let things
happen as they will without factoring your genius in the equation.
And that’s my BeWoW for today. Yall be great.
Since I’m currently researching how to write a memoir and am prepping myself for writing my own one day, I have prepared for you a mini bio. It includes information about me I have never shared on this blog. I think this will help me to access how to go about the memoir writing process and to also see if I have what it takes to bring my story to life. Ready? Here we go:
Concrete Children – Life inside the Robert Taylor Projects
My name is Yecheilyah Ysrayl, also known as “EC” but a lot of people don’t know that I was born Stacey Hereford on May 26, 1987 at Billings Hospital on the south side. I actually changed my name back in 2008, a year after my road to self-discovery and identity had begun.
The unique thing about my birth is that I was not born alone but I have a twin sister as well, but I will not reveal her name because I did not get her permission to do so. I also have two other sisters and three brothers but my twin and I are the youngest. So total, between my mom and dad there are seven of us. We grew up in the Robert Taylor Projects on Chicago’s south side. When it opened, The Robert Taylor homes housed up to a peak of 27,000 people, although they were built to maintain only 11,000 and comprised of 28 high-rise buildings; with 16 stories each, and a total of 4,415 units, mostly arranged in U-shaped clusters of three, stretching for two miles. It was located in the Bronzeville neighborhood of the south side of Chicago, on State Street between Pershing Road (39th Street) and 54th Street alongside the Dan-Ryan expressway.
“If yo mama’s on dope and yo frigerator’s broke go to chokes! Go to chokes!”
I didn’t make that up, it was an actual song. We sang the hood hymn down the hall of the largest housing project in the country. We sang from the eighth floor to the first every chance we got to make it to the free breakfast program offered by CHA, or Chicago Housing Authority. It was nicknamed chokes because the sandwiches were so dry we were sure to die of thirst if water didn’t deliver us. Yet these raggedy choke sandwiches erupted inside of us a sense of excitement every week, surely preferable to the empty air soup available at the moment. Like most of the families who resided in the buildings, our mother’s twitching mouth and search for the white stuff on the floor proved that the 1980s crack epidemic had taken root especially well, and was a normal scene. For a while I didn’t understand why they bent so much so, wetting their finger slightly before placing it back in their mouth after its short journey to the floor. What they tasted I did not know, but became used to seeing their backs bent in anxious investigation of the corners of the house. I didn’t understand then about the invisible shards of cocaine embedded in the cracks of the floor or the disappointing realization that it is just white paper. But since many of the people who hung around were drug addicts, I became accustomed to such behaviors and could tell at an early age when someone was high. It was not splinters of judgment coming from the walking planks of my childhood perspective; it’s just that to us it was normal. Their faces contorted as their entire presence was invaded by an outside force they could not control. It was more than a decision to get high, it was a need. I imagine the ecstasy of it all took them places, sat them on the tops of clouds and let them see the room spin. They picked imaginary lint from their clothing and laughed at jokes only they were in on. I imagine worry lifted itself from their shoulders piece by piece until peace descended like nothing before and everything was right in the world. At this point nothing is more important than getting back the feeling of the first hit. Every other moment after that is a quest to repeat the trip to the moon the demons took them on. Not even food was more important than feeling that same feeling again. It’s not like they were in their right minds; it is taken out of their heads and resting somewhere in another dimension. They steal and sometimes kill to be taken to this place and they don’t see you. There is no focus on anything but the next hit until they come down from the clouds they’ve been riding. But the urge and thirst of it makes them want it again almost instantly. They are walking zombies, vampires seeking to do whatever it takes to draw blood. It is the price of being hooked, and if they could, they would sell their soul to the devil for a chance to get high. Everything is happy and forgetful all at the same time. They scratched, laughed, talked, and from my naïve perspective they even seemed to love better.
The Robert Taylor Homes faced many of the same problems that doomed other high-rise housing projects in Chicago such as Cabrini Green. Whether it was drugs, violence, murder, disease, you name it, it happened here. The dull, concrete high-rises, many blackened with the scars of fires, sat in a narrow stretch of slum. It seemed the wind carried us to the next step one 4th of July weekend where the wrong turn can be the epitome of a beat down or casual robbery. The tall narrow hallway swallowed us down pee scented stairways and rat infested incinerators. The floors loitered with crack vials, weed and potato chip bags, and walls covered in the scars of spray painted names, profanity, and other scars of wear as we zoomed throughout the building. An explosion of innocence resurrecting our footsteps; unaware of the war taking place on the exterior of where we found hobby. At a time where children had nothing important to ponder except penny candy, concrete children were rocking themselves to sleep on burnt orange sofa’s while their mother’s roamed the streets for the next hit. Fathers were non-existent since their mother’s couldn’t get welfare without them. They were around though, standing on the corners or hiding underneath the beds of women. They were the Uncle Pookie’s and Cousin Ray-Ray’s of hundreds of children who knew them as nothing more than the Big Mike’s of the block. My father wasn’t around either in those early days, at which we’ll explore more deeply later. But today, like all Holidays, was an exception. Our mother’s had sacrificed Food Stamps so that we may take part in the energy of the gods. Today we were sacrificial as a lamb, but tomorrow no one will eat.
The authority of drug dealers overtook CHA (Chicago Housing Authority) and they became the owners. As is common in any hood, dealers fought for control of the buildings. In one weekend, more than 300 separate shooting incidents were reported in the vicinity of the Robert Taylor Homes. Twenty-eight people were killed during the same weekend, with twenty-six believed to be gang-related. Running home from school to escape the presence of gun fire was common for children growing up in the buildings. I can distinctively remember Uncle Huey picking us up from school early as not to be caught in the fury of “wild bulls in a net”. The most noted case is that of little Vinyette. On June 25, 1983, an infant, Vinyette Teague, was abducted from Robert Taylor after her grandmother left her alone in the hallway for a few minutes to answer a phone call. An estimated 50 people were in the hallway at the time of the abduction, but police were unable to gather enough evidence to make any arrests. She has never been seen or heard from since, and her real name I use only because the Newspapers have long since made it public.
Vinyette’s disappearance and the people’s failure to assist in her return was due to the social system that burrowed deeper than the hoods ever infamous rule of “No Snitching”. But due to the extent of poverty, Robert Taylor housing projects developed a system of social welfare and reciprocity between the tenants and gang organizations such as the GD’s (Gangsta Disciples), and BKs, (Black Kings). The gangs protected the tenants and homeless people living in their territory. In return, the gangs were allowed to sell product (drugs) out of the Robert Taylor homes. They also negotiated with the Chicago Housing Authority (who were for the most part scared of the gang members anyway and had little desire to offer assistance to its tenants) for renters. Tenants often exchanged use of appliances for food, money, or services. A community said to have been built to counteract the Chicago slums quickly became an emblem of failure.
End of Memoir Sample
And this has been an EC Blog-Share…whose next?