Travel…because there is MORE

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Because there is so much more to the world than just what you see. I think there are times where we become too inward and engrossed in our own worries that we become blind to opportunities to pull ourselves out of depressions. You have to spread your wings and open up, and receive all there is to be received instead of just what you see, because there is more than that. There is more than just one way to live. CHOOSE your way, and don’t settle or be forced into a certain way by default. You always have choices. Choose more.

Qualms of An Online Dater…(This may be a rant)

So…Let’s talk about dating! Actually, let’s talk about a specific kind of dating–online dating. I have quite a few opinions about this, and the truth of the matter is that dating is hard, and that’s just speaking for normal situations. Online dating is even harder. I’m not exactly thrilled to admit that I have issues when it comes to dating, but I know I’m not the only one. My qualm is with online dating specifically. I have had a little experience with this, and it’s becoming or actually is a common way to meet people these days. When things go well, this can be really fun, cool and interesting. However, I have a lot of not so great opinions about this common way of meeting people.

First, let me say that there is nothing wrong with meeting people online. It’s a totally legitimate way to meet great people or that special one that you are looking for. There are just certain aspects of it that I think are negative, and these negative things are become somewhat normal behaviors. For one, online dating can be highly superficial. Usually, the main thing that you have to base a first impression on is a photo. Photos don’t say much about who a person is, but only what they look like. Not to mention looks can be deceiving. Most online dating sites, have a space for the person to say a little about themselves, and I tend to read these if I’m interested in the person. Yet, some people don’t bother to say anything here, which to me says a lot in itself. So they actually only want people to base their interest solely on how they look?

Online dating is also impersonal. This, I feel, is counteractive to the goal of getting to know someone. The mode of communicating in online dating is typically some form of instant messaging. This is convenient. It’s safer than exchanging phone numbers and whatnot, but for the same reasons it’s convenient, it can also be a passive way to have a conversation. You don’t get to hear the person’s voice, as you would in an actual in-person conversation. So, you miss out on the different innuendos that people give when they speak and also body language cues. You don’t have to look the person in the eye when you are messaging. You don’t even have to actually pay attention, as you can multi-task while “engaging” in conversation at the same time. These are also the reasons why I’m not a fan of texting either. This has led to some very prolonged conversations that, if taken place in-person, would only have taken a few minutes. I personally think instant messaging is good for making that initial contact. Yet, I find more personal interaction such as phone calls more effective and time efficient in determining whether or not I want to further engage with someone. Then once I am confident that the person isn’t an axe murderer, an in-person meeting is an option.

Thirdly, if you are not good at accepting rejection, don’t do online dating. There is this infamous thing called the “no response” reply, which is actually a reply within itself. It’s common to not get an initial response from someone who is not interested. However, there are also times where you have a long chat with someone that seems to go really well, only to never hear from that person again. It happens, and the impersonal nature of it all makes it easy for people to do this

Lastly, and I don’t know if it’s because this is the texting generation, but all of this passive communicating via texting or online chatting has left some people lacking in actual conversational skills. It seems that they don’t know what to say when they are interested in a person, and are too afraid to just come out just that. There are all these walls built up of people trying to be someone who they are not, or either are not telling the whole truth about themselves in what they actually do choose to reveal. Everybody’s profiles, more or less, say different versions of the same things. Nobody’s into “playing games” or “drama,” yet, I’ve found that the very people who feel the need to make these statements are probably lying. I mean, if anybody on any dating site was actually honest about not being into drama then perhaps some of them would not still be on a dating site seeking potential partners.

So that’s my spiel about online dating. Lately, I’ve have not been really focusing on dating, but just letting relationships form more organically. Online dating is all just too “forced” for me. People want to date, but don’t want to be open and honest about themselves. (Once again, counterproductive, I think.) So everybody is forced into these unsaid “roles.” I’ve had some crazy experiences that I could share, but are probably best left for another time and conversation. But anyways, what’s your take on online dating?

The Lotus

A source once informed me that I am the Lotus. I am the pristine flower that arises from mirky waters. That’s me. The one who was crucified and rose again. The child  that was sent to die, but yet lives. All of the ancient tales about overcoming adversity are about me.

Life is about the depths from which we climb, and not about the heights we reach.

I believe that God blessed me with a passion for learning to secure Herself in my heart, for I am always seeking to know Her more and more.

You may ask why do I refer to Her as “Her” instead of “He.” But I ask “why not.” I certainly think either is fine. I think the entity that we refer to as “God” is in everything and everybody. God encompasses all things, both the masculine and the feminine and all things outside of or in between.

Work, Honor, and Giving

So, I am very much into the habit of watching very emotional films on Netflix. Many of these films that I watch deal a lot with death or are either prison documentaries. I love them. (for lack of a better phrase) I mean, I don’t love death or prison, but I love the rawness and realness they convey, that one rarely gets to see, even in our daily realities. They usually make me cry (and I’m not a crier), and anything that does that has to be deep. They just make me think about life in a deeper sense. They make me realize that inherently, most of us want the same things. We all want love, acceptance, happiness, to be forgiven for whatever wrong we’ve done.

When I think about life in that way, I think about the ways in which I am spending my life and what good, I’m doing with it. It makes me appreciate the work that people do. See, the work that I do at my day job doesn’t really matter to me. It does, but it doesn’t because it doesn’t necessarily contribute to the greater good of humanity. I’ve come to learn that the jobs that are most important, are the jobs that are in many cases are not even considered to be jobs and require the most work. For instance, being a housewife with children, or a mother period, or to be a person caring for a sick or dying person. These things take the most out of you, and come with little to no acknowledgement. There is honor in all work. When you think there is nothing to be taken away from a situation or even when you feel that you’ve lost, is when the most character is gained. I’ve found that in the responsibilities in which a person is doing for someone else, it is the person that is doing the work who gains the most. To give of yourself is something you can never run out of. It only leaves you with a bigger capacity to give.

The Human Mind: A Threat or Weapon?

The human mind is powerful. It is your greatest weapon, and your greatest threat. I have proof…well sort of. You be the judge.

At the age of twenty-four, I found out that I had something called a RCAA, (right coronary artery anomaly). This I had in addition to heart-related complications I already deal with, related to a condition I was born with, Marfan Syndrome. I was told that this [RCAA] only occurs in an extremely small percentage of the population. I’m realizing, once again, (this isn’t the first time) as the doctor is explaining to me how my artery is in an “awkward” position, that I am unique among the unique. Lucky me right?

Yet, this RCAA has existed within my body since before my birth. It took doctors twenty-four years to even discover it. That’s Western medicine for you. I became quite depressed afterwards. It was one additional health issue to add to the list of things I already deal with. This was something that could kill me at any moment. (Because of it, I am at risk of sudden cardiac death) I spent a good two weeks or more dwelling on the events of my life–past, present, and future, and I just felt it getting…shorter.

Then, I realized that I could have already been dead. Physically, nothing about me had changed. The only difference was the presence of the thought in my head that there was this issue. Even though my physical condition was unchanged, my mind created this looming mood of death. I realized that the only thing that was different was my mind. I was depressed for two weeks solely because of my own thoughts.

What if I had never went to the doctor that day and received that info? Could I have saved myself from two weeks of depression? I figure that it is good that I now am aware of something that I was not aware of previously. However, I should probably save my sanity and not worry about something that I have already (unknowingly) been dealing with my whole life. It is my thinking that says that lots of people who have illnesses probably die, not from the illness itself, but from knowing that they have an illness and constantly thinking/worrying about it all the time.

I have Marfan Syndrome. I know this, but it is, in a way, woven into the normal fabric of my life. It’s not something that I separate as something abnormal about me. I’ve never known life without dealing with the symptoms of this condition. So, when I wake up in the morning, the thought that I have Marfans never comes to mind. I do everything that I want to do, in a way that I can do it. Sometimes, this is easy. Sometimes I have to get creative. I have limitations, but I don’t dwell on them. I just do what I can do, and whatever I can’t…I don’t beat myself up about it. I really don’t think about it much, and this is not intentional, but like I said, it’s just my normal. If I had to come up with an analogy to help you understand, I guess I could relate it to being Black (as I am). I mean, sure there are things in life that happen that remind me that I am Black, but I don’t wake up everyday like “Oh my gosh, I’m Black! Woe is me! 🙂 As, a Black person, I’ve never known life as any other race. I don’t dwell on my race, or even think about it most of the time, unless circumstances force me to have to (which is not uncommon). I think about Marfans in the same way. Yes, there are things I have to deal with, but I still live my life. Don’t let your own mind psyche you out. You can live a full, and fulfilling life, if you decide that that is what you want.

(P.S. After undergoing a stress test, my doctor concluded that I am at a low risk of having any complications in association with my RCAA, but nevertheless, there still is a risk however low it may be, so if anything happens/changes, I may or may not keep you posted 🙂 Until then…I’m living my life like it’s Golden.)

Peace.

“Whats Your Type?”

I’m at a point in my life, where I realize that there are certain things that I require from a person when it comes to being in a relationship, whether it is an intimate relationship or a good friendship. I can usually have a short conversation with someone to decipher whether we will be good friends or otherwise. I know that I can tend to run people off with my “habits of interaction” or lack thereof, but I don’t always see that as a bad thing. It tends to weed out the people who are shallow or just incompatible with me.

There’s this one question that I’ve come across a few times, and maybe you have too, but people will often ask me “What’s your type?” I guess this would mean, what type of person would I prefer as a partner. I think that you can tell a lot more about a person based on the questions that they ask, more so than the ones they answer.

“What’s your type…” I mean, that is such a vague question, and quite frankly, I really don’t have an answer for it, or at least not a simple one. I assume that when people ask this, they want to know what I am attracted to physically, but physical attraction can only take one so far. I always respond with attributes, such as intellect, or in this day and age, something as simple as conversational skills, wit, or humor would be great. However, I can’t help but to sense the shallowness of the actual question itself. I mean, what does one, truly wish to learn from my response? If I stated whatever preferences I might have, at that given point in time, would it deter one who didn’t match up to them from seeking anything further with me? My experiences have proved the answer to that question to be, more than likely, no. Even if one doesn’t fit the “criteria,” I have found that most people would rather just let you uncover their shortcomings on a need-to-know basis instead of just being straight up about things. However, I am quite the opposite. I’d rather show my flaws in the beginning, and if there is still interest, there may be something worth pursuing.

I’ve found that in life, to really learn things, one has to first unlearn what society has programmed us to do. So, when I am asked a question such as, “What’s your type,” I understand that it’s not really that person asking, but rather performing what they have been programmed to do. Performing as in taking on the actions, behaviors, and even language of what they’ve seen or heard. Maybe they have even been asked this question themselves, or maybe seen someone say it on television. All in all, I just think it’s a silly question, as I feel like the only people who actually adhere to being a certain “type” are those who are deliberately trying to do so (i.e. performing) as we are all different and unique.

With that said, I’ll get back to the few things that I do require of someone who takes the role of a friend or a potential life partner in my life. The first thing, although not in any particular ranking, would be mutual interest. It’s important to not just have a mutual interest in one another but to actually show that as well. For example, have you ever had a friend that you always made efforts to contact or hangout with, but they hardly ever make those efforts for you? That doesn’t quite seem like a mutual interest, kind of one-sided eh? Some people may call it “playing hard to get.” in relationship terms. I say playing hard to get is for the birds, and plus ain’t nobody got time for that!

The second thing I require is honesty. This is a really tough one because so many people lie, it has really even become like an acceptable and completely normal thing to do in society. However, it’s never cool with me. For example, I don’t think people should  say that they want to be “friends” when what they really want to be is “friends with benefits.” I have found that with most of my peers, how one defines the term “friend” can be quite twisted and confusing (i.e. frenemies). Even in the early stages, I don’t feel that we have to define ourselves as friends. Friendships, like other relationships take time to develop. I like for people to be candid about what they want. For example, if we’re only friends, I wouldn’t treat you like my significant other, if that is clearly not our status. It’s okay to just be two people interested in each other and just that. I don’t think it’s necessary to feel forced to define that, and when the time is right it can be decided upon mutually.

The last thing, I require, just to round it out to three, is a healthy level of ambition. I can’t think of a better phrase than that to describe this one. There have been times when I have encountered people, and we clearly weren’t on the same page. Sometimes, it may have been that the other person just didn’t quite have their shit together at that time, but the point lies in the fact that they weren’t actively doing anything to improve that. Yet, I’ve also experienced the opposite, where someone may have felt that perhaps I could be doing more to pursue my dreams and goals in life. When I say a “healthy level” of ambition, I am describing someone who actively pursues goals that make sense, but not to the point where they are consumed with this whole idea of “getting ahead” in life. (See previous posts What Is Getting Ahead? and Stop Chasing Paper)

Those are just a few things that come to my mind instantaneously, but this is far from an exhaustive list. I chose not to expound upon some basics such as having some general things in common, but mutual interest, honesty, and ambition (of a healthy level) are a must. I wouldn’t say that I have a checklist, but this is just in response to questions from others, and my answers are really just a summary based on my past experiences. Now there are some pet peeves that I have also, but that’s a totally different subject to save for another day. So what do you think about the question? Do you have a type? Let me know.

Cruel & Unusual…But Comfortable

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I am amazed at how every week, I am able to pick myself up and have a brand new and fresher outlook than what I previously had. Working a 40-hour a week “regular” job, as I do, can get you feeling down at times. Spending so much time entrapped within four walls can seem like a kind of cruel and unusual punishment. Or is that just me who feels that way? Yet, that’s what jobs in a consumer culture based society are designed to do–to keep us wanting, tired, and indulgent. Currently, being employed as a graphic designer, I like my job; yet it is not completely satisfying. I guess some people would say, that’s just life, right? But is it? I’ve been running a fine line of trying not to overlook or under appreciate a blessing. After all, I am gainfully employed. Yet, I also run the risk of growing complacent to the point where I don’t work toward being better and just accept the status quo (i.e. not working on developing myself or craft, which as a creative person can be a certain kind of torture). So why allow any of this? Aside from the obvious of money, jobs are…comfortable. Some may use the term “safe,” but “safe” is an illusion. You are never safe. Comfortable is a more suitable term, in my opinion. Comfortable is having a regular paycheck that is an expected amount. Comfortable is doing the bare minimum to accomplish a task. Although being “comfortable” is easy, it’s emotionally unsatisfying and, at times, draining. I can’t help but feel as if I am wasting valuable time at my job–time that I could be investing into myself.

A while ago, before I had my current job, I had less money, yet I felt more free, and healthier. Getting back to having fresher outlooks, I realize that this job was given to me for a purpose, although I may not fully understand what that purpose is at the present time. Yes, this is a job, but it is also preparation for something greater, just as my previous experiences were preparation for my current situation. Sometimes, all it takes is just a little shift in perspective to help keep you going.

Share and be wealthy.