Month: May 2020

My Catastrophe With Labels

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Lately, I’ve realized that I let myself be labeled and categorized by others for what feels like my entire life.  Some things that aren’t included in the description of my label is being vulnerable and open with my emotions.  Due to this, it feels like it’s almost impossible to let people in on how I truly feel.  This happens to many of us, but the description of our labels vary.  We tend to think that when others label us we are simply stuck with the label that we’re given.  However, what we quickly forget is that we are in control.

Stop Forcing Your Labels On Me

Often times we might say, “I’m just not [enter attribute here] type of person” or “it’s just the way I am”.  Yet, these statements are not always true. You’re putting yourself or you’re letting other people put you in a category that you think you can’t escape form.  

For example, I am often categorized as a “certain type” of black person, and I despise it.  People have said things like “you’re the type of black person who talks white” and “you’re black, but you’re not black black”.  By saying this, they mean than I don’t fall into the category that they usually put black people in.  It’s time to stop categorizing people on the basis of skin color.  This is one of the many reasons why black people are blamed for crimes they did not commit, yet must suffer the consequences regardless. 

Schemas Are Not An Excuse

According to Verywellmind a schema “is a cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information”.  In other words, your brain is using shortcuts to help you understand a bunch of information (I’m putting this psychology major to use y’all).  This can be both detrimental and beneficial to our lives and the lives of others.  Beneficial, because we can interpret and understand information quicker.  Detrimental, because if we have a negative experience with the information that we’re learning, we will connect that negative experience with things or people associated with the information.

The real problem, is that when people have this overgeneralized schema in their heads, they pass it on to everyone around them. Hence why black men in hoodies are always considered dangerous, or why black women are always considered to be angry.  Next thing you know, everyone believes a tragic overgeneralized lie, that can put people’s lives at stake.  Be that as it may, a schema is not an excuse for the relentless racism that happens in this country.  It is up to us to do the extra work and fact check our resources (like your racist grandparents), because people’s lives are at stake.

You Are Too Versatile to Fit Into One Category.

Solange said “I can not be a singular expression of myself”, in her song “Can I Hold the Mic”.  She’s right, none of us are just one being, we’re multifaceted.  We only become a singular expression when we allow ourselves and others to label us as such.  We need to accept that it is okay to be made up of multiple factors and attributes.  It’s actually commendable.  

Breaking out of categories that you were forcefully put into can be tuff, especially when no one wants to take you seriously.  Some will only see you in the way that they want to see you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You will unnecessarily exhaust yourself if you are constantly trying to prove what you are not.  We are fluid creatures that are constantly changing.  There is no reason to keep yourself stuffed in a box that was categorized and labeled by someone other than yourself.  You are so much more than that.

Who Are You Creating For?

I’ve been using this newly granted free time to explore new forms of artistic expression.  Doing this has shown me that I am more skillful at some creative outlets, compared to others (duh).  Overall, what I’ve learned from this process is that not all of the things that I create are going to be profitable, nor should it be.

Breaking the Boundaries

When I didn’t have as much free time as I do now I strictly stuck too writing and dancing.  These were the things that I was most comfortable with and in the past it has been fairly easy to make a profit. Trying to explore other options at the time would only take too much time and attention, and I just didn’t have the patience to delve into this a new artistic journey. Recently however, I’ve been wanting to break out of the boundaries that I’ve set for myself.  So I asked myself, what’s something that I can create that would be useful for my followers, but still make me money at the same time?  Will I enjoy this? Will this be too overwhelming? Can I get a creative job out of this? 

Getting my Creative Juices Following

After asking myself these questions, the process to explore my creativity quickly turned into a business plan for selling new items.  That’s not what I wanted.  Instead, I simply wanted to find different ways to express myself creatively without trying to make it lucrative.  Often times, when we try to make money off something that we’re creating, we forget what drove us to create the first place.  The goal was not to lose sight of why I began this creative process.  In an attempt to keep my focus solely on creating freely, I decided to release all expectations and pressure.

Doing this allowed me to be free in my creative thinking and expression.  I was able to create what I wanted to create without any judgements or criticism from the world and most importantly, myself.  Through this exploration I found out that painting put me in a meditative trance that allowed me to clear my mind without distractions (something I often have trouble doing).  This is just one of the activities that I enjoyed doing without putting any expectations on myself about how fast I should be progressing.  Some of the things that I created could be profitable, others…not so much. What I loved the most was that there was no pressure to make the “not so much” items profitable.  

Express Yourself Creatively Without Expectations

You will burn yourself out if you try to put a price tag on all of your artistic expression.  Not everything you produce it meant to sell.  The truth is that not everyone is going to want to buy your “creative expression”, and that’s okay.  Your entire creative ability is not meant for everyone.  Some of it is just meant for you to see and enjoy in the comfort of your own space.  Just because you found something that you’re good at, doesn’t mean to need to find a way to sell it.  You don’t want to lose that excitement you had when the idea simply popped into your head.

I don’t want you to believe that the things that you can create can’t be profitable.  Everything you create can be profitable as long as you have a plan.  But we don’t create to overwhelm ourselves with work, no matter how passionate we are.  We create to express ourselves in a way that goes beyond words (unless your a writer, of course), in the hopes that someone out there will relate.  

Try to just create for the hell of it.  Is it an unfamiliar feeling? Is it difficult to continue the process? Are you pressuring yourself on how perfect or no perfect your creation is?  What does this new space feel like to you? Subscribe and comment below…

How to Experience Your Progress

How to Experience Your Progress

You Make the Rules

I can not stress this enough progress is SUBJECTIVE, meaning that it’s based on our personal experiences rather than fact. You shouldn’t be measuring your progress on unimaginable timeline. What happens when you don’t progress at the rate that you expected to?? I’ll tell you what happens… you end up getting discouraged and unmotivated because you think that not accomplishing a few things on your list by a certain time means it’s the end of the world. What you’re failing to realize is that the timeline you’ve made for yourself is unrealistic.  It wasn’t made for you so consequently it is unattainable by you.

Are You Being Fair To Yourself?

Not only is it unrealistic, but your timeline is probably based off of someone else’s accomplishments and circumstances.  Your progress cannot be determined by what someone else has done.  You did the best you could in the time period you had, within whatever circumstances you were in.  That’s it. No one knows all of the things that you have going on in your life, so it is no one’s place to judge.  However, you do know what going on in your life yet you still don’t cut yourself some slack.  Is that fair?  You have to make your own flexible timeline, that doesn’t punish you if you don’t meet your expectations when you had planned too.  

Be Flexible!

If you keep talking down to yourself, you will beat down the confidence and excitement that you had when you first started. Your low self-esteem will stop you from thinking that you’re capable of progressing any further.  This downward spiral is unnecessarily destructive due to the fact that it is quite possible that you can do the things you want to do.  Just not in the timeline that you’ve set for yourself. Do us all a favor and stop setting yourself up for disappointment, and start setting yourself up for success!  The way you do that is by setting realistic expectations and flexible timeline.

What Does Progress Mean To You?

I’m not one of those people who will tell you that the fact that you walked out of bed this morning was enough.  Because that’s simply just not true, or maybe it is.  Only you know what you are truly capable of, but what you might not know is when you are pushing yourself too far.  I would like to say that you are the only one who will know when enough is enough when it comes to the amount of work that you have accomplished.  But when you punish yourself for the “lack of progress” that you have made it forces me to think differently.  My fear is that you don’t know when you are pushing yourself too far and too hard, and to me that’s what matters the most.  

How Far Must You Go To Feel Accomplished?

You can make yourself physically, mentally and emotionally sick from the pressure you put yourself under due to the “lack of progress” you think you’ve made.  Take your time and pay attention to how you’re treating yourself when it comes to how much progress you’ve made.  The only person who knows that you have done enough is you, you just have to believe it.