I Wasn’t One of Them

I never thought that it would affect me.

When I first came to Buffalo, NY, I would vaguely hear about its history of division and discrimination.

Most of my peers on campus were from the New York City area so I never felt like I was far away from home. Even though cases of discrimination goes on in Long Island, people are a little more liberal, so I never felt threatened by anyone from another race.

One day I learned that being a minority in Buffalo has its adversity. I applied for a retail position at the Galleria Mall and I was excited because, I was confident that I would get the job.

I ironed by best attire and headed to the interview with high hopes. I prayed before I walked into the store and noticed that there was a lady who appeared to be the manager waiting by the registrar.

She walked me to the office so we could start the interview.  She started asking me questions about school and telling me about her experience working in New York City and the cool people she met. It was kind of weird that she talked about herself a lot but, I didn’t mind.

Then she started to get a little more personal. She began to ask me about my family. I was hesitant to answer but, I answered the questions anyways.

“Do you have a father?”

“What about a mom?”

“Did you all grow up together?”

“Why wasn’t your father around?”

At this point I grew uncomfortable so I tried to change the subject. I asked her if she wanted to see my resume so I could talk more about my credential but, she declined my offer.

She said that she wanted to know more about me. She then asked me if I had an internship. When I told her no she suggested that I focus on that rather than apply for the job. A part of me thought that she was genuinely concerned until she started talking comparing her life decisions to mine bragging about her days working in New York and what she accomplished in the past.

At this point I knew that this interview was a disaster and I was sure that I would not get the job. A part of me wanted to tell her that I thought that she was out of line and that her questions were unprofessional but, I stuck it out.

She started asking me questions about when the store was founded and how it began. I felt ashamed that I didn’t know the answer until I realized that she didn’t know the answer either. She pulled up the company’s website and read the answers to her questions off of the computer screen.

After a long 20 minutes of being interrogated she told me that she didn’t think that I was a good fit for the company. I walked out of the interview feeling inferior and did not make eye contact with the employees whose eyes were glued to me when I walked out.

I knew deep down I wasn’t going to get the job from the moment I stepped into the store because I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. I stuck through it and hoped for the best despite my intuition.

Maybe I can be the one that adds diversity here. Maybe I can be that person who can close that gap, I thought to myself but, the reality is, we have a long way to go. I was qualified for the job, I talked well, and I was prepared but, that wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t one of them.

If you ever experience employment discrimination of any kind you can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for more information.

To share your story you can contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

Something Bigger Than Yourself

 

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”                                -Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi could not have said it any better. There are so many times when we focus on ourselves to find ourselves. Your true character is built when you impact the lives of others. I use to always think that I could find myself and perfect it then I could take on the world. After numerous attempts, I am living proof that this will never work.

For the past few days, I have felt very empty. As a college student, I have not been involved in anything, leading me to feel like I was living without a purpose. I watch other people who are passionate about groups and causes that they are a part of and I ask myself what’s stopping me.

There is something powerful about someone that can be a part of something bigger than themselves. I’ve made excuses so many times as to why I can’t do something and end up regretting my decisions over and over.

When I watched this video about the 15 year old kid who took on the government for a cause that he was passionate for I was inspired. Most adults don’t even have the courage to take on a cause the way this young man did.

I would like to challenge you and myself to take on something that matters to you. Whether you are the leader or just a part of a group that works toward a cause that you are passionate about. Sometimes we become so comfortable that we miss out on opportunities that has the power to impact the world.

Check out the video on Vice.

5 Ways To Let Go

Is there something on your mind and it seems that you just can’t let go?

It is time to get yourself out of the center. We only hurt because we are focused on ourselves. Just think about it? When someone says something offensive to you what is your first reaction? We are more concerned with how people treat us than how we treat other people. When you are more concerned with how people treat you then how you treat them you become vulnerable. You give power to that person and you will only hurt yourself.

I know it’s not easy to let go so I came up with a list of 5 Rules to help you let go of whatever is holding you back:

Rules to letting go

  1. Never fight thoughts with thought: When you fight thoughts with thoughts you will only create more thoughts that will bring you back to the same thought that bothered you in the first place. The power comes in speaking over your situation. We can’t allow things to hurt us that has nothing to do with us. Life is bigger than yourself so everything is not a direct threat to you.
  2. Focus on something that will help you: A way that I redirect my focus is by focusing on something that actually makes me happy. If you are hurt over something that someone did to you then do something that you love. Put your time and energy into something that makes you happy and you won’t have time to worry about what someone did.
  3. Don’t feel sorry for yourself: This is a big problem that I see all the time. People love to be the victim and feel bad for themselves. We get so caught up with blaming the person who hurt us. When we do this we fail to realize that the person who hurt us is probably moving on with their lives. Take it as a lesson learned and grow from it.
  4. Guard what you are exposed to: The Philosophies that we are exposed to will determine how we will perceive our situation. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, or even the people we are around you can find yourself adopting the wrong philosophies. I had to catch myself sometimes because I would watch funny videos a lot because it was entertaining, but then I would find myself adopting some of their ideas and philosophies.
  5. Be persistent: Lastly, don’t give up. Practice makes perfect. The more you realize that everything is not about you it will be easier not to be so easily offended. Continue to focus on the things that makes you happy and don’t entertain anything that will hurt you.

10 Things I Learned From Moesha

If you haven’t seen the show Moesha than you don’t know what your missing. If you know me, you know my obsession with the 90s sitcom Moesha. Moesha is a sitcom that shows the phases of a young African American woman growing up with her family and friends in Crenshaw. Throughout the show she faces relationship issue, family issue, friendship issues, and social issues.

I always considered her character my alter ego. Moesha is like me unfiltered and I admire her confidence and bubbly personality. Like myself she is an aspiring journalist and a hard working young woman. Although she has some faults there are a few things that I learned from the character Moesha:

  1. The importance of family: Throughout each season, Moesha faces many internal an external issues with her family. She struggles to stay connected with them at a time when she is developing and branching out into the world. Despite the mistakes that she makes, she is always reminded that they are always there to pick her up.
  2. The power of a woman: Moesha challenges the stereotypes of a modern day woman. She faces a conflict where she is told what she cant’ do because she is a woman and she fights it. She avoid sexist positions and isn’t afraid to do whatever she puts her mind to.
  3. Living without regret: Moesha isn’t afraid to take chances. Although this leads to a lot of bad decisions, Moesha learns a lot from them. She also makes many good decisions and experiences many amazing opportunities.
  4. Change can be hard but good: After the death of Moesha’s biological mother and the coming of her stepmother, Moesha battles allowing her stepmother in. Although her stepmother seem like a mother to dream for, Moesha struggles to let go of the death of her mother. Moesha soon learns that her stepmother is on her side and lets her into her life.
  5. Moving Forward: One of the biggest conflicts that Moesha struggles with is her love for “Q”. She deals with her fathers disapproval of him, his disloyalty, and her swaying feelings for him. Despite there dreamy love for each other, she comes to terms with the reality that it is time to move on.
  6. Words are powerful: Moesha taught me that words have the power to bring someone up or break them down. Moesha’s friend Hakeem faces this battle when it is time to apply for college. He was discouraged from going to college with the rest of his friends because of his financially situation but Moesha encourages him to aim high.
  7. Keep living: Even when we think we know it all we still have a lot more to learn. When Moesha reached college she began to experience a glimpse of adulthood. Her adulthood was put to the test and she discovers that adulthood isn’t as simple as she thinks.
  8. Let go of baggage: Anything that is holding you back, you must let go. When you are looking at your future, you can’t look back. Removing distractions that act as road blocks are essential.
  9. Your heart can’t deny what’s real: When Moesha and Hakeem finally gave love a go it was like fireworks. It was so real that they never saw it coming. Despite Moesha’s previous relationships, her connection with Hakeem seemed meant to be. All that time she searched for love, she never realized that it was there all along.
  10. The importance of following your dreams: Through out the seasons of the show, Moesha has taught me how to follow my dreams. As a fellow aspiring journalism, she is determined to succeed. She uses many historical African American women as her inspiration and takes advantage of any opportunity.

Whenever I am at a place where life seems taught, this show always picks me up. It reminds me of my potential and inspires me to work a little harder. If you haven’t seen this show then you do not know what your missing. These are the ten things that I learned from Moesha.

Thought of the Night: Anxiety

 

Today I am proud to say that I officially beat my anxiety and I am going to share my secret. You can throw away all of those books and tune out all of those motivational videos because trust me, they will never work. You can’t beat anxiety by simply repeating a phrase or doing any steps. Don’t get so caught up in man made philosophies because men are flawed. Its like the blind leading the blind and could only fix the exterior problems.

As I read empowerment novels and watched motivational videos it only encouraged me to get back up. If you know anxiety like I do then you would know that without a solid foundation it will knock you right back down. I found my foundation in God. As I studied the bible and gained an understand of his word he showed me who I am. Now that I know who I am anxiety can’t tell me who I am.

Anxiety is triggered by internal suggestions that creates negative thoughts leading you to feel discomfort. Although statistics tell us the most of us suffer from a mental illness you have the power to cast that down. That power that I hold is not because of me but God in me. When I tried to fight anxiety with my own philosophies and philosophies from others, I always end up back where I started.

Tonight I am telling you that you are free from anxiety but you have to walk in that truth and not be fooled. I remember the day I diagnosed myself with anxiety as clear as day. I didn’t even know what it was until an article described how I felt. I realized that the day I labeled my self as anxious, I gave power to it. Anxiety slowly became who I was but now that I know the truth I will not be fooled. I had to go through a lot to realize this but know I can help you because I’ve been there.

Today vow to make this the last day that you will associate anxiety with your identity. Confidence is built through attitude, looks, or security in superficial things but, through acknowledging the truth. The truth isn’t that I am who God says I am so man can’t tell me anything other that what I already know.

Joy Behind The Door

 

When joy knocks on your door will you answer?

Your opportunity  to be free from hurt, pain and bondage patiently waits for your arrival. Will you let joy in? The truth is that many times we don’t. We allow the obstacles that we face to discourage us and turn our backs on joy. Well I am ready to let joy in.

Imagine living in a world where your spirit is at peace. Now this idea may seem foreign  to us because trials will come but, we must dig deeper. What if there was more to life than what you see? Life is more of an internal experience that a physical one if you really think about it. So lets dig a little deeper.

I dare you to strip away what you see externally and see yourself real and raw. See yourself for who you truly are and separate yourself from the experience of the world. There is more to life than what we see and if we connect with our true spirit we can find joy. My circumstances may be troubling but it is up to me to let my joy pass me by. Why should I be troubled by the world when there is more to life than my situation.

Today I challenge us to be bold in who we are and be free from our daily experience. So open up, joy is behind the door.

Ask Me If I Care

 

This weekend I starred my anxiety in the eye. Today I decided not to fear the thoughts that arise. Those thoughts that tell me who the world tells me that I am can scream as loud as it can. Today I decide not to listen. You can no longer break me because I am ready for you. Come and get me because I refuse to hide any longer. I am ready for whatever you are willing to throw at me because you no longer have power over me.

This weekend I realized how much I allowed my anxiety to get the best of me when I went on a trip to Philly. As fun as my trip was, anxiety managed to distract me from an amazing experience. As I tried to enjoy myself, anxiety crippled me from allowing my personality to flourish. When I was at a party the negative thoughts made me a wall flower.

Although I do consider myself quite introverted sometimes, I still like to let off some steam. You know, let loose and just be free to do me but it didn’t work out like that.

On my way back to Buffalo, I realized that the reason why I didn’t enjoy myself when I had the chance to be myself was because of fear. I became affected by ideas that appeared real because I acted as if they were. Well today those thoughts will no longer be my reality.

So ask me if I care…because I don’t.