Tag Archives: material possessions

You Winning or Naw?

Black Twitter is outraged at Amanda Seales, who portrays Tiffany DuBois on the hit HBO series “Insecure“, for pointing out a few of the ways in which you’re either winning or losing in life. I personally agree with her Tweets, particularly these:

Yes, that is a screenshot from my phone. Yes, that is my reply to her tweets.

If you’re mad at Amanda Seales’ tweets, welllllll…. do better, get out your feelings, then watch “Feel Rich” on Netflix. It’s a similar concept, but directed towards our health and eating habits versus our spending habits.

Fact: We spend too much money on the wrong shit, usually material possessions, because we’ve been taught a lie that we need that shit to feel good, look good, be successful, have sex, have friends and be happy.

Wake up.

After we buy that shit and we don’t feel better, look better or get anything else we were promised, we just go out and buy more shit, then complain about all the money we don’t have, so we can’t do things like travel, eat right, exercise or learn something new.

Wake up.

Improving yourself is possible at every income level. No excuses. No debate. You either want it or you don’t. But don’t get mad at the spoken truth. Don’t get mad at Amanda Seales because you think she’s talking about you. Get mad at yourself because YOU FEEL LIKE SHE’S TALKING ABOUT YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE DOING THE SHIT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT.

It’s true that a person’s life experiences (traveling for instance), are of greater value to their lives than buying material things (houses, shoes, cars), regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic level. And if you can afford Jordans you can also afford to travel simply by saving the money you would have paid to buy those Jordans.

“But traveling is too expensive, let me count the ways…”

Planes aren’t the only form of transportation. There’s MegaBus, Amtrak, Greyhound and they all cost less than a pair of Jordans. Google it. If you can’t afford a 5 star hotel, there’s AirBNB options that are affordable. Hell, I’ve used AirBNB and could afford a 5 star hotel, but I just like getting more bang for my buck when I travel. Let’s also keep in mind that Living Social and Groupon are in the travel business now and have great destinations and inexpensive deals.

Traveling can be spontaneous, but it can also be planned, like a goal, and give you something to look forward to, which is something that also adds value to your life. Look at places that interest you now, pick a place and save up for the cost, then go. You always plan on buying those Jordans, so you can plan a trip, too.

“Only rich, black people from the suburbs can travel and have passports.”

I’m from Detroit. Not Detroit adjacent, not Detroit proper. Detroit. Born, raised and educated. The “hood”, and I’m proud of it. I own 2 pair of basic Nike’s that retail for less than Jordans and I still bought them on sale, so they cost me less than $100 each. I own a passport. In 2016 alone I traveled away from my state by plane or car a total of ten times. In 2017, while at the airport, I enrolled in CLEAR. I’ve already paid for my hotel stay in Miami for my 7th trip there in 2018. I’ve also started my plans to return to New Orleans for Essence Fest in 2018, which has become an annual trip for the last 6 years, regardless of where else I go. I’ve been traveling since I was in the first grade, so maybe I’m not the typical black person from the hood. However, I’ve been more places than some people I know who make more money than I do and have more education than I do and live in suburban anywhere. I can honestly say I’m surprised by how many successful, affluent black people I’ve met that don’t travel, but own expensive shit. It would he nice if more black people in general set their priorities better and strived to do more than impress people by buying Nike’s or Louboutins, especially if the greatest distance they ever traveled was either on someone else’s dime or only one state away from home.

You can’t convince me that traveling is hard to do if you wear expensive shoes, that you waited on for months and stood in line for hours to buy. But if that helps you sleep at night and gives you a false sense of winning, by all means, enjoy yourself.

Personally I’d rather stand in line at TSA and at my designated gate…..but that’s just me winning.

Beautiful People Don’t Need Stuff

This is just my opinion, but the most beautiful people aren’t the ones with the biggest houses, most expensive cars, designer shoes and handbags. The most beautiful people aren’t the ones with the most lavish lifestyles, who take spa days in the middle of the week at tropical destinations. The most beautiful people aren’t chronicled by People Magazine or by Barbara Walters once each year. The most beautiful people aren’t starring on Basketball Wives or Real Housewives of <insert city/county here>.

The most beautiful people in the world are happy people.

How does one correlate beauty with happiness? It’s not a hard connection to make when you consider it. When it comes to physical beauty, people who are happy tend to smile more, therefore, they have less wrinkles. People who are happy, enjoy life, get exercise and rest, therefore extending their longevity and youthfulness. People who are happy, and I mean truly happy, are less argumentative, less nosey and less petty resulting in them having lower stress levels. 

When it comes to happiness from a social standpoint, people who are happy with themselves as individuals as more successful and they are also more encouraging of others. People who are happy know that they aren’t the only people allowed to be happy. These happy people are the motivators, innovators and advocates for better living. They themselves may have gone through ups and downs, had adversity stare them in the face: they stared back and overcame it.

Happy people aren’t happy because they have money either. Happy people don’t live or work for money. Money is a by-product for them because they need it to survive in society, but it’s not their only motivation. Happy people also use their money for more than purchasing superficial material possessions. Some of the most miserable people have money and material possessions. They’re miserable because those material possessions only fuel one thing – the need for more material possessions. Don’t get me wrong – stuff is nice. Having stuff is nice. But life isn’t about stuff and how much of it you can accumulate before you die.

Life is about living.

We’ve gotten so caught up in accumulating stuff just to try to make other people jealous, that we’ve birthed a generation of entitled, spoiled, lazy children that think life is all about stuff. They haven’t been taught that happiness is a byproduct of good relationships. They don’t know that happiness is doing something you love and doing it well. They don’t understand that there are certain things expected of them that may not always make them happy today, but will make them productive in society so that they can pursue happiness with minimal hindrances tomorrow. Our youth lack self-love, self-esteem and, unfortunately, moral fortitude. They think being happy and beautiful means having stuff. They believe that designer labels and expensive cars determine the value of a person.  However, that’s not the reality of life.

Being beautiful on the outside may get you in the room, but being smart and talented will keep you in the room.

Being knowledgeable and driven will earn you respect. Having designer labels isn’t what it once was. You can buy a lot of designer labels from TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory and one of my  personal favorites, Loehmann’s. And if you’re really smart, you know when the sales are and the best times of year to shop so you can really clean up. I’m not knocking designers, I own plenty of attire from many of them myself. I’m knocking the importance we put on having someone else’s name on our bodies, in our hands and own our feet every single day. So much of my designer clothing and footwear (I’m known for my “shoe-icide“) is considered nondescript. Most often you wouldn’t have any idea who I’m wearing unless I either told you, or you were a connoisseur of them yourself. Thus, making me look fashionable, without being trendy. I have my own style, and my own idea of what makes me beautiful.     

Being beautiful isn’t a personal goal for me. As a super girl growing up I didn’t say, “When I grow up I want to be beautiful”. It honestly didn’t cross my mind that I can recall. I wanted to be successful. I wanted to be wealthy. I wanted to have a family. But I don’t remember wanting to be beautiful. Even today, it’s not a goal of mine. My goals (all one hundred zillion of them) are more about me being happy – personally and professionally.  I receive compliments on my physical beauty on a daily basis. Compliments are flattering, but they don’t do anything for me. They affirm that my exercise routine is working and that I have good DNA. Other than that, compliments don’t go to my head. They don’t win anyone brownie points for giving them to me either. As beautiful as anyone may think I am, I’d like to think that they think I’m beautiful on the inside just as much, if not more so, than I am on the outside. Hopefully, they don’t attribute my beauty to how many material possessions I own (or don’t).  Hopefully, people find my intellect a quality that also makes me beautiful. Hopefully, they respect my craft and how hard I’m working to reach my goals. And if not, oh well, that’s their superficiality and their loss, not mine. When I die, I don’t want people to say “Super Woman was beautiful, but she didn’t have enough stuff. It would’ve been nice if she had more stuff“. When I die, I want people to say “Super Woman was beautiful, she gave of herself and her talents, and she was happy“.

 – The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love and something to hope for.” (Allan Chalmers)

Mean Girls

Earlier this month, researchers at Iowa State University published “Frenemies, Fraitors, and Mean-em-aitors: Priming Effects of Viewing Physical and Relational Aggression in the Media on Women“. The study, which observed 250 college women, found that viewing mean girl antics such as social exclusion, gossip and emotional bullying on shows like Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop and Real Housewives of Atlanta, primed viewers to be more aggressive towards each other. The part of me that believes in Sisterhood, found this surprising, disturbing and sad. The part of me that is logical, viewed this as a sign that we are weak-minded, easily influenced and lack moral fortitude. The part of me that is in entertainment said ‘here we go, blaming television for our problems again’.  When Essence Magazine first published a related article on their website, I posted the following comment:

“They say if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. The fact that a person’s behavior can be altered by watching other people’s ignorant behavior on television is very sad and disappointing. I think it speaks more to how weak-minded and fickle these women are if they begin to emulate the bad behavior they see (on television). So then my question becomes this: if they are inundated with more positive behavior represented on television, will they adapt and emulate that positive behavior also? I’m just saying, while we’re brainwashing, we should make it worthwhile.”
 

I’ve previously admitted to watching reality shows. Lately, I’ve found myself wondering “whose reality is this really“, where women are constantly backstabbing, backbiting, fighting and behaving as if they are wild animals fighting over the last scraps of prey, that they didn’t even hunt? This behavior is evident on Basketball Wives (which has turned into WWE Part 2 in Miami), Love & Hip Hop concluded their season after lots of fist fights and drink throwing, no matter what city they were in, and Real Housewives of Atlanta has turned into Sheree versus Everybody Else. Not to mention the woman who threw a ziplock bag full of flour on Kim Kardarshian while she walked the red carpet at a recent charity event. Who does that? Mean Girls do that.

I’ve never been the type of woman to surround myself with a lot of other women. I was raised to believe that you only need one really good girlfriend and a few close girlfriends, but no more than five. I’ve lived like that for almost 40 years now. I’ve learned through experience that the more women present in a room, the more problems could arise. In my younger years, I had more than my fair share of girls and young women who were jealous of me for what I viewed to be silly and superficial reasons, so I preferred to keep to myself. I believed that things would improve as women matured, and if not, that’s okay because I enjoy my company just fine. 

Then something happened.

I met a Mean Girl. Unbeknownst to me, she was already in my midst – like a snake. She is someone I’ve known for the last few years and considered to be a dear sister-friend. I was clearly wrong and had ignored her character flaws, possibly out of love or because I just wasn’t paying attention. Maybe she was just that slick. Well, recently she showed her true colors, as snakes often do. For the last few years, I’ve been so busy working on things in my life that were important to me (traveling, building the Super Woman Brand, sending my son to college, and enjoying my life), and avoiding men with hidden agendas, that I completely overlooked the woman who had come into my life with a hidden agenda of her own and envy in her heart. She flew right in under the radar and nested herself into my life for the sole purpose of getting whatever benefits were attached to being associated with me and being known as my friend. And she got away with it for years. Once she couldn’t get her way any longer, because I have my own life, goals and dreams, she began to show herself to not be a good friend, but to be a superficial, insecure, vindictive and malicious person. My life had never revolved around her to begin with, but for some strange reason, she assumed she was my only friend and that I somehow relied on her for my mere existence. I found that to be hilarious. She actually had the blatant audacity to send me a text message that said “you’re gonna need me before I need you“. For what?  When I think back, that wasn’t true, and wouldn’t be true. She hadn’t contributed to any of my personal or business accomplishments. She hadn’t introduced me to anyone of importance. She hadn’t done anything truly significant. So again, I ask – for what? She doesn’t have anything that I would covet and my only competition is myself

Just like the Mean Girls on reality television, she began to say terrible and untrue things about me (mostly behind my back to anyone she thought would listen, because that’s what cowards do). I immediately recognized this as an attempt on her part to make her feel superior because she is insecure. Strangely enough, she’s at a time in her life where she should be happy. She’s recently got married and has a beautiful blended family, bought a house and has a grandchild. So when others would be relishing in their life’s accomplishments, this woman is directing her energy into attempting to discredit or harm me. Obviously, she’s not very happy. However, I’m not responsible for her happiness and nor will I take responsibility for her unhappiness.

Mean Girls develop their own false truth. A false truth that is often laced with insecurities and judgment against others, that they persuade themselves into believing in order to compensate for what they lack as an individual. Fortunately, for me (a) I have real girlfriends (b) I have self-esteem and confidence that is virtually unbreakable by another human being, and (c) I have a life. Therefore, I’m not too concerned about this woman and the lies that she attempts to spread out of anger and animosity. No one of any importance knows her or cares about the venom she’s spitting. I’m also not too concerned about any other women like her, regardless of who they are. Personally, I believe that if she were both a mature and respectable woman, she’d have a conversation with me, face-to-face, woman-to-woman, instead of talking about me to other people behind my back like a second grader. Instead of telling other people what (she thinks) I am or not, she’d tell me directly what her problem is with me. Instead of her stalking my Facebook pages to see what I’m doing, and who I’m doing it with, she’d be enjoying her new husband and family. Instead of telling other people how much money (she thinks) I have or don’t, she’d be building her own career. By the way, if she wants to count my money and assets, she should make sure to include my copyrights, trademarks, service marks, intellectual property and stock dividends. I don’t have a lot of material possessions because I don’t need them to be happy. I have everything that I truly need; God, food, clothing, shelter, family, career … and a fabulous shoe collection.

I truly pity Mean Girls. They are so consumed with making other people miserable, being dishonest, fighting and being manipulative, that they miss out of the joys of true friendship and sisterhood. They are so concerned with the latest trends and material possessions, that they forget what life is truly about. No matter how much stuff you buy, you can’t take it with you when you die. No matter how much stuff you buy, it won’t make you a happier or a better person. No matter how much stuff you buy, it’s not going to add value to who you are, because you’re likely buying it to impress people who don’t like you very much or are just as materialistic. If a woman considers her material possessions, her mean attitude, who she’s married to, what kind of car she drives or what city she resides in to be the sole determining factors of her worth in comparison to another woman’s, she has a very sad existence.

She’s not just a Mean Girl… she’s also a Sad Girl.

I learned to be more observant of people who try to come into my life, as a result of this experience. But I still don’t have time to revolve my life around someone else’s to make them feel good about themselves. I’m responsible for myself. My goals and achievements are mine to either attain or take responsbility for if I fail. Plus, jealous words from unhappy individuals don’t hold any weight in my world. My world is already Super.  

*Those I trust most, are those who have earned my trust, by not betraying my trust* – Urban Confucius