As I type this sentence it is December 30, the second to last day of the year. Since I basically just forgot how to blog as soon as I went home for Christmas break there was no new post at the beginning of this month….my bad.
As i peruse my Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr feeds i see lists on lists on lists of things people need to leave in 2013 or start doing in 2014 or how in a matter of two days their life will be become the fabric of their hopes and dreams as long as they think good things….and pray….and give to charity…and backpack through Europe…while channelling the spirits of the ancient Buddhist monks. (Also, let’s not forget the oh so enlightened ones who have no problem reminding you that your new years resolutions are futile and you should give up hope now of improving your life within the next year because sorrow is your only TRUE end result…) Ok so now I’m being
fescious fisecious facetious(the word is hard to spell!), but there are several people telling you what you should do with your new year, as if the clock striking 12 literally restarts the clock on your life. So of course, I decided I couldn’t mess up my track record of posting a blog a month this year so I had to get one last one in and what better trend to hop on then the new year new you one.
And before you say something, I’m sure you’re thinking, “But Bri how is this list you’re making any different from the other trillion lists out on the interweb, telling me what to do with my new year?”
Errrr, it’s not. At all. But if it’s any consolation, I’m merely lightly suggesting these points as opposed to aggressively stating them to you.
Does that help at all?
Well you’ve read this far in the blog, you might as well keep going now.
Ways To Make 2014 a potentially healthier year than 2013:
Speak for Yourself
Since I’m only a semester away from receiving my Master’s in Sociology (*insert praise dance*), I have in the past year and a half become the resident sociological thinker for all those around me. My social and familial circle have become the (willing or unwilling) audience on many a rant about the state of race/gender/general oppression in America and how these things play out for the world around us. So once someone has heard a tangent about the racial nature of mass incarceration for the 5th or 6th time they start to actually start mulling over the topic and wonder how it plays out for them as an individual. Which is great!
But there also seems to be a trend I’ve noticed when reading the comments section on other black feminist intellectuals’ or anti-racist advocates’ blogs. This trend being “can you speak about/to the issue of (vaguely related oppressive system) and how it affects (group that commenter belongs to and which you have a vaguely related/possibly almost non-related association with).” Now I understand if you want to engage in some sort of sharing of ideas about this topic, I am willing to take part in that. Or if you do not have access to the same resources/information as I and truly are searching for more knowledge on this topic then it makes perfect sense that you come to me or any other producer of knowledge for an answer. BUT if you have the same ability to google something or check stuff out the public library and you’re really trying to find the answer to some issue that personally affects you and hardly affects me at all, then maybe you should be the one to speak on it/write a blog about it/publish a book about it/teach a lecture about it/make a Youtube video about it. But making me your megaphone so that you can put the ideas out there but catch none of the backlash or do any of the research regarding it…..
So if there is some pressing topic that you are burning to deal with it, then deal with it. Don’t wait for someone else, who I guarantee has more pressing/relevant things to do with their lives, to speak on it for you just because they have more degrees or have a bigger vocabulary or have a perceived wider platform. The time you spend asking them to touch on it is time you could’ve used researching it yourself.
Do Not Willfully Engage in Pointless Discussions/Arguments
This particular point took me years, and I mean YEARS, to grasp. Two things about me: I hate arguing and I truly believe we have limited amounts of energy allotted per day. That means if I wake up at 100 % mental energy to expend on various things throughout the day-whether it be marathoning a new show on Netflix, starting your lit review for your Master’s Thesis (which is what I should be doing right now probably), or just laying in the park and thinking on the various intricacies of the universe-I’m going to use that limited amount of energy how I want and once I’m down to 0% I’m checking out and I’m done. There are no reservoirs of extra energy in my mind, once it’s gone for the day, it’s gone. So I try to make sure to not waste energy on stuff that I truly just don’t want to and have no employment/legal obligation to do. Basically “I do what I want and you can’t make me do what I don’t to do unless I am contractually obligated to do it and not doing it will affect my income while not affecting my moral compass”.
So when you present me with “hey, so and so said something about this thing you’ve said that you like, and even though you’ve possibly already saw it and the person saying it has no intention of changing their mind, why don’t you go break them off a piece of your mind.” This kinda goes back to the first point, if it bothers you that much, speak about it yourself. Break them off a piece of YOUR mind. I have very close friends, family members even, who I avoid talking about certain topics like the plague because if I don’t I’m basically waiting for the disaster to strike like this:
It will end bad for everyone involved, and there’s no need to end a friendship/relationship over something that doesn’t truly affect either of your personal lives. OAN, there are also certain ignorant twits, who for some reason have slipped through the almost now bi-monthly purges I conduct on my social media feeds, who post some foolishness about “blah blah, I can’t believe you’re offended by that one public figure’s racism, and even though I personally am not racist/sexist, I will die for this public figure’s right to be unapologetically racist/sexist/etc because America/freedom of speech/patriotism/i don’t read things…..but don’t dare call me a racist/sexist/or complicit perpetrator of any type of oppression”. If I don’t immediately unfriend this person, due to some type of obligation to stay connected with them, I will hide their feed or mute them because I just don’t need that type of pointless bait to waste energy reading this person for filth. Plenty good things come out of healthy discussions and the sharing of knowledge, but very seldom are those healthy discussions happening between two polar opposite affiliated people on Facebook…sorry I ain’t seen it happen yet. Also, there are some people who I know and love dearly who I know for a fact can’t argue with you without full on attacking you, and your personal life, because you don’t agree with them and I’m not about that “throwing myself in the line of fire for no reason life”.
Make the Change You Feel Necessary
Sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you regardless of the people around you. I’m sure you’ve heard this millions of times but I’ll be the million and first person to say it because it’s true. Sometimes you have to make changes in your life that no one will understand and that’s fine. And yeah sometimes NO ONE will support you in this, and by no one, I mean your pastor, your mama and ’em, your church group, your bestie, your boo thang, not even that man that collects cans for money round the corner, NO ONE. But you have to make them because peace of mind and peace in God is worth its weight in gold. And honestly waiting for unanimous support will leave you outchea, while everybody else is having their peace of mind and happiness. So make the changes you need to make, and carry on.
Granted, many of the people around you have your best interest at heart, and their advice is valuable and you shouldn’t ignore it if this life change you’re making is dangerous to your health or something…because well that’s dumb but otherwise carry on.
Fight the Fanfare
Sometimes you get caught up in the hype about stuff and that’s fine. It happens to the best of us, we’re human, and heck who doesn’t like collective support and joy. I mean c’mon. But at some point you have to take a step back and analyze whether you can deal with whatever this new thing is when you’re alone, If you need to be with all your homies/fellow party-members/congregation to enjoy or love this thing, then you may not like it as much as you think you do. Just saying, sometimes it takes a little bit more effort to discern whether someone tried to sell you a dream or an idea and you just bought it because of peer pressure. At the end of the day, you’ll end up with a bunch of stuff you don’t truly like, because your cousin and ’em told you it was the best thing since sliced bread.
BUT the reverse is true too. Just because you don’t like something that the majority of people like, doesn’t mean you are deep or enlightened. I.e. you are a black person who doesn’t like Scandal even though millions of people watch and rave about it on a weekly basis and it’s one of the highest rated primetime shows. So you don’t watch/like Scandal for whatever reason but everyone else does…
…that don’t mean you deep. That means you don’t like Scandal.
Now you may very well be super enlightened, conscious, educated, or whatever but that’s a title you’ve given yourself based on whatever guidelines you have set aside for yourself. It isn’t based on how many things the mass populace likes that you don’t, that doesn’t make you deep dear, that makes you a hipster. Now I’m not saying there aren’t problematic elements to mass popular culture, there surely are, but stop trying to force your “heightened consciousness” down everyone’s throat by reminding them how much you hate that one thing that they all love. It’s not cute. And honestly, every popular thing has a strong pushback so you’re actually probably not even in the minority regarding your opinion.
Well that’s all I got, sorry this one may have been particularly lengthy but I had to get all the things out before the new year started. So any advice you guys have for the new year?
Anyways, have the happiest of new years, and enjoy all the bottle popping and absurd food consumption while you can!
Peace and Love,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”-John 14:27