Filed In: think
How many times have you heard the phrase “Well someone has it far more worse than you.” I’m sure you’ve heard it on several occasions, right? As if, that’s the first thing you want to hear when you’re in a bad space. I’ve always found it weird that as humans we’re taught to compare our pain instead of just dealing with it than moving on from it.
Lately, I haven’t felt like myself. I would be lying if I said I was “Happy Dev” all of the time like I used to be. I wish I could pinpoint the exact reason that has me in this bit of a funk, but it’s not necessarily just one thing that has me feeling this way. It’s a multitude of things. Between trying to solidify my career, the bullshxt taking place around the world, and people constantly trying my spirit on a daily it becoming increasingly harder to remain a pleasant person 95% of the time.
I honestly can’t explain the emotion I’m feeling but I do know it’s not myself. The Deveney I know never allowed outside influences get to her, but the more I become empathetic to the world around me, the more I don’t feel like myself. So what’s the solution? Do I tune out the world around me, and escape back into my self-asorbed bubble I finally freed my inner-self from? Or do I continue on this journey of being conscientious of the world around me, sacrificing a bit of my inner-peace as well?
I haven’t quite figured out what the answer will be, but I do know who to turn to for it. No matter how I’m feeling, or what my current state is I know there is a higher power that will always guide me through it. So I’m going to lean on my faith, as I was taught to do as a child. I’m a firm believer in God and the universe, and one thing I always know is that everything will align in my favor to see me through.
Well until next time,
Photo | pinterest.com
A few days ago a friend and myself were discussing what our younger selves saw our lives being at this current age. After sharing stories and a few laughs as well, we quickly came to the realization that neither of us were where we thought we would be at this stage in our lives. The conversation sparked me to contemplate on the idea of success, and what exactly does it looks like. More importantly would I align the state of my life with the word successful?
Let’s rewind to Dev from 6 years ago, I was a junior at Dillard University, convinced I would have become a forensic or clinical psychologist by now. I had my life all planned out and according to my plan I would have graduated from UCLA’s dual program last year and would have probably obtained a position making six figures a year. I would be the epitome of success (or what I thought it was at 20 years old). Well God had another plan for me and it had nothing to do with psychology.
It become clear to me my last semester as a junior in college that psychology was not the path for me. And for the first time in my life I had to ask myself the hard questions. I had been committed to the idea of me being a psychologist since I was the age of 14, but after praying and doing some soul-searching I realized I was more committed to the idea of what being a psychologist was than me actually being one. I knew if I would have gone through with that career path then one day I would wake up and hate my life. I refused to do that to myself, all because I didn’t want to steer away from my perfect plan.
Fast forward to now, I’m a 26 year-old creative, that dabbles in a little of everything from filmmaking to acting to (of course) writing. I’m blessed to have my passion be my career. Am I making 6 figures a year by doing so? I wish. Am I the happiest I’ve ever been in my life? Absolutely! I can honestly say I love my career. It’s not perfect by any means, but even the cons that come with it I turn into pros. Being a creative gives me a purpose on this earth. When I’m creating art it just feels right, it’s one of the few things that I don’t have to think about, but just do.
If I’ve learned anything over the years is that life is too short not be living your best life. You want to reflect over your journey of life and say I lived my most honest life and there is not a thing I wish I did. It is important to remember that your life is just that, yours. You are in total control, you have the power to do whatever it is you want in this life. I promise you, if you put your trust in God and pray for the universe to guide you, you won’t be steered wrong.
So stop worrying about if you are successful enough, and just go out and live your life. Once you become the happiest version of yourself all variations of success will follow. Success is one word we all define differently, but one thing we all can agree on is that if you are genuinely happy then you are successful in this life. So go forth and find your happiness. I’m a true believer that once you attain that, you can achieve anything in this life. Yes, even success.
Well Until Next Time,
Do you all have any pet peeves? Well I do. I hate when you are in the drive thru, there is always someone ahead who does not know what they want to order. They ask all kind of questions and make the line snake around the building. You should know what you want when you go to the drive through. Um let me see they sell fries, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, salad, ice cream, sundaes etc. It’s not like you’re getting all dressed up to go to the drive thru and order a leg of lamb, scallop potatoes and vegetables. Hell, I wear my jammies sometimes (well most of the time) but I do know what I am going to order when I go. Another peeve of mine is after they have held the line up for six hours (well not really, but it feels like six hours) they fumble in their wallet or purse trying to find their money. I mean they give you your total after you f-i-n-a-l-l-y order. I have a message for you guys, stay home and cook something, please.
Have you ever went to the store to pick up something and the person in front of you is holding up the line trying to decipher through her millions of coupons (well not really but it seemed like a million). I am tempted to get out of line, but I’m next and the other lines are overflowing down the aisle. After arguing with the cashier because some of the coupons had expired, the customer is finished. I watch as the cashier licks her fingers because the paper money keeps sticking. I look at my items, bread, cold cuts, my sugar free cookies. Uh oh, another pet peeve, cashiers who lick their fingers and touch my groceries. I grab my stuff and stand in the long line at self check out.
I am at the mall, I go to grab a snack at the food court. I find a nice seat in the back, I am relaxing enjoying my food, when a lady with five kids sits behind me. They kick my chair threw food at each other, fought each other, ran around the table. Meanwhile, the mom, said nothing to them, or me. I got up and moved to the front so I could eat in peace. Another pet peeve? People who let their children run wild and don’t do anything about it.
I have a lot of pet peeves. When people walk right in front of your m-o-v-i-n-g car. When you’re ready to check out at Walmart and the lines are snaking in the aisles because they only have three checkout lanes open. When you are in electronics and the person working in electronics tells you he can’t help you because he knows nothing about “electronics”. When you are sitting quietly in the mall reading, waiting for your daughters to finish and a chatterbox sits next to you and starts talking, interrupting your solitude.
I know I shouldn’t let these little things get to me, and I am working on it. It’s important to remember just because something is small doesn’t mean you don’t have to overlook it. Talking about even the smallest things that annoys you helps you to feel better. It is so good good to have people to vent to, yes even about my pet peeves. Which brings me to another pet peeve…me discussing all of my pet peeves. You know what I’m done. I’m officially signing off now.
Until next time,
I have known for a long time that I didn’t want kids…and then I met Eliot. On August 4th my big man makes 1. He is my godson and I couldn’t be happier that he ran his way into my life. I’ll never forget the first time I met him. I served in the navy with his mom (an amazing friend of mine named Janae) and grew to love her ideal husband Sean (this man is beyond supportive and a great dad). A few months back I asked them to make the 8hr journey to come visit me. I said show up and I’ll take care of the rest. When they arrived, they just put him down and he ran to me. It was an experience I can barely put into words.
I am a strong believer that people should not have children before they are financially, emotionally and professionally ready to. I also, now consider the validation a child can bring into your life and I am slightly more lenient when discussing parenthood with people. If nothing else, the one thing I learned from my week with Eliot is that you are almost never READY to have a baby. I wanted to talk about this because it was such an experience to see how people reacted to me having Eliot with me as I did my normal taskings.
I live alone and do a lot of home repair and contract work so as I would go to different stores to make groceries (real New Orleans right? lol), or buy supplies people would always comment on how nice it is to see a black man with his son. I started to consider if it was the stigma that black men do not spend time with their children in this day and age, or if it was because of the age of the child. As I considered it more and more, I can notably count the increased number of times I will see a mother alone with younger children engaging in daily errands in comparison to fathers. This is not to make an assumption on the action of the fathers but just an observation.
I noticed a lot, me and Eliot both have a pair of Croc’s and it’s interesting to me how a man wearing crocs is only adorable when his (god)son has a matching pair. You find yourself realizing you have skills that you wouldn’t instinctively think a man would have. Changing my first diaper was a breeze and every one after that was too, even the really messy ones. Another example is making a bottle at a restaurant and feeding him while trying to eat my own food. Enfamil is…amazingly convenient and nothing short of the devil at the same time (it smells HORRIBLE). I have learned to multitask unlike any other and now that he’s gone, I miss having to do the stuff I’d have to do to keep him entertained. It’s an amazingly fulfilling experience.
I’ll end with this, I was in Lowe’s holding Eliot and he kept saying “say ahhhh” so I did it as a sales associate walked up. I turned my head for one second, and Eliot plants a fist full of spit in my mouth. He thought it was hilarious and I, disgusted, couldn’t do anything but laugh at his little smile. This is what I meant when I said it was an experience.
P.S. Make sure you keep a cold pack handy. Moms don’t take sick days, and (God)Dads don’t either!
*Dev and I somewhere in Brooklyn.
On the morning flight, I had my new life figured out. I was going to become the next best thing New York had seen. The city would fall in love with my vibrant personality and acknowledge my talents. A revolving door of opportunity would present itself as I audition for various shows. I would be a standout because I would be myself. I can do the work; I needed the chance. Then, the plane landed.
Upon arrival, an ocean of bodies surrounded me filling any pocket of personal space. With a stuffed green, military duffle bag strapped on my back and black backpack hanging in my right hand, I headed to the taxi station.
After a several minutes wait, a driver of African descent pulled up to the curb.
“Where you going?” The driver asked with a strong West African accent.
“125th and Lenox’ I replied with confidence which hopefully conveyed to the driver that I was a native. Truthfully, I only knew three locations in NYC by memory: 125th and Lenox ave., 116th and Park, and Sadri’s, a famous restaurant where Broadway actors would attend.
A car ride that should’ve taken thirty minutes lasted for an hour. Eventually, the driver admitted that I was his first client in America. Overall, I was on 125th and Lenox and lost. The restaurant I wanted to attend was close for renovations and since it was around 11:15am other places were still closed. So, I walked.
After four blocks, I decided to catch a taxi to the Upper West Side and found an eatery on 86th. It was a breezy day with a kind sun; Therefore, I sat outside. Everything on the menu was free of something, (gluten, diary, soy, sugar.) I decided to order two items an eatery can never mess up, water with lemon and grilled chicken with vegetables.
As I waited for my food, I took a big breath. From there, I noticed the beige apartment building across the street with fire escapes that zig-zag along the side. Then, the various shops among the street covered by construction happening above. The soundtrack were car horns, various conversations, and ambulance sirens. I was overwhelmed.
I landed in a city where survival was daily life and anything above that was considered glamorous. Stress seemed to be spiritual breakfast. People walking oblivious to one another. Concrete overpopulated grass.
To give myself some time to grasp this urban ecosystem, I canceled any auditions I planned for the next few days. I was at an awkward place. I didn’t want to go home; but I wasn’t ready for New York.
“Chicken with vegetables!” the petite waitress said as she placed my food on the table. “Heading to the airport?” she asked.
“No, just landed a few hours ago. I moved here.”
Suddenly, a bolt of energy shifted her mundane personality into excitement. “ YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT HERE!” I politely smirked.
As I ate my food, her words resonated. Then, my outside smirk became an inner smile. Suddenly, the ten year old version of myself who proclaimed that he would move to New York City possessed me. My cynicism was tucked away.
Through it all, I was living my dream.
Do you know how hard it is to complain about your problems when people feel like you have everything? Well I’ll tell if you don’t, it feels horrible. People constantly dismissing you, because they think you’re being overly-dramatic, or listening to what you say but not actually hearing you. Truthfully, it’s disheartening and it sucks.
I’ve always been one to that know life isn’t perfect nor will it ever be. Life is riddled with various emotions, some great and some not so great. I’ve often found myself not really speaking on my problems, and handling them with a well that’s life attitude. Something that has affected me for more that I care to admit to. Unfortunately, Black women are taught to dismiss our problems, because we are strong and there is nothing we won’t be able to get through; but that dismissal can lead to depression and anxiety. Two things that black women often silently struggle with.
Recently, I’ve had to come with terms that I’m at at this crossroads in my life. I’m at the phase of life when you either risk it all to gain everything or keep what you’re doing and gain nothing. I’m used to having a plan, but for the first time I don’t have one, and there is no back-up plan either.
I would be lying if I said these recent decisions haven’t caused me some anxiety-filled days and nights. I’m sure i’m experiening what a breakdown feels like. I’ve been having a lot of conversations with myself, with God, with God and myself. A lot of pacing back and forth, and forcing myself to be at ease. It hasn’t been easy at all.
This space I’m in has come with a range of emotions, and for the first time I can not just dismiss them of overlook them. I’ve had to learn how to adequately process this uncomfortableness that I’m feeling.
I have to keep reminding myself I’m entitled to expressing this uncomfortableness that I’m feeling. It doesn’t make me overly-dramatic it makes me human. It’s okay to feel like this sometimes, especially if you experiening the emotions that I am. Keeping everything bottled in just isn’t healthy. We all have problems and none are greater than the others. If they are affecting your emotional well-being you have the right to speak on them.
This life thing gets hard. Acknowledging that doesn’t make you ungrateful for all that you do have. I know that I am a highly blessed individual, but I still have my problems as well. We all do. No matter how big or small, problems are still problems. Life isn’t perfect, and it’s okay to admit that.
Recently, there’s been a lot of conversation about men being, well, trash. So much so, that a #MenAreTrash hashtag has been formed on social media accompanied with brief details about some of the horrible experiences women have had with men or some of the things men have seen happen to women. Unfortunately, a lot of men have not taken this hashtag lightly, and have felt the need to respond in a rather obtuse manner.
Instead of using this as a learning tool, men have taken another opportunity to live up to the hashtag. Many of them have spitefully expressed most of these women deserved their experiences, quoting they should have been “smarter.” Some have even gone as far to retaliate with a #BlackWomenAreTrash hashtag, because you know only black women say #menaretrash *rolls eyes*. Mix that with black women always being everyone’s scapegoat, it made sense as a great response to the narrow minded men that were offended by the initial hashtag. Also further proving why men are trash.
The #MenAreTrash tag was started by women to candidly discuss the experiences they had with men in order to ensure other women they weren’t alone in the struggle. It was intended to create a safe space for women who experiences are often invalidated. Something I appreciated as a woman; I’ve personally encountered men with tumultuous behavior and felt that I somehow was the cause of it. Seeing other women share their similar situations was comforting.
Society places a large amount of pressure on women to stay silent about the trash behavior of men. We are expected to accept men’s bad behavior as the standard for how men behave. Hence sayings like “boys will be boys.” We are internalized to feel men are not behaving badly, they are simply just being their normal selves, and you being the woman should just adjust and learn to adequately deal with it. This tag was women saying “enough is enough,” and we are demanding change.
It’s no secret that most men still believe a woman’s sole purpose on this earth is to be subservient to them. Alot of them believe women have a place, and that we are not our own persons’. Men have been conditioned to feel our lives are solely based around fulfilling their needs. There isn’t a day that goes by where a tweet is floating around twitter expressing what a women can do to improve her odds of gathering the attention of men. From the way we conduct ourselves to how we dress to even how intelligent we are, men feel these are things they should have sole control over. This way of thinking is not only detrimental to a woman’s subconscious, but if we do not comply or conform to it, can ultimately lead to our deaths.
Too often we read headlines about women rejecting the advances of men, and the men feeling so hurt by this, they harm or murder the woman. That is the outcome of what happens when we continue to normalize irrational heteronormative behavior of men. Society continuously brushes off women expressing how “cat-calling” or “being picked-up” is destructive to us. Women are told we should be flattered that we were deemed attractive enough to want to be “picked-up” in the first place. Nevermind the fact that most women align this type of behavior with trauma and not flattery.
Men have being conditioned to see women as property, which greatly contributes to rape culture. Most men view being a sexual predator as no big deal, seeing that they are taught to be the conquerer in every situation. They do not view their unwanted advances as sexual assault, seeing that this patriarchal idea of heroism determines their masculinity level. As a result of this mentality, men feel no remorse for this traumatic behavior. Often leading to victim-blaming or slut-shaming. Teaching women that the cost of wearing certain clothing or behaving in certain manners is men being entitled to their bodies.
This unfortunate behavior also determines the hierarchy of women. As a result of this patriarchal mentality, men are taught to perceive certain women as better than others. Women that assimilate to this social system are more protected and cherished. Meanwhile women who refute it are no longer viewed as feminine, and viewed as being equally masculine as men. This belief can also have deadly consequences for women. Take the situation of Sandra Bland, an educated black activist who often spoke her mind, because she did not comply with the white male officers who stopped her, they caused bodily harm to her leading to her death. They viewed her as masculine due to her immense knowledge and assertive response and physically handled her as if she was another man. Her story is just one of many like it, and once again those men felt little to no guilt about what happened because it all could have been avoided if she would have just stayed in her place.
So how we change this behavior? Well, this hashtag is a great way to begin. It starts a much needed dialogue between men and women. Men can begin to see the faults in even slightly thinking this way and what can happen to women because of it. I’m sure some man, somewhere is reading this feeling “Well I don’t think like this, so I am not apart of the problem,” but that way of thinking is the problem. Just because your behavior is not as extreme as others, does not mean you are still not as problematic as they are. Have you shared your knowledge with other men? Have you called your friends out for even slightly engaging in this destructive manner? If the answer is no, then you too are just as harmful as the men who are trash. It’s time for men to start calling out their brethren for their deplorable behavior. Men will effectively hear other men and be able to get through to one another.
I do believe we will begin to see a shift in men very soon. Women have grown to a place where they feel comfortable enough to express to men their wrongdoings and are holding men accountable for their damaging behavior. Like everything in life, this transition of our society will take some time. We have centuries of deprogrammimg to do, on both men and women. I have hope that as a people we can change. I look forward to the day when trash men are truly the minority, and men everywhere feel comfortable enough to call themselves a feminist. However, until that day comes women everywhere feel free to use the #MenAreTrash tag. We will stop using it once men give us a reason to stop.
To the men who don’t get offended by the hashtag, because they know they aren’t trash, I want to say thank you. You guys get it, and are appreciated. Now please share that energy with your fellow man, our lives literally depend on it.
I can remember when I was twelve years old and about to turn thirteen, I was so excited to become a teenager. I could hardly contain myself. When I finally had my birthday, I thought that I could stay up late, go to parties, and wear what I wanted. WRONG !!! My parents set me straight. I never forgot that birthday and how I thought everything would change.
When I turned eighteen, my parents gave me a little more responsibility. My sister and I were allowed to go to dances, parties and date. Of course I was to scared of boys to even date, but at nineteen I met a guy at my cousin’s wedding and we started dating. We even wound up getting engage, but I broke the engagement. At twenty-one, I got married and the marriage lasted 1 year. At twenty-five I met my future husband, and married at twenty-eight. I remember thinking to myself , wow! I am almost thirty, where did the time go ? When I made thirty, I was fine with it, I didn’t get all depressed like some women, I was still sexy and did not look my age. I had my second daughter at age thirty-one. I was a stay at home mom and loved it, with my oldest daughter in kindergarten and my youngest in pre-k, I went back to school at age thirty-four. It was a crazy time, going to school, taking care of my husband and two kids. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Southern University at New Orleans, in nineteen ninety three. I was thirty-seven years old and felt twenty five.
I have always wanted to go to Las Vegas, and at age 64, my niece called me and informed me that we were going to Las Vegas for her mother’s (really my sis) birthday. We had a ball. I felt like I was twenty-five again.
I say all of this to say if you really want something in life don’t let anything deter you, not even your age. There shouldn’t be any fuss about getting older, because actually it is a blessing. If you don’t get older, you’re not here anymore. It is a fact of life, and in this life you have seasons. I am now in my what’s called the elderly season. Even though I turned 65 this past December, I don’t feel my age. Age has never held me back from anything, and it never will. I do things I didn’t do when I was younger. I have a smart phone, and I never thought I’d give up my flip phone; I learned how to text, I even purchased a tablet and learned how to use it. I exercise and do a lot of fun things with my grandkids. I am even thinking about taking swimming lessons.
Remember, age is nothing but a number. So go for it, you don’t want any regrets. Embrace life, don’t be depressed or sad because you are not twenty-one anymore. Each day is a blessing, and you should thank God for every birthday that you have.
Well signing off until next time,
It was a slow and rainy Wednesday at work so my co-worker and I began talking about our romantic relationships to pass the time. I explained to her I considered myself single(ish) and she shared the same sentiment as well, a sentiment several millennials like myself can relate to. We continued our conversation about relationships and marriage, and before she left she said these words “I’m just trying to make money, catch me a husband, so I can get my happiness.” I pondered on those words for a while, and all I could think to myself was money and marriage aren’t the keys to happiness and why do we even still believe in that age-old ideal?
Marriage has always been seen as a high priority goal on the list for people wanting to achieve the american dream. Even in 2017 a lot of millennials still see marriage as this fairytale-like fallacy, and feel in order to have happiness then they have to be married. Fortunately for me I grew-up in a family that has always expressed the reality of marriage. I was taught it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and the only way for it to truly work is if both partners feel complete within themselves. So I’ve never aligned marriage with my happiness, nor have I ever felt the pressure to find a husband to complete me. Truthfully, it wasn’t until recently that I even felt marriage was something I could see myself partaking in (but we’ll save that topic for another day).
Even though I think the institution of marriage is highly flawed, I still believe in the sanctity of it. Marriage is sacred, and should be seen as something to solidify an immense and unbreakable bond between two individuals. Traditionally speaking, marriage has never been about true love or happiness. It has always been handled like a business deal, using women as collateral. Women would provide domestic duties in exchange for financial security. However, those days are (almost) behind us, and women make enough to sustain their own cost of living. We can now officially marry one another for all of the right reasons yet we still are not.
Mostly because people truly don’t care about having a happy and successful marriage, they just don’t want to be alone. They have this notion that if they’re unhappy and single then being attached must equate to happiness. They fail to realize you can be with someone and still not be happy with them. All you end up doing is temporarily occupying that incomplete space in yourself with another person but not actually fixing that emptiness you feel. Marriage is not this cure-all to loneliness and people have to stop treating it like it is. So how do we change this flawed idea of marriage?
Well for starters, people have to become more honest with themselves, and begin asking themselves very uncomfortable questions. For instance, when’s the last time you took a moment to reflect on what truly makes you happy? Not what society tells you will make you happy, or what would make your parents happy, but just you. We don’t ask ourselves that question nearly enough, and then we begin to depend on others to tell us what will make us happy. However their happiness is not ours and vice versus. Once you find your happy you become more comfortable with who you are, and you stop looking for happiness within someone else.
Now hear me clearly when I say there is nothing wrong with wanting to be married. Marriage can be a beautiful thing when done correctly. Just stop looking for marriage to fulfill this empty void in your life. It won’t, and you will end up feeling even more alone being married than you were while you were single. You have to remember you are the sole source of your own happiness. Once you realize and believe that I guarantee you everything else in your life will just fall into place (yes, even marriage).
Well until next time kids,
When my mom was first diagnosed with diabetes, she shared with me that she cried like a baby. Eventually, she accepted her fate and learned to live with it.
I now know how she felt. I had no symptoms and was surprised when I was diagnosed with diabetes as well. I didn’t fit the stereotype. I wasn’t overweight, nor did I overeat. I will admit however, I was a lover of sweets, pasta, breads and coca-cola.
After my diagnosis, it was clear my eating habits had to change. I became a healthier person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could give up cokes, bread, dessert, pasta and everything I loved; But I did. My diet began to consist of brown rice, whole grain cereals, wheat bread, and sugar free cakes, pies, and cookies. I also learned to embrace diet drinks as well (they are not that bad, as a matter of fact they taste pretty good).
I was proud of myself, but I have to admit sometimes I missed some of my previous foods. I would get this overwhelming urge for potato chips or upside down cakes. So I consulted with my doctor and she informed me I could have a cheat day once a month. So I would take a little piece of birthday cake, or a couple strands of pasta every now and then. I remember being shocked after my follow-up appointment, when the doctor was still pleased with my progress and even commended me on it. It made me know having diabetes wasn’t about giving up what I loved, but having it in moderation.
I don’t want ya’ll to think that I now say with a smile “I have diabetes,” that is just not the case. However, I am happy that I was able to reconcile with my condition and a stop feeling sorry for myself. Now when I go to the grocery store, I stock up on whole grain crackers, cereals, croutons and a wide variety of whole grain and sugar free items. I’m still in awe that there is so much food that caters to diabetics, which wasn’t the case when my mother was diagnosed 15 years ago.
Truthfully, I will never be happy about my diagnoses, but who would? I’m just glad to know being diagnosed with diabetes is not the plague it used to be. Progress has been made in an effort to meet the needs of diabetics by having a wide variety of delicious and nutritious foods available. From time to time, I still wonder “why me?” but I’ve accepted my fate just like my mother did all those years ago.
Remember no matter what life throws at you, you can accept it and move on. Well, I’ll be signing off now, my sugar-free vanilla ice cream is melting.
Until next time,