Gifts and Curses: Making Sense of Blessings and Obstacles


“You know I have the world to think about, and you know I gotta go ahead and take some time…”

-Solange Knowles, Borderline (An Ode to Self Care)

It’s been a little over two years now since I’ve written on this platform.

A part of it can be pinned to laziness, not knowing what to write about, or how to write it down. Looking back, however, I can also say over the past two years I’ve been focused on being in each moment rather than picking through each moment. Since I’ve last written on here, I’ve been on a few more trips (Puerto Rico being the most recent), have taken a few jobs, and the one thing I’m absolutely the most happiest about is getting out of Retail Purgatory. I’ve also strengthened my spirituality a lot more compared to when I first declared myself a Witch in 2011…let’s just say people have been seeing a much needed change in me from the inside out since then.

Can I say everything is all great? Honestly, I’m in a more positive space in my life than I’ve ever been, and I have very little to complain about. In this post, however, I honestly will be complaining. I’m not complaining for the sake of pessimism, but rather as an attempt to rationalize my confusion.

For the past two days, I’ve been in an emotional slump triggered by conflicts between what I want in life and what will get me there. As a reminder, I made a vow never to work another retail job ever again after the taxing emotional and mental stress it can bring. Fast forwarding, over the summer I went from a city job I liked to a position as a dance instructor for an after school program I absolutely love. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve always spoken about teaching dance to youth, with hopes to someday open a dance studio of my own before I depart from this world. My experience so far has been nothing but a rewarding challenge; the reward being in the form of affecting a life through art and movement, and the challenge being within the exploration of a territory new to me in terms of my career.

So what’s wrong, one may ask after reading this testimony? Money is always the problem. Now don’t get me wrong in the slightest; I’m not in my current position because of the money. I may not make much; however, I’m finally pursuing my passion. I will also say I’m not ignoring the fact there’s more income needed in order for me to advance…y’know, move out of my mother’s house, pay bills, invest in my dance studio, and pretty much living.

The dilemma here is this: there’s another position I took a test for, passed the test for it, and there’s a great chance I can get the job. The job is salaried, making way more than I’ve seen in the past 4-5 years I’ve been in the workforce, but it’s not a job I’m even remotely passionate about. In all honestly, it’s a position I was pressured into showing interest in, which in itself makes the feeling much worse. The pressure was in good faith, but needless to say it’s always touchy when it comes to coaching another on the life they have to live.

I cannot say wholeheartedly this transition would be an entirely bad one: having more money would allow me all of the things I’ve mentioned two paragraphs ago. My dance studio always has and always will be my endgame, and I need some kind of income in order to make that dream a reality. Speaking it into existence isn’t solely enough. After reading this, I’m even saying to myself, “what are you bitching about? Take the job and worry about later, later!” With most things in my life, switching positions would mean (for me, at least) taking one step forward and 50 steps back.

I’ve been fighting myself so hard to get myself in an environment which would benefit my dance goals, and now that I have it in my grasp, something else comes along to take me right out of it. A part of me feels as if I would be selling my soul to the Devil for giving up my passion in return for monetary gain. A part of me feels as if I would be giving up everything I stand for when it comes to fighting for my dreams and beliefs. Does it have to mean I’m actually giving up? I’m not, but it surely feels that way.

What it all boils down to is sacrifice. In a sense, I may already have all of the things I wanted as far as a job closest to the career I’d wish to pursue. In another sense, I don’t have it all, yet I have an opportunity that can get me even closer to my endgame. I have this latent pride about myself I can afford to subdue if I am going to reach my personal light at the end of my career tunnel. I guess the only thing I can do is roll with the punches while being persistent in never losing focus on what really want. I may have a mother to make proud, nieces and others who look up to me, and friends who would support whatever move is in my best interest; however, I have to make the necessary choices for myself. Maybe a little submission for the time being won’t hurt too much. Maybe it’ll open the doors I often find closed. Maybe…





“Now here I go again I see with crystal vision…I keep my visions to myself….”

-Fleetwood Mac, Dreams

I’m young…24 years young to be exact. With my youth, I have dreams, goals, and aspirations that I can see clear as day. I envision myself living stress free with the ones that I hold nearest and dearest to my heart; being able to share valuable experiences as we all grow older and become wiser as I mature. I envision myself in the future looking back into my past, telling myself, “everything you’ve worked for was worth the life you’re living now.” I envision genuine laughter, genuine freedom, and overall genuine happiness.

Last month, I took yet another trip to Los Angeles, a place that I’m beginning to claim as my second home. It wasn’t the club nights or the drinks that brought me euphoria, but the mere fact of knowing there’s more to the life I already know is what really brought me true joy. Needless to say, I came back to New York City, and in all honesty I came back an unhappy man. Some may wonder, “why the sudden unhappiness? You were just all smiles not too long ago!” To be very candid, the unhappiness stems from the current position I am in life.

It was this second visit to LA that made me realize I’m not taking the chances necessary to reach the utmost peak of success I know I can achieve. My trip made me realize that I’m not using my talents to their greatest potential. Quite frankly, the life that I’m living is full of fear, angst, and to sum it all up I’m cheating myself out of a massive deal of things. Although I work hard in terms of the job that I hold, I’m working hard for very little reward and putting my dreams and aspirations aside for mediocrity. I’ve cried oceans of tears and spent sleepless nights writing papers and amplifying skills to receive a piece of paper, and what do I have to show for it? Fear, angst, and mediocrity.

With all of this being acknowledged, I’m acknowledging that it is finally time that I step out of the darkness and into the light. It is time that I step out of my comfort zone and do whatever is necessary–and of course ethical–to reach the pinnacle of prosperity I know I deserve. There will be things that some people may agree with, while others may look at me and think it’s not what I should do. However, it is not their life that I’m living; it’s my life, my time. Success is one of those roads with many potholes, speed bumps, and other obstacles, and I am ready to withstand all trials and endure all injuries along the way to achieve the stability I crave. Anyone who knows me knows that I see myself as a Phoenix incarnate; it’s about time that I fly towards the sun and shine brightly in this world. I have a mission that must be fulfilled, and those who truly are a part of my team will stand besides me, no matter the circumstances. It’s time that I turn my dreams into reality.

Bey Blog-A-Day: Haunted

“Working 9 to 5 to stay alive…”
-Beyoncé, Haunted

As I’m getting closer to becoming 24 years old, I’ve come to realize that with age comes more maturity. Even though this is something that I’ve gathered quite some time ago, it’s becoming more realistic as each day passes.

I’ve always been an independent person when it came to financial matters and taking care of myself in general. Despite still living with my family, there’s not a day that I reach out for a dollar from them for the simple fact that I have no problem working towards my own stability. With this in mind, I’ve been off from work for almost a whole week now, and although some may think, “Hey, you’re lucky! That’s a great thing,” it’s not such a great thing when you’re losing out on the little bit of money that helps you pay bills and maintain your life.

My time off from work, however, has been used productively. I’ve been filling out job applications, actually spending time with my close friends, and doing a little bit of self-reflection, which is always a healthy thing. The other day, I came across my horoscope and it almost made me drop the paper altogether.


The above horoscope spoke to me in high volumes. Granted, I do appreciate the advice that I receive from my family and friends, but when it comes to matters dealing with my life, I have to learn to listen to myself more and not try to please others. I may not become a billionaire right away, but I know that my time to achieve great things is drawing closer. There’s something about this year that I can feel a positive change will shift my way, but only if I’m in tune with myself. Beginning with this horoscope, I will continue to listen and see the signs given to me. All I have to do is be patient and not be distracted by what everyone else wants for me.

Bey Blog-A-Day: Pretty Hurts

We try to fix something, but you can’t fix what you can’t see, it’s the soul that needs the surgery…
-Beyoncé, Pretty Hurts

It’s definitely no surprise that I’m a camera whore. If you were to go on my Instagram feed at this very moment, 90% of my feed would be plastered with selfies if not anything else. The ironic part of this is to the outside world, I may come off self-centered, pretentious, and somewhat unapproachable; however, I am well aware that I have my flaws both internally and externally.

Not too many people know this, but when I was younger people used to make fun of me for a couple of things: my forehead was too large, and my eyebrows were too thick. Getting the ‘five-head’ joke here and the ‘caterpillars-over-the-eyes’ joke there made me quite insecure despite my Kool-Aid smile in class photos. Although dormant, the jokes carried over to my adolescent years to the point where I found myself at one point getting my eyebrows done. A part of this was because I used to walk the Face category in the ki ki ballroom scene (that I’ll probably save for another post someday), but the underlying reason was to assimilate myself and have “normal” looking eyebrows.

In a past post, I discussed how much people used to–and to a certain degree, still–make comments about my weight. I will be the first to admit that when I was nineteen years old, I was a lot fuller compared to how I am now, and I kind of miss that. However, just as much as plus sized individuals would be picked on for having too much weight, in the eyes of some I never had enough weight. I can eat a person out of house and home, yet due to my fast metabolism I would be lucky to even gain a single ounce of fat.

With so much ridicule from my childhood to the present, one may wonder if I’m comfortable in my skin now, and the answer to that would be yes. At the age of seventeen, I stopped making trips to get my eyebrows cleaned up and let them grow as full as the Higher Powers intended them to be. More recently, I eat for the sake of eating and can care less (to a certain extent, of course) about how fat my ass is or how thick my body is in general. It took a lot of time, but I’ve come to realize that the more real I am with myself, the more people respected me for being myself. Nowadays, I’m complimented by the same eyebrows that people used to shame me for, and as for my forehead? It’s there for the world to see and I couldn’t care less. At the end of the day, outer beauty in general can fade in the blink of an eye, but once you have inner beauty it will show inside and out.

So what’s the real reason behind me taking so many photos of myself? No, it’s not because of narcissism; I barely even look in mirrors throughout the day. I do it as a reminder that no matter what my personal flaws may be, I’m still human and I can accept them even if a thousand people think otherwise. Besides, based on how I interact with people, they cherish me not because of my looks, but because my personality is warm, welcoming, and I’m real. Once you learn that no one, not even yourself, is perfect, worrying about vanity goes to the back of your consciousness. Pretty hurts, but acceptance of self heals the self-inflicted wounds.

Bey Blog-A-Day: Heaven

“I just can’t stand to see you leaving…but Heaven couldn’t wait for you…so go on, go home…”

-Beyoncé, Heaven

First and foremost, Happy New Year to those who I haven’t had the chance to tell. Now straight to the business behind the upcoming blog posts, including this one.

With a new year, there’s hope for a fresh start and a fresh mind. You set goals for yourself that you hope to accomplish by the end of the year, or sometimes these goals can be for the long term. After seeing me for the first time today and wishing me a Happy New Year, one of my managers asked me, “so do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?” At first, I honestly didn’t know how to answer his question other than knowing I always try to make each year better than the last. One resolution, however, came to mind as clear as day in which I responded to my manager, “my resolution for this year is to smile more.”

Backtracking a little bit, from New Year’s Day until now, I have had the best days that I’ve had in ages. I spent time with my family, my closest friends, and my loved ones. Watching movies, having a few glasses of wine, just enjoying each other’s company with minimal stress and all smiles. To me, these past few days have been the epitome of perfection in my eyes. Unfortunately, during my late nights on social media, I came across some terrible news: someone who I’ve grown to know and adore took his own life.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still very optimistic about this year and the plans that I have set for myself. On the other hand, this sudden event reminded me of how short life really is. Although I did not get a chance to meet this person face to face, the conversations that we’ve had were always full of vitality, humor, and wisdom. Not only did I lose someone who I will now never get a chance to meet, but last year I lost a close friend from high school that was just about my age, if not a year older.  Prior to that, as I have mentioned in a previous post, I lost another genuine soul that made their mark on my life. As much as I would like to believe that life will be long and everlasting, these premature deaths have reminded me that we only have a limited amount of time in this world.

In retrospect, I ended last year quite bitter, almost charging off everyone whom I believed did me some kind of injustice or simply just not wanting to be bothered. Thinking about past and current events, I’ve come to realize that we have to cherish those that are within our grasp, no matter how fed up we can be with them at the moment. We never know who will be next to cross over to the after life, nor do we know how we will leave this earth. It is in our power, however, to take each day and live it to the fullest no matter the circumstances. As many times I’ve wanted to give everything up, the beauty of breathing air for another day has kept me pushing forward. Regardless of the debt I’ve succumbed to, working retail, and overall family drama that every family has occasionally (my family more occasional than others), waking up to the sun and starting a new day allows me to appreciate the little things that I do have.

In dedication to Matthew Mendoza, Akeem Henry, Travis Veada, and those family members that were taken away from me, I know that you are living a better life with no worries, no pain, and no trials or tribulations to endure. While I’m on this earth, I will take on the challenges of living and succeed every chance I get in memory of each and every one of you. “Heaven couldn’t wait for you, so go on, go home…”

White Flag


In every battle that occurs in life, one must know when to continue fighting the good fight and when to throw up the white flag to surrender. I am the warrior who realizes the latter: it’s time for me to give up.

Things that are horrible cannot simply just be covered up in roses and expected to still smell sweet when they’re sour. I would be lying to myself to say that everything is and/or will be ok when it’s the same cycle of events. I am tired of preaching unity within a household that contradicts themselves, one minute wanting to come together and next minute going at each other’s throats. I am tired of holding onto one-sided, no effort friendships, and as far as love goes? There’s not a doubt in my mind that love is just a fallacy written in pretty ink made to give false hopes that someone will sweep you off your feet and you’ll live happily ever after.

Not just for the new year ahead of us, but starting tonight I am completely on a solo mission. Anything that has absolutely nothing to do with my success and well-being as a healthy individual will be ignored. Anyone who wants advice that I know for certain will not follow it, I will remain tight-lipped; after all, you cannot help those who don’t want help.  I’m definitely not entertaining those who wish to talk but have not a listening bone in their anatomy, because quite frankly if I’m going to waste my breath, I’d rather breathe on bricks than to have my opinion in one ear and out the other. I am officially done with chasing after those who do not care about me as much as I care about them, because in the midst of it all I will eventually lose myself trying to find someone else. I refuse to be miserable anymore with the stress of others, and I’ll be damned that I lose focus on my security because I don’t have a shoulder to cry on since everyone else is busy killing each other (in the figurative sense, of course).

Overall, 2013 was the worst year of my almost 24 years of existence, and I am highly aware that the only things you can control are matters that are in your direct hands and no one else’s. It’s about that time that what is enough for me is enough for me, and anyone else that’s not hearing it can kindly exit stage left out of my way. I am thankful for the friends that I have as an amazing support system when all else is up in flames, and those people will be the ones that I will continue to gravitate towards. Anything else that’s negative and has no benefit to my existence will cease to exist in my life.

Light Skin vs. Dark Skin: Willie Lynch Wins in 2013

“You must use the DARK skin slaves vs. the LIGHT skin slaves, and the LIGHT skin slaves vs. the DARK skin slaves.”

Willie Lynch

On a day to day basis, I check my Twitter feed, scroll through Instagram photos, and things of that nature. In all honesty, the majority of the people that I follow are people of color; predominantly African Americans like myself. Fast forwarding to the point I would like to get at, if the people I’m following are not arguing about pop culture celebrities who don’t pay any of our student loans and cell phone bills, they’re blatantly pitting light skin people against dark skin people and vice versa. The nature of these comments are more on the strength of what light and dark skin people do. For example, some people might say that wearing colored contacts is a “light skinned thing,” or simply calling all dark skin people ugly. Although very general, the jokes can get much worse than what I’ve provided.

Here’s my issue with this: no matter what your complexion is as a person of color, at one point in time we were all looked down upon and oppressed. I will even reach as far as saying racism still exists, and with this being said no matter if your pigment is caramel or dark chocolate we are equally subject to racial profiling and acts of racism. Even President Obama–a light skin African American–has been subject to subtle racism within his own administration, because at the end of the day he’s still Black. Our skin color also does not equate to the things we do. Going off the example I used with the colored contacts, colored contacts have been used not only by light skin folks, but also by dark skin folks, white folks, Latinos, hell everyone. Dark skin people are not the only ones who sag their pants, are subject to welfare, or go to Waka Flocka concerts (I’m making up dumb stereotypes, clearly). Each and every one of us have equally done what we’ve proclaimed the other has done, and that’s because each and every one of us are human beings who do things that any human being is capable of doing.

The quote that I provided above this post is just one of the many tactics to keep Blacks enslaved, originating from a letter written by a British slave owner named Willie Lynch. Despite the fact that we are free citizens in this country, this train of thought dating back to 1712 (the time the letter was written) is still in effect, and we’re the ones keeping it in fashion. Essentially, Willie Lynch has won.

We need to realize that all people of color–light and dark skin–are of African descent. People were forcefully brought over to this country from Africa in order to build the nation that we see today. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, and other Civil Rights leaders did not put their lives on the line for us to tear each other apart like wolves. Instead of dichotomizing each other more than we already are, we should become more hip to the similarities that we all have.

Some might think that I’m taking the jokes a little too serious; others might even suggest that I unfollow the people that I’m following. To respond to these things in advance, even if I were to unfollow all of the people who think this way on my timeline, it doesn’t take away the mere fact that it’s an issue that’s still prevalent within our community. Being a light skin male myself, I take offense to most of the jokes made about dark skin people simply because I’m just as African American as any other African American. My complexion doesn’t make me look any better or do anything better than the next dark skin person, and the same can be said for the opposite.

To end this, don’t let Willie Lynch win. When it comes to anything in relation to human rights in general, there’s a slow road to progression, but begin to progress regardless of how long it takes. We as people of color need to make the necessary moves to educate ourselves about ourselves so that we can better love one another. Don’t let the complexion of one person make you see the rest of those people as inferior or gruesome. Judge each person by their nature and how they treat you, not by the skin they’re in.