Poetry Corner: A Chance’s Ballad

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Ms. Dyson, I wanna believe but how am I supposed to have faith when I walk in these streets.
vacos, hookers and needles
Everything around me was designed to defeat me.
Yea I hear what you saying and trust that you’re true but none of that is helping me deal with the constant red and blue.
The pop pop pow
That’s as common as music.
Normalized.
I can’t function in this state of calm you’re pushin’.
You’re intentions are good but your advice to walk away from the war that is my life might get me killed.
See conflict is not just a conflict.
Conflict is life.
Just like war, street conflicts speak dollars and these dollars put food on the table.
Ms. Dyson, I know you wouldn’t want me to abandon my family.
These dreams you speak of and hopes you have for me…
There no room for.
Dreaming is selfish.
No room for dreams in the hood.

Can’t even dream in my sleep
You’re always poking me
“Not in my room” you say
Then where?
How many times I gotta tell you I gotta a family to feed
And I’m only 16 so not too many tryna pay me
Its aight tho
I learned young not to depend on no one.
The hustle is the only constant.
Can’t do my kinda hustle under the eye of the sun
And to protect what’s mine sometimes I have to use my…
Well, I don’t want you to see me that way.

Would you believe me if I said I don’t want to be bad?
Do you think God hears me when I tell him I’m sad?

What kinda God would let so many innocent people struggle?

Not my God.

Where I’m from, you gotta be your own God

And sometimes someone else’s.

Life and death lies in the index finger.

Mine is on the trigger

But Ms. Dyson believe when I say I wanna be a better person.

I do some fucked up things

But I believe the means justify the ends.

Maybe I won’t be shit

But lil sister…

She’ll be a queen.

Inspired by books and classy things.

My baby Bro

Won’t ever know the struggle of poisoning his own.

No hope for me except my hopes for them.

So I sacrifice

So they can be

Be better

Be happy

Hell anything that requires them to be… here

The world I mean.
Ms.Dyson did you hear about the murder today?

Walked out the door and I saw the crime scene tape on display/

Not even 7am and it’s already hot.

It makes me sick

Knowing that nigga coulda been me.

Pure or corrupt

We all have targets on our backs.

Keep ya back against the wall so you see the threats coming
I wanna be everything you say I can be

But that kinda success means jumping blindly.

Do you think I can afford blind faith?
You say everything thing worth having is worth fighting for.

Well, I’m fighting for my life.

But maybe just maybe you’re right

Look, If I make it through another night

If I can walk down one block without getting shot

I’ll reach for the stars you talk about.

I’ll be somebody special you can brag about.
Bang bang pop.
Ms. Dyson…

just say you’ll never forget who I was

Not the thug the news will describe me as

Know that I wanted everything we talked about

Just feels like I was never given the . . .

Just feels like life stole my . . .

Just feel like this bullet just ended my . . .

chance.

 

 

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*This poem is not to be republished. 

Poetry corner: On and Off

In 2017, I’ve been dabbling in poetry. I am not a poet but I have found a love for it. I hope you like and can relate to this piece.


60% of the population is involved in an on and off again relationship.
And we fall right in.
A statistic.
We are a statistic that proves we can’t get our shit together.
We try and we try
Until…
We don’t.
I squeezed and squeezed.
Holding on tight, afraid to let you go.
I held on so tightly, My love caused asphyxiation.
Stifled.
I stopped your breathing.
Oppressed your ability to love me freely.
You ran from me.
On to a place that felt like paradise.
Because my heart no longer felt like your vacation.
Distance.
You got it.
And right when I was ok with seeing you on the horizon, you came in with the tide.
You missed me.
Your vacation from your vacation was over.
No longer needed.
I resisted.
I began to realize I was happier alone.
Without you.
When the stress of trying to keep you dissipated
I found me.
A spirit that seemed anxious eternally was finally free.
Free of rejection,
Sadness and  disharmony.
But still you came.
You  pull at the strings of my heart commanding me to give it another try.
I conceded.
At one point you made me happier than anything in the world.
So I tried.
I had knocked down the walls you forced me to build when you decided you needed space.
Love.
It was happening again.
We were so drawn together that the thought of separation was frightening.
I’d wrap my arms around your neck and stare into your eyes.
Forever.
The word your lips mouthed before they connected to mine.
Connection.
The act our bodies made time and time again.
Our spirits finally aligned and it felt like we were one.
Thump.
The sound your heart made when my ear was against your chest.
Your arms wrapped around me as if leaving this position was unthinkable.
This was beautiful.
But man cannot just admire beauty.
Something in man drives him to destroy anything he finds beauty in.
Maybe I knew this and I began to squeeze too tight again.
Maybe you made shit up to get space again.
Maybe it was just not meant to be.
Maybe.
Maybe we know love not.
We have confused addiction with the confliction Of love.
We.
Are.
Addicted to the euphoria that comes with every breakup.
We are enchanted by the sensation that comes with sex after every makeup.
You love to hear me say it’s yours despite time.
The look on your face when I do my thing is worth every feeling of regret after.
I’m not in love.
But I would love to be.
We know it won’t work but the make up is the win of every breakup and we have no problem doing it again.

Bye to the Blues Playlist

Everyone loves a good sad song. That drake assortment that fits your emo mood. Those songs that make you feel guilt free about doing nothing and going through a bottle of wine before 9pm. The Sade cry in the mirror songs. Everyone has those moments. Those “in your feelings” moments.

Don't Drake and Drive
Don’t Drake and Drive

If you’re like me, you just don’t have time for those moments. I’m far too busy to indulge in feeling sorry for myself. As much as I would love to listen to my 90s don’t leave me playlist, or the infinite amount of Drake and Jhene songs, I just can’t lose the time.  Plus, I just don’t want to.

Instead of listening to songs that keep me in my feelings, I listen to songs that uplift me and make me feel awesome about myself. They are songs that encourage a little cockiness or flat out just make me want to dance.

Get out yo feelings, check out my playlist, Share with me yours for your bad days.

  1. Classic man- Jidenna
  2. If You Dare- Jasmine Sullivan
  3. Alright- Kendrick
  4. See Line Woman- Nina Symone
  5. Yoga- Janelle Monae
  6. It was a good day- Ice Cube
  7. Smile- Kirk Franklin
  8. Feelin’ Myself- Nicki Minaj ft. Beyonce
  9. This is how we do it- Montell Jordan
  10. I’m Every Woman- Whitney Houston
  11. Smile- Boosie
  12. 5 Star- Yo Gotti
  13. Happy- Pharrell
  14. I don’t get tired- Kevin Gates
  15. IDFWU- Big Sean
  16. Yonce- Beyonce
  17. Flawless- Beyonce
  18. Get Right- Jennifer Lopez
  19. Trap Queen- Fetty Wap
  20. Some Type of Way- Rich Home Quan
  21. Post to be- Omarion
  22. Eff up some Commas- Future

-Imani

***Don’t question my playlist. Just know it works for me. 😉

Reflections On Ghana : Part 2

In Ancestral Park
In Ancestral Park

Despite getting in late, and sleeping even later, all of the Americans I arrived with woke up bright and early. The sound of the Muslim prayer and the neighborhood rooster may have assisted with this early wake up. The house that we would be staying in was absolutely beautiful. It was a small one-story house with a large gated front yard. The house was painted white with mint green accent and finishes and was decorated with beautiful pink ad yellow flowers. There were three bedrooms decked out with endless bunk beds for our stay. Pro World allowed their school partners to stay there for the entire trip, while the home stay interns only stayed here the weekend before meeting their Ghanaian families.

The Pro World House
The Pro World House

The rest of the Mizzou students wouldn’t arrive until later that night so myself and about 10 others followed the ProWorld staff on a site tour. On this first day, we visited a Cape Coast collaborative for children and young adults with disabilities. The collaborative we visited was at the top of a large hill. The estate was simple yet beautiful, representing the tropics of Ghana well. This school in particular, focused on the trade of sewing and design. There were beautifully crafted sewing machines at every table. We were joined by several other American groups and together we began our first interaction with the Ghanaian girls at the school. We were shown how to use the sewing machines, given a quick tour of the school, and overall just got to know the girls.

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The next day, all of the Mizzou students had arrived. As a group we took a walking tour of Cape Coast Ghana. We walked through town, where there was a never-ending market for food, fabric and other necessities. We walked through Rasta row were we met genuine Rastas, who would later become our friends, and viewed their art. We got our first view of the Cape Coast Castle, a castle used to house slaves before sending them to the Americas.

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The tour ended on the beach, surrounded by a group of Ghanaian children who had abandoned their sales and responsibilities to greet us. They were mostly amazed by the large group of white Americans, and the cameras we were glued too. We ended up doing an impromptu photo shoot. Ghanaian children, like all children, love having their pictures taken. The day was, all in all, joyous. The children would prove to be the greatest part, as the trusted and loved so easily. The entire day we had attracted children to our group and they would follow us until their mothers had decided they had gone too far. Never had I seen children so beautiful, happy and fearless.

Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast Castle

The first excursion we had holds a special place in my heart. We were finally taking a tour of the slave castle. I had wanted to tour this castle since learning of it back in America. For me, Cape Coast was like Jerusalem for black Americans. Many of us had no clue of history beyond America and for me this was as close as I would get (maybe). Walking through the castle, seeing the dungeons and chains that once held African people captive was heart wrenching. In many of the holding cells, there were letters sprayed on the wall, representing the height of fecal matter that people were forced to live in as they waited to be sent away. Our tour guide (who had the most eerie presenting voice) told us of how women would be summoned to soldiers’ rooms and if they refused they would be beaten and chained. Finally we got to the doors of no return. Once slaves had reached this point, they would never return to Africa. It was the sealing of fate. It was so much to take in. Of course we all learned about slavery and the slave trade in school but there is something about being in the place were so many died, was abused and broken down that makes it feel… different…real.

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Doors of No Return

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In the male slave dungeon.  Behind me you should see the painted letters representing the fecal levels in the cell.
In the male slave dungeon. Behind me you should see the painted letters representing the fecal levels in the cell.


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Next we went to the Ancestral River Park. A park dedicated to walk to the slave castle. In this park we were able to see the great history of Ghana’s presidents, as well as the sad history of the “last bath” for many Africans who were enslaved. The trail we took was the path that so many were forced to take. We crossed into the river were slave captors forced their captives to bath for the last time before selling them off at the castle. Like the slave castle, it felt so surreal. It wasn’t all sad though. These tragic marks on Ghanaian history were very much integrated into their modern world. As we went through the park and saw the river, the graveyards, the displays of chains and guns, we also beautiful children lounging in the park. We saw nature taking over and making this site beautiful despite its past horrors.

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This weekend changed me forever. I knew who I was before but I couldn’t quite grasp how much our ancestors did for us. I thought about the strength it took to not just fall down in die during these times. The abuse, the conditions and the loss of freedom would be too much for so many, yet our ancestors survived it. Many refused to die. They survived the capture, the stay at the castle, the long and grueling boat rides, the rapes and beatings, the deaths of others around them. So while I was so sad to stand in the place where so many lost their lives and their freedom, I also felt so powerful. My entire being, and many of you out there, is because of the superhero like strength of those enslaved. My love for my people grew a million times after this.

Words cannot do this experience justice.

-Imani

Reflections on Ghana: Part 1

   

  

 In 2011, I embarked on my biggest adventure yet. I was spending the summer abroad in Cape Coast, Ghana with 14 other Mizzou students. I must admit, going to Africa, was never on the top of my travel priorities. I had never gone out of the country and I always imagined my first trip abroad being in Europe and gallivanting in Paris. I knew that at some point, I would embark on a journey in an African country but never did I imagine Ghana as my very first travel experience.

  
I tend take things as signs, so when I saw the flyer advertising a service trip in Ghana three times, I knew that it was in the cards for me to go. My sophomore year of college, I had gotten more involved with service and had recently switched my major from business to political science. It all seemed to fit so perfectly together. I jumped at the chance. I had no clue how I would pay for the trip and I knew absolutely nothing about Ghana but I decided I would go, so go I did. (I highly recommend applying for the Gilman Scholarship if you qualify).
After struggling and worrying about how I would pay for the trip, it finally worked itself out (Thank you Jesus). I found myself on the longest flight ever (around 11 hours total) heading to Ghana. On my way from the restroom on the flight, a Ghanaian woman promptly handed me her baby and instructed me to sit in her so that she could go to the restroom. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it was the first Ghanaian encounter I had. In America, a stranger would not dare hand their child to a stranger but in Ghana, I found that trust was a given. Raising a child was a community task and this flight was no different. I learned about the trusting nature of Ghanaian people before I even landed.
  
Fast forward to landing. I arrived in Accra on a sunny June day. There was no bridge way from the plane to the airport. We walked down the steps of the plane and into the airport. (I later found out this was not uncommon anywhere. This was my second flight ever, the first being the shuttle to DC for this flight). Going through customs was kind of frightening for me. I had never been out of the country and no one told me what to do. I was surrounded by a rainbow of languages. A friend and myself, navigated our way through the airport to find our ride. We had been told very strict guidelines about how to conduct ourselves in the airport. We were told not to let a cabby touch our bags. If one touched our bags we would be obligated to tip him regardless of the fact that his service was unwarranted.
We searched for the escort from the organization called Proworld. My university had partnered with them for group internships. Proworld was a NGO that provided interns and funding from the interns to local nonprofits, schools and clinics. The idea was that we would help provide a sustainable structure for the organization we assisted. (yes, cue the American savior music). 
We finally found our escorts without problem. We waited awhile for other Americans to arrive. My friend and I were arriving a few days earlier than the rest of the Mizzou students, so we were going to be with home stay interns for the next day or so. When we finally hit the road, we drove from Accra, the country’s capital to Cape Coast. The drive was long and tedious. Ghanaian traffic is notoriously bad so a trip that should have been about two hours took more than four. Luckily, I had a seat in the front of the 17 passenger van. I was able to get a quick tour of the country that would be my home for the next 5 weeks. I remember the dirt being so red and bright. It was like nothing I had ever seen. Driving between cities was like driving in between different worlds. Certain parts of Accra were adorned with multi colored mansions and buildings. Outside of the capital lie make shift shacks and homes barely big enough for one. While some of the sights were devastating, it still had a beauty to it that one could only understand when there. Businesses and homes were covered in cell phone logos. Children and women walked up and down the roads and through traffic selling water pouches, and plantain chips on their heads. 

After driving for hours, we finally arrived to our pro world house (its been a long time, so I do not remember the name of my town L). We arrived late night and everyone was jet lagged. We ate a quick and short meal made by our house cook, Elizabeth. Then we all went to bed for what would be our first night in Ghana. I fell asleep dreaming about how the rest of my Ghanaian adventure would go.

What I was seeing was just a precursor to what I would soon know as Ghana. Ghana is a land filled with beauty, inspiration, and love as well as, poverty, oppression and despair. My trip to Ghana, thus far, has been the most enlightening trip I have had.

Stay tuned for a more on my Ghanaian reflection. 

   
 -Imani

Things I Learned in Europe



 

I am not much of a planner.  As I have said in previous posts; life rarely goes according to plan, so I rarely make them. This being said, I learned a lot while in Europe about traveling and making arrangements.  My previous abroad experience  in Ghana was somewhat structured by my university.  Also, in Ghana you really don’t have to plan. Everyone there is very laid back and lively. Ghana is inexpensive so doing things last minute doesn’t harm your budget at all. Europe is polar opposite.  

 

In Europe, the better you are at making arrangements in advance, the better your chances are of saving money and having a smooth trip.  For Americans, traveling within Western Europe can be costly compared to traveling in other places (our currency is generally worth less than the Euro, Pound and Franc).  Learn from my mistakes and plan ahead if possible.

 

1. Peeing is not free!

Most major European cities charge for the use of public restrooms.  In most train stations, malls, and attractions, you will pay about one euro or franc to use the restroom. This being said, keep your coins.  Many European countries have coins that value up to 5 (euros, franks, pounds), so discarding these coins are costly.  You never know when you have to go.  Most small business and restaurants do not have restrooms for the public, so be prepared.

2.The Eurorail is trash

This is obviously based on my own experience but the Eurorail is not the money saver it seems to be.  The Eurorail pass is very complicated and has lots of fine print.  It costs about $400 -$500 for about 8 travel days. The countries you choose must all border each other and if those countries are not a popular ticket choice, you will need to order in advanced or get it online. Most major cities require you to reserve a seat, which will run you about $60 USD or more roundtrip. If you do not reserve seats earlier enough, you run the risk of the train being booked.  (You can still board the train, but you end up standing or sitting on the floor.)  If you choose to use the Eurorail, I recommend using it for Eastern Europe.  The countries tend to be closer together and there is less need for seat reservation.  The train can be time consuming if your destinations are not close.

3.Flying is the way to go

Flying in Europe is a dream.  It can be very cost efficient to catch a flight, not to mention time saving.  I flew from Geneva, Switzerland to London, England for $70 USD round trip and booked my ticket only two weeks before my trip. There are several travel sites that make flying cheap. I booked my flight directly through EasyJet (European Airline).  There is also Ryan Airlines and Skyscanner.com is also a great way find cheap flights.  Note:  if you use these airlines, the only bags that are free are carry-ons.  They can be very strict about the sizes of the carry-on, so check for measurements and do not push it.  Also, give yourself plenty of time to get through airport security, some airports are very small and cannot always get through people quickly. 

4.Booking a Room or Hostel

Hostels are popular among young travelers in Europe.  Hotels can be really expensive, so it is worth it for your budget to either book a hostel or rent a room or couch from someone. Hostels typically house anywhere from 3-10 people in a room.  (You can get a private or two person room but it isn’t cost efficient.) It sounds scary, especially if you’ve watch movies about Americans in foreign countries but really hostels can be a great environment.  In Barcelona, our hostel was very clean, had free breakfast, lots of young people and was in the center of town. I met some very cool people who recommended restaurants, tours and activities.  I even met a girl with the same name as me!  However, book ahead if possible.  In Paris, we did not book a room in advance and boy, oh boy did we regret it.  We stayed in a shabby hostel that was questionable in cleanliness and their idea of a complimentary breakfast was the vending machine.  Needless to say I slept on my sweater.  



imani and imani


If you aren’t a fan of Hostels and prefer a more private experience, try using AirBnB.  It’s a great website and app that is growing.  Locals rent out a room or sometimes their entire apartment. I didn’t personally get to use it but everyone who I know that did, enjoyed it.  If the host was there, they often acted as a person tour guide.  I tried to use AirBnB but my procrastination made it impossible for me to book anything.  Just because a space is available does not mean they will agree to you booking the space.  Remember these are people’s home.  They usually want enough to prepare for you.  They need to check their schedules, so give yourself minimum a week to book (and that may be cutting it close).

5.Always bring a Student ID

Even if you are not a student anymore.  Europe is all about the youth.  Most museums, attractions and activities offer a discount to students.  This can really help you shave down the cost of your activities.  Note; If you are in Paris, the Louvre will not give you a discount unless your school is located in the European Union. BOOOO!  However, the Eiffel Tower gives discounts to anyone under 24. 




6.Bring a Water bottle

Again, there are not a whole lot of water fountains and water in most restaurants are not free.  If you do order water, make sure you ask for tap water, otherwise you get overpriced bottled water.  It is better to just pack your own water and fill up on those rare occasions you find a water fountain.

***Bonuses****

*Paris smells like pee.  In fact a lot of urban Europe does.  *The toilets use very little water, so they smell as well. *Find the free beaches.  A lot of European beaches don’t have sand. (Spain does, they import it). * Doing laundry is expensive.  Learn to hand wash.  *If you are there for an extended time period, know that you will not have an oven.  Your refrigerator is miniature. *Starbucks is ridiculously expensive.  *PB&J is always in style.  *The European metro system is really good in urban cities. *Train Stations double as malls, don’t get sucked in.

 



I hope you all get the chance to visit Europe one day.  Learn from my mistakes.  I promise you will save soooooo much money and time.

 

-Imani





Baltimore: Is it Necessary?

source: Washington Post
source: Washington Post

The last year has been eye opening for many people. The black American plight officially made it past the boundaries of this country and is open for the entire world to see. While the rest of the world is finally seeing the struggle the black Americans still go through, black people have always been aware. We are always reminded of the color of our skin; whether it’s in the classroom, at the store, walking down the street or with a group non-black friends. No matter how good you are, it is never quite good enough to prove to the world the worthiness of black people. If you are a successful black man or woman, you are believed to be the exception. You are not really representing blacks. We are always reminded the much of the world views us as inferior.

Freddie Gray
Freddie Gray

The murders of people of color by officers over the past year have been amplified. These acts of brutality aren’t new but thanks to social media and technology, it is no longer just the problem of blacks. Growing up we knew better than to trust the cops. We wouldn’t call the police unless it was absolutely necessary. The black community and law enforcement have had strained relations long before now.

Source: USA TODAY
Source: USA TODAY

Many people are criticizing the acts of youth in Baltimore right now, the same way the criticized the youth in St.Louis. I refused to do that. Right now teenagers of color have it bad. They are being taught in classrooms that they aren’t shit. The government reminds them that they are worthless everyday when more money is invested in the prison system than in their schools and communities. As a youth worker, I’ve had discussions with teenage boys who had no desire to dream because they knew for most of them it wasn’t worth it. Many black teens have accepted that they may not live past 24 and that their days as a free man are limited. Prison has become an accepted right of passage. Violent encounters with the police are expected. Living in poverty with no access to health care is the regular. So excuse them for not giving a damn. Excuse them for their refusal to respect the institution that doesn’t respect them.

Personally, I think they have it right. They have the right to be angry. They are the main targets. Those who hate people of color are trying to eliminate POCs while they are young. Black youth are choosing to go out fighting over laying down. They are challenging an unjust and illegitimate authority. I fear for them just as much as I am proud of them. I want them to know that they have power. They can change their own lives. They can make a difference. The youth are so often ignored and silenced and now they refuse to be. I admire it.

Source: Madam Noire
Source: Madam Noire

I wish things could be peaceful, fair and just. I wish that peaceful protest garnered as much media and political attention as the riots and uprisings did. We don’t live in that world right now. A friend of mine told me a long time ago to be a hellraiser and to raise hellraisers. He told me that polite people don’t incite change, only those who are willing to disrupt the comfort of those in power can. I think today’s teenagers are hellraisers. I believe that they know where the world should be and they will continue to push the world to that level.

Is the violence, looting and destruction of property necessary? History has taught us that every great revolution has two sides: the violent and non violent. So to answer the question, I would say yes. Yesterday’s events in Baltimore were necessary. The events in Saint Louis (Ferguson) were necessary, LA was necessary. That being said, we still need the other side. We need those leaders that call for calm. We need those who will redirect the anger of the youth. We need those who are willing to stand in front of storefronts to protect the community’s businesses. Together both sides have a role. They balance each other. So, I can admit that the violence and destruction of property is necessary. It has a role to play in the growing revolution.

Ending Police brutality is just the first step. We will eventually break down the foundation of the system that oppresses people of color. Poverty will no longer determine a person’s health or ability to be successful. It is not just about Mike Brown, John Garner or Freddie Gray. It is about setting a group of people free that have been enslaved since the slave trade.

I could go on forever about the subject. Instead I will suggest some readings.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Nigger by Randall Kennedy

Black Boy by Richard Wright

Revolutionary Suicide by Huey P. Newton

Motorcycle Diaries I and II by Che Guevarra

Angela Davis, An Autobiography by Angela Davis (she also have several books on prison injustice.  I have not read them yet).

*Yes, I have read them all.  I am recommended them because they give different perspectives throughout time of the effects of racism, poverty, classism, etc.

Life is a Journey

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It can be difficult to accept that our plans may not always workout.  It is even more difficult when accepting that your plans and goals for yourself are not in line with the purpose God has for you.

I am a notorious planner.  I like things to go as I planned and I like things to make sense but sometimes things don’t make sense.  Sometimes you have a calling for something you may not have foreseen.  It happens this way for most us.  Most of us fall into talents and opportunities we didn’t expect.  Not saying we didn’t work to earn this opportunity but we just didn’t plan for it.

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I am learning, like most of you, that it is ok to go with the flow.  It’s ok to fall in love with something that is outside of our plans.  Planning and goals can be good.  It makes us feel comfortable, it’s a great way to make sure you are always doing your best, but sometimes we have to let go of the plan.  I have a difficult time doing this but life is so much easier when you accept what is.

In the past two years, none of my original plans have worked out.  Not one.  There were so many points where this absolutely crushed me, or so I thought.  However, life has really played out in my favor.  In two years, I have managed to do quite a bit of traveling both domestically and internationally (though I would LOVE to do more).  I’ve strengthened friendships and built new ones.  I’ve grown so much closer to my family; immediate and extended.  I’ve found a love for running (my first half marathon is in a week).  I’ve had a slew of jobs, none of which were Ideal but I’ve learned a lot about my strengths, gifts, weaknesses and what I don’t want in a career.  I also earned another degree (MA in International Relations) along the way.

Last day as a Masters Student
Last day as a Masters Student

So no, nothing happened the way I wanted but thus far I feel pretty accomplished in most areas of life.  I will continue to plan because that is just who I am.  I’m sure there will be another time that I will be disappointed when they don’t work out.  However, I won’t let that disappointment crush me and I will be ok with what is.  Life is a journey and it is meant to be explored.  There will always be trials and errors but the best results will always come.

I would change absolutely nothing about my life or my experiences because they have made me who I am.  I like me and I hope you like and love the person you are and are becoming.

Enjoy the ride.

-Imani

s/o to instagram for the meme
s/o to instagram for the meme

The Importance of Balance

San Diego
San Diego

Millennials get a bad rap for being lazy, unreliable and indecisive. As a part of this generation, I strongly disagree. I went to college with some of the most motivated and creative individuals you could imagine.   I have friends who have penned books, started fashion lines, write for major publications, started businesses, and have successful broadcast journalism jobs to name a few. Our generation has a can do attitude. We believe in the power of slashes. By slashes, I mean job titles. For example, my best friend works for a foreign news station, manages a dance studio and teaches at pre-school. She is also a blogger and a guru at multi media.

Millennials reject the notion that we have to pick just one career, one talent, one passion. If doing it all isn’t possible, our generation is challenging this decree. I love the entrepreneurial attitude of so many young adults. I love that we are no longer accepting the regular 9-5 lifestyle and becoming our own bosses.

This mindset of many young adults can definitely lead to workaholic tendencies. While I hope this wave of entrepreneurial thought continues and grows stronger, all work and no play is not good for anyone. It is important to learn the art of balancing. We have to learn when to take a break from working and take care of our minds and bodies. We have to make time for our families and friends. We have to allow ourselves the space to get organized and just breathe.

Continuous work without taking care of your other needs will eventually affect your work endeavors in a negative light. You can become stressed and unfocused. The quality of your work can decrease. The creative juices you thrive on can dry up. Feelings of being overwhelmed can consume you.

Over working can also negatively affect your health. People who are stressed and overworked tend to get sick more often and have higher rates of Diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

For the sake of the motivation that drives your boss ambitions and your overall health, work on balancing your life. Take care of your physical, mental and emotional needs. Prioritize. Have fun. Travel. Fall in Love. Educate yourself.

Just be happy.

Friends! How many of us have them? Friends!
Friends! How many of us have them? Friends!
Nothing Like Exercise!
Nothing Like Exercise!

-Imani