26

“Can I see your I.D.”

I roll my eyes internally, and sometimes outwardly, when asked that question.

“I am 25 going on 26, can’t you tell!”

But this post isn’t about how young lookin’ I am on the outside and how young actin’ I be on the inside.

It’s about the important lessons I’ve learned in my early 20’s; many I am still working on as I head toward them late twenties. 

  1. Some lessons are bigger than a person or the people involved. Give yourself time to heal from what makes us all human, but remember, the Universe/God uses people and situations to guide you. It is not right to hate or hold on to interpersonal anger. It is also not wrong to distance yourself from points of stress. But, let go of hate and let go of anger, and work to understand things outside of bodily experiences.
  2. Keep your childhood and/or college friends, they are love and moments you will never forget, but don’t be afraid to form one or two quality adult friendships with people who share your value/moral scale and who make you a priority. 
  3. Live honestly. Tell yourself the truth and be earnest with the people you encounter in this life.
  4. You will make mistakes, maybe even some big ones. Forgive yourself. The people around you will make mistakes, maybe even some big ones. Forgive them. Secondly, pay attention to how people in your life react and treat you when you do make mistakes. From there, decide how to proceed with them. There are people out there who will want to use your mistakes to write a negative narrative. There are people out there who will not forgive your mistakes. There are people out there who may never want to forgive you. Learn to be okay with that. Life is so much more than the mistakes we make, and that old saying about learning from them applies. 
  5. Set professional boundaries for yourself and don’t let anyone guilt you for it. At this stage in life, you are probably working to fulfill someone else’s dreams; you have dreams too — learn to leave work at work; log off your work email when you’re home; come up with a way to decompress before you get home; demand better pay; speak up for yourself when you’re treated like shit; bring down the patriarchy and white feminism!! — sorry, got carried away. Anyway, I’m not trying to get anyone fired out here, so do this responsibly.
  6. Therapy! Growing up in a Haitian household, I learned that no one deserves to know my family’s business. As much as I think discretion has a place, it’s not to be used when sitting on someone’s couch who you are paying to help you heal. Therapy can be expensive and depending on your health plan, it might not be feasible. In that case, find someone who you trust to be honest with you to speak with on a regular basis. Maybe it’s your favorite aunt who you call on the drive home from work. Maybe it’s your mama. Maybe it’s boyfriend number 2 who knows how to drop that philosophical knowledge.
  7. Know thyself (Delphi Ruins). I’ll share a short anecdote for this one. Someone once told me that I have no concept of privacy. It was a way for them to bully me in a conversation where that statement was unnecessary, but I wasn’t hurt because I know myself. I hold very few things private, purposely. The things I keep private usually have to do with other people’s business, but I generally feel comfortable openly sharing of myself. If I had not known myself enough to be comfortable with that truth, it could have made an already painful week in my life even more painful, but it did not because I know myself and that is a part of myself that I am comfortable with. In knowing yourself, it is important to accept that not everyone will love all aspects of who you are; that’s okay. 
  8. Choose love over loyalty. I learned this early in my 20’s and it’s an easier lesson for me, because I am a natural critic. You will learn that human beings crave allegiance, we want loyalty, but loyalty can be dangerous. Hold close people who aren’t here to blindly support you but will be honest with you because they love you. Hold close people who will disagree with you but lovingly. Hold close people who know your faults but who will not belittle you.
  9. Educate yourself. You don’t know everything, no one does, so remain open to learning. I’m not only talking about classroom learning.
  10. Have a financial plan. My cat is sitting on her perch laughing at me as I write this rule because she sees me stressin’ about finances at least twice a month when I do a version of budgeting that ain’t really budgeting. In all seriousness, this lesson is my greatest challenge, but I am doing number 9 to help me get to a place where I have a solid financial plan.
  11. Learn a few legal things. Not every contract or agreement put in front of you is legit, know the difference and if you don’t, rely on friends who do to help guide you.
  12. Don’t settle for sub-par sex. Sex should be like eating ice cream. There are so many flavors, colors, tastes, cone sizes, textures — ice cream purists, don’t debate me on this, I like my ice cream melting soft, it’s a thing. This lesson is especially important for women because sex positivity is not encouraged in our culture. Anyway, you don’t have to settle for a lame who don’t know how to get in the mane, nah mean. And a secondary lesson, it doesn’t matter if the sex is heavenly if they treat you like crap. You are a freaken gawd, don’t be out here with sub-humans who don’t know how to return texts or calls. Thirdly, don’t be a crazy person and out here sending six paragraph text messages cuz the ice cream put you in coma — you gon’ be alright!
  13. Some people are assholes; you don’t have to be an asshole so don’t be an asshole. And if you ever are an asshole, own it and apologize.  
  14. You might not save the world, but you can change it. This TED talk says it all: https://youtu.be/JH6FBwbqxUA ((you better come back and finish reading this whole dag-on post!))
  15. Failing does not make you a failure, it makes you a scientist! Not exactly, but failing is not the end. When you fail, you learn. Remember that time when the hip-pop, rappin’ group Girls Time didn’t win that boring ass show… 25 or so years later, we got Beychella. I use this analogy because it’s important to Beyonce between the failures. Yes, I used Beyonce as a verb! Don’t sit here and gloat when you fail, figure out what led to the failure and determine how you can be better then repeat as many times necessary.
  16. Learn to be silent. I talk a lot so this is especially for the talkers… learn to be silent. You might not be right about everything you think you are right about, so be silent and observe every once in awhile. Of course, don’t use this lesson at the expense of using your voice or if it makes you feel small to be silent.
  17. Be.Be you,
    the truest version of you
    Filters are meant for Instagram,
    not the sound of your beautiful heartbeat
    You are a marching band,
    when your feet hit the ground pavement waves
    Find your rhythm,
    through the smiles and tears there’s a truth
    It is you.
  18. Support your friends and colleagues. It’s great to love Beyonce and attend every single show, but it’s also great to support your friend with the budding poetry, art, music, interior design, travel, etc… career.
  19. Take care of your health. Diabetes and high cholesterol run in my family, so I am taking better care of my health. As much as I would love to look like Teyana Taylor, I’m cool with my extra bootie and stretch marks as long as I am living a healthier life. Start small, right. Don’t overwhelm yourself. For me, this meant picking up an informational booklet on diabetes and cooking foods that combat the onset. It also means walking or jogging a couple times a week and doing weird little blood flow exercises in my apartment. I use to be so hardcore with my insanity and extreme fitness exercises, so I constantly need to remind myself to not set crazy expectations because it’s discouraging for me. Refer to number 7, know yourself enough to know what works for you.
  20. Be love, be peace, be whatever the heck you want to be!

Celebrate my birthday by reading my books: goo.gl/oE72rh

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PC: Kaila Skeet Browning

 

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Ineye: Her Afro is a Crown of Knowledge and Unity

Ineye Komonibo & Friends

There she is, Ineye Komonibo (pronounces in-NAY-yay), a gorgeous carefree woman. She is standing on the far right in this image with two of her college roommates. All three women wear their hair out in huge afros, are dressed beautifully, and wear accomplishment on their shoulders with the same strength that they carry their black skin.

This image is floating in the virtual Twitter world with over 11 thousand likes and eight thousand retweets. Under it, the caption “the carefree black longhorn grads who ‘stole’ your admission #StayMadAbby.”

Thieves. How could these three women be thieves.

“I posted the picture [with that caption] because it was amazing to hear someone say that black students—not Latino, Asian, White—but that black students are not capable”

That someone, Abigail Fisher, the young woman who does not want race to be considered in college admissions, because her sub-par academics didn’t get her into the University of Texas over black students.

“It’s a form of psychological terrorism to tell black students that they are not enough.”

Terrorism. That’s a big word. Ineye is not shy to use it, because the way she sees it, the American education system is “fundamentally anti-black and black people constantly have to prove themselves.” Every single day when a person of color wakes up, they walk the streets in a society that “does damage to their psychy.”

Abigail Fisher is not an anomoly, she is a small part of a larger system that Ineye believes in anti-black.

Unfortunately, Ineye isn’t dreaming up an anti-black world, even U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia partakes in psychological terrorism. Justice Scalia speaks the same language as Abigail Fisher. In his eyes, black students are not ready for university education at a place like the University of Texas, which is where Ineye received her undergraduate degree in Public Relations with a minor in African American Studies, they belong in “lesser universities.” You’d think this U.S. Supreme Court Justice has enough knowledge to know that America has a pretty bitter history of giving black people lesser treatment, but here he is quoted in The Guardian backsliding.

Ineye doesn’t just have a say about the serious stuff going on in American news, like Affirmative Action, she also dabbles in social media sensations. Before we get into that, I’d like y’all to get to know Ms. Ineye Komonibo some more!

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The recent University of Texas at Austin graduate is 23 years old and from Houston. Ineye describes Houston as an international community with a strong Nigerian population. She herself is Nigerian, but in the last couple of years has adopted a black radical identity.

“I’m at a very interesting place in my life where my perspective about a lot of things turned out to be wrong. Anyone familiar with Nigerian culture knows that it is patriarchal. We are socialized from a young age to see the world in a specific way,” she goes to describe her upbringing as very conservative. However, a couple of years ago, Ineye experienced a shift.

“I realized that I was black. That as a woman, my gender is something that can hinder me in society. I realized that a lot of people are oppressed.”

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Ineye describes herself as the kind of person people get tired of, not because she’s always hyped up on sugar, but because she’s very conscious of oppression and her mind is constantly at work—she’s the kind of person who is “super aware.”

“I’m Nigerian, but I am a black feminist. I’m a Christian, but I believe everyone deserves rights. My parents, sometimes, I think they get tired of hearing me talk about race and sexism.”

Earlier, I mentioned that Ineye partakes in what some would call social media hype.

About two weeks ago, Ayesha Curry sent out this tweet:

Ayesha Curry Tweet

Since then, the social media world has been afire. Some women support her modesty, while others feel that she is shaming other women for choosing to show more skin. Men, for the most part, have praised Ayesha though their reason for uplifting her may indicate more implicit thoughts about a woman’s body, sexuality, and the male gaze than we think.

What does Ineye think. Well, here’s what she shared on Twitter.

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“I’m cool with Ayesha Curry. I think she’s awesome,” she goes on to discuss that Tia Mowry is among the list of woman who have shared sentiments about modesty being sexy. What struck a chord about Mrs. Curry’s popular tweet is how she phrased it. “There was a tone like ‘I like to do this for MY man and y’all other HOES could do whatever,’ That’s fine, you have a husband. But, as a woman, it is your job to support all women.”

Those comparing Ayesha Curry and the Kardashians aren’t on the same team as Ineye, because she’s about supporting all women in the skin and life that makes them happy. Really, Ineye feels that we all should be able to live freely.

“When I think of an ideal world, I think of a place where people are allowed to be different. A world where people are encouraged to exist in the way that they are. A situation where people can exist happily. Imagine a world where everybody acknowledges that we are all different, but decides to worry about other stuff, we would become a giant machine ready to change the world.”

Keep up with Ineye on Twitter as she works for change @eyekomology.

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Social Media: It’s a Must, Not a Mystery

The Back on Track Network career support ministry is proud to present this presentation on Social Media. It seems that every year a new social media platform pops up, making it harder to understand the ever-changing world and relevancy unattainable. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or blogging, you can learn to master social media platforms and make the experience your own.

Flose Boursiquot is a Community Organizer working with PACT (People Acting for Community Together). Before moving from the Northeast to the Sunshine State, she graduated from Syracuse University in 2014 where she majored in Public Relations and Sociology. Flose has experience working in public relations for A&E Television Networks in New York City, is an avid consumer of social media, and has recently started her own blog letitflose.wordpress.com.

Please join us for this practical seminar Tuesday, October 6, at Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, Havighorst Hall Meeting Room, 3010 De Soto Boulevard, Miami, FL 33134

Please visit http://www.backontracknet.org for a complete list of our other events.

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