The Modern Day Protestor

“Freedom Rides”, “Sit Ins”, “The March on Washington”, “Boycotts” all of these words all symbols of iconic movements. If you were familiar with any of these movements your mind took you to a place that allowed you to empathize for the “cause” associated with those words. The “cause” exactly what does that mean? We sit in our history classes and we learn about time periods when the world was much “flatter” in the eyes of those oppressed. We think of these time periods as time capsules on pages instead of thread that woven in the fabric of our lives.

Young people have been the heart and souls of these movements. Dedicating their lives to change for betterment of the world. The leaders of these movements were young people, your Dr. King’s,  Malcolm X’s, A. Philip Randolph’s and Fannie Lou Hamer’s all young leaders who were tired of the conditions they were facing in society. We analyze the lives along with actions of these leaders, we become mesmerized with their conviction and determination to seeing the “cause” through. However, we have turned the actions of these leaders into 140 characters and a 8 megapixel photo uploaded to an instant steam of information.

When did we become so lazy? It would be unfair to assume that all of us have lost our passion and conviction to make our physical presence felt, but most of us have. When did that change happen? How did we lose the passion for demanding justice. You know what happened? Technology; thats what happened. The same thing that keeps you connected to the world with a click of a button, is the same thing that allows you to be disconnected with a group of people at a social gathering (because we are all on are phones instead of interacting with each other) .

Technology has single handedly turned our young people from “go out and get it done” group to a “click it” to fix it culture that has become the new norm for addressing injustice. We will tweet our thoughts, sign online petitions, or change our avatar on facebook/instagram to show our stance on an injustice then we go about our lives and feel as if that is enough. Yes, technology has allowed us to have information at our finger tips. Yes, technology has allowed us to give instant feed back. But riddle me this; when is the last time you respected a person who just talks but never takes action? Electronic protest is equvalent to taking the garbage bag out of the trash can but not the dumpster. Not the brightest idea right? Technology is here so we can bring more awareness to a cause so that we can swiftly find a solution. Not to substitue taking out time to make our physical presence felt. What have we done? Who told us that this electronic approach was efficient? Questions that we may never find the answers to but hopefully someone who is reading this post may rethink about what they can physically do next time some type of injustice occurs.

REST IN POWER – The Great Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Your Expectations Do Not Necessitate My Compliance

Gender based social expectations are a funny thing, inasmuch as they reveal a lot about the people who defend and perpetuate them. Growing up in a traditional Christian and West Indian home, I’ve become all too familiar with gender expectations. As a teenager, I grew up resenting the idea of me having to learn how to cook and clean, not because I was lazy or incapable of doing those things, but because of the reasons people offered to convince me I needed to learn to do them. In high school I barely understood what it meant to be a feminist or a womanist, but deep down inside I always felt a disconnect and a slight rebellion to the gender traditions of which my family and church continue to hold on. My argument has always been to teach me how to function, and survive as a woman who needs to learn to take care of herself first. I was never interested in anyone teaching me to cook and properly clean, simply because one day I was to become some man’s wife. Because first of all, where is he? Last time I checked I’m still single (and have been for quite some time now), so why was I being burdened with the responsibility of learning to care for a man during my adolescence, when at 23 he is still no where to be found? I’m not sure if my mother and aunts constantly telling me, “cooking and cleaning will keep a man.” was supposed to be some sort of incentive for me to learn, but at sixteen that intangible prize of a future husband did not suffice. To this very day I resent the idea of me being nurtured into a role I’m not even 100% sure I will be privileged enough to have. While I do hope and pray to become a loving, nurturing, responsible wife and mother some day; I refuse to make day to day decisions constantly contemplating an unseen man and my unborn child(ren). I am single, and childless and I believe that now is the appropriate time for me to enjoy learning, living, and doing just for me (and God of course).

Despite my frustrations with, and resentment for these gender expectations; I must admit that I often times find it hard to completely dismiss them. It’s as if the more I resist these expectations, the more people reinforce them to me, and attempt to force them on me. However, if I try hard enough to forget the literature I read, dismiss my formal education, and force myself into humility; I am able to conform to these roles (tis a very tedious task). During these humble moments I often think of the disconnect between my generation of women, and those of previous generations, who tend to naturally assume roles and feed into the expectations that my generation has become more and more courageous to question, and even bold enough to resist. In these moments of contemplation, I also find myself frightened by the many assumptions people make about my future because of my gender. Recently, a woman who use to take care of me as a child called to congratulate me for completing undergrad. She took me for a long, slow stroll down memory lane, then eventually told me how proud of me she was. She then went on to make the request for me to continue to hold my head high and make her proud so that, (wait for it…) the next time she calls she will be able to receive even more great news- the announcement of my wedding. Unfortunately for very single me, more great news to her is not me receiving a MD, a Ph.D, Psy.D, JD, or MS, but my marriage certificate. When I scratch my head and screw my face at those types of comments, I wonder if I’m being irrational, and snobbish for taking offense. However, I highly doubt young men receive congratulatory calls from loved ones on their graduation day with mentions of marriage. In fact, they’re probably getting just the opposite, seeing as they’re young, educated men with a plethora of options that they’re naturally inclined to explore, right? Yet, my next pursuit should be to find a man, and get him to propose to me. (I don’t know what to do first, roll my eyes or clasp my hands and beg God to send me my man ASAP.)

These gender expectations frustrate me, mainly because they make it difficult to want the things you want, when and how you actually want them. Yes, I want to learn to make gourmet meals, but I want to learn so I can have fancy dinner parties with my girlfriends and colleagues, and to be able to contribute something tasty to the office pot-luck. Do I want to learn how to properly do laundry? Why of course! So that I can preserve the brightness of my colors, and not shrink my favorite maxi-dress. And yes, I definitely want to get married, but not because it’s on the checklist of things I must do before I turn 30, and especially not right after undergrad. I really would love for people to realize that just because they expect me to want something, doesn’t mean I’m obligated to want it when they expect me to, how they expect me to, or any at all for that matter. I am an individual who has set expectations for myself, which were framed with MY benefit in mind. I’m still learning myself, my wants, my needs, and MY expectations for myself, and for those I allow into my life. I don’t need, nor do I want to be burdened with the expectations tradition has picked out for me, but don’t always quite seem to fit my current ideals. As a woman I would appreciate people appreciating me and what I want, above the roles they see fit for me. Yes, I am a woman, but that identity means way more to me than what others expect it to mean. Call me crazy, but I’d like to believe that I define my womanhood, and I refuse to allow its social connotations to define me.

By: A. Wisdom

Originally published on: UrbanCusp.com

Its All About Timing

When will I have kids?

What is the quickest way I can make six figures?

Is attaining an advanced education really worth it?

Questions like these invade young professionals minds everyday. An old Chinese proverb states “It takes one [full] year for a tree to start growing; it takes ten years for a person to start growing”. So why are we as young professionals so impatient? Why are we so hard on ourselves to the point that we cannot realize that we are causing our own demise? I believe in some cases we even self-inflict stress and cause depression within ourselves on our quest to meet self-made standards. I know the idea of being complacent and stagnant is scarier than a small child’s first trip to the dentist. However, these timelines we try to honor are usually unrealistic and not attainable even in the most idealistic scenarios. Even in knowing that these goals are unrealistic, we doubt ourselves when we do not attain these goals.

I pose this question: how realistic are your goals? As children we’re always taught to write out our dreams so we can know the direction that we plan to go in.  Most young professionals have created a list of things that they would like to accomplish before retirement and feel as if they fail if something is not accomplished. Seriously though, can we all just relax? If you were born from 1980 on down you are plagued with this misconception of instant gratification but, it is not our fault!! Our parents/mentors have instilled in us that the more focused you are, the faster you accomplish your goals. We also use our parents/mentor as barometers for life. We observe and critique their mistakes while vowing to never to travel down the same paths. The main mistake of our parents/mentor we try not to repeat is attaining a degree at a non-traditional age. For the people whose parents went to school on the weekends, nights or any other weird schedule; you know what I mean. We lost precious moments with our parent(s). Moments to smile, argue, grow and sympathize. All in the name of advancement and accomplishment; however was it really worth it?

Now in light of our parent’s mistakes we sacrifice our present for the hopes of our future. In the pursuit of attaining our education we lose some of the intangible things that our parents were able to gain during their younger years. Things such as: a social life, job experience and a sense of direction. It seems as if the more degrees we attain the more we realize what we do not want to do. In pursuing our education right away we are supposed to be preventing the mistakes our parents made and walk in this clear direction to a happier life. However, it feels as if we are walking in the foggy mist that only allows us to see as far as the tip of our fingers, with hopes it will become clearer with each step we take.

In the end, we turn out to be just like our parents. Only difference is they risked their future to fix their present and we risk our present with hopes of molding our future. We can prepare but not foretell, which only makes life that much easier to live… So to my fellow people lost in the mist just take one step at a time and remember “a thousand mile jounery starts right under your feet”.

Stay VSOP!!

Self-Talk 101

“Its Totally My fault”. What exactly is yet to be determined however, this is one of the 21 suggestions that Inc. Magazine columnist Jeff Haden offers in his recent post “21 Awesome Things to say to yourself“. Often times the one voice that we need to listen and adhere to is our own. Whether acknowledging and being humble enough to admit that we are capable of making mistakes, motivating ourselves to take risks daily or, having the humility to admit that even though we want to conquer whatever is thrown at us, sometimes a helping hand isn’t such a bad thing. Check out the link to Haden’s post below and seriously internalize some of these phrases, they are surely worthwhile to add to your self motivation toolbox.

21 Awesome Things To Say To Yourself

Its Just A Generational Trait

 

It is said that the “millennial generation” is the generation that does not know what they want to do… Sound familiar? Well, you aren’t the only one. Your twenties are the most confusing time of your life. You figure if you do everything right or better than your parents, you “should” reach success at a faster pace. Well, in most cases that is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Most of you have no kids, no attachments, and most importantly, no limits. So why does it seem so hard for you to hone in and focus? 

It is said that my generation, generation Y (also known as the millennials) will have at least five to seven careers before retirement. Well, that just explains the reason for me not being able to commit to anything. I would like to apply this type of thinking to every aspect of my life, however, that is not the case.

Educationally

There is so much we want to learn about and eventually master. Fact is we actually learn and eventually learn things faster than generations before us. Think about it for a second…. We have way more information at our disposal than generations before us. Realistically it’s our internet versus their encyclopedia (we already know the outcome to that bout).  There’s one thing that preceding generations have over us; PATIENCE. I just think of all the possibilities of what I want can do educationally and it becomes exhausting; Not because it is a lot to do, but because I can actually do it. Think about how many degrees you wanted or at least thought would be good for you to attain. For instance I want to be an educator; I also know that dignitaries do not really respect your opinion unless you have a doctorate degree, whether I earn an EdD or PhD.  However, it is common knowledge that if you want to be rich, education is not the field to make that happen. Which leads me to my other interest; (this is where the lack of focus begins) I would love to earn a MBA/JD and work for a fortune 500 company, or maybe even create my own company. However, just because you get a MBA/JD does not necessarily mean that you are going to land one of these jobs; in all actuality nothing is certain. Now more than ever due to the current state of the economy, degrees do not equate success (this thought is also a struggle my generation deals with).  I also have a fascination with politics so getting a Poli-Sci degree would actually be a great idea. (Do you see where this millennial stuff is bad?) Whatever it is that we think we want to do, we will find something else we can possibly do.

The crazy thing about our thought process is that when we think with the right sacrifices made, we can attain all of our goals.

Okay here is where this millennial thing gets even weirder. It spills over into every aspect of our lives. As an example, I figured that I would reflect on my professional and personal life. As you will soon see the scattered brain patterns continue, so if you have done something like this please just know there are others out there like you.

Professionally..

I have a bunch of things I want to do before I retire and eventually die… (Here’s the list:

1. I want to some how some way work in the White House. In what capacity, I do not know I just want to work on Capitol Hill.

2. I want to open up a school strictly for low performing African American males. (I feel like I have the solution for them I’ll share that idea later in my blog career.)

3. I want to hold a political office position; governor or mayor would be ideal.

4. Coaching football at the collegiate or professional level.

5. I want to open up a nightclub or some type of entertainment establishment. (Kind of goes against my Christian faith, so I am really wrestling with this one.)

6. Last but not least, I want serve as a relationship counselor. I used the word serve because I feel like the black family is dying and I would be serving my community by helping these relationships.

These are six careers that I would love to somehow or experience over my professional career… No, I cannot commit to just one because I feel like each one of them will bore me for more than ten years, better yet maybe even seven. Of course doing all of these jobs means that I would have to travel and constantly be on the go.

Personally…

This is the one I struggle with the most. I mean different things to different people so I tend to forget who I am in the process, or even worse I just stop caring…

I have noticed that relationships are the hardest things for me to maintain. I gain interest then I look for something to go wrong and use whatever reason I find as a excuse to leave before I get attached. (I know cowardly) I have come across some amazing women and I either find a reason why I am not attracted to them or a reason why they are “too good for me”. (Yeah I know its a little crazy)

I mean I would love to start a GOD fearing FAMILY with the white picket fence, the 2.5 children, and the pet. However, in the same breath, the idea of that scares me. Think about that for one second… (Pondering moment) That means I would have to stick to a routine for the rest of my life!! I am a millennial though, routines are against the rules and the idea of five to seven marriages is just insane, along with tiring. So what’s a man to do? Just let each of these possible life changing women just slip from grasp without a fight? At what point does the millennial thing not apply?  I have been doing this for a while and it’s kind of pathetic, but I am not willing to do anything about it.

Should I have to though?

These are just some of my thoughts. It goes a little deeper, but I am not ready to get that deep. Tell me what you think or if you dis/agree. 

Who is V.S.OP???

Who is V.S.OP? Well if you’re taking time out of your day to check out this blog then the answer is YOU. We choose to go by the name Virtually Seizing Opulence because we embody the essence of the young professionals, artist, musicians, wordsmiths, designers striving daily to perfect their craft in pursuit of wealth and success. We understand & embrace the power of social media as an outlet for all of our amazing projects. Through this community we look to create innumerable opportunities to connect and cultivate relationships that will prove to be critical in ultimately achieving success. We believe, through these interactions we are creating a space for young professionals to not only socialize but also exchange ideas for professional advancement and development. Through our multitiered approach we plan to stimulate our audience’s both physically and mentally.

We use every aspect of our daily lives to motivate the next generation of Opulence seekers. Often the frustrations of the young professional goes unnoticed and unheard.  Our “Mayhem Mondays” post will serve as an avenue for our followers to discuss topics that relate to their professional lives.  Through these discussions we can provide our peers with sound advice on how to effectively maneuver in tough situations. As young professionals we also know that not every part of our life is about work. Our “Think About It Thursdays” post will allow our followers to catch up on the latest topics that are outside of the workplace. Posting about everything including but definitely not limited to fashion, culture, sports and relationship advice. We also believe in celebrating our followers who are actively Seizing Opulence. We will, at random, highlight the talents of our followers and share their gifts with our audience.

Even though we are professionals we also know the importance of a good networking happy-hour, art exhibit, spoken word show, standup comedian, or concert where we get to let our hair down and just socialize without the pressures of the workplace. We will inform our audience of these various types of events going on in our area along with providing these events for our audience to attend.  Our twitter @1opulentlife is our way of connecting with our audience at an instant pace. This way we get to connect with you, our audience, while providing quotes and thoughts throughout the day. So follow us, and retweet us, as we embark on this journey of Virtually Seizing Opulence.