Angry Blerd Woman: The Hustle Struggle and Blackness

I started writing this on my phone while on a sweaty summer break in a city park. I wanted to read, but I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the many internal dialogues playing inside my mind. What follows are the rantings of my then uneasy mind…

Life is a struggle. It’s a trite saying, but it’s never held more truth in my life than right now. By developing my “hustle muscle”, as Jaime Foxx calls it, I somehow landed on a path where everything in my life has become a hustle.

My career and my job are a hustle. All of the articles about the dangers of temp work seem to be true. It’s nothing personal against my direct supervisors or even the CEO or HR Director. It’s business and politics and, maybe, I don’t fit in as well as I thought.

You know what? I’m kind of, really quite ok with it. You see, temping is as much a chance for the employer to try on something for size as it is for the temp. And let’s be honest. I kind of have a habit of settling and leaning into things I should take as a lesson as opposed to a permanent fixture. Sometimes, things just don’t work out and that’s fine. As my bestie says, “on to the next!”

But let’s back up a bit. I’ve been on temp assignment for about five months now. It’s an industry I would have never been able to experience because of lack of, well, experience, but I have quite a bit of life experience- doesn’t always matter in most circles, but what are you gonna do? I was misled a little with delusions of grandeur that told me I’d be a shoe-in once the budget was approved. But maybe it wasn’t their decision to make. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.

Regardless, it’s actually lit a fire under my ass. I was forced to really sit down and calculate my financial goals as well as chart the steps needed to enter any industry I have even the slightest of interest in. This experience also allowed me to meet friends number three, four, and five. Hey, my loners and world travelers out there will understand the difficulties of keeping and making friends when you’re always on the go. No judgment over there. Ok? I make do where I can.

My friends are a hustle. So, yes, to continue and elaborate as briefly as a verbose woman can, I am embarking on a new journey of finding true friends. The five friends I currently have in this area have all been made in the past year and a half. Its been a real struggle because they all live at least forty-five minutes away from me. Coordinating schedules, deciding who’s going to make the trek,- usually me. Always me- and finding common things to do together.

That is the issue with finding friends in adulthood. You maybe clicked over a shared joke or feeling about a coworker. Or maybe you met on the street cause there weren’t many black people in the area and they were curious about who you were. Either way, like a romantic relationship, it seems that finding mutual things to do after the honeymoon phase is difficult to do in these types of relationships too.

The friendship also seems to accelerate and people feel close to you even if they don’t particularly know the real you. Do they actually know the real you behind the person they have created from the few times you’ve spent a few hours together? Do they listen or do they try to tell you how to be you? This is where I get upset…

Yes. Solidarity. It is a real thing and I don’t deny the need for it or it’s power. But, can we discuss the biggest pet peeve of mine? Blerd females out there will understand. Yes, there may be shared experiences because of our skin color, but that isn’t all we are. And no, we aren’t denying our blackness by liking things like Doctor Who and rock music while feeling, at best, indifferent to Drake and rap music.

This is where my hustle struggle comes in. I’m tired of people trying to fix me or offer advice before I’ve even completed my sentence. Don’t tell me I don’t like being black or that I’m not being my true self because I don’t fit a mold. It’s kind of rude and a bit difficult for you to discern from the few brief conversations we’ve had and the incomplete sentences I’ve uttered.

My living situation is a struggle. Well, not really. It’s a godsend being able to live with my mom while I get my finances in order. But it’s time to move back out. I’m ready. I’ve got my eye on an apartment building and, by sheer thought and pixie dust, I’m willing the Universe to keep one of the units available. I put it here in words for you all to see. By January, I will be leasing one of those lovely apartments near the river!

Well, I may have lied a little earlier. Everything in my life isn’t a hustle, not anymore at least. My car. My car is not as much of a hustle because I had to replace the damned thing…I bought a pre-owned beauty who came with a few scratches, one dent,- Yes, I counted- and a lack of cargo security. Now, I’m not ungrateful for this car. It’s just one more bill while I try to sort out my next career move. Am I annoyed that I had to fix the old one until I found a new one? Yes.

This hustle, however, is tiny. Luckily, the one thing in my life that isn’t a struggle or hustle is how well I lift heavy shit. Two of my Crossfit buddies can help me with the scratches and tinting the hatchback window. Problem solved…I just need a couple hundred in cash. Easy peasy, right?

What Could I Be the Best At?

“With great power comes great responsibility,” but living an average life is overrated! 

I don’t know about you, but when I ask myself the above question, I respond with statements akin to, “Well, there are things I’m really good at. Does that count??” It’s like I can’t even begin to fathom that there is something I’m so great at that I, dare I say it, be the BEST at it…::gasp:: It’s like uttering the known thing that makes it real. It’s like giving the fear and insecurities hidden in our mind free reign to come to light when we shine that spot on the thing(s) we are best at.

Why do we do this? Why do we neglect our gift to the world for the sake of fear? What are we afraid of? I’ll say it. We are afraid that uttering the phrase, “I’m the best at what I do” will give every troll and asshole a license to nitpick at our early mistakes and any human error we may make along the way. No one wants to be judged and found wanting. Most people don’t even want to be judged at all. It’s nerve-wracking and we tend to think it’s better to ignore the spark inside our soul and cling to the consistency of mediocrity and comfort.

Know what I say to that? “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” None of us, least of all me, are getting any younger. I give us all permission, right now, to just jot down a few things that come pretty darn easy- if not magically effortless- to us. You may not even know what those things are. Ask for help. Ask your best friend, your mother, the baker at your local bakery, and the man who keeps a turkey fed just for you and your Thanksgiving guests. I’m serious. Do it now. Grab a napkin if you have to and freeform that shit. Modesty is overrated. And yes, you’ll have modifiers in your descriptions first go round. That’s ok. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You just have to start writing.

Here’s my attempt at discovering what joy, pain, and value I can tap into and offer this glorious world we all share:

  • singing the shit out of jazz ballads
  • making rescue cats feel super loved
  • exploring nooks and crannies while traveling and finding some pretty cool local spots
  • listening to others share their problems
  • lifting heavy shit in CrossFit
  • making pretty decent meals from the supply of random food in the fridge
  • being myself
  • embracing my attraction to white men and accepting my blackness
  • editing, proofreading, and revisions
  • reading
  • getting lost in the woods and finding my way back through amazing trails
  • learning new things
  • organizing shit
  • forgiving
  • empathy
  • understanding

Now, all joking aside, this is a kickass way to start off. That’s all we need to do. Take the first step. Then, take another. Then, take another effing step. Pretty soon, you will look back and realize, “Shit, I never thought I’d make it this far!”

What’s My Superpower

Joel Brown was recently on Vishen Lakhiani’s Mindvalley podcast. He spoke about how he discovered what his mission in life would be. He talks about an important interaction with the Wolf of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort. Jordan asked him three important questions. These questions would be the catalyst for Joel’s 10-year plan.

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What do you love?
  3. What solution will you provide to the world?

The wording on the last question is very particular. Notice, it doesn’t say ask what solution “can” you provide. It speaks from a place of absolutes. The question doesn’t evoke hope, but a determination to complete what one sets one’s mind to do something.

So, what is my ultimate superpower? Joel discovered that his power is connecting people and seeing the mutual benefit they can offer each other that will create something great.

What Am I Good At?

So, it’s been a while since I have written. I made it all the way to the end of the 4-hour Work Week during a hectic transition in my “career” as well as personal life. There are so many things floating around my head. Dreams. Hopes. I’m glad this book was on my shelf “just in time.”

Of course, I had known about it for years. I had even purchased it a few weeks prior and put in the “to read pile”. But, being relieved of my duties at my previous job meant that I now had the ultimate reason to find a way to live life on my own terms. It was also around the same time that I discovered James Altucher’s idea machine concept. The perfect marriage of concepts to help ignite a spark for my inner muse.

I’m still deciding what businesses and avenues I feel inspired to venture into. I’m loving the concept that no idea is too silly. That any pain point, if executed and marketed to the right people, can become something grand that people weren’t even aware they were missing. That I wasn’t even aware I was missing.

My first issue of the $1/yr subscription of Entrepreneur magazine came a few days ago and I’ve been devouring the mindset of those interviewed for the articles. I’m already happier with the new job I started last week. It’s a much safer environment for me emotionally, less overtime, and encourages creativity and wellness. I’m home before 6:30 and am able to enjoy some yoga in the park on Sundays.

The question in the title you ask? I’m going to use the questions at the end of the 4HWW as a muse for a blog series, to get the creative juices flowing, to dig deep inside myself to find out what makes me tick. This particular question is worded this way on purpose. You don’t need to be an expert as long as you are good enough that your skill or service can be of value to someone else. Ultimately, these blog entries will lead to my first venture into becoming, as Jason Feifer defines an entrepreneur, “someone who makes stuff happen for myself.”

What Am I Good At? (in no particular order and without edit/perfect answers)

  1. singing
  2. hugs
  3. exploring/trying new things
  4. discipline
  5. athletics
  6. compassion/empathy
  7. cats
  8. creating safe space
  9. encouragement
  10. organization
  11. reading/learning
  12. hugs
  13. smiling
  14. wondering and wandering
  15. cooking
  16. story telling
  17. imagination
  18. with kids
  19. with animals
  20. researching
  21. resilience
  22. languages

I’ll probably be editing this list as my brain discovers new answers that have been here all along. 😊

“Nuit D’etoiles”

I haven’t posted in a few days. It’s been a busy last few days surprisingly? Why you ask? Well, because this weekend the idea of loneliness has been on my mind. Friday was off to a good start and I made some notes for a future post while in the City. The rest of the weekend has put those notes into an entirely different perspective.

I’m listening to this amazingly touching rendition of Debussy’s “Nuit D’etoiles” by the Enrico Pieranunzi Trio with Simona Severini on vocals and Davis El Malek on sax. I’ve actually been listening to it since I first heard it on Sunday. Today, I decided to look up the lyrics. Debussy used a poem by Théodore de Banville. The title means Night of Stars and the poem is about nostalgia and longing for lost loves. The poem mentions “sad lyre”. Perhaps the poet was looking up and spotted one of the bright stars of the night, Vega, which is part of the Lyra constellation. It must have played a sad song for him as he looked up into the vastness of space.

 

Harp in the night’s sky

 

I can understand this feeling. I’m certain I can’t be the only one who internally reminisces about past loves who are no good for us and that we have long past out-grown. The same for old friends.  Growth is inspiring. Success is ever calling us. Yet, often times, we must face these things alone. Those we’d like to go with us aren’t on the same path or are afraid to pass the starting line. Those who have it kind of figured out seem to be so far ahead that they are constantly turning the corner on the road to greatness as we catch sight of them in the distance. Or perhaps, relocation is needed to a space where understanding friends live in the far far away from this rural and stagnant location.

 

Image result for lyra constellation in the milky way
The wonder of peaking through our Galaxy looking back at us…

 

While in the City on Friday, I noticed some things that most definitely lead to our feelings of loneliness as a society. I was in a Starbucks on the corner at the intersection of two busy streets. I love people watching and this day afforded me many different types of people to take in.

On that one corner, people of different classes, age demographics, and races walked so closely that they almost bumped into multiple people in the 2 minutes it took them to cross the street.  Yet, everyone was in their own internal world. They barely noticed each other. The upper-middle class were indifferent to the homeless man walking in arms reach of them. Not even a glance to acknowledge his existence. Couples who were mid-argument walking further away from each other than to the strangers they pass.

The businessman in his backpack who walked by twice during my observation. The first time he passed, he was deep in thought and had a scowl on his face. He returned with a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. I wonder what good news he encountered during his absence from my corner window view.   The middle -class woman who walked by with her shoulders hunched over as if trying to hide her insecurity while the young black girl walked pass displaying her Black Girl Magic with fro picked out and crop top baring her belly.

Most people who walked by looked like they were screaming inside to be heard. By who? I don’t know. Am I perhaps insinuating their emotional state? Very likely. But a good friend said something to me at a party that night that made me realise that I was probably correct more times than not with that assumption. He recently introduced me to a show called Mr Robot. He mentioned how the show was such a hit even though it was about a group of hackers because the main character often talked about his feelings of loneliness. In fact, there were multiple scenes thought the seasons that showed him hysterically crying and wishing he had someone to hug or talk to about his emptiness.

The perfect moment for me to actually let my friend know that I can totally relate to that emotion…and I brushed past his comment and started talking about what I thought made the show so great…It may have had to do with the fact we were at a small house party. It may have been because I’m still working on vulnerability or because I was afraid that I too might start hysterically crying if I publically acknowledge this in myself.

For over a year, I have been working on my vulnerability. I can talk about my moments after they have passed and I have rationally discussed them with myself. But rarely, if ever, has anyone seen me on the floor broken and crying. Once my mother did and she said it made her too sad. So, I revert to the one who has to be strong for everyone else…and I wonder why this time in my life is so hard and that no one really grasps the depth of my emotions…

On another note, my cat has adopted my mother and is now moderately indifferent towards me. This does not fair well for a lonely, “in between jobs”, 30-something who’s always longed to be a fur-mom. :/ I hope tonight’s night sky observations inspire something as beautiful as this poem in me tonight.

 

 

The Possibilties are Endless

The past few days, my brain has been all over the place. Trying to pinpoint which direction to spend the next 10-minute block of my life like Tim Urban says.  What is the most important thing I could be doing right now to get closer to my goals? I do what I’m supposed to. I have my morning ritual set. I fill out my Evo Planner. I write the three things I’m grateful for. I schedule interview appointments and search the Internet for jobs that fit my mission. I speed read, as best I can, the 4-Hour Workweek so that I can get all the information I can…I do my 10-20 ideas and I do my workout after my meditation.

Today, I feel a little bit like the Legend of 1900. Have you seen that film? It’s about a child born on a cruise ship. He was abandoned and adopted by the crew. He was never allowed to go into port because he was born without citizenship. He belonged to nowhere and had endless possibilities. *SPOILERS*  He finally gets his passport and he wants to see what land has to offer. He steps off the gangway…looks around the city…and realised that he doesn’t know which direction to go first. He’s been given his freedom and he hasnt’ the faintest idea where to go first.

A full-time job meant I HAD to make time for the personal growth plans I had for myself. Parkinson’s Law. I made the time. Now, I have so many things running through my head. Should I only focus on the job hunt? What avenues should I pursue and which ones should I let go because they won’t provide enough R.O.I.? Will I find what I am looking for in the next month? Should I save every penny or should I continue, within reason, to do a few of the things that are good for my mental and physical health so that I stay about the job search depression that most have probably felt?

 

“Spring has sprung!”

OhHelloSpring-PIN

It’s finally starting to feel like Spring is here. The sun was out…the snow has melted (smh) and it is great hiking weather. The birds weren’t too deterred. They came all at once it seemed despite the multiple Noreasters we had. I can’t help but admire their determination. I also can’t help but think my cat is missing out by being perched on the window sill in the den instead of sat here next to my desk watching the nature show outside my window unfold…

This morning, I saw the same little birdie I’ve had my eye on for the past few days. This bird has been focused and determined. Picking up bits of broken branches to take to its perch to continue the home building process. Goal-oriented, time-tested system dedication. Every year, same time come snow or shine, this bird most likely follows suit. Nature is all about effective efficiency. I don’t think this bird would every think of working for work’s sake.

It’s a very fitting real-world scenario to echo what I’ve been reading lately in Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week. I have read the 4-Hour Body before being a fitness gal and know all about the minimum effective dose training idea he talks about. I’m glad I waited to read the 4HWW until I had proper office experience to relate it to.

Why is it that it’s a common misconception that working to fill the hours is more important than taking the time to figure out a more effective way to do said task in less time? Perhaps, said task is pointless and should be thrown out entirely. I think I found that the hardest thing to understand as I am a naturally inquisitive person with no affiliation to one specific school of thought. I thought it was common sense that getting the work accurately done faster would be a good thing. I learned during a paid internship in college that this is not appreciated. Who knew?!

So, this is my mission should I choose to accept it. To continue to seek better ways to do things, but to also do it in a more subtle way. This way, people won’t feel intimidated or the need to be defensive. #bullinachinashop :/