Bridging the Generational Gap

So, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am considered a millennial.  I felt this point was arguable and that I was just a bit too old to fit under the classification.  However, a colleague at work ‘Googled’ the term for confirmation that I was indeed just the right age to be considered a millennial.  Lets clarify the terminology, shall we.

A third-party independent research company called, Pew Research Center, considers anyone born between the years of 1981 and 1996 which puts millennials currently in the age range of 23-38, which is surprisingly older than me.  So, maybe there is some reasoning behind this determination.  However, I feel that it works something like this – the truest depiction of the concept of millennial is portrayed by the bottom portion of that age range (the twenty-somethings in other words) and then lets say the millennials above the age of thirty had a bit different perception growing up.

But I digress, as my whole point of approaching this topic has nothing to do with the classification of millennials and what age you need to be if you are considered a millennial.  No, at this point, I will just say I have accepted the labeling of millennial for better or worse.  And since the older portion of the population feels the needs to categorize us all as so, let me identify some of my own realizations about the generational gap.  I feel the need to speak up for my peer group whether or not they consider themselves my peers and also despite whether or not they agree with the pronouncements I will be making shortly.

So, let me start by saying this.  Each generation has been classified, typically by a single letter, to denote the timeframe in which we were born.  This labeling, in my opinion, is meant mostly for the sake of categorizing and eventually researching census information such as purchasing trends and an overall psychological understanding of our generation of citizens.  Most of that goes without saying, but I figured I would preface the whole matter before I tear it all apart.  Although I do believe this is important research material that will make it possible to understand the difference perspectives amongst the different age groups in our country, this does not mean I agree with the descriptions they have appointed to my generational group.

Let’s jump right into this shit.  First of all, the entire premise of a millennial is our interaction with technology.  I am sorry but that is the dumbest revelation anyone has ever made about a group of people.  Okay, did we claim my grandmother’s generation was that of the TV generation because certainly almost every senior citizen I know has a special place in their hearts for old ass sitcoms and comedy shows like NASH, Macgyver, Sanford and Sons, Gilligans Island, I Love Lucy, etc.  They stared at the idiot box for the remainder of their adult lives yet society has never defined them for it.  Meanwhile, because cellphones became ubiquitous during lets say the end of my high school career, that supposedly shaped who I became along with my peer group.  I didn’t even have my own phone until I turned 18 given the expense of getting even just a monthly plan.  And just to clarify, no our parents were not running out and buying us the greatest new cellphones just because they existed and they were out.

The reality is, the older generation above us was so busy taking drugs and partying, enjoying their free love and making hopeless movements their priority such as marijuana legalization rather than tackling the homeless crisis or the hunger crisis.  Because it is so much more important that everyone is high.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not denying the medicinal benefits but what I am denying is that there was not some more important higher priority issue in this country during that time.  Then they wonder why the millenials are more concerned with the next iPhone model than we are with the issues truly facing our society.  The role models that we were looking up to for guidance were so busy stuck in their second childhoods, chasing dreams and a bag of weed, neglecting the well being of their children, and ultimately following a pipe dream down a rabbit hole.

Let’s dig even deeper into this: briefly, there was some slight debate about the labeling of our generation.  It was probably because the generational gap was shifting onto the new Generation Z, which approximately anybody 22 years old and younger aka the millennials had millennial babies and suddenly we needed to categorize them too.  In the process, I guess there was some discussion about whether or not the real millennials were our children and if we should be consideration something else.  They toyed with the name of “snowflakes” because they claim my generation has a meltdown over any and everything.  I would argue that is a more fitting explanation of the generation behind us (the new Gen Z children) but whatever.  Let me play devil’s advocate and pretend I agree with this label.  If so, then there is certainly reasoning to explain this.

I truly do believe that my elders and all of these Generational researchers that initially aimed to answer that very question, they had no fucking clue and began throwing together rationals that don’t exactly make sense together.  For instance, the whole technology stance is a crock of shit.  Technology has enhanced our lives just as much as it has the medical industry, the business realms, in fact, all industries.  Technology and the advent of the internet has literally changed the world.  If anything, its introduction into society was one of the fastest evolution of any invention to date.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of other innovations that have evolved over time, but none of them at the rate of which the internet and relative technologies have done so.  Even the television set, which is a staple within the American household, has taken decades for the hardware to be innovated and to evolve into the full-featured, extremely high resolution, high quality, display devices that they have become.  Now, with that being said – the researchers saw something phenomenal occurring in the background of our society and they immediately needed to connect that to something.  In other words, correlation is a media favorite.  I myself, as a writer, use correlation to connect related facts and ideas to one another.  But this is like a whole new level.

I am also not saying that growing up in this time period has not had any affect at all on my generation (aka other millennials like myself) because it certainly has.  I mean, I work with technology for a living and I question how much of my current job duties and responsibilities were even in existence back  when I was growing up.  There is a commercial for Porter and Chester Institute (a very well-known technical and trade college in the northeast USA) that talks about a skills gap within the workforce because technology is progressing much faster than student can be taught these principles.   In fact, technology is advancing at such a progressive rate than many of the technical certifications required to find work in my field, have been made temporary rather than permanent certification like they used to be.

In other words, the generation before mine was able to work in the field of IT with much less expense revolved around testing and eventually retesting down the line.  The highest level of exam I took was fairly entry level with a cost of over $400 and when I did not pass the exam by mere points (I believe a passing score was 720 points and I had about 712 points), I realized there is no concession or discount on the price.  They do so for full time students with a school email address ending in .edu but even those emails don’t stick around for long after graduation.  My point here is that my generation has a whole new standard of living and working and finances that the generation before us can BARELY understand.

Then there is a man vs self side of the coin – you know, the problem that doesn’t need to be a problem but is one because we are all just flawed human beings.  Well, here it is because I promise it is my favorite misconception about our age range.  And let me be more precise as I discuss this one because it involves other generational groups – both the Baby Boomers generation (between the ages of 55 and 73) and Generation X (between the ages of 39 and 54) are the parents of the millennials, depending on what part of the scale they fall under.  These two older generations were young and dumb, as all youth tend to be historically speaking, but eventually they had children and grew up.  And when they did, they decided all of sudden they should have standards for us, their children, in order to promote a better future.

So, our parents pressed the importance of new concepts they had not seen in their day and age, such as birth control and condoms, or the importance of education.  Now, as with any attempt to make change, there are successes and failures.  There was much success in fighting drug addiction, and don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of addicts right now in 2019 just as there are still drug dealers out there in the world.  However, I would say the whole free love, hippy environment that fostered the heavy drug usage of the past, has certainly died down immensely.  And believe me, I know was a teenager when Woodstock was still going strong, but I mean to say it was dwindling as most of that generation was growing up and figuring out their lives.  There are also other changes that are out of our control such as, inflation, technological innovation, and climate change.

Despite that some of these changes can be considered positive, the older generations look upon us in a negative light for these things.  I already gave you an easy example, and it was that of the cellphone.  I’m not sure what makes older generations think that cellphones greatly improved our lives.  Don’t get me wrong, I would hate to lose my cellphone but it would not be the end of the world.  It also improved my life in the most shallow sense, but it does not put food on the table, not to mention cellphone services cost entirely too much money compared to the prices our parents paid for their basic phone plans.  Climate change is not a good thing, generally speaking, but there are some perks such as much milder winters in the northeast USA.  And here comes the older generation, as if they played no part in the damaging of our environment, talking about how long they walked to school, work, etc. in however many feet of snow.  Such a cliche for me to go there but yes, older people, shutup about which modes of transportation and communication DID NOT EXIST YET back when you were younger.  Maybe you should have become an inventor and not an accountant or bank teller and you could have created the means to communicate over long distances or you could have been Henry Ford instead of John Doe.  I don’t know but stop blaming the shit on millennials.

They have also tried to implement other changes that were not so successful.  Like the educational advancements and changes in the curriculum.  That was not as successful as they thought it would be.  I mean, sure they wanted their children to be smarter and have more opportunities.  So, we were pushed to forward the mission of the secondary education system.  First of all, how many of our elders even bothered with that whole college process and yet they were able to make a living, easily.  Now, however, you can barely get a job with a high school diploma (at least one worth working where you can provide for yourself and family).  And even with a BA, about a year into working on my Masters, and two certifications I was granted when I passed the respective exams, I can barely find a full time job that isn’t trying to grossly underpay me for my efforts.

All of this, simply to say that, my peers and I have been coined as millennials and then assigned all of these harsh and incredibly unfair connotations to define what is it that makes a millennial a millennial.  And I feel like I have a much better answer for the world.  We are the fed the fuck up generation.  Taxation without representation is the story of our lives and we didn’t have to damage the ocean by throwing massive amounts of tea into that ecosystem for us to say in more or less words – WE ARE UNHAPPY WITH OUR REPRESENTATION.  All day and every day, society is enthralled in these political ideals that have NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR GENERATION!!!  They talk about the social security and disability fund without ever addressing the fact that it won’t be sufficient to support our elderly changing needs once we have reached retirement ages.  Lets not forget that these older generations will leave ours with the task of fixing what you all fucked up back in your days and we still are.  The opium and the methamphetamine that was circulating when we were babies or being conceived, yes we paid the price for your mistakes.

And now we live in a world of upside down capitalism where manufacturing is a joke and nothing is built to last and the price of goods and living expenses have skyrocketed meanwhile the minimum wage only just reached double-digit numbers within the last decade or maybe even less.  So, here is the reality – older generations are jealous of our generation and the opportunities that have been afforded us.  They have no concept that the opportunities they BELIEVE they have created for us have mainly hindered us.  They say things like, when I was in high school we didn’t have cellphones and we had to wait at home for the boys to call.  As if having a cellphone means the boys are calling it.  That is like the least deductive reasoning I have heard to classify an entire generation of different individuals.  That is not to mention that when you live in an urban environment, the benefits of our generation reach us much slower.  Who gives a damn what new gadget exists on the market when our market is not being targeted due to the extreme cost of goods.

I work in IT and I cannot afford a Macbook Pro – are you kidding me.  But there are kids in college now who received a brand new one from their parents before they were enrolled.  Hell, my parents didn’t even bother to buy me a laptop until I began my Master degree program at the tender age of WHAT – 27 YEARS OLD!!!  Yes, so I got my first cellphone at 18 when I was old enough to finally use my SSN for a line of credit.  And though we had a desktop PC at home, don’t at all for a moment think that I was not at the library printing and transferring my homework assignments onto a USB flash drive to take it to some other computer at my school.  Though I learned to drive early, I didn’t have my own car until college either and that was probably sophomore/junior year of college, the earliest.  I took sometimes 2 buses and a train to get to school.  And for the sake of finances, I did not live on dorm as the tuition at UCONN was already high enough without room and board and food added to that.

Every car we invest in, last years less than the year models prior and thus they depreciate in value must faster.  The real estate market does the weirdest shit and even for us to afford an apartment is a challenge, nevermind being approved for a mortgage with these ridiculous student loans breathing down our backs.  Our children cost more, their clothes, their shoes, their toys, and everything includes technology that we did not ask to be built into everything that is marketed to our generation.  It likes the terminology and all related principles of ‘millennials’ were staged in order to make us into what they wanted.  They wanted us to be technological zombies so they created a series of shallow advancements and marketed them to us in their most clever and well designed well manipulated mannerism.  Then after they sell us these $1000 phones, they are the first one talking shit about how stuck we are on the damn phones.

Let’s be real here, sure some young software or programming whiz kid probably created most of these innovative technological inventions, but we all know damn well some old ass CEO from either the Boomer generation or maybe a very smart young CEO from Gen X is sitting behind a eloquently appointed oversized wooden desk giving the green-light on marketing direction and pricing and demographics.  They then realized these damn phones are too expensive to reach the urban environment so lets give them a zero money down phone payment plan and we will call that INNOVATIVE.  Stop fucking innovating our lives and innovate your own.  Create a stronger adult pamper or figure out what the nation is going to do about the social security disability fund – stop fucking adding more features to these dumb ass devices and vehicles you sell us that still don’t last.

I have a Nokia phone that still has a battery life of more than a day and that is years after being out of warranty and basically exceeding its proposed shelf life.  Nokia is no longer in business, I guess because good manufacturing became a taboo during the millennial day and age.  It was intentional for the manufactured goods in our time to be poorly built to malfunction right after the warranty has ended and then we are sold other dumb ass incentives to replace the hardware with another poorly functioning piece of hardware!  This is a disgusting world you have left behind for us.  You want us to vote and then some older politician who doesn’t like our viewpoints because THEY DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND, will simply pull our ballots out of the box, set them on fire, and light his expensive cuban cigar with those ballots that will never be accounted for.  Now here we are with this racist, sexist, crack pot of a president and I am supposed to feel American pride.  Are you fucking serious?!?  Watching the news lately is more likely to promote traitorous thoughts than to elicit national pride.  Keeping in mind that my black ass didn’t rush to this fucking place on a boat all willing to be a part of the raping of this land nor did I personally sign up for the persecution of various indigenous peoples that already inhabited this place.

But here I am and here we are all.  I did not ask to be American anymore than I asked to be black anymore than I asked to be classified as a millennial.  But since I am a black woman born during the millennial generation and working in a field highly saturated by anything BUT black women, I will speak upon and address the circumstances which apply to me and maybe some of my peer group.  I am disgusted by the example being set by my elders, President Donald Trump for a start.  I mean who is the millennial when this man sits on Twitter all day writing the most inappropriate comments and sharing them with the world.  I can barely remember my Twitter password and lucky that it is signed in automatically on my phone.  Even then, I still would not launch the app merely to read what this idiot has to say.  What kind of role model is he meant to be and he is certainly Gen X or older even.  Back up off my generation, stop riding technologies YOU KNOW WHAT, and get a grip.  iPhones are not improving the job market unless you work at Apple and the newfangled innovations of the day are overpriced gimmicks waiting to eat our wallets inside out.  The education system is way too expensive and incredibly skewed.  The lessons revolve around celebrated historical figures that literally raped innocent women because their skin looked different and then ran them out of their homes, also quite literally.

You talk a big game – society, America, Trump, Uncle Sam, THE MAN!!  Whomever you want to call it that I am currently addressing.  This goes out to all of those with a completely irrational view on my generation, our challenges and struggles, or our motivations and opportunities.  You have nothing to offer us in 40 years when we become the elders of the nation’s youth.  And when you judgmental, preachy fools realize your well being and care will fall into our hands, you will think twice before you insult us or judge us unfairly.  Because I am completely fine with jumbling you all together and categorizing you all as you do us and then stick you all in convalescence because you are all unbearable or annoying.  And honestly that would be a horrible thing to do and I especially have a soft spot for the seniors.  I love my grandma and I love her generation and the sacrifices they made.  They fought for real shit like freedom for the blacks, rights for the women to work and vote, and they did so while putting a damn good meal on the table and honoring their husband no matter how drunk or obnoxious he was.  Those traditional values were real and are still respected to this day.

But lets just say somewhere between the ages of I don’t know, 50 to like 75, there is a group of stuffy ass lazy ass old people watching TV, spitting out opinions that are unwarranted, and judging the younger generations for using the technology that exists to our benefit as they did when the automobile and television were invented.  I mean this to be completely ignorant when I say this – but I used to agree that millennials needed to work on social skills and educational skills the good old fashioned way.  Then I realized I am supposedly a millennial and you are crazy if you think my spelling and math skills are not on point and I don’t need Google to tell me the difference between their, they’re, and there.  Nor do I need to ask Siri (Apple) or Bixby (Samsung) whether to use bought or brought when I am writing a paper.

If you want to box us all together then I can start boxing our irresponsible elders together as well.  Thank you so sticking us in front of a video game while you ran the streets hugging trees, doing elicit drugs, and promoting free love.  Now 30 years later, where is all the free love.  It all HATE HATE HATE in your blood.  You elders are always talking some shit about my age range without ever taking accountability of where you all went wrong and why we turn to Google to ask for help instead of asking you!!!  Have you ever wondered why that is?!?  I am far from a politician nor am I a public speaking.  What I am is a writer with a big ass mouth and a lot of opinions of my own.  I used to blog religiously and heavily as a teen but I shut my mouth and kept my opinions to myself for a long time.  I tried to be more understanding of society and I found compassion for the rough times you all experienced.  I thought to myself “if you don’t have anything nice to say….” and I promise you I didn’t write the way I used to for a A LONG TIME.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wrote poetry and dumb little blogs but never anything heavy and offensive in my mid-twenties.  But it you read almost anything I wrong in my late teens and early twenties, it was all passionate rants about why shit isn’t right or why things are so very wrong.  I will go back to that speaking up as I have no other outlet for this shit and to be honest, somebody needs to throw people under that bus that actually deserve to be run over!!!  It is time for my generation to speak up for ourselves and to say BACK THE FUCK OFF US!!!  We had it rough too and you have no idea half of the trouble caused by the injection of technology into our young impressionable lives.  You are cool if you wanna have your opinions.  But when I hear news reports or articles where we are referred to like youth cattle that cannot be controlled but your dumb ass media outlets, its because you have not caught our interest where World Star Hip Hop has.  What do you think that says about these media sources and what does that say about the news?!  Why is it we would rather watch ANYTHING on YouTube than watch the news and pretend to give a shit about what Trump has to say.  Because you throw our ballots in the trash with a flippant statement about how all we care about is our cellphone.  We used to care about our elders and our environment and our laws before you made it clear early in our voting experience that YOU DON’T CARE WHAT WE THINK!!!  Guess what, the feeling is mutual!!!

 

 

 

 

A Mother’s Burden

mother burden

When I had my first child, I knew that my life would be forever changed.  Of course, I want to believe that it was a change for the better, but I cannot be certain.  Now don’t get me wrong, I would never regret my son because of all the things I do not know, the one thing that is certain is how much I love him.  However, I am concerned about the world that I brought him into – this place where the joy experienced is far outweighed by the pain and sorrow that we will undoubtedly suffer.  Was it worth it?  Is my own life worth it let alone adding more into the mixture?

If there was only one regret when it comes to motherhood, mine would be that I don’t value this life I live and how can I expect anybody else to do that when I am unable to?  What is left for me to look forward to?  The social construct that we are all apart of, is detrimentally flawed.  The whole career path and home ownership, it is all an elaborate lie that we were taught since childhood.  Now, here I am – an adult who is well aware of the dream on a shoestring that we call ‘happiness’.  How can I ever forget the truth or believe the lie again?  How can I work towards a goal that I don’t believe in any longer?

All i know is that I am sick of life and I will be damned if my son feels this way someday in the future.  And if and when that were to happen, then what would I tell him?  How in the hell can I convince him of something that I myself don’t even believe?  That life is worth living, that pain is worth feeling, that suffering will pay off in the future.  I don’t believe any of that and despite a faith in God, I have none in mankind.  We are all the problem, with our free wills and our self serving agendas – the problem with life are those living it with no regards to anyone else doing the same exact thing.  How can I justify bringing my son into this fucked up fold that we call life?  There is no apology good enough that can erase the hurt and he will soon be aware of everything wrong in our lives, even if he doesn’t quite understand yet.  I am dreading the explanations he will one day seek from me.

***REPOST FOR FACEBOOK***

Art: The Envy of Literature

bowl of fruit art

I always considered myself a skilled writer.  But maybe I simply had a love for literature and reading books and I wanted to write the way that real authors did and so a passion was born.  And the more I wrote the more skilled I became and thus now I can consider myself a skilled writer.  Or I could just be a pretentious bitch with a lot of nothing to say but I will be damned it that would shut me up.  Anyway, I had this strong feeling through my entire adolescence that I would give up my ability to write if only could be a skilled artist instead — to draw or paint and capture the hearts, minds, and maybe even the souls of your audience in mere moments.  If only I could relay some deep, meaningful, critical message with words in an instant the way a beautiful work of art can. I think about the way a simple bowl of fruit set upon a drab table can become a work an art — and a very common one, I might add.  Or the way an artist can go to anywhere that beauty can be seen (almost anywhere, basically) and set themselves down with their easel and create a work of art from an everyday possibly mundane scenery.

I randomly had this wild ass idea that I should do that with my writing.  Certainly I would need to tweak things a bit because writers don’t do easels and bowls of fruits, typically.  I also realize there is no way I can capture the reader with my words in mere moments the way gazing upon a painting could.  Don’t get me wrong, there are writers with that level of skill but I am certainly not one of them.  And I myself have read short, ever so brief quotes, not even complete phrases, that were so profound I was awestruck.  But to accomplish such a literary feat myself, seems highly unlikely.  And this little random experiment or project of mine, it feels more realistic or at least possible than me pulling off some monumental word game that I can’t conceive of.

So, let’s take a swing at this and see if it will produce beautiful literary art.



Ok, so I made my first attempt at this little writing project.  I posted it in my “Poetry In Prose’ blog which I believe is a link somewhere on the main page of this blog.  In any event, I will come back in here and post the direct URL to the specific piece in question.  It is titled “Lunar Lullaby” and the subject of the work is obvious.  Maybe I will eventually write some that are a bit more obscure, ambiguous, or just more subtle in the literary breakdown.  I just felt like focusing on the task before evolving my methods, writing style, or wordplay.  Creative writing is one of my strengths, so it makes sense to challenge myself more next time.  And maybe it would be a good idea to pick a subject outside of my comfort zone – I have always loved the moon.

Misconceptions

I hate when I self reflect on things because ignorance may not always be blissful but still not knowing can be much better than knowledge.  In the process of self reflection, I uncovered a good deal of misconceptions that I have been keeping.  Now in hindsight, I realize that maybe I did not want to know how wrong I have been about so many areas of my life.  The biggest misconception of them all: self love = selfish.  In times of strife and great difficulty, a very common piece of advice is that we all must love ourselves before we can truly love anyone else properly.  Now, people throw around this self love terminology as if this were an easy thing to do; as if we were born with instructions on how to love ourselves properly.  And so, I mistakenly assumed that I needed to be more selfish.  I figured I should sacrifice less for others and worry only for the needs of myself and my son.

I could not have been more wrong.  If anything, it has only managed to hamper matters even more because now there is a guilty feeling revolved around my selfish behavior.  And yet, I have no idea how to go backwards from here.  I have burned so many bridges that even if I wanted to do something selfless, I would have no idea how to do so.  The only thing I could even remotely consider would be volunteer work, but I have committed so wholeheartedly to NOT commit to anything else and now I am finding it impossible to undo this mental state.

I had another misgiving with human interaction.  So many of my past social interactions have been painful or have had ominous outcomes, that lately I have wanted to avoid people all together.  I mistakenly assumed that isolating myself would remove the negative influence of all other parties involved.  Instead, I came to find that the absence of misery is not the creation of happiness.  If I did find any peace in my solitude, it has only been counteracted by the disappointment that nothing has improved, even when I avoid the outside factor that is people.  And even beyond that, there is no possibly way to avoid people all together, so eventually the isolation would ultimately fail.  How can I possibly be a part of a society that I refuse to interact with?

I am sure there are plenty of other relevant misconceptions that I could discuss but I think it will only aid in making me feel depressed and sullen.  I wish I knew how to handle all of this.  I can see no other way than what I have been doing – remaining isolated and self serving until something changes inside me but I am doubtful anything will ever change for the better.  I feel ashamed to hate my life so much when so many others deserving of life have lost the opportunity to live out a full life.  And yet, living a full life is starting to sound like a lifelong prison sentence and I can’t help but want to escape from this life.  There is no way to start over nor can I undo anything.  Why should moving forward be this difficult?  What am I missing in this life equation?  I am tired of thinking and feeling.

Your Will or You Won’t – Pt 2: Kill Will

So, I still find myself struggling with the will to do anything and everything.  From simple things like calling a company to make a correction to my bill, to the more important things like scheduling doctors appointments and doing laundry – it all feels overwhelming to deal with.  If I am truly being honest, not just with my readers but with myself, then I have to admit that this loss of will is terrifying for me.  I have also been driven and ambitious and most importantly, resilient.  I have been through plenty of rough patches to know my fair share about coping.  Yet, at this moment in my life coping seems impossible.

I wanted to figure out why I lost my will and how to possibly get it back.  So, I started to analyze all of the things I have been unable to find the will to achieve.  That was not the best approach as I realized that would be a lofty list of overwhelming items on my agenda.  I decided to take an alternate route and analyze what exactly I do have the will for.  That was still no easy task but it was one that I could actually manage.  I was drinking vodka in hopes is dulling whatever painful realities I would need to mentally confront.  By the time I was feeling buzzed, I realized my will is not broken at all.  It has diminished in some ways but it exists nonetheless.  I realized that I have been seeing a therapist for almost 2 years and I honestly don’t think I am making any progress.  Yet, I still spend that hour every week hoping to fix myself or at least figure out some coping mechanisms.

I can say without a doubt that I don’t want to feel the way that I do and therefore my will is buried somewhere deep inside me, wanting to find true happiness.  So, now in the process of this self-analysis, I became more confused than when I started.  I know I am able to do many things, mainly because I have done many of these things in the past.  An easy example I mentioned above is calling the phone company to fix my bill.  Its not as if I am unaware of how to call Verizon.  I used to work there for years and even if I didn’t, the customer service number can be found online not to mention 611 is the easiest way to reach any phone company when you are calling from the phone they provide service on.  Whatever – the details of it are irrelevant.  My point here is that if I am able to do make this phone call, why haven’t I called Verizon yet.  I made the blanket assumption that all of the things I was once able to do, I am no longer willing to do.

But like I said, when I realized my will is not exactly gone, that only made matters worse because now I don’t even have a working theory as to what my problem is.  Ever since then, I have been speculating on the issue and what the root cause could be.  Then maybe I can resolve the issue once I know what the issue actually is.  Unfortunately, that has been much easier said than done.  I have been forcing myself to think philosophically on a deeper level about relevant concepts so I can get to the bottom of this.  Was this a case of broken faith?  I have not been an incredibly religious person, but I have always been faithful.  It seems obvious to me that there is more to life than what can be seen and I am certain of a higher power.  Despite my recent struggles, my faith in God is not diminished.  On the contrary, I feel like humanity puts a great deal of burden on God when much of the burden is man-made or pertains to mankind.  What I am going through does not feel like God’s burden to bear.  There is something I need to be doing and it is NOT praying that God will do it for me!

So, if my problem is not caused by a lack of faith, then what else could it be?  My mind went to the next best theory I could come up with – hope.  This has been a breakthrough in my thinking because it actually makes sense.  I realized that most of the tasks I cannot find the will to complete,  are linked to a lack of hope in the outcomes.  Then again, that blanket explanation does not apply to everything.  If we go back to that calling Verizon example, I know that there is no need to hope for any particular outcome just so long as my bill is the typical amount I pay.  Another example is scheduling doctors appointments even when there is no concern about the outcome of those appointments.  In fact, any activity of a tedious nature I struggle with.  These are simple things I know how to do, have experience with performing or completing, and yet absolutely no will to do those things any longer.

Some of those cases are irrelevant.  For instance, if I do not call Verizon they will still expect payment of the balance on the bill so it would benefit me to call and have the correction made and yet I can’t imagine bothering with such a task until I am actually forced to make the payment.  That is mere days away from today and even now as I am writing this instead of calling Verizon about my bill.  However, there are other things that are much more important than my phone bill.  For example, I am a temporary contractor and though my contract will end in December of this year, I have not even glanced at my resume since before I started this contract.  Finding a job is not as straight forward are calling the phone company and so I am even less inclined to deal with this.  I imagine at the end of November when I realize I am screwed for the holidays, I will then be forced to deal with it.  I feel the same way about other major tasks such as repairing my credit, first time home ownership, and marriage – all of those things seems like such involved projects with many underlying tasks that also need to be completed.  I just cannot deal with any of it.

I’m not sure what happened to my will.  I was strong-willed and pushed myself towards reaching my goals.  Now, even setting a goal feels like the pun of a bad joke.  Nothing seems worthwhile including the things that I once believed were worthwhile.  I am completely besides myself, at a loss as to how to revive my maimed will and if it is even possible to do so.  At this point, my will is so far gone, it would be miraculous if revival were even an option at all.  Maybe all of this can be considered a lost cause and I need to give up on unrealistic pursuits, such as that of fixing myself!

Your Will or You Won’t

An individual’s will is a very delicate thing, believe it or not.  When I say will, I mean like free will, choice, and determination.  Though ‘will’ can be one of the strongest forces of nature, manifesting our innermost desires in the physical world – it can also be a hindrance, holding us back from all of our potential.  I say this because I know from personal experience what that feels like.

My current dilemma is exactly that: a complete and utter lack of will.  I do not say this lightly either!  I have always been characterized by my strong determination and an ability to not only set goals, but reach them as well.  But somewhere throughout the last decade that has passed, I lost something critical to my self progression – my will.  I have barely touched the surface on why exactly this has happened to me.  But that is a moot point because even if I knew why, I would still have no idea how to rectify the issue.

Lately, I have faith in very few things; certainly not in myself!  My faith in mankind has dwindled down to practically nothing.  We lie, steal, cheat, murder, and everything in between for our own selfish means.  The leader of our country is arguably a racist, sexist, moron and this is whom we Americans follow to our ‘Salvation’! (LOL)  The global societies have become numb to the morality of humanity and now we are slaves to trends and forecasts and social media.

I cannot speak for the entire world, nor the entire country, only for myself.  And all I know is that I can hardly stand it anymore.  Maybe a better person – a stronger person – would take these feelings I have and transform them into a positive energy to change those things wrong in our society and in our individual lives.  Me, personally, I just want to escape from it all.  I have no desire to make things right for everyone else.  In fact, I barely have the energy to focus on making things better for just myself and my son.  If I felt like my will could possibly make any difference, believe me it would be different.  But in truth, I feel like all I have fought to obtain was a lie and now that it has been exposed, there was never actually anything worth all this effort.

Some people would say, my child is worth all of that effort.  But is that really the case?  I mean, there are plenty of parents that struggle to provide for their families but they still manage to get by and they don’t have to go above and beyond for their survival.  So, why should I exert any additional efforts aside from the lowest common denominator.  In other words, why aim to be better or why work harder or why become any smarter?  None of those actions have rewarded me in the past.  And this problem is way beyond educational or professional pursuits.  My will is affecting every single facet of my life.  From household chores, to setting goals; from falling in love, to fixing my car.  Nothing at all seems worthwhile in doing and that alone scares me.  I fear it is already too late for me because I barely have the will to live, let alone to actually do something with my life.

The truth is, my son needs me and so I live for him but that isn’t much of a life!  And one day, when he no longer needs me as he does now – when he grows up and begins a life of his own – when he leaves the nest, what will my life become then?  Without my son, what purpose would I have to live?  The thought is disturbing and disgusting all at the same time.  I would rather not think of it at all, but inside I know the inevitable is only around the corner.  As a matter of fact, in my mind, my life is already over!!!  If I have no reason to get out of bed other than going to work to provide for my son, then its only a matter of time before he is able to provide for himself and I am left with no reason to live.

I had a conversation with an acquaintance who was so certain my feelings about this are unwarranted because I was fortunate enough to have a son to dedicate my life to.  He eluded to the fact that he wishes he had a child so someone would love him unconditionally.  I immediately felt pity for him because he seemed like he would make a very reckless decision for selfish reasons.  I refuse to anchor all of my sorrows and disappointments on an innocent child because HE CANNOT SAVE ME!  Only Jasmine can affect Jasmine’s will and though there are outside factors out of my control that can affect my will, it is ultimately me alone that can change it.  Unfortunately, there is no catalyst for me to repair my will.  I know what a terrible position I am finding myself in without having a will strong enough to offset some positive changes.  And still, I cannot easily just correct the mental condition I find myself in.  If my will were working properly, all I would legitimately want is to sleep and never wake up.  I will not be so lucky.

The Malady of Knowledge

My entire life, I have considered myself a scholar and behaved as such.  I was constantly found buried in a good book, writing poetry, going to the library to peruse the aisles between the shelves for anything of interest, or philosophizing with friends about ethical, moral, political, and theological matters.  As most adolescents, I struggled slightly in high school but it was more so due to the social struggles of being a teenager rather than the educational challenges.  This was not necessarily a departure from my scholastic nature, merely a brief hiatus while I figuring out what type of woman I would become in my future.  In college, I was right back on track with my studies and I was convinced I needed to learn as much as I can from as many sources as possible.

I cannot be sure where this attitude in me came from.  I credit the majority of my mental prowess to my father, who pressed me from an early age to focus on books and not boys.  He told me that no matter how beautiful he viewed me as, that it was of the utmost importance for me to be beautiful in character rather than in appearance.  He taught that the prettiest people do and say the ugliest things and I thought nothing of it as a child but by the time I reached middle school, I experienced this lesson firsthand for myself.  Still, I really don’t know what influenced my thirst for knowledge. Maybe the thought of who I am (an African American female) possesses me learn everything I can while I can.  In the not so distant past, my skin color alone was enough to forbid me from learning to read, not to mention my gender.  Maybe I felt obligated to ensure those that fought and died for someone like myself to have these rights, did not do so in vain.

Whatever the case may be, I never wanted to take for granted the numerous opportunities availed to me by those selfless frontiers who paved the way.  And so, I stayed the course of my mental development.  As as the times changed into this modern society we live in, I searched beyond books and libraries, and immediately fell in love with technology of all sorts.  I was born on the cusp of not just two astrological zodiac signs, but also on the cusp of two different generations of upcoming youths.  According to miscellaneous sources on the internet, the year of my birth would classify me and my peers as a “millennial” and I feel the word requires no explanation at this point.  However, when I was a child, my peer group and I were called Generation X.  Smartphones did not exist when I was attending high school.,and even basic cellphones were not as ubiquitous as they are now.

I went off on a long tangent to basically make a point.  The internet has evolved and it did so faster than any existing technology that came before it.  But during my adolescence, it was not a true source for research and knowledge.  It was more of an entertainment tool for consumers, and I say ‘entertainment’ lightly because the speed offered to consumers could not support many activities.  AOL and various chat rooms were the flavor of the day.  And though there were search engines such as AOL, Altavista, and Yahoo Search, they had not yet amassed enough information to be incredibly useful.  I learned how to conduct true research from libraries, newspapers, articles, case study findings and early on I was comfortable with the use of the Dewey Decimal Classification system.  Still though, I taught myself HTML coding online and as the internet developed into what it has become now, I eventually learned how to sift through online information to find valid resources.

Now, in my adulthood obtaining information comes second nature to me.  I have a good idea where to begin any task that requires additional clarification.  In fact, my supervisor at my previous job called me a Life-long Learner and I thought he correctly coined me as so.  That was up until a massive change in my thinking that has rendered my mental state stagnant.  I summed that up simply as if it were anything but suffice to say that I no longer subscribe to the popular belief that knowledge is power.  Or if knowledge is indeed power, ignorance is bliss, and power tends to be corrupt, then the logical train of thought would conclude that Knowledge is the corruption of mental bliss.

Sure, maybe that was a bit of a stretch – verbally speaking – but in actuality this concept holds true in my personal experience and possibly in everyone’s experience.  The more I know, the more disgusted I am with societal norms and mankind’s sociological makeup.  As I have grown and learned different problem solving techniques, I found that the structure of our society is so convoluted and unsavory, that true reform is nearly impossible to make, even when employing the best problem solving methods.  The mind becomes so burdened with this knowledge that it begins weighing heavily on the heart as well.  Its as if the mind needs to split the weight of that burden and so it distributes it where it can.  Once the heart is overburdened, the next target for that despair becomes the spirit.

I’ve gone through this and it has not been a pleasant experience, as you might imagine.  I think of the lies we are all told from birth through adolescence.  Then I think of the awful misgivings learned about in early adulthood.  I was beside myself with frustration by my mid-twenties but I was able to move forward.  Even then, I thought to myself that there was so much more information and understanding I needed.  I had been hearing about changes in the job market and how the modern day Bachelor degree is the equivalent of the high school diploma of the generation before mine.  I started working on my Master degree around the age of 26 or 27 but just a few short yrs later I am convinced the education system is a total scam.  This is how to federal government obtains funding aside from imbalanced taxation.  And in all the government takes from the middle class, I don’t see where it is being returned.  In fact, I have not received an income tax return in years though I have been filing every yr like clockwork.

Now, I’m not even 35 years old and I have no desire to ever file my taxes again.  What is the point of that.  I also talked myself out of finishing my Master degree which I initially put on hold before I was due to give birth to my son.  Now, I see no need to ever pick it back up nor launch myself into further student loan debt.  Meanwhile, the news covered a recent scandal in which several major accredited universities had been implicated in college admission scams during which time wealthy parents were able to pay their children’s way into school rather than allowing a person’s mind be the determining factor.  I feel unfortunate for my son who will one day discover many unsettling truths that I have yet to explain to him.  For example, I refuse to discuss the act of rape with my 5yr old son because it seems inappropriate.  But of course, he will hear it on the news or on Facebook or read an article on Google (or any number of various sources of information).  At that moment, a piece of his innocence will be lost with the understanding of that act and that is disturbing to me as well.  All I know lately is that I no longer want to know anything.

Half Empty or Half Full

glass half empty

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who felt a need to make a point that things aren’t really that bad and it could always be worse.  I proposed to my friend that while it may appear my glass is half full, I have the perspective that my glass is half empty.  In reality, we all know that if a glass is filled exactly halfway with any liquid then it can be equally considered as half full and half empty at the same time.

I suddenly felt that this seemingly insignificant fact was incredibly profound.  It felt like there was a deeper moral to this story or some old adage lingering in the words we had not spoken.  At the moment, we retreated into a healthy silence during which I allowed the topic to meet an abrupt end.  However, in the back of my mind there was some distant revelation scratching at my subconscious to recognize.

Now, days later I have let this inkling of a thought take root and spread those roots throughout the mental fabric of my unconscious mind.  Its as if I know there was a lesson to be discerned from all of this and yet I am uncertain exactly what I am meant to absorb from this.  I admittedly have been avoiding plunging deeper into the recesses of my mind for more personal reasons.  And so, I peered briefly at the shallow surface levels and found some generic messages that I am meant to derive from whatever truth has been knocking at my mental backdoor.

My initial conclusion was very obvious; putting a positive spin on life and finding a silver lining.  The idea here is that whether the glass is half empty or half full is irrelevant because the measurement of the contents of the cup would be the same.  But inside, I immediately knew that my meaning was superficial, at best, and I had taken the most cursory stock of my mental inventory.  I knew I would have to find more than some simple platitude to get this matter off of my mind, once and for all.

So, what if I dig deeper into this metaphor and decipher what exactly it is that my cup is containing.  Maybe its much harder to full the cup is half full when it is indeed full of air that escapes each time I attempt to take stock of what is in my cup.  Of course, I am not referring to literal air.  But imagine if your cup was full of intangible contents that cannot be seen or touched – how then would one be able to take measure of those contents?  And when the mind has perceived there is nothing there at all, how does one maintain faith that there is indeed something in the cup?  Without that faith and belief in the contents of one’s own cup, we might unwittingly spill out everything inside.

This train of thought seemed more closely aligned to the subtle whispers of a never quiet mind, persistently trying to tell me something that I desperately do not want to hear.  I figured, I could slowly peel back more layers of this notion which would ultimately force me to evaluate what it is I carry in the cup.  If my glass were in fact, half full, would it be full of hopelessness and despair and self-loathing?  And if so, then am I incorrect in deeming the glass half empty in the first place?  I guess the answer to those questions is better left to another discussion for another day.  I cannot at the moment find the appropriate will to humor that particular discussion.

Free Will and Enslaved Minds

free-will

 

There are moments when I find that I am disgusted and I say ‘I hate my life’ but it seems that is such a cliché statement to make these days.  Almost everyone in the lower-middle class like myself have said the very same thing at some point in their lives.  However, that phrase requires some digging into at this present time.

The reason that I feel some hatred toward my life has less to do with myself and more to do with others.  That sounds insane, now that I am writing it down in black and white.  We have always been taught that no other person can truly provide for our own happiness and that every single person needs to define their “happy” as an individual.  However, there is a serious problem that is plaguing our world and all societies within it.  That is the slight problem of free will.

Admittedly, considering free will as a problem instead of a blessing that it is comes off very ungrateful or unappreciative, I am sure.  Nevertheless, the free will of humanity has become a double-edged blade in modern times and that needs to be addressed.  Every single one of us is faced with various choices and when we are pressed to make a decision, are we certain that we are making the right one?  Exactly how much do the actions and decisions of another person affect our own actions and decisions?

These are the type of reflections that I feel that mankind should be making on a regular basis.  Yet, on the opposite side of the fence it seems as though we are less considerate of others and how our behaviors impact their lives.  I am disgusted with the way that others with such a great deal of influence use that power with sheer disregard to those that are affected by the ripple of that influence.  As we look at the president of our country, it becomes apparent that free will can be a very dangerous weapon in the wrong hands and should always be used responsibly.

I am not a huge fan of political discussion, so I won’t get further into the subject other than to say that the leader of a country is a role that carries a great deal of responsibility and yet the individual in that role does not use his free will in a responsible fashion.  If there is such those at such high levels are exercising their free wills so inconsiderately, imagine how that trickles down to lower levels.  Imagine how the free will of the citizens has been negatively affected by having such a poor example to look up to.  The minds of the masses have been enslaved by media propaganda and misinformation for far too long.  And our free wills have been tainted to believe that we no longer have a choice in what needs to be done to improve our conditions.  Or could it be that we never actually did have a choice to begin with?  We should take and make that choice now, in that case.

Nurture VS Nature and Development of the Sense of Self

It really is amazing when you consider the concept of nurture vs nature in the development of the ‘self’. Every single human being has their own individual human nature and there are natural elements that go along with that. On the other side of the fence, there are definitely environmental factors that nurture specific characteristics or traits in people and known of this can be calculated or measured with any sort of accuracy. For instance, my own personal nature has always been strong willed and self-assured but there were so many negative experiences and problems with my environment that it nurtured me into a completely different person. I have become insecure within my own right, in that I barely trust my own instincts anymore. I am isolating myself from others who might notice that something is amiss. Not to mention, I don’t want to talk to anyone about it let alone do I want to be writing about it.

nature-vs-nurture

But I have no intention of dwelling on the problems with my current sense of self. I am merely trying to make a general point about how critical of a battle every single human being is facing on a regular basis. Because our circumstance our not always optimal, there needs to be some way to balance the surrounds we are faced with and our own human natures. From our most baser needs, such as food and sleep to the needs that lie deeper within our souls, like the need for companionship and comfort or even a woman who wants to become a mother. These deeper desires are not requirements of our physical survival but the survival of the sanity is a completely different

story altogether.

Exactly what it is that each of us truly needs to live a fulfilled life will vary greatly from person to person. Again, I am simply generalizing on the topic. It is easier said than done to ignore the people or conditions around us at times. We can pretend that these things do not affect us when in reality they affect us all. A poignant example of this is occurring in the US political atmosphere as we speak.

Donald Trump has somehow been elected president and it seems like a never-ending episode of a bad reality TV show. And we are not out of the wood yet as he is still currently president as I am writing this. He has some insane mission to build a wall at the southern border of the country as a resolution for immigration control. It has become such insanity because the New Year has arrived and he has yet to establish a federal budget for the year. This is such a problem because all of the federal funding for disability that the elderly and veterans receive are also on hold. Not to mention, all of the federal government employees that are not receiving their salary because he has not completed the budget and is indeed impeding its progress.

I would rather not get lost on some political tangent, but that is just me setting up the general layout in the country we live in at the moment. Now with that being said, many people are affected by this, including myself. My mother could end up not receiving her disability check which would greatly affect the financial climate in our household. There are many other individuals with different personal natures and personalities, and yet their lives are being nurtured by the same environmental factor as my mother’s. And there are many other thing besides politics that can shape the layout of a person’s environment. For example, crime and the cost of living are very realistic considerations in the day to day lives of many living in urban and city regions.

There are terrible things happening all around us every day. But it feels like now, more than ever, we need to stay strong and try to cope with the challenges we are facing. We should try to hold onto the best parts of our individual natures and only allow environment and circumstantial elements to nurture our sense of selves for the better. I struggle with maintaining this balance constantly and I don’t mean to imply at all that I have a firm grasp on how best to go about doing so. If anyone else has any suggestions, please feel free to leave it in the comments. I just know that right now, I cannot possibly be the only one having this inner struggle and undergoing an unwelcome transformation. I hope that anyone else that is struggling with life or challenging obstacles is able to overcome them and find peace of mind, myself included in that.