This season in my life has lead to numerous soul-searching conversations with the few human beings I deem worthy of unloading my emotional baggage upon. The scarcity with which this occurs should be noted. it takes a long time to build a friend base strong enough where you can talk freely and share the deepest or shallowest part of yourself — you know what I'm talking about. By now, you've already divided your friends into buckets based on the likelihood of you being able trust them with your life. These are the people you let all the way in. The group of comrades who tell you the tough stuff because they know that you need it. Those folks take time and dedication to cultivate.
I'm getting ready to make another big move in life, and while my decisions have been met with celebration, there have been those one-off situations where the person I'm speaking with suffers from a bout of projectile insecurities, smack-dab in the middle of or seemingly harmless conversation. Don't be fooled by these people. Although they might be your friends, they most certainly do not fall in the 'ride-or-die' category. Here are the easiest, most tell-tale signs of someone suffering from this terrible ailment.
They are fearful of your good news
Someone suffering from projectile insecurities (PI) will be quick to point out the holes in your plans, dreams or goals. Say for instance you decide to, oh, I don't know, move somewhere far away. You share this news with someone who you would share your last pack of gummy bears with (oranges and yellows only of course, it's the thought that counts). If this person is feeling the pressures of basic existence, they will typically lash out at your joy. Comments like, "Oh my gosh, it's so dreary and cold there" or "What are you going to do about money?" might arise early and often.
Sometimes, their opinion matters too much
This doesn't have to be malicious, but it is definitely something I draw attention to when it occurs. I am mature and competent enough to make a decision regarding my life regardless of potential failure or inconvenience. This person might have valid reasons for projecting, such as past mistakes, childhood experiences, a fear of failure — these can all cause someone to want to 'save' or 'spare' you from what they perceive as impossible or scary. The problem with this is that if they are important people to you, their opinions mean the world and taking heed might also mean having your dreams take a back seat.
So, for all the people who are insistent in projecting their worries on us; we will not allow our future success to be contingent upon your own fears.
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On Monday, while the excitement of the first votes in the Iowa Caucus filled Des Moines, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Parry faced another form of anxiety -- fear.
Harris-Perry and a group of her students from Wake Forest University traveled to Iowa in order the watch the caucus unfold as a part of the university's program "Wake The Vote." While watching the events of that evening take place on the hotel lobby's television, she noticed a man standing uncomfortably close to her.
He began their conversation with a simple question regarding what she taught, but his questioning quickly escalated when he asked her, “What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC.”
As Harris-Perry attempted to explain her position, the man cut her off and his voice grew angrier as he questioned how they could choose her for such a job. In that moment, she knew that this stranger approached her reason beyond just wanting to talk.
“I just want you to know why I am doing this.” Oh – there is a this. He is going to do a this. To me. And he is going to tell me why.
In her profound recounting of the experience, Harris-Perry acknowledges that it was the thought of her students that spurred her reaction to the threat. Protecting her students from what could have been a traumatic scene motivated her to make a move. As Harris-Perry created a noticeable distance between her and the man, her friend recognized something was not right and also put herself between the two. Both she and her friend began to make a scene and he turned, ran out, jumped in his car, and drove off.
I don't know if he was there to kill me. They were there to save me. https://t.co/Fzs8rgg0ns
— Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) February 2, 2016
Harris-Perry thanks her students for being the drive she needed to make a move. They may not have recognized at that moment what was transpiring, but in her eyes they saved her life.
Deep gratitude for all expressions of concern. Had common response-felt fine 1st 24 hours then shaky/ teary. Better now.
— Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) February 3,...
When I misbehaved as a kid, my mother told stories of monsters who lived in the dark or under my bed to scare me. She said that sometimes these mythical creatures crept out of the closet to frighten children into good behavior. The measures I took trying not to disturb the dark included leaving the lights on to ensure a good night's sleep, and making sure my feet were tucked in securely, my head buried under covers while in the fetal position. I was told following these guidelines prevented monsters from finding me.
But what if I told you I still believe in monsters?
The very thought of them makes me a coward, a wimp, a scared little child who jumps at shadows or any bump in the night. I nearly soil my pants when I feel someone walk up on me. I exercise my right to fear well.
And they like it.
Monsters in uniform that prey on my panic-induced adrenaline rush. Creatures of the night dressed in blue, riding in like death ready to Miranda rights my soul. Looking at me with flashlights, making me a suspect, hearing the feedback from dispatch, making me a match.
Will it be a routine traffic stop or a final destination? I know this monster all too well.
“Hand me your license and registration.”
"Sir, place your hands on the steering wheel!"
"Sir, step out of the car!”
Hand on holster, drawn revolver. Being pulled over by the police is a scary story told too often. They like to yell "BOO!" with their guns.
I don’t want to uncover my head today!
Hands over eyes, trying to make the monster go . awayOfficer, I promise I won't misbehave! I didn't mean to drive while black today! I didn't mean for my skin to be the darkness that attracts you. Surely you wouldn't be here if you saw the light. If my skin was white. But instead my hands and feet are tucked into handcuffs securely. And you are still the architect of my fetal position.
Might as well walk in the woods when walking home at night. There are creatures with tasers for tongues who stalk the streets at night. Their howling sounds like, “Freeze, put your hands behind your head!” In every encounter they let me know they are here to serve and protect white privilege.
It's a full moon tonight. Lycans travel in packs. And they be Lycan the way I resist arrest when handcuffed lying facedown on the ground. They be Lycan the way I talk back when I say I can't breathe. They be Lycan the extra beat in my heart when I hear them growling, kicking and beating my Africa under rainbows. They be Lycan when I'm not moving. To them, dark meat is the easiest prey.
The police have been haunting my people for years. Turning lives such as Akai Gurley, John Crawford III, Dante Parker, Tyree Woodson and Tamir Rice into horror stories to keep my people from misbehaving. They know their hate crime will be televised and labeled a closed case because, for a police officer, a conviction is a fairy tale. And this is a horror story with a litany of never-ending sequels. And Chris Thomas could be the next entry.
So, mom, you've done it. I'm scared.
One of C. Thomas's major abilities is how he weaves his emotions into accessible works of art. His poetry proved not only a cathartic experience for him, but for peers and strangers alike. No stranger to the stage, C. Thomas has been a feature for numerous venues including, Save the Arts Community, Sweet and Natural and Spit Dat. Today, he is a host of two venues in the D.C. area by the names of "Mic Check" which he founded and Busboys and Poets 5th and K. From the moment he shared his poem, "I" a piece offering insight in accepting one's own strength, he has gone on, and will continue to go on to conquer mindsets and stages. Ladies and gentleman, C. Thomas is poetry's host.
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Sometimes you have to focus on yourself when you realize everything else is impossible to figure out.
I was holding on for dear life. My grip into the foam board was so tight it was starting to make an imprint.
"What are you afraid of, the water?" He said sarcastically.
I didn't know if I should be offended that my surfing instructor just asked me — a newbie to the surf world — that I fell into the brown girl stereotype of being afraid of water and not knowing how to swim.
"Uh, no..." I said, slightly annoyed. I definitely knew how to swim, I had lessons when I was 6 at camp in New Jersey and I was swimming ever since. As for being afraid of the water, definitely not. I take really long showers... I just couldn’t figure out how keep this rush of saltwater out of my mouth and how to wipe the dripping hair gel out of my eyes. I must have looked petrified; I felt out of control.
I wasn't sure if I was supposed to keep my head down or up as my instructor pulled my surfboard against the waves, deeper into the ocean. I didn't have time to be offended. I was trying not to drown.
I wish I got better sleep that night. I wish I didn't miss my first train out to Long Island that morning. I was dehydrated and weak, but I prepaid for this lesson and who knows when my next free weekend would be.
"Alright," he said as he pulled me into the deeper surf. He stopped to look back on the horizon where the ships were. He turned my board around waiting for the perfect wave and pushed me towards the shore.
"Go!" He exclaimed.
What? What? Wait, now?! Am I supposed to jump up now? I wasn't sure if I should look back. I didn't know how to time my surf. And then it happened…
My ears went silent, my eyes narrowed and all I can think was that the time is right. Get up or you will drown. The waves were high that day. I didn't realize until they cleared the ocean an hour later that we were dealing with super moon tidal waves. I thought it was my fatigue that made it was so challenging to travel out into the ocean.
I don't know how I did it, but I did. With a perfect stance I stood, squatted and surfed to the shore. With wavering arms to keep me balanced, I panicked approaching shallow water. I jumped off and fell to the bottom of the sea, with my board smacking me in my face on the way up.
I forgot you were not supposed to abandon ship. And with the board attached to your ankle, you're safer using it as a floating device.
The ride was so smooth. It was surreal. For that moment, I realized what the hype was all about. It is magical. You are one with the earth. In harmony with the waves. The tides that seem to betray you on the way out into the ocean are your support on your way back to land. I understand why surfing is a lifestyle. It takes more than book smarts and street smarts to navigate. You have to be at peace with yourself, in touch with nature. You have to listen. You have to be strong.
As I limped out of the water carrying my gigantic baby blue board, my friends and new peers cheered me on. It felt good. I was in shock. My instructor caught up to me and said I did a good job. He didn't mention anything about me jumping off. He later told the group we all did well. That we were all troopers for handling the intense waves. Two patrons of the beach that day, further down from the surf camp, had emergency rescues from a team of lifeguards. The tides were more serious that I thought. I was humbled and felt like a survivor.
The ocean kicked my ass. It also taught me some valuable lessons that reminded me of life. Here are a couple of things I learned; I hope you can gain something from too:
In order to get to the sweet spot, you have to swim against the current.
Be alert to opportunity, know when the next wave is coming. And the one you want.
Align yourself (your board) with the direction of your path.
Be strong to stand up and position yourself; have inner strength.
Trust and be in harmony that the universe is taking you to your destination.
Balance is everything.
I got taken under many times. Feet under the water, I was gasping for air. Being knocked down by 500lb waves is really scary. You have to be ready, mind body and spirit. You also have to try. Going against the current is a mind trick. Then trusting that what is against you will soon be FOR you.
I have scrapes and bruises and my body is sore all over. It's a risk I took that, emotionally and spiritually, has some great rewards. I still have a lot to learn.
If you get knocked down listen to the inner voice, make peace with your surroundings and try again. Try, try again.
Hyacinth is an art director living in New York. An adventurer, nature lover, art enthusiast, anthropological hobbyist and inspiring guru, Hyacinth loves to share culture, create and inspire. While she's enthusiastically on a local or worldwide adventure, you can find her at www.hyacinthhues.com, or on Instagram and...