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Why operating on fear sucks

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Why living in fear sucks
Fear. It’s an emotion that we’ve all felt at some point or another. No matter if it was the first we slept without a night light on to going away for college for the first time, it’s never a good feeling. Often times, fear can keep the best of us from engaging in perfectly good life experiences. In my short 24 years of life lived in San Francisco, Cleveland, New York, and Amsterdam. Of course moving around by myself was scary but do you think I would have been able to do any of that had I let fear be my guiding light? Um, no. I’d still be back in Cleveland working retail and listening to bad homemade hip-hop music. Now, of course there is nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not what I had in mind for my life. When I was younger I expressed my desires to move out of state to my mother. She was apprehensive of course telling me that I should stay in Ohio because it’s what’s familiar to me. At the time, and now, I feel that excuse is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Why would I just keep doing something that didn’t make me happy because it’s what I’m used to? Makes no sense right? But I guess fear has a way of doing that to you.
Most times, fear is a totally temporary feeling yet we let it influence really major decisions in our lives. If I look back on all the times I felt an intense bout of fear, I can remember the feeling going just as quickly as it had come. I spent so much time psyching myself out that I didn’t realize I actually had nothing to worry about in the first place. Usually, it was that witch negative Nellie who was to blame, not me. But once I gave her a roofie and left her for dead in some far off corner of my mind, it was smooth sailing from there.
Living in fear actually makes no sense, and gets you nowhere in the process. Which is why I try not to do it most of the time but sometimes I let fear get the best of me. Like last year when I was living in Amsterdam. Originally I had planned to go to all these different countries and experience all these different cultures but I chickened out at the last minute and let my fear of the unknown decide things for me. I didn’t want to go by myself and at the time, it seemed like I had no one to go with. So I didn’t go at all. So instead of having all these cool pictures of me galavanting around Italy, Spain, and even Paris, I have nothing but regret. Which by the way, doesn’t make for a good facebook photo album. Looking back I want to kick myself in the knees for not doing what I really wanted to do in the first place. That fear eventually subsided while the opportunity to eat crepes in front of the Eiffel Tower is a little bit more out of reach now.

The N Word revisited

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So, one of my very first posts discussed my stance on the use of the N word in popular culture. Recently, that post was picked up and re-published on TheFreshXpress.com. Yesterday, a follow-up post was written in direct response to my article. The author of the response attempted to defend the constant use of the word by African-American. Her stance is one that I’ve heard time and time again.

I have nothing more to really say about this. I feel that my stance on the subject matter was strong. As long as we continue to promote and revel in a word that is at it’s origin hateful(and I’m talking about in recent history, pertaining to African-American history, particularly in the United States) we will forever be a lost people. On the whole I mean, not the few individuals that are interested in real analysis of our makeshift culture and checkered past. The problem is, we’re complacent. We’re not interested in really doing the heavy lifting that it takes to really advance and create a positive and uplifting culture. “We” are complacent with our position in this world. A position that includes openly calling ourselves niggers. It’s sad. Honestly.

Excuse me, your summer is waiting.

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So I’ve been reading this book, Excuse me, your life is waiting: The astonishing power of positive feelings. I have to say, it’s a life changer, in a good, fantastic, magical, bedazzling way. As far as good summer’s go, I have not been having the best summer ever but who be sad or mad when there’s so much damn beauty in the world? This book is The Secret before the secret and a title I would recommend to anyone despite the fact that the author died of assisted suicide. That’s neither here nor there now is it? What is here is the now, and what is now is the summer, got it? Good.

Summertime, in my opinion, is the absolute best time to be in New York City. There’s nothing like exploring the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn on a scorching July afternoon or catching a free summer concert in Central Park. It took me a while to warm up completely to New York but now that I’ve got the chance to spend a second summer in New York, I’m completely mesmerized by it. Literally, there’s something for everyone here. You’ve just got to get out there and explore is all. Despite limited resources, I’ve made it my mission to take in as many of the sites that I possibly can in this great big city that I call home. Here is a short list of some New York’s best cultural events.

  1. SummerStage Free summer concert series. So. During the months of June, July, and August there are numerous free summer concerts held in each burough. According to it’s website, Summerstage bills itself as New York’s biggest free summer concert festival, and for good reason. Acts run the gammet from old school hip-hop rappers like Kool Moe Dee and Funkmaster Flex, to new acts like Wiz Khalifa and Florence and the Machine, to Dance Afrika, variety is the spice of life when it comes to Summerstage. With the exception of a few fundraisers sprinkled in, all of the performances are free to all. Now don’t that beat all?
  2. Epix’s Free NYC movie series.- For almost two glorious months, various neighborhood parks throughout the city open their lawns to crowds of families and hipsters alike for a free communal movie showing. Even better than the fact that it’s FREE is that the screenings are random and once again, will most likely have at least one title that someone is bound to want to see. Come on, you mean to tell me you’ve never wanted to sit in a park, drink a brew with a group of your closest gal(or guy) pals and while sporadically reciting lines from Clueless? Yeah, I thought so.
  3. R&B Festival and Metrotech. Sometimes I think Brooklyn can read my mind. Like when I stumbled across this free concert series featuring George Clinton, in the middle of Borough Hall’s Metrotech on my way to pick up a paycheck. This concert series runs every Thursday starting at noon and features performances from:  Dionne Ferris, George Clinton, and Maxi Priest.
  4. Big Terrific Show is a free weekly comedy show at The Cameo in Brooklyn. So I haven’t actually been to this event, but you best bet I’ll be there from here on out. I love comedy, especially free comedy. Plus, one of the hosts is ill-fated SNL cast member Jenny Slate. You remember, the one that dropped the F bomb on national television.  Yeah, that girl.
  5. Kings’ County Cookout at Lady Jay’s. Who doesn’t like a cook out at a neighborhood hood dive bar, equipped with an assortment of drink specials for your pleasure? An asshole, that’s who.This is just a tiny list that in NO WAY touches the tip of the iceberg in terms of NYC offerings. As the old song goes, these are a few of my favorite things. What are some favorite cultural offerings that your hood has to offer?

Just because

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Ask a brown chick: What makes a good boyfriend?

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A few days ago I received this question in my mailbox from one of my readers looking for an outsider’s perspective on an issue they had with their boyfriend.

Alex tries to get me to read about successful 25 year old millionaires that are living their dreams. I say, I dont want to read an article about guys my age doing the same thing as me making oodles of money. That will depress me. He replies, “jesus fucking Christ, negative Nellie.” Subsequently I am more depressed. What might a good boyfriend say? Though, he has had to deal with my depression for well over a year now.

-Frustrated in the mid-west

Well, I don’t exactly know what makes a “good boyfriend”. I suppose love, respect, and support would probably have to be high up on the good boyfriend list.  As people, we have different ways of communicating with one another and subsequently, trying to help our loved ones out. Perhaps referring you to the articles is his special way of trying to push you out of the rut you say you’ve been stuck in?

Might I ask would it really have hurt you to take a look at those articles? Maybe assuming that they would just depress you is your depression speaking instead of you? Me thinks you probably wouldn’t have had much to lose from perusing the article your boyfriend suggested to you. I say, next time step out of your comfort zone and read the freaking articles. What have you got to lose? Right?

Letter to my teenage self.

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Letter to my younger self

Niesha, your 15 and I know that feeling loved or being in a relationship seem like the most important things in the world, but their really not. The guy your currently seeing is a douche bag with his own issues. You may feel sorry for him, you may genuinely enjoy spending time with him, when he’s not drunk, regardless, don’t allow his issues to become yours. Okay?

Stop listening to what he says, or what any guys says for that matter. Instead, only pay attention to how they treat you and how said treatment makes you feel. That other girl he’s been seeing behind your back, he’s never going to end things with her. Your best bet is to move on before he hurts you anymore. Your heart(and sanity) will thank you for it later.

While we’re on the topic of people treating you well, take some time to re-evaluate the people you call friends. If they talk about you behind your back then they aren’t really your friends. The longer you keep people like them in your circle, the harder it will be to trust others and form real friendships in the future.

Your legs are beautiful. Stop cutting them will you? Cutting yourself never accomplishes anything and really, you’re only compounding the problem. I know your home life is less than ideal right now but try to focus on things that matter to you and make you happy anyway. Oh yeah, you’re not fat and don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise. Do more theater, don’t worry about stage fright, dance more, go to more writing events. When the time comes, apply to whatever colleges you want. Don’t screw yourself out of your dream school because you think you can’t afford it. Have you ever heard of a little thing called financial aid?

Don’t worry so much and don’t sweat the negative stuff always. In a few years life will take you places you never even dreamed of. Just know that no matter what is going on now, it only gets better.

Love Niesha, age 24.

 

-If given the chance, what would you say to your younger self?

Eating well on a food stamp budget

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Up until a few days ago(literally) I was a poor , broke college student. Since graduating in late May, not much has changed actually and only now I’m a poor, broke college graduate.  But that’s neither here nor there is it now? Between talks with friends, family members, and reading the news, I know I’m not the only one feeling the economic pinch.

If there is anything that I’ve learned it’s that now more than ever before it’s so important for me to have a handle on my finances and expenses. I’ve learned that one of the best ways to get a handle on finances is to start with the food budget. Eating frugal is the key and there is no better way to practice this than to eat and buy food on a food stamp budget. Yes, a food stamp budget. In New York City the normal allotment for a single person is $200 per month, or $50 per week. To some, it may sound like not a lot but in actuality it’s more than do-able-if your smart about it. I’ve listed a few ways that help me eat well on this type of budget.

– Pick your supermarket-or variety of supermarkets.

Being the big city gal that I am my grocery of choice is Trader Joes. It’s a great place for staples like pasta, meat, bread, and even breakfast food. Be careful though, as much as they are known for affordable prices, they are just as much known for packaged convenience foods. The ease of just being able to pop open a package and have a ready-made meal might be tempting but they can also be hazardous to the pocketbook.

Instead of buying greasy, marked up products, try making your own version. You know, the way these used to do in the old days before microwaves?

-Utilize the farmers market

If you have a farmers market in your area, use it! I can not stress this enough. The Farmers Market is a great place to buy fresh produce, and even hand-made specialty foods. Farmer’s markets are great, especially in the summer when the fruits are especially popping.

-Skip the extras

Do you really need almond butter over plain old peanut butter? Me thinks not, and you should too. A good indicator that I might be wasting my money on an item is if it’s specially flavored some how. A perfect example would be those stuffed chicken cutlets or pre-made hamburger patties. At that point, your just sacrificing dollars for laziness.

-Create

If there is anything I’ve learned from eating on a budget it’s the importance of creation. Instead of buying pre-made or hot meals, create them instead.

-Don’t buy duplicates

If I have half a box of spaghetti noodles I’m not going to be buying penne anytime soon. I’ll use what I have first before buying something new.

-Shop around a bargain

When grocery shopping it’s great to have a list, but I always make sure to have an open mind. If there’s a bargain that doesn’t fit with what’s on the list, I might buy it and change-up the food list to accommodate.

From what you’re buying to where you’re buying it, feeding yourself on a budget is all about being being flexible and keeping an open mind.