Oxygen . Food . Water . Women . A simple list of what is widely accepted to be true that we can't live without . We fight for and pass legislation to protect air quality and to limit and regulate emissions . We educate and raise countless dollars to aid in attempting to end world hunger . We protest to keep our oceans clean and protect our water supply . How is it that in 2016 we as a people - because it's bigger than the US -have yet to fully realize , protect , respect and appreciate all that is a WOMAN ?
Women possess the ability to give life . Women develop quicker mentally . Women live longer . Women can run homes and run businesses . Women are the guardians of compassion . Women are charged with the endless quest towards beauty because go figure - men - and they do a DAMN good job at it . The list of the capabilities of women is just as - if not longer than that of men yet men still reign supreme and I think that's BS . What makes us better ?
We live in a society where high profile men brag about sexual assault . We live in a country where women are paid less for jobs they are equally as qualified for . We live in a time where women are raped and BLAMED for it because 'she shouldn't have dressed like that' . . . as progressive as we have become how are we still so primitive ?
From what I've seen in my years ; what's portrayed in TV and film , what I've seen in the media , my family and my friendships . . . Behind every great man is a strong mother .
#ThrowBack to Mom and My Brothers
Granted there are exceptions , I whole heartedly believe that it's WOMEN that raise us up right . Fathers have their place and responsibilities but seeing how mine passed away before I was born , I can't speak from experience . What I can say is that for us men , mothers teach us how to love . They are our cheerleaders and number one fans . They're the biggest influences in our lives . In the Jenkins household , mom taught us the value of relationships and the value of honesty . She taught us the value of communication and the value of a dollar . She struck the fear of God in us when we did wrong and knew better . It's because of a STRONG , intelligent , and exceedingly capable woman who has busted her ass as a single mother of 3 - that my brothers and I are highly functioning members of society .
Can you see how it's mind blowing to me that women aren't yet completely seen as our equals ?
I have guy friends but I've always understood women . I've always been surrounded by them . I've always respected them and I've never seen them as anything less than an equal . Women are fucking amazing - excuse my language . Knowing there are glass ceilings and that they make less yet they still kill it in everything they do ? Knowing that they aren't as protected as we (men) are yet they keep their heads up and are willing to go down fighting ? We wouldn't settle for that , why should they ?
This wasn't meant to be so obscurely dark , but I can totally see how it can be taken like that . . . but if you DO see it as dark , then good ! You can see how there's a huge problem . What we have now is a 'Diet Gender Equality' situation . Women can vote , have jobs and get their own homes but when we get down to the fine print - the things we're afraid to talk about (rape culture , sexual assault , unequal pay , reproduction conflicts , etc) these are what we should be helping our mothers , sisters , girlfriends and wives fight for . We should be fighting for Gender Equality just as hard as we do for global warming , LGBT rights and the ethical treatment of animals .
If you've been under a rock - the recordings of the deplorable and misogynistic dialogue of our Republican Nominee , Donald Trump , were released where he spoke freely about unwelcome advances on married women and how as a 'star' you can do anything including grabbing her by the pussy . If anything , statements like these set us back YEARS and we can't sit around and do nothing while the ones that make us better humans are treated as less . I encourage all reading this to look up organizations you can volunteer with , donate to or even just educate yourself on the issues plaguing Gender Equality . Also , thank the women in your life simply for being them . #SomeDailyJoe
From the earliest ages we are told we can be anything , we can do anything and we can achieve anything . My mom has been THE rock to our entire family and it's because of her that my brothers and I have had a solid foundation to build our respective lives . She fostered our abilities and talents . She encouraged the arts and sports . She reinforced the importance of education and something even more essential in my opinion - the importance of common sense . What sets how we were raised apart from how many were/are raised is - we learned the difference between a plan and a dream .
Spending some time in New York and now 6 years in Los Angeles I've come across so many that missed the understanding and distinction of the two . In their most simple forms : a dream is that ultimate personal point of happiness . A plan is everything it takes to get there . Most of the hopefuls , now in less than ideal situations , chased their dreams as they'd been encouraged to do their entire lives . They packed up and relocated with their eyes fixated on red carpets and flashing lights . As proud as those that urged them to take the ill advised leap may feel , the borderline transient - couch surfing - table bussing - ramen eating - unhappy reality of said hopefuls' current lives takes away from that which we'd applaud . Important life revelations were bypassed because they weren't facilitating 'the dream' .
Generally accepted by society , little girls dream of their weddings . Everything mapped out down to the lace detailing on their veil and the number of white roses in each flower arrangement but girls today completely skip the process of growing into strong , self sufficient , intelligent and self aware women and wonder why that magical day never comes . Little boys dream of being police officers or firefighters but skip the process of growing into honest , dependable and trustworthy men . As far as the arts go - specifically music - people want to sell out stadiums but don't put in the work of learning music theory , training their voices , and grinding day in and day out to ensure their voices are heard . They all miss developmental milestones and potentially life changing opportunities that could have taken them down paths to exponential happiness because they'd became fixated on a dream .
The main photo for this write up is one of my absolute favorites . Taken last week , the more I look at it the bigger I smile because it re-enforces that I'm not crazy . Lol . My mind is an optimistic/realist hybrid and I feel as if the same can be said for Madi , Zack & Helen . (Raul , far left , is the new kid on the block . More on him later . Lol) .
(Pre 14yo) Lil Madi's dream more than anything was to be a Victoria's Secret model . Industry height regulations have proved a worthy foe BUT you know what they say 'when a door closes , a window opens' . She's become a brand in and of herself . a model and even more impressive - an International DJ who's toured with likes of Steve Aoki , David Guetta and Martin Garrix . She's happy .
Lil Zack's dream and what he worked towards most of his life was to be a Major League Baseball player . His life has gone every which way but looky there - he has multiple businesses , he's become a personality , an amazing content creator on numerous social media platforms AND he's found love . He's happy .
One of Lil Helen's many dreams was (is) to be a designer . Although she's not yet at that crowning moment - she's collaborated in design with California based Swimwear company Vitamin A & innovative solar powered backpack company Birksun , she's amassed well over a million in audience , has legit traveled the WORLD (London , Santorini , Mykonos , St Tropez , French Riviera , Bali and Thailand this year alone) , AND she's found love . She's happy .
I suppose my question is how different would their lives be had they obsessed about their dream ? We'll never know but the point is despite the fact their dreams have not YET been achieved - they've never became consumed by the dream . They have learned so much about themselves , they've developed in ways they never thought they would , they've become amazing people and they are happy .
I've strayed away from dreaming . We will never know what the future holds and more often than not life happens in the most unpredictable of ways . I've also strayed away from excessive planning because I've seen time and time again that it's a swift way to disappointment and upset . I relax because having strict expectations will guide you ever so gently into depression and that's nowhere anybody wants to be . I take the days as they come , from one sunrise to the next . I have an idea of where I want to be but I don't stress it because I know I'm here on this earth to do great things and I know it'll all work out . I take opportunities as they come because who's to say it won't take me somewhere I never thought I'd go and increase my quality of life in unimaginable ways . I grow one day at a time and I know the importance of being honest and being trustworthy and being dependable . I know that to better the world and make an impact I have to first better myself . That's common sense , thanks mom . :)
To the little girls - don't dream of the end all . Grow to be strong , intelligent and amazing examples of women and you can and will be whatever you work towards . You can have a career and anything you want including that perfect man waiting for you at the end of the isle ready to treat you like the queen you are for the rest of your life .
To the little boys - be honest and ask questions . Educate yourselves , learn right from wrong and understand the good in each and every one us . Be gentlemen and you will be respected . Take life day by day and the world will be at your fingertips .
I don't know . We all have our opinions and I respect however you perceive me . Call me a new age hippie if you want because I choose not to dream or plan or stress . I get how that sounds 'bad' but grand scheme , I feel pretty free to do whatever and live whatever tomorrow has in store for me and I can't really find too much wrong with that . #SomeDailyJoe
Announcer : Miss 3rd Ward , what is your aspiration in life ?'
Beyoncé : To be happy .
An excerpt from Beyoncé's track Pretty Hurts , she answers as I would hope mankind would : To be happy . Happiness in itself is a phenomenon universally accepted as THE ultimate achievement of anyone's existence . We dream of a carefree life . One overflowing with love , with freedom , and a filled void we'd long accepted as 'a part of life' . We subconsciously wish of individual ecstasy that would , unbeknownst to us , simultaneously translate into a collective widespread euphoria . This is perfect , except perfect does not exist . . . yet .
I don't claim to speak on behalf of anybody other than myself . I don't believe to have all the answers . I address truths as I see them based off of the life I've lived and the world I exist in , because we all live in very distinct realities specific to -US- .
Primitive example : you and I are walking down the street . You express that it's deathly hot outside . I express that I'm comfortable . In your reality , because it proves true to YOU , it's hot . In my reality , because it proves true to ME , it's not . Those choosing to dissect will say 'that's just an opinion' but isn't an opinion simply something that's proven true to you ?
Despite the fact that we all strive to achieve happiness , I believe there's an unspoken controversy because we as humans can't precisely explain , label , categorize , pinpoint , or otherwise put happiness in a box . Some can't accept the blanket concept because individual happiness sometimes conflicts with another's idea of 'approved' happiness . I'd go as far as to say that for a lot of people , the relative nature of happiness is unsettling . I struggle to understand why examples like interracial or same sex relationships are still a thing , but they are .
Moving on .
The YOU hand .
On the YOU hand your happiness is your happiness . Period . At the end of the day , if you're happy - that's all that really matters in the world because those that love you will rejoice in your happiness . This is the hand I personally side with .
With that said but on the opposite side of the same hand , many have deep rooted insecurities - abandonment , codependency , the feeling of disappointing others - that keep them from reaching their individual happy place . It's almost crazy to think that in many instances we allow our minds and emotions to take over and we 'allow' the ones we love the most to be the ones keeping us from the one thing we've wanted our entire lives . . . happiness . . . meanwhile those loved ones have no idea . 'I couldn't move away to chase my dreams because I didn't want our relationship to change or for either of us to miss the other too much' . This is a YOU problem .
The THEM hand .
On the THEM hand , some of us have accepted and allowed individuals to be constants in our lives : family members , friends , acquaintances , and coworkers you can actually stand to entertain a relationship with outside of the work place . These are the people that we've attributed , to some degree , value to their opinions . A lot of times we don't do things for ourselves because the ones around us have voiced that in one way or another - your happiness is an inconvenience for or belittles them . 'What am I going to do when you're gone' , 'omg , you're so lucky - I never get to do anything like that' , 'just leaving me behind' or one that never gets old 'so jealous' . We've all heard these and much more and while we don't like to admit it , statements like these have left us feeling some type of way .
If you take anything from this , I hope it's what follows :
STOP CARING ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK - ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR HAPPINESS . LIVE TO NOBODY'S STANDARDS BUT YOUR OWN
When I moved across the country and left everything and everyone I knew , I got every comment in the book . The 'I'm really going to miss you's came from a good place . Others came from selfish places . . . . specifically 'who am I gunna party with/ get us free drinks' , 'who's gunna introduce me to the hot girls' and my favorite 'don't worry , you'll be back and you can stay with me . LA is really tough to make it in' . These were coming from people I called friend . People I thought believed in me or at least simply wanted me happy . I soon noticed that they only wanted me happy when it was convenient for them . I was obviously a 'connect' but that's not what this writing is about , that topic has WAY too many negative undertones . No thank you .
I took my happiness into my own hands and ran with it . The best decision I've ever made . I've grown . I push my own envelope . I've become even more creative . I actively put out the BEST vibes I know how to . I smile so often it's almost unnatural and I've noticed that my happiness has been a motivator for others to run with their own .
This has gotten long and for good reason because sometimes you can't put your thoughts in a paragraph , yourself in a summery or your happiness in a box . I'll close out by saying this : if you are happy , be happy . If your genuine happiness whether it be moving away from your comfort zone , quitting your job and traveling the world , an interracial or same sex relationship , getting a boob job , or anything that isn't promoting hate or endangering anybody . . . run with it . Once we all find our individual happiness , we'll find ourselves chillin in that unbeknownst collective widespread euphoria and THAT's perfect . #SomeDailyJoe
When you're alone all by yourself and you're lying in your bed . Reflection stares right into you . . . are you happy with yourself ?
As she picked herself back up . . . As she started over . . . 'Yes'
This is not laden with images because this is something I'm hoping you all will READ .
It's not every day we personalize death . We're outraged about the killing of unarmed Americans . We stand in unity with countries where their citizens are massacred by Isis or other terrorist groups . We even get up in arms about the inhumane slaughter of animals . It's important that these unfortunate occurrences garner our attention , as they should , but again - we rarely . . . individually . . . address death .
Let me first speak on fear . Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous , may cause pain or is a threat . Ok , sure . I understand . I think it's important to grasp the concept of fear but not to operate in it . Some say fear is a defense mechanism ; that it keeps you safe . I call bullshit . Fear is completely a product of the mind and a scapegoat we use so we don't have to face the root of issues . You're not afraid of the dark . The root is that you don't feel safe because you lack an awareness of your surroundings . You're not afraid of spiders . You are disgusted by their appearance and you are taught from a very young age that spiders can cause you harm . It's easy to say you fear things this trivial but it's simply a lazy way of getting around the root of why you're uneasy . Moving on .
Some of you know that my dad died 4 months before I was born . He died of a heart attack at 23 . Fast forward . My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer the first time and was given 10 years to live . She beat the 10 years only to be diagnosed a second time . Before the second diagnosis , she was neglected and to be frank - almost killed on multiple occasions courtesy of what I'm convinced was medical malpractice . . . but I'm no lawyer . Lost a friend to cancer . One of my close friends was killed in a car accident the last day of my senior year of high school . My God Father passed away just over 2 weeks ago . Not to continue and overload , one could say that I've had the reality of death or possibility of death in my face so many times in my life that I had no choice but to have a very eye opening pow wow with the concept of death .
I've realized that I do not fear death . If you haven't actually had a real ass minute with yourself , looked in the mirror and said 'We all are dying . You are dying' you probably haven't had your 'A Ha !' moment of enlightenment . What makes me uneasy about my death is the result of my death . It breaks my heart to think of what my death would do to my mother , brothers and sister . I can't even wrap my head around what I'd put by best friends through if I were to die . I'm weary about not making a big enough impact with the life I've been given . Addressing death and the realness that we are all gunna kick the bucket has given me a freedom and individual purpose I never knew I needed .
Once you come to terms with the FACT that you are dying , you can finally live .
I wake up each day grateful that I have another chance to put a smile on someone's face . I wake up with a quiet FUCK YEA mentality that I was given another chance to make an impact . I wake up happy that I get to talk to my mom again . Hell , I wake up with a smirk for the simple fact that I can roll over , check my IG and toss out some likes . Lol .
Addressing death and understanding that I don't fear death itself , rather I'm uneasy about the result of my death - I now live a life solely to do good . To encourage and support the people around me . To take risks . TO BE HONEST . To take no shit . To fall in love and be ok with falling in love . To tell someone they're beautiful . To hold a door for someone . When you understand that you can die at any second , it really puts your existence into perspective and it lights a fire in you to leave the BEST memories about you when that day comes . The clock is ticking and you'll never see the second hand as it draws closer and closer to that final chime so step up and own your life . #SomeDailyJoe