Happy New Year good people. I missed the hell outta y’all.
Nah, I REALLY REALLY MISSED you all big time.
How were your holidays? Christmas? Kwanzaa? Hanukkah? Or whichever celebration you partake in. And for my educators who celebrate none of the above, well I know you were just happy to have 12 days of rest and relaxation.
But we back people and hopefully we all came into the new year ready to boss up and glow up.
Every year we say this new year will be ours, but tell me what are you actually doing to achieve this? I mean more than setting goals and saying you’ll be better, what are you actually doing to make these plans come to life ?
These past few days I have really been contemplating what it means to be a disciplined man of my word. How do I, as a man live up to that adage that so many men conflate of “our word being our bond?”
I can’t lie. Recently I had someone I love very dearly admit that sometimes my word ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. That at times, as much as my presence exudes “he holds me down,” that my actions don’t always align themselves accordingly. There’s only a certain amount of disappointment a person can take before they begin to resent you, before they love and hate you simultaneously in a way that only your actions can cause.
I am a Black man and sometimes the weight that comes with that is lost upon me and many other men like me. What I mean is that sometimes, with all that we endure and deal with, we commonly forget the immensity of our presence and actions; or lack thereof. I know that we hurt and I often recount the phrase “hurt people hurt people” with supreme conviction but I know in my heart of hearts that men have to do better.
I have seen so much pain in this life that often times it makes me numb to what people actually need of and from me. Sometimes my inclination to zone out and be in my own world likens me to the individual who only wishes to text as opposed to having actual social interactions; at times I’m just oblivious to the emotional cues of others.
But then I think. Am I really oblivious or am I exalting my male privilege and just not giving a fuck?
I’ve always said in situations that required of me to do better that I’d be better, and coming into this new year I mean that ishhhh with every fiber in my being.
I am going to be better this year and this is how I plan to do it:
My word should be as good as gold and nothing less. When you say you’re going to do shit, well then brother Vincent I’m going to need you to honor that and do that shit. “We have to be impeccable with our word and live in our integrity.” If I say I’m going to be there then I will. If I say I’m going to do something then I am going to do it. As a man, your word means everything and when you don’t stand by that you cause others to doubt the weight that comes behind said words; because if they aren’t in alignment with your action, then what you say means nothing.
Health is wealth. I eat too much bullshit. I drink entirely to much bullshit, from sugary sodas and lemonades, all the way to that damn Cognac and Whiskey, I need to chill the fuck out. Everything in moderation. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. My mentor told me once in the words of Ernest Hemingway or some other old White guy, that “ a man who drinks to forget his problems usually ends up deeper in them.” Now I probably messed that quote all the way up lol! But the point is basically handle your problems and don’t use a crutch like alcohol or other stuff as a momentary escape. I’m going to be hyper attentive about what I put into my body and what I put into my mind.
Recently the internet was caught in a storm by Young Ma, you know the Oouuu chick, and the way in which she dropped a lot of weight.
In a response she said this:
2018 will see a healthier and more mentally sharp Vito!!!
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Let me repeat that for you. HARD WORK BEATS TALENT WHEN TALENT DOESN’T WORK HARD. I know I’m talented. I’m often quick to let you know I’m brilliant as opposed to just being called smart. I idolize and study brilliant Black Black minds like Coates and Baldwin, and bloggers like Michael Harriot of the Root and Damon Young of Very Smart Brothers. I read their work and I’m inspired and motivated to exist in that space. Except I realize, at times, that my work ethic ain’t shit.
Yup I said it.
I can admit that I’ve used my brilliance as a crutch and a way to compensate for not working hard. Gotta write a blog? I can often be seen doing it last minute. Gotta handle some real business? At times I procrastinate. It’s not cool but I’m being honest. It’s the damn Virgo in me. Me and Khalilah speak about this shit all the time. She’s told me, for “us,” Virgo’s, other people’s best isn’t even our ok. That each of us, both me and her, operate at about 20-35% and that if we only committed to giving more of ourselves that we could actually be out here killing it.
This year I’m operating at my maximum potential. I’m putting all of my energy into everything that I do. I speak of the greatness I want to attain and the mark I want to leave on this earth and my people, and I realized that ain’t none of that happening unless I grind my ass off. So here we go. Get ready for Vito on a Million. I’m living within my integrity and committing to being a consummate professional in every regard.
Being broke is a joke that I don’t find funny. No people. I’m not broke. *checks bank account.* Ok, now I’m sure I’m not broke; at least for the moment. But y’all know how it goes as working people. The assumption is that as you make more that you have more. Except, what usually happens is that as we make more we create more bills and new expenses for ourselves. Hell, how many of y’all make a lot, but because of bills or poor money management you find you just can’t get ahead?
The struggle be real! LOL! But I tell you what. We will survive( Gloria Gaynor voice), but we have to develop better financial knowledge and adopt habits that help us, not only secure the bag; but also diversify that bag through investments. I am not playing with a coin this year and I suggest you don’t either.
It starts, for me at least, with developing better spending and saving habits. Can’t be out here spending my coins just cause I got them. Plus if I ain’t savin’ money then really I ain’t got no real power. Besides that, I’ve realized that I lost that hustlers spirit that I once possessed, by virtue of knowing that I’ll have a paycheck waiting for me every week. While that’s cool, we all know a job can end any day. Companies downsize or move in another direction and brothers get fired everyday b! Because of that, one should never lose the love of the hustle and the energy to realize that if we don’t own anything, than ultimately we leave nothing to the next generation.
In 2018 I’m doing what Dame Dash says and I’m “hustlin’ for my last name and not my first.” I suggest you do the same!
And lastly but most importantly:
I’m bout to see if “this spiritual shit really works(Jay-Z voice)!” I’ve realized that my soul has been in pain. I’ve tried to hide it but inside my heart has been in pain. It shouldn’t. I mustn’t let it. But it has been. I tell you this to say that I’ve realized that my lack of peace and inner happiness at times, is connected directly to my lack of a spiritual practice and my inability to live in my joy. I’ve added to my pain and in doing so I’ve been my own worst enemy.
Like Jay-Z said “See how the universe works?
It takes my hurt and help me find more of myself
It’s a gift and a curse.”
This year pain will not be my crutch or a place that I am a frequent patron. I will not live in despair when I know that I am truly so very blessed. And more then that, I will not let pain cloud my vision of the beauty of those around me. As Coates has said in 8 Years We were in Power
“I had not been prepared for the simple charm of watching someone you love grow.” People I love are growing and that is a blessing in and of itself. Bliss is all around me. I just have to acknowledge and embrace it.
I am on a journey to embrace complete and utter peace and happiness. Once that is consistent then I feel everything will reveal itself.
To you, my family, I posit the question of what exactly will this new year be for you? As both educators and human beings, how can you bring your own to fruition? I’ve always been told that “the journey of a million miles starts with one step.”
Are you willing to take that first step?
What does success look like for you? How do you plan on measuring your success and in which ways are you holding yourself accountable? These are the questions we are asking teachers participating in our Woke Cypha. We are challenging them to be reflective in their practices and intentional in their approach. Make the commitment and be the change that you hope to see in 2018.
Stay in love and light. Embrace this new year and the challenges, as well as the beauty ahead. Embrace the work. Be impeccable with your word and commitments. Live in your integrity and develop practices that will assist you in being the BEST YOU.
Hold it down good people.