The Classic Men

The Fall 2020 issue of the Rags and Pieces magazine has been released!  This is a very special issue where we are featuring the men from The Classic Men group.  They are an exceptional group of men who each have a long history of mentoring and have come together to maximize their efforts.  Click the link below to download this free issue and learn more about their stories and how you can connect with them.

Catching Up With Canade

We recently sat down with contemporary singing sensation Canade. We talked about his goals for his latest musical offering, his background and the inspiration for his art. Canade is passionate and a little quirky, which only adds to his charm and authenticity. It's easy to see why live audiences love his relatable style and amazing voice.

The beginning

From the tender age of 7 years old, as an only child, Canade watched his grandmother sing in the choir and listened to his mother cover Anita Baker songs. For the past ten years performed at open mics, showcases, and talent revues both in the greater Atlanta area and NYC. Canade covers deep cuts and obscure nostalgic gems in his sets that most artists would never even think of. With his complex lyrical content and interesting arrangements, he gets back to what R&B/Soul music is at its core, honest and raw. Canade’s brand is a complete package of complexity and sincerity. His sound, a compilation of a wide range of influences, differs from today’s music - not manufactured or copied.

Visuals from Canade's Never Come Down Video

 Do you recall when you had your first “lightbulb” moment, and you knew that you wanted to sing professionally?  

I had two.  When I was 5, I had a dream about being on stage with a mic and I saw lights and shadows in the audience.  Another sign was the fact that my entire family sings, so the music kept calling to me.  Music is a generational thing for me. Years later, in 2011, I went back to it and it has created additional joy in my life.

What was the first thing you did to move towards your dream career?

I went to the studio and wrote and recorded a few songs. Shortly after, I found a vocal coach.

 What has been your greatest musical success to date?

Where I am right now. There have been lots of changes in the past year, the video and the sound. I decided to not suppress my talents anymore. I am glad to have musical freedom.  I have an EP coming out on Friday, May 1, 2020.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have stuck with my career from high school. I would have believed in myself more.

What does your music say about who you are as a person?

It says that I am eccentric and willing to take a risk, to do things people are afraid to do. It shows my range as a human being. It’s mysterious and revealing at the same time. It’s authentic.

What do you hope your fans get from your music?

That it’s ok to be free. To be free to experiment with new ideas. I used to be controlling and wanted things to go according to my plans. I learned that losing something is not always negative. This process has revealed my biggest support system.

If you had to describe your style to someone unfamiliar with you, or your style, or your music, how would you describe it?

Lenny Kravitz and Prince in both style and music.

When I watched the music video for “Never Come Down”, I got a powerful sense of happiness and self-empowerment.  Are there other messages in the song or the visual you want your fans to get?

The song means falling in love with yourself after all the struggles to get to your moment, and when it comes, be present and enjoy it.

What do you see next for yourself, a new album, touring, projects in the works?

I want to keep it a surprise. I will give you a little advanced info. I will release my first EP May 22nd which is available for pre-order May 1st.

Canade released his single Never Come Down this month, and the visual is astonishing! Check it out below.


The Myth of Camaraderie

The Myth of Camaraderie

I obsessively checked my phone. Where is the damn reply I’m waiting on? I don't want to send multiple emails, but I will. Was I rude? Maybe I don't have a large enough audience. I faced the situation and sent another email, despite my better judgment. This time I made sure that I was nice and direct and clearly outlined my objectives.

The pitch

Me: “Men’s brand X” I’ve followed your social media accounts for some time. I also see that we could both potentially benefit from cross-promotion. Maybe we could collaborate on a project that will be mutually beneficial. I have some ideas of how this could work if you would like to get together to chat, or exchange emails please let me know. Look forward to hearing from you.

Them: I saw your first email. I am doing fine on my own. Please don’t contact me again.

Isn’t that the shittiest response! Sadly, it’s not the first time I received a similar response. I was not shocked. I was, however, surprised by departure from the account branding.

This is the reality for M.O.C.’s in the online creative community. Do African-American men struggle to work collaboratively? Do they believe they have to ride solo to be great? I attempt to collaborate with people/brands that appeal to my audience who are mostly African-American. I have primarily attempted to work with M.O.C. I already communicated with and who represent a diverse age range.

Is this how it has to be?

I  find an utter lack of community, connectivity, and an overall lack of interest in communal growth. Communal growth as it pertains to cross-promotion and sharing creations across audiences. In general, there is nothing more than a bunch of bullshit and smoke blowing, both of which we could all do without.

One account proclaimed their “commitment to partnership”, and “dedication to collaboration and uplift”. I also remember the behavior they exhibited when they wanted me to follow and support their efforts. I understand that’s the game but does it have to be? What does that say to the people who follow you legitimately? None of this is required participation. It does, however, give each creator the opportunity to uplift a fellow creator and perhaps aid their personal journey. We all know there is power in numbers.

I began my journey as an online creator to share my passion for writing, personal development, style, and music. I don’t just want to share; I need to share. I want to fill the chasm where we miss leadership and scholarship. I am intent on spreading positive energy and promoting things I and other young men like myself are potentially missing.


On the other hand

I do not believe I am the only one who wants this, but my perspective is gripping and unique. I want to create spaces that celebrate men of color and raise the bar for intellectual discourse. Don’t get me wrong, we all indulge in less serious events or celebrity gossip. We throw in our two cents on a twitter dragging here or there. But that cannot be the total of our online existence, so I refuse to accept that finality.

I have observed a range of three responses from my outreach.

  1.  Collaboration emails go unanswered.
  2. Shitty responses.
  3. Disinterest disguised as time constraint or lack of follow-through.

Collaboration allows creatives to tap into larger audiences thereby increasing their success rate. This simple fact often goes unnoticed. Cooperative help should be transparent and clearly communicate that each individual offers their uniqueness It’s not a competition.

Could I be wrong? Do I have skewed expectations? Maybe what I have experienced is based on who I am as a creator, or maybe my audience is too small…unhuh that’s it. Some creators could have potentially reached their collaboration capacity or don’t they like what I do? I am ok with all of those possibilities. The problem is the lack of viability of those options.


Of course, I have not talked to every black man. That would be impossible and impractical. Over the past year I have attempted to collaborate with more than fifty different creators and of that fifty tries, 4 have been successful. It is probable some of that has to do with me, but I have also talked with others about their experiences and there is little shift in the narrative.

I have no naïve expectations of camaraderie simply because I share a gender and ethnic background with someone. I take the time to follow and support these people on top of ensuring the situation is mutually beneficial. They have all at one point discussed how they “want to give back”, “mentor”, and “create a collective of like-minded individuals” but when the offer exists the fear of diminished value spooks them.

I address the topic collaborative communities for A.A creators from my perspective as one. Basically, I am saying a lot of men are out there hustling as digital creators, but many of them are full of shit. There is probably some club or niche group somewhere pitching several fits and replying I have shared a bunch of bitter bullshit.

Ironically, I’m not bitter. I really want to draw attention to the issue and help move toward building something positive. “You can’t heal what you won’t talk about”.


Made or Paid to be Bad

The recent surge of films and network television shows featuring a strong female lead thrills audiences. Some of my friend’s attribute this to the increase in female screenwriters, directors, and producers. The rest believes there is an increased availability of scripts for female characters.

A survey from Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that women made up 29 percent of main characters in 2016’s top 100 movies, a 7 percent increase over 2015.

I think there is a variety of opportunities contributing to this change. Progression never really happens at the hands of one thing, but comes from different contributing factors that chip away at the normative expectations. It’s more like transitional conditioning that facilitates change.

Survey says

Audiences are beginning to reject the dominance of male protagonists, especially in the wake of sexual harassment revelations, and want to discuss the need for increased female visibility both in front and behind the camera. The conversations are everywhere and we see them often turn from “ look how great of an opportunity this for women” to “damn men suck, what the hell took so long”. I consider myself a forward thinker, and I have to say I agree. What did take so long? Specifically, what held up diversity and gender equality in entertainment.

Truthfully, women have waited a long while to have the same opportunities as men in nearly every industry, so I’m not surprised here. Knowing something is true doesn’t wipe away the yuck you feel when you hear slimy facts given life through verbal expression. It’s historically undeniable. There are other cross-sections of people who inhabit this same conundrum as women. To maintain focus here, I will leave that for another time.

I have thought about this for a while, and the results are in:

I'm thinking

Shout out to the ladies

To all the intelligent, driven, successful ladies reading this, I hear your voices. As much as possible, I understand the transition you are going through.  It is thrilling to see that your voice and more realistic representations of your life are now available on demand.

For decades, women exploited on T.V. and in films.  Actresses have been typecast and portrayed as one dimensional.  You are tired of the relegation to the kitchens, classrooms, and nurseries. Recently, your due has become more available, and positions as directors, producers, and writers you have deserved for so long can be inhabited.  I salute you, I honor you, and I say it’s about damn time.

Where is this going

Now that your season of success is in full swing, are you planning to exact your revenge on all men?  The rampant success of female-powered shows has fueled revenge writing.  The frequency of articles that annihilate men, often astutely, demolish the B.S routines that acted out on women have increased in great measure.  The neck-and-neck race of fuckboy articles surpassed only by articles that cover racism, or Donald Trump.  (I know those are much the same thing)

Some will say what's the problem.  If men are behaving badly, why shouldn't we call them out on their injurious behavior?  The problem is, you are using the same broad-stroking brush to paint the male character, that you were once the victim of.  I am not demonizing female authors/bloggers, but there is a female population of writers carelessly assassinating the character of "good dudes".

For example, I googled fuckboy, and here are the results.  Notice anything?

90 percent of the search results return an article that does exactly what I just described. Television and films, like Veep, Atlanta, Insecure, Magic Mike, How to be Single, or even Empire, feature one guy minimum,  that just can't seem to figure out how to behave appropriately in a relationship. Also, I recently read a listicle that provided some anecdotal character analysis of male characters on current T.V. shows.

This is not all men

I mention this here because all the characterizations represent a type of real person and should be represented in entertainment programs that reach for the same type of verisimilitude that audiences crave.

We all want authenticity, things that represent people we have encountered.  I am in line with the rest of the audience.  The issue is the translation from storytelling to the nearly insurmountable rhetoric that has become the common weekly feature on almost every female-led entertainment media outlet.

In all things, do your best to keep your mind and eyes open. There is only one way for information to get in.





The Best Street Style From New York Fashion Week: Day 2

Did you even go to New York Fashion Week if you didn’t wear a beret, tiny sunglasses, or both? Based on the street style yesterday, no. Statement accessories were the hero pieces of the day. The controversial chapeau kept popping up in green, in red, and in fur. As for the sunglasses, people took their cues from Rihanna and The Matrix. There were colored lenses, teeny-tiny angular pairs, and oversize owl-like glasses. Pro tip: Pair them with a fanny pack for extra clout.

Puffer coats were everywhere, but the best was a full-length one with Frida Kahlo printed on the back multiple times.

Save money buying a car

Use These 4 Car Buying Tips to Save You Money Today

Car buying is a confusing, high-pressure decision. This is an important financial decision, and if it is your year to buy a car there are some things you need to know. Don't get stuck paying for a car you barely like for the next 72 months.

I want you to have a positive car buying experience so let's talk about what you need to consider.

*Sponsored Post*



For most car models, design updates are released in the fall, or around October or November.  This means that the dealer is ready to get rid of last year's models. Wait until the end of the calendar year and buy a model from that same year, you will get the best deal.

Also, ask the dealer for any demo cars they may have for sale.  These cars have low mileage and have never been titled so technically they are still new.  These will have large discounts that go above and beyond the manufacturer rebates. If you are can't wait until the end of the year to purchase, then wait until the last weekend of the month.  The dealer has to pay a fee for every car that remains on the lot every 30 or 60 days, and they are willing to give more of a discount at month-end on cars that have already been on the lot for a long time.

Never wait until you need a car to buy one.  Taking the time to plan and purchase BEFORE you need a car plays a huge part in getting the best deal. Desperate decisions don't end well. Be rational for this important buy.


Before making any large purchase, learn as much as possible about what you are buying. Take the time and figure out exactly which car you want.  The make, model, color, trim and anything else unique to the car. Instead of going to multiple sites for this, head to where you can find all the cars in one place. Whether it's for the current year model or prior models, you can find all the information there.

Locate your car at multiple dealers in the area and see which dealer has the best prices.  You will want to find multiple cars at that dealer that you like. In my experience, popular cars will sell out before you have the opportunity to get to the dealer.  Have a couple of backup dealers and cars in mind before you start the buying process.


Where you buy your car plays a big role in getting the best deal.  You should choose a dealer that is fair and reputable.  The differences between dealers are more important when you are shopping for a used car. There is no way to easily compare prices on used cars because they are all different.  You should try to buy used cars from new car dealers or from large chains, like CarMax.

Purchasing cars from independent "We Finance" dealers, aka, "Tote the Note" dealers can be a bad experience. These dealers are not able to give you the best deal because they bear all of the risks associated with the car deal.  They own the inventory and they're responsible for the financing and servicing of car loans.

New car dealers can usually make a decent profit because of volume, but independent dealers have to make up the profit elsewhere. You will have to pay a much higher rate of interest when you buy from these dealerships.  The prices are also much higher than you would pay for a similar car at a bigger dealer. They target buyers who do not have established credit and have trouble getting financing.

Another reason "We Finance" options are not ideal is they do not always report your payments to the credit bureaus.  People with limited or bad credit who buy cars from these vendors will continue to have limited or bad credit. It's important to have your car loans reported to the credit bureaus to help you build or rebuild your credit.

If you feel like you do not have sufficient credit for traditional finance options, think again.  There are options for subprime lending through reputable dealerships and the interest rates will not be predatory.


You probably know that negotiation is a large part of car buying.  However, if you execute the first two steps in this post successfully, this step will be easier.  If you have a trade-in, there may be a little negotiating, but dealers do not usually budge from their initial quote.

The common advice is to check Kelly Blue Book for what your trade is worth.  Not true.  Every time I have traded in a car, the dealer uses their wholesale guide to price the trade. My trade-in quotes have consistently been 10-20% lower than the most conservative KBB estimate.  Be prepared to be disappointed.  Do not rely on your trade to help you afford the car you want unless the trade is paid off.

The most important rule of car negotiation is not to tell the salesperson what you want your car payment to be.  If you tell them $500, they will make it $499, even if it could have been $450.

The dealer's responsibility is to give you the best price on the new car and a fair price on the trade in.  The payment amount will work itself out based on the interest rate that you qualify for and the term.

While you are going back and forth with the salesperson on price, pay attention to all of the numbers being presented.  I cannot tell you how many times I have asked the dealer to discount the price of the car, and they just increase another number to make up for the discount.

Car dealers do not have the best reputation regarding transparency and honesty, so it is important to pay attention.

To summarize...

  • The timing of your purchase makes a big difference.
  • Do your research.
  • Choose your dealer wisely.
  • Be ready to negotiate.

Did you try these tips? How did your experience turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

How do you teach your kids history

I started the day filled with thanks.  Another MLK day has come and I meditate on the details of a struggle that I never participated in, but of which I am the proud benefactor. As I allow my thoughts to drift through the details, the history I can claim thanks for, the ungrateful brats, a.k.a my children, cross my mind. I am fully aware my children will inherit a world that is not invested in their equality or their individual success. I have raised them in an environment devoid of the harsh realities that await on the other side of my front door.  Have I failed to teach them the crucial life lessons?

Scrolling through the various posts commemorating the holiday, I come across a friend who was apparently thinking something similar to myself.

What's this I've found?

My friend Quanny made a post on facebook today.

Shout out to my friend for being an amazing mother.


Her post precipitated an unexpected chain of thoughts. Her message is thoughtful and clear but subtly communicates far more than she shared textually. The undercurrent of sad responsibility washes through the subtext of her post resonated and resonates with me. I respond with " I started that lesson with my girls early..." but the reality the lesson is an ongoing conversation with an ending I cannot foresee.

Her simple statement calls attention to the inescapable duality in the conversations between African-American parents and their children. Consider what it feels like to attempt an explanation about one of America's great black historical figures, while simultaneously trying to preserve the child's innocence and sense of pride for a nation they will live in for the foreseeable future.  When we talk to our kids about "the way things used to be" we are sharing things we've learned and things we've experienced.

That moment

At best, the advice and explanations we share with our children are tedious. We acrobatically walk the fine line between teaching them and coloring their perceptions with our personal baggage. I have heard several parents from other heritages share their egregious opinions on the way African-Americans relate to American history, and the way those parents teach the gritty details of the "black experience" to their children.

They assume that makes us somehow less patriotic than families from other designations.  Additionally, that we as people are unnecessarily passing down a legacy of hate and misery to our children who will never experience that reality first hand. Their assertions are remarkably false. We are passing down experience. Justifiably, we are removing the hi-gloss shine lacquered over a story created by historians who were more adept at fiction than they were at expository narratives.

I have no intention of perpetuating feelings of hate or misery in my children. It is my responsibility as a parent to make sure my children have an accurate understanding of their legacy as black women, with as much detail as I am able to provide. This means it's my job to unwind the rosy histories they learn in school and to supplement details of the things omitted altogether.

Should we avoid discussing it at all?

The question is how do you educate your family without undermining the relationships they have established with their teachers and classmates. Communicating the complexities of American history to children is ridiculously difficult, but it still has to be done. We have to offer them grace and an opportunity to learn at a pace that is commensurate with their age. Take the time to explain that "our" pioneering warriors for justice paved the way for the semblance of equality we have today. Remind them that things taken for granted contemporarily were unavailable historically.

Recall Ralph Ellison’s classic novel, Invisible Man.

Ralph Ellison, New York author, is a witness, August 30, 1966, at a Senate Subcommittee hearing in Washington during continuing hearings on the racial problems in big cities. (AP Photo)

The narrator finds himself working at a plant in Long Island. Ellison’s allegory reveals the lie at the heart of America’s idea of itself: that no matter how we try to paint the history of this country, black people give it color and depth. That fact has been and is often hidden from view, because America, no matter what it says about itself or what demography portends, still holds on to the idea that this country is a white nation.

Tell it softly but tell it true

It would be a grievous mistake to hide truths or remove obstacles that can only strengthen the resolve of our children. As parents, we must let them experience the discomfort of growth if we ever expect them to develop the coping skills necessary to navigate their pending adulthood successfully.

When you find yourself feeling ambivalent about how to proceed, or you are watching them wince at concepts foreign to their understanding, take comfort in the redemptive nature of their youthful resiliency.  Do your best to answer their questions with candor and sensitivity, and remind yourself that what you share with them today, will travel with them from now on. It may not seem like it, but they often hold on to the things we say when we think they are listening least.

I share these words with the hope that those who found discomfiture in the truth will one day dance in its revelation.



You Didn't Come to Help, So Why Are You Here?


Look at me!!

Today and every day for the last 100 or so years, the lips of the activist and shit-stirrers alike have flapped religiously to the same tune. At the root of the discourse among the activists, is altruism, therefore I assign no fault to their efforts. Their efforts have persevered from generation to generation, attempting to plow through roadblocks, barriers, and illogical mechanisms implemented to deny the rights of many people. I ask you, with sincerity and conviction,  if you didn't come to help why are you here?

[bctt tweet="“The desperate usually succeed because they have nothing to lose.” " username="wwregg"] another side to this conversation concerns those who have no goals beyond the personal.  They thrive in the zone of self-indulgence and myopic focus.  Slimy and slinking, they slide into

Another side to this conversation concerns those who have no goals beyond the personal.  They thrive in the zone of self-indulgence and myopic focus.  Slimy and slinking, they slide into a heated debate and slither back out before facing the consequences of their inarticulate ramblings.

"All I need is a computer connection, an internet connection that is. That’s all it will take for me to become a scholar on the topic of the day. I know all about these racists, and why they want to keep success to themselves.  I want my turn and I want it now.  You won't block my shine."

The activists are not why we are here

We have come to talk about the masses of careless hands. The egomaniacal, who have taken to the internet to have their moment adjacent to relative popularity, despite the cost.

Momma never listened before, but if I write this article and go viral she will know I’m special. They have all kinds of books in the half of half off bookstore. I have enough time to read at least three chapters worth of subheadings before I get off the bus. I’ll know all there is to know before this evening and famous in the morning. #winning *(note to self, make a quick reference guide of famous black folks who fought for the cause. I’ll sound smart if I spell their names right).


You talk too often, about nothing

Your talking has only detracted attention from legitimate discourse about race relations, or the lack thereof. Your opportunity to make Momma proud has come at the expense of an entire political movement. Your need for attention has obstructed a necessary dialogue. The high cost of soothing your underdeveloped understanding and your overdeveloped sense of importance is far more expensive than any of us are willing to pay.

Believe me, the conversation going on around the world is of the greatest importance.  The only way to propel any sort of change is to talk about it. There is no specific qualification for joining the global intervention.  My intent in writing any of this is about the quality of, and the motives behind the contribution of its participants. If you share your thoughts with the public, via any medium, because you have the desire to see humanity progress towards unification, shout it on every corner.

[bctt tweet="If you share your thoughts with the public, via any medium, because you have the desire to see humanity progress towards unification, shout it on every corner." username="wwregg"]

Focus on you, then contribute

To those you who sound off, merely to hear the reverberations of your own voices, to encourage descent and turmoil, or to gain the notoriety you have chased during your dull existence, save it.  We don’t want any.  
 Instead, we want you to take a moment to figure you’re your own mess.  You are of no service to yourself, nor to your community until you have come to the only reasonable conclusion, there will be no cultural harmony until each person realizes that we all need one another to thrive and survive.

This concludes our regularly scheduled rant, join us next week when will discuss the perils of synthetic hair extensions, why men don’t like kitten heels.

Check in with me, let me know your thoughts. Feel free to agree or not, just speak up!




You Screwed Up, She Smiled, Want to Know Why?

Why are you smiling?

Have you ever heard the expression, never let the right hand know what the other is doing?

 Let me explain, the theory is make sure you keep everything in its place. If you separate the business and the personal, it allows you to keep things smooth, and successfully manage interpersonal relationships. This is especially true when it comes to money. So, what do you do when you are married to someone who employs that strategy when it comes to your marriage, vital information, and the money?!

Money is not necessarily the primary issue if this is going on in your relationship, but who couldn’t use more than they have? You begin to notice that when the two of you do argue over money, she keeps an unconcerned attitude. Eventually, the tensions escalate and you are embroiled in a full scale blow-out. You tell her you do everything that you can to make her happy, up to and including buying the things that she wants. (uh-oh).

 She says “ I don’t need you to do anything for me sweetie”, and smiles that smile you know leads to bad news.

Your wife has been stashing cash on the back end, in a “rainy day account”.

Now you understand why every time you screw up she smiles. You have just realized its because she knows she is going to double her deposit this week, and you will be too consumed with your own foolery to know any better.

This account is also known as, “he’s got me fucked up, and I have to show him a thing or two, that I don’t need you and I have my own shit so you can just go live with your new woman account”.

Question, are you pissed or are you glad that she was financially savvy enough to plan?

In this instance, I am a bit of a hypocrite. I both agree and disagree, but let me be more specific. I agree that she should have her independence and individuality. I do not agree that she should have a secret account. My good friend Nat says “separate does not equal secret”.

If said wife, was my wife, we would have a damn problem.

  1. So, you been skimming the bill maybe net or naw?
  2. There is this little thing called misappropriation of funds, so now I need some of that money back.
  3. Why don’t I know how much money you make?

Dear wife,

You have been stealing and lying. You have basically decided that you needed money more than we needed money, and now I hope you have a good reason. I now need you to prove that none of the money in your secret stash landed there as a result of re-purposing the cash that I contributed to the household. I also want to know what other secrets you have been keeping. Don’t let me find out that you are secretly a madam and have not given me an opportunity to invest in the business or test the merchandise. That is foul. Just saying you have to believe in your product. (Kidding mostly).

Sincerely Husband

P.S. Seriously the issue is that you are saying that you have no faith in our relationship nor its longevity.

To my daughters, hi-five baby girl

Dad is so proud of you! You listened to the things that I said to you over and over as you grew up.

Remember what I told you

  1. Never let anyone convince you that you don’t need to make your own money.
  2. Do not let yourself become accustomed to a lifestyle that you are not able to provide for yourself
  3. Keep one eye on the prize and the other one on him.

You have no idea how much you have comforted me with the knowledge that you have not left your future to the success of that shiftless fool that you married. It is my absolute opinion that all women should enter a relationship fully prepared to care for themselves financially, should the situation present itself. Take care that the majority of the preparation happens before the relationship begins.

Young women, don’t enter relationships with anyone who does not represent the goals you have for yourself, but you must also possess those qualities. Think of it this way, if you can afford steak for dinner every night, you are not going to turn up at McDonald’s, unless you are feeling nostalgic for days when you ate ramen out of styrofoam and drank 40’s on the porch while wearing your headscarf.


Focus on You Not Your Problems : How to Remove Extra Stress

The Enemy of Perspective

If you are anything like me, stress is always right around the corner.  Waiting to creep in and make sure that I continue to act just a little left of center.  I hear people talk about how stressed out they are, and there is always a common thread.  People talk about stress as if it is a momentary thing that will pass if they wait long enough.  Waiting for stress to pass is equal to waiting for America to be "great again".  You know what I'm saying.

Grab the remote to the DVR that is your life and create a program you can manage.

Stop yourself
It’s important to stop yourself, when you are simply doing way too much. Think about how to look at your big picture.  If you have a look and you are in control of every aspect of that picture you have successfully done way too much, poorly.  No one can do everything in their life without the help of others.  If you have deluded yourself into believing that its possible, you may need to assess your commitment to reality.  Understand the role you play in your chaos, and remember what’s important in your life.

Wine Down
Grab a glass and have a seat.  A good show, good company, or an enjoyable book pair well with a glass of wine. A nice libation is always appropriate after a stressful day or week.  It does not solve whatever you have going on, so don't overdo it, but it can give you a moment of repose to collect your thoughts and start again refreshed.

Call that person that knows how to keep quiet:
Get in touch with that one fiend you can talk to without judgement, or the on who will not interject helpful advice.  When you are looking for advice you know where to find it, but occasionally you don't want help, you just want a friendly ear and someone to say "it's gonna be OK"

Reclaim Your Perspective

As you begin to create habits that build positivism in your life, it is easier to remember an abbreviated high-impact list that represents your larger systemic approach.

 I will pursue: Knowledge expansion, a satisfying job that supports my life, serving my community, and reinforcing my happiness

I will avoid: Working for a job title only, attention seeking, slacking, unadulterated materialism

Take the time to articulate your worries

The things that give us the most stress or anxiety, is sometimes faceless or immaterial.  Think about what is on your plate and what you will need to solve to maintain the continuity in your life. Consider the things that you have control over and not stressing about forcing uncontrollable things to match your vision. Never, no matter how tempting,  hold on to feelings of entitlement, resentment, hate, or doubt.

Here are some ways to get it done.

Bop to it:
Music is often my personal escape.  I think of music as an on-call therapist in my pocket. Good tunes can lift you up and out of your current state of mind and put you in a place of Zen.  Keep some of your favorite tunes on your phone, and leverage them when you feel like lashing out.

Burn the page:
Writing is the savior of all men.  If you do not fancy yourself a fantastic writer, who cares.   No one may ever see what you write, however writing gives your feelings and thoughts physicality.  Expressing yourself through text can lift you up and out of your funk.  I suggest going old school, there is something about pen to paper that holds the magic of catharsis.

Ignore something once a day:
Say no often.  Saying no is the best thing you can teach yourself.  Don't say no and stress, refuse to wonder how a person feels about your response.  Give yourself the option to shut the world off and do you. Brief periods of downtime is the only way to maintain your sanity, and protect yourself from over-stimulation.


Nothing happens all at once

Figure out how to have some patience.  This is a big one for me, since I am quite possibly the most impatient person I know.  When things are not going according to plan, reevaluate the plan rather than allowing the frustration to creep in. The way you perceive your situation has the potential to close all windows and doors to possibility.  Keep that shit open.

Do stuff you actually like:
Pick the productive thing that you enjoy most and do that.  Hobbies, hanging out, whatever it is that you’re really enjoy, and not those things that you tell people you enjoy to further your pretentiousness.

Don't feel like taking ownership of your situation means blaming yourself for 100 percent of the thing you don't like about your life.  You are really saying, this is my situation and this is what I can do about.  If you find yourself in a complex situation, set micro-goals, or things that you can accomplish easily and quickly.

Small goals allow you to begin progression quickly, while simultaneously giving you a sense of accomplishment.  All you must do is begin. Remember, never let go of hope, gratitude and curiosity!!



Nobody Believes That You Hate Social Media

Why do you need us to believe it?

Are the people who claim to hate social media really being honest? Some who vehemently denies their use or their enjoyment of social media normally has a hidden agenda. Honestly, there are days when I feel like social media represents the worst of humanity.

I find the implicit claim or objection to social media troublesome at best. Primarily the unspoken accusation leveled at those who participate fuels my abhorrence of the people who make these claims.

Nose turned up and eyes cast down, as if their objections solidify their individuality and their ascension beyond the entertainments of us regular folks. Consider what you hate about social media must a greater connection to your own inadequacies than the faceless platform that you so egregiously cast out like yesterday's garbage.

Assuming we believe, you believe you

Let's leverage our imaginations, we can assume that you dislike it for more authentic reasons. You decided that virtual communication has created barriers that have disconnected us from one another, or decreased our individual abilities to connect during face to face experiences.

I recently read an article, accusing people of apathy towards the latest social tragedies, and that their protests were ineffective simply because they were not being actioned in a physical space. The accusation was, at its core, attacks the ease of virtual protests.

Simply because we can continue to scroll or make our united electronic stand without getting dressed, does not negate the veracity of its assertion. When social media protesting organized virtually during it’s infancy, it does not imply that there will be no subsequent physical action. Action does not always equal sincerity nor relevance.

We are not advocating for the endless connectivity that is social media, since I recognize its destructive powers as well.  We have witnessed the distress caused by cyber bullying and the insidious things that people are willing to say from the safety of their home, but never in person.

The behavior tolerated in the public-school system can often carry the same or greater stress than young people experience online or by watching reality TV.  Behavior is learned through mimesis; young children often have difficulty distinguishing between reality and virtual experiences.

Nevertheless, kids have been fighting, bullying, and tormenting one another for years.  This is not an excuse for injurious behavior, it is just factual. The governing force known as parents, must exert a greater control of their children's environment.  Who is doing the raising?

I will say what everyone is thinking

Bye !

Just because you access Facebook through a browser, and are too ashamed to have the app on your phone, does not mean that we don't know you are still accessing your dilapidated profile.  I saw that accidental tweet that you hurriedly deleted, which is why my I see you comment didn't go through. You are still lurking, following, and keeping up with folks’ business.

People get off on proclaiming their disconnection from digital communities because in their minds it means they are mature. " I don't need that kind of drama in my life" they say.  Does being social instantly equate with drama or is that just in your case? They believe that it means they don't need the inclusion all while they really desire it.  They reveal a thinly veiled attempt to act is if they do not desire the connections and conversation they crave.

It's ok castaways, come back we promise to be nice this time. We are not all cyber bullies, just cut the crap.  Don't feel like you don't have a place in the digital ecosystem. Claim the virtual existence you deserve, use it at your leisure and turn your devices off when you have had enough. There is not right and wrong answer but the all or nothing approach serves no one. Some use it for fun, and some for evil, just remember the block button is your safe word.