Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Selfless You




It is so easy to sit around, feeling sorry for yourself, expecting the world to throw you a pity party for your misfortune. The truth of the matter is, many of us have been so blindsided by our slight misfortunes, that we have seemed to overlook the abundance of blessings that have been bestowed upon us.

Sure, I get it - everyone has a hard time once in a while. However, what is one to do with those experiences? You can feel sorry for yourself, you can mope, you can hide, you can have failure or rejection allow you to live in fear, but victims are never winners, at least not without choosing to become victors first.

If you live your life in the present, you will very quickly realize that you have the option to choose to be happy. It is that simple. Sure, bad things happen. Sure, we hurt. However, you have the opportunity at any given moment to say, "I am happy. I choose to overcome my problems, because when I think about what lies ahead, the past does not compare." Happiness is not about something you achieve, happiness is looking at your situation, your misfortunes, your pain, and saying "These things are not enough to keep me down. I'm moving on with my life. My blessings outnumber my misfortunes." As soon as you become at peace with your situation, you will realize that you could have been happy all along.

Bad experiences are not meant to hurt us, they are meant to teach us. God does not give us pain and suffering in vain, He teaches us lessons through tough love. It is up to us to use unfortunate situations for good causes. The next time you find yourself throwing a pity party, ask yourself how you can use your misfortune to make your life better. Seek lessons in your pain and suffering, and as Dr. Maya Angelou says, "When you learn, teach." Your testimony could be someone's saving grace. Don't take any life lesson too lightly.

You have a responsibility to yourself to not fall victim to your circumstances. If you are constantly unhappy, it's not because you're cursed, it's because you haven't taken the reigns and chose to overcome your situation. We are who we are because of the experiences, whether good or bad, and so you might as well use them for something good.

JTE

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

.ispiration.

What inspires you? Have you ever singled that questioned out and answered it honestly?

Like happiness, I don't think inspiration is something you achieve; inspiration, like happiness is a lifelong process. The single most inspiring factor of your life may be that moment or that thing that prompts your greatest achievement, but what inspires you for all the moments in between?

I'm in constant search of things that inspire me. Yesterday I was inspired by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who after being shot in the head just seven months ago, showed up to the House floor to vote on a major piece of legislation. She said, "I'm honored to be back at work." How did you feel when you went into work this morning?

Today I'm inspired by Ms. Anne Frank, whose courage to write whatever the hell she felt in her journal, told the cold story of a generation, in several nations. Many people said she knew too much too soon, but they had no idea that writing outside the box she was expected to fit in would post-humously make her an international figure in history. She didn't know it either. She just wanted to work.

Last but not least, I'm inspired by the late, great Amy Winehouse. She died 27 years young, but her soul moaned the heartache of someone 75 years her senior. I admire Amy for telling her story; the one we all knew too well. When she slid into the contralto melody singing, "It's OK in the day, I'm staying busy. Tied up enough so I don't have to worry 'Where is he?' Got so sick of crying, but just lately, when I catch myself, I do a 180..." you knew that was her story. You knew it was her pain.

So many times people piss us off or do us wrong and we silently let that pain eat us up inside. How much better would you feel if you could write and sing exactly what was lying on your heart. On top of that, how would you feel if people actually "got it?"

At the core, we all just want to be understood. Congresswoman Giffords is still unable to form longer words, but she knew if she walked on the House floor we'd understand that she is not defeated. Anne Frank's parents thought she was too intellectual for a young girl, but she wrote, "In spite of it all, I believe everyone is good at heart" and we understand that voice wasn't just hers, it was the voice of triumph, of healing, of peace. Amy Winehouse's demons were dark and fierce, but her struggles were often and will often be identified with by millions through her work. Her voice lives on. The tales and fears of her mistakes will be someone else's savior. That's what her art was all about.

Get inspired and lose your fear. Do whatever it takes to make you live your life sans any "what-if" moments. Learn to live your life at its core, because underneath all the selfishness, all the envy, and all the superficiality, we are at our best.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Epiphany Number 26 of 672.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have done something nice for someone and they seem completely aloof or ungrateful for your act of kindness? We all have...

I used to think that people were assholes and didn't have enough common courtesy to be appreciative, but an epiphany came to me today: a lot of people simply do not know how to process random acts of kindness. Is that hard to believe? Agree/disagree? Keep reading.

I am not sure if this phenomenon stems from low self esteem (people feeling like they aren't worthy of deserving random acts of kindness/people feeling they are undeserving of someone to take time out of their day to think about them), or if people are just generally uncomfortable with the idea of kindness without an ulterior motive.

In my opinion, our society has developed into one where certain virtues -like truth, patience, monogamy, and the honoring of one's word - have been traded in for immediate satisfactions like RSVP'ing "yes" to every invite on Facebook (with no intentions of actually attending), instant stardom via reality television and the sex-take recipe, and GPS-based dating services. The problem is that people always feel like a person wants something when being approached or flattered. Can't we just be kind to one another? Can't a person just genuinely want to make someone's day a little better without wanting something extra. Online dating was a brilliant idea for those people who weren't able to go out and socialize normally, now when you a compliment online your first thought is "Eewwww, creepy, no I don't want to hook up." Guess what? A few of those people probably just really did like your picture and wanted to engage in conversation.

Here is the flip side: Are we as a society still interested in kindness and romance? Think about it -- a few years back, if you wanted to find "your type" you had to go to out in public, actually make yourself look nice and flatter that guy or girl you wanted to talk to. If you wanted to tell your aunt in another state "Happy birthday!" you had to call and hold a conversation, or actually send a birthday card; now you just Facebook or Tweet her "Happy birthday!" If you call her, she will likely not answer and text you back. That guy you like, you don't have to worry about having to toss your hair and bat your eyes and make sure you smell good, you just text, IM, or "poke" him on Facebook, and immediately you two are "dating."

We have made human interaction so distant, methodical, and scientific, that when you send your crush a dozen roses or invite him or her on park date, usually your crush is confused as to why you two didn't just Skype date. It's ridiculous. Think you're excused from this group of people? Point of reference: how many times have you types "LMAO" when you didn't even smile? Exactly.

When did our world become so fast-paced and distant?

This blog is all over the place... oh well, it was a brain-barf moment.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seth Macfarlane Can Sing?

Incredible mind and talent behind Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad proves to be a true renaissance man with his singing talent. I'm a huge fan of Big Band music, and Mr. Macfarlane is such the Sinatra-type when he sings with the velvet-like persuasion.

Here he is singing The Sadder But Wiser Girl.



He's slated for a live concert con full orchestra at the Nokia Theatre on March 26th. Who would've guessed?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Black History Post - Barack Obama


There isn't an insect underneath a rock that hasn't heard of President Barack Obama. The history-making, nation-inspiring, prolific speaker that we call President of the United States, is quite possibly the coolest, one of the smartest, and most down-to-earth (next to Bill Clinton) Presidents we've ever had in place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Disagree with his policies if you will, but one thing that can't be refuted is the fact that Barack Obama, before he was President, inspired a nation that was desperately seeking change. The first African-American President of the United States, he seems to follow the trend of the past Presidents: well educated, ambitious, but the political shift he initiated in this country can only be compared to, if even, the type of impact the late President Ronald Reagan had on the US in and around 1980.

For me, it wasn't about the policy or the platform anymore in the late stages of the 2008 Presidential campaign, it was about the impact it would have on our country and its message it would have for a better, and progressive society.

I attended a watch party with a few of my Political Science classmates and my favorite Political Science professor, Dr. Hughes, and when it was announced that he won, chills went through my body, and you could hear a pin drop in the room because NO ONE actually believed it was possible.

Many people can try to write it off as not being a big deal, but it was only until 1865 that the 13th amendment was enacted (banning slavery), the 14th amendment in 1868 (which granted blacks citizenship, a pre-requisite for becoming President), the 15th amendment in 1870 (giving blacks the right to vote), and last but NOT least, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that is right, 1964, that outlawed major acts of discrimination acts against blacks -- and here it was 2008 that we ELECTED AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT.

There has never been any President of color before, so whether you are African-American, Asian, Indian, etc., President Obama has broken barriers for every race. His presence at the White House united our nation, inspired people to push for things they deemed impossible, regardless of race or ethnicity.

We had and still do have a lot of expectations of a man who has transcended so many barriers, but at the end of the day, he is still human. People have accused him of being a socialist, of not being a citizen, and doubting his Christian faith. I choose to continue to support him, because no matter who is in office, we should respect the Presidency as an institution, and not just if the person occupying the office is akin to our political ideology.

President Obama is a living, breathing, and active part of Black History, and so out of respect for him, and the inspiration he has given me and so many members of the African-American community, as well as many other communities, I would like to share some pictures of him in his best light, and also his 2009 inaugural address.

God bless the USA!!!





2009 Inaugural Address:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Barbara Jordan's Legacy

In honor of the first day of Black History Month, I would like to give spotlight to one of my role models, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. She is the epitome of a public speaker, the epitome of a public servant, the epitome of triumphing over disability, and the epitome of it means to break down barriers, God rest her soul. With her being from my hometown, and childhood friends of my late grandmother, I feel a personal connection with her. Her work has always inspired me to be a public servant and run for public office.

Here is a snippet from her Wikipedia biography:

Barbara Charline Jordan (February 21, 1936 – January 17, 1996) was an American politician who was both a product, and a leader, of the Civil Rights movement. She was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate after reconstruction and the first Southern black woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She was an inspirational figure in the Progressive movement through her powerful public speaking and her triumphant refusal to be defined by disability. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous other honors. On her death she became the first African-American Woman to be interred in the Texas State Cemetery. The main terminal of Austin-Bergstrom Airport is named for her.


Before President Obama, there was Congresswoman Barbara proved herself to be a prolific speaker, and her 1976 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention has been ranked number 5, in the top American speeches of the 21st century. You can find the transcript here (copy and past the URL): http://tinyurl.com/24eced or you can watch a YouTube clip below.

What an outstanding woman and an incredible inspiration!

More to come

Sunday, January 2, 2011

140 Characters +

With mediums like Twitter and Facebook monopolizing the web, I almost forgot that unlike the former two, my blog gives me an amplified capacity in which to express my thoughts (as narcissistic as they may be), without the restriction of plus or minus 140 characters. Keep reading...

So, I was asked what I would thank God for in 2010, and what I would ask Him for in 2011. It sounds simple enough, but it is really hard to consolidate a dynamic year into one clear thought. After losing three close relatives, graduating college, letting go of family drama, and finally feeling like myself again at the end, I decided to thank God for strength. Because I feel like the acquiring of a virtue (like strength), is a gift, I deem it necessary to share it with someone or something, so for 2011, I decided to ask God for purpose. Lots of people have talents and gifts, but fail to reach their full potential with them because they lack clarity, direction, and purpose; I don't want that to be me.

It's funny how you have to have a full pendulum swing of emotions and events to hit you for you to feel whole. It happened to me, and (SURPRISE!)I really do feel more complete. I feel like I have finally achieved that most-desired peace of mind, and I'm not willing to give it up for anyone or anything at this moment. I feel like I've earned the right to be confident in myself, as well as in others, as well as in my abilities, and no one can tell me otherwise. I feel like I have earned the right to tell someone, "I'm supposed to be treated better than that," and uphold it with the utmost affirmation of my belief. I feel like I am better than those rooting for me to fail, and humble enough to know that it's not my place to wish them harm, but to pray for their well-being, because we all have our own, individual flaws. More importantly, I feel like I have a job to do on this planet, so as soon as my purpose is determined, I plan to try my hardest to fulfill it.

I would like to to end on this note: I wake up every morning now, knowing that I am truly blessed. I have a family that has grown closer, I have caring and loving people surrounding me,I have friendships that have grown closer over longer distances and longer periods of time, and I have a new fire burning inside of me, making me want to do more. There isn't much more I could really ask for. The secret to success and peace-of-mind is to stop chasing specific goals, and to start chasing your true being. Once you center yourself, everything else falls into place. Once that happens, you will know it's your time to shine.