Pretty Dope Right?

Read my blog.Drink water.Mind your business

I’ve been slacking. I’ve been challenged. Most importantly I’m making changes for the better.

Slowly but surely I’ve gotten away from myself and more specifically, my writing. It bothers me more than I care to admit. Not only am I letting myself down, but I also feel like I’m letting down my fellow writers and those that depend on me to keep them motivated.

So just in case you needed a mid-week or mid-life friendly reminder…….

WRITE THE BLOG SIS!!!!!!!

WRITE THE BOOK!!!!!!!

START THE BUSINESS!!!!!!!

The world is waiting

Dear Assata,

I hope that this letter finds you in the comforts of your freedom. I won’t take too much of your time.

One day (about a month or so ago), I visited my favorite herbal apothecary. I picked up a 21 day guided journal and I as gifted a bracelet with “Exist Like Assata” etched into it. I am a firm believer in the intentions of the universe. I took it as a sign that during this current time and space in my life, I was supposed to be learning something from you. Prior to receiving this bracelet, I had no idea who you were, what your impact was or how much you’d change my life. All I knew was that I was being encouraged to “exist” like you….whatever that meant.

Being the bookworm that I am, I decided to begin with your literature. I’ll be honest, I typically finish reading books in about three days. Your autobiography took me over a month to finish.

As I read, I researched. I researched words. I researched locations you mentioned. I researched the Black Liberation Army. Your autobiography was my first introduction to it. In the history of my education, it has NEVER been mentioned and after reading, I fully understand why.

As I read, my blood boiled. I became frustrated. The frustration led to anger. The anger led to feelings of such helplessness that I cried and had to continuously put the book down until I pulled myself together.

Assata, I am in awe of your spirit, strength and the courage that carried you. Thank you for inspiring me to make greater efforts to be an advocate for our people. Most importantly, I thank you for sharing your truth. I wish you continued freedom, light and love.

-Racquell

I became their teacher in November. No formal training, education, nada. Most would say that I was at a disadvantage being given seniors. This is the result of simply teaching with what’s in my head and in my heart for my kids.

 

At the end of the semester, I created a written assignment for my students. A few students complained since it was a math course. A few were eager to write as it was worth a quiz grade replacement.

 

Ms. Royster’s Final Self-Reflection Assignment

As you all know, I am a writer at heart. I decided to share my love for writing with you all. Luckily for you I will be dropping your lowest quiz grade and replacing it with a completion grade. Below are the requirements for the assignment.

 

Your Self-Reflection Needs to Be:

Handwritten on college ruled notebook paper (I have plenty!)

Turned in at any time but no later than the last day of class

One page minimum (but you are more than welcome to write as much as you’d like beyond the one page)

Transparent. Be honest.

 

Please respond to all of the following:

How has this course impacted me? This impact can be positive or negative depending on your experience.

 

How will the skills that I have acquired in this course assist me with future success?

 

What other skills may I need to adapt to give me the greatest chance of success in life.

 

A paragraph has and always will be at least five complete sentences. I’m counting! Don’t cheat yourself.

 

I made the mistake of reading these self-reflections during class. I had to decide if I would allow my students to see their words tug at my heart-strings or save the tears for the teacher parking lot. I chose the latter. There was one reflection in particular that reassured that I am working within the purpose for my life.

 

When you first got here I didn’t know what to expect of you and I was relieved that you took Mr. H’s place. Over the quarter that you’ve been here we’ve had our ups and downs and I appreciate you as a teacher and I’ll miss you. What I’ve realized is that you genuinely care about me not only as a student but as a young African American man about to go out into the world. Also, you make me realize that I’ve got all the natural intelligence and understanding I just have to push myself and want better for my own sake. The skills you’ve equipped me with will help me when I’ve got to grocery shop on my own and do things out in the real world. A skill I need to adapt is that of being more open-minded because I’m not always right and should take other people’s thoughts and ideas into consideration. Lastly, I want to say thank you for being so hard on me and never hand feeding me a grade because I got the right answer but instead of doing that you made me work for everything I earned in this class. Without you I’d have never realized my potential and would’ve never started to really take my time and think about my work before claiming I’m done. Truthfully you are the best teacher besides my dad that I’ve ever had. Thank you for coming into my classroom and opening my mind up to new ways of thinking and overall learning.

 

This is why I teach.

He produced the biggest prettiest dick I ever did see

Kept the longest erection I’ve ever seen a man keep

Ate everything from pussycat

To tossed salad

And had the audacity

To shuffle around my guts

Til I collapsed and fell asleep

Once awakened

I was greeted by butterflies

Coming from the pink mountains between my hips

Pulsating faster than the speed of sound

Spellbound

May as well ride the wave of the movie right? The movie was trash but that isn’t what this blog is about. For me, 2018 was all about removing the blindfold to my own bullshit. I found myself in a constant state of self reflection, and it wasn’t all bad. While I was easily able to pinpoint a ton of good, I knew that nothing can be balanced without exploring the opposite side of the spectrum. It can be a bit difficult to identify and embrace or fix weaknesses but not impossible. It’s not an overnight process and requires a level of dedication that is continuous.

In “taking my blindfold off” I’ve come to grips with a few things about myself. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can’t. Maybe you’re in denial.

I’ve spent most of my life caring about shit that doesn’t. I remember wanting Vans soooooo bad as a kid and my grandma refused to buy them. I vowed that when I became an adult, I would buy as many pair as I could that I liked. Same with clothes and a ton of other things. Next things you know I’ve become obsessed with buying all this stuff. As if the obsession with buying isn’t enough, I became attached to it. And with the attachment came the hoarding. To stuff y’all!!!! INANIMATE POSSESIONS!!!!! It wasn’t until I quit my job and couldn’t support the habit that reality started to set it. Here I was still desiring to fill that void of material possession.

My bank account was like

The priorities set in.

At one point I had a meltdown that turned into a whole session of me laughing at myself because I couldn’t buy something that I simply wanted and didn’t necessarily need. All of my basic needs were satisfied. That should have been enough right? It was then that I realized that so much of how I had been living, what I had been doing was a result of the voices of other people telling me what I should have. What my life should look and be like single, unmarried and kidless. I was supposed to have this luxurious lifestyle. That shit is for the birds. No pun intended. Since then, I’ve been living a pretty minimalistic lifestyle. And it’s amazing. It’s freeing actually.

And another thing.

I’ve been trying to beat the clock on “life” when in all actuality none of us have the time we think because none of us know when it will run out.

I was supposed to be married by now. I was supposed to have kids by now. I was supposed to be in senior management by now. I was supposed to do this. And that. And that. And that.

If nobody else tells you, I will. Where you currently are is 1, temporary but 2, also where you’re supposed to be at this current season and time. Whether it’s a bind or the highlight of your life. Trust the universe on it.

It’s a perfect time to take a personal inventory of yourself and to map out the rest of the current chapter in your life and beyond.

And I’m finally admitting (as I’m writing this, December 29) that I actually suck at dating and relationships. And you know what, it feels good to admit it. All of it. If I told you (and I have plans to write about it) how shitty I am/can be (I’m starting to think) as a partner or trying to get to know someone, you wouldn’t believe me. For the folks I’ve let down in my personal life this year, listen, in the words of Kanye, “it’s been a shaky ass year.” For the folks lurking, listen, there’s a ton of work I need to do on me before I even consider being serious about you. I can’t afford to break any more hearts this year. Thanks for understanding.

There’s so much beauty in embracing your flaws and weaknesses and choosing (if you’d like) to work on fixing them or functioning with them. Your choice.

Moving forward into 2019, I’d encourage you to take a personal inventory of yourself. Are you “well put together” for the masses but falling the fuck apart in private? Sign up for therapy! Tired of feeling like you’re not satisfied with the way you look! Change it! Try something new! We ain’t got no excuses in 2019. 1st step, removing the blindfold.

We’ve finally reached the most controversial holiday season of the year. Tis the season of cheer, fellowship, joy, love and traditions. Tis also the season of ungratefulness, greed, loneliness and feelings of inadequacy. Now I’m not saying that it isn’t okay to be joyous. I’m simply asking you to be mindful.

Here are a few reasons why.

Working in retail during the holidays turned me off from Christmas a long time ago. I’ve never been a materialistic person and retail simply reassured me of how unnecessary it is to “buy gifts.” This glorious year reminded me that “going against the norm” is completely okay. Nothing happens if you don’t buy anything. Most people only buy gifts because people make them feel bad if they don’t. Priorities get all fucked up for Christmas. I personally know people that forgo rent payments and car notes for the sake of buying gifts. RENT!!!!!!!!!!!! There are also people pulling 80 hour work weeks for “Christmas money.”

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That’s when it takes the unhealthy turn. So with that being said, check on your friends that are acting frantic and physically draining themselves during this holiday season.

I have students that will be experiencing their first Christmas without a parent. Other students being forced to decide which parent that they are spending Christmas with.

There is someone that will wake up to nothing and alone on Christmas Day.

There is someone that YOU know that is forbidden to celebrate with their families because they came out of the closet earlier this year.

The scenarios are endless.

Check on your friends that have to be strong during this holiday season.

It can also be stressful for us twenty somethings that are going against other societal norms – the single passion-driven kidless kind.

Those that actually choose (because you’re grown now and you do have a choice) to spend time with family during the holidays. Shoutout out to those with healthy family dynamics but this for the folks being summoned by their dysfunctional and/or toxic family members.

It happens every year. You actually look forward to going home to spend time (this time). You’ve mentally prepared. You prepared a dish. Arrived on time. Greeted everyone. Plates have been prepared. As folks are finishing up, folks are starting to chatter and somehow the focus of the conversation has shifted to you.

So what do you do now?

I had a friend that did that, and they didn’t make any money.

Passions don’t pay the bills.

So where’s your man at?

You’re still not thinking about kids? You’re almost 30.

So whats’s the five year plan?

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Check on your folks that are actually spending time with their families (*especially folks down South that have been brainwashed into believing that respect is only reserved for the elderly by way of “minding your manners and respecting or not sassing your elders” even when they’re wrong).

How about everybody check on everybody?

This year, up to this point, has been quite the rollercoaster. It has been full of new beginnings, freedom and rediscovering purpose. After four and a half years at my job, I finally received a promotion that would allow me to utilize my grad degree and have hella money in the bank. I thought I’d finally made it. For all of the money I had in the bank, I was in the negatives mentally and emotionally. For the first time in my life, I quit my job and enjoyed a four month sanity sabbatical. I’d encourage anyone to do so if you are in a financial position to do so. Within that time I got back everything that I had given to this “job.” I got my physical health back. I got my peace of mind back and gained a much deeper understanding of myself an day place in the world. Those four months were also full of setting intentions and seeing them manifest.

One of the intentions that I set was to not only know when it was time to return to the workforce, but to also be presented with a position that I was supposed to be in. I knew that this position would allow me to wake up, work, walk and continue to live in my purpose- which is to be a light for others. It was manifested at the beginning of November when I received the call about a high school teaching position. I knew. This was it.

I received confirmation from friends and family with “why hadn’t you considered teaching before” comments. A few, “I’m glad, they need people like you” responses. And there were a few more “you’re brave for teaching high schoolers” remarks. I wish that I could say that I was nervous. I wasn’t. None of my degrees are in education. I simply teach with what’s in my head and my heart for the students. But I honestly think that’s what’s giving me the fuel I need is the very fact that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

And here I am. A month in and I’ve never been more excited to actually go to work everyday! Many will say that it’s because I started mid-semester. My friends (that know me best) will correct you that it’s because I’m finally working in purpose. I enjoy making a difference everyday that I’m given an opportunity to not only teach but to inspire and I intend on keeping that same energy throughout the remainder of the school year.

Speaking of same energy, because I have returned to the workplace, I have been struggling with balancing my creative life (this blog) and my lesson plans. It’s tough but I’m determined to continue pursuing my passion for writing in addition to the requirements of teaching. Nevertheless, thank you all for continuing to read, support and encourage me along my journey. Thank you for valuing my transparency. And most importantly, thank you for your patience.