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Legacy Of A Soft Life




Clearly this was to be written in May

However, June came

Then July

Time was quickly passing me by...


This is not a poem

Although it sounds like one


This is not a journal entry

No matter the form...



Friday, May 12, 2023



My son will be home from Morgan State University. My baby made it through his entire first year of college. Next year he will be a sophomore.



Wednesday, May 17, 2023


Hold on, let me start here...There are so many reasons in my mind to celebrate, because when you are a part of a team, your hope is usually to be stronger than the ones that came before you. When you are groomed and conditioned to run the race...when it's your turn, you realize that there's so much more that goes into it than simply moving your arms, legs and feet quickly. There is more than getting to the finish line first. You must grow, eat well, rest, be taken care of, build up your stamina, show up, show out, practice when others are playing, look the part, act the part, build a rapport, be in the race, be a good teammate and win (not necessarily in that order and not exactly the way you think).


There's proper breathing and conditioning that goes into a plan like this. No one says that you will most definitely fail miserably (sometimes more than once), want to quit, get Charlie-horses, break a body part, lose teammates that you truly rely on, run in inclement weather, be jeered by the crowd and have many people who will test you or want to see you fail.


The first time you're triumphant will probably be the easiest part. It's all the continued winning thereafter that you have to worry about. The perseverance is the true kicker. Life is tough. Getting through it and excelling as a real go-getter takes certified diligence.


Forget running the race and winning for just a bit.



Friday, July 21, 2023



What do we truly know of each other's complete lives, how we decide to live it, our

P U R P O S E and the true concept of the thing we call T I M E?



TIME


What an incredible thing that we often take for granted?



Time is described by definition as the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.


I could be wrong, but this sounds like we are all one. Like all of our purposes go hand in hand in some way, superseding space and time. We are all part of a bigger story. We need each other. We go together. Real Bad (Caresha voice).


Cousin Erykah (Badu) said, "I believe that people should find what comes the easiest to them and master it...It's gonna be useful in society in some kind of way... There's a lot you can do with that creative idea of just honing into what you do best."


When I was younger and looked back at old photos and videos, they seemed so antiquated and I felt far removed; almost as though I was advanced in a way and things in the past had nothing much to do with me. I was always fascinated with past things, but I couldn't make the proper correlation between myself and everything that happened before me. I felt that the moment I stood in, was a clean slate.


Now, I know that it's similar things and people happening in a different space and time. It wasn't as long ago as I once believed. My parents weren't as old as I imagined them to be. All the while things have changed, is as much as they have stayed the same. Some of us are very good at checking out of everything that came before us. This is not always so good. We should be knowledgeable about who and what we came from, so we are more informed about where we want to go. We are all O N E. Regardless of what we've been taught to believe about each other. We do need each other to go on. Mistakes and traumas of the past should be properly acknowledged so that we may heal well and make a better tomorrow.


The reason that history probably repeats itself is partly because the ones before you, taught you what they knew, with the expectation that you'd follow in their footsteps somehow. Which is also how they probably learned; through tradition. Even if you may not have been influenced by family, the culture of your community itself is enough to guide you exactly where the ones before you had once been, but in the present day, if that makes sense.


We've seen it before, if mom/dad owns a company, they want their kids to work for them and eventually take over the family business. Sometimes, the offspring thinks their parents ideas are outdated and they want to do their own thing. The parents usually think its ridiculous, because they have a bigger plan and they become separate entities or a family slightly divided. Lots of tribes do figure out how to make it work. In the best cases, the successors understands the importance of the predecessor's dream. With a solid blueprint and intentional improvements, they pick up where mom/pop left off. However, many of us succumb to life's problems. We do the opposite and fall short of our true purpose. Many people don't know or believe that they even have one. Sometimes any type of motivation may skip a generation or two.


I say all of that to say, you are not that far removed from your parents, grands and greats. The definition of time, Much like everything else, is our concept of understanding and labeling a thing. In order for time to be a true wonder and work in all of our favor, we should be evolving and improving with it. Therefore, I truly believe that we have to use the blueprint to build a better model of ourselves. Finding a way to honor or give tribute to the past while including your own flavor in a new way. Be better than yesterday. Basically, take what you've been taught and remix it. No excuses, if you don't have a blueprint, make one. Find someone to pattern yourself off of. Since you get to decide you can make that individual as great as you'd like.



The Hard Life


Everything about what my mother, father, aunties, uncles, grands and greats have told me has sounded like a hard ass life. Even the good parts, like love. Honestly, I don't want any parts of it. I mean love, yes, but not quite how they experienced it. The other shit, like work, definitely not. I've always wanted to do fun things like become an interior designer, an artist or a writer. However, back in the 90s parents wanted you to graduate and get a good job, join the military or become a doctor or lawyer. That all sounds like hard work. I wasn't ever that interested in any of it, although I tried to be. I kept a good job mostly because I wanted money to live well. I wanted to look and feel successful. Things got in the way of the things I enjoyed doing. I met a guy, we had a baby and tried to mimic the idea of what we thought life should be. It didn't work out the way we planned. Now, I'm moving solo and I'm in search of fulfilling my purpose. My idea of what being successful is has shifted, but I still want to be the best that I can possibly be for those before me, myself and those that come after.


I used to tell a soft lie and say that I wanted to be a nurse like my mom, but then I realized that the work never ended and I can't even think in that direction. My mother evolved over time and became an officer in the military and I wondered, if I followed in her footsteps, would I have to do that too?! I didn't want to ever go to war nor do any type of basic training, let alone boot camp. My dad worked in construction and was an entrepreneur. It all sounded exhausting. I wanted to go to college without worries of how I would pay for it and I wanted to major in something fun. I enjoy creating and I liked helping others in certain ways. I just would rather do it how I liked. In a way that works for me, without me overworking myself. I want something to show for my life's movements that benefits me and mine. I want to feel it, see it and have a great sense of pride. Also, I want to gain financial wealth so that those after me don't have to worry about any of this when it's their turn. I want to improve the blueprint for them. I also want to enjoy all that my previous hard work has provided. The overall view now includes me being happy while doing my life's work. I want my life and definitely my son's life to be more S O F T. That way he knows to focus on his purpose much sooner than I did. I want him to take what I've done, find what makes him most happy and make it better for himself and the ones that follow.



The Assistance Of Social Media


Have you ever followed certain influencers that started from the bottom, now they're here...? I have a few, but I'll pick someone that many people have come to know and love; Tabitha Brown for instance. I started seeing videos of Tab and her dog, Blacky Brown during the pandemic. I could literally watch her make vegan tuna salad and speak to Blacky all day. I paid attention to her vegan journey. She went natural and transformed Donna (her hair) while creating her own hair products, Donna's recipe which are now sold at Target. She slowly, but surely became "America's Mom" with her motivational videos in her sweet voice. The difference between Tab and many influencers is that she showed up as herself. The other thing that seemed to generate major success is that she did every good thing that came to her mind. She turned a dream from her mother and made it into her own. In doing so, she improved her quality of life - including her life experience. She did this not only for herself, but for her entire family and anyone that chooses to follow her. What I noticed most was her consistency. She told us all along that we can do it too and I believe her. One more thing... when she reached a level of true success, she fueled every other dream or goal that was in her wheelhouse. Then, all the colors and whimsy made so much more sense. She is a success story.


Social media has allowed us the access, to witness everyone doing their best to do things that they enjoy in this life while influencing the rest of us to do the same or better. The pandemic kind of amped it up as well. I've seen a major shift with people venturing out to explore their passions which ultimately ends up leading them to their life's purpose. The best version of this is the spiritual and mindful movement. All of it goes hand in hand really. Also, these things lead to the good life.


Enter the Soft Life...


I'm sure you've heard this term used a lot lately. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. They are over being burnt out. Working 40 plus hours a week for someone else with no end in sight, without a true piece of the pie. Worrying about a social security that we've been paying into for almost our entire lives that people have been saying will run out our entire lives. It's a vicious cycle honestly. We want something better than what we've known. More than what we've witnessed our parents, grands and greats do with their time here on earth. We want better for ourselves and we want it N O W.

More Reciprocated Love

More Good Energy

More Quality Free Time

More Me Time

More Vacations and happier and healthier children. A lot of us (much like myself) want to find and fulfill our goals with good intention before our time runs out.


I have the opportunity to be surrounded by incredible people. Mainly the women. I meet more and more daily who prove this very theory to be true, because they work steadily towards their purpose. My sisters, Tory and Chelsea John are an overall quantum of inspiration to me. I have wonderful cousins, like Dionne Blue who has her masters in Social Sciences and has always worked on improving any community that she's a part of. My friends are of the supernatural kind. I have the privilege to be surrounded by lady lawyers, Jessica Moreira-Garcia, Tashanna Golden, Rachelle LaRoche, Tianna Beaz and more. The rest of my tribe are entrepreneurs, digital project managers, writers, coders, nurses, real estate agents, phenomenal mothers, teachers, artists and beauty editors. You know who you are... Divine Carter, Janell Hickman-Kirby, Amirh McFarlane, Arianne Grant, Sumire Joseph, Kamisha Logie, Brandi Miles-Kelly, Rikki Gunnell, Kimberlee Blakely, Tamie John, Makenzi Hurtado-John, Asha Osman and more. God keeps me covered and surrounded by these women. I thank you, I'm proud of you and am so gratefully filled up by just the idea of you.


If you know me, you know I love a good list. This is what I do consistently to get to the business of fulfilling my life's purpose:


  1. I have a daily plan. This includes my morning routine (getting ready to go out into the world without rushing).

  2. Speaking words of affirmation over myself daily. It's best to find the time to do this before you leave home or step out into the world. My personal favorites come from Oprah's The Life You Want: Love and Happiness Journal or Project 369: The Key to The Universe.

  3. Keep things in order: home, my child, my belongings, work and my finances. Leave nothing undone that you can complete within that particular 24 hours. This gives you free time to dream about the things you want to do and start completing them right away.

  4. Practice gratitude every single solitary day. Write down five things you're grateful for and don't be afraid to speak other gratitude out loud. This one thing has changed my entire life. Speak positive things out of your mouth about yourself.

  5. Dedicate time to the things that you love to do. Just like you dedicate time to work, your children or significant other. Make quality time to do the things that fuel you. This could be listening to music, watering your plants or needlepoint (shout out to my niece, Xolani, who is learning to do this craft).

  6. Tackle problems one tiny step at a time until you get to the solution. There's more life to live after this.

  7. Eat well, stay hydrated, sleep and stay grounded.

  8. Finally, love up on yourselves and others.


Here's what I'm currently into:


Watch List


The Perfect Find (Netflix)


Who doesn't love a good love story that ends well? Gabrielle Union plays a 40 year old woman who is trying to rebuild herself after a failed public relationship. The problem is, he's younger than her and can cost her everything that she's working hard to rebuild. This was a very cute lighthearted movie. I watched it on a rainy day and enjoyed every second of it.


Young, Famous & African (Netflix)


This reality series has truly stepped up the budget this season and the story line is messy and juicy just like the last. Swanky Jerry's entrance into any room is so funny to watched replicated on social media. He's a whole mood. My favorite is Zari Hassan... tell me absolutely nothing about this.


Love To Love You, Donna Summer (HBO)


When I found out there was a Donna Summer documentary it brought pure joy to my heart. She's all that I thought she was and more, including an artist. I aspire to be as effortlessly sexy and talented as she was. This movie did not disappoint one bit. It forced me to listen to the two Donna Summer vinyl records in my arsenal and I have to go back to Christie's auction to see the collection of her memorabilia, because she was the queen of disco after all and we love her. I love her.


Being Mary Tyler Moore (HBO)


When I was a kid I watched loads of television. L O A D S. Mary Tyler Moore was one of the working women that I aspired to be. I knew I wanted to work in the heart of the city, wear nice clothes, write and type all day. It was nothing short of a fabulous lifestyle to me. A lady taking care of herself and enjoying life as a career woman. This documentary provides the details in between the actress we saw on TV and the real woman that she actually was. I love that most of all. It was so good.


The Righteous Gemstones (HBO)


My head is filled with intelligent things, but my mind is also filled with bullshit. I can't get enough of saying Baby Billy's Bible Bonkers. It's cracking me up right now. Season three of The Righteous Gemstones is full of mayhem in the Gemstone family and mega church as per usual. It's easily one of my favorite shows. I hope they don't cancel it too soon. Please watch it with me. Alex (my brother) I'm talking to you here.



Love & Death (MAX)


Yo...smh...I don't even know what to say about this one. Elizabeth Olsen has always been a damn good actress and this is no exception. This one is also mayhem in the church and also Snapped. Watch it and report back. I don't want to forget to say that it's a series, great for your binging pleasure.



Listen List


When The Poems Do What They Do by Aja Monet


I waited patiently for months after I pre-ordered this vinyl record. I lived life while envisioning what the words would sound like on my little record player here in my comfortable Harlem apartment. With the windows open and a clear view of the river of course. However, I couldn't have imagined a sound as beautiful, clean, sweet and savory as this. The voice. The poems. The tribute to Sonia Sanchez (the great. the activist. the sister friend to Aunty Maya Angelou). I aspire to be a version of this. This album is life in poetry and I will listen to it in every room and on every device, especially in the car on 60 so that everyone in New York and everywhere I go, knows that I now know Aja. Simply thank you.


Clear 2: Soft Life EP by Summer Walker


The minute To Summer, From Cole (Audio Hug) plays and Summer sings Call me when you need some love softly over those keys and Jermaine Lamarr says all the things you need a man to say to a woman just as an ally... I listened over and over and I cried the very first time, because it's words that I need from the men that I know. His equally as soft, smooth words of comfort and a wish of the soft life for her. Well done Queen. Hard Life, Mind Yo Mouth!!!! New Type (Childish Gambino, swoon), Set Up and Agayu's Revelation. Okay the whole damn album A++++


"They say, hush girl, mind yo mouth

You don't wanna harm his ego

nooooo

They say' hush girl, mind yo mouth

You don't wanna turn him off..."


She's been under the personal tutelage of cousin Erykah while pregnant and it shows.



Jaguar by Victoria Monet


This entire album empowered me so much for mornings on end without fail on the drive to work. While gliding down the beautiful West Side Highway. "Life is but a dream that you manifested slowly. So fuck a fantasy. This your motherfuckin' moment." When I tell you it wraps me into a smooth intentional clear eye view of where I am to be shortly, in life, love, career, happiness and reciprocity...just believe me. My absolute favorite song on the album is only 52 seconds long; We Might Even Be Falling In Love. It's an interlude and I listen to it anytime I want to think positively in the direction of love. I'm listening to it right now.


Mount Westmore by Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40, Too $hort


Pardon me - Wtf told the West Coast greats to get together and make magic?! How dare they on the 50th year of Hip Hop no less. I was in my bag for weeks with this one. It started with Big Subwoofer, then Too Big and so on and so on. This shit just makes sense. Listen to all 16 tracks stat.



JOY (Unspeakable) by Voices of Faith (feat. Pharrell Williams)


Anyone who follows hip hop, fashion or anything in between those two worlds saw clips of the Louis Vuitton Men's Spring -Summer 2024 Fashion Show. You can watch it in it's entirety on YouTube. Pharrell is the newest creative director for the brand, so it was only right that most of the rap world make an appearance in his honor as they did for the late and great, Virgil Abloh. This song closed the show and I've been listening to it ever since.


The Age Of Pleasure by Janelle Monae (insert accent over the a, I'm on a Chromebook)


I want to stand next to Janelle. She's so pretty. Follow her on IG. This ALBUM!!!!! The Videos!!!!! I be anywhere shaking these hips to Champagne Shit, Black Sugar Beach, Phenomenal, Haute, The French 75 (feat. Sister Nancy) and then, Water Slide is my absolute favorite. I love how sexy it is. All the Monaes/Monets showed tf out.


Read List


KUSAMA (Artist: Yayoi Kusama)


Another thing I've been waiting patiently for all summer long, the Yayoi Kusama exhibit: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers. Yesterday, I finally got a chance to see it before it moves on to another city. This exhibit brought me so much joy and I didn't even make it inside the Infinity Room ( the line was too long). I was so amazed at the size and beauty of the pumpkins and flowers. This book was my parting gift to myself. I intend to flip through it slowly with a nice cup of raspberry pomegranate green tea.




Why Fathers Cry At Night by Kwame Alexander


This is Kwame Alexander's memoir and it is so vulnerable. It had me from the title. I had to know what made fathers cry at night and oddly, it's similar to some of the things that make mothers cry too. I'm still reading this one, but it has me open and also has a special place in my heart.


I feel like I've had so much to say, but I think it's because the soft life has been on my mind and in my heart for the longest time.


Circling back to the race... remember earlier when I said, the hope to be as great as the ones that came before you...? Here's the better question. What if we surpassed that? I don't want a piece of the pie. I want to make my own from scratch with the old recipe (the blueprint), but I want it to be better than the original, metaphorically speaking. It's my ultimate fantasy. Like Victoria said, fuck that, It's my motherfuckin' moment and I'm prepared to give it all of my emotion.


I want to be the best in my own lane within these two families that I derive from. My own pattern laid directly on top of all of those blueprints below and fit it til it makes sense. Even if I don't know some of their names, never walked with them, never heard their stories. They are in fact there. In my long, thin brown arms, fleshy smile, bewitching eyes, all up in my feelings - don't tell me to stay out of them; the deep ones that make me overthink and over plan. I want to take all that I am so that I can give it all to my son and he can organically do the same damn thing, in his own damn lane, in his own way when the time is right. The goal is always for the next generation to be better than the last, but I'm a part of the team that wants to see everyone work smarter not harder. We all deserve that.


In closing, I pray we all finish our respective races. I hope we are all strong enough. Pick a thing that evokes passion and joy in you, hone it and share it with the world. Watch what happens.


I want to say one more thing. My relationship with my mom is improving. Mostly because we are both moving in the direction of our purpose at the same time. I love her and that's why I wanted to do what she did and that part wasn't a lie. I have finally realized that my mom is a soul having a human experience just like me. Now that she is retired from the Navy and is taking her time with life, she's writing. We're both writers! I've always known that, but we never said it to each other as much as we say it to each other now. I hope we continue to heal the hurt and make each other proud.


Don't forget to grow up and grow out. Thanks for reading. I appreciate you.


A L W A Y S,


Jas




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