I’m trying my hardest to take my own advice. We always have brilliant things to say to other people, don’t we? What about me though? What about my heart? And my feelings? What about navigating my way through the world? What about me? It’s about time someone cares about how I’m doing.  My mother used to call me selfish. I’m not sure what she was talking about, I just know it was a word she used to describe me. I was never mad at her for it, I just figured she didn’t understand. As a woman who gave everything to her children, I figured she and I didn’t see eye to eye. I didn’t think she understood that I understand my own selfishness, and it’s gotten me this far.

   Eventually, though, you learn the world does work in relation to you. People treat you the way you treat them. You are rewarded based on how much effort you put in (if you don’t think so, you’re probably not working hard enough). People have called me selfish all my life. My brother’s friend, Max, dubbed me “Magnolia Cheapster,” because I would come up the block smacking on 5 cent candy and not offer anyone any. Truth be told, I felt like I went to the store for me. If you want some, you can ask your mom for money and get your own candy. Asking her for money was tough. Stealing pennies was tougher. I wasn’t doing work for two people. & besides, I’m a spoiled brat & I’ve come to accept it. Everything goes my way –or I make it do so. If you’ve ever worked with me, you know the Nazi roll I assume in order to get things done. I’m only half a listener, though. I always think my ideas are the best. People misunderstand it, though. It’s not that my ideas are better because they’re mine, it’s just that I’ve probably thought about this idea for a while before I let you hear it. The first time something comes out of my mouth is never the first time I thought about it. You can call me crazy if you’d like, but I think a lot. Perhaps too much for my own good. My showers always start out (or end) with me sitting in the shower in silence, looking out at the city skyline –I love a bathroom with a window. If you want to know what I think about… Life. *shrugs* What else is there?
    You have to have more faith in your own feelings. (I tell myself this, constantly.)You must trust that the way your heart feels is the right way –even if it turns out to be wrong, because it’ll bring you somewhere on this life journey anyway. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all the times I fucked up –and badly, too. The only reason I know how good it feels to make the right  decision is because of my familiarity with wrong. Not everyone needs to travel down that path. I believe that we all know the answers. Our wisdom is infinite if we simply take advantage of it. “Knowledge is power, yo,” he explained as I bit through my BLmayo. “That’s why they try to keep it from us. Like… they don’t teach us shit about Africa,” he went on. Here we go, I thought to myself. At this point in the conversation is where I deem certain folk incapable of complete thought.

        “So if you know that knowledge is power, why don’t you go after it?”
       “I don’t know,” he responded. & That’s the issue. People give up at the first problem –even if there is a solution. Sometimes, you know the answer, you’re just too damned lazy to do the work. “Even if I did want to trace back my roots, I wouldn’t know where I’m from.”
        “You might.”
        “I wouldn’t know which country.”
        “But you know it’s Africa at least.”
        “You know how big Africa is?”
        “Yup. I’m sure there’s books on it. If you want to learn, why don’t you learn it all? That way you’ll know everything you need to know & more. Then maybe you could figure out where you’re truly from.”

       “That’s too much,” he responded flatly.  After all that passion about his roots and what The Man is keeping him from, I gave him a solution. But too much work is too much work, I guess. I understand, though. I don’t want to learn all of Africa’s history, but if I actually gave a fuck, I’d read everything there is on it. There was no reason for me to read through IAB‘s website, but someone asked me what a slider is today, and I had the answer –a 970 x 90px flash banner that expands to 970×550. Either I’m a nerd or… Knowledge is power. And because I adore my job, I want to know everything there is to know about it. Plus some. We often pretend we care about shit we don’t give a damn about just to feel good. Just to have an opinion. Just to have a claim to some group. We’re infatuated with a perverse desire for association. We don’t to do anything ourselves, but we want to associate ourselves with those people so that those traits can extend to us. It’s the reason people believe in their chosen religions but “ain’t really religious, ya mean?”   The guy sitting across the table from me claimed to be Muslim, but has never read the Koran in full –I think you’re supposed to. “They want me to pray five times a day. I ain’t doing that.” Ok, homie. Seems to me, though, like you don’t want to do much of anything really. 
    The only person who controls your dedication, your rate of work and its outcome is you. The mere existence of thought without having to speak is monumental. We have the ability to weigh a situation before it even takes place. If you gain control over your mind, you can begin to coach yourself. I speak to myself all the time. I consult myself and try to make the best move I can depending on the way I want to live my life and how it’ll affect the people I care about –especially with guys. I think about every action I make and answer I give and where that puts me on the whore-friend-wife scale. If it hints on whore, that’s not where you want to be. Friend is the most common, but I tend to mix it with wife because well… everybody love me (I’m so flyy). But “Wife” should work in 2 ways. Whatever those “wife” attributes are, they should be reserved for your man. The rest of the time, you should be exactly what a man would want his wife to be when he’s not  around. You know the lame line guys give about “he’s one lucky man”? All men should feel that way about you. They should either seriously consider marrying you or envy the man who will. It’s not a tough game to play if you simply think about your moves before you slam your piece down on the board. You are a Queen: the entire game revolves around you.
     You’ve got to slow down. Think about your responses. Weigh your options. Decide who you want to be and live accordingly. You can be exactly who you want to be if you just set your heart to it. People like to argue that perfection is impossible, but it was God who told Abram to be perfect. I am the Almighty God; Walk before me and be thou perfect (Genesis 17:1). With this said, perfection is just as possible as building a boat to carry 2 of all the world’s creatures. Lots of fuckin work. But just as Abram was perfect, Noah also walked with God (Genesis 9:9). I’m not telling you all to “walk with God”, rather to be conscious of the moves you make. Finding answers (especially in love & life) will always be a difficult task. Take the time to think about your answers and your path because walking or talking blindly will lead you down the wrong road. I hope you open your eyes and listen to yourself before you stray too far. If Mr. Africa had sat down and actually had chemical reactions in his brain leading him beyond point B, he’d probably let go of his 30-year-old-tryina-get-this-mixtape-out-so-I-sell-weed-in-the-meantime dream. Still, I tried not to judge him. He just doesn’t think as much as I do, as much as he should, or as much as I need my man to. 
      I’m in love with a man who thinks for himself. One who can add to the conversation. One who can refute my theories (because I have many). One who isn’t afraid to contest my beliefs  – respectfully. There is nothing more of a turn on than a man who can teach me something new. I know this is random, but it happened recently and I encourage you all to have conversation that is deeper than one’s favorite color. Use your mind. Don’t be afraid to show him what your mind is capable of because one day, you’ll notice that his doesn’t work like yours –or he’ll notice yours falls behind his. Educate yourself and allow your mind the space to breathe and create individual thought. There are some amazing intelligent men out there looking for exactly what you’re looking for. You’ve just got to take the time to understand what you need. I need intelligence. I need book and street smarts. I need brilliance. I’m sure he needs those as well. But you can’t find those things –neither in yourself nor in your partner, if you don’t allow the space to experience that. 
      “You know, I had a good time with you,” he said the signifier phrase cuing for a goodnight kiss. I had already thought about what to do when the situation came up (because its unavoidable). I did what I told myself to do, what my man would appreciate, what someone’s wife would do in the situation: keep it moving –stay in the friends zone. 
       “See what happens when you stay out of the bedroom?” I responded. I smiled and closed the car door behind me. I wanted him to know I had had a good time too, but in my heart, I wished he were someone else. Literally. He might have been semi-disappointed but going out with him was the best move I’ve ever made. Had I never forced him to show me who he was, I’d have never truly understood why I could never be more than just friends with him. I’d have kept pushing him off for the simple fact that I’m… all set, as I told him a million times before. The truth is… our minds aren’t on the same wave length. & there’s no length that can substitute for the satisfaction one feels after having a thought-provoking conversation. I have a thing for mind-sex. You know that feeling you get when you really learned something in class? I want that with my man. I also want that with myself. If you want mental stimulation, you’ve got to require it. You’ve got to go for it. Look for it. Demand it. 
   Say what’s on your mind, today. 
But listen to your heart, first. It  holds the answers to questions you haven’t even asked yet.
 You don’t have to believe me. But you probably should… 
xoxo 
Ella.