The toughest thing about being becoming a better person is when people notice. You’d think they’d applaud you but just because you’ve grown doesn’t mean that those around you have. but if you’ve really grown, you understand that not everyone grows at the same rate. I had a conversation with Katelynn this weekend about people & their thoughts. There are times when I wonder what people think of me, I won’t lie, but I don’t concern myself too much with it because I know that I am genuinely a good person. I try my hardest to be the best friend/daughter/sister/woman I can be all the while taking my flaws into great consideration. I’m not trying to be a “better” person because I think I’m “better” than others, but because I know that I can be. I’ve made mistakes in the past. The only thing I’m better than is to make them again. 

        By “better” I don’t mean wearing nicer things or making more money (although those are very high on my list) I mean “better” in the choices I make. I used to do the wrong things because I “didn’t give a fuck” but in reality, it was just because I was young… & dumb. It wasn’t that I didn’t give a fuck about what I was doing, it was that I didn’t give a fuck enough about myself to stop and consider right vs wrong. “What makes you think you’re better than everyone else and that you have a right to say what people shouldn’t do?” I was asked. “It’s not that I’m better,” I explained, “It’s that you know what’s right and what’s wrong.” I never thought that my morality would become a conflict –I assumed that making good choices and trying to conduct myself with respect would earn me respect. But… I suppose one of the things I’m still trying to learn is that assumptions only get you half-way to where you thought they would. This past weekend, I earned respect from some while I felt disrespected by others. But you know, you win some, you lose some.  You can’t please everyone all the time. (Another lesson I’m trying to take into consideration more often.) 
     I’m growing up & it gets tougher all the time. Sometimes, it seems to me that people treat me as if I know nothing because my “growing up” has taken on a different form than theirs. Instead of choosing to do things like others do (i.e. have a child & grow my family) I decided to grow my mind. What sometimes hurts me most is that I still feel judged for my decision to grow as an individual. And, while I have “no right” to judge others for their decisions, I always feel a side-eye directed in my direction. I suppose I will forever be “better” than some people if that’s how they want to look at me.  But you know what? I’m not better than any person, but I am better than some things. & I now know better than to take part in some actions. I’m not 16 anymore. But when I was 16, I was 16. When I was 18, I was 18. When I turned 21, my very essence acted 21. At 23, I’m 23. I need not commit the same sins I did when I was 16. I learned. I learned a lot. So when I see someone acting like I did at 16 –whether they are 16 or not –it saddens me. Just because I made the mistake before –or because you have –doesn’t mean you should continue to do so. 
       Is this me being “better” than people again? I feel like I should stop caring about what people do. I mean, that’s what they tell me. People behave poorly and –in my opinion –it’s because there’s no one there to tell them that that action is wrong. Parentless children.  This weekend, I ran into a guy I used to talk to when I was… 15? 16? When the ladies & I pulled up to the ATM before the club, he was standing at the drive-up -_- “Take out some extra cash,” I yelled. “First round on J_____.” You should’ve seen the broke man’s scorn that stretched across his face. Strike 1. When we pulled  up to the spot, he was in line with a group of friends & a stranger. I’m only calling her a “stranger” because I already know everyone who needs to be known. So when a random girl shows up, someone’s sleeping in that. In this case, J______ was. Inside the club, he introduced the stranger as his girlfriend. I made sure to be polite b/c I really really don’t give a fuck. He’s gained weight & she had some extra too. Match made in heaven 🙂 I headed to the bar for a refill on my Bailey’s when the perv whispered in my ear, “Damn I wish my girlfriend wasn’t here.” I just looked at him and kept it moving. The first –and only– word that ran though my head was “dog”. At the end of the night, outside the club, the girlfriend was nowhere to be found. But J____ was thirsty in the let-out crowd. On Sunday, he tried to hit me for a last call. The text message above is the conversation that took place. 
       I ran into a couple of situations this weekend that I am very grateful for. I was forced to ask people I trust for advice. Everyone showed me their true colors. The people who cared for me most gave me advice that’d be in the best interest of all parties involved. Others ran back and had conversation about me that I know weren’t in the best light. This just showed me that while some valued my friendship, my concerns and my happiness, others were more focused on their own pleasure and egos. I love all my  people, I just have a better understanding of where I stand with each of them, at the end of the day. I’ll never take my love away from those I’ve given it too. But my trust? That I will have to repossess. I even showed J______ love in that text message, but he had to know two things: (1) What I’m about and (2) the immorality of his actions. When you disagree with people, sometimes you have to let them know, not so that they can change, but so that they know that you have changed and that there is  another option. So he can decide what he “didn’t” mean by sending that text… but the conversation is over on my end. If he gets a wind of this post & if  the girlfriend were to see this, it’s on him to tell her what his intentions were. I can’t read his mind, but I’m sure he’d lie. & Since everyone is stating things for the record I’ll give you mine: I no longer believe in lies or anything similar to them. I don’t care where or who they come from. Anyone willing to be dishonest with me (or even hold back information) will be dishonest with me. How can we continue on when I can’t tell you anything & I can’t believe anything you say? Thank the gods for unconditional love, huh?
           I am a person in and of  this world. No one has the right to tell me to choose one friendship or relationship over another –especially if you’re asking me to choose vices over virtue. Those are decisions I have to make on my own and in my own best interest. When the time comes, I evaluate each relationship, as it stands, in that moment. You might have loved me before. You might have loved me 10 minutes ago, but if you don’t fully respect me in this very moment, we’ve lost something. That’s why marriages end after years and years of love. Someone lied. Someone was unfair. & the only way for that relationship to continue would be to ask that person to deal with how unfair you had been. But if you really  love someone, you’d never ask them to commit wrongs on your behalf nor have them put up with pain in the first place. That’s one of those stupid ideas that get drilled into you when you’re from the hood. You’re supposed to fuck up with your friends again & again & again until you’re either locked in a cell with them or side-by-side in the welfare line or on your backs just to prove to them that you’re “down”. I won’t fool myself. I won’t hurt again or ruin myself. I’m also better than that. The only reason I think I have a right to say how I feel about someone’s actions is because I’m confident in my opinion. I believe it is right. And it’ll be very tough for you to prove me wrong. I have no problem with people who do what they do (because I’ve done what I’ve done), that doesn’t mean it’s right. That doesn’t mean I’m happy about everything I’ve done. That doesn’t mean it looks good. I applaud strippers and prostitutes because they’ve excelled at the game and make bank off of their actions.  At least they capitalized. But if you’re putting your “talents” out there with no reciprocation, I’m a bit unsure of what you’re getting out of it. Too many people trade in their self-respect for 15 minutes of satisfaction. Therein lies the issue. 
        “It’s not just this particular instance,” I told my mom. “The real issue is that people act  like this. And no one thinks it’s wrong. No one has an issue so it keeps happening. Women are treating themselves this way & there’s a reason why. It’s that reason that’s fucked up. (Yes, I curse in conversation with my mother.)  There’s something wrong. It’s a bigger societal issue.” I’m sure of it. Something makes these girls act in a manner that doesn’t suit them. Something clouds them from their own beauty and self-worth. Similarly, these men think it’s okay to disrespect the women they are involved with with no consideration. When I went to the club on Friday, a bunch of guys squeezed by me & the ladies trying to get up the stairway. Not one nigga said excuse me. I was the only female who complained. Men treat us the way we let them treat us. If you never say anything, nothing ever changes. 
     “No te apures, mija,” my mom told me. I shouldn’t  worry. I shouldn’t give a fuck who does what with who because it wasn’t me right? Unless I’m associated with those people. Unless when I tell the story I keep getting the “Are you like that, too?” question.  Therein lies the other issue. Birds of a feather. Statement for the record #2: I’ve done what I’ve done but I’ve never been a bird. My brain’s too big for that. 
         I won’t say anything else, though, because people’s business isn’t mine. (I learned that the hard way.) Besides, if you think hard enough, there’s always a justification for wrong. People believed in slavery. Hitler had a following. But sometimes you have to look past what those actions will (momentarily) do for you and consider the hurt and pain it can cause others –From your parents, to your friends, to your children. Your actions are reflected on everyone around you. & if the people around you love you, they’ll say something. I hope to god I have people who will catch me if I ever fall. That’s why I responded to J____ the way I did. If I were his girlfriend, I’d have wanted me to respond the way I did. & if a random niggas hits you up & doesn’t care enough to ask you how you are… and would rather “chill” than invite you to lunch… or even “catch up”… I hope you have the clarity to see his true intentions. A wolf is still a dog. It just makes different noises & lives in a different place. When I make a decision to say something, I consider how I would want the actions played out on my behalf. I’d want my boyfriend to be shutdown and humiliated if he was being a dog. I’d want my friends to tell me the truth about myself if I start heading down the wrong path. I’d want to know if people were talking poorly about me when I left the room.  I’d want my friend to be able to talk to me about anything & not be afraid that I was going to run off and talk shit about her behind closed doors. I’d want my friends to trust me with everything and I want to be able to trust them in return. 
      What I learned this weekend is that I have the best friends in the world. And they help me grow. But that you need different people at different points in your life. True friends will be your friends no matter how often you do and don’t speak. And they know that if they need you, they can call you. True friends would rather you be there for them. Not to sit around and kiss their ass or waste hours talking about shit that you should probably figure out on your own. They’d prefer you spend your time trying to better yourself than to hear your stories about who you happen to be fucking at the moment and why you’re not fucking who you used to be fucking. True friends would rather here about your accomplishments and the things you are doing to better your life. True friends (who are a benefit to you) live their own lives. They don’t expect you to do it for them or with them. Those who you need to babysit and guide will only hold you back. They inhibit you from guiding yourself. They steal you  from you. Sometimes, you’ve got to let a baby get hurt so they learn not to do it again. You can’t and won’t always be there for them & they need to know that. & once you let them go, if they do nothing for themselves, there’s nothing you  can do about it. People are only as productive as they want to be. Some people are used to being cheerleaders. I’ve always preferred to get in the game. I wanted the ball. I wanted to play. I wanted points next to my own name, too. Some win. Some lose. Some sit on the sidelines & watch passively. Some nurse their latent talents in the accomplishments (or failures) of others. But…. Since I’m one of the few people I know without a kid… so I guess I have no idea what I’m talking about. As usual. -_-Whatever, though. 
      When in doubt, do  unto others as you would have them do unto you & everything will turn out fine. At least you’ll know you made the best decisions. That’s what I did this passed weekend. & Treat people as they deserve to be treated. I treat my friends like friends. I treat my man like my man. I treat my mother like my lady. I treat my real female friends like sisters & my real male friends like brothers. One thing I’ve never been worried about is people second-guessing my loyalty. I’m an honest person and everyone who knows me knows it. Gossip doesn’t scare me. Secrets do.

FM(great)L 🙂