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MENTAL CLEANSE

Learn to Appreciate Dark Times

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At some point or another we experience dark times. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, loss of a job or the end of a relationship, it can feel like our life is over. Tragedy, regardless of what form it comes in, may break us, but it is also an opportunity to rebuild even stronger than before. There are times when the negative events in our lives consume every part of us. If we’re not careful, we can allow it to swallow us whole. The best thing we can do to avoid falling deeper into the darkness and despair is to find a way to express our emotions. Whether it’s talking to a friend or working with a professional, we need to make sure we don’t allow our feelings of loss to justify giving up hope.

With tragedy comes opportunity. It encourages us to be grateful for all that we still do have in our lives. We uncover exactly just how strong we really are. When we choose to move forward from the negative feelings we are experiencing, we start the healing process. This process provides a chance to learn more about ourselves, deepening our level of self-awareness and equipping us with tools to handle future challenges from a different perspective. Dark times are a part of life. How can we appreciate the light if we never experience the dark, never mind know that it exists? Regardless of how hard things might seem, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

You just have to be ready to see it.

Now signing off with the reminder: Don’t wait for the world to recognize your greatness, live it and let the world catch up to you.

BAE ALL THE WAY

Poet, Michael Phillips, Breaks Down in Front of Students at his Alma Mater

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Michael Phillips agreed to speak to students at his alma mater, Community Academy of Philadelphia, CS (CAP) about Black History and being Black in America. Little did he know, this would be an emotional full circle moment for him.

Phillips has been doing spoken word for quite a few years now. Although he’s performed around the East Coast, he mainly takes to his social media to speak about race and love issues in a poetic way. He speaks highly of a creative writing teacher at CAP, who is the sole purpose behind his love for poetry.

“Ms. Vázquez is the reason why I’ve been able to do what I love since high school. She really made me appreciate poetry as a creative outlet to release any and all pain I’ve felt internally. I’m thankful for her”

Michael Phillips with Ms. Vázquez

Phillips confidently went into various classrooms from grades 5-8, along with some high school classrooms to perform his spoken word pieces. It wasn’t until he entered Ms. Vázquez’s room, the very person who inspired him to do poetry in the first place, that he sort of – broke down. It was a full circle moment for him, in that he saw himself as a student who too once sat in those same seats, without a clue as to what it would mean being a Black man growing up in America after high school.

He hopes that through his words, he is able to inspire the minority community to come together and appreciate themselves from within. Phillips wants the youth to know they have the power to change the world, to start thinking about what they can do presently that can essentially positively impact future generations to come.

Check out the video below:

 

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Like Frank Underwood, Make Yourself Notorious For Not Backing Down

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Could you handle leading the fate of a million lives? What about the future of an entire nation?

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Millennials are a promising yet fledgling generation full of potential, driven by the possibility of improving the world around them. It goes without saying that because of this, a lot of mass media is being created to provide messages for the leader in everyone. For instance, while watching Frank Underwood, the Machiavellian anti-hero on the House of Cards series, I couldn’t help but think about the indirect warnings the show sends to be careful of how you handle your reigns of influence. It’s easy to feel oppressed and like the people above you have far too much power for their own good. This could be coming from your first demanding employer, your professor, or any other person that can strong-arm you. The important and sobering fact is that you could very well be in a position of power and influence at some point. Then, how will you handle it?

“If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table.” (Season 2, Episode 2).

This is one of Frank’s less aggressive quotes that sparks a hopeful moment of empowerment. Plenty of people around you seem to have a running list of aspirations, but when challenges confront you in your journey toward your goals, will you roll over? For all of the routes that he took to fulfill his revenge, Frank Underwood started out from very humble beginnings, similar in stature to those who are not born in the world of the 1%-ers. Understand, it is always a tough road towards accomplishing mass influence. However, if that’s what you want, don’t be intimidated.

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Keep pushing forward.

Find your voice.

Make a difference and make yourself notorious for not backing down because you decided to bravely protect your dreams. Overall, just remain humble and don’t let the powers above you sour you towards hate and revenge. Whether it’s the fate of one life or millions, we all have it in us to be a leader. It is up to you to decide whether you’ll be a leader of positive influence or not. 

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The fact is: YOU DO MATTER

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“I’d be happy if you killed yourself.”

 

Those are the words of a complete stranger, finding out I was transgender in a KIK chat room. Sometimes it is difficult to talk sense to a person like that. While it can be quite overwhelming, I know I have the strength within myself to no longer allow hurtful words by others affect me. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Studies have shown in 2014, there were nearly 3 suicides for every homicide. What people fail to realize is that sometimes we can be our own worst executioner, holding in thoughts and emotions we don’t allow anyone to know.

However, we can also be our most merciful savior. I know there’s a young, beautiful, and purpose driven generation that may sometimes feel overwhelmed by a hurricane. That hurricane throws work, bills, heart-wrenching breakups, gossip, judgement, and a slew of other issues people just don’t understand. While everything may seem great on the outside, people can really be hurting on the inside. For instance, Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, just recently cut his life short at 41 years of age. What this individual meant to people was beyond the words he invoked on a stage or in an album. Here he was inspiring people for years through his lyrics, letting people know it’s okay to feel pain but also understanding that together we can get through it. Yet, little did we know here he was battling his own demons. Gratefully, his legacy will continue to live on through the positive impact he’s left on his fans and loved ones.

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Some may think it is next to impossible to convince yourself when the mound gets too thick that

“I will come out of this”

That’s why you shouldn’t let yourself suffer alone. The fact is, you DO matter.

 

Often times, people compare life to that of being a book.

You write the book of your life.

Every second.

Filling it – editing it – adding characters – removing characters.

All in order to make sure you use your story to grow and learn from.

If there were no obstacles or life lessons added to the chapters, ultimately the book is just one big bore.

Yes, at times it may seem really difficult but don’t let your story end this way. Continue pushing forward to change the narrative. Continue pushing forward to change the ending. You have it in you to make your story a great one.

 

This is something that took me a while to learn. Thankfully, in the midst of my own struggles, I sought out help even though all I felt like doing was being alone. I want you to know that no matter how deep it goes, you are cherished and are loved.

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We need to change the fact that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people from ages 15-24. If you are not in a position where you feel like you are suffering, then you are in a position to embrace and help someone. You don’t need a degree or special certification to be there for someone in need. Just offer someone a shoulder to cry on, an embrace to hold onto and a smile to share. It may not seem like much but those simple actions can really help in some way.

Believe it or not, these small actions can cause the biggest impact in helping a lost, wounded soul find resolve and purpose.

 

For all of those that are suffering in silence, do not be afraid to reach out and get the support and closure you need. You need to keep writing the next significant chapter in your inspiring life.

 

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In case you or someone you know needs support, here are some resources:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK

Crisis Text Line, the free, nationwide, 24/7 text message service for people in crisis, is here to support. For support in the United States, text HELLO to 741741 or message at facebook.com/CrisisTextLine.

For support outside the US, find resources at http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

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