“Yes, Filter”

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and felt emotionally drained after?
You listened to them complain and complain and eventually you felt worse than them?
Or let’s get even more real.
Have you ever walked into your job or any place, and had to talk to a certain someone and it’s almost as though immediately there was a dark cloud over you?
That’s called picking up unwanted energies.

I find that lately there has been too many moments where I’ve had to work super hard to protect my energy. I don’t watch the news much. Not because I don’t like what’s on it, but I just don’t watch TV much period. Especially not at 7pm, or 11pm, or whatever time the news comes on lol. I watched it the other night; it kind of just happened, and honestly, I felt emotionally drained after. From hearing the latest of our current administration’s agenda to literally rip away civil liberties, freedoms, and the rights of people who occupy this already “great” America. To the unresolved situation with the young girl from Chicago, Kenneka Jenkins. Then on to visuals of the damage caused by the recent hurricane disasters, all piled in with your everyday violence.
In this hour long news reporting I can only recall maybe one uplifting segment.
All I could think to myself is “What is this? A horror show??”

I went from sad, to angry, to over it, to angry, to sad again, and I couldn’t shake it. It’s an eye opening experience to watch all of these occurrences from the comfort of my own home and think “This could be my cousin. This could be my sister, my brother, a friend……Could this be me??” and it becomes unexplainable how the possibility of something like that makes you feel. You hear the victim’s families talk about how much of a great person the victim was, or how the entire situation was a “wrong place, wrong time” occurrence, and it really finds a way to hit home.

It reminded me why I never really care to watch the news.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to “block out” all of the bad news of the world, that’s most likely impossible. I make sure to stay up on current events and topics worldwide.
I just filter.
I consciously monitor what I am taking in and putting out emotionally and mentally.

You know how “No filter” is one of the OG veterans of Instagram captions?
In my life I say “YES filter”. I filter out negative conversations, negative thoughts, and I release anything that does not serve me well. I filter IN love, mantras, optimism, happiness, shared laughter, positive affirmations, positive people, positive situations, and anything that makes me smile.

I was not always in the place I am today. I have had to let go of many people and many things I used to enjoy partaking in along the way….casualties of the filter. I had to be dedicated to being my own life’s gatekeeper. Watching the news a few nights ago, I felt pity and helpless seeing some of the situations I was watching. I was filtering it in, in a negative way; which is something I used to do (and still sometimes do) naturally; take on everyone’s issues as my own instead of finding productive ways to help with them.
I took in these transferred unwanted energies and let it plant its seeds and grow.

Now when I think of protecting spiritual and mental energies, I use these analogies:

  1. Only light gets rid of darkness. Picture yourself as a huge lighthouse sending out positive light and love in all directions, everywhere you go, to everyone you meet, to every space you occupy, near and far.
  2. Stop being a negativity sponge, soaking it all up, allowing it to bloat you, and then waiting to either dry up or be squeezed out aggressively.

So instead of allowing the news, or anything else for that matter, depress me or dim my light, I think of ways to send love and positivity. Lighthouses help people find their way, help them feel safe and guided. When someone is experience darkness you do not go dark with them, you help them see light. Someone is unable to tell their family they love them today, I’ll make sure to tell mine. Someone is unable to hug their friend or sleep in a warm bed, I’ll be sure to be thankful and grateful every day, and pour love and happiness back into everyone and everything I can.

What’s in your life that you know you should have cut ties with a long time ago yet still haven’t? Filter out grudges, animosity, complaining, self-doubt, negative beliefs and comments about others, and instead filter in all things positive. Fill your mind with encouraging and loving words. The best way to protect yourself from negative energy is to be a source of positive energy yourself. My counseling professor said in class last week “Anytime you are talking about someone, speak as though they are standing right behind you” and it really put into perspective some things for me. It affirmed my belief that having the right mindset will serve as it’s own filter for what you put out into the universe.

It’s very important to create a foundation of awareness of the energy we’re encountering on a daily basis in our lives. We need to use our filter to cleanse, ground, and protect us from energies that are darker, heavier, and more negative.The better our filter is working, the more we become the people we strive to be; our best selves, living our best lives. If you don’t believe me, try it, watch your life blossom baby!

 

Dear Summer….Hasta Luego

I’m packing my summer up in a crate until next year. As I sit here reflecting on these past two months, my intention for this post was to say “omg what summer? Blah blah” but then I went on Instagram and coincidentally saw my girl Stef’s post and she said:

“Dear summer, instead of focusing on how quickly you came and went, I will make the BetterLifeChoice to celebrate all of the amazing moments your presence allowed me to have”.

So ok you win Stefanie! I won’t say that the summer TRIED it with its “sneak peek/ trailer/ coming to theaters soon near you” behavior……and how this whole time I was thinking this was just the free trial. A test run. A tryout. A sample. An intro. A pre-game. Ok ok I’m done lol, I won’t say any of it.

In my “pack tha summer up” crate I’m throwing in bodak yellow, the show Power, Woodland Restaurant weekend brunches, frozen strawberry margaritas, cat eye sunglasses, rooftop happy hour, and late night patio moon watching. I’m also throwing in my cousin’s’ wedding, BBQs, restaurant outdoor seating (which I LIVE and DIE for), Nike slides with fresh white pedis, off the shoulder everything, rolled ice cream, my birthday (Aug 19th Leo Nation baby!), the eclipse, some things I shouldn’t say on the internet LOL, and Venti Starbucks pink drink; My “All summer 17” essentials.

I DID play myself though because I haven’t been to the beach OR a pool all summer but it’s been real y’all. I enjoyed it. I’ll tell you what I did take some time to do though.

I worked a lot.

Working on some of the relationships in my life.

I worked on my relationship with ME.

I stopped criticizing myself and stressing scales.

Stopped avoiding crop tops and spaghetti straps.

I stopped holding my head down and avoiding conversation and social media when I had an acne flare up because I decided that slice of pizza was looking too right and calling my name.

I started listening.

I said no…and didn’t feel guilty.

I slowed down.

So I could see, feel, hear,  notice,

Be present.

I stood in front a room of 30 plus people last Thursday facilitating mindfulness and I asked “When’s the last time you just sat and just stared up at the sky and the moon?” Only me and a few other people had our hands up.

This summer I took time to acknowledge and thank the sun, moon, and stars for doing it’s job everyday and never calling out of work like we do every now and again lol. 

As we wrap the summer up it brings up these nostalgic feelings of being out with your friends, family, bae, having your toes out, all that good stuff. Good music, good food, just vibez all around. So like Stef, I’m gonna celebrate all of the amazing moments summer allowed me to have, all of the beautiful memories I’m packing up in the crate. I hope the summer was good to you mi amors because it was great to me.

Until we meet again 90 plus degrees!

 

P.S In case you didn’t know, it’s National Encouragement day.

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-day-of-encouragement/

Send a text to or call people you love today.

Especially those you haven’t spoken to in a while,

or someone whom the ways of the world may be hitting home for them right now…that surprise love is EVERYTHANG.

Tell them you love them, encourage them to keep going.

Sometimes those two words are exactly what someone needs right at the moment you bless them with it.

….Keep Going. love ya

Virtues from Motherhood: A Poem for Mom

My Mom and I 1993

Let me tell you something about this woman and I.

Ten years ago, I was a rebellious teenager and we didn’t get along, but she loved me anyway.

Eight years ago, I got pregnant as a teenager, but she loved me anyway.

Five years ago, I was struggling to find a balance between who I wanted to be and where I was, but she loved me anyway.

Two years ago, I graduated college with my associates degree, and she was there to cheer me on.

A year ago, I said I wanted to take more credits to finish college faster, and she was there to cheer me on.

When I can’t make sense of something, she’s there to calm me down.

When I’m not seeing the whole picture, she’s there to shine a light. When I just need someone to talk to, she is there to listen.

When I feel lost in the world, she is there to guide me.

You see no matter where I’ve gone in life, or how many times I’ve strayed from the path, she has always been there calling my name, holding me accountable, and for that I will always be thankful.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and best friend, I love you.

Virtues from Motherhood: A reminder about love

Too often we find ourselves in toxic relationships, both men and women, and question how we let ourselves fall into this unhealthy pattern when we know better. Sometimes we’re able to tell other people the things they need to hear to be strong and pick up and move on but we cannot seem to grasp it in our own lives. In my own life and even that of the people close to me I’ve found such amazing people in some unfair situations but rather than write a traditional blog post about it I’m going to write an open ended list of what love is and I hope my readers will add to it. Also, always remember love starts with YOU, love yourself, love your body, love your strengths and weaknesses and love every day you wake up with the chance to shine!

LOVE IS,

Compassion

Understanding

Learning

Trust

Excitement

Sharing

Lazy Sundays with take out and TV

Enjoying one another without words

Forgiving imperfections

Helping one another grow

Good Morning notes

Bringing home their favorite snack after a bad day

Cuddles

Forehead kisses

Understanding their past without prejudice

Letting go of fear

Experiencing new things together

LOVE IS NOT,

Condescending

Judgmental

Controlling

Painful

One sided

Abusive

Ultimatums

Conditional

Stressful

 

Remember that no matter what you’re going through or what you’ve been through you deserve love. Love takes work, commitment and a desire to build with each other and most of all it takes time. Nevertheless there is never ever an excuse for love to consume you life in negative ways or to break you to the point of losing who you are. Love should be the harmony of two lives living side by side it is not a force that rules your life. Love is happy.

 

So tell me, what is love to you?

 

 

If you or someone you know is struggling visit halfofus.org for ways to help.

Valentine’s Day Project

Every chance we get we try to outwardly express our feelings for one another; whether it be a kiss goodbye, an “I love you” before hanging up the phone, or a slap in the face we all have this innate response to portray our emotions with actions. This is why a one-hundred-year-old trend called “Love Locks” seemed like a natural reaction. It started in World War I in Serbia; in a time when certain people weren’t able to be with each other since couples were geographically divided by the war. Most Ljubavi, the Serbian bridge in which people started locking padlocks onto, means “The Bridge of Love”. Locks upon locks, love upon love, the bridge grew tremendously over the years.

This trend started to migrate to other countries as time went on, and finally made its way to the Brooklyn Bridge in 2009. Tiny professions of love seemed sweet at first, but gradually turned into something disastrous as the tiny professions became large exclamations of love. It officially became outlawed in 2016 by DOT when a wire for an overhead light snapped under extreme weight of the “Love”. It caused the lane to be closed for two hours causing traffic among other things. The damage was able to be fixed but the risk is far too great to have people continue to further impair an iconic landmark like the Brooklyn Bridge.

Now that your “unbreakable” love will be clipped and will also cost a one-hundred dollar fine, I think it’s time to start finding more eco-friendly and pocket-friendly methods to profess those bottled feelings to that special someone. So this is a project for those who are itching to put their love on lock. You know who you are…

1. Think of that significant person in your life. Don’t worry this isn’t a test, take as long as you like on this step.

2.  Find a rock and buy/borrow indefinitely from a friend/get a sharpie. These are the only tools you will need for this project.

 

3. Scribble you and your special someone’s initials on the rock. If you are a perfectionist like me, you can stencil it with a pencil first and then trace over it with the permanent marker.

4. Just like with the lock, meet up with that special someone at any body of water in the city. Luckily, we are surrounded by water. You can find some really great suggestions from my previous posts like, South Street Seaport or Brooklyn Bridge Park.

5. Throw it into the water like Mariano Rivera. The chances of ever seeing that rock is severely unlikely just how you will never recover the key of the lock. Your love will infinitely reside in your chosen body of water and you can visit its residence whenever you want.

As a fellow college student, I understand that money can be tight but this project is virtually free. So go… go profess your love. Fill the Atlantic Ocean with your love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Never Alone

Image by: Katherine

Image by: Katherine

Life itself is so thoroughly engulfed with trials and tribulations that can be extremely difficult to overcome. I feel that at times everyone acts as if participating in the college experience in order to better their academic education will automatically provide them with happiness. Many people seek refuge in their respective religions to bring them peace, and having the knowledge of having a greater power somehow allows them to know that they are not alone. But at times, life seems to throw many curve-balls and can cause us to doubt every single thing that we once were so sure that we believed. This semester has truly been a difficult one for me, it felt as if life had literally taken a hold of me and drowned me into the darkest pit of sadness that you can ever imagine.

I have always been an extrovert and an introvert all at once…sometimes I would socialize and other times I just felt it to be tedious to even maintain a meaningless conversation. But the college experience as well as the struggles in my personal life have completely changed me into someone that I hardly recognize anymore. I want to be better…a better version of myself. One who is truly happy…one who still finds the silver lining in negative situations despite the horrific storms that life has thrown my way. Being a former homeschooler for my entire academic life, I was, unfortunately, the victim of the harsh criticisms and stereotypes that were typically thought about homeschoolers. This only led me to be more reserved and to stay more to myself. As I slowly near the end of my senior year, I feel that I have become more of an introvert as I no longer talk as much. It is as if I have forgotten all the proper social cues or maybe I never truly learned them. I have faced such loss this year and I do not know how to recover. No one prepares you for the fact that attending college does not protect you from the realities of this world. it cannot shield you from the struggles that you will face. There will be times albeit any given time in your life when you want to give up when life begins to take a toll. And that is completely normal, for life itself can be extremely unfair and was never promised to be perfect.

Image by: Sabrina Vasquez

Image by: Sabrina Vasquez

The holidays make this pain even greater as it is a time that is supposed to be spent in this cheerful spirit with friends and family. Still, there may be other difficulties, perhaps there is someone who passed away and will not be with you for the holidays or you have endured so many tribulations that you simply aren’t cheerful. The truth is, we are never alone…whether you believe in a higher power or not. There are so many lives that are surrounding us every single day…people who truly love us regardless of whether they say it or not. Love is not just a feeling; it is an infinite action that is emoted infinitely. Love has no limitations; it is the truest thing on earth when evoked unconditionally. Love is portrayed in acts of kindness and showing the care you have for that particular being albeit a person, pet, hobby, etc. Most importantly, love is selfless which means it is doing what is best not for yourself but for them because in setting them happy makes you happy. Love is often doubted but it is always there even when it goes completely unnoticed. Love is innocent and pure; it cannot fully be described in words for if it was it would have helped to avoid some of the struggles that our nation has faced. Unfortunately, love cannot be taught or learned, love just is. And when you are truly loved then you are never alone.

Comment below on some tough experiences that you have personally faced that have made you feel alone.

Things I want my Daughter to know: Love doesn’t hurt

 

Ava,

Since you were born you’ve probably heard “I love you” thousands of times. You’ve heard it being said to you and to the people around you and at 7 years old, you probably have a simplistic definition of the word. For you “love” is the way people take care of you, brushing your hair, tucking you into bed at night and cheering you on at school events and for now and years to come this idea will serve you well. One day however you’re going to grow up and have a more panoramic view of the world and of love. At some point love won’t just be mommy coming to your play at school or putting little notes in your lunch box, no, at some point love will be something you seek from a partner, someone who knows and keeps all your secrets. Though the idea of you growing up and finding someone you love frightens me, I want you to know that of all the many things love can be, painful, should never be one of them.

Love does not hurt, love isn’t heavy or burdening, love isn’t ostracizing or tiring. It’s important that you never feel like you owe something to the person you love, remember love is not a commodity that can be bartered or exchanged; it is a mutual and constant contribution to one another’s lives. Love is good morning notes next to the coffee machine, love surprising your partner with peanut M&Ms because it’s their favorite when they’ve had a rough day. I want you to have positive experiences of love Ava, I want you to never doubt that you’re lovable and that you deserve the best. If ever you feel like what you have is less than love it’s okay to leave and it is okay to have love for a person but not be in love with them. Love is a freeing experience it makes you feel light and open to life so I caution you, if you ever feel the love you have casts shadows on your life, on your happiness, it is time to move in a different direction.

Most of all Ava I want you to understand that in life we will love many people. We will love people intimately, like family and as close friends and all these types of love are necessary to us growing as a person. Sometimes though, like flowers, love has a season and we must move on to preserve our own garden. When love stops feeling freeing know that it’s not your fault and you just cannot fix it sometimes. This doesn’t mean the love that once was is any less significant it just means that there is more out there for you and you have every right to find it.

 

-image via instagram -Quote from Bone thugs & Harmony.

-image via instagram
-Quote from Bone thugs & Harmony.

Get Your Head Out Your Butt and Put It High

image

Are you, or someone you know, insecure? Do you, or someone you know, feel most happy when all attention is on you? Do you, or someone you know, seek to discredit others and their relationship to find self-worth? If you answered yes to any of the previous statements then I have unprofessionally diagnosed you with low self-esteem and you need to seek therapy or start to love yourself a bit more.

I am unsure who is to blame for the lack of self-love that I come across on individuals. Is it the parents, whether neglectful or having enabling characters? Is it the individual, their lack of experiences or stubbornness to change? Either way IT DOES NOT MATTER. As a person, one must “find” themselves eventually. With finding oneself one shall LOVE ONESELF. I do not mean latching on a group, drowning in music, or seeking religion just to make yourself feel better or to find an excuse for your F’d up ways.

Unfortunately, I do not have a concrete answer. Heck, life isn’t concrete! But I do wish to bring awareness to the lack of self-love and bitterness that is within people. These same people carry hatred in their hearts and make it spread like wildfire, which inevitably cause things like war, slavery, provocative youth, suicide etc.  I am no genius but I am pretty sure hate and Donald Trump supporters are directly proportional. And for a little laugh, I dare you guys to go to Loser.com .


QUESTIONS TO THE AUDIENCE: Do you agree or disagree? Why/Why not?

Summer is FALLing into its Place

Model Amoni B, Photographer: Heaven Sent Photography, Overlay: straightouttasomewhere.com

 Welcome back students, faculty, staff and visitors. My name is Amoni B and its an honor to be blogging with City Tech for another semester. I hope all of my readers are enjoying their summer, whether you were traveling, learning in school, giving back to your community, splashing in water themed parks, visiting galas and museums, enjoying sport events like the US Open, dancing at the Labor Day parade, and even working. I must also shine light on the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement. Although the years of damnation and recent events in the US and Dominican Republic aren’t much to smile about, I am happy that there is more awareness and even more self-embracing being spread.

Gallery above : Images of how me and my readers spent their Summer. 1. Stacey Brown celebrated her award with a meal 2. Lawrence Brown Paint-balled 3. Leona Brown-Straus is loved 4. Sam James worked construction 5. Leslie Brown posed in New Orleans on vacation 6. Steph Dashian attended a wedding 7. Genesis & Derek stayed cool 8. Amoni B takes flight 9. Stacey Brown went to the pool 10. Omari plays in the pool 11. Robin Pugh and Derek in the yard 12. The grill

Today I am spreading love. I love you all and hope you will enjoy my post to come. You can check out my past post here: Amoni B on The Buzz. In the future I will be covering events from fashion to being social responsible. I will also show some awesome DIY done in the past and future, because what’s better than being self-sufficient and awesome. And my readers can feel even more awesome when they give  back.

heart hands bnw

Heart Hands by TakeEverythingBack

Amoni, What is giving back?

Well, giving back is like paying it forward, a term used when one person helps another so that in return they help 3 others. Ways to pay it forward include helping others, donating your time, and building your neighborhood whither physically or by giving knowledge.  It helps your social growth, helps to spend your time wisely, and it makes you feel all warm inside. During the summer I traveled and participated and promotions and events. I also gave back by donating my time, donating my material and technology, helping people with their ideas and business forming, and participating in non-profit organizations, like Habitat for Humanity. On my downtime, and  if someone hasn’t already came to seek my help, I look for open opportunities to volunteer. Such opportunities can be found on volunteer.org, idealist.org, at your local schools and community center, or by looking up your favorite organizations. Hopefully this upcoming fall you can find time to spread the love as well.

Disclaimer: All information is solely my opinion and I am not being paid to promote organizations and companies mentioned in this post.


QUESTIONS FOR THE READERS: How did you spend your summer? | Do you volunteer? | What are some ways you give back/pay it forward? | What topics would you like to see me discuss? | What events would you like me to cover?