“Something’s been said,” is a quote used by members of my extended, Southern family. Although I was raised in the Midwest, I’d heard this phrase every time something suspicious happened within our clan. It means that there is something definitely wrong, unexplainable, off-putting, or weird going on with a family member, friend or associate but no one knows how to explain it or wants to expose the real issues. Details are often missing or simply don’t add up. No one could evaluate a situation with clarity or objectivity in an environment where hidden secrets and lies existed. As a child, I instinctively knew when a story didn’t make sense, and my facial expression often reflected it.
After moving south, a native North Carolinian told me that her grandmother told her to “hide yo crazy”. The statement made me laugh out loud because it reminded me of the stories we often share that provide half the facts that simply do not add up. It’s another way of saying “something’s been said“. Most people don’t internally question what they hear. Too few are willing to investigate, research or debate a topic before making a decision. There is an even smaller group who will allow room for a presumption of innocence until proof has been obtained.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s, a show called “Different Strokes” was a favorite in my household. I particularly loved the young son, played by former child actor Gary Coleman, who would question information that didn’t make sense to him…. something would have been said for sure!
In this section of Hide Yo Crazy …. Something’s Been Said, we’ll examine cultural, familial, relational, and current events, and provide a platform to examine and perhaps debate these matters in terms of appropriateness, accuracy, and relevancy. Guest writers will also participate to allow for different perspectives on subjects. I am hopeful that we will be able to unveil some of the different viewpoints and allow us to gain a better understanding of what may really be happening within our own minds as well as relationships. Come back soon …check out this video until we chat again.
If all your dreams came true, what would your life look like? Many wish to become financially RICH as though it would completely fill the void in their hearts. As one ages, you may come to understand the frequency and value of money, what it offers and also what it can and cannot provide. Money can definitely give you freedom to consume more material things, travel and experience the best that life has to offer. You will even attract more people who will view you as successful and interesting whether they know the real you or not. Being financially RICH cannot, however, guarantee you WEALTH – – health, peace of mind,love, purpose, authentic relationships or being emotionally and spiritually filled in your core. So, what triggered this blog post today?
First, the US Internal Revenue Service recently issued to more than 35 million U.S. households, with nearly 60 million children 17 years or younger, monthly cash payments for their 2021 child tax credits. An eligible family with three young children, for example, could receive up to $900 per month for the rest of the year. The first round of payments comes to about $15 billion, according to the Biden administration. While the payments will help some families greatly (especially after 2020) they could also bring unexpected tax bills in 2022. Tax filers who are eligible for the prepayments could see far smaller refunds or larger tax bills next year because they are getting half their child credits up front. For this reason, taxpayers who get half the payments could come up short and owe the IRS at tax time. According the IRS, about 1 million filers have already opted out of the prepayments. Hopefully, all the families receiving the early payments understand the strings attached to the funds and use the payments prudently. As Dave Chappelle might say “not all money is good money” so be careful what you accept.
The second reason for this post is related to a story about a wealthy and popular rapper and his frugal but prudent actions. Rick Ross, aka Ricky Rozay who is known for his luxury lifestyle and his big-money BOSS boasts, recently showed his fiscal responsible outlook on spending. He made it known that he makes most of his investments in real estate instead of the more volatile stock market after following the advice of his hard working mother who held multiple jobs throughout his early childhood. She also invested in real estate (on a much smaller scale than Mr. Ross) whenever the opportunity presented for her to do so. In addition, Mr. Ross buys antiques at swap meets rather than spend a lot on decorating, flies commercial instead of owning a private jet and rents his mansion, previously owned by heavyweight boxing champ Evander Holyfield, out for movies. Most recently, the Coming To America 2 film, featuring the legendary comedian Eddie Murphy, used his property for the movie. Mr. Ross even cuts his own grass at the mansion. Now isn’t that interesting?
Flex Culture is about being seen with goods that are known to be expensive to show that you can afford them. Wearing these brands gives people some kind of status which is assumed to be a good one.
Both of the financial scenarios mentioned above (Tax Credit and Rick Ross) triggered me to remember a book I read in my youth called the Millionaire Next Door – The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy written by Thomas Stanley and William Danko (published in 1996). The authors compare the behavior of those they call “UAWs”(Under Accumulators of Wealth) and those who are “PAWs” (Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth). Their research indicated that millionaires are disproportionately clustered in middle-class and blue-collar neighborhoods and not in more affluent or white-collar communities. These results came as a surprise to the authors who anticipated the contrary. Stanley and Danko’s book explains that high-income white-collar professionals are more likely to devote their income to luxury goods or status items, thus neglecting savings and investments. Perhaps, new research would produce much more different findings in our current “Flex Culture” infecting both the working class and the wealthy especially young people within each group. In addition, research has shown that America does indeed have a “caste system” where the rich get richer, the so called middle class has shrunk considerably since 1996, and families in poverty remain consistently stuck without much CHANGE or movement towards generational wealth.
In no way am I suggesting in this post that having access to money is not important. It provides the means for which we all can live, eat and survive in this world. Being in poverty is not a preferred or glorified state of existence either. Nor should we support being a “schadenfreude” (modern day hater who takes pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune). The only question is whether financial RICHNESS should be the main standard for which we judge or value a person or a society.
My tribe knows that I personally like to float below the radar – – frugal, not impressed with designer labels for the sake of having them or items that lose value as soon as you purchase them, etc. This does not mean that I do not have or appreciate some luxury items. I’m simply somewhere in the middle – – valuing being wealthy in mind, body and spirit with some ability to enjoy the occasional frivolity (but not at the expense of forgetting what has long term value). The ideas contained in the Millionaire Next Door still resonate even today reflecting the current state of our collective consciousness. Once you are introduced to new ideas or faced with real financial challenges, it it amazing just how they can influence and CHANGE your thinking not just in the moment but for an entire life time.
Zaila Avant-garde, a 14 year old girl from Louisiana, recently became the 93rd and first Black American winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. There was a another Black champion from Jamaica in 1998, Miss Jody-Anne Maxwell, however, the event has been historically dominated by Asians and other non-Black people of color. Zalia took home the spelling bee trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. The runner-up for the event were Chaitra Thummala, 12, of Frisco, Texas and Bhavana Madini, 13, from Plainview, New York, finished third.
In a world where black girls are sometimes belittled for their intelligence or overtly and overly sexualized (just, look at the mass twerking trap videos) it was quite wonderful to see this beautiful young girl with natural hair, acne and braces win such a prestigious award for using her BRAIN. She correctly spelled the word “Murraya” which means genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees. Zaila threw up her hands and twirled around after spelling the word correctly. The audience, including educator and First Lady Jill Biden, stood and cheered for the young spelling bee champion.
A section of this website it about the importance of words – WORDS MATTER. It was included because I also studied the dictionary as a child being curious by the different meanings and their etymological origins. It fascinates me that even Zaila’s name triggers a discussion about words. Her last name Avant–garde is originally a French term, meaning vanguard or advance guard (the part of an army that goes forward ahead of the rest). However, today we give the word the meaning to express new and unusual or experimental ideas, especially in the arts, etc. Her name also has origins most likely traceable to the original French colonizers who settled in Louisiana as slave owners.
So – – I am thrilled to see this young girl’s accomplishment. Trust me, there are many others just like her with diverse abilities not just in their outer appearance (beauty or physical features) but innate curiosity and intelligence. Bravo Zaila Avant-garde, Bravo!!! We are all proud of you (your ancestors, family, educators etc.) and your accomplishment. We also cheer you on to become an outstanding Avant–garde woman in the future.
I recently met a young grocery store cashier who exuded so much light it was blinding. As she checked my groceries, I noticed her smiling eyes and pippy long stocking braids. Slowly, “Heather”(not real name) started to talk after I complimented her choice of multiple earrings on each ear. She explained her intention behind the design placements and then began to share her desire to get a small tattoo of a butterfly. All of this was amusing to me because her innocence, excitement and confidence were infectious. What followed next is why I am writing this blog post today.
Heather, my new grocery store protégé, proceeded to tell me how she didn’t always feel good about herself. She didn’t think she was smart or beautiful because something bad had happened to her when she was young. Heather made the statement without any fear or shame. I didn’t ask any probing questions nor were the details of her story necessary in this first encounter. In that moment, I completely melted in my heart space recognizing the common pain that so often resonates and plagues many young black girls too. Of course, I told her just how amazing she was not only on the outside but inside. Her honesty, bravery and authenticity were undeniable. Heather simply radiated light from within. She told me that her Dad told her that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – – a common colloquialism we’ve all heard before. She also shared her personal mantra – – “it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s what you do afterwards” – – that proved her wisdom way beyond her years.
Perhaps this meeting was divinely orchestrated because I was reminded (thinking about my own thinking …METAcognition) that the journey for self worth – or the lack of it – is a universal story resonating for all girls and women regardless of race, class, country etc. So today, I salute Heather for her courage and hard&black trUthfulness. From one soul to another, we shared our common experience and journey in the universal lesson of self respect and unconditional self love that most of us unconsciously seek for a lifetime.