i didn’t have any control over how i look. making fun of me calling me ugly isn’t going to hurt my feelings. and hyping me up telling me i look really good isn’t going to make me feel extra good. i had absolutely no say in my looks. i take no offense to that.
but being stylish? i work on that. my skin being really smooth, i work on that. having an amount of knowledge in certain fields, i work on that.
people comment on me being tall and how it “must be nice” and “the girls love a tall guy.” that doesn’t do a thing to my ego. i had NO choice. my dad is six foot three and mom is five foot eight. it was almost inevitable. if you aim to compliment me, make sure it’s not about my looks or height or something i totally couldn’t change if i wanted. make sure it’s something i had a part in.
folks tend to love when people are ridiculed by peers and make it through the storm. society loves when people shame others due to their weight and then that person finally overcomes bullies and become an aesthetically pleasing person. people tend to always love the story of someone being so down on their luck but prevail. we love when people go through heartache and tons of failed relationships but right before the book ends, gets married and have tons of kids and the book is extended. we love the story of struggle.
what about the people who don’t publicize their struggles? or those who had different struggles. what about the people who deal with their issues internally and tend to constantly display balanced emotions without storing them in in a detrimental way?
they get no love.
we get no love.
it’ll be three hundred sixty-four days of emotional balance and one day, the pot boils and i flip over THAT (not other things) and “Julius. what’s going on?” “Julius, you need to calm down.” we have normalized emotional IMbalance so much so that when someone who IS always cool calm and collected and one day has a bad day, they’re villainized. but the people who complain about everything and cry about not getting it their way “just need some time.” people who replace their friends every year and go through tons of girlfriends and boyfriends people “just don’t deserve you girl. you’ll find the right one next time.” and when Stella finally gets her groove back, we make movies and books and celebrate that.
can we start celebrating people who don’t have to get hit by a bus to know it hurts and just got out the way? can we start giving flowers to people who grasped intricate ideas early on without being a rebel child? people who didn’t have to take down an army to get the trophy never gets honored. it’s always the people who killed hundreds of people and so happen to not get killed themselves who are the heroes.
FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE AND ACCEPT AND EMBRACE IT.
i often was seen as arrogant for knowing how important i was at ten years old. i get called arrogant for knowing my worth without outside opinions. i never bring others down. i never talk poorly about people. i never clown people for their decisions.
i never dealt with self esteem issues, and i worked on that.
i won’t say people didn’t try to make fun of me.
people always call[ed] me skinny. and i hated that. i hate it now. it is universally accepted that calling someone FAT is wrong and just rude. no one calls anyone fat to their face. but people always call someone skinny to their face, in public spaces. i’ve been at the bank working with a tie and button up on and people come up to me “man. you need to eat some more! come to my house.” or “are you vegan?” as if that’s nice. and people ALWAYS clean it up by ignorantly saying society admires skinny people. it’s a good thing in this society to be skinny.
well, i tell you this. not once, not a single time have i ever been called skinny and it was in a polite or positive tone or intent. ever. i have always been the thinner friend. that family member. and i have always been called skinny at work, at family events, at school. and i promise you, each time someone said it, it COULD have been awkward. and i COULD have blown up the spot for them simply being rude.
but the thing is, i know exactly who i am. i know exactly how healthy i am. i know exactly how good i feel. i couldn’t allow that to get to me. but if i did allow it to get to me, and cut myself every night and hate who i saw in the mirror and wrote how often someone said it in a secret diary and killed myself, it would be a story THEN. if i let it bother me and get me into a deep slump and THEN used that as motivation and came back buff and had a redemption year, i would have loss. i would have let them win and my actions would have been based on their words.
but i don’t lose.
i can’t lose.
if God is for me, who can be against me? is what i have tatted on my chest. i live by that. but people who show no love to haters gets hated. when i say i love myself and when i say i KNOW i look good and there is nothing anyone can do to make me not feel that way, i get called cocky.
i take pride in being different. for prom, i wore Chucks with my tuxedo. why? because it looked better to me. they didn’t have any shoes to match my colors sooooo…
i know, i know. look good huh? read my post from a while ago called simply a poem. click that link.
i didn’t have to get played by multiple women and hate them in order for me to know my worth. but if i go out and make a post on twitter that say I DESERVE THE WORLD. I AM DOPE. I AM THE GREATEST AND YOU GOTTA KNOW MY WORTH BEFORE YOU COME INTO MY LIFE, i would be deemed arrogant and flat out unlikable. there has to be some context behind this amount of love for self, apparently.
why can’t we just appreciate self love when we see it? why must there be a rags to riches story behind it?
this piece alone isn’t going to sit well with folks who have low self esteem posed as humility.
BUT, if i went through HELL and back, if i got used and abused and publicly said all of that THEN said that post, it would be nothing but “i’m proud of you man” “keep up the work. glad to see you back on your feet” “my man is back!!” “these women didn’t deserve you. don’t settle” comments under the post. naw. that’s whack.
Nina Simone sang “Baby you understand me now
If sometimes you see that I’m mad
Dontcha know no one alive can always be an angel?
When everything goes wrong, you see some bad.
But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”
comparing the way people live their life (when it doesn’t come at the expense of disrespect and/or oppression of you and others) is played out. there is a difference between disagreement and being judgmental.
and normally the difference between being judgmental and understanding or accepting is knowing the context/history or simply accepting yourself.
accept self love even when it’s displayed by others.
NOW TAKE PRIDE IN WHO YOU ARE.
i take pride in being emotional stable. i take pride in not having a break down with certain issues. we all have different experiences that shape us. i take pride in not turning tables and cussing out every racist i run into. i work on being in control. i work on not being infuriated when someone cuts me off on the road.
i take pride in being mature. maturity is what makes me me. it’s what makes me love myself and others love me.
i asked my dad early last year what is a crazy story about me when i was young that he was upset about or disappointed in me or questioned his son to be possibly a wild child running wild. he said “sorry man. i really don’t have one. you listened to [your parents]. you don’t have those wild bad kid stories.” and i take pride in that. i take pride in listening to my parents say DON’T do that, it’s hot, and not touching it.
i take pride in my parents telling me to stay away from certain type of women, and listening. why? because they went through that so i wouldn’t have to go through that, and it helped cause so much LESS trauma.
i take pride in having a great relationship with my parents. i talk to them every day. we text little stupid gifs and funny videos every day just to maintain a friendly relationship. they know i’m grown. they accepted the fact that i’m grown when i became grown, i take pride in that.
i take pride in never having the “son vs father fight” that people talk about in movies. “did you and your dad ever struggle when you were getting older?” no. never did. i never crossed the line of being disrespectful to the father and man of the house. it was never necessary. no new jack swing but he trained this boy II men. i knew his role and he knew mine.
i take pride in them telling me how vital credit is and then me building it up. although they didn’t have great credit at the time, that didn’t make their advice less worthy of being followed. i take pride in having excellent credit. i worked on that. i worked really hard on that actually. i monitored it for years to get to where i am. i take pride in people asking me what they can do to better their credit.
i take pride in knowing how to cook.
i take pride in exercising patience. it’s not easy to have a lot of ideas that i know people are not going to like and agree with or at least TRY to understand. it’s not easy being the one to speak up on sensitive topics in a society that is ultra politically correct and the majority of people wait for others to speak up. well guess what role i have? IM the one in position to speak up for a lot of people. i embrace that. hell, it’s not easy writing this very piece. i take pride in having patience with others and never belittling their views.
i take pride in being fair with everyone i come across. i take pride in not judging others. in seeing right and wrong and not being bias towards someone due to my relationship with them. i worked hard on not having favoritism when it comes to right and wrong. it’s not easy telling your bestfriend he’s bugging out when everyone else tells him he’s right or when everyone just remains silent. it could be hard suggesting to your father to try to see the other side of the fence. i take pride in not hating any demographic of people despite the carnage they’ve made.
i take pride in respecting women, all the time. every woman i come across, treating them with the same high level of respect is what makes me happy. you cannot stop or peer pressure me from offering just basic nice treatment, even when no woman is in the room. the conversations i have with others when that person isn’t in the room is what i take pride in. no one can ever walk in unannounced and feel awkward or disrespected about what i was saying about them. women will never feel awkward or anxious about being in the room with me. no woman can text their friends when i’m on a date with them and tell them how unpleasant or rude i am. you cannot stop me or even have me contemplate stop being who i was taught to be, nice. i take pride in that.
my opinions are my opinions. they have come after deep consideration and counsel. you might not like my opinions, but you will never confuse them for being oppressive or one sided. you have no other option but to respect me. while i do leave room for learning and hearing new perspectives, i leave no wiggle room to be felt like i am being disrespectful. you can not like how stern i am, or how confident i am or even how i know about many different topics, but you will never leave the room thinking i don’t like you or i hate you or i think less of you or see you in a way that is less than others despite my own convictions. i take pride in that.
i am who i am, no matter where i go. i will be me, despite your objections. i love that about me.
i don’t broadcast myself reading books on social media every week or every month, i just emphasize the importance of reading them. books are the cheat codes to life. but i don’t have a secret book club. last week, my friend since second grade texted me asking if i knew any good book recommendations. i mailed two to him. a lady who i’m on a podcast with birthday was two months ago. for her birthday, i bought her The Alchemist. that book changed her life overnight. she actually moved to New York two days ago due to how much that book opened her mind and pushed her to follow her goals.
i take pride in that.
i take pride in not having some fancy degree yet having an abundance of knowledge. i didn’t have to be forced to go to school to read books, often. i take pride in people knowing i’m intelligent and wise at the time. i did that. i built that.
i take pride in being on two podcasts. i take pride that people view my opinions as having some type of weight. i worked on that. i worked on having an open mind. i worked on being versed. i worked on doing research and reading up on many different topics so i can always switch lanes whenever one gets slow. i worked on being vulnerable enough to be taught and corrected by others. i took time working on my humility and understanding and LOVING that i’m not the smartest in the room. that’s why people, twice my age, ask me to be a regular on their podcast.
i take pride in OGs asking me to be involved in their financial groups that consists of eight people. i take pride that i’m half their age, yet they see me as a peer in such ways. i worked on that. i built that.
i take pride in being respected and loved and talked highly about from older people and their wives. i put in that work. i can care less about anyone not feeling my ideas but when OGs DO feel and appreciate me, my taste in music, my respect level and moral compass, my passion for liberation and justice, my total peace and loving mentality, i cherish it. i worked on it. not even intentionally, that’s just who i am. they love who i am.
one day i was driving with the windows down playing music. not tripping, i was just jamming, waiting for the light to turn green. the song that was playing was Flava Flav 911 is a Joke. when i’m in the middle of the lyric, “they never come correct, just ask my man right there with the broken neck,” an older man walking on the sidewalk turned around, smiled, nodded his head, and gave me the fist. i noticed him, we smiled and i pointed at him.
the light turned green and I drove away not before giving my man another fist of unity in the air. i will never forget that moment. i will never not love the fact that OGs like and appreciate me. i take pride in that.
Nipsey Hussle said “i ain’t met a nigga like myself! i say ‘self made’ meaning i designed myself.”
i made who i am. i took bits and pieces from people i love and admire and made my own man. i always give props to where i learned what i learned. i always city my sources. i never portray that i’m the genius behind a certain idea if i’m not.
i take pride in being knowledgeable in my history. my people are experts in biology, geology, water, fashion and basketball. but are rarely experts in their selves and their own history. i take pride in spending hours reading and listening and watching material on my ancestors. and then using that to mobilize. i worked on that.
i take pride in having relationships with tons of different cultures and races despite my strong convictions. that just shows how respectful and loving and logical i am with my ideas and vision. that just shows how many people support and ride with me on the path of freedom.
someone called me “intense” and extreme because of how deep my thinking goes on topics. and i won’t lie, being called an extremist threw me off a bit. it did. but it doesn’t anymore. i realized someone who has an opinion or idea that seems unreasonable to the masses of the opposite side of that spectrum is considered an extremist. Malcolm X was an extremist to the oppressors, but not to the masses of people who were getting oppressed. my people are in an extreme condition of opression. my people are being killed and silenced every day.
i had to check myself. i flipped the connotation of being extreme as negative as being necessary. every single freedom fighter and every single person who has not only a desire but is active in wanting a better life for their people is extreme. and that’s of any ethnic background. i take pride in being extreme when it comes to liberating minds of the oppressed. the first thing that was conquered was the mind. that’s the first thing we must liberate. my mind has been unlocked. my vision has been restored. i worked on freeing my mind, for years. still working on it.. i worked on unlearning the many things white supremacy has used to keep our people stagnant. 2Pac said “if this is violence, then violence is what i gotta be.” whatever i am called or labeled for learning and teaching, i’ll take it.
i worked on loving myself. i took necessary steps on that very act at a very young age. acts simple as just listening to my parents about who i was. more importantly, WHOSE i was. God’s child. i know God loves me. the rest is just frosting on the cake, but i already got the cake. i already know i gotta home. that makes me sleep well at night. God. and i take pride in the relationship i have with Him.
Kendrick Lamar rapped and kinda sang “i love myself!
When you looking at me, tell me what do you see?”
i never felt inferior when being involved with a woman (or human in that case). i never needed a woman to make me feel good. i take pride in being sexually disciplined. especially for my age and me being a good looking guy. i am the prize just as she rightfully thinks she is. i have been in multiple situations where sex was on the table and the woman i was with was confident that it was going down. it didn’t. i take pride in being in control of my sexual desires.
my dad told me two years ago when i was twenty-five that i am a better man than he was at at twenty-five years old. then he said even at thirty-five. i take pride in manhood. i take pride in intentionally focusing on nothing but manhood for two years. reading and watching numerous amount of books and videos on how to be a better man. observing and asking men very broad and more times specific questions on emotions and growth and leadership and freedom and parenting and kids. i take pride in wanting to know how to be a great man. we are our hardest critics. everyone tells us we’re doing better than we think we are. and my grade for myself on being a man in a 9.9/10. i take pride in that. i worked extremely hard on it and became superior at it. and i’m only getting better.
i take pride in being empathetic and sensitive to others. i value empathy.
after the death of Kobe, i had a realization. people called him cocky and the thing they avoid to mention is that he was about one hundred twenty pounds, soaking wet. he didn’t have the natural physical gifts that other greats are known for. what he had was an intense work ethic. he worked on every single thing we know him for. he worked on being great on the court and he worked on being a great father and husband. Kobe was traded the second he was drafted because the Hornets said they had no use for him. he came into the league at seventeen years young; a boy amongst grown men. he wasn’t supposed to be the Kobe we know today.
we always salute JAY-Z for becoming really wealthy but we no longer talk about the story and work he did that got him there. NO RECORD LABEL SIGNED HIM. nobody wanted to sign who would become the greatest rapper ever. go figure. i contemplated writing this because of the public agreement that people shouldn’t publicly verbally take pride in what they WORKED on. we should just let others write our stories. we should let others dictate if we’re strong or weak, good or bad.
no. not me. i’m telling you today…
i take pride in my self esteem. i take pride that i don’t need you to feel good. i will continue to do what i do despite views and likes and pats on the back. i take pride in the fact that i never had that stage of confusion. i worked on having a strong mental and emotional foundation.
i take pride in loving Black women. it’s an honor to do so. me walking around with clothes and writing about them and expressing my admiration and love to them in public and in private is something i love about myself. i love how sincere it is. i love the love they provide and the love i’m capable of and then giving.
HAVE A CODE, SET YOUR PRICE AND LIVE YOUR LIFE.
i take pride in having a code and sticking to it regardless of circumstances. having standards and rules to live and die by is something that has nothing to with others, all to do with myself. see, that’s something that we might have glossed over. this whole time, i never had to dog anyone by talking about myself. we don’t have to bring down in order to hype up. my code is that, precisely. yet, i get called names.
i take pride in being loved in every arena i have stepped in. every job, every friend, every older person, every woman i have ever encountered. i take pride in none of them having anything foul to say about me. i take pride in never disrespecting them. nobody alive can ever say they feel slighted about Julius. nobody walking can ever say i played them or made them feel less than. i take pride in being a stand up man everywhere i go. when people aren’t looking, i remain the same person. with women, with homies, at baby showers, at work and at bars, i keep the same energy. i take pride in that. i love that about myself. i am well rounded.
JAY-Z said in No Hook, “ima live and die with the decisions that ima pick.”
and the dope thing about keeping the same energy wherever you go when that energy is being stand up, is you have no regrets.
i am okay that some people have been let down by me. it still stands that nobody can say anything foul about me, but i am not everyone’s cup of tea. that’s the way the cookie curmbles. every day, every interaction, every relationship i have, i excel in, i am great in. every one. but i will still let you down. and i’m okay with that because i wouldn’t have let you down by being lazy or by being whack or by not providing who i am. it would just be i’m not up to YOUR standards. you made an image of me or of a said person you wanted me to be and i wasn’t it. that’s perfectly fine. i embrace that and encourage you to potentially be let down. why? because i don’t want you to settle.
it feels good to be myself everywhere i go and sleep at night knowing i was true to myself all while not harming and exploiting a single person in the process. knowing i didn’t play anyone to become the person i am today, made me the person i am today. everything i’m not made me everything i am.
i take pride in that.
if you don’t want to give me my flowers now, don’t give me them when i’m dead.
but i’m just a soul whose intentions are good. oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood…
i’m proud of me.
*IF YOU’RE IN LA AND WANT SOME GOOD FOOD, GO TO HABESHA TAQUERIA.
IF YOU NEED SOME DOPE MUSIC, GO CHECK OUT MY BROTHER SOLO B.
ALSO, BRINGING BACK TRUE WEST COAST HIP HOP, PLEEEEEASE GO LISTEN TO MY DUDE JIMMY.
IF YOU WANT SOME DOPE ART, Mary.
IF YOU WANT SOME PRETTY DOPE AND QUALITY CLOTHES, MY BROTHER HENOK. if you’re interested in supporting an independent company, hit me or Henok on Instagram @publicschoolkidscollective.
One thought on “i’m just a soul whose intentions are good.”
always PROUD OF YOU. I believe your writing is therapeutic to you. KEEP WRITING