“I know what you did in the past” – ‘SO WHAT!!!

Moving ahead of  “I know what you did in the past” entitlement attitude. Time to shout back, “So What!”

It is another Friday evening with my “gang” (as I fondly call my once-a month-girls-hang-out colleagues). We are sitted at our favorite spot inside Ms. Tootsie on South Street; waiting patiently for the Chef’s special to be served. For a change, I ignored my obsession for their collard green; (always slowly cooked and delicately garnished with smoked turkey chops). Staring at us, our abandoned funky glasses that looks like an inverted pyramid, begging to be touched; un-finished virgin Piña Colada, Lemon Drop Martini and Long Island Iced Tea. Tonight, it’s my turn to pick a topic of discussion for all to debate on before we hit the karaoke room to display our happy kidsawkward singing sensation.

Not today! (arrgh!) My mind is just so crowded. Could it be am under stress from prepping for the Autism talk coming up soon? Or could it be tension from my current Law & Ethic class with my very critical professor giving me a tough time that’s bringing up this scholarly headache, probably from reading about all those outrageous legislative amendments! Where do I begin? No matter what, I must produce a topic for my girls-night-out! Phew!

And then the light bulb flickered on inside my head! The tabloid had it.

BLINK! My eyelashes flickered in excitement!

With sudden exaggerated confidence, I cleared my throat and asked: How do you defend or confront your past stories? Why should you try to defend an old error you made in the time of unknown? Should you fight to prove a point? Or just let it be? After all, it was in the past?

I settled back in the lumpy cabin chair, grabbed my drink, picked out the drained cherry and gulped it down with a sigh! An obvious smirk on my face as I watched the reaction on the faces of my dear friends: The fashion conscious Oriental accounting guru, who can give a lecture on the importance of bikini wax! The chocolate-skin Jamaican groover with killer dance steps and large heart, who still dreams of approaching Usher for stealing her dance moves, hmm! The soft-spoken, emotional and always in-love Caucasian, ah! Don’t mention cupid near her! And the very outspoken full mouthed, full-bodied and very affectionate African-American, whose southern accent flows freely when she’s excited!

Tell me ladies, how do you fight back?

Our entitlement attitude defines how we react and respond to what we know or hear about other people. It is like an ownership title or power we have over someone or something revealed to us in confidence, trust or at a time of vulnerability. It can be our boastful privilege of the known amongst the unknown, Our rights to the exposed and broken in spirits, it is the burden of the weight of another person’s secret and how we secure it within the depth of our hearts or how we tend to view them, even after the vow for secrecy or confidentiality has been made. For a moment, we could be judgmental or biased without even knowing it, which is okay; just for that moment, but not for long. It is not our path, not our business or our story!

So, recently there’s been shocking photos of the British royal family giving a Nazi salute in 1933 on the grounds of Balmoral, their castle in the Scottish Highlands. It was taken from a recently unearthed family film, and has sparked a controversy in Britain; the ancient footage of the queen being coached into a Nazi salute by her uncle Edward was taken at a time when she could not possibly have understood the gesture’s significance. Film shot eight decades ago and apparently from Her Majesty’s personal family archive has been obtained and exploited in this manner. The very words: “Queen filmed doing Hitler salute” are, however, so innocently delicious that no tabloid could fail to run this antique trifle.

And her reply to the tabloid? “So What! “It is my past” “Not yours! Deal with it!

Wow! That was a very good one. Wouldn’t life be so much easy-going if we all can boldly lash back by saying ‘So What? “What you going to do about it? “It’s my story and my property” “What gives you ownership or entitlement over my past?” What makes you think you can pull me down because you know something juicy about my past? “That was then, and it was all a plot you never got a part in then” So “beat it! (Lol) Of course, it’s meaningless. Of course, it’s a wonderful scoop. We reserve our right to feign outrage.

Ask yourself today, how have I handled my entitlement attitude? Do I puff my chest out and claim ownership over the story-teller? Do I dominate their weakness because I know the button to push to ridicule the storyteller? Have I been compassionate enough to feel the pain or burden of the storyteller? Have I used it negatively for my own selfishness? Have I uplifted or inspired the story-teller?

No matter how we see it, it is still their Story, Their Past, Their Blunder, Their Pain and Their Lapse. Sometimes that place they don’t even want to remember or re-visit ever again. When we are told a secret or when we are confided in, we are more or less the preferred audience at that time, maybe a very special one. Because it usually takes a lot for someone in pain to open up about a worrisome past. That does not make us a tell-tale superhero or a local broadcaster. The only part we play is either to encourage or inspire. It is not our story to judge or juggle with. It is a silent call for help, one clothed with regrets or sad memories. Let’s get rid of the anchorman mentality!

Here is a quick fix for someone reading this; when approached or ridiculed for a story from your past, develop the courage to smile as you say “SO WHAT” and mean it like you don’t really need a reply either. Yeah, it is a Rhetorical question! What gives us that sense of entitlement anyway? Part of it is found in the middle of the word entitlement itself: “title.” We think people “owe us” because of the title we hold in their lives: Oh please! Time has changed, people are moving forward with new beginnings and new mindset. I am like those boys in the picture above! The change in time doesn’t have to bother us! I also had stains from life’s tragedy, still living and am still howling ‘So what! – ‘like we all don’t have a sweet and sour past? I do, and so does everyone reading this too, but thank God for his mercy! He made all things new! We are all in a better place today as we move forward in life!

Yours in HOPE as I share “Moving Forward” Victory World Music feat. Montell Jordan, Ricardo Sanchez & Israel Houghton.


Embracing our Childlike Passion… ‘Show me how you do it!

girl dancingIt’s that time of the year again. Spring-approaching-Summer. Spring is the season of new beginnings. This is the time when fresh buds bloom and animals awaken and the earth seems to come to life again. Gardeners and farmers plant their seeds, temperatures slowly rise and finally, we get the chance to be youthful again! We get to walk barefoot on the beach! We chase after bubbles and ride bicycles till the sun sets on our sweaty backs.

So, have you ever passed by a group of people, they are laughing so hard at a particular joke that you just wished life could have been a little easy on you? Maybe you wished you were part of that witty group. You pass by a couple seriously in love with each other, who really don’t care who is watching or eavesdropping on them and all you can hear is the sweet whispers of their heartbeats pounding together, while literally you’re the one dealing with a mocked-heart attack. Phew!

Can you remember the last time someone actually sent you chuckling or laughing or giggling so hard that even the adult-ness in you couldn’t avoid the teardrop of excitement. Or when was the last time you observed a bunch of teenage girls admiring themselves in their pocket-size mirror, smiling and happy at what they see, while their fully wired-up dentition exhibits pure innocence! Or, a teenage boy who just discovered the sprout of a single strand of hair on his chin and a dot of pimple on his forehead; he is getting all worked up thinking of his juvenescence.

Aha! What about the graceful harmony, priceless joy and beauty of a happy-go-lucky set of freelance singers? You know the ones that are just naturally happy to be singing or dancing just for the fun of it! (‘Another reason why I just love NYC!) No patronizing, No expectation! No reservation! Just entertaining for the fun of being happy! That’s it!

Our childlike passion is that sense of emotion or innocence that radiates deep from inside of us.  It comes from desire, knowledge and deep joy. It is a display of how naïve we could get with the serious-ness of life! No matter how much age catches up on us. Our childlike passion does not have any preconceived notions as they are not yet tainted by experience. The buoyancy or beauty is still present! There’s elation and vibrancy that will always bring out the “kid” in us. No matter what life throws at us, Laughter is still contagious! Amusement is still an effective remedy to cure boredom!

Like in the movie, Patch Adams knows the inner side of healing. A good reminder that some of the most important factors in healing are not high-tech marvels but ordinary factors such as love, compassion, friendship, and hope. And like I usually tell my children, there’s a deep sense of living well when you are truly in love with your passion for life.

So, if you are reading this, ask yourself today. What’s my passion for life? What’s that childlike passion in me? Does it still exist? What’s replaced it? When fear and doubt grows like orange mold that’s infected with life-robbing spores, can my joy be transferred through laughter? I believe that God has given every one of us a great gift to be passionate about something! And it started from childhood. As adults, we might have ignored it in the hustle and bluster of 21st century maneuvering.

Our childlike passion forces and then allows us to go against the very fiber of our personality, regardless of how and where we are in life today. That childlike passion still lurks somewhere within us, waiting to be released, it should not stop us from living life to the fullest. I am hoping someone will be encouraged to embrace their childlike passion and be full of life again. Well, just like the little girl in the picture, that’s how I still do it!

Yours in HOPE as I share Montell Jordan (This is how we do it).