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The Glided Age


“Point and kill. If I want it, it's mine!

You can't stop me, hey!”

Obongjayar


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I Do Not Own This Art

One of my favorite shows in the past few years (outside of P. Valley) is The Gilded Age. If you have never watched it before, it's a show centered around the New York “New Money vs. Old Money” scene in 1882. On the surface, it is just another Downton Abbey show. But it’s about so much more. It’s a tale of ambition, class, and the desire to live on your own terms. Which is all I can think about nowadays! I am determined to make a name for myself.



I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be an artist so bad in my life, and If I'm being honest, it's weird! I am used to being this silly girl chasing after boys. I am comfortable playing in that role and position. But expressing this ambitious, go-getter side of me is new. But then again, maybe it’s not because there is a reason why I call Kanye West my spirit animal. In my mind, I am the shit! But outwardly I present this energy of "Can we all just get along?". In college, I remember hearing Oprah say, "You can't have it all." Somewhere down the line, I began to believe it.


I didn't think it was possible to be a successful, ambitious, educated black woman and be a loving wife, mother, and homemaker. So, instead of going after my dreams, I choose love. I will never forget applying for a dream internship and kicking ass during the first-round interview. Only to have my then-boyfriend tell me he didn't want me to spend a summer in DC. Later that night, I remember praying to God to not get the job. If I could travel back in time, I would shake some sense into my younger self. But that is how badly I wanted love and to be loved. It is who I thought I had to be to achieve at least some of my dreams. But now I know otherwise.



I have reached a point where I am willing to embrace all these beautiful contradictions. I am a beautiful, ambitious, unrelenting romantic. I know you have seen hints of this in articles. But now I am coming out of the closet and admitting that I operate on some Pinky & The Brain type shit! This means that most days, I wake up feeling like Brain: I am going to try and take over the world! But not in an evil scientist way, but more in a “let’s bring heaven on earth” type of vibe! Watching The Glided Age reminded me that there have always been women like me in history. It proved to me that my desire to save the world through stories isn't silly at all. In fact, in  1881, Thomas T. Fortune created the New York Globe for that express purpose.


When I learned that the people depicted in the Gilded Age were based on real living and breathing black people, it filled me with pride. Because it proved what I already knew: black people have been getting money. We have always been in this race of power, no matter how much people try to revise history. That part is a fact! I couldn’t help but think: “Who am I not to dream as big as I can?” If my people were able to push forward and preserve back in those days. What is my excuse to not try now? Who am I not to be great? It is my divine birthright to be this ambitious visionary. Our job as human beings is to leave this place better than when we arrived. 



My other favorite part about this show is this couple called The Russell’s. They represent “new” money New Yorkers. My favorite scene of the first season is when the husband tells his wife that he will have to use more capital than he originally planned and that they may be at risk of losing their fortune. Without hesitation, his wife said, "We build one fortune together, and we will build another if we must." Because of her confidence, he could go out in the world confidently and make a risky decision that paid off. That scene articulated the type of love I wish to have one day and what kind of wife I wish to be. I need a partner who wants to live a big life.


But can value and appreciate the little things. It's like what Donda was trying to tell Kanye: Keep your head in the clouds while being planted on earth. I am on the quest to become the Beyoncé in my life. I’m going to need a Jay-Z to keep me grounded. I have every intention of obtaining massive wealth because I don't dream to be rich. I desire to be wealth. It's important to pass down more than just trauma. It's important to have a legacy that will live on long after I am gone. To obtain that level of wealth, a solid relationship is not only critical, but it's necessary.



Watching the Gilded Age was a good reminder that a strong man needs an equally strong wife. During a reading, a reader once said: “You’re struggling because you’re sleeping on your gifts.” At the time, I was irritated because I knew I was working on my spiritual gifts. I had been channeling and pushing out videos on YouTube and TikTok almost daily. I was mad that my spirit team didn't see that I was doing the best that I could. But as I'm writing this, a light bulb is going off. It's not the channeling that I'm not trusting. It's the writing. You can see it in how I keep starting and stopping this space. But this year I had to admit that it's hard to center myself in my writing when it feels like everyone is my life would rather I shut up and disappear. It's easy to say you want to change the world through stories.


It’s easy to create a plan. But the hard work comes not in working the plan. But in trusting the plan. My entire life, I have walked with one foot in reality and another dangling in fantasy land. I've always believed in magic and the supernatural. But I never wanted to admit that outwardly and to fully walk that out in the real world. I've always felt like I was destined for greatness. My life experiences have made me doubt myself and everything I said before. But to truly change my life I can't go back and forth. The bible says, "Faith is taking the first step without seeing the staircase.” I always thought it was about the future. But in ignoring your present reality in hopes for something new.



The leap of faith comes not in trusting some great unknown. But in closing your eyes to your reality and leaping towards a new one. It makes me nervous to think about continuing to put myself out there with the lack of support and so much strife in my family. But even when I called myself quitting Honestly Sis, it didn’t stop the letters from being written. It didn’t stop me from pushing forward to finishing my 8th draft. It showed me that I am a writer with or without an audience. It’s hard to believe in the invisible and hold on to this glimpse of a vision. But perhaps that is precisely what life requires of us.


The line between faith and delusion is a thin one. But the difference between the two is action. If Thomas T Fortune can create report and print news for black Americans in a time when we weren't expected to be able to read. Yet alone be able to comprehend social issues. Why am I doubting myself when I’m living in a world of “fake news” and new media? Why am I doubting myself when a girl can freely rap about her “brown bootyhole”?  The only difference between them and me is that they dare to believe their stuff will work.  So why shouldn't I be doing the same?



I'm Done Doubting & Shrinking!

Now Watch Me Leap!


AM


 JOURNAL PROMPT: 

  • What roles are you used to playing in life?

  • Are you ready to play a new role?

  • What steps can you take to embody that role?


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