Remembering Tupac

Greetings fam! Hope all is well with everyone on this Saturday evening. Today is the day that the majority of hip hop fans spend celebrating the birth of Tupac Shakur. If he had lived, he would be 47 years old, which seems crazy to me.  Maybe it is because I was so young when he was alive. Or because we have been nearly suffocated with tons of t-shirts, mugs, memes, artwork, multiple album releases, and so much more.

I was sitting in my house thinking back on my first encounter with his music. I first saw him with Digital Underground (Yes, I used to do the “Humpty Dance”). But, when he emerged as an artist and I saw the video for “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, I became somewhat enthralled with him.

The message and images in the video were things that I knew all too well myself. I had a close friend who had been molested by her own father for years, young girls being pregnant was commonplace, drugs were prevalent, and social workers decorated many a doorstep. But, the way that he weaved the story was special and I had found a new rapper to follow and music to consume.

Tupac spoke on topics that had not been displayed so openly which appealed to me greatly. I seemed to always be on the lookout for music that spoke to my own tortured soul. “Keep Your Head Up” gave us hope, encouraged us, and solidified the fact that he loved us. I followed him closely, listening to “If My Homie Calls”, “I Get Around”, and more but, then he began to change a bit and I began to fall back.

That thug shit was a theme that although very familiar, was absolutely exhausting. His roughness bristled my nerves and I found myself tuning out when his music was played. But, as soon as I was going to throw him away, he dropped his “Me Against the World” album, and I was rocking with him again. The album displayed his feelings towards his mother, the revolutionary Afeni Shakur, displayed his sexuality on “Temptations” and highlighted vulnerability on “So Many Tears”. I was impressed and once again captured.

I remember when he died very vividly. I was almost 16 years old, living in a place that I didn’t want to be, selling dime bags of weed, struggling to adjust once again. I was sitting on the stoop in my projects when news broke across the radio airwaves. One of my homeboys stopped by as they began to play Tupac’s music. Tears ran down our faces but neither of us spoke. He was gone just as so many young black men had. Our spirits sagged.

I often sit and listen to Pac and reflect on the state of hip hop today. Lyricism is not as highlighted as in decades before and at one point, I honestly felt like throwing the whole culture away. Then, I recall some old heads talking about Tupac in similar ways that some speak on artists today.

He was a thug and a revolutionary talking about gangs, pussy, struggle, drugs, and more. They didn’t know what to do with him.  There is a difference between him and some of these untalented, new school rappers– he had a message. He was like a hood prophet, politicking on the state of affairs. So, I hang in there, as an unofficial hip hop ambassador. I feel a sense of responsibility to preserve a culture that rocked me, nourished me, fed me, and kept me in some of the most difficult times of my life.I have said before that hip hop saved my life and that is not an understatement. Tupac is another artist that played a part in my evolution.

It seems redundant to say that Tupac’s memory will never die, but it is so true. He will forever be remembered for his substantial contribution to the culture, for his influence on so many people, for the indelible mark he made upon this earth. Peace to his spirit.

 

Rest on Tupac,

Ashaki Omikunle Ali

 

Photo Cred: https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/tupac-shakur

Advertisements

The Elephant in the Room

Greetings family,

In light of all of the recent stories of suicides, I felt compelled to speak on the topic. I have heard people say some very judgmental and very hurtful things. So, here I sit this Friday afternoon, thinking and writing about the times when I contemplated and even attempted to commit suicide.

I liken my past experience with suicidal thoughts as being in a dark pit, feeling myself sinking but not having the strength or willpower to fight against drowning. At the times I have been in those positions, people in my life thought I had it all together. I was a nurse, raising a young family, volunteering in my community, and contributing to the world at large. They really knew my life was great. Sadly, it was not. 

However, no one could see inside my mind and heart. I was struggling- struggling with strained familial relationships, struggling with traumas from my past, struggling with financial issues, just struggling. I felt as if I would be worth more if I were dead. It was awful. I felt like I was lugging around sacks of despair. I had become a “bag lady” as Erykah Badu sang about so beautifully.

As I sit here and think back carefully, I realize that I have been fighting feelings of depression, inferiority, and regret for most of my life. Nevertheless, I fought past those feelings and chose to continue to live. 

But, so many people give up the fight. They become weary and the overwhelming feeling of wanting the pain to go away causes them to end their life. A lot of people feel that suicide is a cop out but in my life, suicide seemed to be an option to put an end to the incessant misery. 

I believe we all owe a debt to our society to at least check up on people. The disconnection between people is wide and intimacy is has been flung out the window. We live in a world of feigned connection. Social media has taken away true socializing, and likes, shares, and commenting have taken away conversation. We have to do better. People are hurting, struggling, and considering ending it all. Let’s help them. Check on your people. Consider it because one day, it could be you.

 

Ashaki

 

Opening My Eyes During the Journey

Greetings. It is almost 10 pm in my city, partly cloudy, slightly humid with a cool breeze blowing. I have had an epiphany of sorts and I simply could not rest without speaking on it (or writing about it). I did not feel as though my family would not truly understand what I am talking about and probably couldn’t relate so here I am.

I have been studying quantum physics, brain mechanics, manifestation, and more for several years. I know that I have manifested some things but, I have always experienced a struggle in my relationship and attitude towards money. I recently purchased a MP3 recording that works on your subconscious mind. During the first session, I truly understand why manifesting money has been so difficult for me.

In my heart of hearts and ingrained in my subconscious mind lays the deep seeded belief that I am not good enough to have a lot of money, that I can never have attain what I desire, that it is not my destiny to experience wealth. Wow, typing that was hard and coming into that realization was eye opening.

Our lives can mark our subconscious with false beliefs that can hold perpetually hold us back. I grew up in poverty, so I know that life. But what would life be like if I was financially free? Can I even produce a visualization of what that looks like?

Now that I know. What next? Well, I tell you what. I am going to do some real work on reprogramming of the tape that is playing in the background. I am excited for the journey and all of the spiritual progress. It is a daily choice and my journey is just beginning. I am grateful for discovery and also knowing that without struggle, there will be no progress.

 

Good Night World,

Ashaki

Freedom is Frightening….

Greetings! I hope all is well in your “youniverse”. I am well now but today has admittedly been trying. I have been struggling to silence the negative lizard brain all freaking day! Why? Because I honestly am afraid of the changes that I know are coming. I decided last week to resign from my full- time job. I was not happy, and I am old enough to know when I must make a change.  I have been putting it off for a while, but the time had come for me to part and pursue other things.

Now, I know and overstand that my fears are not real. I am super talented, well learned, professional with a ton of options to make a living. My fears are founded in the fact that for my entire life, money has been scarce and struggle a constant. I was born into a very poor family and their relationship with money has always been a negative one; an unhealthy dance of paying bills late, scraping by, and never making a good living. Overcoming lifelong influences are super hard so today I was faced with those issues again.

I have meditated several times today, distracted myself with other things, performed self- talk, even saged myself. The voice finally stfu a few hours ago. But, I am left with the residuals, an anxiety that again is not substantiated by my circumstances presently. So, I find myself at my laptop, writing about my issue in hopes that my transparency helps someone else not feel like they are failing out here.

I am the first to admit that I also struggle with not feeling depressed about the accomplishments that I have yet to bring forth. And now that I have chosen to walk away from a full-time position with benefits, I feel crazy as hell. However, I am also at a time in my life that I know I cannot do anything that my spirit is not resonating with- no matter the benefits. I must pursue the things that I love full force going forward- no matter the level of discomfort that I feel at the unknown.

As brilliant as I am (insert sarcastic giggle here), I am unsure as to where my journey is leading me. I have applied a few places, but I am not entirely bought into the notion that I must work one full time job to maintain my lifestyle. I am certain that I will be working with multiple streams of income, performing various tasks and jobs to make my money. Freedom is so appealing. I have no idea what freedom looks like, but I think it is high time that I find out.

 

Peace,

Ashaki Omikunle Ali

 

Photo Cred: https://www.shutterstock.com/search/worried+business+woman?page=3&searchterm=worried%20business%20woman&safe=true&search_source=base_related_searches&language=en

Racing Ahead

Greetings fam! I hope all is well. Today, my youngest daughter and I created a beautiful memory together. We ran a 5K together! Now to bring this into perspective, my daughter is 10 years old and I have not run an entire 5K in 5 years. But nevertheless, we did it and I am filled to the brim with joy. As I sit here tonight, I have a few thoughts that I want to share (of course!)

  1. Mind over matter really works (sometimes)- My daughter has trained for 2 months for this 5K. I kept telling myself that I would train. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am pretty active. I do go to the gym as often as possible and I am a yogi. I also eat pretty healthily. However, I never trained. I knew that I would push myself to be in place for my daughter and that is just what the hell I did!
  2. Our children are truly watching, and they do want our support and approval. My daughter is very headstrong and opinionated (not unlike her mother). I never have considered that she was modeling my behaviors until today. I have always loved to run and be active. Watching her run by my side, in step, and with a look of sheer determination was heartwarming. Once we crossed the finish line, I felt how much she needed my encouragement and how much she appreciated my presence.
  3. Lastly, I got to see #blackgirlmagick in action. The young queens represented themselves so well. They were all so positive, so lovely, so determined. It was inspiring to be a part of the conglomerate. I have a desire to begin to work more with our girls. Today, the fire was stoked!

 

 

Peace,

Ashaki

37 Here I Come

Greetings! It is the eve of my 37th Solar return and I am feeling grateful for life, my family, my love, my growth, and so much more! The past few weeks have been super challenging and at times, downright depressing. I have had so much going on and not all positive- from my grandfather going missing, to someone stealing my identity on IG and attempting to scam my friends and followers under the guise of being “Coach Ali”, to a false social services report, and on and on.

But, through all of that, I still feel grateful. I am not over here falling apart, I am not losing sleep, I am not skipping meals. I am simply doing and being me. I have taken a hiatus from social media. Initially I thought that I would lose followers, momentum, etc. but I realize that the big picture is that whatever the universe has for me, all of the awesome things that could happen, will in due time. I have to focus on strengthening my spirit, enriching my soul, and truly focusing on my goals-with minimal distractions.

The book that I have been speaking about over the past few months is nearing completion! I am editing it and adding a bonus chapter. I have been making strides in my Afrikan products business and have also added a separate jewelry line that is doing well. I am going to reestablish my coaching business and hone in on a specific niche. And lastly, my personal life is going well- I am secure, I am at peace, and I feel loved. I have so much to be excited about and grateful for- I could go on and on but I won’t.

37 years young…..Damn time is flying. I don’t feel a day over 24. I have endured but I have just begun to live. My life today is a testament to the strength of the human spirit to endure seriously painful and trying times. May the rest of my days be a testament to the joy of life and the richness that can be experienced when one makes the decision to do so.

 

Peace & Innumerable Blessings,

Ashaki Ali

 

““I am evolving and it’s so damn beautiful.” Anonymous

Rest Well Grandma…

Peace, love, and light everyone. Yesterday marked the 17th anniversary of the day my grandmother was tragically killed. That day is still as vivid as it was then, though the emotions are not as raw. I miss her so very much. I think of her every single day and am so grateful to have had her as a grandmother.

I almost did not write today but I decided just a few minutes ago to share one of my favorite memories of her. When I was about three years old, she took me to a store with her. I saw a doll that I wanted but then I decided that I wanted ice cream. Grandma Lillie told me that I could only have one or the other , not both. “Be sure of what you really want, “ she said.

I chose the ice cream but after the cone was empty and I had devoured the tasty treat, I wanted the doll. I began to cry and stomp my little feet. My grandma was having none of it. She warmed up my posterior right in the middle of the street! I was so mad or so I remember. She took me home and I went to bed fuming.

Later that night, Grandma came to see me but I was asleep. When I woke up, the doll was in the bed next to me. That was classic Grandma Lillie. She would chastise you and then show you how unconditional her love truly was. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for you if she loved you. When my grandmother sang “My Girl” to me, she meant it. Her love has carried me through a lot of pain, despair, and hard times.

The kindness that she showed me and to so many others was a true testament to the beauty that humanity can be. I have spent most of my life trying to understand how a woman who had so little could continually give so much. I will forgive sing praises about the woman who held me when I had night terrors, fed me nourishing food when I was hungry, and encouraged me when I was struggling with life.

Rest well Grandma Lillie. I will never let your memory die.

 

Ashaki

Work & Risks

Supreme risings fam! I typically do not write this early in the morning but with the intense energy of the beautiful Blue Moon, I cannot help myself! I am finding myself more and more excited about the work that I have been putting into being a better me, my plans for business, and my personal relationships.

This past weekend, I completed training with Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. I am now a member of their Speakers Bureau. The work was intense but I met so many beautiful souls and I am excited about getting back into the community and doing worthwhile work. I am planning on volunteering with some other organizations soon and getting my children in on it as well.

I am also working diligently on the final, final draft of my memoir, Pieces of My Life.  This literary work has been sitting literally on my shelf for the past 4 years. There are many painful meories that I share but also triumphs, love, passion, suspense—it could be a damn movie in all honesty. It is my honest belief that I have to tell this story. The work is meant to help others and I know that it will. So, besides my volunteerism, my upcoming book , raising my awesome children, and continually working on self, I have not had tons of time to blog—my apologies. I sincerely appreciate everyone who actually reads my words and supports my page.

I have run for far too long. I am meant to do certain things in my life and many of which, I have dodged for years. Time is out for that. This year is meant to be a year of new adventures and challenges. I am actively pursuing things that frighten my soul. I made a promise to myself in 2013 that I would live my life on my own terms and would not play it safe. I have become comfortable so it’s time to shake my life up again! Ready, set, go!!

 

Are you ready??

 

Peace, love, & abundant light,

Ashaki

6 Years and Counting……

Peace, love, and abundant light fam! Today I celebrate the 6th year of my loc journey!! 6 years of retwists (when I feel like it lol), coconut/almond oil to the scalp, getting a workout washing them, feeling them on my naked back and swearing a bug was crawling on me, having my children lay in my arms and push them out of their way or laying on my hair when they snuggle next to me, ugly days when I choose to wrap them in one of my lovely headwraps, people assuming that I am a total weed head, and people asking if they are “mine”.  Each year I have created a different list of lessons I have learned. I always say that the growth I have experienced is much more than my hair. But even beyond the beauty in my journey, there has been ugliness, pain, pruning, and loss. Growing up is not easy by any means but I can never go backwards because there is no progress in that action.

Recently a few of my locs have shed and a few dead ends have fallen off. Just a few nights ago as I removed a ponytail, an end of one of them came of with the hair tie. I gently placed it in my jewelry box. Don’t be weirded out; I grew up with a family who believed that you should never throw your hair away. You either burn it or keep it in the Bible lol. I realize that those dead ends represent a few areas of my life that have also fallen dead- relationships that ended, ways and thoughts that I had to let go, behaviors that I have used for years that were not conducive to my growth.

It is painful to go deep within to find more shortcomings when you think that you are doing “so well”.  It hurts to admit your own failures when you have been a perfectionist all of your natural life. Sometimes the feelings of regret begin to creep in when I reflect on decisions I have made in the past. I can see the repercussions of those decisions play out like a movie oftentimes and the dread fills my chest like lead.  But, that’s life. No one is perfect and we have ALL made decisions that may not have been wise or well thought out. When I feel that regret nagging my spirit, I force myself to also remember that I have grown, I am not the same person I used to be, not even who I was yesterday and I have tons of great attributes that have positively affected my life and the lives of others so.

I have overcome so much in my 36 years of life- molestation, rape, abandonment, homelessness, tragic losses, abuse….and yet I continue to smile, laugh, and give of myself to this world. Am I where I want to be in life, no, but I appreciate my position. I am a mother, I am now a Yeye (grandmother), I am a writer, I am a poet, I am a nurse, I am an herbalist, I am a speaker, I am a coach, I am a teacher, I am my family’s historian, I am a sister among many beautiful sisters, I am so many wonderful things. I give of myself daily, providing advice and guidance to souls who have no one to assist them on their life’s journey. I extend my love throughout the world through my words and videos. I expose my pain and use my experiences as a healing salve to the broken spirits of others.

So, cheers to me! 6 years of kicking ass and taking names, of growth, high buns, headwraps, red lipstick, Afrikan jewelry, and reclaiming my name, time, space, and life. Let the journey continue……..

 

One Love,

Ashaki

Peace, love, and light fam and happy Saturday! It is a cold day here in my city of Charlotte, NC. But, I thoroughly enjoy cold weather lol. When I step outside, inhale the brisk air, and look into the clear sky, I am reminded that I am alive. It may be trivial to some, but the coldness reminds me of my life, to breathe, and to realize that my life is my own, but I digress.

I am uber excited for upcoming projects that I am working on. I know you may be thinking, “What is she working on now?” I cannot help but to create. It is a passion of mine and I must feed it. Anywho, I wanted to just drop in quickly to check in everyone. I realize that my reach may not be as far as I would like at this time, but I must continue  to speak my truth and share my stories.

I recently had someone tell me that the things I share has greatly improved the quality of their life. It stirred my soul to hear. We never truly can know the impact that we have on others in this digital world. There are people reading and watching that we may never meet personally. Sharing these digital spaces with you, sharing aspects of my journey, and being unapologetically me is not only therapeutic for me but it is empowering. We all have a story, we all have pearls of wisdom, we all can be impactful. I will continue to share, I will continue to inspire, I will continue to give the best of me to this world until the day comes for this life to end. It is only right.

 

Peace to the World,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali