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Advice Me and Life.

“Aye God if you want me to be a nun…just say dat!” (2/3)

I have stopped and started this post at least 30 times over the past two…now three months. I’ve tried to come at it at different angles. I’ve talked to my friends about it. I’ve even tried to make it a generic post when in reality this is supposed to be a place where my writing is supposed to be one of kind; it’s supposed to be authentic.

The irony of it all is it sounds exactly like my dating/love life.


I first experienced love, an unapologetic love, from my parents and the second time would be with my girlfriends who I am 1000% sure are my soulmates. These relationships are unique, they are dynamic and some of the most sacred and beautiful relationships I have in my life. Things just click and I rarely have to review the terms and conditions (because they don’t exist) and they have given back to me tenfold LIKE THIS SHIT IS BETTER THAN BITCOIN. There’s no anxiety, “peace” is guaranteed and I never ever ever ever have to question whether I can text, call, zoom (whatever the hell we doing now in a panorama) because there is an understood/mutual agreement to access. So with these solid examples of reciprocated love and healthy relationships you would think that I would understand and know how to apply it to other types of relationships right?

Fam you couldn’t be more wrong.

When I think about how I’ve approached liking/loving, dating and relationships in the past I truly laugh (to keep from crying from embarrassment). At one point in my adult life I was completely oblivious to the communication required to maintain a relationship. Like I somehow understood how communication worked with my friends but not my romantic entanglements. I was so nonchalant that I made a guy feel like he was an afterthought…his words not mine. I mean I guess I just assumed everything was fine without checking in (mistake number one…I was doing the bare minimum but in my defense I didn’t have unlimited text messaging so really, my guy, what did you want me to do)?!

I went through another phase where I used my goals as an excuse for why I couldn’t commit. I was enthralled with my studies and blog at the time that I didn’t even take the guy seriously. This man fell in love with me and I was very much so unavailable. So much so that when he finally came to his senses he jokingly said “I think you were the man in this relationship” and I didn’t flinch (mistake number two I wasn’t present…he may or may not speak to me to this day).

Ok now if you thought I had range with those two examples here is a third one for you – me overcompensating because all of sudden I GOT TIME. I had done a complete 180 where I’m like “ok dating is important” lemme go figure out this vulnerability thing right quick, laugh at the mans jokes and get my shit together. HA!

Putting on my smarter than you glasses to spit this free game.

These phases and many other personal and professional life experiences have brought me to where I am now. So here I am to impart my wisdom upon you all because I, too, was one of Lori Harvey’s foot soldiers but enough is enough thou shall not run the streets for all of eternity. We are all here trying to figure it out (well actually some of you because the two friends I know reading this already got mans dem on lock *waves hi friends*).

Here is what I’ve learned and I am continuing to learn:

  1. Liking/loving/dating requires a decision. If you have ever hung out with me you know I am the most indecisive person on this planet. Nothing gives me more anxiety than deciding. If horoscopes are your thing I’m a Libra, so yeah, do with that what you will. What I have learned is that relationships just don’t happen and they don’t miraculously sustain themselves. Being with someone means actively choosing them day in and day out. Go figure! Another thing to keep in mind is that decisions are not permanent, decisions can change at anytime but if you don’t make a decision you will never know peace. Take it from me who struggles to decide on a nail polish color…now throw in a man holding the nail polish bish I might as well roll over and die.
  2. Unfiltered communication and active listening skills are key. You’re probably like “wow groundbreaking stuff Aster…say it again.” And I get it. There are a million and one Cosmopolitan articles on the internet about communication and guess what?! Here goes a million and two because we are still f’ing this part up. For example, I can callout my girlfriends on their BS anytime and anywhere but swap my girlfriends out for a guy and all of a sudden I’m overthinking, journaling, stating my affirmations and calling in my council on how to broach a subject. My best friend one time even pulled out the sage to smudge our apartment! LOL. It ain’t cute…stressed Aster just ain’t cute. So yeah speak up, speak up often and if you aren’t able to then that should be something you reassess because who wants to be in something where they don’t feel like they can say what they need to say when they need to say it. Right? (All this applies to listening as well).
  3. Trust your gut. You know you. That is it. If you feel something is off then it probably is…my gut is right 99.9% of the time (I would say 100% but I’m working on being humble). Now I don’t want you to confuse this with thoughts stemming from insecurities. This is more so that feeling that you can’t shake because you know what is in front of you truly isn’t adding up. The math ain’t mathing and you have every right to act, rationally (of course), on it.
  4. It should be easy. This is my favorite tid-bit and I’m willing to die on this hill. When I used to work for the Mayor’s office back in 2014 -ish I met this woman, who is now my mentor, and she unintentionally taught me everything I needed to know about a happy and healthy relationship. While working I had met her husband and hung out with them a couple times at art events around the city and every time I would catch myself starring in awe at how they just fit. Of course, I only saw what they showed me but my curiosity, during one of our coffee dates, led me to ask her how is it being married. She picked up her cup of coffee, smiled and said “It is easy Asteriye.” I sipped the rest of my coffee like damn sis is that all I get?! Is this what I’m supposed to run back and tell my constituents, village, my tribe aka my girlfriends?!?! I was stressed. But now that I am older I know exactly what she was getting at and I wholeheartedly agree it should be easy. I can also already see you all shaking your heads and before you get your panties in a bunch let me clarify. Relationships take effort yes, relationships require work yes BUT relationships should not leave you drained, tired and/or spent. Think about your friendships – they are relatively easy otherwise why the hell are you friends with them!? I don’t know what is it but something happens when we go into dating mode. It’s like this added pressure makes us think romantic relationships are supposed to have ups, downs, and drama when in reality you (I) want it to mimic some of your closest friendships but with a little extra fun so yeah it should be easy and if it isn’t, make it and if you can’t…leave it.

Whew that was a lot of free game. To unlock all 10 key elements of a successful relationship please pre-order my ebook that will be hitting Amazon this summer titled “Make it Last Forever and Ever: Suggestions From a Fine Ass Single Girl.” (Hehe for my premium content check out my onlyFans). LOL in all seriousness take my advice with a grain of salt because I am a hypocrite and because deciding on people whether romantic or platonic is a very important decision. I’ve had great experiences and met amazing people but bottom line is a person should bring you peace, make you feel good, challenge you and push you to be the best version of you and that’s on what? Mary had a little lamb.

Stay Down,

Astu

Categories
Entrepreneur Xtradope

The Black Excellence of Jaden Smith: Let Freedom Ring

Seriously, how envious are you that you aren’t the offspring of Will and Jada Smith? Like your fathers arguably the most talented black man of all time, and your mother is a beautiful ultra creative. Essentially, life is set up on a silver platter for you served by your butler named Geoffrey. The money your father makes alone has literally bought you the opportunity to do nothing the rest of your privileged life. This may define the majority of lethargic Hollywood tweens, but not 17-year-old musician, actor, and philanthropist Jaden Smith.

smiths
Ghetty Images

Strolling down different creative avenues of expression, Jaden has exhibited promise in each of his multi-talents. In 2010, Jaden gave us glimpse of his musical inheritance on Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never.” Okay, he was 12, but through a series of trial and error in mixtapes and videos, Jaden was able to find his niche as a perplexing stream of conscious rapper.

Following in the footsteps of his parents, Jaden got his first taste of the silver screen in 2006 alongside his father in the film The Pursuit of Happyness. The performance was solid enough to land him a staring role in the rebooted Karate Kid series in 2010. The film grossed over 300 million worldwide; which positions him for future summer blockbusters, if he chooses to wholeheartedly pursue acting.

Jaden Smith in Karate Kid in 2010
Jaden Smith in Karate Kid in 2010

As the awkward preteen years have passed, the thirst for individuality is discovered. Starting first with appearance– tight animal print pants, a Batman costume at KimYe’s wedding, his attempt to break gender norms with dresses– Jaden has shown rules clearly don’t apply to him. But appearance is only surface deep, and Jaden’s intelligence may be his most unique set of skills. As social media becomes the epicenter of the world, Jaden has chosen Twitter as his display case. The tweets are the perfect proportion of wisdom, common sense, and WTF that leave no other option but thought provocation.

Recently, an impromptu video surfaced of Jaden discussing the importance of finding yourself at any expense. Jaden’s monologue veers on a tangent highlighting how important it is to live vicariously through your idols– citing Kanye, Drake, and Tyler, the creator as his inspiration. He essentially wants what all creatives want– the opportunity to learn and live with as little creative control as possible. Certainly this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this — I mean two years ago Kanye dropped about fiftyleven of these. And as Kanye gets older… and daddy-er, his willingness to shatter every glass ceiling diminishes leaving room for the young to study and surpass. Social media hasn’t been the most friendly to young Jaden’s honesty. It’s either panned as hyperbolic genius or common sense, as if common sense is a bad thing…as if it warrants skepticism of your intelligence. Judgment can be painful, especially during your teenage years, but Jaden’s pursuit of freedom and creativity sync with his privilege making him one of the most important black children of all time.

What if the advantages of being the spawn of black excellence are the same as the disadvantages? The Smiths may be the second most important modern black family behind the Obamas (watch out for the Currys with the shot boy!). One of the most beautiful ideologies in the world is universal black admiration, but how convenient is that luxury at the expense of freedom? Being different can put your last name in jeopardy if you’ve strayed to far from the nest of comfort. With 24-hour “news” coverage, the media has essentially made it impossible for a famous 20-something year old to be a 20-something year old. And with Jaden and Malia approaching the age of exploration, its interesting to see how the how much leeway will be given to the first children of the black upper class.

Being misunderstood can be uncomfortable. Having the courage to get knocked down by a ruthless world, dust yourself off, and re-present what you think is your best creative self exemplifies gumption. His music and tweets are discounted as gibberish that is fake-deep and half-baked, but when listening with an open mind it emotes all the endless insecure ambitions your young adult brain will allow. Jaden ventures from idea to idea knowing the destination is to be as creatively free as possible– even if he isn’t sure which vehicle to use. Deep down, all of us live through Jaden and the optimistic youth just like him who are aware that the odds are against them, but blissfully ignorant enough to bet on themselves anyway.

Dequan Huggins is a writer living in Virginia. Follow him on Twitter here