Appreciation is the word of the week

Good morning!

A spirit of gratitude and appreciation has been brewing in my soul as of late.  As I continue to make my best attempt at balancing school, tutoring, dreaming big and being awesome, along with all of the demands of taking on a job with the University; I am often succumbed to emotions of doubt, confusion and defeat. While grinding and giving each project my all, there are often setbacks that seem to always arise.  Hurdles that include cancelled tutoring sessions, school tasks that often take up a significant amount of time, assessments that cost more than my earnings bi-weekly, study sessions that require my attention and precious students who are discouraged and need my heavy lifting. I often feel like my energy and spirit are drained at the end of a day and I take a bucket of discouragement home to dump on my kitchen table.  A warm bed seems like the perfect place to lay down my burdens. But my brain goes into overdrive, replaying what I could’ve done better. It is my nagging calendar reminder, preventing me from actually sleeping and is the gasoline to the fire of anxiety that swells.

Immediately after picking up mail from the post office this week, a car backed into my bumper causing minor cosmetic damage to the car.  The beloved Honda Accord now has Milwaukee war scars ‒ well more scars if I include the damage from babealicious plowing into a snow bank a few winters past. The driver of the other vehicle frantically walked up to my weeping Honda and began to spew her sob story.  What I quickly deduced was that this woman was stressed, overwhelmed, upset and slightly irrational. As I exited my vehicle to assess the damage, I peered into hers and saw two beautiful brown children, with fright all over their faces.  Her rapid fire yelling, turned into a muted whisper as my mind contemplated the emotions of these terrified babies. If you ever want to break me down, bring me a child or a puppy, YOU WIN. Before I could collect any of her information (she carried no insurance, the car had no plates, she had no license.  What info she was going to produce is still unknown to me) she’d ran to her get away chariot, jumped a curb as sparks flew from the underbody of her gloriously shitty Avalon and sped off! In shock I did the only thing a rational person in my situation would do. I stood there on the corner of Center and Teutonia and cried.  The Honda and I collectively wept. […]

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Good morning!

A spirit of gratitude and appreciation has been brewing in my soul as of late.  As I continue to make my best attempt at balancing school, tutoring, dreaming big and being awesome, along with all of the demands of taking on a job with the University; I am often succumbed to emotions of doubt, confusion and defeat. While grinding and giving each project my all, there are often setbacks that seem to always arise.  Hurdles that include cancelled tutoring sessions, school tasks that often take up a significant amount of time, assessments that cost more than my earnings bi-weekly, study sessions that require my attention and precious students who are discouraged and need my heavy lifting. I often feel like my energy and spirit are drained at the end of a day and I take a bucket of discouragement home to dump on my kitchen table.  A warm bed seems like the perfect place to lay down my burdens. But my brain goes into overdrive, replaying what I could’ve done better. It is my nagging calendar reminder, preventing me from actually sleeping and is the gasoline to the fire of anxiety that swells.

Immediately after picking up mail from the post office this week, a car backed into my bumper causing minor cosmetic damage to the car.  The beloved Honda Accord now has Milwaukee war scars ‒ well more scars if I include the damage from babealicious plowing into a snow bank a few winters past. The driver of the other vehicle frantically walked up to my weeping Honda and began to spew her sob story.  What I quickly deduced was that this woman was stressed, overwhelmed, upset and slightly irrational. As I exited my vehicle to assess the damage, I peered into hers and saw two beautiful brown children, with fright all over their faces.  Her rapid fire yelling, turned into a muted whisper as my mind contemplated the emotions of these terrified babies. If you ever want to break me down, bring me a child or a puppy, YOU WIN. Before I could collect any of her information (she carried no insurance, the car had no plates, she had no license.  What info she was going to produce is still unknown to me) she’d ran to her get away chariot, jumped a curb as sparks flew from the underbody of her gloriously shitty Avalon and sped off! In shock I did the only thing a rational person in my situation would do. I stood there on the corner of Center and Teutonia and cried.  The Honda and I collectively wept.

I am a highly empathetic person (on occasion).  So as I drove down the street, tears hanging out at the ledge of my eyelids, collecting into pools and kissing my cheeks with warm reminders of my sensitivity, I couldn’t help but think about the women who backed into the car.  My mind thought about the heartfelt monologue she delivered while standing outside of my door. I thought about the kids and how scared they looked sitting in the backseat. My sociologist brain thought about what situations led her to the point where she would operate a vehicle so recklessly with two small children’s lives in her hands.  I felt the tension, the weight, and the pressure she carried as she explained her situation and circumstances. That moment was when I started to be appreciative.

Appreciation blanketing my teary clouded eyes and I felt calm.  I don’t know what led the woman to her circumstances but what I know with certainty is that I positioned myself to be exactly where I am right now.  I made the conscious‒ and maybe even rushed, decision to leave a full-time job to chase a dream. I understood the magnitude of carrying a full-time graduate school course load.  I understood that tutoring was a business that needed to be built upon and that time was needed to nurture the business. I understood wholeheartedly that if you leave a job with little savings, money will deplete and require replenishment.   I knew that I would have to be consistent and prove my abilities for doors to open. While it may drain me and keep me awake, I am where I am, because this is where I chose to be. For that I have to be appreciative.

I am extremely fortunate.  My life and personal circumstances could be completely different.  I am climbing to my destiny and while it’s okay to acknowledge my blisters, cuts and bruises: I must not forget that I could very well be in a trench trying to dig myself out before the climb.  

In hindsight, the battle of the Honda vs. the busted, emerald, Toyota Avalon was a blessing.  It allowed me to put my life and current positioning into perspective. While it isn’t necessarily the most comfortable chair in the cottage, it’s one of the steps between too hard, and just right for me.  Everyday can’t be a good day ‒ the queen of certificates can’t get a gold star everyday. This busy schedule and brain of mine, continue to extinguish the fantasy of a good night’s rest. But I could instead be worried about a laundry list of other things like basic necessities.  

To my provider, babe, I thank you for letting me figure out my path to greatness.  For without your love, support, JOB, and cruel sense of humor none of this would be possible.  

For my current journey, my struggles, the “no’s”, the no-shows, the letdowns, the small paychecks, the few bills, the humble pie, the sacrifice, for my beautiful struggle I am grateful – as I sip my warm mug of french pressed coffee, curated by my favorite barista at my neighborhood home, Coffee Makes You Black.

Shaking off the funk: Ashley we are not a princess

I’ve concluded that the Vtine (theBpum as you know me) is a spoiled, fortunate, truly privileged young whiner!  Yes, it is true, I am one of those people who is so blessed, so favored, that when things don’t go exactly my way I crumble.  “That sounds completely insane right”, I ask with my legs crossed as I sit at my comfy kitchen table.  Drinking my $1.06 Arabian bean, partially burnt (I swear) Mcdonald’s coffee, complemented with six teaspoons of sugar and three Coffee Mate original creamers.   

Being favored and loved deeply is a blessing and a curse!  It has created a little Frankenstein and the more I am favored, the more the little monster inside me feeds and grows bigger (clearly Halloween is still on the brain). […]

I’ve concluded that the Vtine (theBpum as you know me) is a spoiled, fortunate, truly privileged young whiner!  Yes, it is true, I am one of those people who is so blessed, so favored, that when things don’t go exactly my way I crumble.  “That sounds completely insane right?”, I ask with my legs crossed as I sit at my comfy kitchen table.  Drinking my $1.06 Arabian bean, partially burnt (I swear) McDonald’s coffee, complemented with six teaspoons of sugar and three Coffee Mate original creamers.   

Being favored and loved deeply is a blessing and a curse!  It has created a little Frankenstein and the more I am favored, the more the little monster inside me feeds and grows bigger (clearly Halloween is still on the brain).

From the time I was a child, I recall being adored.  First by my parents and family members, then by my incredible church family, and later by those whom I encountered who rooted for my success.  I have been blessed with so many opportunities.  Opportunities that I did not always deserve, but others saw otherwise-millennials are crybaby “give me this, give me that, where’s my trophy” beasts because society has made us this way!

I’ve become so used to doors opening and people yelling from the frames, “come this way” as I’ve stood clueless looking up at the sky, counting the clouds and looking for marshmallow-shaped figurines to glide by in glee, from the hall leading to the door, where the person stood with a bullhorn and neon sign, waving for me to enter and receive.

I am uber blessed you guys.  I have a boyfriend I almost don’t deserve (because he is just that awesome), a family that adores me, a grandmother who is wise and my number one cheerleader, an uncle who loves me like a daughter, a cousin who is an amazing example of what it means to be selfless, while navigating how to also nurture her own dreams and aspirations, siblings who look up to me and appreciate all the things I accomplish while supporting my goals and ambitions, an expansive slew of relatives who are successful entrepreneurs, a flock of Milwaukee leaders who are truly my friends, and still I manage to find a corner to sit in and complain about having to put in the work to be a BAOS (translation: a boss, not just any boss but a woman who is recognized for her great work ethic).  Yes, I want the crown and the glory, but I just want it to fall into my lap and fit my head perfectly, frame my face well and accentuate the golden undertones of my brown skin.  “The nerve,” you think, as you shake your head and roll your eyes at me.  But boy, in this world of instant gratification, THE DEVIL THAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA, and the “participation certificate” I have been groomed to want it all simply because… I desire it.

I woke up today thinking, “Ashley, damn, black people do really get sunburn (my forehead is peeling from an amazing 6 day birthday trip to Key West, FL).  What am I going to eat for breakfast?  Don’t check Instagram, don’t check Instagram-5 minutes later I was on it for AN HOUR!  Are you really 100% committed to this tutoring thing?  Did you honestly think it was going to be easy-to be completely honest, yes I did (puffing out my chest).  Now that you see that it isn’t, what are you going to do?  How can you create a market?  Do you really want to work a job?  Are you going to get to said “job” and start acting entitled and like you don’t want to be there?-No, I don’t want to work a job.  Yes I am going to act like I have a sea salt covered saltine on my shoulder because I’m not using every ounce of my energy to grow my own dreams.  Are you in a position to continue building without making a consistent, livable wage income? (Long hard reflection).  No. Ash, we aren’t in a position to continue at this rate and maintain.  What chu gon’ do Ash?  1. Get off of Instragram-I am honestly considering a hiatus from social media because I am not controlling it, it is taking over (I am melting, melting).  But really, I am not getting depressed and jealous as I did in the past, it is just a trap and I feel pressure to keep up with maintaining it and growing a following.  It doesn’t feel healthy and contributes to my decline in happy hormones 2. Get out of the bed 3. Take a bath 4. Go get coffee 5. Blog 6. Find that Beyoncé Album, turn it on, REPEAT, crank up the volume, all your neighbors are AT WORK, MAKING MONEY (sad face-mentally slapping myself out of it) 6. Make another set of flyers 7. Call Digicopy, get them printed 8. Go to the coffee shop, ask to post it 9. Follow-up with potential customers-crap my forehead looks worse now that I’ve washed my face 10. HOMEWORK!  11. Keep reflecting on how blessed you are 12. Find a meditation or yoga class-I need intrinsic motivation.  I keep relying on other things or activities to motivate me and this could be why I dip between happy and “the world is crumbling around me”.

It is so easy to get down about things not going according to plan.  Worrying about money will put you at the lowest of lows and you start to lose focus (at least I do).  I can’t produce good work, stay true to my product and the brand I am building, or even appear content if I’m worried about a bill.  But if I don’t work this dream until the wheels fall off, I won’t be able to make money.  We all have highs and lows, but I was sitting at a low and setting up furniture in a space of funk.  I can’t be succumb to  feelings of worry and doubt.  I must continue to WORK for what I want because contrary to what I have internalized, I am not owed favor.  

Good morning!

Millennial “my life is hard” rant

Why didn’t anyone tell me life as an entrepreneur was so hard!
Nobody speaks about the adversity of struggling to build a brand and a business
Nobody is on Instagram with a sad face and a bank account statement with a negative balance
No one is making the tough decision between going to dinner and staying home to eat the same dish you’ve been making with slight modifications for the past month.
No one explained to me that the money I had saved up was actually NOT going to be considered savings once I quit a full-time job.
The warmth and comfort of a full-time job is soothing. Familiar. Going to bed knowing that a check will welcome you every other Friday whether you deserve it or not is like sniffing heaven. […]

Why didn’t anyone tell me life as an entrepreneur was so hard!
Nobody speaks about the adversity of struggling to build a brand and a business
Nobody is on Instagram with a sad face and a bank account statement with a negative balance
No one is making the tough decision between going to dinner and staying home to eat the same dish you’ve been making with slight modifications for the past month.
No one explained to me that the money I had saved up was actually NOT going to be considered savings once I quit a full-time job.
The warmth and comfort of a full-time job is soothing. Familiar. Going to bed knowing that a check will welcome you every other Friday whether you deserve it or not is like sniffing heaven.
My locs hit the cold entrepreneur pillow at night and my brain goes into “get this money mode” trying to figure out how to navigate this inflatable raft (with a hole in it)
THIS CAN’T BE LIFE!
The internet is not my friend
I’m still learning how to market my business and attract customers who are interested in PAYING FOR MY SERVICES!
Education is important right? Why isn’t my phone ringing with anxious parents? I’ve been a teacher and seen the tragedy that is a report card, soaked in tears as I explain what we can do to support the student and what shared responsibilities we need from them. Do I have enough money for the bill? Is it not ringing because Sprint has decided that I’ve requested one too many payment arrangements?
Is this healthy? Should I always be contemplating when I will get my next check? That’s it, I need another source of income.
Yep, I’m going to find another steady source of income while attending graduate school full-time – barely able to maintain my sanity as it is, while trying to run a functioning business in the evenings and on the weekends. But it isn’t really functioning all that well so can I even use the word functioning to describe it?
Interviewer for a new job: When are you available to start?
Me: Well…. I can start in two weeks, however I can’t work past 3 PM
I also am unable to work on the weekends
I also need time off to travel throughout the Winter months
so can I just come in when it is convenient for me? Maybe once or twice a week?
I look at jobs online almost daily.
I try to find positions that aren’t too demanding (where I can leave work, at work-and do a little homework while I’m there). Then I get excited when I see positions that fit my skill sets and fulfill my desire to do what I’m passionate about. Excitement quickly turns into a sad faced emoji, the one with the tear. Sad face-with a tear because if I take on a commitment that requires all of me, I can’t pursue my own dreams with the same level of enthusiasm.
(falls out onto the cold, ceramic-tiled kitchen floor next to a spaghetti stain. The floor needs to be mopped as I type this complaint letter to the God of spoiled millennials; but who has time to mop when you’re struggling to do the things that are a necessity like shaving my armpits-a free activity I enjoy, it’s like a free trip to the spa).
It’s crushing to want something so BAD and have to work at it! Why can’t I just have impressive ideas that become reality. Can’t I just go viral and have a highly successful private tutoring company in a fully stocked and highly attractive children’s bookstore and art studio, with a super smart, highly productive, hyper educated and helpful staff (as I squint my eyes, wiggle my long, unmanicured fingers and yell TADAA!) I think I’m working at things but I don’t really know what I’m actually doing, and figuring it out is HARD! Where is the answer key dammit!
No really. I feel overwhelmed, tired, and like I slowly am going to morph into Eeyore. I am starting to feel slightly discouraged, like an ugly troll is sitting in my belly slowly blowing out the flame that burned inside me a month ago. It stops to take a breath once a week or so, then continues to blow and spews drops of troll saliva with each newly recharged breath. I bet this troll would be awesome in a gospel choir, it could hold all the long notes.
Can I just go back to Guatemala and start all over again.
What I need:
A check in the mail
A mentor
Clients
Clients that pay not just clients who enjoy what I can do
A network of support
A check
Another check that can pay for a marketing campaign

And another check for a printer and office supplies
Can these things just show up in the morning under this cold pillow that won’t let my weary brain stop planning, worrying and worrying some more? I have jury duty in two weeks and am elated! Jury duty equals a check! Pick me please! Yes I am highly conservative, no I’m not black, yes I think that criminals need to be punished to the furthest extent of the law. Did I win? I’m going to be the juror that drags it out so I can continue to get paid. This is that steady source of income I was talking about.
It sucks that my first blog after a short hiatus is this. But this, is life. So often we dress up reality. Turning over the burnt biscuit to expose it’s golden flaky side for the Instagram post. Well my shit is burnt and I’m showing it to you. Plus, I can’t afford my therapist right now so you guys will have to suffice.

Until next time!

Dreaming is the easy part

Finished breakfast.  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably guessed that it was a combination of
collard greens, onions, jalapeno, soy sauce and teriyaki with a side of fruit that I generally finish while in the process of slicing it.  
I have pretty much enjoyed the same breakfast for the past few weeks-that is, when I’m actually in the city.  Now that breakfast is done, I am sitting in my kitchen, blessed by the sunlight that warms my tanned shoulders, back and spirit as it beams through my windows.  
Jhene Aiko’s latest album, Trip is blaring through my Iphone speakers and my fingers, gleefully type away. […]

Finished breakfast.  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably guessed that it was a combination of
collard greens, onions, jalapeno, soy sauce and teriyaki with a side of fruit that I generally finish while in the process of slicing it.
I have pretty much enjoyed the same breakfast for the past few weeks-that is, when I’m actually in the city.  Now that breakfast is done, I am sitting in my kitchen, blessed by the sunlight that warms my tanned shoulders, back and spirit as it beams through my windows.
Jhene Aiko’s latest album, Trip, is blaring through my iPhone speakers, and my fingers gleefully type away.
The album is melodic, relaxing, and is speaking to me this morning.  As my head sways from side to side, my breaths are calm and relaxed.  The scent of warm ginger turmeric tea fills my nostrils and belly.
I’m learning that dreaming is easy; activating my dream is the hard part.  I am an expert at curating ideas; implementation is where I run for the hills.  My mind churns beautiful visions.  When I meditate and spend time reflecting, I sit in awe.  Ashley is still happier than ever before.  I continue to be in a space of peace.   But turning my dreams, hopes, and fantasies into action is… complicated.
When I try to compare this dreams-deferred space I linger on something, I compare it to an artist.  In the studio.  Creating beautiful pieces of work, escaping life’s woes in their own tranquility and energy.
I’m in my studio, refusing to leave.
My dreams are in the dream phase and frozen.
I am struggling to move them forward.  No one else can marvel, appreciate my artwork and I am certainly not getting monetary compensation for dreaming.

I have entrepreneur jitters

I can’t say that I am scared to live my dream; however, I am reluctant to work my dreams because I fear that others may not believe, or invest in them.
I am in love with literacy, and teaching.  Teaching brings me happiness and takes me to another place.  Building and exploring the curiosity of youth, while exposing them to new things is invigorating.  Ask any teacher who isn’t burned out.  The feeling keeps you lingering in the doorway, anxious to enter the room and experience the challenge and high of teaching.  Teaching makes me happy.
Trying to carve a new role for myself is challenging.
While everyone values education, I fear that if I ask parents to invest in it outside of the traditional classroom, I may be rejected.
Sounds ridiculous right?  I’m afraid of the “no” that leads to the “yes”.
The confidence I house is still being nurtured.  Watered.  I don’t know that she is ready for any fatal blows.
Like a parent at the park holding their child’s hand.  Afraid to let them play.  Not necessarily afraid of what your child can or can’t be, but afraid of the cruel world around them.
The happy space feels so good, I’m standing, basking and setting up a tent in this space.  Cementing my soles in this place.
This morning I am going to challenge myself to attend a meeting where I am promoting my services in hopes of securing a contract for my literacy and art services.
Saying it, makes me nervous-the smooth, relaxing tone of Jhene’s voice singing harmoniously over the soothing, captivating track brings me back to a tranquil place.

I, Ashley Valentine am scared as hell to work my dream and think almost daily about just getting a job because I don’t quite yet believe that my dream will generate income.

I don’t have any motivational message, or answer to my own dilemma today.  I figured I would just be honest and open.

Dreams don’t become reality because I want them to.  Do I want my dreams bad enough, or am I a bigger fan of just dreaming?
What I do know is that I am going to reach out to a few women and begin to surround myself with a force field of goddesses who inspire and encourage me.

In this past, this aura and energy made me envious, jealous and I lusted after the success they had attained.  I have successfully worked through that and know where that energy comes from.
This connecting with beautiful women is also hard for me, but challenges worth the rewards are never easy.  Although I continue to water my self-confidence, the devil still rests on my shoulder from time to time and whispers that I’m not good enough.  I continue to work at self-love.
Being honest, vulnerable and authentic helps.
Now that I am actively using social media on almost a daily basis, I do feel an unspoken urge to compete with others.
I have to be mindful that not too long ago, I was unable to even interact on social media because these emotions consumed me.  I have decided that aside from blogging, I will pull back from social media.  I am reminded that everything is not an absolute necessity-caring for myself is.

Eyes shut slowly, as a smile parts my lips and greets my dimples.  I vibe to the album as it hypnotizes and embraces me-is it exactly what I need to hear right now.

Music has a way of grounding and soothing me.
Until tomorrow

Millennial Entrepreneurial Syndrome

A few weeks ago, a readers commented expressing how difficult it is for others to do what I am doing and how my message may not resonate with a broader audience.  I struggled with the comment and didn’t stop to consider the perspective.  I became defensive of my stance and couldn’t understand how she felt that way.  The stubborn narcissist within me felt like she was standing atop a mountain with a hose spewing negativity, extinguishing my flame. […]

 

A few weeks ago, a reader commented expressing how difficult it is for others to do what I am doing and how my message may not resonate with a broader audience.  I struggled with the comment and didn’t stop to consider the perspective.  I became defensive of my stance and couldn’t understand how she felt that way.  The stubborn narcissist within me felt like she was standing atop a mountain with a hose spewing negativity, extinguishing my flame.
The comment sat with me and over time, I internalized it.  I have talked to a few millennial friends over the last few months who sound a lot like me.  It’s funny how you don’t hear a message until you open yourself up to receiving it.  In listening to my long time friends gleefully share their ventures and aspirations, I’ve starting to think we have a bad case of millennial entrepreneurial syndrome.  Yes, I just made this up, hear me out.  With greater frequency, I read and hear millennials talk about how they are quitting their job to start a private business venture or follow a dream.   We are a generation of young adults who are disinterested in the idea of spending our lives building the dreams and wealth of others.  I see a pattern of young adults anxious to invest in ourselves.

With that, we are the children and grandchildren of wise people who more often than not chose a different path.  We’ve watched generations of strong black men & women work tirelessly for the advancement of their families.  The security of a paycheck and overtime is how so many of us made it as youth.  Whether we knew it, our parents and grandparents made sacrifices to create stability within our home structures.  They tolerated unjust hierarchical systems, unequal wages, stressful working conditions, last-minute requirements to work later shifts, unsafe working conditions and what we’d quickly label as “toxic environments” and made the best of them.

I have the privilege of hearing my grandmother talk about the lasting friendships and relationships she built while working at Master Lock.  I recall my beloved pastor recounting his positive memories of working at AO Smith, just making it to work as the floor of his vehicle rusted out beneath him—as a child and teen going to church out of force, I never realized how much wisdom he poured into me every Sunday and Tuesday as I watched the clock anxious to leave.

I vividly remember my mother working third shift at Master Lock and my siblings and I resting easy on a pallet of blankets in my grandmother’s living room.  I recollect being in the backseat of my mother’s grey Chevy Caprice as she dropped off a friend at a manufacturing company where he wore a uniform, constantly complained about his boss and job requirements, but went in everyday with a gold-toothed grin.
Do I think that these individuals loved their jobs?  No.  But now that I am old enough to understand the need to earn a stable income to provide for oneself, I see how they made it happen everyday regardless of how they felt.
When I told my grandmother that I quit what she sees as a “good paying job with benefits, pension and summers off,” she thought I was crazy.  For years, as I have worked, and left well over 15 jobs I heard her sweet, jazzy voice remind to “get somewhere and sit down” (translation: find a job and stay there).  By my age, my grandmother was a wife, owned a home and had children.  Her priorities were not dream chasing and “finding herself”.  She had an obligation to be a provider.  When she moved to Milwaukee from Mississippi during the great migration, she came here to work and working was what she did.

Everytime I had to hear the mini-sermon I would drown her out with my own thoughts of doing great things.  Once she stopped to take a breath, I would chime in with my little “I am great hear me roar” monologue.  She would listen and nod.  Later as I stood at her doorstep  a-many-a-times asking for money, she would always smile and give it to me.  Her speech of “get somewhere and sit down” ringing in my broke, job hoppin’ ears.  If she hadn’t gone to work faithfully, my begging hand would’ve been left empty.

I listened to a friend tell me how he had gotten into a heated argument with his mother, whom he was asking to invest in his business venture.  His mother was urging him to ensure he was making sound decisions and was trying to convince him to just go back to working a job until he was better able to start a business with more of his own capital.  In his frustration with the conversation and his mother’s perspective he called his mother a slave.  Arguing that for her whole life she had worked for other people and never had a clear vision of what she wanted to do because she was always working for someone else.  He felt that she never wanted anything more than to dedicate her life to her employer and never sought for better.

I said nothing, but listened to him continue telling me his story.  I chose to be a listening ear rather than interject because I could tell that he wasn’t looking for my advice.

This, was an example of millennial entrepreneurial syndrome, on steroids.

He wants so desperately to have his own.  Be his own boss, making his own moves and accomplishing his own dreams that his mother, is viewed to him as a stumbling block.  In his fury, he didn’t even realize that the money he was trying to pry from her was from years of investing her time and energy in building the dream of someone else.  The diligent, committed worker that he refused to be for someone other than himself, is exactly what he needed to pursue his own ventures.  This impatient, privileged millennial failed to appreciate that the wealth built by his “slave” mother was from years of doing what he and I are unwilling to do; commit to building the wealth of someone else.  Is that what his mother saw for her life?  I don’t know, but the sacrifices she made everyday made it possible for him to come asking.

I can only speak from my own perspective but I have watched my mother, grandmother, father and other family members work for decades out of a need to provide.  What dreams they had were put on hold.  I watched the daily sacrifice to ensure that I and the family as a whole had more than what we needed.  I later watched my father, uncles and cousins start their own successful business ventures that continue to thrive today.  I have been fortunate to watch first hand the sacrifice, so that the younger generations could dream.  I am wise enough to know that it took the sacrifices of my great-grandfather who farmed on rented land in Mississippi until he was in a position to purchase the land my family now vacations on.   I have watched my father work tirelessly to build a business and sacrifice his relationship with my siblings and I to become successful.

I am grateful to have watched both silent diligent workers and the enthusiastic young dreamers of my family and respect them both.  I will never call those who made it possible for me to flourish slaves.  It took slaves surviving and sacrificing for me to exist.  By the sweat and labor of Harvey and Liza I have come and know what it means to have generational wealth, land and a respected family name.

I am careful to now acknowledge the concern of those who came before me and see life from a seasoned, experienced lens.  It’s important that I listen and consider the opinion of those who have lived because I am still living and trying to figure this all out.  I can be bold, daring and driven to accomplish my own goals because the foundation has been laid for me to do so.  I do understand that for others, going to work dealing with the struggles of the workplace is a responsibility they carry.  Does that make me better than them? Absolutely not.  I have also had to wear that hat and have entered workplaces I dreaded, to survive.
I thank my reader for making that statement and after I got over my myself, I now understand the place from which it came.

For all of my millennial entrepreneurs living out a dream or working to do so, I ask that we all remember the sacrifices of others and understand why the road we journey is difficult.  It takes more than a dream.

I am slow to judge and quick to listen on the subject of entrepreneurship when speaking to an elder and appreciative of the nuggets they toss and bread they feed me.
I say all the time I don’t have the answers, so I have to be open to listen to someone who has experienced far more than I.

I respect the hustle of those who work for an employer and acknowledge the weight carried for me to now have the opportunity to build my own.  I understand the desire to want something different, what one may perceive as better.  That comes at the price of others making what they had work.

To my humble, courageous lifeline, my grandmother Darean & great grandpa Harvey for your sacrifice, gentle spirits and constant example of grateness