Money In Your Palm Don’t Make You Real

“Money doesn’t buy you happiness,” is a phrase we are all familiar with. That’s a saying that has been engraved in my mind since I was a little kid. And I’m sure you’ve heard that saying since you were a lil ol’ lad as well. This saying was much simpler when I was younger, and ironically, the older I get, the meaning behind this saying starts to get blurred. In my opinion, I feel like it takes a lifetime to understand, practice, and actually believe this quote.

Growing up, we are taught that money doesn’t buy happiness. But as we get older, that phrase quickly turns into, “_______ doesn’t pay the bills!” At a young age we are taught to follow our heart and dreams. We are taught to stay true to ourselves and at the end of the day true happiness is all that matters. Then out of nowhere, it’s as if our main focus has to be money, money, money. Why and when does the conversation switch?

Somewhere down the road, we realize that talent alone won’t help you make a living. You have to be smart about what moves you make, and what route you decide to take with your talents. Suddenly, we outgrow the “money doesn’t buy you happiness” phase, and all of a sudden making and saving money is top priority. We grow older and start to realize that shit costs money, and without money, you can’t do shit. It takes money to start your dream.

I’m at a weird time in my life. I’m 25 years old. I go on social media and I am bombarded with updates of old classmates and acquaintences. Some people are getting engaged, some are married and on their X number of kids, some are graudating school, some are just starting school, some are still kickin’ it like high schoolers, and some are on a completely different route. And for the record – that is all okay. I feel like around 25 years old you look at those you grew up with and realize, “holy shit, we are all on some pretty different paths.” Some are starting families, some are still living at home, some don’t know wtf we’re doing with our lives.

But around my 20’s is when I started to see a shift. And at 25 I can see it more clearly. I am currently at the age where money and salary is starting to be a big deal. Some people have been graduated from college for a few years now. Everyone is moving on, everyone is getting their entry level positions, everyone is hopefully moving up the ladder. And now, everyone wants the money. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but with the help of social media, people amplify their desire for a bigger check. Especially living in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive places to live in the world, making good money is necessary if you want to stay in the area.

6 figures is what everyone desires around here. That’s the goal. 6 figures in the Bay Area means you made it, but most importantly, it means you’re not struggling to make it and live here. Straight out of college, that is the dream – to be successful and make 6 figures. And to those that have already achieved that, I salute you. Good shit! In my opinion – and I know there are people that may disagree – I would rather silently manifest that bigger check while my moves and monetary accomplishments stay quiet. Though, there are some that will exclaim from the mountain tops that they finally got that 6 figure paying job. There’s nothing wrong with either decision.

However, I was raised to never ask about how much someone gets paid, never ask to borrow money, never give money, just all things money related was off limits. I was brought up on the notion that other people’s money is none of my business, and my money shouldn’t be their business either. I was taught to never flex or brag about what I got. In fact, if anything, I was taught to hide / act like I ain’t got shit. And if you act like you don’t have money, you won’t have to worry or question people’s motives. That’s a whole other story on its own though.

“Money doesn’t buy you happiness.” That’s such a loaded statement. Because it’s true, all the money ain’t shit if you’re not happy, but also, having little to no money can be the cause of your unhappiness. Especially being in the Bay Area, if you’re not a techy or making that 6 figure salary, I’m pretty sure money would make you a lot happier! So we’re stuck in this cycle where we keep wanting more and more, hoping that our growing savings account can accumulate enough where you feel content and secure. But everyone starts somewhere.

I mean, I’m sure majority of us don’t have inheritance money. So we all got to start somewhere. Money ain’t shit if you’re making it the only reason for your happiness. But also taking on the role of broke bitch your whole life isn’t cute either. You know what I mean… I know y’all know a couple people. The kind of people that use being broke as an excuse to mooch off others or just an excuse in general, but you see them rocking the latest shoes? That’s none of my business though.

It’s a shame when people value money over everything else. Suddenly, working is more important than quality time with loved ones. There are people that think money and material things will solve everything, and that’s just not the case. Usually seeking validation through monetary value is an indication that you are trying to mask some unresolved pain within yourself. Money always brings problems from both ends – having a lot of money and being broke. A lot of famous people overdose and die despite having the big house, comfortable life, and lavish lifestyle. While people who are barely affording rent dream of the day when their big break will happen. We’re all just waiting.

At the end of the day, getting paid the big bucks doesn’t make you any better than someone who is still making minimum wage. There’s this weird notion that the more money you make, the more important you are. There’s nothing more sad than seeing someone who “made it” forget where they came from. As cliché as it sounds, it’s not about what and how much you got, it’s about who you got.

I feel like if you’re looking to fill a void within yourself, then there will never be enough money in the world. And that’s why money can’t buy happiness, because happiness is something you determine for yourself. No amount of money or material things can make a person feel whole. Money doesn’t make you real. Money doesn’t make you more important. Money doesn’t make you happy. I guess that’s why they call it “paper chasing,” because you’re always going to be after something that can’t be caught.

Butt Of The Joke

My sisters and I have this ritual where we clean out our closets and pile everything we don’t want or that isn’t ours in the livingroom. By the end of our cleaning spree, we are left with a a huge mess of clothes on the livingroom floor. From there, anything is free game. Claim what is yours, take what you want, separate what you don’t want, take your smaller pile of hand-me-downs to your room and pray it ends up back in your room after laundry day. Anything that is left behind after all 4 of us girls go through it – yes, my mom included – gets thrown into a garbage bag and is given to our many relatives in the Philippines.

There are a few verbal warnings that come with this ritual. A lot of, “Look through the clothes so you get first pick,” “_____ already looked through it, now you have to,” and most of the time we’ll be lazy to check. “Just give it away,” which is usually met with, “You better look through it, some of your clothes that you still want might be in here and you better not ask me where it is later.” It’s pretty overwhelming to see that enormous clothes pile in the middle of the livingroom floor. But it’s true, if we don’t look through it, some of the clothes we still want / have been looking for might be mistakenly given away due to our own laziness.

That’s what almost happened a few months back. I didn’t care to look through the pile, and everything was in trash bags already. Meaning, the next step would be to give those trash bags to my aunt who would send them off via Balikbayan box to the Philippines. I got the threat once more, “You better look through it before we give it away.” Ugh, fine. I peeled myself off of the couch and started looking through that garbage bag.

Inside I found something that I made 15 years ago. I was going to just leave it in the bag, but I decided to take it out and keep it for the sake of memories.. It was a shirt I designed when I was in what… 5th grade? Back then, my older sister always expressed wanting to be a fashion designer. So, of course, as any little sister would, I wanted to be a fashion designer as well. I got those little fabrics from Joanne’s and started crafting with my sewing needle and thread.

I took my old black shirt from Old Navy and began to sketch out what I wanted my design to be. “I love food” with an ice cream cone is what I decided to go with. I looked at the black shirt infront of me, and I started laughing. It’s a nice little breath of fresh air when you see something you made years back. I was looking at a shirt I had made 15 years prior, and it dawned on me.

Here I was, 15 years later, laughing at 10 year old me’s shirt design choice. I know it wasn’t that deep, and it probably wasn’t even what I was thinking 15 years ago, but it got me thinking : how we make ourselves the butt of the joke. And I know 10 year old me just wanted a “happy bunny” -like shirt. You know, before memes were on the internet and instead we just wore it on our shirts? As in the graphic tees that said random things like “I don’t care,” “music lover,” “My other half” with a picture of peanut butter and jelly hugging. I know that was my intention, but it made my brain wonder.

For the most part, I think joking around about yourself is fun and healthy. It’s pretty whack when you can’t take a crack at yourself from time to time. So for the record, I am a fan of capping on yourself for shits and giggles. But sometimes, people make themselves the ass of the joke for other reasons. How do you know when the jokee is not joking about themselves anymore?

Sometimes making yourself the ass of the joke is bringing to light how you really feel about yourself. Sometimes insecurities are masked into jokes to make them more lighthearted and easier to swallow. I used to get teased a lot when I was younger by family and sometimes even friends about being overweight. And it used to really bug me. You know that feeling where you just feel embarrassed and moded? So you sit there looking like you’re about to cry because you’re like… 7 and don’t know how to cope with being teased? That was me.

As I grew up, I found myself making myself the ass of the joke around certain people. Mostly certain family members. I found myself trying to be funny, and by being “funny” I’d put myself down for their own amusement. It was all in the name of “joking,” but really, I was joking on myself to justify how they treated me back in the day. Oh they’re just joking, just like how I’m just joking. But was I? Sometime in my early 20’s I had to take a step back and think, “ew, why am I playing myself like that?”

Joking is a coping mechanism that some adopt. Sometimes it can be for the good and all in fun, but sometimes it can be a very toxic game we play with ourselves. Sometimes toxic joking can feel like you’re explaining the obvious before anyone else has the opportunity to bring it up. Are you joking about yourself being fat? Having no curves? Or maybe you’re joking about your accent, how unintelligent you are, your appearance, about your love life – or lack there of. We all joke. But if you really listen to some people’s jokes that are consistently about themselves, you’ll get a feel for how they really feel about themselves.

It’s one thing to make jokes, it’s another to just be bullying yourself in the name of fun. Sometimes we don’t even realize. I guess what makes joking about yourself healthy or not is how content you are with yourself. If you’re making fun of yourself because you genuinely think it’s funny, that’s one thing. But if you’re taking jabs at yourself about things that make you feel really insecure, you might want to ask yourself why you feel the need to call yourself out and get others to laugh at what you struggle with.

I just wanted to share how 1 thing led me to a completely different train of thought. I enjoyed seeing the shirt though, and I’m glad I checked the garbage bag before it went to the Philippines lol.

Congrats On Adulting

By now, I bet it’s safe to say that my consistent readers know how I feel about change and how I handle it. I’m so sentimental about everything. And the more I think about it, I’ve come to realize that the things that make me sad are just … a part of life. I get so sad over certain things – some might even say I can think myself into a deep depression. I get frustrated with myself at times because I feel everything so deeply, I analyze everything, and overthink myself to the point where I’m exhausted. But what exactly gets me so melancholy?

Change as a whole. I’ve written so many blog posts about different scenarios and topics. I put a lot of my fears and anxiety filled thoughts out there into the world, and a common factor is how stubborn I am with change. And it’s crazy, because I am all for growth and improvement. I’m completely aware that there’s no growth without change, and you can only excel so much in a certain environment. And up until recently, I would’ve described myself as a go with the flow laid back type of person. I believe it’s due to the fact that from preschool until you graduate college, it’s pretty much a set path. Of course, not everyone’s journey is the same, but education wise it’s kind’ve the same route. Once I graduated from the school environment, I felt lost, and change seemed scary.

And to some, I bet I sound mad childish and pathetic. Why is this bitch so sad about change? It’s normal… Trust me, sometimes after posting a blog post I wonder why I get overly emo about normal shit that people go through. But, I know I can’t be the only person in the world who feels an enormous sense of sadness, gets mad sentimental, and nostalgic when things begin to shift. That feeling of “nothing lasts forever,” gets me every time, and I feel myself desperately clinging onto the present day and not wanting things to change. I try to fight and resist it, even though deep down I know that this is just another part of growing up.

It’s funny because when I was younger all I wanted to do was be “grown.” I dreamed of my house, my future family, my life. The yearning to be an adult as a child is something we all go through. What’s even more cringe is the fact that I thought I was grown at 16 – 18 years old… L M F A O. At that age, I thought I could handle everything and anything. I was ballsy and would take the chance in any situation. What happened to that invincible feeling? I mean, I’m 25. I’m not that old, some might even say I’m not even “grown” yet. But somewhere along the line, that ballsy “I’ll do whatever I want, when I want, I can do anything and everything, don’t tell me otherwise,” feeling faded.

Well, maybe not faded, if you catch me in the right mood, probably after listening to my encouraging music – aka J.Cole’s The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights, you can find me with confidence and motivation. Which for the most part, I am. I’m a dreamer, and I have my ups and downs when it comes to achieving my goals and dreams. But then I have those days when I’m hesitant, anxious, and unmotivated. When did I become so calculated with my next move? What happened with going with the flow?

I guess a part of that can be because I’m an adult now. I realized that spontaneously doing whatever I want at the time can have consequences. I started to realize that some decisions are irreversible in this game called life, and I wasn’t about to make a foolish misguided calculation. And that’s kind’ve the position I’m in. I’m so focused on making the right “move” and right decision that making change to get to a better place is hard. I fear choosing the wrong path.

But I know being stubborn with change will only stunt my growth. Out of nowhere I went from a college student to a graduate who is now in the real world. And being in the “real world” is a little overwhelming. Now is the time to do all the things I’ve hoped to do, all the things I’ve dreamed of. Nobody talks about the hurt that comes along with growing up. People move away, people get busy, people start new lives, and suddenly, all the good memories are a thing of the past. I even catch myself living in the present moment and soaking in everything around me, and getting sad that it won’t “be like this” forever.

I think about how I grew up, being around my whole extended family from both my mom and dad’s side. I was telling my little sister how it’s crazy to think that I can remember being 3-4 years old, hanging out with my aunt and her now husband, thinking that they were grown as shit. Now, I’m that aunt with the boyfriend that kicks it with the nieces and nephews.

It’s all a part of growing up. And I’m not on some Peter Pan shit where I don’t want to grow up. But, I do get very nostalgic and sad when I think of things changing and never going back to how it “was.” Knowing that everyday, little changes happen, and then one day you wake up and realize shit is completely different. I guess the main thing about “growing up” and having things change is the fact that I know just like times and memories, people don’t last forever.

One day I was talking to one of my best friends about this concept. That I’m afraid to make moves and changes because I fear I’ll miss out on family events and I’ll feel guilty if someone passes away. “That’s such a toxic way of thinking,” he told me. He explained that of course we want to be there for big moments, and deep down we all know nobody lives forever, but that’s no way to live your life. And it’s true, and I’m aware of the fact that I get sad about things not being like how it was in the past, for example : meeting at my grandparents’ house every Sunday after church for lunch and hanging out with all of my cousins. They’re nice little reminiscent memories that make you feel like “awww, I miss those days.” But even in the present day I trip off things I can’t control. Like the fact that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and we haven’t hungout at our 97 year old Tatay’s place in months with the whole family…

As much as things and memories give me happy-sad memories, I know it’s all a part of adulting and going through life. This is literally nothing new, and I finally get the saying “that’s life.” When I vent to some friends and those close to me, sometimes I feel foolish because it’s like, dude… you’re just sad about “adulting.” It’s just the journey of life and becoming more independent. I never knew adulting could bring up so many emotions. For me, it’s anxiety, nostalgia, being sentimental, scared, with a hint of excitement. I know there are people out there that are the total opposite of me, and crave change and welcome the unknown with open arms. But this post is dedicated to the people who want that growth and want to charge forward with life, but still get sad and wrapped up in their feels. It’s okay to feel this way. Nobody really brings up the emotional side of growing up. It’s okay to want change but feel sad about it…

Old Kanye

Kanye West during Outsidelands festival in San Francisco in 2014.

I miss the old Kanye, straight from the go Kanye / Chop up the soul Kanye, set on his goals Kanye / I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye / The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye / I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye / I gotta to say at that time I’d like to meet Kanye…” –“I love Kanye” by Kanye West

To be honest, that’s ^^^ how I really feel about Kanye West. I used to be the biggest Kanye fan. When I tell you I was obsessed, it is not an understatement. To put it into perspective for you, before J.Cole, Kanye West was hands down my favorite living rapper. In 6th or 7th grade I got my first iPod, the iPod nano 3rd generation in black. Oh that little chubby square device, how I loved you. For once, I didn’t have to sit infront of the computer for hours on YouTube to listen to music. I quickly downloaded every single Kanye West song that I could. Some of these songs still had Kanye down as “Kayne West.” I had every single song he ever made on that iPod, I knew every song’s lyrics by heart, and “Bittersweet” was my MySpace song for the longest.

I admired Kanye because he was obnoxious and talked about issues that some people wouldn’t dare to. He jeopardized his reputation and name for the sake of saying what’s on his mind. He didn’t care that some of the topics were taboo for famous people to bring up. And I liked that. Kanye had the fame and the money, but still knew where he came from. However, he went from “George Bush does not care about black people,” to suggesting that slavery was a “choice,” saying Harriet Tubman didn’t actually free any slaves, and publically supporting Trump… Oh, Kanye, how did you get to this point?

Many believe that the death of his mother, Donda West, in 2007 is what caused Kanye to snap. I agree. In many of his songs, Kanye talks about how he was raised by his single mother. He was a total mama’s boy in its whole definition. Kanye understood all the sacrifices that his mother endured for him, and he appreciated that she always had his back through whatever stage, even if that meant dropping out of college to pursue music. He wanted to pay her all back for it – all the sacrifices, jobs, pain. When Kanye finally started to make a name for himself and make money, his mom benefited as well. The song “Hey Mama” released in Kanye’s 2005 album Late Registration, gave his fans a taste of how much his mother meant to him.

Under the circumstances of how Donda West died, I know Kanye must feel a lot of guilt and anger. Donda West underwent cosmetic surgery, and had complications which resulted in her death. She got liposuction, a tummy tuck, and a breast reduction, and returned home the same day of surgery, even though she was advised to recover in the hospital. Because of these surgeries, Donda West had complications the following day, she ended up collapsing and was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. In the article I linked above, they claim that Kanye blames himself for his mother’s death saying in a Q Magazine interview, “If I had never moved to L.A. she’d be alive.” Meaning, if he never made it big, his mom would still be living.

Before his mother’s death, Kanye was a man who wanted the fame, money, and respect. And Kanye West wasn’t ashamed to admit it. The irony is that when he finally “made it” and had all those things, he was trying to extend the high life to his mother, only to have it backfire in his face. His mother’s death was a result of his fame and wealth. At the time – and still to this day, regardless of everything that Kanye has said and done – my heart ached for him. What a tragedy. Imagine, finally being successful and wanting to share your success with the person who raised you and stuck by you, only to have that feeling of pride and accomplishment replaced with shame and guilt in a matter of 24 hours.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to feel responsible for your mother’s death. The fame, wealth, respect, the name he made for himself, doesn’t even matter anymore. Kanye worked so hard to make it in the industry, but the fame and recognition only brought him pain. The thought of being famous probably fills him with loathing feelings. The one thing he wanted the most in life is what caused him his greatest loss. Especially under what circumstances his mother passed – this wasn’t life saving surgery that was needed. That’s what probably adds salt to the wound, the fact that these surgeries were by choice to alter appearance and make his mother feel more confident and healthy.

After his mother’s passing, it’s as if Kanye went down a steady downward spiral. He became more obnoxious, but not in the way that I applauded before. I found myself defending him to everyone that had something negative to say. This was a man who was acting out and asking for attention, maybe even help. This “I’m a genius and I’m the shit” attitude seemed like a cover up for the tremendous amount of grief he carried on his back. That attitude and way of thinking is what made past fans change up on him. But not me, I was loyal. I still defended him and listened to his music – old and new.

Then he got married to Kim Kardashian in 2014. It seemed like he was happy to be settling down and starting a family. The running joke is whoever gets with a Kardashian gets destroyed. But to me it seemed like they were a good match. It seemed like there was a period of time where Kanye wasn’t making the news for saying or doing something out of pocket or controversial. I used to be an avid watcher of Keeping Up With the Kardashians in high school and early college. When I went through my social media / media cleanse, the Kardashians were the first ones I unfollowed because their content made me compare myself and generally just made me feel shitty about myself. But I’ve gotten to a place over the years where I can watch the show every so often, I don’t really keep up with them anymore in terms of watching every episode. However, I feel like there’s no escaping their updates through social media.

Everytime I saw Kanye West trending on social media, I cringed a little. Oh God what did he do now? I supported him knowing that he’s grieving publically and maybe is suffering from mental health. I felt like I was defending a friend from all his critics that I knew in real life. But what drew the line for me is when he started to publically support Trump. Even then, I thought it was a publicity stunt and still tried to look past his political views. I thought, There’s Kanye, just saying whatever for attention. But the cherry on top was when Kanye West said slavery was a “choice.”

I was astonished. What. The. Fuck. How did he stray so far from his original views? It seemed like he turned his back on the Black community. This wasn’t the same Kanye from The College Dropout. No way. It was then, in 2018, seeing Kanye in the MAGA hat, supporting Trump, and speaking this hurtful nonsense that I threw in the towel. I could no longer defend him. That’s not the Kanye I grew to love.

Whenever he would make headlines, it felt like that feeling after a bitter break up to be honest. I would see his name in the news or hear about whatever else he said, and I would feel some type of way. I used to look up to you… now look at you… what a shame. I didn’t listen to his new music, but still listened to his old albums – the Kanye I was a fan of. I didn’t want his current choices to over shadow the fact that he was once a great artist. I fell off his fan wagon in 2018.

Everything Kanye related from 2018 to now I didn’t really keep up with. All his Trump supporting content or obnoxious outbursts, I would just take with a grain of salt. Up until now. His recent outbursts on Twitter is making the public go crazy. He’s serving all the hot tea on the Kardashian family, and he’s not holding back. Not to mention that he was running for president, or still is? I’m not sure. All I know is, it was all too much for the internet to handle. The video of Kanye West saying Harriet Tubman never actually freed slaves, then having a meltdown about saving North’s life, then taking it to Twitter, it was like following a movie. What the hell is going on? Yet, my eyes were still glued to Twitter, knowing that @theshaderoom would have screenshots for me if I missed anything.

People were outraged with his comments. I was outraged. The same feelings of what happened to you, Ye?! crept up on me. Reading the comments made me realize that some people agree with Kanye, some don’t, and some think that he is trying to drop hints or clues to whatever deeper meaning he is trying to get to. The “read between his tweets” kind of people. I don’t know where I fall under. In the past, I was so over him and his commentary outraged me. But now I read the tweets of this man who has been under the public eye for almost 2 decades, and I truly pity him.

He’s exposing his wife and her family on Twitter, all their personal secrets, everything they’ve gone through in private – it’s a true shit show. Some people are blaming the Kardashian family for Kanye’s instability, some are egging him on, some blame him. Kim Kardashian posted an update to her followers stating that Kanye has been battling bipolar disorder for years, and she’s trying to help him get the help he needs. However, she makes a point to add that, legally, she can’t force an adult to seek help for themselves. I know the Kardashians get a lot of hate for how they rose to fame, their family and who they date, etc. But these are still real people dealing with real issues broadcasted for the world to see.

When I was reading Kanye’s tweets, I imagined what Kim must be feeling like. To have your husband air out your dirty laundry like that, having this be on the internet forever, and having your daughter possibly find out in the future that you wanted to abort her, all the while dealing with your husband who is having a mental health crisis. We often hear stories about people explaining what it’s like to live with mental health issues, but we rarely hear the stories of the people in their lives that have to deal with the second hand outburts and moodswings. Just because Kim doesn’t have bipolar disorder herself, doesn’t mean she doesn’t carry a lot of shit from the result of being with someone who is bipolar. It’s a rollercoaster for the person with the mental health diagnosis and their loved ones.

Instead of bashing this family and egging Kanye on, I wish people would just let them be. Don’t give him the attention that he so desperately craves (even though it’s so hard to look away sometimes). We know that Kanye says out of pocket shit, but the more we feed the obnoxious behavior, he’ll just try to one up himself. Not everything he says deserves headline attention. We have given Kanye the power to enrage us when we really don’t have to be. Whether he is just making a scene to promote his new album or if he’s really reaching out for help – this is a person who has gone through a tremendous amount of grief and guilt. I hope he gets the help that he needs and finds peace within himself. Fan or not – it’s unfortunate to see someone who was once so great go downhill over a span of years. I feel like this is his rock bottom, and I hope he decides to get help for the sake of his children.