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Brokeland

Black Conscious

3 Things I Learned From Losing A Job

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I thought I was hot sh*t the moment I landed my first full time.

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It was an answer to a prayer I had in my head and on my heart.

After finishing a Legislative Fellowship, I was now on the hunt for a full-time job opportunity.

After an interesting experience in the world of politics, I decided I wanted to take a break and move towards advocacy work on places like 110th Street.

Not to mention, I knew having a nice salary would put me in a place to pay down my remaining debts and position me to provide for my mother. (I love paying rent, when the rents due, I hope you got the diamond necklace that I sent to you.)

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To be honest, this position felt perfect because I not only prayed, I organized myself in preparation to
receive my blessing.

Hell, I even wrote numbers down in my handy-dandy notebook and shockingly enough these were the numbers I encountered. Won’t the universe do it?

Little did I know in less than a week of actually being employed my life would fall from my grasp.

I would lose my position, leaving me broke as a joke depleting my cushion and relying on the bare minimum to get me through. (And I try, and I try, to get by, to get by, and I try to get by).

At the time I was in my first apartment, upset at the world, disappointed in my experience and re-living how in the hell did I get back in what I like to call my ‘Isolation in Brokeland.’ I was repeating the traumatic habits I saw my parents try to grapple with when they too were facing a financial setback.
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After losing it and I mean literally losing it  I found myself in disbelief and trying to appropriate the last of my funds to cover my living expenses.

I called every mentor in my life needing words of encouragement to push through and finally break to my mama “the bad news”.

I lost faith, somehow regained it and thought about the little pea of strength I had in me, forcing me to PICK. UP. MY. DAMN. HEAD.

I even had to drop my pride and ask for help! This is extremely hard for me to do because I don’t like to feel like I need folks to help me. (Charlie how your angels get down like that?)

With nowhere to turn and a bank account rolling on E, I reached out to my sister to help me through a month of bills. Knowing that she too was faced with her own hardships she still was willing to assist. I expressed to her that I would need her assistance until I received my student refund for the upcoming school term, then I would be able to pay her back in full.(Which I did!!!! Owwwww)

At the time, I didn’t understand the purpose of my struggle. In my eyes, I didn’t understand why I was being chosen to suffer. Like anybody going through some sh*t, I didn’t want to go through with it. However, looking back I learned three things:

1. Protect your cushion. 

You must always prepare for a rough patch even if things appear to be going well. This is how you protect your cushion. I ended up broke as a joke in this financial setback because I didn’t have enough in my cushion to prepare me for a job loss. What I learned is that your emergency fund must be on "get the strap mode" just in case an obstacle like a job loss tries to blocks you.

2. Remember “nobody wants you when you’re down and out". 

Okay, okay I'm not singing "nobody" like Keith Sweat but I’m darn sure alluding to the fact that not everyone will be there to support you through the obstacles you face in life. Some will say the standard “let me know if you need anything” and mean “let me know if you need nothing”. Other people in your life will be praying warriors.

3. A setback is meant for a step up! 

For the past six months of this year, I’ve have increased levels of anxiety and operated like a sloth. (I’m honestly not joking). I lost so much motivation and became compliant with not keeping myself on point. When it came to my old position I was motivated to reactivate my focus and get my life together. I put my best foot forward.

I didn't understand until now, my setback happened because it was just the right fire under my ass I needed in order to operate at my next level. #ELEVATEATYOURLEVEL

I may have cried and pouted like a baby but, through this experience, I was able to acquire a bigger blessing in the end!

This blessing consisted of landing a bigger position, paying off another debt and refocusing my energy towards new goals! I can only imagine where my focus would be if this setback didn't occur, however, I choose to move forward.

Insecure S3 E1 Teaches Me: You Can't Be BROKEn and Dating


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I look forward to watching Insecure like the days I was thirsty to watch reruns of Living Single before I headed off to Kindergarten.

I’m so grateful Issa Rae can put on a show that real lives can realize and relate to.

And so I begin…

Insecure season 3 started with the body of a Chocolate God penetrating the flower of another Chocolate Goddess...who we thought to be Issa.

As Issa lays on Daniels couch she appears increasingly uncomfortable by the sounds of success (just be good to me) and she escapes to do her part-time job as a lyft driver.

Her full-time job at ‘We Got Y'all’ is not only inadequately supporting her financially but her position is treading on thin ice. Issa’s boss is not fond of her“ overstepping her boundaries” seeking to find solutions to the disconnect between her jobs services and the school district. How many of us have been hit with that line as we’re doing everything it seems to make the crinkles in our work positions run smooth?

Yeah me too. 

Balancing her mixed feelings for Daniel she wants Daniel but doesn’t want Daniel like that. She doesn’t want a committed relationship but she wants committed emotions. Issa's love life  reminds me of the lines of an S.O.S Band song “I don’t care what you do to them, just be good to me”.

In reality, Issa does care. She’s not having sex with Daniel but she needs his support and yearns for his compassion. This is true even if it’s not the same compassion delivered through passionate sex. She is masking her feelings for him by pretending she’s unbothered and puts on a mask every time she goes out to lyft. 

It’s like she’s in the position of needing an upgrade (the same upgrade she reminded Lawrence about), laying on a couch that signifies a need for change, a setback, and a step up that is nowhere near Daniel’s house THAT. IS. NOT. HER. HOME. 

A chair is still a chair though. 

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Issa chose to live with a fling but everything in her life but her is flinging. She has every excuse at the start of this season as to why she decided to live with Daniel but can’t convince herself which one is valid. She’s lacking transparency and it’s not so clear to the viewers why? 

Although she explains that no breaks in her life exist #NODAYSOFF, and she doesn’t have time to focus on much other than getting money and getting out of brokeland, her focus is blurry. Deep down she understands her liking for Daniel has grown, she, however,  is not in a mature state to face it.  The party is boring and the bag is dryyyyyyyy. Instead of driving around town in her lyft she rather live with Daniel without his other women present.

That’s apparent the moment she tells Daniel she’s feeling him and expects him to be more courteous to her feelings by staying for a little while *cues in the Jodeci*. Okay, she didn't say that verbally but it showed in her face. When Issa told Daniel “I really need someone like that in my life right now” I flipped!!!! I also flipped when Issa said that Daniel was sleeping with other women as if they don’t have history, because if she just wants a friendship why does it matter?!

If this is about respect then that should have been expressed clearly. If Daniel respected her presence, her existence and the HISTORY they’ve shared he wouldn’t act like Issa is the help is on his couch and disregard her presence to get his groove on. I can’t help but feel like certain parts of this episode was giving Issa emotional KARMA for what happened between her and Lawrence.

On the other hand this season we have Molly, “dating”, blocking opportunities, and trying to take charge in her life by setting some boundaries so that she can have more clarity and control in her situationships. At least she doesn’t have financial issues. 

Unfortunately, Dro can’t seem to get in line completely with the boundaries set by Molly. 

She’s still sexually active with Dro who constantly reminds her of the place she has in his life as a position of pleasure. She views him the same, but there’s one issue they have- history. BIG TIME HISTORY, the type of history where he can read her vulnerability, he knows her inside and out just like the pages in his favorite novel. That same novel where he plays with her like a doll and places her back on the shelf until next time.  Molly is now trying to use those same tactics with all the men in her playbook. Dro and her f*ck with each other heavy but not heavy enough to lose the weight that’s draining them both down. I don’t think they can ever be able to fulfill each other. That’s because Dro is committed to someone else and Molly deep down wants just one man to be with. Molly can acknowledge that she’s invested in a man who can only be there when he wants to be there on his time. It bothers her because she doesn’t have the same accessibility. 

Molly is tired of the elephant in the room. Did y’all peep the side eye she gave when Candice called? 

 It almost seems like Dro is the facade of a man whose image of "security" is what she desires, who comfort she adores but it is not something she permanently has a grasp on. For Dro open marriage or not he reminds Molly of his alliance to his wife “don’t talk about what me and my wife do”. It’s a dagger in Molly’s heart because she doesn’t want to share and spread her self in sh*t. The problem is she’s already deep in do-do-do-do. 

From this episode, I was intrigued by the how each of the characters struggles with identifying their desires and needs with the person they want. Hear me out. Although Molly eventually expressed to Dro her needs and Issa tried to get out her feelings to Daniel, it’s the physical interactions they’ve had with their partners that have left them all confused. Of all the confusion spread around in this episode the biggest issue I find comes from Issa who confusion I feel is shedding light on her truth.

That truth is that Issa needs repairing and it doesn’t start with Daniel. I get that she’s already been vulnerable to him in the most naked and intimate way you can be with someone in the physical form. However, the emotional fulfillment she needs starts outside of Daniel’s house and inside her soul. 

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It’s possible to like being with someone, to physically like someone, the way a person makes you feel and how they comfort you. It’s also possible that you both can be on different wavelengths. Either this means one of you likes each other in a way that the other cannot or is not prepared to support the other individual. This can also mean that you can be emotionally attached to someone and not be physically committed to sex because you know you’re not ready to deal with the investment that comes with soul sharing. I. SAID. WHAT. I. SAID.

Then, there are those who can get theirs and suppress their emotions for the sake of not wanting to rob themselves of the mirage of lust for something that people think is deeper. A FEW WORDS. 

The reality for Issa is that she’s not in place to bounce back with clarity because she’s around a distraction. It’s a distraction she created because she possibility could have had Daniel if she still wasn’t so damn confused last season, trying to place him in the friend zone. She unfortunately, has made the bed she’s laying in. Although I don’t think she should subject herself to the f*ckery any longer. 

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She reminds me of the little school girl who shared an intimate moment with a boy she liked and it triggers her to see him put the same grin of joy on other women faces. And as far as Daniel is concerned he’s just playing the game. I’m sure he cares for Issa to let her ass stay on a couch in Los Angeles, with high ass rent FOR FREE. I’m also very sure he doesn’t see a purpose in being emotionally available in the way she desires because their wavelengths are off. 

Issa is broke and confused. Her money is funny and she’s not satisfied where she wants to be in here life right now. My go to saying is you can be broke but not broke(n) but in this case I seriously think Issa just needs to get out of needing support from a man and getting into her bag. It's okay to want  love and support  The support Issa looking for is outside of the house, inside her soul and next to a beloved bestie who is focused on nurturing her own healing. 

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Hey, the show wouldn’t be titled Insecure without showcasing the flaws of its characters. 

Sammie Teaches You Can Free Yourself From The Financial Burdens of Family And Friends

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It’s the beginning of the month and while many of you kicked the month off with the vision of

Starting August 1, 2018:


I ain’t got it

I can’t go

I got food in the house.


Sammie one of my favorite singers said Starting August 1, 2018:

I can’t break the chain of financial bondage by being drained and financially crippling people.

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The beloved singer posted this heartfelt note to his family and friends yesterday:


One of my greatest aspirations in life is to break the chain of financial bondage or the generational curse that’s upon my loved ones. It’s time to create opportunities for those closest to me, to put them in position to truly flourish financially on their own. I’ve never been rich in currency but in FAVOR I have overflow. I no longer want to dread answering the phone when a relative or friend calls in fear of them only asking me for things, it’s draining. I’m one man, who’s overcome a lot by the grace of God solely. Money’s not everything world, yet everything takes money. Value it, don’t worship it. I never wanted to publicly post this, but daily I stare at texts, listen to voicemails, unanswered phone calls with request for $. To those who understand “you can’t pour from an empty glass.” Take care of you and then put others in position. And I lied, @troytaylorttu thank you 🙏🏾 for lifting me up and the past when you were called upon. I’ll never forget. A true Pops/ Father for real. Peace, love and light world. 💙😊. #YoungLion #SA
A post shared by SAMMIE...I sing a bit 🎶 (@sammiealways) on



Since it's been posted, so many people have expressed their hardships and battles with financially overextending themselves to loved ones.

People from all walks of life and socioeconomic status have engaged in an important conversation regarding #breakingfreefromfinancialburdens.

Surfing through the comments on this post there lied some valuable lessons from those who also have burned out:

1. Being selfish and saying no takes more strength than saying yes.
2. No is a complete sentence.
3. No is the key is to breaking generational cycles and practicing self care. You can’t do either if you’re drained and folks are still in the same position, depending on you to save them.
4. Saying no doesn’t make you WRONG, it just means you have to focus on yourself first.
5. Your cup cannot runnenth over if it’s never full.
6. Your blood can dry and no one will offer you a band-aid when you get cut.
7. Helping shouldn’t hurt.
9. When you say no, you’re really saying yes to yourself.


When Sammie said "when I was without, I only had one source that would save the day, GOD! I felt that.

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What I appreciated the most was his bravery and transparency to speak his truth. There are many celebrities and non-celebrities alike who share this story.

More importantly, he used his platform to shed light on a conversation in the Black community we barely touch upon but must continue. 

It’s not that Sammie said we have to do away in helping family all together but, that we must help ourselves first and create opportunities to set our family up to stand on their own two feet.

The major lesson in this all is you can't give what you don't have! I'm sure his truth will help to inspire others looking to break free. What are your thoughts?

Brokeland Rule #4080 You Can't Give What You Don't Have

It’s hard to build a financial foundation when you are giving more than you are investing in yourself.

The reality is you can’t give what you don’t have.

In sixth grade I was posed with this question:

If you were stranded on a desert with a relative and there was only one cup of water for the both of you what would you do?

At the time my response was: “That’s easy. I would split the water between my relative and I”.

However I learned the correct answer would be to drink the water, go to seek help and return to your relative.

This was one of the most valuable lessons in sacrifice I learned. As it pertains to finance, you better believe you can apply this analogy, because when it comes to building a financial cushion you must save yourself first before helping others.

For many of us we learn this lesson a little too late. We learn it in the middle of being a crux for others and sacrificing what we simply don’t have.

Growing up, this was a story my sister and I learned too well. When my sister was 18 she started her first job, finished with secondary schooling and was balancing entering her next phase of #ADULTHOOD. She also served as a caregiver to my mother who was fighting cancer.

As a teenager she was required to be "the shoulder" of our immediate family. She not only grew up fast but contributed an excessive amount of her first year earnings to sh*t in my eyes that never made sense.

Developing a savings for herself was non-existent because her sacrifices for the family were long and wide. Whatever my father was unable to cover and provide my sissy had to foot the bill. The gag is she could never afford it. She was giving way more than she had, leaving no room for her to focus on her financial future. And when it was time do to the things she wanted, to expand her skill set and experiences, she had nothing.

At the time because of my lack of financial literacy and understanding of generational wealth, I believed that this was normal.

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The behavior of carrying people for the sake of carrying and appearing to “keep it together” was normal and ideal. Going without was regular. Believing we had money just because we had a consistent “income” but no savings was okay. Now, I understand that what she experienced was one of the most problematic behaviors and harmful things a Black family can do to their children.

In fact, I had more of an understanding of this when my journey started to begin as the shoulder.

I would be starting my first year of college at one of the most prestigious research institutions in the country. Somehow, someway my association with being a student there would equate to a rise in net worth and financial stability.

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As a first generation student, this was a traumatic experience. What I once witnessed with my sister, I now too fell into the same cycle.

I want to be very clear, through our family matters in Brokeland it was not that we as children didn’t want to contribute to the household. It was that our household wanted us to place a bandaid on wounds too deep and we didn’t have the proper tools to clean them.

So, when I found myself using credit cards and at times my own student meal plan (my school was 15 minutes away from home) to provide for my family I knew there was a deeper issue out of my control.

Unfortunately, the issues my family has faced in Brokeland has trickled down to us as children and the current financial struggles we’ve encountered as adults.

What my sister and I both learned is that in this stage of financial horrors, depleting savings, and no protections from our sacrifices-it’s better to take care of yourself before others.

It’s better to have your own foundation than to be be ass out with no cushion to protect yourself. Cycles can’t be broken when the same behaviors and bad habits continue to persist.

In an article published last year Dear Black Parents, You Need To Stop Doing These 13 Things, the number one thing listed that Black Parents needed to stop was requiring their children to contribute financially while they are still in their teens and early twenties.

Given my experiences growing up I couldn’t agree more. If anything children should be required to build a financial cushion and contribute in a way that doesn’t hinder our ability to have a healthy relationship with money. That way it gives us a level up so that we in return can help our family level up.

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Ideally I think it would be nice for children to set themselves up first instead of being setback financially due to cycles and behaviors that have been proven inadequate. When you rob your children of the opportunity to build a foundation and force them to just get by they can become trapped in the cycle of poverty.

What advice do you have for those who are the “shoulder” of their family?

Remember You Are Broke Not Broken

If you are broke you must remember that you’re BROKE not BROKEn. Being broke does not mean that you are not worthy, it is damn sure is not a permanent state of being. So, being broke should not break you. It’s easier said than done especially when:

- It’s hard as hell for you to save

- You are struggling to pay bills

- You’re asking for help or struggling to ask for help (let’s talk about being prideful and being broke)

- You made a promise to yourself you wouldn’t be broke - Unexpected life obstacles hit you

- You’re too bougieashell to be brokeasfuck

and

- You’re sick and tired of being mofoking sick and tired


Cues in Sick of Being Lonely beat: ( I’m sooooooo sick of being of broke bae every night while my wallet looks at me/ I want to know what it feels to be Wealthyyyyy/ Any other night you be calling me, stalling me/ Any other night while a girl is hungry. What’s going on?) (But tonight is something is different/I look at myself...and said damn biiish/ you’d ain’t even did shieeeeet/ You ain’t spend sh*t)
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The thing about being broke is that we broke folks often struggle to realize that our worth is not matched by what we have in the bank account. I must say make this very clear because in brokeland we often struggle with the idea of us being more popping is associated with us having more money. This is assumed because in our society we automatically associate success with financial stability. There’s nothing wrong with that! I truly believe everyone should strive to reach towards building a healthy financial cushion. And anyone who was ever broke person would say the same. But then again, folks in brokeland say a lot of shit like “I can’t hang with broke people”. It’s like as if they have a first class trip out of Brokeland or something. It’s like they have $20,000 blossoming and growing in an investment account. It’s like they are not a wrong turn and a paycheck away from being broke as a mofo joke.

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It’s always the same broke people in brokeland trying to be anything but broke or dishonest with being broke as if once again it makes them BROKEn. I’ll admit being broke can dampen your mood drastically. It can make you hope a door opens in between the lions of struggle. It can feel like your ass would never see the END of the broke spell that appears to be hovering over your broke storm. Whatever it is you’re worth it and you still have enough in you to press on through your struggle even if you stumble through it. Don’t let the real broken people tell you-you're not worthy. These pieces shall come together soon.

Bougie Life Hacks for Broke People: Grocery Shopping

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You don’t know struggle until you’re forced to shop for groceries at the dollar tree.

You don’t know struggle until you have to bus  it on public transportation with all your groceries.

I know these struggles all too well. I like to cook and am happy that I’ve grown in the kitchen. Lately I’ve taken a big pause because my sister the sexy chef-girl-ardyee has come and her skills are supreme they scream I’ll murder you and marry you at the same time in the Kitchen.

What I’ve learned from living on my own is that it saves more to learn how to cook and to make hearty, and flavorful ass dishes. It doesn’t matter if you start off burning 5 chickens or 10. What matters is that you learn to cook the chicken evenly and eventually you get the hang of the basics.

So just like the patience that comes with cooking, it takes patience to shop smart and on a budget with groceries. I previously discussed how growing up food insecurity was a real thing. A traumatic ass experience to say the least. Now when I go grocery shopping, it’s important for me to grab foods that last long, are budget-friendly, and really plans our my food journey through the month. My biggest goal in grocery shopping is saving money and eating well. Here’s how I do it.

    1. Don’t stick to one store. 

      Just because you may love Wallyworld *Walmart it does not mean they have the best prices for your budget.

     2. Take advantage of your local discount supermarket.


     These stores tend to have less variety but I would say a better selection of certain foods that may be scarce in Wallyworld like PLANTAINS. *Inserts a big asssssssssss side eye here*.

   3. Plan as much as possible through Apps.


 Don’t want to go over budget? Create a list of everything that is a current need or list the items you have to have now! Be sure to create a list for items that are not a necessity as well. If you have an app that can assist you, use it. This can be extremely helpful in prioritizing your grocery store run.

 4. Download Instacart. 


No this is not an ad. Instacart is a mobile delivery service that delivers groceries to your doorstep. In the Winter in Albany, I depended on this service to help me through my rough patch.  That is simply because I was not mobile and going to the grocery store was more of a challenge than an actual reward. I love the efficiency of Instacart. However,  I wish they would offer EBT services for those who can use the efficiency of the app and also use their benefits through the app. This is just the policy head in me talking though.

5. Keep your receipts. 


If you want to be transparent and honest with your budget keeping your receipts helps you to prepare and see the trends in your spending. It may also help to keep an electronic record of your spending since the ink on recipes can fade.

6. TAKE YOUR BEHIND TO THE LOCAL PUBLIC MARKET. 


Is it just me or does the local public market produce last longer?

7. Get inspired by people who recipes you want to try. 


Monique from Divas Can Cook is an inspiration to me. Her recipes are also DAMMMMMMN good. Not to mention when you become inspired by people who recipes you want to try you expand your cooking knowledge.

8. Set a higher budget but don’t do over it.

Nothing turns me on more than when I’m under the budget a set for myself. Cha-ching sis….Cha-Ching.