The finish line is near.

Well for those of you who have been following me on these series of blogs since my journey began almost four years ago, then you know that my time in college is coming to a close. It’s crazy to think that nearly four years ago, I packed up my entire life in Florida and moved to Georgia. These past four years have been filled been tremendous blessings and heartache that I will continue to take with me throughout the rest of my life, but as for now I will walk confidently as this chapter comes to a close. Each academic year, I try to give myself a list of task to complete throughout each semester. They could range from growing stronger spiritually, establishing a healthier mental state, or even just reminders that I need not to worry or stress over the things that I cannot control.

This past school  year, I focused primarily on growing spiritually and maintaining a healthier mindset whenever faced with adversity. Although times were not always good, I survived and I prospered. While graduation is a milestone that I anxiously awaiting, I am not rushing my final year of undergrad with my beloved friends, teammates, and influential faculty members. The thought of leaving “the Hill” is both exciting and nerve-racking, but nevertheless I will prevail throughout any manner of doubt or nerve tries to enter my body.

Finally, what I am most excited for would have to be is graduation photos. Graduation photos of African-American college graduates is both influential and breathtaking. Just looking at their beauty and knowing that many of them have had to go through trials and tribulation just to reach this milestone in their life only pushes me to work harder, so that I too can reach that point.

-Cecil R.

Here’s to the beginning of the end.

As I write this post, a wave of excitement surrounds me. I have just completed my junior year of college, which or those of you don’t know means that I am not a SENIOR in college!! I don’t think it has sunk all the way in yet, but I know come August when I begin my senior capstone I will definitely feel the aches and turns that come with being a senior. But for now, I plan to live in this moment where I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop and getting ready to start my most recent purchase the book “Everything, Everything”.

This past semester was definitely a very trying one. I began conducting my junior research thesis, which is something no amount of mental preparation can prepare you for. I struggled with self-love, which eventually resulted in many times were I struggled with understanding my worth. But this semester just like all the ones before was also a learning lesson.

I learned to seek encouragement not from anyone else, but rather from myself. I think a lot of the times we get caught up in this idea that we need someone else’s words to validate who we are and to be completely honest, I think that is a load of shit. Mom if you’re reading this, sorry for cussing (LOL).

In addition, I learned to make time for those around me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been so busy, so that when times came for me to not be busy I still somehow found myself busy. Don’t try and figure out how I tend to do that for myself. It’ll just give you a migraine. But I found that I needed to take time to enjoy the things and the people around me before it’s too late.

With so many of friends graduating this semester, I found myself thinking of all the things we wouldn’t be able to do anymore. For many of my friends they’ll be moving away and getting jobs or getting married and just like that our carefree lives will be over. There will be more priorities and lack of time for friends, so I decided that if there was any time to cherish them then that time was now.

I’m glad that I made as many memories with them as I did, so that now I can carry them with me even when they’re long gone. But if this semester has taught me anything it’s that “you have to be willing to work twice as hard as your peers”.

Nothing in this world is given. If you want something YOU have to be willing to work even  when everyone else has already gone to sleep or has disregarded the task  at hand.

-Cecil R.

Tough Times Don’t Last Forever, Tough People Do.

We all go through something in our lifetime. Maybe for some of you, your tough times have lasted a lot longer than you would like them to. Trust me when I say this, you are not alone. Its seems part of our human experience is that we face trials and tribulations throughout our existence, and to make matters worse, at times there never seems to be an end to our misery.

Luckily I am here today to let you in on a secret that I’ve come to know. Those tough times that are plaguing you and the things around you don’t last forever. Today you may feel like you are at your breaking point, but please just hang on a little while longer.

Often times, I find myself full of discouragement and sadness because I feel as though my circumstances are greater than my will to fight. But then I have to remind myself that I can make it through these tough times because “I AM ENOUGH“.

Just three simple words, but the amount of weight they hold makes up for their length. The greatest thing we can remind ourselves and others is that we are strong enough to endure all of life’s challenges. There is so much beauty for us to see in this world and it would be disheartening to know that someone believed they weren’t qualified to see it.

Always remind people that they are worthy of love and that their existence is valuable. I think the worst thing we can do is to never remind the people around us especially those we don’t know how much they mean to someone. Everyone is fighting a battle that we can’t see and just the smallest thing said to them can be the difference in them being here today and gone tomorrow.

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-Cecil R.

Being Comfortbale In My Own Skin.

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Lately I’ve had the chance to reflect back on my ancestors and I must say I am thoroughly amazed by their success, but also by their ability to overcome adversity on such a high scale. Lately in the media, race relations between the African-American community and the Caucasian community have been at an all-time high with constant badgering from each side. With each turning day it seems as though another brethren or sister from my community has their face and name plastered all across social media outlets with the letters “R.I.P” standing in front of them. We like to think that death is a part of life and that at some point we will all meet our maker, but as a young male in this world I would love to achieve every goal I have set for myself without having the fear of knowing that I could be killed due to my skin color. Growing up, I vividly remember hating the color of my skin because I was always different from the rest of my friends. I felt that due to my skin color, I would face disadvantages in life that my friends would not have to such as walking into a store and immediately attracted ominous eyes.

At such young age, I would compare my worth to those of my friend’s based solely on the color of my skin. Thankfully I can look back now and smile knowing that I was naive in thinking that I could measure my self-worth on the basis of skin color. Over the years, if there is one thing that my beloved parents have instilled in me it is that we cannot define ourselves by race, but instead by the actions we dwell in. As I grew throughout the years, my parents always taught me never to see color, but rather see people for their response. I owe a lot of my wisdom to my parents, but I also owe my understanding to books that I have read over the years. Literature has taught me about the accomplishments of Civil Rights pioneers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcom X. Each of these individuals paved the way for young men and women such as myself who seek prosperity and understanding. In a way, I owe them my lives because without each of their efforts combined our society would not have progressed into the resilient nation that it is today. Today I am free to go to school without any limitations on my education and for that I am forever in debt to their contributions. As a young African-American growing up, we were always faced with being depicted as a stereotype by the rest of society. The fear of never being good enough or allowing myself to succumb to the negative label that was attributed to being a young man of color was very daunting. With the reassurance from one of my favorite poets named Maya Angelou, I learned that overcoming adversity is just a part of life and how we respond to it determines how we will live our lives. Her poem “Still I Rise” has played a vital role in my success over the years because of its ability to add encouragement and evoke a sense of pride.

I find peace in knowing now that I was so wrong about the color black. Usually when we see black we think of something dark and horrific or something that is unfavorable, but I see it as something completely different. When I see the color black, I see freedom, strength, and resilience. All that I have today, I owe to the past members of my community, but the highest praise goes to my heavenly father Jesus Christ. Without his constant hand and patience with me, I would not be the young man of color that I am today. I am who I am because He made me that way and that is something that I will always appreciate.

You Never Know Unless You Try!

So for quite some time, I’ve been wanting to increase my writing capabilities. With school and being a communication major one would think my desire for writing would cease to exist but there’s something about writing what I feel that just empowers me. So I branched out over Christmas break for some online writing jobs that I could apply for and potentially write for. I searched for a few days before I came across a few online publications that I could apply for.

While in pursuit of writing opportunities, I looked for three things. The qualifications, the time frame in which articles would have to be submitted and ultimately did they portray the message that I held. I didn’t want to write for a publications that didn’t express the same ideologies that I held because I felt that would go against what stand for. Ultimately, I found myself submitting an application to a website called Affinitymagazine.com.

Affinity Magazine is a social justice publication that talks about various issues regarding Race, Mental Health, LGBTQIA issues, Entertainment, Politics and etc. The best thing about it is that the articles are written by aspiring young adult journalists such as myself and many others. Since joining the staff, I’ve had the opportunity to talk about subjects that some might find controversial but also enlightening.

Here’s the link to my profile to keep up with all of recent articles: Affinitymagazine.com/author/cecilrob_

The Magazine is read in over 178 countries and in all 50 states. Talk about crazy, right? For someone such as myself, I never dreamed that I could even do such a thing. I had always wanted to write outside of the classroom and two years ago I began writing on WordPress just for my own enjoyment but now here I am doing something that I once never had the courage of doing.

So many of us get caught up in this idea that we are not good enough and that there is someone more deserving of the opportunities that we pass over. But the truth is that we are just as adequate as the person next to us and even the person miles away from us. Our worth should not be determined or compared against someone else. We are all made in God’s image and NO ONE is better than anyone.

Take a shot at what you feel is “out of your league” you never know what you might be rewarded with.

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-Cecil R.

Life Update: “Just Keep Dancing”

Its been quite some time since I’ve been able to sit down and just write. I mean I’ve had time to write, but just not for leisure purposes. With all of the papers and assignments on top of the hundreds of other obligations I’ve been tackling I’ve missed just being able to write for myself. The thrill and excitement that I get when I can be myself and type away hasn’t been there in a while and for those that know me then you know it is very noticeable on me. Lately, I’ve been hearing people tell me I look tired or sad and although I try to downplay their comments what they are saying is very much true.

I haven’t been myself for a long time. I’ve been putting a front on for those around me just to avoid letting people know what is actually wrong with me. To sum matters up, I’ve been in a bad place mentally and emotionally and no amount of smiles and hugs has been able to cure that. I got so good at telling everyone that “I was fine” that I began to fool myself into believing that I was actually okay when in actuality I was drowning and no one could see it.

But if you’ve been following my post from the start then you know that I am a fighter. Even when life has slapped me time after time and spun me around in an effort to break me I pick myself up and move forward. The thought of crumbling under life’s burdens are yet motivating and daunting all at the same time. There are times when I’d rather succumb to my emotions, but then I remember why I continued on this journey to begin with.

I continue even when life gets bad because I know that somewhere out there someone is looking for someone they can look up to who has faced the same trials that they are facing now. People need representation and I know that I can be that for someone. My goal in life is to help everyone that needs it, but even if I only help one person I will still find peace in knowing that I was able to at least save one life.

I go to my mother for advice and self-help all the time. She’s become somewhat of my own therapist, but she’s always been my biggest supporter. I called her one day stressing as I always do and before I could utter another word she said my name which has always been a sign for me to quiet down. The next thing she told me was “don’t forget to dance.”

At first I was pretty confused by what she meant. I was confused as to why she would want me to physically get up and dance when I’m basically going a venting session with her. But then she said:

“Don’t forget to dance means don’t forget to enjoy life and especially the things around you. You waste precious time you wont be able to get back when you down over thinking things that don’t mean anything.” 

In retrospect, looking back now I couldn’t agree more. I know for a fact I forget to enjoy life especially the moment that I ma living in because  I get so worked up on thinking about the future. The moment that we have now is all that we have. The future is uncertain and the best thing we can do is to not take this moment or any moment for granted especially with the people we have in our lives. You never know how much time you have with them.

I’m sorry I have been gone for quite some time and to say the least, I’ve missed you guys and  girls. Thanks for reading! Have a great day and remember what I said:

“Don’t forget to dance”

-Cecil R.

Here’s to the start of something new.

Normally, I’m not the kind of person to make new year’s resolutions but this year in particular I felt more compelled than ever to at least try and start my new year off with a change. Through the curse of the past few weeks, I’ve been compelling some vital   resolutions that I think can not only help myself, but also hopefully give someone the urge or push to create their own resolutions.

Resolution #1 -Stop taking the people you love for granted.

We get older and things change. That’s pretty obvious and understandable, but what isn’t okay is how we treat the people we love when we get older. Growing up my mom & dad were the apples of my and they still are but I’ve noticed that I been taking them for granted recently. I couldn’t even fathom trying to type out all they do for me on a daily basis, but to just name a few: they pray for me, they balance me out emotionally and mentally (especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed with life). The thing I’m getting at is that not everyone is as blessed as I am to have both parents in their life. Take the time to tell the people you love that you love them. For 2017, my goal is to be the best son I can be. Time doesn’t wait for anyone and it sure won’t wait for me realize it. With each growing day my parents are getting older and I intend to take all time I can with them so that when they are gone one day I can look back and know that I did everything I wanted with them. Here’s to you Mom & Dad, thanks for everything!

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Resolution #2-Love who you are.

It’s no secret that I struggle with my confidence. Well maybe it is. To those looking in they would object to the first sentence, but for those that really know me and that which is very slim I am mortified by anything that I do. My anxiety is horrible, I am severely depressed and last but not least I’m not comfortable with my true self. I like to think that I am and a lot of the times, I envision myself as this mega badass who can confront anything that comes his way but in reality I’m just a kid putting on a front so that I can make it through the day. For years, I’ve struggled with understanding my worth. I used to think something was wrong with me. I used to think I was too different from everyone else that there was no way I could ever fit in. I used to think that I was not worthy of love until one day I read a book that told me:

“So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”  

-The Perks of Being A Wallflower

This book helped me through a lot over the years. It helped me come to terms with who I am. In large part, I owe that too a lot of books (LOL). I love to read. But for this upcoming year, I’ve decided to start loving myself and putting who I am first before trying to aspire for who others want me to be. In other terms, I am going to be more of me. I will be unapologetic about who I am and who I aspire to be. I am the creator of my own destiny and for that I will love me more. Here’s to the old me that couldn’t see past his “flaws”. You are beautiful and there has never been anything wrong with you.

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I hope everyone has a great New Year and if you’re making some resolutions comment below and let me know what they are. Thanks for an amazing year! I cant wait to see how rewarding and successful 2017 will be for all of us!

Your friend,

Cecil R.