“The road to success is paved with good intentions.” The quote has been said repeatedly throughout the course of time and one of the meanings of the phrase is that individuals may have the intention to undertake good actions but more likely than not fail to take action. Good intentions are meaningless unless followed through. A different interpretation of the saying is that good intentions, when acted upon, may have sometimes led to unforeseen bad consequences.
This is where the struggle begins and never receives closure. For people of color, the word “real” takes on similar comparisons to the word “love”. Being “real” is like a badge of honor; a coronation to knighthood. Words that are commonly spoken are, “I’m a real n*gga!”, “Keeping it real!” or “Real n*ggas do real things!” However, when someone states, “I’m just being real with you!” it’s supposed to translate to “I’m just being honest!” No other culture has the distinction or share the importance as to what that word means. See, when you’re being “real”, it gives one a pass to say or do whatever you want without repercussions. It’s equivalent to praising a person, an entity or situation and then adding the word “but”. Once a person says the initial statement then adds “but”, a negative statement or opinion is usually forthcoming. So if I hurt your feelings with my remarks, “I’m just being real!” If I want to justify my behavior when the majority disagrees with my actions, “I’m just being real!” If I feel threatened or want to exert my masculinity, “I’m a real n*gga!” You can see memes that depict people of color being “real” when they have their pants saggin’, involved in criminal activity or performing other acts that doesn’t conform to the norms of society. If someone is seeking their college degree, earning a living in the workforce, shows affection toward their significant other and/or participating in something that reflects positivity, that somehow doesn’t correlate to being “real”. Being “real” sometimes rings hollow because it shouldn’t be an act or a word used to punctuate behavior. It should be a way of life which doesn’t require titles or labels.
In contrast, being honest requires a level of vulnerability. It shows an ability to express oneself despite any impending criticism. It’s something that people seek in friend and relationships, but many of those same people can’t adhere too because honesty sometimes hurts. Honesty creates a rollercoaster ride of emotions. When heartfelt, it can make the receiver feel inspired, joyous and appreciated; it creates a sense of trust and a level of comfort. On the contrary, honesty can be deflating, demoralizing and gut wrenching. Honesty creates both tears of joy and pain; it’s unyielding and is always pure. There should be no ill intent when spoken in its rawest form. It should be refreshing to the ears and the speaker’s intent should never be questioned when the words ring true.
See I hate myself because I’m in constant conflict with the two (2). Being labeled as “real” amongst your peers is equivalent to becoming a “made” mafia figure. Being described in different circles when you aren’t present as a person that can be relied upon as being a stand-up individual is an honor that inflates the ego. But how is that any different than being “honest”. Honesty requires the dropping of your guard and exposing yourself to sometimes unwarranted angst. Being honest is saying what needs to be heard despite the negative connotations. What I’ve done, in attempts to become closer to people and be more engaging, is be extremely forthcoming with all of my feelings. Good, bad or indifferent, I pride myself on being authentic. It doesn’t mean this approach is right or beneficial, it only reveals what’s behind the veil and makes me more transparent. I’m human, so I have my flaws. And like most humans, I speak my mind and do so at junctures that is untimely. Being honest comes with both praise and dissent; it’s never on neutral terms. So if you’re overly positive, you have an ulterior motive; negative, then you’re deemed a hater. People want honesty, loyalty and love, but when they meet individuals with these attributes, they at some point shun them because they won’t placate to their individual needs. I hate myself because I aspire to be that individual. However, the people in the world who also want to share those qualities are afraid to do so due to the possible backlash of public opinion. So despite my continuing travels down the interstate to attain success, the intent, be it through spoken word or action can sometimes be misinterpreted. Acts that may be thought to be in done malice are sometimes truthful assessments as to what’s taking place at that time. Metaphysics states, “When you are truly comfortable with who you are, not everybody will like you. But you won’t care about it one bit.” I haven’t reached that level of tolerance yet, and until I do, the struggle will remain prevalent. I’m gone! (b)
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