#MorningPageByDomo 12.7.16

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If you are reading this, please note that this is a brain dump. Well, now I am thinking out loud, most of this blog started as a brain dump. A place to collect inspiration and leave some disorganized thoughts as I try to know self and the world around me.

I have been spending quite a bit of time lately thinking about connecting the dots. I have not been blogging, not writing and not collecting my thoughts in a significant way. I have however, been creating. In connecting the dots I made a note that I have always been fascinated with migration. I believe this fascination comes from my father, but he is fascinated about a lot of things. How did you and I arrive at this point at this time? I believe in the power of the universe to connect souls in perfect timing for maximum impact.

I believe we can learn a lot when we study patterns and the histories of beings. I’ve tried to get out of my head and comfort zone. I will admit, this challenge is great. As a stubborn millennials who feels as though I am finally finding my bubble to challenge everything I know is difficult. What if everything we were taught was wrong? What if what we assumed was good for us, really was not? I grew up in a country that built a public education system that reaffirmed that our country was the greatest country on earth, yet people who shared my skin color were somehow less than, but I should be grateful because I grew up in this country. Oh yeah, and this has been happening for centuries and still does.

That being said I do not overlook the importance and willingness of my people to survive and innovate. It is because of this, I strive to innovate. Grateful for the perserverance of folks of color in the midst of doubt, the perserverance of  my family tree and the situation I was placed in and my own personal privileges and guidence. For this reason, it is not enough for me to reach back and assist those who follow in my footsteps, however I believe it is important to continue to break down barriers and innovate.

I work on projects that connect community in ways that allow folks to build. That being said the more I work the more I begin to understand that as much as I am about building and innovating, often times folks need time and space to heal. Nevertheless, the work must go on. I am not dismissing the notion that healing  must happen somewhere, sonme how and some way, but many communities do not have the luxury of spending time trying to close damaging wounds. These scars remind me that nothing was easy, nor was it given. Many have sacrificed their lives literally and figuratively, mentally and physically for me to have a seat at the table. Much to be grateful for, much to fight for, and so much work to be done.

Even as I understand all of this, I still understand there is so much more to learn.

-Domo

Writing inspired by the above photo credit to Inye Wokoma

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2015 Manifesto (Written By AmbassadorNique)

Diana and I will travel and see new places and plan our futures together. I will support her in taking care of her family while being supportive in getting her into a completing PA school.

I will continue to grow and work on my health, my passions and my future. I would like to buy a house before I have my first child and settle somewhere on the west coast. I will continue to work on my mental and physical health while eating better and investing in better food. I will drink more water and do the best I can to live as long as possible.
In 2015 I will prioritize going to concealing and exercising. I will continue to see my ND and doing acupuncture.
I will save more money. I will be more disciplined when buying and be less into vanity. I will support the people and things that inspire me with my time and money.
I will also do a better job of being mentored and being a mentor. I also want to be an avid reader and keep up with current events while finding time to find my center through meditation.
I will be a better planner, a better archivist and better at being transparent about my intentions.
I will be better at showing my love to those whom I care for. I will find positivity in moments of stress and love out-loud with my eyes wide open.
I will continue to work on projects and tell the stories of my family and my community and will never let the media tell me who I am or who I should be. I will check myself for prejudice thoughts and behaviors and do my best not to judge anyone and be better in understanding. I will give more.
I will put family and happiness first.

New Orleans to Alexandria, Louisiana (Written By AmbassadorNique)

What is this place? The beautiful, the ugly, the gift, the curse

Since birth Id heard tales about Alexandria. This is where my parents called home. Some memories happy and others not so much..

We were told to be thankful that we did not have to grow up in poverty and were fortunate to live the life we lived. Nevertheless every Saturday regardless how they feel about each other both my parents route for the LSU Tigers and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday’s. Depending on the week you may even smell delicious gumbo coming from the kitchen.

Although My fathers father died When I was just 2 and a half, I’d always known he was very smart and I found out sometime last winter he even attended college in Arkansas where he was raised.

Fast forward years later I am now 27 and a half and have made quite a few
More trips down south to Louisiana

Last year I was able to visit my uncle in Angola for the first time ever, and my brother hosted this thanksgiving in New Orleans.

Just 2 weeks later my lovely girlfriend and I would come back to New Orleans to celebrate her birthday for an entire week.

While we did everything from eat binese and po boys to go on a swamp tour, have lunch with a friend whom we randomly ran into on the flight down, to the French quarters market, burbon street, and the river walk; our 3 hours each way road trip to Alexandria louisiana was by far my favorite part of the trip.

We’d stop in opololusus to buy boudan while discussing life and our future.

The trips purpose was to see my grandmother and interview her about her life, our family, the origins of her moral compass and values and whatever else she’d share

I also wanted to show Diana where my family had started and properly introduce granny to the young woman I love dearly.

We’d get to Alexandria around 1 and Id first meet my fathers oldest sister aunt glen standing in the door way. I’d have to go next door to meet granny at the church where she was assisting them in wrapping up a fundraiser where they’d been selling gumbo all morning. I’d notice folks under what my father refers to as “the tree”.

We’d meet my grandmother in the middle of the crossings of 17th and Reed. She’d point out that this was the same block that she’d been born and raised. She told us stories of how my grandfather moved back with her after she had gotten sick and they’d raise their kids here. She’d point out the four churches in a one block radius, abandon houses and some history of the neighborhood.

Diana and I would later talk to my uncle and look through pictures my grandmother had gotten out for us. I’d also have the opportunity to interview her on camera and ask her about her childhood and upbringing.

On our way back to New Orleans that night I began to think about the importance of community. No matter how much money you have or where you live, our participation in our community can be vital to our survival. My grandmother stays in Alexandria because she feels important to that community.

I am thankful to have her and I am thankful for her acceptance of Diana and our relationship. Love is love.

AmbassadorNique

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Do you think we have a problem with sharing of private information on social networks sites? (Written by Domonique Meeks)

This was a question on one of my discussion boards for school and it made me think about a potential workshop I would like to do in the future.

In my opinion there is no question that we have a problem with sharing our private information on social media. Furthermore, it becomes more evident with each day that there is no such thing as “private” when it comes to what we share, and anything you do online will live there forever.

Making matters worst Facebook seems to want to know where you are, who you are with, how you are feeling, what you like, what you are doing at every second of the day. While this seemed like an innocent way to share and connect with friends, it became scary when we began to find out that this information was being collected and shared for profit with government agencies, retailers and other entities. Barnes’ article states we post our birthdays, pictures of our families, phone numbers, addresses, locations with no regard to who can use this information.

What does it mean when your online activity becomes an extension or snapshot of our identity? With social media like Facebook and Twitter being such popular networking tools, it is very difficult not to over share when trying to connect. Facebook in my opinion is able to do things Linkedin cannot. More of my friends are on Facebook, most of us graduated together, went through the same financial crisis, and we are working our ways through our 20s, dealing with high unemployment rates, a rough housing market, and watching the world change before our eyes. With that said if I am looking for resource or opportunity this is the first place I would go. It be a job, a mechanic, a dog sitter, or just a good place to have coffee. This is where I feel I would get the best results in a timely manner. I was even e-introduced to my mentors on Facebook.

With no visible line to be crossed, depending on your field having no digital presence can sometimes be just as questionable. I remember applying to the iSchool the first time feeling that I needed to clean up my digital footprint. I created two of everything. Needless to say the profiles with my actual name on it were not nearly as exciting or thought provoking. After not getting in, I went on a quest for self identity and realized if a place does not want to accept you for who you truly are, that probably isn’t the place you want to be. Furthermore I had to find my own mission statement and define who I wanted to be, and really ask myself was I that person? From that day forward I started assigning my real name to my work. I also fully understood that the information I was sharing on my alternate social media outlets was nothing that I would be embarrassed to own up too, stand by and speak upon as Domonique Meeks. Being into social justice and speaking out for equality is what makes me who I am. I asked myself what if Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or Mohammed Ali decided that when they wanted to fight for equality they would do it under different names in fear of missing out on more lucrative opportunities? Both stood for what they believed in and right or wrong we learned from both of there acts of greatness and short comings. With that said I believe the biggest difference between my first and second application to the iSchool was really me understanding who I was, being honest about what I wanted and being able to articulate that in person, on blog, Twitter, and Facebook while not being afraid to do so.

Where things get tricky and scary is the understanding that I did not find my identity or true voice until I was 25. While there were steps taken to get to this identity years before hand, I am guilty of sharing items I have sinced tried to remove off of social media that probably still live somewhere in a database, or on some ones external hard drive. It is important to explain to people especially the generations after mine who have always known the internet that what you share is forever. Although their age and maturity may say that they might not be old enough to not take things at face value, we must find better ways to explain. Every facebook post, check in, like, tweet, favorite, email, etc. is a paper trail left behind.

Some have argued in recent times the younger generation is not using Facebook as much (Dickey 2013). There is speculation that teens have moved on and spend more time on apps like tumblr, youtube, Snapchat and other mobile friendly sites. As Facebook became a household name grandparents, parents and older generations are using the service. For some teens, sharing too much on Facebook, could prove to be too risky. Along came Snapchat, the service known for being the app that promised your picture and video messages would disappear seconds after they were viewed. My introduction was an article a few years back that said teens were using snap chat to sext, and a few months later from some friends who were using Snapchat to send ridiculous pictures to each other. This all without the mention that phones have a screenshot feature.  In the conversations about how great Snapchat there was never any mention that someone would even think twice about screen-shotting the image or even the fact that the content would live online forever to be used by hackers. This education is needed! Here is why: App Behind The Snapchat Leak Admits It Was Hacked, Apologizes (Links to an external site.).

We must find a way to explain that whatever you put on the internet or over a broadband connection has the potential to be used against you for years to come. It is a scary thought, but unfortunately it is true.

Bibliography:

DICKEY, M. (2013, January 11). Surprise: Teenagers Say Facebook Isn’t Their Most Used Site. Retrieved November 2, 2014, Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-used-web-products-tumblr-facebook-2013-1#ixzz3HwfP4dxX

Barnes, Susan B. (2006).  A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United States.  First Monday, 11 (9).  Retrieved (November 1, 2014) from http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1394/1312

First Impressions (Written By AmbassadorNique)

I’m a grad student! WOAH! The wait is over, and classes have started. My inbox is overflowing with e-mails that I get by the minute, and I am doing my best to balance work, school, my social life, on campus talks, meet and greets, my hobbies, writing, photography, my family, my girlfriend, sleep, exercise, hygiene and oh yeah… READING! Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I complaining… I am loving every second of this! Actively thinking about where I will be interning next summer and what my capstone project will be. I have some cool ideas up my sleeve that I will save for a later date.

I’ve met so many people in the last two weeks I cannot even begin to remember everyone’s name. Nevertheless I hope I have left a smiling impression and I will do whatever it takes to stay committed. I am very fortunate to be in a position to learn, grow, and move closer to achieving my goals with each passing moment. I am the author of my own story and while I can’t be everything to anybody, I can commit to myself and be exactly the man I want to be.

Be GREAT,

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

August Announcements (Written By AmbassadorNique)

AUGUST ALREADY!

Definitely crazy to actually say that. Summer is almost over and fall is upon us. While it’s gone by fast I have been fortunate enough to have made great memories. Moving forward I have some big stuff coming up! Some parts of my life are coming to an end (working my 9 to 5) and others are just getting started! Without further or due, the updates….

We The People (UPDATE): I’M WORKING! I promise! I also understand that once graduate school starts my life will be shut down for quite some time. As I type this I am waiting for videos to sync in the background. I definitely want to plan an event where I can invite close friends and people that helped sponsor and make this all possible. This month I plan to have everything in place and by September be working on the finishing touches, transitions lighting, sound etc.

Graduate School: Wow this is approaching fast and just around the corner. I am mentally prepping by reading and finding the resources and networks that I will need in order to make it through this journey and be successful. Also I there are a few opportunities I would like to take advantage of as well.

Health: I’ve been working toward eating smarter and doing what I can to put extra steps in my day. I am very excited for my IMA membership and have started to cook more and eat out less.

Finances: I’ve been doing a very poor job of saving money and this is something I definitely want to do better at. I can however say that the money that I have been spending for the most part has been going towards things that I consider an investment to my future. Definitely need to crack open some Dave Ramsey.

Hawaii: Speaking of investments! I will go to Hawaii for 12 days on August 15th! I will visit my grandmother and Aunt on a much needed REAL vacation! I will continue to work on my film, read and EAT! Basically just scratched the last two points out. Just kidding! I will definitely work to continue to hike while I am out there and take a lot of pictures. Free housing, psh can’t past that up! J

Little Dragon: Upon my return I am excited to go see Little Dragon perform live at Showbox Sodo! I love shows and I love to travel!

Digital Story Telling: One of the things I look forward to doing is collecting the digital stories of my peers who do art around the city. I think I will use Premier and an online platform called WEVideo. I will also try to step my photography game up and look for a cool place on campus to shoot some videos.

Japanese: I hope to return to Japan next summer and therefore I am looking for a language partner.

Personal Growth: Some things I am working on personally are consistency in everything I do from everything listed above. I also would like to become better at following up on networks.

Thank you for reading.

AmbassadorNique

 

 

Pre-Game (Written By AmbassadorNique)

Almost mid-July 2014, Seattle Washington. The sun is here and the days between me and the beginning of graduate school are few and far between. Let me be honest, I am a bit nervous. My time is very limited due to many different factors. Some of my own fault in procrastination, but mostly because I am just busy.

It is my goal to finish my documentary and my digital story by the time graduate school starts. My original goal was mid july but life definitely slows that down.

In the mean time I have finally moved closer to campus. Although this will cost a bit more, I feel that it will allow me greater opportunities to not only be closer to my new job at the ECC, but also it will allow me to network and take full advantage of the MANY resources here on campus. As I write this I sit at a very fast iMac where I have started my “We The People” documentary. I am very fortunate to have these resources and I know they will make the difference in my success. I also cannot wait to take advantage of the IMA sports gym, and some on site concealing. I know the last one sounds weird, but I truly believe mental health is just as important as physical. I also would like to change my eating habits and hope to soon start applying this to how I shop for groceries and cook.

I am excited to have a little over a month left at my current job. I am thankful for the opportunities and I have no doubt without it I would not be where I am today, ready to embark on new adventures! I take many lessons learned from the good and bad times.

As I continue to grow as do the people around me. One special person being Diana who continues to prepare herself to be the strongest PA school candidate possible, I am thankful for her wisdom, her care, and love. I will do whatever it takes to not only help her get into PA school, but also help her follow through with her degree. I am thankful that she has shared all 5 of her wonderful sisters with me and I look forward to assisting them and watching them grow as well.

I’ll keep this short as I hope to start vlogging soon!

Stay tuned,
-AmbassadorNique

R.I.P. Sam Lott

Last week I found out an old friend from elementary school had passed. As I racked my brain of our first encounter and ones after that with so much going on right now it was hard to think. It wasn’t until Saturday night when it all came to me.

I met Sam in the 2nd grade at recess playing basketball. Even though we didn’t keep in touch much once I moved away we’d always seem to reconnect. I remember our AIM rap battles my homie David set up and even the songs we made back when he was ‘Knowledge’!

I wish I had done a better job to keep in touch and I hate the fact he was taken away from us too soon.

I know he somewhere helping keep the universe in order.

Today I will attend Sam’s funeral. I can say I have been spared and blessed not to have to attend many funerals in my lifetime, and for many of us Sam is the first of our classmates to have passed. While friends have their beefs and fights and riffs, it was always nothing but smiles and laugh’s with Sam. Always down to make the best out of a bad situation and forever ready to just have a great time. Thank you for the memories, thank you for our friendship, thank you for being you. Rest in Paradise Sam Lott.

-AmbassadorNique

 

 

Soul (Written By AmbassadorNique)

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What is passion without soul? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about random stuff but one thought that has constantly repeated itself is my time management. One thing that is important to me is how much time I spend in my thoughts. Being able to understand what I have control over and what I do not, what I should let pass. Gaging how important an outsiders thought is. Also just as important what I feed my body, both in the food I eat and food of thought and knowledge.

Return of investment. Not really in a monetary sense but the return I receive from investing my time into my passion, myself, other people ect. Relationships are wonderful learning experiences but different people want different things in life. I cannot reach my goals investing time in friends that have goals that are polar opposites of my own. Also I must prepare myself for the changes that inevitably come from myself and from others. As harsh as this sounds, right here, right now… That’s what I believe.

I must also spend more time motivating myself and those who inspire me. What is art without soul? What is work without passion? Consistency… consistency is a MUST HAVE if I want to achieve what is my definition of success. As I narrow my goals and make them realistic and sensible for others to understand, I still dream BIG, however, I also understand the journey will not happen quickly. The more I network the more I become confident in my vision and my ability to achieve my goals.

I suppose if I sound selfish maybe it’s because at this point, I am. No one else will achieve my goals for me. I will stay focused. I will be consistent. I will invest in myself. I will invest in my passion. I will manage my time. I will put my SOUL in my work!

-AmbassadorNique

Busy Bee (Written By AmbassadorNique)

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Wheels up! D and I are on our way to sunshine and Palm trees for the next 3 days. Although this isn’t exactly a vacation hopefully we get an opportunity to slow down a bit. I also hope to change the run and gun ways of our trips and slow down and bit to enjoy the moments being away from the norm.

As I take off I can’t help but notice how the Jhene Aiko’ lyrics stick out to me even more as she sings “there’s no better place than here, no better time than now”, simple yes, but such a true reflection of this moment.

Since my acceptance into the information school life has been moving rather quickly. Meetings, forms, people and places.

I am doing my best to balance the same things I’ve been focused on for the past year and a half. A healthy lifestyle, education, and financial responsibility.

I’ve met some awesome people thus far and it’s amazing how the universe puts you in contact with such great people who then point you in the direction of more great people. As my vision continues to form the number of people who have invested their time into me also grows. Mentors have become close friends and help me sharpen my
tools.

Do it yourself projects have become a new way to a save money. A photography backdrop made of PVC pipes.

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An 8×4 foot dry erase white board that only cost me $13!

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Time!!
One thing we cannot buy nor get back… We must take advantage. I personally would like to be better with my time. I’ve honestly gotten comfortable being 10 minutes late or prioritizing wrapping up last minute projects or chores before heading out. I do not want the reputation of the person who is always late to everything. I want to be a better estimator of time and error on the side of being early. I also would like to take 1 hour a night for me! At 10pm every night i want to spend 10 minutes meditating, 30 minutes reading and the rest writing, relaxing or whatever else I decide.

Until next time!

AmbassadorNique