“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” – Ecclesiastes 1:18
Over 15 years ago when I used drugs, I was oblivious to what was going on in my life. Events were moving rapidly before my eyes. I traveled Monday through Friday, often set up for vending events, once I arrived back in town, and headed out on a flight on Sundays or Mondays.
In the midst of this stressful life, blinded by the money I that made, I didn’t realize that I was slowly killing myself. I was under constant stress, not eating, or sleeping properly. I did not realize that my friends may not have had my best interest in mind. I was only interested in fitting in and not seeming snobbish because I was clearly better off financially than they were.
I did not follow the news at all. Today, I only follow it at a safe distance. But back then I did not know or care what was going on. I had my hands in so many pots that I did not have time to take on anything else. I was distracted by money.
I was not woke.
I had no worries, no opinions, and avoided controversial conversations. Life was good! I thought that I was happy. But eventually, I found that a life of sleepwalking was not sustainable. Living this way posed a deep strain on me because my heart was pulling me in a different direction. The pull was a strong pull.
The inconsistencies in how I lived with what I believed in my heart caused so much guilt that it woke me.
Definition of Woke – Merriam Webster
Words We’re Watching – Stay Woke – The new sense of ‘woke’ is gaining popularity – This word was added to Merriam Webster in September 2017.
If you frequent social media, you may well have seen posts or tweets about current events that are tagged #staywoke. Woke is a slang term that is easing into the mainstream from some varieties of a dialect called African American Vernacular English (sometimes called AAVE). In AAVE, awake is often rendered as woke, as in, “I was sleeping, but now I’m woke.” – Merriam Webster
“Woke is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness. – Merriam Webster
It can be hard to trace slang back to its origins since slang’s origins are usually spoken, and it can be particularly difficult to trace a slang word that has its origins in a dialect. Woke’s transformation into a byword of social awareness likely started in 2008, with the release of Erykah Badu’s song “Master Teacher”:
“Even if yo baby ain’t got no money
To support ya baby, you
(I stay woke)
Even when the preacher tell you some lies
And cheatin on ya mama, you stay woke
(I stay woke)
Even though you go through struggle and strife
To keep a healthy life, I stay woke
(I stay woke)
Everybody knows a black or a white there’s creatures in every shape and size
(I stay woke)”
Erykah Badu – Master Teacher – 130,111 views – 1.4K34SHARESAVE – BCoolLikeDat – Published on Aug 6, 2014
I do not own the rights to this. I was just inspired by this and wanted to share. If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing her records!
What Does It Mean To Be ‘Woke?’ | ESSENCE – 14,217 views – ESSENCE – Published on Apr 17, 2017
ESSENCE May 2017 cover stars from the 100 Woke Women list tackle what it means to be ‘woke.’ What do you think it means to be ‘woke?’ Let us know in the comments below.
Felipe and Lillian, Americans living in the UK, watch a skit by Tracey Ullman which was aired on BBC and react to it. The skit is about an “Overly-Woke Support Group” and the video was found on Facebook.
‘Stay Woke’ was a slang used in the black community to indicate being socially aware and wanting a better way. It became widely used in 2014, intertwined with the Black Lives Matter movement signally awareness of injustice.
‘Stay Woke’ has now moved into the mainstream to refer to places where woke people come together for action on social media issues. The meaning of the phrase is still evolving. Many have even broader interpretations.
But, during the period of my life that I described above, I was Not Woke by all definitions. I was in joyful bliss. Never watching where the road I traveled would lead me.
Life’s trials, financial, health, relationships, and family broke me down a time or two and caused me to reflect on my choices. I pondered what did it all mean? What was God trying to say to me? It was easy to do such a deep examination because, at my lowest points, I found myself alone.
It was at these points that I resorted to that which my mother Eunice did through her trials, pray. I prayed profusely! I meditated even more. Reflecting, praying and meditating, alone, except for God, healed me, and woke me.
I have ‘Stayed Woke’ ever since.
‘Staying Woke’ means different things to many people. To me, it means to be socially and politically aware, but reflecting on it through a lens of what God means to you. I believe that this world could be much better if we evaluated civilization more using God’s principles as a gauge. It seems rather easy to judge whether something is of love or not. – Kevy Michaels
Just as it is with spiritual awareness, being woke ultimately becomes a responsibility.
Sometimes it may feel like a burden. The responsibility requires exquisite discernment for you will often be posed with which injustice to respond to, and which one to just let pass. You cannot respond to every societal ill. You will stress yourself out and become more frustrated if you attempt to.
So, you will be forced to determine which injustice, ignorance, deception, or blasphemy to respond to. You will be forced to use and perfect the skill of being silent. Besides, not everyone deserves to know how aware you are, anyway.
Don’t get me wrong. Being woke is a beautiful thing. There are many reasons why being woke will benefit you in navigating through the world. For one, you will know who you are. That is powerful!
For me, being woke is synonymous with being spiritually aware, so being woke means to be spiritually awake.
Being woke gives me confidence and makes me more ambitious in my endeavors. I am more informed, knowing how the system works, and having a historical perspective on most issues.
I can easily see through news and propaganda. Having worked for CNN in the 1990’s, and studying media currently gives me strength in discerning media truth.
And, I am not easily persuaded if the logic or facts just don’t add up.
Being woke is a beautiful thing!
But here is where it becomes a burden, a responsibility: Not everyone else is woke. In fact, most people are sleepwalking.
You must interact with these people every day, and if you engage in potentially charged conversations, you will never get through to them and will become very frustrated. Furthermore, it is quite likely that you will be viewed as an outsider or ‘the enemy’.
Here is a quick list of some of the stressors that Staying Woke can impose on you:
- It will seem that no one understands you. You may become an outcast; you can feel isolated
- It will impose the responsibility on yourself to respond to nearly every event, while others live freely, as I did when I did drugs.
- Your disdain and resentment against injustice and deceit may become blood-boiling. You will have to learn to control your temper, depression, and other passionate emotions.
- Everyone will seem brainwashed to you.
- You will overthink and overanalyze everything.
- You will become apprehensive in voicing your opinion freely. You may have to learn to be silent in most conversations.
- Your confidence will be mistaken for arrogance or aggression by others.
- You may lose the ability to trust again.
- You may become a bit of a hermit or would just rather be alone.
Staying Woke Imposes Additional Responsibilities
- Feeling uncomfortable all the time
- Never Sleeping – Always keeping your eyes wide open
- Self-pressure to act, to be part of the solution
Here are instances where Being Woke has required my discernment, patience, self-love, and tranquility:
- When I see kids playing with a hosepipe and running water, as if they were at a water park, I see empathy in their impoverishment and marginalization by the system, while others may not see this. They see kids just having fun.
- When I see family members and friends insisting on taking toxic medicines without connecting it to their other health issues, others may see me as the fool for not following the doctor’s orders.
- When others around me have unhealthy lifestyles and diets and don’t see the connection to cardiovascular problems, it is challenging not to speak up.
- When those who claim to have faith but live in fear, or who present holy facades that I can clearly see through, I am often judged for confronting them, but still do.
- When others experience injustice but those around me are not bothered to do anything about it, I act and try to organize like-minded people, often unsuccessfully.
- When family members, coworkers or friends befriend someone who I feel has bad intentions, I boldly speak out.
I sometimes I wish I that could be in ignorant bliss once again, but without the destruction of drugs. Being woke sometimes feels like a cloud that is always over my head and weight that I must carry on my shoulder every day.
I must sleep on some issue to keep me energized for the ones that really matter when viewed through a lens of God. The thing is, though, once woke I can’t go back to sleep.
This is at the root of the challenge of Staying Woke.
“A blind person who sees is better than a seeing person who is blind.” – Iranian (on wisdom)
“A new broom sweeps clean but an old broom knows the corners. – Virgin Islander (on friendship)
“Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
“We are awakened to the profound realization that the true path to liberation is to let go of everything.” – Jack Kornfield
“To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh
8 Struggles Highly Intuitive People Experience Every Day – Brianna Wiest, Contributor –
Writer, editor, author.
How Woke Is Too Woke? – Between the Scenes: The Daily Show – 1,477,902 views – The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Published on Jan 31, 2018
Trevor explains why Rep. Joe Kennedy III’s State of the Union rebuttal had a moment of accidental prejudice when talking about Dreamers.
Being Woke Isn’t a Joke – 278,428 views – The Real Daytime – Published on Mar 22, 2018
Tamera Mowry-Housley, Jeannie Mai, Loni Love, and Adrienne Houghton discuss the term “woke” and whether people who use the term are doing enough to back it up. Plus, was Jesse Williams hypocritical in his speech in support of black women at the BET Awards? Tell us in the comments how you feel about the issue. The ladies discuss race and overcoming obstacles in this Girl Chat →→→
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