This is an interesting conversation. There are a few points I disagree with both the host and guest on, but overall valid points are made.
Where they missed the boat
They think Black People have been colonized to the point of not being able to do basic human things, like dream of good futures. For example, Black People do dream and we do have goals beyond consuming material items. however, many Black People are beaten down by the system these two describe so well. The beat down deadens the dream, blinds the vision and kills hope. But none of that destroys the shadow, impression or memory of the dream. All a seed needs is proper watering and a bit of sun.
Also, we don’t all see ourselves as white people see us. These two are advocating alternative thinking to create alternative financial systems but they are still judging their own people by the enslavers’ narrative. What good is thinking a new way and doing new things if your treatment of the people you propose to do new things with is based in the denigrating mentality of enslavers?
Mwandiambira also thinks money’s purpose is to enslave people, i.e. get money, get slaves. He’s preaching capitalism out of one side of his mouth while insisting an alternative system is needed where Black People will have the money to enslave other people (of any race). That’s not an intention I’ve ever heard from a Black person. Most people I’ve talked to, no matter skin, age, background, want to have enough money to do and live as they want. To pay for their life needs and enjoy life. That’s what I want.
People have lost respect for money
— Money is a tool that should be mastered
— Money is a tool that should be mastered
— He says to enslave others to capitalism. I disagree. Money should be understood and mastered to pay for the things your life requires and to fund the things your purpose requires.
— Money existed before capitalism.
African common wealth system.
— Livestock and grains belonged to everyone in village
— Families lived, worked and prospered together
They (Europeans) taught us (Africans) what we needed to know from their perspective. They didn’t teach us about who we are or even how we got our freedom.
The biggest disruptor for anyone is poverty. Once you have lack, your mind pops like a popcorn.
Financial decline makes people start thinking: what else, where else can I be? Migration.
We can create a different financial system. They have taken away our minds to think of alternatives. They have taken us to a space where we just have to conform. How can we change the system for us?
Wealth is created. It will not run out.
How can we do things differently so that our eyes see what can empower us? Our ears hear what can empower us? Our mouths speak words that build.
We’ve been taught to hate ourselves. How do we start loving ourselves first. Start there. Then we start hearing and seeing things differently. Start speaking words of edification and our hands will start doing things that are positive.
Wealth is created by traveling. Money knows no borders. The reason why we don’t know how much money Europeans stole from Africa is because we’ve never been to their countries to see what they took.
In order to understand money, travel. Once you travel, you get perspective. Once you have perspective you get vision. Once you have vision, you can have admission. Once you have admission, you can do it. Now, if you don’t travel, you will sit and consume what’s fed to you. The narrative is not under your control.
We need to embrace and understand those who traveled, why they came.
They took away our tongues; we don’t even tell our own stories anymore.
Self-hate has led to self-distrust.
We see ourselves how they portray us.
Mansa Musa, a Malian Emperor, wealthiest known man in history (34:00m)
— Pilgrimage to Mecca bankrupted Egyptian economy by giving gold to every poor person he saw.
How does an economy function?
— Economia: study of lack: you can not have an economy if someone is not lacking.
— Because Mansa Musa canceled the lack in Egypt, money could not flow.
— The moment you find equilibrium, you cannot have an economy. The system does not function.
— African economies were not built on lack. They were built on wealth. Abundance. Riches. Our African economic model was built on wealth giving birth to more wealth.
Have you ever thought about what you’ve been taught to think? What you’ve been indoctrinated to do?
During the last decade, I’ve been struggling a great deal with “the way things are supposed to be.”
In high school, we were taught that a college degree would lead to a good job and a comfortable life. Higher education became my albatross. The first degree I completed was an associate degree no one acknowledged. It rolled into a seven year pursuit of a four-year degree that also went largely unacknowledged. Fifteen years later, I completed my Masters in International Affairs while working in the executive office of a global bank. When I began my master’s program, my manager rejected my request for tuition reimbursement, which HR claimed was approved solely by manager’s discretion at my level. My request was denied because my role as her senior executive assistant (she was a global head of litigation at the bank) would not receive any benefit from anything I could learn in a graduate program, so she said. She didn’t need me to have a master’s degree for my role, therefore she was not going to approve tuition reimbursement. Despite being stunned by he reasoning, I managed to say, “No one goes to school to stay in the role they’re in.”
Fast forward four years to a follow-up conversation with another manager about career opportunities. I told her I had hit a wall. I had been with the company for over ten years and worked with senior level executives for over eight years. I had spoken with a few senior executives and managing directors (all division heads with global reach at the bank) about acquiring my M.A. and wanting to transition out of the senior executive assistant role into a project or program management role. Many I saw daily and had some history with – they began to avoid me, despite assuring them my manager was supportive of my search. Our neighbor on the floor, global head of risk and operations, actually had a job posted that was a match for my skills and experience, when I asked him directly about the position, he refused to answer my questions about what he was looking for to fill the role.
After summarizing my lack of progress to my manager, she coolly said, “Your initiative and confidence are admirable, but in this case you’ve over-stepped yourself.” This is a woman I openly admired. I had asked her to mentor me when she hired me. I had been completely honest about my career and life goals. She told me to come to her if I needed help. This follow-up meeting was me asking for help after six months of getting nowhere.
“You may not want to hear this,” she continued, “but if you want a different career, you’re going to have to start over.”
“Start over for what?” Was my incredulous response. “My ten years with this firm don’t mean anything? Or because my advanced education was a waste of money? You’re telling me that my experience and education are worthless?
“No, not quite worthless, just not worth as much as you think.”
“Really? I’ve been working for over twenty years and you’re saying I need to compete with college graduates with no real world experience??
“If you want to change careers. You don’t have the experience in the area you want to transition to.”
“I’m a quick learner and most of my work as a senior executive assistant is project based. I’m not reaching here. I’m seeking opportunities that align with my skillset and interests, which I am more than qualified for.”
“That’s not the point. This firm does not have a corporate structure that supports training people. We hire people who know what they need to do.”
“My learning curve in any new role in this company would be much shorter than anyone coming from outside. No matter who is hired for a role, they are going to have to learn their new job.”
“That may be true, but that’s not how it’s done. I’m not trying to be mean here.”
I had reached out to one of her legal colleagues before he began with the firm. He was in a newly created hybrid role overseeing government affairs based in Washington DC. I emailed him to introduce myself and asked if he had considered creating a project role in his new organization. If so, I asked to be considered for the role. I mentioned my eight-year tenure in the legal department, ten years with the bank, my good working relationship with the senior executive offices and global legal teams, my flexibility to travel between DC and NYC as needed, and the projects I had been responsible for for the general counsel (his boss) and my managers. He never responded. But he had obviously spoken to my manager. When she introduced us for the first time, he dismissively said, “We’ve already met.” When I mentioned my unacknowledged email query, my manager became scathing.
“I wouldn’t hire you for that role.”
Completely taken aback, I stiffly asked, “Why not?”
“Because you don’t have any experience on the Hill. In a role like, an intern with two to three years’ experience in DC would be more practical. They would already know how to get around.
“So an outside person with two to three years’ work experience beats my internal ten years? A recent college grad trumps my overall experience? Despite my skills and experience being completely transferable?”
Moral of the story: as long as I was okay being led by the nose in circles, life was good from the outside. When I confronted the bias (what amounts to corporate racism), all I could see was the outline of the matrix and the box I was stuck in.
Career mobility was not intended for me. Non-support roles in the executive office were not intended for me. My “superiors” would decide which opportunities I would or would not have access to. It was not for me to impose my career objectives on them.
I was relatively content as a senior executive assistant until I realized management had decided that’s all I would ever be.
What are we rethinking here?
That last conversation was the beginning of the end of my time with that bank. It took place right before my three week year-end vacation. I had closed on my home in Southern Arizona six months prior and planned to spend the holidays there. During my time in Arizona, I rethought my life. I only had an air mattress and a tv in the house but I preferred it to everything I had in New York. That was eye-opening.
Starting over has never scarred me. But starting over to fit someone else’s narrative in a system I no longer wanted to be part of, was not appealing at all.
My practical self outlined a plan to phase myself out of New York City over the course of one to two years. Build up my savings, perhaps rent out the Arizona home to cover those expenses. Suck it up and stick it out to better position myself financially. Unfortunately, my heart and spirit rebelled at the being somewhere I was obviously not respected. It also hurt that someone I so admired had so little care for me that she set me on a course she was intentionally sabotaging. Upon my return in the new year, I handed in my resignation. I felt as if I had liberated myself completely. Perhaps foolishly, but mostly happily.
When your adulation yields nothing, is it really worth it?
Thinking of adulation, men come to mind first. Men who adored being adored but didn’t reciprocate any interest. Yet, children taught me the magical beauty of mutual admiration. The four precious children of family I rented from for six years in New York City. From the first time I knocked on their door to answer the studio vacancy ad, they were all over me and I was beyond smitten. Every time their eyes touched on me in greeting they became screeching jumping beans. Their excitement was palpable. They brought me so much joy, I can’t even articulate it. They jumped, I jumped. They screeched, I screeched. They recalibrated how I view people. If you’re not jumping out your skin to see me, don’t expect me to jump out of mine to see you.
My admiration of my managers, colleagues and company got me nowhere. My availability, interest, eagerness, planning, preparation – none of that was worthy of promotional opportunities. Working long hours, logging in on vacation, being ready and available for whatever were expectations of the role I had and the salary I received.
I received occasional treats and pats on the head. I was the recipient of the occasional “thank you” and “you’re the best” and quite honestly I was paid extremely well to do a job that kept me seated in front of a computer most of the day. But none of that was fulfilling for any amount of time.
I wasn’t growing or advancing. I was on a hamster wheel running in place. For the first six years I thought I was working towards something, yet the reality was I had plateaued my second year. When I finally saw I was running in circles on a hamster wheel inside a box placed in a larger matrix, I decided to step off the wheel, climb out the box and attempt to claw my way out of the matrix.
Stepping off the wheel
One would think that running in circles within a confined space would make one dizzy. However, it’s when one comes to a full stop that confusion sets in. While doing what is supposed to be done – what is expected of us – there is a system in place to support expected actions. The system in place suppresses a mind that wants to think, a consciousness that wants to wake, a heart that wants to love, a soul that wants to spark life and lungs that want to breathe.
There is no support, no system, no back-up for those who resist conforming.
I’ve been flapping in the wind for five years now. Starting over has become a reset and rethink of every area of my life. Everything I thought I ever wanted, any vision I had for my adulthood, all the things I’ve formed beliefs about – all of life has been questioned, reevaluated, re-edited, re-organized and revisited in different ways.
This isn’t a lament. It’s a reflection of the things we chase in life that provide no sustenance, growth or fulfillment. As much as I would love to have a partner and family, I’ve been grateful for my relative mobility due to the absence of such. I have picked up my life and changed course without destabilizing anyone but me. At this stage of my life, I’ve pursued all the things society laid before me, to the point that society itself has become undesirable.
What fulfillment does life offer that isn’t connected to other people? Meaning, fulfillment that isn’t contingent upon someone else’s approval, agreement, admiration, interest, commitment, integrity, support or anything else? Whatever that is, that’s the fulfillment I seek.
In no way can I claim to be a follower or supporter of the British royal family, yet, after the death of Princess Diana, Prince Harry’s mother, I, like many others around the world touched on media updates to see how her lads were doing. It has done my spirit good to hear Harry share his story.
My review can be summed up in two words: Absolutely beautiful.
Harry is a natural storyteller with a good sense of humor. The arch of his life, identity, growth, maturity, awareness, and manhood are clear and earnestly shared. He doesn’t bash anyone or share intimate details about his familial relationships. However, what he does share of familial interactions is very sad and poignant, unintentionally so, I’m sure. His earnestness creates an intimacy with readers/listeners. [Note: I listened on Audible and am extremely glad for the experience of hearing him tell his story in his own words.]
In retrospect, for those hating on him and saying he shouldn’t talk about his family, his memoir could be described as a rebuttal to media accounts of his life as he appears to stay true to a timeline of headlines covering the twenty-five years leading up to the book. His primary focus is sharing his state of mind, physical location, and emotional environment to provide his perspective and understanding of the stories about him. Unfortunately for the naysayers, these media episodes obviously touch on his family relationships.
During the initial listen, I cried three times. (1) When Harry and Meghan received unexpected help from a benefactor after begging for help from, and being denied by, his father, brother and queen grandmother. (2) The last time he said, “I’ll keep you safe.” (3) His last line in the book. While re-listening to segments for this review, I’ve cried at almost everything I replayed.
The overall gravity of Harry and Meghan’s situation, the petty selfishness and mean-spirited jealousies in his family, the absolute absurdity of this family ruling most of the world for more than a millennia with its myopic dysfunction and self-hatred is astounding. A line of people who have no respect for themselves, their spouses, children, brothers, sisters, etc. have been conquering and dividing the world into parcels since 1066. They’ve created cultures, laws, societies and hierarchies among peoples around the globe. All while being completely opposed to expressing basic human emotion. A touch or a hug for a grandchild – unthinkable! A father protecting his sons from watching their mother’s death on TV – what could be done? A brother embracing his sister-in-law rather than smearing her and her future children in the media – it’s how it’s always been. The British Royal Family eats its own. How could their 1200 year reign possibly result in a better world?
Unfortunately, like most of us mortals, Harry’s not so good at deciphering the heart and motives of his loved ones. For most of the book, I talked back in frustration, voicing the treachery he had to be aware of on some level, but didn’t want to call out directly.
However, when he was forced to the point of understanding, he elucidated how he came to the point of separating from his dysfunctional family in favor of protecting his wife and children. When Harry and Meghan were first ousted from the royal family, I began to pay attention to their story. What struck me was the fact that a Black Woman was so hated and vilified that her husband, a member of the most well-known, powerful and wealthiest families in the history of the world – the second son of a future king – could not keep his wife safe. Not only that, he feared his wife would die as his mother had because of the relentless hounding and vitriol of the paparazzi which went unchecked by his father and brother (both heirs to the throne). He shared his fear openly in real time. Imagine, having the ability to ask for and receive anything your mind could conjure, but security and safety for your wife was prohibited. She was deemed too much of an expense to house, clothe, feed and protect.
“Pa was cutting me off. I recognize the absurdity, a man in his mid-thirties being financially cut off by his father. But Pa wasn’t merely my father. He was my boss, my banker, my comptroller. Keeper of the purse strings throughout my adult life. Cutting me off, therefore, meant firing me. Without redundancy pay and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service. More, after a lifetime of rendering me otherwise unemployable. […] Sponge, the papers called me. There’s a big difference between being a sponge and being prohibited from learning independence. After decades of being rigorously and systematically infantilized, I was now abruptly abandoned, mocked for being immature, for not standing on my own two feet.”
Harry represented himself well. I do hope he sees himself as a human being who has value simply because he exists regardless of his birth into this family and his role in other people’s lives.
Charles: Pa, Boss and Comptroller
Even in his austere aloofness, the former Prince of Wales and current King Charles III comes across as a father who was willing to love and be present if only he could manage it. Unfortunately, for him and his children, his understanding of love and presence is cold and comfortless. Charles is only mentioned as Pa in the Spare. Pa is spoken with reverence, respect, pain and bewildered disillusionment. Pa is often spoken as a plea.
“Pa and Willy had their parts to play and they came ready for a fight. ‘Please, boys! Don’t make my final years a misery.’ His voice sounded raspy. Fragile. It sounded, if I’m honest, old.
I looked at Willy. Really looked at him, maybe for the first time since we were boys.[…] In some ways he was my mirror. In some ways he was my opposite. My beloved brother. My arch nemesis. How had that happened? I was massively tired. I wanted to go home and I realized what a complicated concept ‘home’ had become. Or maybe it always was.
‘If they didn’t know why I had left, maybe they just didn’t know me, at all. Maybe they never really did. And to be fair, maybe I didn’t either. I have to tell them. And so, Pa, Willy, World, here you go.'”
So begins the epic retelling of a life from in front of many lenses.
“Journalists are the scum of the earth, but…,” Charles said to his sons in Frogmore gardens following his father’s funeral.
“There was always a but with Pa when it came to the press. He hated their hate, but oh, how he loved their love. One could make the argument that therein lie the seeds of the problem, indeed all problems going back decades. Deprived of love as a boy, bullied by schoolmates, he was dangerously, compulsively drawn to the elixir they offered him. He cited grandpa as a sterling example of why the press wasn’t anything to get too vexed about. Poor grandpa had been abused by the papers most of his life, but now look, he was a national treasure. The papers couldn’t say enough nice things about the man!
‘So that’s it then? Just wait till we’re dead and all will be sorted?’
‘If you could just endure it, Darling Boy, for a little while. In a funny way they’d respect you for it. […] You must understand, Darling Boy, The Institution can’t just tell the media what to do.’
I yelped with laughter. It was like Pa saying he couldn’t just tell his valet what to do.”
Diana: Morning Star
“Wherever mommy was, I understood she was with her friend.”
Harry doesn’t hold any surface or tactile memories of his mother. The way he speaks of her is as an ethereal being who was known to have existed on earth but is hiding away for safety. Named after a goddess and titled as princess, neither stylings are grand enough for his memory of her personhood. Earendel, an indescribably large star discovered in 2022 by the Hubble Space Telescope, is the oldest known star to have existed close to the moment of creation and is called the Morning Star. “That was my mother,” Harry says quietly.
In his late twenties, Harry sought proof of Diana’s actual death. Up to that point, he did not consider her dead, only away. He imagined she was hiding from the paparazzi. Believed she would one day return to whisk him and his brother away to be with her in hiding. He asked a member of his security team for the file on his mother’s car crash hoping to clear any questions he had. Harry reports, “The file proved nothing, other than Mummy was in a car crash. After which she looked unharmed. Slumped over in the back of the car. While those who chased her continued to harass her. Rather than proof, I discovered more reason for rage. It wasn’t a mist. It was a torrent.”
Paris police had seized the cameras of the paparazzi on the scene. The images showed chaos. Onlookers. A deceased Dodi and driver. Hurt bodyguard. Deceased Diana. Flashing lights created auras on the printed images. The file contained police photos of the scene and images from the frenzied photographers who chased Diana to her death. Those men never stopped photographing her even in the aftermath of the crash they caused. She landed between the seats and was clearly unconscious or semi-conscious.
“No one checked on her. Offered her help or comforted her. They were just shooting. Shooting. Shooting. I hadn’t known. I hadn’t dreamed. I’d been told that paps chased Mummy like a pack of wild dogs, but I never dared to imagine that like wild dogs, they also feasted on her defenseless body. I hadn’t been aware before this moment, that the last thing Mummy saw on this earth, was a flash bulb.”
When he was twenty-three, Harry went to the World Cup in Paris. While there, he asked his assigned driver to drive up and down that same tunnel at 65 miles per hour (the speed Diana supposedly died at) in an attempt to understand how something so routine could be so life-altering. He was not convinced events happened as reported.
Identity is problematic
“Two years older than me, Willy was the heir and I was the spare. This wasn’t merely how the press referred to us, though it was definitely that. This was shorthand often used by Pa, Mummy and Grandpa and even Granny. There was no judgment about it. But also, no ambiguity.
I was the shadow, the support, the Plan B. I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy. I was summoned to provide back-up. Distraction and diversion. And if necessary, a spare part. A kidney perhaps, blood transfusion, spec of bone morrow. This was all made explicitly clear to me from the start of life’s journey and regularly reinforced thereafter.
I took no offense. I felt nothing about it. Any of it. Succession was like the weather. Or the positions of the planets. Or the turn of the seasons. Who had the time to worry about things so unchangeable? Who could bother with being bothered by a fate etched in stone?
Being a Windsor meant working out which truths were timeless and then banishing them from your mind. It meant absorbing the basic parameters of one’s identity knowing by instinct who you were, which was forever a byproduct of who you weren’t. I wasn’t Granny. I wasn’t Pa. I wasn’t Willy. I was third in line behind them.”
During his gap year, he worked a cattle farm in Australia. He had planned on six months in the outback, but the ranch was infiltrated by paparazzi. He left early. However during his time, he acquired new habits, dressing style and a new nickname, Spike.
“I became Spike, when I wasn’t Haz, Baz, Prince Jackeroo, Harold, Darling Boy or Scrawny. Identity had always been problematic, but with a half dozen formal names and a full dozen nicknames, it was turning into a hall of mirrors. Most days I didn’t care what people called me. Most days I thought ‘Don’t care who I am so long as it’s someone new. Someone other than Prince Harry.”
Harry speaks of several women he dated as being guide stones in his evolution. Each one highlighted a part of himself he was unaware of or hadn’t been able to access prior to the relationship. The first girlfriend Harry mentions is Chelsea, whom he was drawn to because she was different from the people in his circle. She was South African and preferred her home to Britain. She was unconcerned with appearances, propriety, and royalty. He was enraptured. During his time with Chelsea, he says:
“I had no talent, so I’ve been told. Again and again. And thus all reactions to me had nothing to do with me. They were down to my family. My title. And consequently, they always embarrassed me because they were so unearned. I’d always wanted to know what it might be like to meet a woman and not have her eyes widen at the mention of my title. But instead widen them myself using my mind, my heart. With Chelsea, that seemed a real possibility.”
Another girlfriend helped him cry for the first time since his mother’s death. It was then that he began to accept that Mummy was not going to return. He was encouraged to seek counseling. He did so.
One day while scrolling his Instagram feed, Harry came across a filtered video of his friend Violet with a woman he had never seen.
“I’d traveled the world from top to bottom. Literally. I’d hopscotched the continents. I’d met hundreds of thousands of people. […] For thirty-two years, I’d watched a conveyor belt of faces pass by and only a handful ever made me look twice. This woman stopped the conveyor belt. This woman smashed the conveyor belt to bits. I’d never seen anyone so beautiful. Why should beauty feel like a punch in the throat?
I never had a firm answer to that burning question: Is there just one person on this earth for each of us? But in that moment, I felt there might be only one face for me. This one. I sent Violet a message: WHO. IS. THIS. WOMAN?”
He had an instant response to Meghan’s face. She exuded energy, joy, playfulness, confidence and a sense of freedom.
You’re free! Fly away!
Frogmore was special to Harry. It held one of his favorite cemetery’s and was one of the first places he lived with Meghan. he thought it would be their forever home before they had to flee the country. Following his grandfather’s funeral, he still sought Frogmore’s cemetery – for a walk with his father and brother, and for his final resting place – “…because the gardens were lovely and it seemed peaceful.”
On remembering a happy day with Willy – a transcendent moment that led to the rarest of things: a long tight hug with his brother:
“Now I saw that even our finest moments, my best memories somehow involved death. Our lives were built on death. Our brightest days were shattered by it. Looking back, I didn’t see spots of time, but dances with death. I saw how we steeped ourselves in it. […] Windsor castle itself was a tomb. The walls filled with ancestors. The Tower of London was held together with the blood of animals. […]Outsiders called us a cult. But maybe we were a death cult. Wasn’t that a little more depraved?
Even after laying Grandpa to rest, had we not had our fill? Why were we here? Lurking on the edge of that undiscovered country from whose born, no traveler returns.
Eh, maybe that was a more apt description of America. My father and brother were talking over each other. I was no longer listening. I was already gone. Already on my way to California. A voice in my head saying, ‘Enough death! Enough! When is someone in this family going to break free and live?'”
Upon leaving his father and brother in the cemetery, Harry walked to Frogmore Cottage and was greeted at the door with a long hug from his wife, Meghan. Listening, one could tell all was right with his world in that moment.
Seventeen months after his grandfather passed, Harry was notified that his Granny was gone.
“Pa was king.”
Harry: A Man. Not a Spare.
Harry likens California to life. By extension one can also hear that he sees Meghan and America as givers of life also. Speaking of the past, of honoring long-dead ancestors with bows, and salutes while passing monuments in their image, it’s easy to see how generations became mired in death and stuck in the ways of the deceased.
Spare begins with an institutional family meeting where Harry is resented for expecting and seeking his individuality. Where he confronted his punishers for retaliating against him for attempting to live his life on his terms with a partner of his choosing. We can all understand why Charles would be resentful. He was denied his choice for most of his life. The book also highlights why William is resentful – as the heir, he’s held to a stricter rule than Harry. Being his own man was never on the table for William.
Spare ends with the realization of life being an active choice. By remaining in the traditions he was raised in, death had become part of everything. Ancestors were buried in houses; walls were held together with blood. Images of the dead were on walls and standing in corners. Harry wasn’t aware of an option other than death worship. Tradition had taught him he was only in the world to support the lives of his superiors, not to live his own life. Tradition had taught him to put the crown and institution before self and family. Tradition had taught him that obedience to duty came before everything. There was a pecking order to obedience. His brother was above him. His father was above his brother. His granny was above everyone. If granny said yes, it didn’t matter what the other two said. Yet his brother could still physically assault him and threaten him with no consequences. His father could still remove his protection to bring him into obedience as he saw fit.
Then Meghan came along. A Black Woman who had made a name and career for herself crossed his line of sight. Someone he connected with whom he had a great deal in common. Someone who exuded life and joy. Someone who demanded to be respected for who they were, not because of their name or position. A humane human with a good heart. Harry became smitten and developed a new life-focused purpose.
Harry had tested his constraints throughout his life. But he had tested with mischief. He had played at being naughty and shocking. He had explored options within the parameters set for him. Because of the way his family treated Meghan, he had to think in a new way and explore options outside of everything he had ever known. In doing so, he learned more independence than he thought possible. More importantly, he learned, experienced, and embraced love. Love for himself, his wife, their relationship. Love has expanded Harry into a protector, a provider, a man, a husband, and a father.
In the last minutes of his story, Harry describes his daughter’s birth. He shares his verbal greeting and his desire to welcome Lilibet skin to skin. He shares that later, as he and Meghan laid skin to skin, she spoke his testimony to him, words he now hold sacred. “That was everything. That is a man. My love, that is not a spare.”
During the pandemic, I began investing in the stock market. I was slow to act and extremely timid at first, but my nature leans towards high-risk, high-reward scenarios.
In January 2021, I began investing in AMC Theaters to combat the short attack by which hedge funds were attempting to bankrupt AMC for their gain.
Retail investors (non-institution) of AMC are called Apes. Not sure how the moniker came about but it’s now proudly worn by millions of people around the world.
In this video, Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, speaks to his army of Apes about our mutually beneficial relationship. This is a great share from @CEOAdam on the love affair between @AMCTheatres and #retailinvestors. It’s also insightful regarding business finance while in survival mode.
We all have responsibility for our own lives. People assume we give up that agency when we enter certain agreements and relationships – employment, romantic, parental, friend, etc. We may even assume we’re handing over our agency to others at different stages of life. However, the bottom line is: no matter the situation, relationship or agreement we are each responsible for our own lives. We each create the conditions for our joy, peace, and growth. Even when the choices are not ideal, we can still choose what we allow to impact our forward motion.
Is who you think you are your true self? Some thoughts on the way a new co-worker is representing herself.
Things to consider:
✴️Point of origin is not final destination.
✴️Our expectations are what we look to fulfill. Reduce disappointments by changing/eliminating your expectations.
✴️You may be limiting yourself based on the limitations of your environment. Go beyond what you can see.
✴️If people or situations disturb your spirit, remain alert until you’re clear of the disturbance.
✴️You can choose to be a better version of youself every day. You are that powerful and so much more.
Unpopular Opinion: I think everyone needs to invest in a real estate course and learn what they need to know to do what they want to do – rent, own, invest, etc. – in their local market. This doesn’t mean you have to represent yourself in your deals. It does however, make it more likely for you to know when and how you are not being well represented.
I had four listing agents for my first resale in NYC. During the tenure of three of the agents, I was in real estate school in AZ. I had literally gone along with things suggested by the agents that I assumed was a ”professional knowledge” thing, that was nothing of the sort. Real estate agents are just people with their own opinions and biases just like you. More than likely, they are more concerned with their best interests than yours. Who knows what they consider to be their best interest on any given day dealing with you?
I’m absolutely certain there are excellent real estate agents in the world who truly strive to be good representatives of their clients and are respectful counterparts in a transaction. I have not had the honor of working with one. In either of the two states, I’ve bought and sold homes in.
FSBO’s (for sale by owner) are laughed at by professionals. They’re derided. As an agent selling my own property, I was scoffed at repeatedly. Another agent actually told me it was illegal for an agent to sell their own property. It’s not. One of my former brokerages made it impossible to remain with the agency if you sell on your own instead of listing with them. The average homeowner has the option to sell their own home or hire someone to do it for them, but a real estate agent can only sell through their agency? Nah. I didn’t get into real estate to have my options restricted. On property I own.
What I will tell you as a new agent with a clientele of one, myself, I am my best representative. I was the best representative of my properties. No one know the home better than the homeowner. Even if you work with an agent, your job is to make sure they market your property well. Only one agent of the six I’ve worked with got a better number for me than I got for myself, but she didn’t close the deal. She dropped the ball and told me to my face face, in front of her broker, that she did her job my getting me the offer. With my limited real estate knowledge (still in RE school at that point), I told her, “Your job is to close the deal.”
Agents don’t get paid for offers. They get paid when their brokers get paid. Their brokers get paid at closing. No close, no pay.
I went through two more agents after her before getting my license in NY, joining an agency and listing my own property. Listing with your brokerage as an owner/agent does have some benefits. In New York City, there’s no public MLS. Agencies market properties to each other. Agents build networks and databases for marketing units or buildings. It’s easier to be seen via an agency’s platform. I was in contract within a few weeks of listing my own property with my agency. The buyer had expressed interest to one of my former listing agents. Had even made a low offer, which I rejected. When I relisted my property, they reached out again and we met in the middle on price.
For my AZ resale, I had one agent before delisting and going FSBO. He fielded an offer. It was low. I nudged him to follow up. I got the sense he thought I was being unrealistic in my expectations. Honestly, I think he was going by the book. He was focused on comps and the comps on the block didn’t support my pricing. This is where personal knowledge of your property and neighborhood comes in.
The two recent sells on my street hd been quick and urgent. The first one may have been fear of market collapse or perhaps the owner was over-extended. A lot of homes in this community are second homes before they become primary residences.
The second home that sold under market felt trapped by the comp of the first sale. They were also on contingency with the builder for a larger home down the street. They were at risk of losing the lot they wanted, so they were desperate to close fast.
I wasn’t in a hurry. I had a low number I didn’t want to go below. The offer my agent got was about $30k below ask and $20k below my low number at the time. The house wasn’t showing, meaning either agents weren’t aware it was available or it simply wasn’t being shared/marketed by y agent. Tucson had very low inventory at this time. Other properties in the area were getting offers within a week of listing. I stayed listed for three months before canceling the listing. I rested during the holidays and relisted on Zillow in January.
The offer I accepted came in $500 below my floor and $10,000 below my ask. Decent numbers but not the best for the times. I hadn’t kept my eye on the market. The absolute lack of inventory in the Metro Tucson area meant I could’ve netted $30-50k above my ask had I been more patient and discerning. As it was, the offer I closed on was $30,000 higher than the offer my agent brought me months prior and $9,500 higher than the highest cash offer from a corporate cash buyer. Not to mention the 4-5% commission fees saved for any of the offers.
Representing myself has earned and saved me tens of thousands of dollars per transaction. Because proof is in the pudding, I don’t see myself using an agent unless it’s absolutely beneficial to me.
For example, I’m planning on buying investment properties in a state I’ve never owned in before. The properties are city-owned, deeply discounted and comes with performance requirements. The city also requires licensed agents to process the application. No problem. I’ll hire an agent. The city as the seller, pays the agent’s fee. If I choose well, I may have someone to navigate a new market with me. If my agent streak continues as it has been, then I’ll have another cautionary tale.
Speaking of cautionary tales, the buyers of my AZ home and their agents are intergalactic level assholes. Like truly, I’ve never encountered the audacious level of disrespect and entitlement as these four individuals exhibited throughout the course of the transaction. I already shared their numbers were within spitting distance of my range, so in my mind,not enough to to trash the deal over. However, their treatment of me was so insulting, I asked them to cancel the contract twice. I simply was not comfortable dealing with them. In Arizona, sellers can’t cancel purchase contracts unless there’s outright fraud. I suspected they were misrepresenting themselves and their intentions but it didn’t amount to the level of fraud. Essentially, I asked repeatedly for verification of identity and funds. Their agent ignored my requests. I ended up contacting their banker, whom I don’t know and who could say anything on the phone, but he claimed they were legit and he had verified identity and funds. He also forwarded a chain of emails which mollified me a bit. I was assured by my broker at the time that the title process would shake loose any discrepancies. Title was a breeze. These people weren’t.
Because of this experience, the next home I sell for myself, I will not pay for the buyers agent. If I am FSBO, and the buyer wants an agent, then the buyer can pay for their own agent. In my mind, I paid money for licensed professionals to disrespect me during the resale of my AZ home. The state board says their behavior (more than shared here) is neither an ethics violation or a professional standards violation. One broker told me this is what I get for representing myself. Another said, next time you’ll hire someone to represent you, won’t you? Yet another said, why don’t you believe in the system? Each of these people make money off of agents listing and closing properties with their firms. That’s the only way they remain profitable entities. Me selling outside of the agency is of no value to them. That’s a blaring intrinsic bias. I had to stop and ask myself, “Who does their advice benefit?” Then more specifically, “How does this advice benefit me?” It didn’t. So I had to continue to move in a way that benefited me. Honestly, this is how I’ll be moving for the foreseeable future.
Sometimes we focus on the mountain. We become fixated on the seemingly insurmountable obstacle we would never even dream of overcoming. Ironically, it’s the self-defeating language we speak to our inner selves that leads to poor imagination. We predetermine we are not able to do, to conquer, to overcome what is before us then we lay down and play dead… or put our heads in the dirt… or crawl into caves for extended hibernations.
Alternatively, we can choose to simply look at the mountain for what it is: something that has multiple sides and levels. There is always a way up, over, around, under and through it. Be assured, getting to the other side is achievable. Remembering this simple truth about every impossible situation will shift perspective and focus immeasurably. The mountain may not become a molehill, but it will become manageable. It can then be approached as a challenge or trial in need of an action plan.
When we no longer view our obstacles as insurmountable they stop being the opposition of our life, the limits of creative thought, the borders of vision and the anchors of our energy.
How we react to external problems reflect our internal conflicts. The human condition seems to be a lifelong process of constantly striving to get to the other side of fear, and therefore to the other side ourselves. First, we have to see that it’s possible to do so.
The Process of Change
A few days ago, I resuscitated my bike; it had been sitting on flats in the garage for over a year. One of the things that attracted me to the Sonoran Desert was the thought of cycling with my camera throughout the year. Unfortunately, when I got here, everything about riding in the desert seemed like a death wish. Long expanses of curving road. Impatient drivers. Wild animals. Cactus needles. Dehydration. Sun-burn. Unending upward mountain climbs.
The fear snuck up on me.
I had been riding around New York City and parts of New Jersey since 2011. I had done cycling events – The Five Boro Ride several times, a couple of half centuries, and countless other organized and solo rides. Yet, I when I got to a wide open road in the desert, I believed the limits of my sight. New York City didn’t have mountains! Where’s the shade? Where can I rest? What if I run out of water? What if I get hit and no one sees me in a ditch?
The obstacles I created impaired my ability to actually do one of the things I enjoy most and something I’ve wanted all my life to do around the world. During the two years I’ve had my bike in Arizona, I’ve gotten on it no more than two or three times.
Getting to the Other Side
All this to say, the other day I went out on my bike for the first time in a long while. For two days prior, I had walked a nearly three-mile route. The same route I had tried to ride last year and ended up feeling as if I had outdone myself with. It completely took my breath away, or more aptly, it was so hard to breathe that I turned around and went home. One and half miles did me in. And kept me off my bike for a year. I could have pushed through. I could have tried again that next day. I did neither. I limited myself and refused to even try again.
This time, I did push through. This time I huffed and puffed up this incline and whoo-hooooed all the way down! The downhill return was mind-blowingly-smooth and I basically coasted back to my subdivision gate. The below video was made during this ride. In it I talk about how the payoff is worth the effort.
Remember Who You Are
When I got home, I reviewed my ride stats on my phone and saw old ride stats that sort of blew my mind.
This three-mile roundtrip in my neighborhood had an elevation gain of 269 feet. Isolated, that sounds like a lot. The 269-foot climb must be what took my breath away, or so I thought. But my old stats show rides around Manhattan with 100 to 600 feet of elevation gain. One Staten Island event had a route elevation gain of 3203 feet. Since the highest point I reached was 396 feet above sea level (practically the tallest peak on the island), I believe the gain indicates the combination of hills I went up that day.
While writing this piece, I’ve finally realized I never accounted for the need to acclimate to a higher overall elevation. New York City is 33 feet above sea level. My home address in Marana, Arizona is at 2425 feet above sea level. My lungs are working harder here due to altitude and thinner arid air.
Sometimes we have to give ourselves a break and consider the practical elements of our environment and what adjustments we need to make to adapt better.
I had long proven to myself I’m capable of overcoming physical obstacles. Yet when my new environment proved more of a challenge than I expected, I gave up. I didn’t examine why it was more challenging or how I could adapt to the environmental changes. Focusing on the mountain ranges surrounding me defeated me. I psyched myself out.
Now that I’ve reminded myself that I did more in New York than I’ve even attempted in Arizona, I’m gonna retrieve that fearless, can-do attitude and go ride these desert roads!
One month ago, I published my fifth book and seventh overall print project. One would think by this time, the process would be smooth and effortless. Unfortunately, that was not the case for this project. Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace developed into a painfully personal devotional exploration of all the ways I felt like an abject failure in life. It began as a video log with the intention of providing in-the-moment face-to-face commentary on topics in the book. The videos remain a tough editing task. Even knowing what I said, wrote and how things worked out, the first few videos are filled with so much sorrow my heart still aches when I watch them. Fortunately, I know I needed to experience the full range of my emotions in order to move through that space fully and honestly. On the other side was a deep well of joy waiting for me to dive in.
Thank God a good woman can’t stay down for long! My story has evolved into a testimonial of God’s everlasting grace and love for those who depend on Him. Refreshment. Renewal. Rejuvenation. It’s all possible. It’s all within reach. It’s life altering in an wonderfully amazing way.
I invite you to journey with me to where I am now: At peace within my purpose and fully open to what comes next.
Peace, light and love to you!
“Desert of Solitude is totally different from LaShawnda’s other books. It’s really a good read; a different read because now you see the maturity that has come with all the other books, why they were [written]. If you put them all together, there’s a line that led to this. That’s what I see: all of that led to this and this is where I’m at right now. I can see the maturity, the growth as a person and as a writer. And reading it, I was like whoa! Whoa! Whoa! To me it’s one of the better reads to be honest. It kinda gets you.”
~ Carmen, March 17, 2018
From worn and torn to whole and sufficient
We all want what we want when we want it. What happens when we don’t get what we’ve been hoping and praying for by a certain age in life?
Desert of Solitude is for those of us who have achieved nothing, something or a great deal but are no closer to that “one thing” we most desire. What do you think you’re missing? What do you believe will complete your existence?
Whatever “it” is doesn’t matter. You are enough for your life.
Desert of Solitude follows the journey of a forty-something year old woman as she shakes herself loose of youthful ideals, and releases herself from expectations formed by family, culture and society. It’s an exploration of her determination to view her life from a position of abundant grace rather than disappointed hopes. Desert of Solitude is about finding satisfaction in God’s grace and provision in the valleys of life.
LaShawnda Jones is a simple woman who is content with her Creator’s design choices for her. She is a woman who eagerly embraces the process of her personal evolution and the results of her choices.
LaShawnda Jones is the independent author and publisher of Spirit Harvest Publishing Company. She maintains several blogs which focus on spiritual growth, social justice and photography. She speaks nationally on self-image, self-esteem, and identity in Christ and living the life you envision for yourself. Prior publications are Love & Forgiveness, My God and Me(Jazzy Media), Cliches: A Life in Verse (Jazzy Media) and Go, Tell Michelle (State University of New York Press). She holds degrees in marketing management (MATC) and political science (UW-Milwaukee) as well as a Master of Arts in International Affairs (The New School).