Where am I right now? I am in an elevated state of consciousness and self-confidence. I am making the strongest attempts to produce the change that I want to see in the world and won’t allow myself to do anything that goes against my morals.
Through a good amount of self-reflection and constant work on myself to address weaknesses, I am in the best place that I have been in a very long time.
I went through my first breakup after a four-year relationship, moved back home to Harlem for the first time in eight years (gentrification is something else), and I just started my first job doing what I love to do. With so many changes, I have too much going for me to be anything but optimistic about the future.
I have also been making the changes to liberate myself from the rough exteriors that society has attempted to impose on us. An emphasis has been put on the individual, but with that comes a selfish state toward other human beings that we pass by each day. Society as a whole (at least the western) is very cold and distant. A lot of differences between people or groups are the result of miscommunication or a significant lack of it entirely. We’ve also have not been taught how to process certain feelings, especially those of hate. I’ve realized how much energy is consumed by hate. To hate is to be actively thinking about why you hate another individual, and for me, no person is worth all that time and effort. The world attempts to make us hate too — just watch the news every day and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Since I decided to completely adopt this philosophy toward life, it has made me critical of the world around me. Surveying human interaction makes me feel weird, because I tend to say the things that others keep on their minds and may be too afraid to put out there. I’ll tell a person something that I like about them with no ulterior motive, but just to appreciate their physical or mental characteristics. I’m deciding to take the time tell that maintenance or that Metro Transit Authority(MTA) worker thanks for the job that they’re doing because I haven’t forgotten that they’re people too. They don’t have to do the jobs that their doing well, but they are making the active choice to do so. They rarely are appreciated for making things run for others navigating through different spaces. I’ll ask for their name and their story because everyone has their own, and people should take more time to hear them. Society has become so impersonal in so many ways, and I get viewed as weird because I’m deciding to be the complete antithesis of that. I’m often asked, “Why do you care so much?” And it’s because you’re a human being and you deserve my respect. There’s a lack of vocalizing appreciation for people around us and how they indirectly or directly impact our lives. I show love because you never know the difference that those few genuine words or gestures can make in an individual’s life.
It is frustrating that people are so quick to attribute my outlook on the world to either religion, some ulterior motive, or that I am plain crazy. But none of those are the case and while it is frustrating, their perception is not something I can control. Seeing that kindness and generosity is conditional only when one is trying to obtain something from someone else is disheartening. It also takes away from those that are kind with no expectations of receiving anything in return. It makes me question if anyone is genuine anymore. I often avoid attention because I am not seeking praise for just being me. I’m trying to spread love and positivity, and make it such a powerful force that it will be too hard to ignore. If I die tomorrow knowing that I was striving to spread good each day, then so be it.
I have recognized that I am weird, but I embrace it. It is hard to fit in a world when you’re custom made.
Editor’s note: This story is part of our September 2016 series ‘Hundreds of Words about Location: Where are you, and how does it affect how you see the world?’
Raheem is a 2016 graduate of Wesleyan University who was born and raised in Harlem, New York. He still resides in Harlem, and is now a Squash coach in Brooklyn. He is working to empower and educate youth in urban communities. He is also finding different ways to expand his mental and physical health. Follow him @rah_logan on Instagram or send him an email firstname.lastname@example.org.