The Duality Notion. Do You Have It?

How many of you can honestly say that you possess duality? That you have the ability to mold yourself to any environment? That you can still be yourself at your core and feel comfortable in any environment because of your inner acceptance of the complexities that are you? I can. I am proud to say that I am from the West side of Chicago and it is a dynamic to my personality. I also graduated from De Paul University and that too has helped to mold me. I am proud to say that although I live in California now, I still yearn for an Italian beef double dipped with extra peppers from one of my old neighborhood restaurants. At the same time I love the taste of fresh sushi and shots of Saki. Yum. That my friend are very minute ingredients to possessing duality.

These things may seem trivial but they are divisions of my personality that help to make me, me. I urge all people to have a sense of duality. Especially my younger brothers and sisters who may have spent majority of their time in their neighborhood. Once you are able to please go out into the world. Even if that means just leaving your side of town. Stop letting your fear of feeling temporary uncomfortableness limit yourself and your growth. I mentioned in one article that part of the reason why I stopped dating neighborhood guys in Chicago was because they were too afraid of the unknown. They never wanted to leave the comfort of our neighborhood and made any possible relationships with them difficult because I was very much so open to exploration. How could I grow with a stagnant person? I couldn’t. This does not mean that everything that is outside of your immediate surroundings is somehow better, it just means that exposing yourself to different atmospheres is useful when developing duality. You never can know what you can give the world if your don’t step off your block.

Some might ask “Why should we be dual? Why do we have to have depth? Why can’t the other have the burden of having to have the duality and adjust to us?” In a perfect world, things would operate in that fashion and maybe to some extent and with some people they do. However, for the majority it does not. People already come with a presumption of what they can and cannot expect from young urban youth. Which is why I say let’s prove their asses wrong. Show them that we are just as complex, educated, multifaceted and wonderfully different as the next.

I urge the younger urban youth to never and I do mean never, be afraid to branch out of your norm. Allow yourself to have complexities and many facets to yourself. Think of yourself as a rubex cube that possesses many sections, that can be reached with a simple click or a turn. Branching out will prevent you from feeling uneasy around people of different cultures, who have different beliefs. Branching out will give you what I call chameleon swagger. Meaning that you could be thrown into any environment and still be successful, and most importantly be yourself. Leave fear of the opinions of other behind and be dynamic. Stop turning your nose up at things that are different to what you have become accustomed to. Or laughing at a peer for branching out of their immediate surroundings and culture. Note that this does not mean that you have to sell out or loose yourself, it simply means that you are allowed to grow just like everyone else. The only restrictions placed on you are the ones you allow to be there. When I see urban youth do that in ignorance I worry for their future. They are so young and have already decided to limit their lives. There is much more I could say about this but I’m not. I will stop here until further notice. What do you think would be a good move towards opening the minds of urban youth? Suggestions….

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  1. I agree. I live in Oklahoma and have never even stepped foot outside of the country. Yet, I know friends who go on cruises EVERY year or so. I am so grateful to be so unexposed to alot, however. Whenever I travel to a place with crowded people and bright lights, I takes me a minute to soak it all up.

  2. For the youth, I think extra-circular activities can be a great thing. I think it not only gets kids involved and active, but it provides a type of bond. I remember my cousins who lived on the other side of the city were apart of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and I was mad that my mother would not let me join. They always seemed to have so much fun, plus they turned out pretty good! I was always taking part in things outside of school, my core base of all my knowledge in this world, so excuse me if I sound bias. That is the reason why I feel it is a good deed to get exposed

  3. I must commend you on a very well written piece. It deals with a phenomenon that most of us have never even considered. Little do we know but our ancestors understood the complexities of life way back when.

    Life is defined by these dichotomies for they are very much a part of reality and part of our being. The law of opposites is what makes up the whole. There`s the physical/divine, joy/sorrow/, peace/war/, male/female/, positive/negative, even/odd, life/death etc.

    Our ancestors knew the complexities of life and how it defined life itself. One of the great misunderstanding that we have is that one has nothing to do with the other when in reality they`re one in the same. I agree with the author that we do fear the unknown.

    How many of us can fathom that God is The Devil? I dare to say, “not many”. But I ask you, “if we are created in the image of God as has been taught, and there`s a duality that exists in us, then doesn`t this same duality exist in God”? The positive can not exist without the negative.

    I`m sure we`re all familiar with the saying, “in good people there`s bad and in bad people there`s good”. Well we`re subconsciously referring to the complexities of life. In the biggest crackhead there`s good and in the greatest minister there`s bad.

    I have previously read about these dualities of life in one of my books that I own. Upon doing so it took me to another dimension totally. Most of us can`t even deal with the dualities of life because most of the time we are afraid to be true to ourselves in general.

    Why do I say this? It`s because a lot of times we have an ambivalent relationship with either a person or a thing. Take for instance the “BRILLIANT” Brother Malcolm X. How many of us would deny Brother Malcolm before white people publicly but praise him privately and say, “wow, Brother Malcolm didn`t take any mess from those white folks”?

    Without hesitation we`ll praise Dr. King publicly but when it comes to Brother Malcolm we don`t want to make white folks upset with us. With the dualities of life Brother Malcolm can be accepted just as much as Dr. King. As for as the youth goes I have no answer. We could such that they do a lot of serious reading but I don`t know if they`ll take heed.

    Serious reading is all that I, myself, do. Novels, fiction, etc. is just not my cup of tea. I prefer the type of reading that will give me something that I can use throughout the course of life.

    Michael Jackson & The GOLDEN 80s 4ever!!! RIP “MASTER SHOWMAN”.

    Peace, in the spirit of my “HERO”, Brother Malcolm X.

  4. Experience is knowledge, as our knowledge base expands so does our ability to develop. If I would have stayed on the east side of Detroit I would not have known the success I now have today. We should be able to blend into any environment and feel comfortable because we have an understanding of that scene. some communities are like fish bowls, we live in them all our lives and only experience the crumbs that life leaves us instead of reaching out into the world for the whole loaf.

  5. I agree, I am studying abroad in London right now & it is just what the doctor ordered. A lot of people were like omg, how are you gonna make it that far. I am so much more independent. I’m finally learning how to do things on my own…I started working out, eating better, the whole nine. Now these are all things I could do back in NJ if I pleased but being pushed out of my comfort made me realize that I could take control of my life. If I stayed in my mother’s house I would continue w/my childish ways so I knew I had to get far away to grow. I know when I get back home people are gonna wonder where the old me went. Change is so exciting!

  6. Sista LJ, I too am from Chicago thus I can identify with the cravings for childhood foods, however being from Chicago also allows me to speak intelligently to why the brothers in your neighborhood would rather stay in their neighborhood. It is no secret that Chicago is riddled with gang activity thus from a Black Male standpoint it was always safer to stay in ones own neighborhood than venture out and get hurt or killed.

    Secondly, the duality that you speak is not akin to the existential duality that is in all of us, what you are talking about is more alone the lines of what Sista Charisse Jones wrote about in her book Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America, you can find her book on Shifting is not something Black folk do because they want to, it is something we do because various situation in the work place and in our social circles require us to shift who we normally are to who we are in those particular situation. We are all complex beings, however our capitulation and being other than ourselves should not be mistaken as duality or and expression of our complexities. We should be able to be one person no matter the situation and when we do not, we are capitulating and saying to those who would reject who we normally are that their attitudes and perspective about us is correct. Believe it or not, Black folk having to work twice and hard and being twice as smart as white folk is not ok, nor is us having to change who we are to be accepted by others ok!

  7. I agree that all humans need duality. We all need greater knowledge of other cultures and other communities other than our own. I grew up in a very small Southern town, and we were not exposed to many different options for our futures. If we were really smart, we were ALWAYS aked if we were going to be a doctor or a lawyer & occasionally, a teacher. It wasn’t until I left the South back then to pursue college, that I realized the myriad of options available as college degrees. Now I’ve come back to the rural South in order to give back. Things are slowly changing in the rural South now due to the internet. However, I would still have to say that all kids need to be encouraged to research all degree options, apply to study abroad whenever possible by means of a grant or scholarship, and don’t be afraid to dream big no matter who they are, where they come from, or who their parents are. Most intelligent kids in the rural South are still very reluctant to say that they want to pursue an acting or singing career. They just go to college as told & are usually too old to pursue those dreams in a big way later on, or life has happened & they have a family and other responsibilities. Also, if kids have the means later in life as adults, I think that they should at least come back to the urban or rural communities that they left behind and tell their stories of success. This, too, will give hope to the younger ones that they can succeed in many different environments as well.

  8. I have to say in my situation growing up, I was not supposed to “make it out”. Not to tell all my business because it is still painful and hard to talk about even on here. But both my parents suffered from mental disorders and because of that I had to be strong for my little sister and brother. The entire neighborhood knew about it. It was a constant battle to keep the inner pride when I knew what people thought about us. My escape was reading, I read when I was sad and when I was happy. Those words gave me an escape to a whole new world. Stories. My cousins would tease me because where I am from, nobody read. Thug life, being “hot” as we used to call it was the most important thing. Needless to say I felt different and I was, I had the biggest worries on my shoulders and nobody understood me. What was important to me was happiness. I wanted to be happy and in order to have that I had to leave (@ 18). I am glad I did because I can “shift” I feel I have too. My world is on both extreme so for me I feel I need duality. That is the burden you have if you value both “worlds” or like my momma always say “remember where you come from”.

  9. This is my first ever comment on Brownsista, as I’m from London and I always thought I’d leave it to you US folk. BUT…this piece has aroused my interest and my thought-process. It is well written and honest. I agree with much of what you outlined and I am in actual fact entering a new dimension/season in my life whereby I am incorporating all that you have accurately stated. I desire to fulfil the expectations I have of the ‘Woman’ and that is to be virtuous, capable, to posses wisdom and substance and to seize my future and take hold of my destiny. Carrying out the same routine day in and day out, working simply to pay for bills and accepting ‘I’m not good enough’ is hardly going to bring out the duality in us or what I prefer to call it the ‘Depth.’
    Stepping out of the comfort zone or ‘lazy zone’ isn’t easy (I can certainly vouch for that) it’s daunting, frustrating and even painful sometimes. But it is good! It is a defining moment in our life. It determines who we are and who/what we’ll become. I quote ‘you never can know what you can give the world if your don’t step off your block.’ What a serious statement. The one thing that motivates and encourages me to stretch and challenge myself is knowing that I want to leave a Legacy. I want to use the limited time I have here on earth to stamp my mark in this world…and we can all do it!!
    Thank you Brownsista for this empowering and thought-provoking message!!

  10. I find that some people don’t understand the concept, except for those who are dual in nature. I like the oddest things like sci-fi and adele or camping and collard geens…lol. I mean really. your supposed to be who you want and not live to any one standard. I believe that is what makes us strong as people
    @qeen lene-stay there girl and enjoy the life across the pond. Home isnt going anywhere!!!!!!

  11. I have nothing to contribute; only want to say I’ve enjoyed reading your comments.

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