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Self Care / Wellness

A Gentle Reminder to Remain Present + Grateful

"Life. Is. Hard. But how often do you stop to consider what the millions of alternatives could be?"

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Written by Pariss G..

Art by Leeya Jackson.

A few months ago, I received a message from the universe by way of IG or some Facebook post I saw. This message forced me to stop what I was doing and consider the present right then and there. It also forced me to think about the words I choose to throw back out into the universe, and how that shows up in my personal shit: “I hate my life”, “I don’t want to go to work,” “My phone is dying and my charger is at that fuckboy’s house,” “My edibles melted in my hot ass apartment”—WOE IS FUCKING ME.

I carried this message with me and now call it the “I Get To Method”. We all have things that we’d simply rather not do or deal with. The key is to replace the thought of “I have to” with “I get to.” Easy. Some might call this reframing, but whatever you decide to go with, just do it. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our minds, physically and mentally saying things that drag us down without even being aware. But in order to overcome our challenges, we have to be conscious of what we are feeding our brains. Your words could be the very thing keeping you right where you are big homie.

The first morning of using this method, I think I was more grateful for the things in my life than I had been in quite some time. It showed me that these opportunities that I have been so blessed to receive are a privilege—self-awareness on level 10,000,000. When I wake up and say, “I get to go to work today!” I’m really saying so much more than that. By being given the opportunity to go to work, that means:

  • I woke up another day, which really means I was placed on the WAKE TF UP list to try life again.
  • I have a job. This allows me to keep a roof over my head, put food in my belly, buy snacks for my crumb snatching nephews…
  • Since I’m a nanny, someone trusts childish-ass me enough to leave their most precious gift in my care. Crazy. I still pick the veggies out of certain foods.
  • My mind and body are both in good enough shape for me to wake up, drag myself out of bed, get dressed, drive to work, and do my job with no problem.

The key is to replace the thought of “I have to” with “I get to.” Easy.

Like everyone else, I struggle. I complain and whine about life, dredge up old situations and get angry or sad all over again, carry my heavy-ass baggage down and out to places they don’t belong; I get it. Life. Is. Hard. But how often do you stop to consider what the millions of alternatives could be? *Sigh* I’m telling you, once I get going with my thoughts and bringing more life and honor to the beautiful shit in my life, it’s absolutely overwhelming. Using this method allows me the freedom and open space to reflect and shine a light on my blessings all while expanding my love and appreciation for life. I take the time to put it all into perspective by journaling and give thanks for the privileges I have been blessed with. Yep. Imagine that. A black woman with HELLA PRIVILEGE. I understand that I am in control; my tongue carries power and strength, so I must continue to speak of the good. Bikram Choudhury said, “If you can, you must.” So, I shall.  

Using this method allows me the freedom and open space to reflect and shine a light on my blessings all while expanding my love and appreciation for life. I take the time to put it all into perspective by journaling and give thanks for the privileges I have been blessed with. Yep. Imagine that. A black woman with HELLA PRIVILEGE. I understand that I am in control; my tongue carries power and strength, so I must continue to speak of the good.

Buuuuut you wanna know what my favorite thing about all of this is? Yeah? No? WELL IMA TELL YA ANYWAY: I’ve received super-heartwarming and positive feedback from folks trying this out for themselves. I love it so much. It’s a foolproof plan, folks. It works. Trust me. Well, us.

On another note, I’m currently reading a book called Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. The authors are both designers who decided to use their talents to help struggling folks like us figure it all out. They currently teach an elective at Stanford on “how to use design to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.” Although I am still in the early chapters, I know that this book is definitely one for everyone to grab. Apparently, designers love reframing questions, which is what the “I Get To Method” is about—taking our situations from this thing to that thing. A “look at the bright side” type deal. I highly suggest grabbing this book and sharing with as many folks as possible.

Life. Is. Hard. But how often do you stop to consider what the millions of alternatives could be?

There’s a saying I’ve heard a few times in life that sounds something like, “Actions speak louder than words.” I’m sure you’re familiar and I’m going to help you put this little tricky trick into action! Aren’t you excited!? Yep!? Same. Okay, so, first I want you to find a quiet space and at least 15 minutes of alone time. Next, you’re going to write down a list of things you need to do. Whether it be grocery shopping, going to work, finishing a project, laundry, breaking up with your trashy ass partner—whatever. Then read that list back to yourself saying, “I get to” before each item. Do this every day for a week. Go into this with a positive mindset. Remind yourself that you have privileges that someone else in the world does not. You wake up every day with at least one reason to be grateful. The universe can hear you, so speak up!

Remember, you are super-blessed, super-loved, super-favored, and super-cute 😉


About the Author

Pariss is a super dope lady living it up, and sometimes down, in the beautiful city of Chicago. She’s a full time nanny who uses naptime to put in work on her blog/brand – A Black Twenty Something. She’s also a photographer and she does it all quite well. In her free time she eats, sleeps, watches all of the things and eats some more. She really enjoys food if that wasn’t obvious? But now that it is most definitely clear, send her food.

Follow on IG: @ablacktwentysomething | Follow on Twitter: @


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