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inspiration of fred

Young Black Man In Today’s America: Modifying The Internal To Control Your External

I doubt that being black held me back or increased my struggles. Don’t misunderstand that first sentence. The U.S. is statistically and systematically constructed.

Made to keep Black’s and people of color in the same place generation after generation. When people see black people they have a preconceived exterior perception. The perception people have of you, you cannot control.

That perception can affect certain outcomes. Being black in America comes with a lot of previous attached bias. Bias based on what America and the rest of the world has projected on our race.

I have extracted throughout my life the understanding of the preconceptions and expectations expected from a black man.

Some of these expectations and preconceptions have affected my life while others I have not allowed to. For example, one of the most prevalent, and ongoing expectations is for black men to either get gunned down or incarcerated by the police.

I have been instructed exactly what to do when being pulled over by the police. Even interacting with them from a young age.

Just so that I don’t run the risk of a misunderstanding.  Then have my life changed with a hashtag: #FreeFred or a shirt with a picture of me on it saying Justice for Fred, or better yet, #RIPFred. Unfortunately, I subscribe to this concept. It is an impoverished yet, realistic way that we, as black men have to maneuver.

Else run the risk of that unfortunate and unnecessary outcome.

I do not allow the color of my skin to dictate my worth or the things in which can be accomplished. The belief that the only thing you can control is yourself, is a very important belief for us as black men. We have to understand that because of our skin color, things will be harder to achieve than for our Caucasian counterparts. That does not mean we should use it as an excuse to not try.

Instead, we should not only better ourselves, but at the bare minimum, better those around us as well. Only by holding ourselves and our actions accountable first, can we come to understand where you, as a person are in life and where you can improve. Even subconsciously using “being black” as an excuse or mental shackles, should not be tolerated.

I was able to be accountable with myself in one year’s worth of time. I did not continue to allow excuses or outside expectations to withhold me from striving to be better than I was before. I want to initiate this by saying, I am not any better than the person reading this post, whether it be financially, physically or mentally. What I do have is life experience that I believe could be useful for somebody out there today who was in my position just one year ago. 

Around this time back in September 2019, I was working a dead end job at Walmart. I worked as a personal shopper and had dropped out of college. I was still reeling from a weight loss surgery that saved my life when I was unable to control my eating habits. Addiction to food for happiness, not for hunger, was one of my greatest joys, but led to Type 2 Diabetes. Pretty much a very low point in my life and I had no plans for the future.

I was living life day to day with no purpose. I was a black college dropout. I wasted away a free college educational opportunity. My father earned through for his hard work and sacrifices in the armed forces. Residing in the state of AL, the job market for people without college degrees is scarce. The minimum wage is $7.25. Walmart paid $11. This gives you an idea of how low my income was for that time. The cost of living is low here, but so is the level of income.

I was still living with my parents at the age of 23, with no honest way to afford moving out. I say all this to express that I was at the end of the road, so to speak. I was lacking a purpose in life without an idea. Even the desire to improve my life at all, that was my mindset or lack thereof.

I had found myself in a place of my own making. Furthermore, I was surrounded by the repercussions of all my prior actions and decisions. Many of us today find ourselves with a boatload of problems and issues.

If we were to take the time to evaluate our lives, we will see most of our problems stem from our own actions and choices. Many people have subscribed to the ideology that the world around us, is out of our control. This fact alone is the reason for the current circumstances we come to find ourselves in.

Reality is that most of your life has been dictated by your choices and decisions. Except of course, the uncontrollable circumstances in life. When looking at the problems and obstacles in your life, don’t first look at what you can’t change such as your race or skin tone etc… That is how you quit before ever starting. The easiest way to not take action, is to look and find something you can’t control. Then say I can’t do it because “even if I accomplish X, the systems are stacked against me, so I could never achieve Y”.

If you look at those problems with the mindset of what can I do to improve myself, then it becomes possible to overcome the current predicament. To effectively problem-solve, is to first have the mindset of being accountable for your situation. Then working on improving the one thing you have complete control over… self. If you start to work on self, the exterior problems, instead of being obstacles in your way, become problems waiting for your solutions.

Let’s cut back to me wasting my life away at a dead end Walmart job. My BFAM(Brother From Another Mother), who is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic mind you, admonished me continuously and consistently for a few years how I can improve my life. How investing, saving and working hard was showing him results in the Northeast.

My stubborn self first did not believe that I, Frederick Moseley, could be more than just another 9-5 office worker. One who goes through life just trying to make enough money to enjoy my limited and unfulfilling free time.Secondly, I did not think I was strong enough to endure the hardships and struggles that would be ahead if I strived for more in life.

Looking back at that time, I realized that you, yourself are the biggest roadblock to improving your life. Not the situation you find yourself in, or people around you, or even the preconceived expectations placed on you. Only you have the power to stop or start your journey to improvement. No one can stop you. Nobody can do it for you.

My brother Rafy, finally convinced me that there was a different way to live by. Sometimes you need others believing in you to first start believing in you. That is not to say you can’t do it alone, it is to say that the right people around you can expedite or even influence your personal improvement. Despite being an immigrant, he was able to save money and work hard to buy a rental property in a few years of rigorous saving.

His actions showed me that it is very possible to achieve things. Initially I thought they were either an impossibility, or something only attainable in the far future i.e., 40 years of employment. Second, that I, like many others, are using our problems and obstacles as a crutch. We explain why we can’t do what’s best for ourselves. Instead of using obstacles in life to hold us back, we should pivot them into something empowering.

For example, being black can be viewed as an obstacle in many cases of our current reality, such as being profiled as a thug, simply because of attire or music preference. But also, it is used by some for empowerment such as being a “black owned business” or the phrase “Black Excellence”.

What it showed me was that I may be a black college dropout working a dead end job with nothing but debt, but I also could become something entirely different. The only way for me to accomplish that, was if I was willing to make some hard choices. And place myself in a lot of uncomfortable situations.

After Rafy showed the fruits of his actions he had been taking over the last few years, I immediately realized that I could also follow in the path he had travelled on… and even improve it. Pause… I just want to say here before I continue, that if and when you find that way out, or solution to your problems. Don’t hesitate or second guess yourself. Trust me.

even if the solution isn’t as great as when it’s first thought. It will still be better than where you were before you took that first action towards a resolution. The first thing I realized was that I would not be able to make any real progress or effective change, if I did not first improve the place I was located.

As I previously said, AL has a low cost of living but also has low income salaries for non college graduates. I was still living with my parents at the time, which continued to hinder my personal growth.Living with your parents is good for the benefits it provides. Benefits such as financial, familial, etc… But, beware that living with your parents has the possibility to stunt the development of your real world skills. Especially, understanding, whether intentional or not.

To change yourself, sometimes you have to first change your surroundings. I, along with my brother went to solve the first obstacle in the way of my personal improvement. After contemplation, we realized it was best to move to New England and live together.

For starters, in New England, there are way more job opportunities than in AL.  It was the best option I pondered about, since I could move in with my brother. A solution oriented mindset is the first step to solving the plethora of problems life throws at you. Long story short, which I will consider writing about later if enough people ask me about it, haha.

We found a job with quick onboarding. I received an offer for a seasonal Amazon warehouse job that started in Nov 2019. Action follows research, or else research will always only be research. I filled out all the paperwork needed to apply. Scheduled a 2-day flight to New England for the interview within a week of finding the job offer. Actual story.

This is late in Oct 2019 that I traveled out for this interview and got hired with an approaching start date. With the first problem resolved, I moved to the next few issues. Problems such as quitting my current job. Figuring out how I will move everything across the country.

Contemplating out the next step after arrival was on my mind. The most interesting part is explaining to your parents that your 2-day flight to see a friend, was actually for an interview. Or that you plan on moving your entire life across the country with no backup plan whatsoever.

Come Nov 2019, I am pulling out of my parents driveway with my car packed to the brim with the necessities that you can realistically fit in a four-door sedan. I find myself driving 9 hours to the NC airport to pick up Rafy, and then we continue the 11 more hours to New England.

We get there at 5am in the morning on Nov 9th and I have to work immediately 24 hours the next day at 5am. You can imagine the struggle with a 45-minute commute. Including my first experience of the New England winter weather. I started out sleeping on a couch for 3 weeks after arriving.

This was while the purchase of the first home was still in the process. That is to say, I took a leap of faith in my brother being able to close the rental property. Every day after work I would go to a Barnes and Nobles with my cheap $200 Chromebook. Or go to different job agencies throughout the cities.

I was applying to hundreds of jobs a week because I placed myself in a situation where it was sink or swim. I was only receiving holiday bonus pay with Amazon until Jan 11th. That was $15 an hour, but the standard pay would be $11 after the first week in Jan. I had to find another job before then or else I would not be able to afford my bills. Even worse is it would show that I failed.

At the time, I had an innate fear of failure ensnared by how others would perceive me. Instead of how I had been willing to take a risk for something, when most others would never. This is another example of how you can allow peoples’ opinions to burden you, on your already burdened journey.

The worst part is that you stop and think about the criticisms that are in your head. You find yourself wasting time indulging in hypothetical criticism, instead of the very real problems you’re facing. That’s where one of the biggest skills I learned throughout this year helped me.

Solution oriented thinking, instead of enlarging the problem. Look at the problem from the perspective of how can I best solve this.  There are only two types of problems, existing problems and solved problems. The good thing about existing problems, is that they are easily identifiable. Two, they are there until you’re either willing or capable to solve them.

Solved problems are there as guide posts to show where you have been and detail what you have overcome and represent what could have stopped you.For example, one problem I faced this past year was finding a job under a short time frame.

I can now look back at the ‘solved problem’. I can thoroughly understand the problem I faced. Especially the work and effort it took to solve that problem. Finally, I sense the growth attributed to overcoming.

  The simple question is, do you want to have a lot of solved problems or existing ones? The answer to that question may be simple, but the work required is what usually stops most of us. 

I know that we live in a world that is full of unfair systems, bias, etc… Don’t let that stop you from first looking within. Seeing what you can correct and strengthen. That way, you can be ready for the world you know and understand what is waiting for you.

The only way through life, no matter the race, is to overcome and face the obstacles placed in front of you. Otherwise, are you truly living if you avoid every discomfort and problem in life? I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes by Gordon Allport, “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.

If there is a purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering and in dying. But no man can tell another what this purpose is.Each man must find out for himself, and must accept the responsibility that his answer prescribes.

If he succeeds, he will continue to grow in spite of all indignities.” Two of the main points I want you to understand from that is for starters, man, as in all humans, fears the unknown. This can cause a multitude of problems big to small. If we understood the simple truth that to live is to suffer, then man can be prepared for the problems and situations that will unfold.

Accepting that core concept will enable you to strengthen yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Specifically, to prepare for life’s inevitable possibilities. The second is to find your purpose in life. I know people have told you this a million times but if it’s your first time, then listen well.

I did not understand the power in purpose until I went through this year of trials, with ups and downs. When I came to many crossroads, I found that having a purpose empowered me to make the best decisions. Given the circumstances, I would have run away from if I did not have a purpose spurring me through all the adversity.

Finding your purpose is more important than worrying about the world around you. Beware, the world is structured to take from you whether it be your time, health or money.

Death is the only True Peace.

Don’t go through life expecting there to be not one down period. Or lacking negative experiences. If we, as a people were more prepared for the inevitable downtimes, we would not collapse as a community when hardships strike i.e. Covid-19, Politics, Police, Etc…

Throughout this past year I have grown more than I have in my past 23 years of my life. I have an abundance of stories and lessons that I have learned throughout this year. I will be glad to share with anybody willing to listen. I find myself back where I started physically, but not mentally and that is one of the best feelings in life.

To feel and experience the growth within yourself. There are a lot of people out there, especially black men, who find ourselves with a lot of obstacles in our way. Whether it be external or internal. I want to tell my story so that it can help others who were stuck where I was.

These past 12 months have shown me there is so much more purpose to life than to simply live. I still have obstacles to overcome as a person and as a black man. As I learn, I will continue to share so that others may learn as well. Or at least see through my stories a part of themselves. I look forward to writing more in the future, Thanks.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Alicia

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Margaret Grayson

    Dear Fred, I just want to thank you for sharing your story. Your unselfish act of sharing your journey, fears,and experiences is much appreciated more than you will know.. Many people who may be struggling with these same issues need to know that they are not alone.So God bless you for taking the time to be transparent and real. I, for one, am proud of you! No room for judgment towards each other in this journey through life! Very proud of you young man! May God’s peace be with you always! Love -🙏❤️Your Aunt Margaret

    1. Frederick Moseley

      Thanks for your words they really mean a lot! Took a long while for me to decide if I even wanted to share publicly. In hindsight, I am genuinely glad I did and will continue to. <3

  3. Thomas Sourfield

    Very nice

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