Bored All Of The Time? Here's What's Really Going On.
Anyone who has kids (or spends a lot of time around them) knows that there comes a time — usually at least a couple of times a week — when, out of nowhere, they will say, almost at a whiny pitch, "I'm bored." What's a trip about it is, if they are above the age of five and you ask them why, more times than not, they have absolutely no clue. All they know is things feel dull and tedious and they think it's up to you to figure out how to make their world more exciting again.
The interesting thing about boredom? It isn't something that folks grow out of. And personally, something that I've noticed is it's a feeling that many creatives and folks in long-term relationships tend to encounter quite a bit. And, like children, sometimes adults don't really get what the root cause of their own boredom is either. The problem with that is, if the feeling goes on for too long, they could find some not-the-best-idea ways to fill the void.
So, let's tackle this today, y'all. If you (or someone you know) seem to experience boredom, more than just sporadically, perhaps these following points can help you to get to the root of what keeps bringing you to that space.
1.Do You Know Your Purpose?
Ask anyone who is clear that they are operating within their purpose and they will probably vouch for the fact that while there are days that some of the work that's required to reach a particular goal may be taxing or also while there may be times when they feel completely overwhelmed, it's damn near impossible to function within the framework of what you were created to do and feel bored at the same time. I can speak from personal experience that since I've been walking out my own purpose in life, I can't tell you the last time "bored" was a word that I've used.
So yeah, let's begin there. Do you know what your purpose is? If not, don't feel bad. A lot of people don't. I mean, A LOT of folks. How do you begin figuring out what yours is? What makes you happiest? What would you do, even if you couldn't get paid a lot for it? What complements your natural gifts and abilities the most? What could you die doing, knowing that you made a real contribution to this world? What does it feel like you were literally put on this planet to do? What brings your mind, body and spirit and collective sense of peace?
It's my belief that folks who aren't in their purpose tend to do some of the most reckless and nonsensical stuff in order to fill the void. After all, purpose is powerful. Once you know what yours is, it can keep you pretty preoccupied as a direct result. That's why I thought that this point was a really wise place to start (check out "5 Signs You Are Living Your True Purpose" when you get a chance too). If you don't know what your purpose is, it's almost a given that boredom would result from that.
2.Are You an Adrenaline Junkie?
Here's the deal. Whenever you feel excited or afraid, there is a hormone that's released within your blood called adrenaline. Whenever that happens, your heart rate increases, your blood rate goes up, your breathing intensifies and you also feel a burst of energy. Some people like this feeling so much that they intentionally seek out activities that will make them feel this way — skydiving, ziplining, extreme sports, etc. It's believed by some mental health experts that this could also cause some folks to take up professions like law enforcement, firefighting and stunt work (because they also can give folks a similar rush). A nickname that a lot of these kinds of people get is adrenaline junkie.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with being an adrenaline junkie in theory, something that I am big on is balance and something that adulthood teaches us is that life isn't always gonna be thrills and spins. Sometimes, it's the tedious stuff that helps us to make the most progress. That said, you don't have enough time and I don't have enough writing space to get into the fact that some folks don't even know how to hold down a relationship unless they are creating situations that cultivate lots of excitement or plenty of drama; that is the kind of adrenaline highs that they seek. SMDH. Anyway, if you feel bored a lot, asking yourself if you are close to being addicted to experiencing adrenaline rushes could connect a few dots for you.
3.Do You Expect “Outside Sources” to Entertain You All of the Time?
Recently, I spent some time with my goddaughters. The older one is 10. Her younger sister is two. I won't lie, to a certain extent, both of them seem to think that it's the adults' job to constantly entertain them; however, as I mentioned in the intro, we expect this from kids, right? They are still learning how to be their own friend and enjoy their own company.
Do you see where I am going with this? While I do think that extroverts probably struggle with this particular point a lot more an introverts and even ambiverts do, if you're someone who can't deal with the stillness of being alone or you're not able to enjoy doing things unless you've got a ton of people around you, you might wanna do some self-love journaling to figure out why that is the case. At the end of the day, it's not healthy to always feel like you need people always around you in order to function. If that is personally the case, chances are, there is something else going on, within, that needs to be addressed.
4.Are You Not Very Self-Aware?
Now here's one that you might not have seen coming. How in the world can a lack of self-awareness (check out "These Are The Things Self-Aware People Do Daily") play a direct role in how bored a person can end up being? The bottom line here is self-aware people know themselves pretty darn well. This doesn't just manifest in the sense of them being able to take responsibility for their actions, them being able to understand what they are feeling when they are feeling certain things and also being able to live in reality, it also means they know what fulfills them and also what makes them tick.
I'm an ambivert. I know this about myself. I also really like being alone at home. The rare moments when I do get bored, I know it's because I've gotten caught up in a routine that needs a little bit of breaking up. That's also what I know about myself. Something as simple as watching a movie, trying a new food or catching up on the phone with someone I haven't spoken with in a while can be all that I need. I know this because I've worked pretty hard to figure my own self out.
So yeah, if you're constantly feeling bored, ask yourself if you're in touch with what it means to be self-aware and if you actually know what your internal and external needs are. Being in touch with yourself, on a deep and profound level, can also help you to stay on top of what could cause you to fall into a boredom slump.
5.Do You Drink or Smoke Weed a Lot?
Science has a lot of data to support the fact that when we're intoxicated, it can cause our brain to experience euphoria and/or excitement and/or confusion. The THC that's in marijuana can also produce a euphoric effect. While having a few drinks or lighting up one or two sometimes isn't a real cause for alarm, what you do need to be careful of is if you're relying on alcohol or weed (or both) to keep you from feeling bored. And if that is indeed the case…why so?
While my dad was alive, he was an on-again-off-again substance abuser. A big part of it is because his parents weren't very supportive when it came to his natural gift for football or music as he was growing up. And so, he drank and drugged his pain away. He also used it to pass the time because he was bored because he wasn't living out his full purpose (see how that works?). While this might be an extreme explanation for how boredom occurs, if you drink and/or smoke daily, it's definitely not something to simply sweep under the rug. It could be what you're using to "feel something" too.
6.Does Your Life Consist of Short- and Long-Term Goals?
Former football coach Lou Holtz once said, "If you're bored with life – you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don't have enough goals." Welp. That about sums this particular point up. A great definition of a goal is "the result or achievement toward which effort is directed". A friend of mine and I sometimes discuss a friend that they have who lives life with absolutely no goals. At almost 40, this man has no steady employment, lives in someone's basement and owes all kinds of child support. At the same time, he's smart, witty and has a degree. Why doesn't he have is a set of goals? While growing up, charm got him so far that he never really focused on being ambitious. As a direct result, he spends a lot of time either feeling like he has no direction or being so bored out of his mind that he does stupid stuff (like sleeping around with random strangers or wasting money on alcohol) to pass the time.
Is he an extreme example of what having no goals will do? Perhaps. Still, if you're someone who doesn't have some clear goals for yourself, definitely allow him to serve as a cautionary tale in your life.
Short-term goals (goals that can be achieved within a 12-month time frame) are proven to give you focus, boost your self-esteem, inspire and motivate you and break bad habits like procrastination. Long-term goals can get you more excited about life, help you to make big changes in your world and strengthen your abilities and level of patience.
It's damn near impossible to not progress in life without goals. And you're sure to find yourself bored, more times than not, if you don't have some short- and long-term ones set in place too.
7.When’s the Last Time You Tried Something New?
A wise person once said, "Make a habit of trying new things." There are several reasons why this can prove to be so beneficial. Trying new things can increase your confidence levels. Trying new things can make you less fearful. Trying new things can expand your perspective when it comes to how you see the world. Trying new things can encourage you to try other new things. And yes, trying new things can definitely be a great cure for boredom.
After all, one of the things that it means to be bored is to be someone who feels like you are doing the same ole' thing, day in and day out to the point where life feels like not much more than tedious repetition. Doing something new can help to break up the monotony and get you excited about life again.
So, set aside an hour or so and put together a quick bucket list of things that you would like to attempt that you never have before, whether it's a new kind of food, planning a trip to someplace you've never been or maybe even going on a blind date. The excitement alone can make it worth the effort — and definitely be the cure for boredom that you may have been looking for…all along.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Queen Latifah On Her Journey To Self-Acceptance: 'I've Been Trying To Maintain My Freedom To Be Me'
Actress and rapper Dana "Queen Latifah" Owens is defying societal standards by refusing to be confined in a box regarding her personal and professional life.
Owens, who has been a part of the entertainment industry for over three decades, is widely recognized for her empowering songs and the variety of acting roles she has obtained throughout her career, among other things. The list includes Living Single, Set It Off, Chicago --with which she earned an Oscar nomination-- Just Wright, Girls Trip, and most recently, The Equalizer series on CBS.
Owens is also very tight-lipped about her personal life. However, in 2021, The Last Holiday actress showed appreciation to Eboni Nichols, who is reportedly her partner, and their son Rebel after receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award.Since then, Owens has revealed why she doesn't want to be defined as anything but herself and how she maintains her sense of freedom. In a resurfaced video from theGrio Awards, Owens opened up about those topics when she accepted the Television Icon Award for her past contributions
In a clip uploaded on theGrio's Instagram account last week, Owens explained that she often had to fight to be herself because "the world" kept trying to put her in a box based on what society thought a woman should be.
"My whole life, I feel like I've been trying to maintain my freedom to be me. And the world is trying to put these things on me to stop me from being who I am," she said.
Further into the speech, Owens explained that although many would have their own opinion about her from what the media spews out, she would continue to be herself by wearing "beautiful gowns and dresses," playing in the dirt, participating in basketball games with men and loving who she loves because that's what makes her happy.
The Beauty Shop star also added that despite her celebrity status, she would continue to show respect for others because that's who she is as a person and how she was raised.
"So I wear these beautiful gowns and dresses because I want to because that's part of me. I play in the dirt. I play basketball with the boys because that's me,” she stated. "I love who I love because that's me. I love all of you who have supported me. I give you your respect. I don't have to be above you because that's me. I know me."
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