Showing posts with label life's greatest lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life's greatest lessons. Show all posts

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Empty Bucket II

If unaware, allow me to explain Twitter. 

Twitter is basically one person jocking another person; one person talking shit about another person; everyone and their mothers wanting attention, to the point where they'd sell their souls for retweets, favorites, mentions and whatever else; I've come across a few that care about their number of followers than their own relationship. 

Then there are some who became self-proclaimed Christians or followers of Jesus Christ no sooner than they learned how to download a Bible app. 

Don't get me wrong: This doesn't describe the majority of Twitter accounts, of course not, as there are many on the social media platform doing big and bigger things; putting in work on spiritual, professional levels. I followed and engaged more than a few of these inspiring accounts in '08 when I created my now-defunct account. 

Used properly, Twitter can be a blessing. 

But when it comes to the empty, boring, untalented and non-gifted accounts willing to do anything under the Sun for attention, even cyberstalking and invasion of privacy, it can be a curse. 


Let me clarify: 

Years ago, seven years ago to be exact, an Empty Bucket named Tracy Robinson or @hungrybutfine or Instagram: Traycee30 and I called ourselves liking each another. We were familiar from the blogosphere in '08 and exchanged emails occasionally until one regrettable day in '10 she said she needed me to call. She gave the number; I called. 

Regrettable, I say, cause, looking back, I should've known she  suffered mental illness. 

As soon as she answered the phone, she started crying, talking about her son's behavior in school, feeling like she was a bad mother. In a compassionate way, I asked why not call his dad? She said she couldn't find his dad; his mom had recently passed in Missouri and she didn't know how to contact him. So then I asked why she felt like a bad mother? She said her son had caught her having sex a few days earlier which led to a change in his behavior. None of what she said made sense, but I listened. 

In the few minutes we talked, I realized her tears had nothing to do with her son. She was crying, cause his dad had chosen to be with his other baby mom in Missouri. According to Robinson, the woman had a son the same age or near the same age as Robinson's son. It felt like there'd been some sort of ongoing feud between the two women. Robinson lost, of course, which, in the years to come, remained a common theme in her life involving men. 

Curious, I asked why she and her son's father stopped being a couple and she said he'd always accused her cheating. 

Anyway, later that evening, our conversation turned to sex. 

We discussed different things, but mainly sex. The child's behavior was the furthest thing from her mind. In fact, she never mentioned again. 

That night, she sent pics of her in panties and no bra. Robinson dated, she said, but nothing serious. Based on our conversation and sending nudes to a man she didn't know at all, it was obvious she was a freak. As the days passed, and our conversations continued, she gave the impression she'd like to be with a woman. 

We discussed threesomes. 

Those conversations continued for months. One night, around '11, I allowed Robinson to listen to me have sex. The woman's moans and spanking sounds turned her on. this point, she wanted badly to have a 3some. Since I couldn't leave the state around this time, my homeboy planned to drive me to her city, some four hours away. There were be no 3some with the woman, but Robinson was open to us possibly flipping her once we arrived. They once talked on the phone, but he declined after seeing her pics, saying she wasn't attractive. So that visit never transpired. 

Unfortunately, the woman with whom I lived caught me and another woman leaving a restaurant and moved back to Houston, shortly afterward. After graduating college and nursing school and working an agency job in the state, she'd always talked about returning to her home state, and finally did. Saddened, I followed her to Houston for the next two months, trying to change her mind. 

During this time, Robinson and I hardly talked. I I might've dialed her once or twice and exchanged a few, short sentences. I explained the situation between the woman and I. To my surprise, she expressed feelings for me, saying she felt in over her head after I'd treated her like she meant nothing the past couple months. No phone calls, texts, Twitter, emails, anything. 

Although I wanted to ask what was she talking about, cause it all sounded crazy, I explained how my cell phone was on the woman’s account and she'd taken the phone. So if anyone called/texted, I couldn't have known. After ending the call, I thought about how crazy Robinson sounded. How could she believe we were anything? 


Anyway, once I returned home, alone, Robinson  and I returned to sex talk. She wanted to hear me in bed, again. I reminded her that she owed me a listening. She couldn't find anyone to have sex, though. Eventually, she hooked up with a nigga that had recently been released from prison. She called early one weekend morning, but I was asleep and laying besides the woman I’d been busted, months earlier. I listened to Robinson's moans for a few. The call ended after less than a minute. 

Since I'd begun spending the majority of my time with the new woman, I barely talked to Robinson, besides emails or Twitter where we cracked jokes and asked what the other did on weekends. Besides those exchanges, I did my thing. And she did her thing. 

This was pretty much normal for me, though. I could talk shit with women from the blogosphere for months at a time and then completely disappear, like it wasn't nothing. Because it wasn't nothing. 

While the woman and I blossomed, Robinson and the ex-convict broke up. Once he got on his feet, he found a better woman.  And this is where she returned to calling, wanting sex, threesomes. I asked why she never had a threesome with him, and she said they'd tried, but the woman looked like a man. Robinson wanted to be with a woman that looked like a woman. Anyway, I knew she was sleeping with different men. She admitted them. The ex-con, a friend of the ex-con's friend and one of her son's little league coaches. The entire time, she begged me for sex. 

Now, there are moments in life I refer to as "Defining Moments," and as far as I was concerned, this was her defining moment. I wanted to say she was a nasty broad. But instead asked if she was empty inside? Cause to me, that's the behavior of an empty soul. "Empty than a motherfucker," were her exact words. 

Of course this turned me all the way off, so, combined with enjoying good company,  I had no desire to be with Robinson, sexually. Besides her being nasty, I’d no desire to cheat anyway, after losing the previous woman the way I did. 

I never said these words to Robinson, though. I asked other things like how could she lay up with other men in bed and not worry if her boyfriend would show up? She said he always called before stopping by. She said she slept with the coach at his home. I asked how did she end up sleeping with her son's coach and she said they had a football game in Texas and everyone got drunk in the hotel and they ended up having sex. 

Soon, Robinson began calling too much, so I stopped answering her calls. I never answered on weekends, anyway, though.  She's send some crazy texts which I ignored. And this is where the problems began. This is where she began slandering and putting my personal business online. Eventually, I blocked her. She'd apologized and asked me to unblock. This became the norm: We'd talk about nothing. I'd stop answering. She slander me. I'd block. She'd ask me to unblock. I'd unblock. 

It was nothing to me. I felt she'd get the picture, sooner or later. 

And then one night I received a blocked call. I answered and heard sex on the line. It never dawned it was Robinson. I thought maybe someone had mistakenly laid on their phone, whatever. I didn't find out until the next day that it was Robinson. She admitted, and we talked about it. She said she enjoyed knowing I listened to her in bed. She said other things, all of which revolved around her sexual fantasies. 

Robinson began sending vagina pics. Unfortunately, she texted one while on her cycle, and I saw the blood...

Scary.  

If that wasn't enough, she texted a pic of her booty and there was a smeared shit stain along the crack of her bootyhole. For some reason, she took the pic bent all the way over as if she touched her toes instead of taking it from the side, like a normal person. 

Anyway, I was done. 

If that wasn't  enough, she texted a video of her undressing and, once she slid her panties down her legs, I noticed dark stains in the crotch area. 

If that wasn't enough, when she bent over,  I noticed her vagina didn't close. It remained open the entire time. I'd never witnessed anything like that before in my life. 

Now, let's place everything into perspective: Robinson saw the pics/video before pressing send, yet sent them anyway. In my mind, Robinson was/is the “disgusting thing” mentioned in scripture and clearly suffered mental issues. 

Days later, once she realized I was appalled,  I explained blood on the pic, she asked why didn't I tell her? 

But why did I need to tell when she was the one who sent the pic? I asked what was wrong with her? Cause something was definitely wrong. Eventually, Robinson admitted depression in a text where she expressed how friends were getting married and starting families and she had no one and her son's dad left her to support him by her lonesome. She said her life had gone backwards the last few years. 

She wanted a man to save her, basically. 

Sympathetic, cause I'm a humbled soul and knew how it felt to suffer life's heartache, I shared another heart to heart talk with Robinson about how I endured and eventually overcame it all. It was said to say that she could do the same if she made better decisions. I discussed the betrayal of my baby mom and her brother and the subsequent years of missing my daughters after they were shockingly removed from my life. I discussed losing my home and a small fortune in the process. 

Strangely enough, this is where Robinson and I began knowing each other, like really knowing each other, although a couple years had passed. 

For me, sex with Robinson was an afterthought. There was no way in the world. I didn't want anything, and she knew I didn't want anything. In my mind, she'd be alright. She'd get herself together and earn the things she wanted in life. True enough, she was empty and suffered daddy and men issues. But I insisted she'd overcome anything in life if she wanted to overcome it. 

Although I didn't want to be with Robinson, I believed myself to be a friend. So, to lift her spirits, I sent roses on mom’s day. I did other things too, like wiring $100 to help with her son's school clothes and buying her lunch and them dinner when she had no food. 

Unfortunately, after telling her one night that our calls would come to an end, she cried on the phone for nearly 5 minutes. I told her we'd remain online friends, but the calls and texts would cease. Now here's the thing: I knew she was acting. Her tears reminded me of being at a funeral and hearing the cries of someone who's clearly pretending or wanting attention. 

I ended the call. Again, she returned to slandering me online. Again, I advised her to stop. She blocked me and continued slandering, initially denying the slander then admitting, then saying no one knew who she was talking about. 

But I knew who she was talking about. Due to her emptiness, she continued. 

And this is where I called Kyle Dowling or @12kyle, cause they  portrayed themselves to be friends. 

Wrong. 


Come to find he was even more of a bitch and used her like an empty bucket to further his own agenda

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Empty Bucket

As a child visiting my Dad's mom at summertime in the Deep South, I learned a lot  about life via teachings that never involved pencils, pens, notebooks, textbooks, homework, tests nor scores. 

Not that grandma wasn't a strong advocate of formal education; she believed awards, diplomas, certificates, degrees and licenses had their places in this world. But she supported informal education, first and foremost, while understanding many things would not and could not be taught in a task-completing environment. 

"What did you learn before and after class?" she often asked. 

And since she taught in a manner that connected the two forms of education, it offered vision to a child at an age where most children struggled to see past Saturday morning cartoons. 

For example: Shortly before sunrise or soon after sunset, whenever she went fishing, she grabbed an empty bucket from her back porch and filled with earthworms she dug from the mixture of dirt and soil and dampened brown leaves she had poured weeks earlier alongside the ground near the metal fence, framing her backyard. "The worms gathered in cool areas," she explained. 

At the lake, she placed a cushion atop the bucket and sat there; baiting reels and poles; throwing them in the water; snagging hooked fish. 

Simultaneously, at times. 

Before heading back to her car, she dumped the leftover worms at the edge of the bank then grabbed her string of catch and dropped them inside the bucket. She added enough water to keep the fish alive. If ever you've smelled dead fish in confined spaces, like the trunk of a car, then you know the importance of water. To prevent such bad odor, water is essential. 

After arriving home, she cleaned her catch on newspaper spread across her patio table. The Empty Bucket held scales, fins and heads, by this time. Afterward, she tied those messy contents in a small plastic bag and tossed in the trash can. 

She used empty buckets for other things, too, such as picking pecans, carrying weeds away from her garden, and catching water leaking from pipes beneath the kitchen sink until a plumber arrived. Watching her maneuver empty buckets over the years taught me how they can be used for any and every thing. 

So nowadays, whenever I notice an empty bucket, I never wonder its usage...


I already know. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Salvation

"Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King." - Andrae Crouch


Life teaches a painful lesson.
one taught without question.
stressing; it only leaves us second-guessing our decisions.

to live is to suffer,
God places upon us no more than we can bear.
we know this to be truth,
our trials and tribulations serve as living proof of this.

the Lord is in control,
the Most High sits upon the throne.
humble thyself to the important role in which
He plays in our lives; salvation.

our sins were forgiven once the Messiah died on the stake,
Jesus Christ paid the ultimate cost.
would you give your life for the sins of another human being,
would you accept such a precious loss.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hey Young World

"Stay gold." - Stevie Wonder


To be young and carefree, again. 

The majority of adults would probably give just about anything in the world to return to their youth. This, of course, is hardly possible as one cannot turn back the hands of time. It is also a sentiment I find just as impossible to convey to young adolescence. For whatever reasons, children nowadays are eager to become adults. 

If you sit and listen to the average teenager between the ages of 13 and 18, they have life all but figured out. They will tell you everything that is wrong in the world. The only problem: that same world awaits each and every one of them. And just as adults recognized beforehand, there arrives the moment of truth where we realized it was merely innocence talking. The truth is - life comes at you fast. Even faster if you rushed childhood. 

So young hearts be free. Once grown, one can never go back. Embrace youth. Like I warned my daughter Christina, don't be so in a hurry to grow up, cause you gotta figure that you will be older way longer than its opposite. 

Or so I've heard. 

Forever young. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Breathe

"You are where you need to be. Just take a deep breath.” 
― Lana Parilla


Ever notice how, shortly before challenge, we stop and inhale a deep breath? Perhaps in a subconscious effort to gather ourselves beforehand and exhale whatever antagonist anxieties that exist. Or, to momentarily brace ourselves in full anticipation of the task at hand.  Ever notice how, upon completion, we take that same deep breath? As if to signal a much-needed sigh of relief. That, in itself, shows me the importance of breathing, expelling.

Not only in the beginning and ending of personal journey, but throughout the entire process.

I am a habitual thinker. I thoroughly process a variety of thought more often than the average person. While it bodes well in certain areas such as writing, education, and spirituality, it rarely translates substantially in everyday life. I over-analyze, at times. Once you add this truth to the fact that I am a Scorpio, of an intense nature, and one can see how easily it is for me to dwell on things. Sometimes, to the point where I am without realization.

The same as breathing, I suppose. Although it's a natural act, one that we cannot live without, it hardly takes responsibility for our well-being, maintaining faith and perspective. Protecting the heart, navigating the mind, and avoid placing too much emphasis on insignificant matter. So, nowadays, amid the tendency to become stressed over inconvenience, I reach deep within myself and hold steadfast to my protagonist anchor in this world.

I breathe.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Laugh Now, Laugh Later

"Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." - Mark Twain



Like love, laughter is for everyone. Many people find they feel, act, and do better beneath the umbrella of laughter. Add me to the list, as there is no coincidence how the best moments in my life all involved laughter. To me, laughter is an unappreciated storyline in The Book of Life and should be celebrated in the same as captivating breath as love.

Below are ten quotes I've gathered from different sources which speak upon the power of amusement. Allow each to marinate into your soul.


  • I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh - Maya Angelou
  • There is a thin line between smile and laughter - Santosh Kalwor
  • Laughter is the shortest distance between two people - Victor Borge
  • We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh - Agnes Repplier
  • You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing - Michael Pritchard
  • We don't laugh because we're happy, we are happy because we laugh - William James
  • The most wasted of all days is one without laughter - E.E. Cummings
  • If you have no tragedy, you have no comedy. Crying and laughing are the same emotion. If you laugh too hard, you cry. And vice versa - Sid Caesar
  • Carry laughter wherever you go - Hugh Sidney
  • He who laughs, lasts - Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ESPN's 30 For 30 Films

"Beat Notre Dame." - Jimmy Johnson



To me, sports has always served as the perfect purveyor of life. Sports is life. So, in essence, life is sports. Within many of the greatest sports stories ever, there are countless lessons to be applied in life. ESPN's award-winning documentary series 30 For 30 reveals such lessons across the sporting landscape in compelling, barbershop-like storytelling fashion. 

The U, for example. One of my favorites. Directed by Billy Corben, it documents the racial and cultural shift that transpired throughout the riotous inner-city streets of Miami, Florida, revealed to the world via then-relatively unknown University of Miami football team. In '79, during the time when predominantly white Coral Gables school rarely recruited disenfranchised youths to participate in the program, newly-hired coach Howard Schnellenberger begged to differ. He recruited "football players," regardless of ethnicity, troubling backgrounds or biases against the negative aspects of one's culture, which stood as the complete opposite of what U of M and fellow Division I college football programs had done beforehand. These extremely talented, yet rough-around-the-edges types of players either signed with historically black colleges or bucked college, altogether. Schnellenberger embraced the locals. The locals embraced him.

Five years later, the underdog 'Canes strode into the '84 Orange Bowl and left as National Champions, after a stunning victory over heavily-favored and defending champion Nebraska Cornhuskers, winners of twenty-two consecutive football games. The Miami Hurricanes had arrived.  

Although Schnellenberger left the university shortly afterward for greener pastures of a pro football coaching position, the seed had already been planted. The stage, set. No longer was it a laughing matter of local Burger King food chains giving away free tickets to Miami football games to help struggling attendance.  Now, fans wanted to attend just as much as high school seniors. So much in fact that, from '83 to '91, the 'Canes football program ran roughshod, completely dominating a pyre of media darlings such as Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Oklahoma along the way. Aside from routine off-the-field problems, the 'Canes bore a bigger, stronger, faster, swarming, arrogant collection of athletes, refusing to compromise bravado. Jimmy Johnson, who succeeded Schnellenberger, quickly implemented pro-styled offenses and defenses upon his arrival and publicly encouraged the take-no-prisoners mentality. 

Whereas national media maintains a conventional angle towards whatever the camera lenses are focused upon, ESPN Films allowed directors to pinpoint narratives, offer first-hand accounts. If you're anything like the media, and believe in a snow white power structure, then everything about those 'Canes teams left a terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach. The nerves, you insisted. If you've ever resided in an economically-challenged, gold teeth, gold chain-wearing, 2 Live Crew music-loving area and often viewed as second-class citizens, then, for once, it felt good to witness one of your kind standing atop The Big Stage reppin' the hood. You understood the fact that in America there is such a thing as status quo and, despite whatever successes, certain individuals will never be accepted. That's just the way it is. So whenever the opportunity arises to stick it to status quo, then you do, and you stick it good. How? By simply being yourself. Why? Because you can. And if you happen to change the face of not only college football, but the entire culture, then more power to you.

In the end, after all is said and done, it might possibly be the one thing which cannot be taken away.

That is Sports. That is Life. That is The U. 



Question: what is your favorite 30 for 30 episode?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Audibles

"They call shots, I call audibles." - Jay Z


I've never made a resolution that I'd actually consider as a resolution, due mainly to having always considered myself to be more of a free spirited being. Free spirit, in the sense that I am a person who isn't easily restrained by convention or obligation, and admittedly irresponsible at times, yet all within the context of a level playing field. Which simply means that I will stick to the rules and game plan if the play-calling works.

Take football, for instance, and the position of quarterback. The purpose of every quarterback is to act as a facilitator of the coach's playbook, which ultimately leads the offense of a team. Standard procedure in the same established manner that life in general is approached through tasks, goals, objectives. Just as different coaches offer a variety of offensive plays focused on putting the ball in the end zone, we as humans share a similar disposition as far as efforts directed towards achievements.

Much like New Year's resolutions, except these commitments are promised at the beginning of a new year in full anticipation of a new beginning of some sort. Whereas, and as non-conformists everywhere will agree, we're already spiritually orchestrated to handle a wide assortment of obstacles in a sometimes backwards yet knowingly forward manner.

If that makes sense.

So, again, while many are in the process of resolves for the year 2013, I am more concerned whether or not the ability to supersede the play originally agreed upon as the result of a change in strategy is there. Improvisation, if you will. And based upon a unique blend of discovery, experience, flexibility, adaption and most importantly survival, I am more or less hoping to improvise between intended actions and what the defense or life itself offers, and act accordingly.

If personal inference assures this isn't going to work, then at that particular moment I look to "peep the scene", sidestep the inevitable trainwreck, make a sound judgment call. Moreover, this line-of-thought still honors task, goal and objective as well as civility and teamwork, despite whatever conformists say. However, it also teaches leaders to step up in the face of accordance and succumb to reason or, better yet, think for yourself, not only on January 1st...

But any given day, minute, second of our respective lives.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

YOLO: Choose Well

Prom Night '12



Hard to believe 18 years have passed since the birth of a child who, as a toddler, laughed uninhibitedly at the top of her lungs in the company of laughter. The fact that she was too young to truly gauge whatever jokes hardly mattered. It was understood by everyone that Don and Tracy's child was different, as evident by the heart-breaking manner in which she routinely cried herself to sleep the moment someone hurt her feelings. In a way that led us to believe her heart had been stepped on and broken into a thousand little pieces. 

I took Christina's difference to be a gift, a rather compassionate one, regardless how others viewed. Often warned she was too emotionally-invested and how it was best to go ahead and nip that perceived downfall in the bud, I saw no reason to apologize for the heart of gold she thoroughly possessed. Instead, I felt it would be more convenient to nurture and protect that facet of her personality. And hopefully prevent people from taking advantage of the little girl who, as it turned out, offered everyone she met the benefit of the doubt. 

Above all, this is what I remember mostly as I come to grips with the fact that she's no longer Daddy's Little Girl. This, and our never-ending debates regarding her unspoken belief that she can somehow change the world, despite awakening to much of the same attitudes, games, politics, manipulation. At one point it became so dire that I decided to forever remove the rose-colored glasses from her eyes at the tender age of 13 and reveal the world as is. Since then, the rebellion ceased. The disagreements, a thing of the past. Christina now owns a more sounder approach towards Life, especially upon assuring her that nothing ever changes. Only the names. History teaches. 

Now that she's entered the next stage of her life - often referred to as The Breaking Point, the period where it's possible for peer pressure to hold a greater influence upon her mentality and thus behavior, I quietly wonder her decisions. I don't worry, I speculate curiously. Mainly due to the misinterpreted "You Only Live Once" calling card of today's generation which, for whatever reasons, appears to be a contrived excuse to practice plain-as-day nihilism. 

Unlike my mother I fully understand the importance of allowing a high school graduate to begin to make his or her own decisions, regardless of whether I am personally afraid of the future of society on a whole.  But how else will Christina know who she is? How else can she avoid resentment while further developing unteachable qualities such as courage, acumen, self-esteem, self-empowerment, self-consciousness,  temperance, spirituality? And perhaps the greatest lesson of all: over-reliance on others is a mistake.

As a parent and certainly afraid to see my daughter endure heartache I've come to believe that the best possible thing for me to do is remain on the sidelines, yet offer advice as requested. Which, at best, means offering step-by-step accounts of mistakes I made at a similar age. The point where my mom failed miserably. Granted, I haven't been the perfect father by any means. At times I've been impatient, unreasonable, irrelevant. But if history is to show that an apple fell from my tree, I do intend the fruit to be ripe for consumption.

Generally, it's never easy to reveal shortcomings to your child. Not only does it allows them to view dad in an unfavorable light, it also leads them to question how are you able to voice proper opinion when you yourself completely disregarded protocol. Ever notice how one reflects upon judgments - both favorable and unfavorable - and recall actions that led to experiences which, in turn, allows your intuition to alert whenever someone else travels the same road? So therefore, if I ignore my daughter's opinion and simply tell her to shut up, it only increases hypocrisy. 

Judging from all I know of Christina's inner child, the compassion remains. But, for the most part, she has lived and loved and learned enough to accept that Life is sizable and entangling. And, even better, understand the hallmark of personal journey centers around decisions.

The fact that she only lives once should never confuse the matter. 

In other words - choose well, my love. 




Graduation Day '12

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Quote of The Day: Robert Brault


"Enjoy the little things in Life. For one day you'll look back and realize they were big things." 

- Robert Brault

Friday, June 15, 2012

What About Your Friends?

"Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship." - Dorothy Parker


A word we use every day
Most of the time in the wrong way
You can look the word up, again and again
But the dictionary doesn't know the meaning of friends

If you ask me you know I couldn't be of much help
Cause a friend is somebody you judge for yourself
Some are okay, and treat you real cool
But some mistake kindness for being a fool

We like to be with some, cause they're funny
Others come around when they need some money
Some you grew up with, around the way
And you're still real close to this very day

Friends thru the Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall
Then there's some we wish we never knew at all
This list goes on, again and again
These are the people who we call friends...

- Whodini, Friends

Friday, June 8, 2012

Un-Lynched: Separate The Pro's from The Cons

"Hatred, slavery's inevitable aftermath." - Jose Marti
note: inspired by this Up4Dsn blog series.

The exact moment I witnessed a pair of shackles I was overcome by two chilling thoughts. One - Lord knows it couldn't have been me. The person standing before myself, winking, holding such iron-clad misery, would've received the fight of their life. For anyone to place shackles around my wrists and ankles, I swear, they'd have to break both of my arms and legs. Either that, or I'd be dead.

Secondly, I'm sure those sentiments were shared by those who became shackled. I doubt very seriously if blacks smiled and voluntarily extended body limbs as the white owners of the shackles appeared. Surely, no sane person wants to live in bondage?

If so, the person might as well cease existence.

That's when it dawned on me, the fact that shackles aren't necessarily visible. Many, including myself, walk around strapped in mental, emotional, spiritual clamps. Endlessly stuck within the grasps of our settled ways, utterly confined. And I'm willing to bet that if we stopped and looked and listened, and really thought about what I'm saying, we'd realize the key to unlock burden within our lives.

What better issues are there for blacks to tackle than those filled with social undercurrents and political overtones? It might explain why the majority are angry beyond reproach, demanding answers.

And while I imagine life visibly shackled isn't exactly a walk in the park I can't help but feel nothing is worse than invisible restraints. The difference may sound subtle, but the crabs in a barrel-mentality taking place in Black America is anything but subtle. At least with visible shackles, one can reach deep within themselves and locate the God-given key allowing inner peace. But when one's thoughts are hampered, it could possibly feel like yet another 437 years before the key is found.

Free your mind, my brothers and sisters. You'd be surprised what follows.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Beyonce Knowles: One of Those Good Problems

"In a culture of domination, preoccupation with victimage is inevitable." - bell hooks


Yesterday, while browsing one of my favorite online reads, I came across this article concerning the budding friendship between First Lady Michelle Obama and singer Beyonce Knowles. Apparently the writer, esteemed Demetria Lucas, feels the two women are involved in an "ongoing love fest" - one that has gone too far to her liking, as she took exception to FLOTUS referring to Beyonce as a role model and even suggested Beyonce's talent "is the ability to habitually line-step on the Madonna-whore dichotomy."

I reached halfway through the scathing print before I realized, yes, Lucas was actually serious. The complex might seem to accurately define Beyonce's overall appeal in the music industry, but has it, really? For better or worse, she has never struck me as a pop singer who makes do with much lesser talent.

As an entertainer, which is what Beyonce truly is, I'm sure there are certain aspects of her brand which not everyone finds entertaining. All of which is to be expected. Not all are moved by the same things or own similar tastes in life. But to hurl criticism towards FLOTUS for basically returning words of encouragement to her friend, is - I don't know - somewhat nitpicking, if you ask me. Equivalent to those criticizing the fact that UCLA awarded a scholarship to the son of a multimillionaire.

I mean, couldn't more attention be placed on The Bigger Picture?

Of course it's not the first time Michelle Obama nor Beyonce has been criticized, and I'm sure it won't be the last. The cost of fame comes at an extremely high price to each of these women. Especially when your celebrity has reached the level of Beyonce, who is quite possibly the most popular entertainer in the world since Michael Jackson. Each step taken is constantly placed under the microscopic eye of public scrutiny, where critics are so busy dissecting every move that it becomes impossible to see the bigger picture. Almost to the point where bigger pictures no longer hold merit.

And then we have the nerves to wonder how celebrities become drug addicts.

Is Beyonce a role model? Is the wrong message being sent to youth? Well, that probably depends on who you ask. If you asked the daughters of Vatican priests such questions, I imagine they'd object to Beyonce's hot and heavy ass-shaking performances. But if daughters whose parents are crack addicts or living life behind bars were questioned, I'm sure they'd trade places with Blue Ivy in a heartbeat.

The writer doesn't portray this ambiguity, preferring instead to take the easy way out.

I doubt very seriously if Matthew and Tina Knowles lose sleep over how the life of their oldest daughter has transpired. Neither do I imagine Solange being ashamed of her sibling in any way, whatsoever. And I hardly believe Jay  Z feels like he's made a big mistake asking Beyonce to be his wife and mother of their child. In other words, if the worse being said about an extremely successful wife, daughter, sister, friend, businesswoman is that she's a bad influence on young girls everywhere, then I'm thinking that is one of those good problems.

Or, better yet, much ado about nothing.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Reality of Young Black Males In America

For the past month or so, I've had the privilege of discussing the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin with a few co-workers and friends, black and white. Each time, the conversation shortened among us, due to an inability to positively discuss race matters in a supposedly post-racial society. As one known for quickly getting to the heart of a matter I firmly believe in pushing the proverbial envelope, even if it means ruffling some collars. Sometimes, collars need to be ruffled. I've learned - people of all race tend to lose whatever disguises once you get under their skin, no matter the age.

"They don't give a f*ck about us" - Tupac Shakur 
For the most part, everyone agreed Martin's death could've been avoided had George Zimmerman not pursued the Florida teen as aggressively as he did. While none found problem with Zimmerman alerting authorities of "suspicious activity" while patrolling the Sanford neighborhood in his car, a few questioned his motives. What fueled Zimmerman's actions? Burglaries had previously occurred in the area.

Strangely enough, not everyone agreed Zimmerman is guilty as charged. They reasoned he had the right to defend himself, regardless of who initiated physical contact. Of course no one really knows who threw the first punch, except Zimmerman and Martin. And Martin's dead. And dead men cannot talk. So, for that reason alone, Zimmerman received benefit of the doubt, despite refusal to remain inside the vehicle as repeatedly advised.

Whites insisted Zimmerman stood his ground, while blacks argued Trayvon Martin hardly deserved to be laid face down on the ground.

America.

If asking, I personally believe Zimmerman racial-profiled Trayvon Martin. As many do, who find themselves caught in the hype of believing all young black males are criminals. A scenario which certainly isn't unfathomable considering the stigma that exists in America. Not to mention the number of young and incorrigible black males who constantly perpetuate such widespread belief, on a whole. Thug Life, as often referred.

We don't want to go there, do we?

Problem is - Zimmerman guessed wrong. A fact that could've possibly been forgiven had he allowed officers the opportunity to do their job. If so, at least Martin might still be alive. I emphasize, might, based upon the nonchalant attitude of detectives upon witnessing Martin's dead body. We only hope those cops would've held their fire after they'd drawn and aimed guns at Trayvon Martin.

Again, let's not go there.

As George Zimmerman did.

Being the case, I ask: What if both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman were black. Would there be such public outcry?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Don't Forget About Tomorrow

If you hold genuine affection for a certain person in your life, allow me to give a little unsolicited advice as it pertains to matters of the heart.

The same sincere advice I wished I'd been given, oh, once upon a time...

Stop the bullshit. Seriously. Stop allowing complete insignificance; things which hold little or no importance whatsoever, to play such a major role.

Regardless of whatever it is.

Stop sabotaging the wanted relationship, and enjoy that person with every fiber of your being. All the back and forth action ever does is waste precious time better spent showing affection towards one another, instead of standing on the sidelines wishing you were in the game.

Unless you've never heard of death you should have already realized, by now, life isn't promised. One day we are here the next day, gone! As the case it's safe to assume our time on Earth is limited, although actions often suggest otherwise. However, do not be the one to reflect upon how more time was spent apart than together, for whatever reasons.

Moreover, stop hurting the one you love.

Perhaps an argument took place which left you feeling somewhat slighted and feelings bruised? So what. After enough time has passed, I am willing to bet the two of you hardly remembered why the verbal disagreement began. A conclusion which thoroughly suggests the emotional rift never concerned too much of anything significant in the first place.

Yet, foolish pride prevented you from being true to the complete satisfaction felt beforehand. Had you been, it wouldn't have been anything for you to pick up the phone and mend reconcilable differences. Better yet, accept such heartfelt apology as they proved to be the bigger person.

Instead, and due to bouts of loneliness, the object of your desire became involved with someone  and never wanting to appear outdone, you went and did the same. Well, at least you tried to do the same. But soon found rebounded love isn't so kind. Incredibly, you now take more off the latter than the former. A truth which leads you to reminisce all the warm and inspiring qualities regarding your ex.

Especially when their favorite song seems to stay on the radio, almost if a conspiracy of some sort.

After eventually deciding to dial their number, hoping to rekindle the flame ... you find yourself surprisingly out in the cold. Not only do you hear the happiness found within their voice, loud and clear. But any chance of reconciliation is thrown out the window, along with your bleeding heart, once informed that saying how you feel is no longer allowed. And it's best that you lose the phone number.

So, listen, if there's a special person in your life who you truly love with all your heart I suggest you do just that - remain fully invested through each and every breath. If not, then you will only have yourself to blame once you've awakened one morning, yawned, noticed the time and realized, yes, a new day has come.

Wake up!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Kind of Love That Never Ends




Even it if finally appears after years of patiently waiting. Recall the days where you remained steadfast and somewhat courageous. Dried tears; conquered fears. Uncertain, yet exercising patience. Awaiting the moment it felt safe to stand and take the first step. Towards a new direction. 

This, upon feeling as if you no longer had anything to offer the emotion itself. Let alone anyone else. A lost connection. Afraid that, if you allowed yourself to once again believe in love, it would only lead to being deceived. Rejected. Heart shattered into a thousand pieces. Take a moment, then listen to the voice that warns to never stop believing.

A voice which slowly chips away at walls you've constructed around your heart for protection. A wall which destructs as well as takes away from the divine essence of The Resurrection. What if God himself declined to believe in love, stating it was hardly worth the pain? What if He were inclined to believe all are the same as those who drove stakes - void conscience, shame.

But let it rain, cause Jesus Christ did not die in vain.

A blind man could see the longing to trust within your eyes. No matter how much you attempt to disguise your true emotions. Regardless of whether you've decided the Corinthians version of love doesn't exist. Which is exactly the kind of reciprocity each beat of your heart wishes. Filled with bliss and compassion. In such a fasting, vying, undying fashion.

The kind of love which speaks intimately to the soul. The kind of love which keeps you on the edge of your seat and never grows old. The kind of love which maintains peace throughout the course. The kind you'd immediately walk away and give it all up for. The kind which makes your heart race. The kind of love which delivers your spirit into a sounder place.

The kind which allows you to stand face-to-face and forgive every woman and man who has ever hurt. The kind which isn't loud, yet clear, and knows your worth. The kind that doesn't rush. The kind we are able to feel without ever being touched. The kind of love which offers salvation, as angels sing. Glory, glory. Hallelujah. A beautiful thing.

The kind of love which dwells beneath the skin. Spiritual Love: the kind of love that never ends.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

See It Through by Edgar A. Guest




When you're up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.

When it's vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through.

Black may the be clouds about you
And your future may seem grim
But don't let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.

If the worst is bound to happen
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through.

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you're best,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.

You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don't give up, whate'er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ten Things I'm Grateful For




  • Life
  • The Grace of God
  • Freedom
  • Insight
  • Being a Dad
  • Unconditional Love
  • That a woman once cared enough to teach me how to cook
  • Ability to express myself
  • True friends
  • The nights where I receive good sleep