Friday, December 29, 2006

The Scorpio Syndrome

As much as I enjoy who I am as a person, sometimes I HATE being a SCORPIO. Sometimes the depth of character, intensity, and the sexual energy we Scorpios exude is a BURDEN to deal with. Allow me to explain...

I'm at a point in my life where I am seeing a clear picture of the person I'd like to become and the path I wish to follow. I take pride in the fact that I am kind, generous, dedicated, giving, humorous, very friendly and amiable, faithful, and affectionate. I love to give to others not because I expect something in return...something in my spirit drives me to do such. I treat people, even strangers, with the upmost dignity because too many people in the world treat others like shit and I'd like to be treated with dignity and respect. I have a tendency to be touchy because I'm naturally a tactile person and I believe that people (especially Black folks) need more casual touches, kisses, and hugs...that machismo crap is for the birds in my eyes. I become very focused on my goals because I understand that nothing substancial is given to you without some effort. Even though I'm serious about life, I enjoy crackin jokes, laughing my ass off, and acting a hot mess when it's play is too damn short to be all stiff and stoic. I love being a 'nice guy', and wouldn't have it any other way.

When it comes to dating, men, and relationships, I offer all of these qualities. Unfortunately, something is getting lost in the equation or misunderstood. Although I consider myself a "catch", I rarely attract the men I want to catch me (or the ones I want to catch). I attribute some of this problem to what I call the "Scorpio Syndrome". Scorpios are notorious for being flirtatious, sexual, and magnetic. These qualities are all good, but unfortunately those of us that possess these qualities give off the wrong vibe....well what I consider the wrong vibe. Instead of the "I am a beautiful person with much to offer you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually", vibe I'd LIKE to send out, I seem to be giving off this "I'm hot in the ass I want to fuck without abandon" vibe. Where the hell is this coming from?

Don't get me wrong. I am very much aware of my sexuality and I love it. I love affection, and the though of sex really gets me going. However, that is not all that I desire....or is it the strongest desire I have. What I yearn more than anything is what a good friend of mine calls a "MIND, BODY, & SOUL F**K". Maybe it's my feminine side talking, but I desire, sometimes even fantasize, that a man will come into my life and stimulate my intellect, connect with my spirit and faith, and treat my body with as much respect and honor as I wish to offer his body. If all of those areas are covered, sex and passion wouldn't be an issue...i'd give it to that man so good he wouldn't even know what to do with himself. I would hold NOTHING back sexually, because there would be no point.

Now I'm sure there are men out there that can give me a mind-body-soul question is...WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?? I'm doing my best to hold on to my integrity and keep from having sex just to satisfy my urges, but this shit is getting TOUGH. Most of the sex I've had (which hasn't been much at all) has been satisfying, but so very empty and shallow. I just can't let myself go all the way if I feel nothing for a man...I'm way too guarded to allow myself to be that vulnerable and i feel guilty afterwards.

I'd much rather have a man look me in the eye and I see lust AND admiration, take his time to set the mood for lovin, share some serious intimacy and foreplay before we go at it like rabbits in heat, fall asleep in each other's arms totally exhausted, wake up in the morning to some more intimacy or even Round Two, take a hot shower together, then eat a good meal before we go on with our days. Is that so much to ask if I'm willing to open up my mind, body, spirit, and potentially my heart for this man?

I may be asking for something unattainable, but damnit that's what I desire. Are they any men out there willing to bare their souls to a good man?

I hope so, because my resolve is slowly slipping. I hate the idea of pursuing shallow sexual encounters, but my desire to hold and be held is becoming so strong I might just go there. Hopefully someone will come along before I release the "Scorpio". Will the real men please stand up? Because I'm searching for you.

I apologize if that was one big ass RAMBLE, but I had to get that out.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Still Looking For The Right One?"

This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to sit in on a dynamic workshop on the state of black gay men seeking relationships. The workshop was hosted through In the Meantime Men (ITM), a L.A. based men's support and empowerment group for gay SGL men and their allies.

The facilitator for this discussion was Dr. Roger Quinney, a licensed clinical social worker, psychological counselor, retired Unity Fellowship Church Reverend, and Ph.D. Candidate. Dr. Roger presented himself as a sharp, down to earth, well informed brotha who actually gives a damn about the mental health and wellness of gay black men. There are VERY FEW psychologists that target gay black men, so it was a real treat to have him present for us. And let me tell you, he brought it for the kids, young and old. This workshop was informative, engaging, and at several moments a HOT ASS MESS. Quite a few of the men in the group were KILLING it with their crazy ass comments and messy commentary...TREMENDOUS ENTERTAINMENT VALUE. I wish I had a video or tape recorder to capture some of dramatics that went down. Well hell, what do you expect? When black gay men talk about sex and relationships, you can guarantee things are gonna get SERIOUS. And they did.

Although I was much entertained by the personal accounts and cunty arguments that ensued, I left the workshop with some very useful information. Here are a few bits of material from the workshop that Dr. Roger printed for us. If you are at a point (like me) where you are looking for the "right one", I hope this material is useful.

Also, Dr. Quinney maintains a private practice in Los Angeles for you brothas and sistas out there that may need the support of a professional. Here's some contact info:

Roger Quinney, L.C.S.W.
Quinney & Associates
Counseling and Counseling Firm
(323) 271-7997

Don't sleep on counseling! I'm seeing a counselor myself, and I highly recommend EVERYBODY see one at least once or twice. With that being said, ENJOY the material!


The challenges of same gender loving people are often the need for companionship, or that special person in your life. The barrier is often defining the relationships and what you are really looking for in a person.

Where is he?

The statement "Where is he?" is your own perception of reality. The perfect person is generally in your head but the realities are based upon your behaviours and interactions with others.

Where is he?

You generally find that Black men are seeking other Black men that are physically attractive, intelligent, sensitive, stable, responsible, and lastly reliable. Is this a reality or a fantasy?

Where is he?

Ok, let's take a look at your own personal life experiences and reflect on them. What was your childhood like (i.e. relationships with parents, brothers, and sisters, etc.)? When did you become aware of your sexual orientation or sexual preferences (rule out any sexual abuse that may have occured). The key factor you must have before you can share your life with another person is you must know who you are as a person. Why is this?

Now that the matter of who you are is hopefully cleared up or a work in progress, let us take a look at all of the men who have come and gone in your life. What was the key factor for involving yourself in these relationships? Mutual physical attraction? Sex? Attention? Career advancement? Affection? Did you date before you had sex, or did you have sex and then tried to date? It is important to consider the sex roles you have played in these relationships and how it felt for you (top, bottom, versatile). Also consider the HIV/STI status of yourself, or your previous partners. Did this have an affect on your relationship? Did you live together with your partners? Who was responsible for the finances, cooking, and taking care of the home?

Where is he?

Let us always be mindful that the key to any relationship is COMMUNICATION. That is, to listen, share, and observe the behaviors of your potential partner. Unfortunately, one of the barriers in SGL relationships is COMMITMENT. Is the concept of monogamy a challenge for SGL people? It has been my experience that this concept of being monogamous is a learned behavior, which is often developed by having single, heterosexual people as the ideal model. Is this appropriate? Are there any good examples of committed, long-term SGL couples to be used as the model instead?

Where is he?

We must understand the person we seek is often a fantasy that be conjured up in our minds as the 'man of our dreams' without considering the faults and flaws we all carry. Therefore, we must always reach out to others and be friendly to one another regardless of if he/she does not meet your expectations. You never know...that initial 'frog' in your life may be your knight in shining armor.


If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away.

If a man doesn't want you, nothing can make him stay.

Stop making excuses for man and his behavior. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.

Stop trying to change yourselves for a relationship that's just not meant to be.

Slower is BETTER.

Never live your life for a man before you find what truly makes you happy.

If a relationship ends because the man was not treating your as you deserve to be treated, then HELL NO, you can't "be friends". A 'friend' wouldn't mistreat a friend.

Don't settle for mediocrity. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is. Do not stay because you think "it will get better". You will be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better.

The only person you can control in a relationship is YOU!

Avoid men who have a bunch of children by a bunch of different women or men. He didn't marry them when he got them pregnant, so why would he treat you any differently?

Always have your own set of friends separate from your man's.

Maintain boundaries concerning how a man treats you. If you don't let your boundaries be know, you give him free reign to walk all over you.

If something bothers you...SPEAK UP! Men are notorious for being unable to read minds.

Never let a man know EVERYTHING about you too early. He may decide to use that vulnerability against you later.

You cannot CHANGE a man's behavior. This kind of change comes from within.

Don't ever let a man feel he is more important than you...even if has more materially than you. You have more to offer than materialism...your time, you patience, your listening, and your sharing of your heart.

If a man is always "too busy", it's time to MOVE ON! He just isn't into you. Just like we said earlier, if a man wants you, nothing will keep him away. If he is really into you he will MAKE time for you.

OK THATS IT FOLKS! Good luck with finding "the one". He or she is out there, but don't discount who you are as a beautiful person just to satisfy the needs or wants of somebody else. The way I see it, the partner for you will BUILD you up and make you a BETTER person, not tear you down or downplay your mental/physical/spiritual/emotional growth. But hey, that's just me.

Do you have any thoughts about finding "The Right One"?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The L.A. Blacks were OUT!

Several weekends ago, I had the great pleasure of spending some quality time with fellow bloggers TheBlacks, Freddy Smith, Trent, and a guest by the name of Joe for a day of BEAUTIFUL weather, brilliant LGBT cinema, a lively panel, some DE-LIC-IOUS food, the L.A. version of Noah's Arc meets "The View" (y'all fools betta RECOGNIZE), and delightfully messy black gay hijinx. I haven't kicked it all day like that in a while with anybody, so it was a great pleasure to spend the day in such awesome company.

We started off the day at Barnsdall Arts Theatre (which was surprisingly picturesque) to show our support for FUSION: OUTFEST Los Angeles, an independent film and documentary showcase featuring the works of highly-talented LGBT creative artists of Color.

After the showcase, we were treated to a lively debate/panel discussion involving gay marriage, the power of mentorship, and the state of the Black Gay community in Los Angeles. The L.A. Blacks and I got a kick outta some of the shade being thrown out on the sly...i tell ya, the kids can be a mess! even when being tactful...

Departing the theatre, we proceeded to wander aimlessly for about 20 minutes trying to find a place to eat. Don't get it was not cute. We were all hungry as HELL, and our navigator was playing games...he almost made me come out my backback... We finally decided on Alcove, a cute lil cafe spot in Los Feliz. After laughing our asses off to the ridiculously icy "i wanna beat your ass!" glares Fred was throwing our guest for getting us all lost and extra hungry, we settled in for a nice lil' lunch that turned into a full scale afternoon affair (complete with coffee and dessert! we were being very homosexual that day, lol). It felt good having real conversation with other upwardly mobile black gay men without the pretense of a hook-up or whatever. We were even able to get a little deep, which is very rare for me with people i don't know.
Good times had by all, especially our 'guest'. Now THAT dude was too much, and he had it in for Trent! I think the 'read' total was about 10 or 11? Thank god Trent was being nice...i could feel the retaliation in the air, LOL.

So yeah, it was good finally getting out and connecting with some real brothas. Kudos to the artists at Fusion for holdin it down, and the staff at Alcove for dealing with 5 out of order negroes :).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving thanks with a heavy heart...until Tamia came along!

Today has been pretty strange for me. This is the first major holiday I've had without my mother...and I am definitely feeling it. Even if our house doesn't host Thanksgiving, there is always a palpable energy around the house....anticipation of the after-thanksgiving sales...visits from random neighbors and family members...baking of cakes and pies for various family members...the introduction of the infamous lay-you-on-your-ass egg nog...the building of the x-mas tree... always something going on. However, this year our house is eerily quiet. No scrumptious food, no loud ghetto banter over spades games, no dancing contests, no homemade corn bread...nothing.

My mother owned the holidays around here, and with her not here it just doesn't feel the same. We (meaning my immediate family) didn't even do anything this year...just hung around the house and vegged out. Without my mom planning the Thanksgiving festivities, nothing went down. It's like nobody even feels like celebrating. Sigh.

I thought it would be fun to reminisce by breaking out some old Thanksgiving videotapes...BIG MISTAKE. I could only stand to watch about 5 minutes before I got too emotional and my dad had to turn it off. So much love and warmth came from those tapes...everybody laughing and acting a mess...seeing the ridiculous spread of food my mom prepared...a capture of my mom cuttin' up and trying to learn the latest "booty dances"...the wide shot of everybody laid out after the 'itis' kicked was all too much for me.

Everybody says the grieving process hits the hardest during the holidays...I think they may be right. I hope that Christmas and New Years will get better, because I don't like feeling this way. I'll have to pray on that.

I went out with my brother to a restaurant for dinner. My dad didn't want to go so he stayed at home. My mother is probably rolling in her grave knowing we weren't chin deep in somebody's turkey and corn bread dressing....sorry Mom, just wasn't feeling it today.

I had a nice surprise when I returned home. I received an e-mail from a fellow blogger, theBlacks. I opened it to find a link to a Tamia interview held by The Steve Harvey Morning show.

Listening to Tamia's RIDICULOUSLY BEAUTIFUL VOICE has put me in a good mood. Lord, I swear it takes some talent to be able to KILL IT OVER THE RADIO!!!! Not only did she tear it up on her own tracks, she had the NERVE to take an Anita Baker classic and kill that as well! Don't believe me? Listen for yourself:


Beyonce, Keyshia Cole, Christina, Jojo, and all the rest of the young "divas" out there...i'm gonna need to you to sit it down real quick, pick up a pen and paper, take some notes, and witness how it's really supposed to be done! Until you can just bust out like that with no digital assistance, keep studying!

Just like that, I've purchased Tamia's new CD and have dusted off her old CD's for my listening pleasure. Damn, Grant Hill is a lucky man. If I had a (man) to come home to that could sing like that....we'd both have to work from home cuz' there would be no leaving the house, LOL!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! If you are surrounded with family and friends, toss up a prayer of thanks and praise. If you are also dealing with the loss of a loved one this holiday feeling, toss up a blessing as well and know that you aren't alone.

And support a sista that can SANG from the POO-NAAN-NEE and buy Tamia's new CD! That song they dropped on the waves is SOOO not the #1 song on the

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ward Connerly is a DAMN FOOL...and this proves it

While at my internship site yesterday, I picked up a copy of UCLA Magazine to read up on what's new on campus. The lead story highlighted the RIDICULOUS racial disparity of black students admitted over the last 8 years. There has been uproar throughout the University of California system concerning Black student retention, and UCLA is in many areas doing the worse.

For example, this past fall quarter, out of an estimated 4,900 new freshmen class, only 96 were Black or of African American descent. 96!!!!!! And this is Los Angeles people, arguably the most diverse metropolitan geographic area in the WORLD! And believe me, from my experience walking that campus, it shows.

When I read about the ongoing "crisis" of UCLA admissions policy and the effort to actively recruit Black students, it makes my blood boil. I remember when this whole madness started...the year Prop 209 was passed. I was a senior in high school, eagerly awaiting my journey to UC Davis. I was in the first class of students in the post-Prop 209 era, Class of 1999. From beginning to end, I saw with my own eyes the subtle but noticeable fading away of Blackness on campus...the relentless slashing of ethnic minority retention program designed to keep Black students performing at a competitive level...the damn near disappearance of Black Greek life...the loss of the historical African Diaspora House...a diminishing morale amongst Black students...the SERIOUS disappearance of Black faculty and staff... SO MANY areas were affected by the ending of affirmative action policies in the UC system.

I wish I could just sit down and talk with the brainchild of Prop. 209, former UC Regent Ward Connerly. In case you're wondering, this dude is not some stiff-shirted hyperconservative salt n pepper haired White, he's A BROTHA. I'd like to take him on a tour to all the UC campuses and have him take a long look at the absence of Blackness. I'd want to show him a list of all the special programs cut due to his lovely creation. I'd defintely have him interview with the myriad of BRIGHT and SUCCESSFUL men and women who were given a shot due to affirmative action programs. We'd definitely visit a handful of public schools in LA and show him the students that will likely fall through the admissions process because of their circumstances, despite their abilities. And after we do all that, I'd have him check out the minority admissions rates of the Top 3 Ivy League schools in the nation; Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. He would be blind not to see that these schools, which historically have presented barriers to admission for minority students, still manage to put the minority admissions rates of the UC system TO SHAME.

After Mr. Connerly has had a chance to see and hear all of these things, I'd put him in a room for a little bit so he could think about the consequences of his beloved Proposition 209. Then, I'd take my arm, reach back, SLAP THE HELL OUT OF HIS DUMB AZZ, take him by the shoulders, SHAKE HIM a bit, then ask him, in a not-so-timid tone, "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!!!!!???"

Alas, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In an effort to save face, UCLA has launched a crusade to "figure out" the admissions problem and pound the pavement to find Black students capable of surviving the admissions process.

I've been very impressed by the efforts of Dr. Darnell Hunt and the Ralphe J. Bunche Center of African American Studies for their committment to improving the status of Black and ethnic minority students at UCLA. I may even join their think tank when I start my doctoral program there, because I'm itching to actively speak out on this.

For those of you out there affiliated with or attending a university, PLEASE be a part of the solution. And if you happen to run across Ward Connerly (or other like minded folks), please sit his ass down and educate his behind!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One more week...ugh

It's 3:25 am and I'm feverishly completing a paper that was deadlined YESTERDAY. Sigh...the life of a grad student.

I had a hell of a birthday weekend, which is why I'm scrabbling now. As much as I hate not following through with work before fun, I gotta admit the festivities, tombfoolery, and dramatics of this weekend were WORTH me being a little sleep deprived now. Because BABEEE after I finish this paper up and work my way through this week, I'M DONE! (for a week at least).

So yeah, pray for a brotha until then. I'll be posting on my 25TH BIRTHDAY moments, life as a "saved Scorpio", and other juicy tidbits as soon I get this damn beast off of my desk and into my professor's hands. HOLLA!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Help with Blogger?!!!

Ok, so I think I'm finally getting my Blogging mojo back....wooohoo!!! Anyways, I need some help if anybody's out there. I want to liven up this space, but my Blogger IQ is like 2.7 right now :(

I have questions!!

1. I have a few audio/mp3 files I want to post. How do I do that?

2. I've seen a few folks with links to their Flickr page on their do I do that?

3. Is there any way I can widen the display so that the text in my page isn't confined to just 1/3 of the page?

4. Random computer/hardware question. Any one know of a good Macbook compatible portable microphone I could use? I'm having to conduct a lot of interviews for my master's project, and I'm thinking of dabbling in some sort of podcasting for personal and professional purposes. A friend of mine mentioned the iRiver, but I'm having trouble finding one. Suggestions?

5. I want to do funky stuff with fonts, colors, and other stuff for the text. Are there any magic buttons I need to push? Cuz I can't find them.

Any help you can provide would be MUCH appreciated. I hope all of you are well and thriving. HOLLER BACK!

Some of My Best Friends...???

A long time friend of mine offered me a book to read; Emily Bernard's "Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendships". I finally got around to opening it up, and the book's contents have really hit home for me.

You see, I was raised in a working class, racially mixed neighborhood. In high school, the crowd I associated with was also very multicultural. In fact, my close H.S. friends and I gained the title "Rainbow Coalition" because we were so ethnically mixed. Imagine a black guy and girl, a hot mess of a Nigerian girl, a self proclaimed "Thai princess", a seethingly blunt Chinese girl, a mixed white/Filipino guy with an affinity for hard alternative music (booo!), and a crazy lil' filipina all running in the same circle. Man, we would crack up at all the attention we got while in public. Wake up people, this aint 1955 and we ain't in the Deep South!

The high school crew:

Sure, we (and our extended network of friends aka. the 'smart' kids) all took more than enough shit from our respective ethnic communities for not being "down" enough, but we didn't give a damn about others' perceptions. We were friends, down for each other, and destined for success. I always though of my multicultural friends as a huge blessing...I grew a much stronger sensitivity to others, learned real quick not to make snap judgments of other ethnic groups, and I appreciate my blackness and Black culture even more having been exposed to other cultures.

As I headed off to UC Davis, I kept that sense of multiculturalism close to my heart. When I arrived on campus, I found myself ethnically isolated in not one, but two ways. First of all, there were hardly any Black folks on campus, especially brothas. Second, the existing Black community was happily segregated and out of reach. Although I was making friends and acquaintances with the White, Asian, Indian, and other folks, I felt something was missing not having a bond with the Black and Latino community.

It took two full years to form some kind of connection to the at-large Black community on campus. And when I did, I felt as if I were enduring an internal tug-of-war match. On one side I had the Black community I had been yearning for, which did not look too kindly of me associating so extensively with the "others". On the other side, I had the network of Non-black friends who I'd grown to love and appreciate despite our ethnic differences, but were clueless to my struggle as a young black man in America. I was indeed "sittin on the fence". I couldn't make up my mind which way to go....I felt such a strong connection to my fellow Black folks, but I couldn't fathom the thought of forsaking the friends who accepted me as I was. In the end, I decided to just DO ME, and BRUSH THE HATERS OFF. And wouldn't you know it, I gained the respect of the open minded black folks, maintained the other friendships that were open to learning about the Black experience, and got written off by the others. Whatever. Even though I found peace within my friendships and acquaintances, there was still this invisible line that separated the two groups, which really bothered me.

The Homies from Cow-Town (UC Davis):

I bring this up because I feel the same thing happening again, but with different circumstances. Now, there seems to be a growing separation between my gay/SGL and heterosexual social networks. Up until about 2 years ago, an overwhelming majority of the people I socialized with were heterosexual (or I assumed were). Now that I'm settling into my identity as an 'out' black gay male, I have a yearning to form bonds with gay folks, particularly black gay men.

As I become more involved in connecting to the gay community, I feel some of my old friendships slipping by the wayside. One of my best friends, Nan, actually put me on blast about this a few weeks ago. It's not that I don't love them any less, it's just that being black and gay presents a very complicated set of challenges and circumstances that many folks who aren't black and gay can understand. My straight friends, for the most part, are accepting of my sexuality, but don't seem to be open to knowing more about the experience. Again, the damn tug-of-war...and my behind is getting tired from sitting on this sharp ass fence.

Can a happy medium be made here? Or is this something that will always be present if I decide to associate with both heterosexuals and SGL folks? I hate having to divide my social time between the two.

Do any of struggle with "sittin on the fence" in some capacity?

Can y'all help me get off this damn fence?

***By the way, for those who don't know, SGL means "same gender loving"***

Thursday, November 02, 2006

America's Next Top Hot Mess!

A friend of mine forwarded these pictures to me. Even though Tichina and Tisha are DEAD WRONG for going there, the ish is still funny as hell!!!

No offense to any of you die hard America's Next Top Model fans out there. Hell, you know it's funny!

Have a great day! :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Why am I doing all this?

As many of you have noticed, I haven't been posting very often lately. I've had every intention to, but my life has been a true rollercoaster ride lately. In many ways, I feel that I'm just along for the ride, having little control of things around me. Fortunately, things are finally starting to calm down (THANK YOU JESUS!) so I'm returning to a more normal schedule.

Throughout these trials and challenges, I've often had to take a time out and ask myself "Why am I doing all this?". Why am I so hell-bent on pursuing my education? Why am I more concerned with making a positive impact in the community than making six figures and livin large? Why do I often drop my quality time for the sake of keeping stability in my family? Why am I considered "the strong one" when I feel so helpless and lost at times? Why do folks in my family automatically assume I've got it together and can help them? Why does my life feel so segmented and segregated right now? Is it my fault that it's this way? Why can't I just say "screw you all", disregard my responsibilities, and live life completely for myself? Why do I feel like I'm living the life and responsibilities of a 40 year old at age 24?

These questions have constantly surfaced these past few months. When they surface, I pray and reflect on my past for answers.
Thinking about my past, and what I've had the pleasure (and displeasure) of experiencing in my short life, gives me the strength to move on and do big things. Here are a few of my motivating factors:

1. Finishing my undergraduate degree

I can honestly say that one of the most important days of my life was when I graduated from the University of California, Davis with my bachelor's in Exercise Science. I was the first of my lineage to walk across that stage, and believe me it was a STRUGGLE. In college is where I learned what being a responsible, honorable, and goal-oriented man is all about. Despite the struggles and trials I endured (and OHHWWEE i had quite a few), I'd never give a single day of my college experience back. I learned the true meaning of "digging deep". I am so much of a better person because of the life lessons college forced me to experience.

My graduation weekend (had 3 graduations) was so many things...the first time much of my family stepped foot on a university campus, the first time my entire family got to see where I spent 5 years of my life, the first time more than 10 black people congregated on the UC Davis campus and the police weren't called :) Above all else, it was a turning point. At that moment, I realized that I was CHOSEN to do great things. Having my ENTIRE immediate family and best of friends showing me the most absolute love solidified this for me. I have been blessed to do great things, and it is my duty to live up to my purpose. Too many people and too many circumstances are riding on my success to make me want to say "screw it all". Too many people have sacrificed time and energy, done without luxury, and struggled financially for me to half-ass my potential. I work my hardest not only for myself, but for the people who have worked their hardest to support my efforts.

2. I've seen and heard too much to want to settle for mediocrity.

Again, I've been blessed with so many experiences that have had a profound impact on how I think about things. Despite the fact I never have been "privileged" by our country's standards, I've had an opportunity to see the world, had a chance to connect and learn from some of the brilliant and influential minds of our age, and been exposed to so many positive, uplifting environments.

One of my dreams was realized at age 13 when I was selected as a student ambassador to Australia as a People to People Student Ambassador. Wanting to travel the world was a pretty bold statement for a young man of my means, but the fortune of being hand-picked for such a prestigious opportunity, coupled with the utmost support and encouragement of my parents (it took my parents 5 YEARS to pay for me go overseas, y'all), allowed my dream to become a reality.

That trip overseas did more for me than I could ever imagine. On the positive side, People to People allowed me the chance to see what's beyond our borders, establish an independence of my family at a very young age, and confirmed for me the importance of thinking big. On the not so positive side, People to People facilitated my first brush with blatant racial discrimination. Being the only chocolate boy in a delegation of fifty White and Asian kids, in a foreign country not accustomed to Black Americans, was a trip for real. It was all good though....i learned very early that challenges face Black kids who dare to dream and act big. We have the responsibility to bring our A game because some folks will automatically assume we don't belong. I've carried the lessons from that experience to this day, and I still conduct myself with that in mind.

While it has been great experiencing the good things, going through the not-so-good stuff has been important too. Dealing with the suicide of a close friend made me realize that life is a precious thing and is worth living. Watching my brothers and sister struggle because they made poor life decisions early in age keeps me focused on leading my life with integrity and purpose. Being unemployed for 6 months after I graduated (and quitting the first shitty job after a month) allowed me to see how expendable and unappreciated you will be unless you can make a worthwhile contribution to our society. Lastly, just growing up poor as hell, going to school being gainfully employed and still BROKE, and preparing to subject myself to 4-6 years as a BROKE ASS Ph.D. student has led me to believe that being broke SUCKS, and is NOT FOR ME. :)

3. I've been given the opportunity to do what many haven't.

When I think of #3, I think of my parents. I've said this before, but I TRULY LUCKED OUT with the parents I received. Many in my extended family didn't take to the whole "Raise the hell out of your kids" philosophy my parents did. My parents used all of their resources to ensure that my siblings and I had everything we needed, and just enough of what we wanted.

All of what I'm doing for my family now, in a way, is to show my appreciation for everything they've done for me. My parents have always supported me 100% in all my endeavors, and I didn't understand how rare that is for folks from my background until I hit my college years. Hearing the sob stories of so many people, especially Black men, living in single parent households, dealing with neglectful, abusive, and obsessively controlling parents, etc. etc. etc. And here I am, with parents that were willing to go broke and deny themselves the few luxuries they could afford to indulge my overachiever endeavors and provide support for an education they never had an opportunity to experience.

What kind of person would I be if I didn't do my very best to live up to my potential? Especially after so many people worked their asses just so I could have half a chance? It's my duty to ensure their efforts and hard work are not spent in vain.

4. I want to do big thangs!!!

I'm dead set on making my impact on this world. I've never been one to want to "blend in" and just "survive". ALL HELL NAW! Living is a beautiful thing, and I plan on doing just that. I wish for more than my parents had, so that I may provide my future family (pray for me!) with opportunities I never received. Trust, I ain't raisin' no spoiled brats, but I want to be able to provide my kids and partner with the best.

And let's not forget about me! I wouldn't mind driving a nice car like this one:

I want to travel the world, see all there is to able to put some kid through college with a scholarship...own my own house and maybe a vacation home...see my name on something, whether it be a patent, a building, etc...leave a nice lil' legacy to my future generation. I can't do these things if I plan on being a scrub or half-assin'. I don't want to be a statistic, or a "ohh wow it's a damn shame, he had soo much potential" case. I want to inspire others to do the damn thang, so I must set the example by working my ass off and handling my business. It's that simple.

So yeah, when I start resenting my current position in life, I remind myself why I do what I do. Without fail, I re-gain my focus and draw enough strength to keep it movin.'

What keeps you motivated for success? I'd like to know.


Friday, September 29, 2006

At Capacity, but doing alright

It's been a while since I last has been kicking my ass as of late, and unfortunately I've been forced to neglect my committment to blogging. I hope to be back in the game very soon (hopefully this weekend) with full-on posts and random streams of consciousness. But until then, I'll leave with a laundry list of things going on in my world....

1. Work is going great...for the most part. My personal training clients are all a pleasure to work with and very dedicated, so that makes my job easy. I'm having a lot of fun teaching my activities classes. It amazes me how LAZY folk can be in a PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CLASS, but the energy I receive from them when they ARE engaged almost makes up for it. My graduate assistantship is getting boring as hell, and I doubt if I will continue my contract for another semester. The interns that shadow me are cool as hell (and one is definitely easy on the eyes, lol), however that is not enough to keep me motivated to work at highest ability. I'm sure my prof will be pissed, but at this point all I care about is finishing this damn degree and going on to the next.

2. The UCLA internship is COOL AS A FAN, but I swear, this woman is trying to work me like a stripper on a pole! Everytime I go in, she has a new project or an article to review, or a demonstration to facilitate or somethin! I don't complain too hard though, because this sista works 5 times as hard as I do, does it with grace, and is SERIOUSLY hooking a brotha up both professionally and personally. I still love our chemistry, even though she's loves putting my ass to the test. Just last week, she helped me resolve a conflict I had with how many academic mentors do you know would go there for their students? Hell, I'm not even one of her students! (well, at least not yet).

If anything, she is giving me the real deal on what it's going to be like as a doctoral student and true professional in Public Health. In the back of my head I know that and respect her for being real, but at the same time I feel a bit overwhelmed and 'remedial' at times. I need to stop comparing myself to her and the other Ph.D's...I'm still a scrub to the game and have much to learn. Damn my Type-A tendencies!

Wow, this is turning into a full-blown post, isn't it?!

3. I'm making it official... I'm happily involved with a wonderful young man! If y'all have been reading for a while, you know who it is. He is a fellow blogger, and a damn fine specimen of man :). Our circumstances are a bit complicated with him in Atlanta and me in L.A., but we are making the most of the situation. I never thought my first real, serious relationship would be a long distance is what it is. I'm very happy he's in my life, so relieved that he feels the same way, and excited to see what the future holds. FINALLY I connect with one of the "good" ones...well at least he's "good" for me.

I ain't gonna lie though, this separation is a bitch to deal with! It would be one thing if we had known each other super long before we became long distanced...we had only known each other very shortly before he left for ATL. One other tough pill to swallow is that I REALLY LIKE HIM, meaning I really enjoy his company and conversation. Not having that to look forward to everyday (or even every other day)is really tough for me. I'm naturally very touchy and tactile, so it means a lot to be able to feel, hear, touch, taste ;), and smell my man. I try to make up for it with frequent phone calls and texts, but I gotta cool it with the peak time cell phone bill is NO JOKE.

One factor that's really a challenge is the whole EYE CANDY FACTOR. I don't know what, why, or how the hell this is happening, but all of a sudden, now that I'm in a relationship, I start getting attention from dudes. On campus of all places!! Cal State Fullerton has about a 2.6% Black population which is only about 1/5 male (aka. between 100-150 black men out of 35,000 students) so the likelihood that I'd come across "family" is slim to none. Alas, the shit is going down! Guys from my past, a few random men on campus, even one of my damn students have tried to holla! Add to the equation my major being Kinesiology (movement, fitness, and nutrition), my office being next door to the Track & Field and Wrestling main offices, and one of my GA responsibilities involves conducting fitness assessments on all intercollegiate athletes (basically having to touch and pinch on ridiculously developed athletes). You'd think it would be a dream job...but for me, it's HELL.

This is why it's hell. While it's great to be in the midst of all that flesh and muscle and testosterone and homoeroticism, I can only look and not touch. To be honest, I don't even want to touch. I feel like with my man I'm on the verge of a relationship with long term potential, and I have no desire to jeopardize what we have. The trouble comes because being in my environment day in and day out has me thinkin' some pretty X-rated thangs. Me being a sexually expressive person doesn't help matters either. Not having the man of my affections here with me to buffer those thoughts, or even play a part in them :) really sucks. It's like riding on a crowded bus when you have guys in Hondas offering you a ride and you have your own Bentley 2,500 miles away. Sure, you can take a ride here in a Honda and probably get away with it, but you know that nothing will compare to the sheer driving pleasure of your Bentley when you have access to it. Until I can see my Bentley again, I will continue to ride the bus...groan. Hell, at least I can say I have a Bentley. Most guys would be happy with an unreliable Toyota, and I've been blessed with a finely tuned, well-maintained, chocolate brown luxury vehicle with PLENTY of horsepower, LOL.

Ok, I need to stop.

4. I'm sexually frustrated....nuff' said.

5. I love my family, but I feel myself getting sucked into the drama. It's enough having to deal with my father. He's still hurting really bad with Mom's Death, and I worry that he'll not take care of himself right if I don't stay in his face. Now, our family is facing a long-standing pain in our asses...the fate of my grandmother's house. My mother's dying wish was to make every attempt to save and rebuild the "House". She even invested $50,000 of her own credit to make this a reality. Now that she is gone, her equity credit line has been revoked, we have $25,000 in repairs still left in our construction contract, and my mother's siblings are acting triflin as hell when it comes to contributing FINANCIALLY to this cause. Basically all they are concerned with is getting a check written to them for the sale of the house. Now I would tell them both to kick rocks and die, but they own 2/3 of the a brotha and his brothers find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Should we take the debt ourselves (if that's even possible) and finish the work? Should we just say screw it and sell the house as is (and lose about $100,000 for not investing $20,000), or should we just wash our hands of the whole thing and let the bank snatch the mortgage?

Part of me wants to be done with this whole ordeal and just sell the house. Another part of me wants to fulfill my mom's wish, hem up these triflin heifas with my razor (pull it OUT da backpack!) and get the work done. Another part of me, which is growing larger by the minute, wants to run like hell away from all these messy african americans, escape to Atlanta, and hide in my man's bed LOL.

As much as I don't want to deal with it, I must. I'm the "responsible" one, so I must set the tone for my family's actions once again. So much for being the spoiled baby of the family, huh?

5. I really need to learn how to be BRIEF :)

Ok I'm done now. Let me get back to this work before I fall even more behind.



Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I've been pacing for over 5 minutes, so I've decided to write to clear my head. I think it's crazy that only several weeks ago, I felt my life was somewhat boring and uneventful...but OHHHH BOY have things changed. At this point, I find myself with more to do in less time. I prayed for God to place big things in my life, and He is defintely delivering. I just hope I can match his pace.

I must have 100 different things flying through my head...reflecting on my first black gay pride experience( 2 thumbs up!), thinking about my mom, being there for dad, handling family business affairs, working on my thesis, teaching my classes, redecorating my room (the effort may kill me, but it's still gonna be FIRE!), handling my OWN finances, applying to PhD programs, staying in good terms with my personal training clients, keeping consistent with my OWN fitness, carving out time for friends and family, figuring out my direction with church (do I stay or do I go?), continuing to develop in spirit regardless of my church affiliation, and finally attempting to build a solid relationship to a beautiful and worthwhile man...some 2,000 miles away. Yeah, a brotha is busy.

The big question is....have I gone too far? I am notorious for over-extending myself so I'm worried. I will never be as bad as the last time, but I feel myself creeping toward that side if any more responsibility comes my way. One thing that establishes order is my schedule. In order to accomplish everything I need and want to, I am bound to a UNFORGIVING schedule. Every important thing that needs to be done, from eating breakfast in the morning to meditating or praying at night, goes into the schedule.

Now if I stick to the schedule, I'll get everything done... If I miss something or deviate from the schedule, I'm SCREWED. I consider it a blessing and a cursed...blessed that I've been given the resourcefulness to make a schedule, and cursed that my schedule sucks up 95% of my time in a day. What a trade off it is.

I can honestly say this is the busiest I've even been. But do I have a reason to complain? In spite of my hefty responsibilities, I am doing very well and much in my life is thriving. My academics couldn't be better, I'm now financially stabilized (i.e. a broke ass college student that now doesn't owe everybody money), I am considered a "highly competitive PhD candidate", my spirit is strong (but tired as HELL!), my friends haven't deserted me for neglect, and I am holding my own with this long distance situation.

NEXT TIME I NEED TO BE CAREFUL WHAT I PRAY FOR!!!! When God brings it, He don't play! I just hope I can stick with it and keep my wits and humor....nobody loves a bitter idiot :)

Sooo yeah, I'll bitch and moan from time to time, but I'm not stupid enough to whine too hard. I asked for it, and I got it! Now I just have to roll with it for as long as I can. *****SIGH*****

I'm out.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Quick lil' update

The new semester is now in full swing, and I find myself busier than ever. It's been a MINUTE since I last posted, so lemme do a quick one now, then get settled when time permits.

...I GOT MY LAPTOP!!! A Beautiful, shiny, 'sleek' Apple MacBook. I've always been a bit skeptical towards Macs, but now....I LOVE THEM!!!! They are SO easy to use, ready right out of the box, and this lil laptop is one bad MOFO! I can do everything I need to do without hassle, which is exactly what I was lookin for. Of course, I had to make my Apple collection complete with a 30 GB Ipod...I'm crossin' over the digital divide, y'all! WHAT! Thank you Darian, for encouraging me to go Apple. am I going to formally thank you???? hmm.... :)

...SCHOOL IS GOING TO KICK MY ASS. But I still love it. Classes will be manageable, but my teaching load has increased and my graduate advisor has lost his dayam mind and tried to up my GA hours. I had to break it down to him that I am not 100% right now, which means that I am putting a CLINK CLINK LOCK DOWN on my free time. I'm not letting anyone infringe on my exercise time, lunch hour, or "Darian time". Unless these fools want to take a lunch meeting, pull up a pillow and a blanket for a nap, be my workout partner, or watch me call up or text my man, they can STEP OFF.

It's amazing how folks think you are being mean or standoffish when you demand that your free time remain YOUR FREE TIME. I think I just have my academic folks spoiled...i'm always Mr. Reliable. I guess I should expect folks to trip when you go from "sure i can do that!" to "ohh sorry, that's my nap time....SORRY!" LOL, I'm such a mess.

...THE CLOSET IS ALMOST EMPTY!. I came out to my Dad a few weeks ago. He tells me that he's fine with it, but I can tell that it will take him a while to grow comfortable with having a gay son. Especially one that he lives so closely among. My dad is not one to bite his tongue, and some of the questions he's asked me have been a MESS! My favorite: "What if some fine ass woman with a big ol' booty wanted to give you some? You wouldn't want none of that?!" TOO MUCH i tell you.

The next step is to come out to the church. I'm making baby steps, but I know now is the time to really see what the deal is. Pray for me.

...5 MORE DAYS TILL ATLANTA! I am beyond ready! I'm ready! I'M READY! I'm readyreadyreadyreadyreadyreadyready!

********Having a Spongebob moment**********

Ok, i'm cool. This will be my first real pride, black or otherwise. The events on the schedule should be super tight, I LOVE ATLANTA, the 'kids' will be in full effect, this is my first (and only) summer vacation trip, and I will FINALLY get to spend some extended QT with my man. It's all gonna be good! Oh yes, please believe!!

Okay, I gotta get some food and be off. More to come!

Friday, August 11, 2006


When a deliciously sexy young man asks me to show myself off, 9 times out of 10 I'll oblige :). These pics were taken a little over a year ago. New photos are on the way, but until then, Enjoy!

One of my favorite pictures. That's my Thai Princess, Nan.

This is me with my longtime homie, Ms. Catherine Diaz-Soto
aka. "Crazy ass Cathy". Don't let the grin fool ya!

The thinking man's pose.

We havin' a Bay Area moment. GIT STOOPID! GO DUMB DUMB....

Some of my high school friends and I at Ken's going away party. DU-ROCK!!! 99!!!

Candid shot taken WITHOUT my permission!

Nan and I looking cute. See how I'm just in the picture as a prop? Sigh...i'm so exploited.

The tastiest looking reverse oreo you will ever see, LOL.

Another picture of some of the Du-Rock family. Notice the effects of the
Hurricanes have taken over Nan...messy messy messy :)

Now the Hurricanes have taken us all. The debauchery starts NOW.
I am rockin' such an alchie grin it's ridiculous.


Even Helen's goodies on display couldn't keep me awake for
Chinese food at 2:30 am. Just not right.

More pics to come in the near future. One of these days I want to hire a professional photographer and get a portfolio done. I have no aspirations of modeling....i just think it'll be TIGHT. But when that time comes...ooohhheee! it's gonna be HOT!! Until then, the sexy stares will be shot elsewhere and the clothes will stay on. No goodie shots ova here!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Random Stream of Consciousness

A collection of my current thoughts:

...I'm soo excited about remodeling my room! It's about damn time I do something with it, and considering I'll be living at home longer than expected, a change is in order.

...My friends are the bomb, i swear. Just the mention of this remodel project prompted a random trip to Home Depot to select a paint color (it's gonna be HOT!), buy primer and spackle, and buy a new door for the bathroom. My girl Nan is even gonna hook me up with her furniture guy, who has some NICE stuff. There is no way i can afford his stuff (read: IKEA/garage sale budget), but with that lovely "Thai Discount", it's all good!

...Noah's Arc returns tonight!!!!! U KNOW! This premiere party is gonna be the bomb!

...this new workout plan is kickin' my ass! The physical therapy and weight training is coo, but the cardio is killin me. I can see why Black folks shy away from the's just not right! Oh how I wish I could just dance it all off like i used to!!! due time. much as I love it, Flickr is da DEVIL! I spent waaay too much time scanning and posting pictures last night.

...I go visit Mom's grave with Nan tomorrow. I will probably cry...A lot.

...i gotta think of something nice to do for the funeral home...they have been GREAT throughout all this.

...I unintentionally outed myself...AGAIN! This sunday at church is going to be VERY least I'll know if Ritz and Rachel have big mouths or not.

...I think my dad wants to have "The Talk" again. I think he's ready for me to bring it up.

....My mentor just handed this to me. Please support this organization by checking out their website, and possibly making a donation. Be sure to watch the trailer.

...Man, I'm blessed to be working with this woman. I love that we have so much in common, and that she is an open book. I feel I can ask her anything; professional, academic, or personal, and she'd give me a straight up answer. A hell of a mentor, I tell ya!

...As much as I love reading, reading journal articles and research proposals SUCKS!!! These people need to speak and write in simple talk, please! I did learn a few cool words though... don't the word "salient"(pronounced say-lee-ent) just sound hot?

...I need a good head rub, amongst other things :) Some people melt over foot massages, toe sucking, or receiving hickeys. I loves me a good head rub.

...I caught an episode of Bravo channel's new show, "Workout". I liked it! A couple of those trainers are a hot mess tho. Most of them know their ish though...i will say that.

...I miss kissing too. I hope I don't suck when I get an opportunity to kiss someone...i'm out of practice.

...3 more weeks till Atlanta! The anticipation builds! I hope Ted can square away that free room, cuz my pockets are still blazin from that plane ticket.

...Should I join this Singles Ministry at church? Will they want me to join after they know I date men? Why is who i date such a big damn deal to some folks?

...I need to bring back my nightly prayer and scripture reading sessions. I can square away 20 minutes at the end of my day for the Lord...that's not too much to ask.

...I love to party, but promoting events is BOO HISS. Why did I agree to be the "Social Chair" amongst my internship and institute cohorts?

...but my efforts have paid off! Saturday night, it's going down MTPCCR style!!

...and what the hell kind of word is 'cohort'? Sounds like a linguistics person was smokin' that stuff and decided to make up his own word for the hell of it. Cohort....psssh.

...My brother apologized for being rude about the phone bill. I'm glad he did cuz I was about to get really Scorpio on his azz.

...I talked to my brother Darren for like an hour as I drove to work. I'm happy for his success in Arizona, but I wish he was here in CA.

...I've completed my schedule for the Fall semester. GAG. My graduate advisor about halfway lost his damn mind when I cut my GA hours in half. I was gonna quit altogether, but that would'nt be fair to him or the participants. Why I gotta be so damn nice all the time?! Oh well.

...I need to find that African vendor from LA pride who had those nice bedroom pieces....i'm tryin to have my room lookin TIGHT!

...If financial aid gets my money wrong this time, my razor is comin' out the backpack. I will cut a bitch over money that's already mine, please believe!

...It's stomach wants food. I'mma go handle that.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Great Day!

(Me acting a fool on a good day several years ago)

I had a great day on Monday. I wasn't expecting any fireworks, dramatics or anything....but I got some!

The goodness started at work. After nearly losing my life to the Mercedescized, crackheaded drivers of Westwood, I arrived at UCLA to begin a day of final planning for the project I'm currently working on. Before I could start work, I had to go to a follow-up appointment with an eye doctor. The doctor recommended I start wearing corrective lenses for one eye, but other than that my tests came back normal. Whew.

I arrived in the office a few hours later, to find my supervisor waiting for me. My internship supervisor is also my future doctorate mentor, so she and I are mad cool with each other. We had a progress meeting, and she gave me MAD PROPS on my work!! WOOHHOOO! I'm confident in my abilities, but it's always nice to receive confirmation of your skills from an external source. The exercise program I've been working on is being well received by everybody she has introduced it to, and we have received requests ALREADY for copies of the program.

Not only did she give my progress a thumbs up, she informed me that we would be receiving a Minority Supplement salary that would allow me to continue working on the project during the school year AND get paid nicely for it. I swear my giddy ass skipped a few times on the way to lunch.

After a nice, trainer-friendly meal of Thai food, I went back to work to finish the day. I ran into one of the PhD students I'll be working with, and she gave me some great advice about the application process. I'm so relieved that students in this program are collaborative in demeanor and not vicious or ultra-competitive.

Work went by quickly, and I couldn't have been happier. I was being productive, in good spirits, and ready to get my workout on. After work, I went straight to the gym on campus. Before stepping in, I made a call to a "friend" of mine to solidify our plans for the night.

I've known of this gentleman for a handful of weeks. I unknowingly crossed paths with him very recently, and decided to get a little bold and ask him out. He said yes, and I once again was giddy as a schoolboy :) Dude was looking real good in person and on paper, and I looked forward to learning what he was all about.

After a decent workout (gym was too crowded, and the gymroom ettiquette of college-aged men is HORRIBLE....grrrr), I set out to meet my guy. We met on the street in front of his job, and my first thought was hmm...good looking guy. Head up, shoulders back, approached me with confidence, nice far so good. We headed to a restaurant nearby to get better acquainted.

I believe our time together went very well. At first I could tell we were both a little nervous, but I quickly pushed that aside. I had been wanting to meet this guy for some weeks and now was my chance, so feeling anxious was not an option. As we both settled into each other, the conversation became much easier and more natural. Over the course of our 2 hours, I found him to be intelligent, articulate, passion-driven, spiritually centered, and an overall friendly guy. Physically, I was happy with what I saw. I only wish he didn't hide that smile. It was beautiful gleaming against his chocolate skin. Very nice.

Once I got really comfortable, the flirtations started...I tried to behave, but I have trouble doing that when I'm feeling someone on several levels. He seemed to like it, so it was all good :)

After dinner, we walked around a little bit. I wanted to spend more time with him, but I had to be up SUPER early the next morning. After a pass around the block, we proceeded to the parking lots to retrieve our cars and call it a night. While in his car, I decided to tell him how I really felt about him. I thought, what the hell, why not? We ended the night on a good note, and promised to connect really soon. Needless to say that by the end of the night, I was in a very good place.

I hope I get a chance to know this guy. Over the past year I've been disappointed over and over with the men I've dated. I'd been selling myself short. I consider myself a man of high quality, and I deserve to be connected to other men of high quality. I knew that they were out there, and this guy proves it. With that in mind, I'm very excited about what the future has in store for me.

In terms of the men I choose to associate with romantically, I'm hitting a turning point. This selling oneself short shit is for DA BIRDS, and I'm through with it. If anything, this new guy has shown me that with patience and a little assertiveness, finding a decent guy is very much a possibility. I'll leave the hot messes for the next guy. Once you've driven a Jaguar, it's hard to go back to a Yugo...believe that.

So yeah, a great day on Tuesday! A little bit of drama popped off in the midst of it all, but I'll save that for later. Off to work!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Being the Rock...a blessing and a pain

It's funny...I never thought, at 24, I'd be in a position of leadership in my family. Don't get me wrong, I knew the responsibility was coming...but not this soon. I expected a little bit of time, at least my 20's, to be able to spend being self-centered with my time and energy. I guess that's not the plan God had for me. Whomever made the expression about the youngest of the family being the 'baby' and the 'spoiled one' is a DAMN LIE! Hell, spoil me with attention and free me from obligation...I wouldn't mind one bit! But hey, we all have our roles in life, and I guess this is mine...that of the "Rock" of the family.

Before my mom passed, my role was much easier to handle. She was the matriarch, CFO and pretty much the H.N.I.C. My dad was the keeper of the house, protector, and counselor. I was the 'Pacifist'. My job was basically to keep peace and balance in the family...keep my parents from burning out, set a good example for the nieces and nephews, handle disputes and drama between and with the siblings, and serve as the "master brain" when the circumstances required. I liked my 'job' and was good at it. And folks in my family became accustomed to me in that role.

NOW, I find myself having to step up and assume many of the responsibilities Mom held. It's a big job, but somebody has to do it. Hell, I was handpicked by the H.N.I.C. personally so I don't have much of an option :).

I'm not even gonna lie...this shit is TOUGH! I give props to all the 'Rocks', 'Patriarchs', 'Matriarchs', and 'Big Mammas' out there because DAMN, you all are amazing. My father and I met with a financial advisor to get our house in order, and we spend over 2 HOURS just scratching the surface of trying to figure out how my mother handled the money and actually finding all of her assets, liabilities, and expenses of the house. After that meeting, I was like "crap....what am I getting myself into?". I'm not fretting though...our financial advisor is very talented, patient, and willing to teach me how to keep everything under control with efficiency. A true blessing indeed.

Shit gets even tougher when it comes to dealing with family....OOOH LAWD HOW DID I NOT KNOW FOLKS COULD BE SO TRIFLIN AND SHADY!!! I can't BELIEVE some of the craziness and hot mess some of my family brings to the table. I don't see how my mom was able to deal with these fools without turning into an evil spiteful biotch or RUNNING LIKE HELL. She was definitely a bulldog, and now I see would have to be to filter through the straight up BULLSHIT that some people are working on. I could get into examples, but I'm not trying to win any awards with this and I don't feel the need to be even more long winded :).

Another interesting shift in our family's dynamics is occuring. I find myself as less of a 'Pacifist' and more of a 'Regulator'. Folks are NOT taking too kindly to this. So far, I've had to regulate on just about all of my brothers, my sister, three of my cousins, my crazy ass aunt (sweet jeezus help her), my former sister in-law, and even my father for not having their shit together or living up to their promises. I get the feeling they are shocked by my change in demeanor, and a little put off by being 'read' by somebody younger than them. I still communicate with tact, but lately i've been all about the business, my tolerance for bullshit being EXTREMELY LOW. Some folks don't quite understand why I gotta be like that... and they are taking it very personally.

For example...i get a letter in the mail from Cingle-Bar Wireless :). Turns out my brother has a past due balance, and has racked up over 550 minutes in overages, making the bill a grand total of about $650.00. Keep in mind that his cell phone is in my mother's name because his credit is so jacked up. His lack of consideration and discipline has become OUR financial responsibility. I call him up to inform him of the bill. He gets defensive and starts rattling off these excuses as to why he over-called. I listen for a minute, interrupt and say "That's great D, but is that my problem? The problem is that you didn't pay your bill and got sloppy with your minutes. How are we going to fix this?" He suggests that I pay the bill for him cuz' he's 'a lil' short this month'. I responded with a 'HELL TO THE NAW!' and proposed that he allow Cingular to disconnect the phone, get the account changed to his name, pay his own damn bill in whatever way he chooses, and opt for a pre-paid Boost Mobile if he needs a phone. Well...he proceeded to attempt ripping me a new one for "telling him what to do" and "getting in his business". I'm thinking...WTF! If you would have done what you were supposed to (aka. pay your bills and get off the damn phone) I wouldn't have to read your 35-year old grown ass!

I wish my folks understood that in order for me to take on these added responsibilities, my time must be used as efficiently as possible. I'm attempting to juggle school, work, the house, and my own personal affairs all at the same time...I don't have the time or the energy to deal with stupid ish or unneccesary crap. If I come off as a prick, it's because I feel irritated that you arent doing your portion of the work and are forcing me to work harder. I'm sorry if being like that isn't "like me"...but it's the only way I know how to get your attention. Times have changed, all of our roles have shifted, and it is up to ALL OF US to mobilize and keep this family functioning. And don't be so friggin' sensitive when I bring something up! I'm not being a bitch on purpose, so stop making me out to be the asshole.

UGH....responsibility. A blessing, AND a pain in my ass. Pray for my strength and sanity, y'all.
And while you're at it, pray for a brotha to get some lovin' too. I ain't had much of anything in that department in a minute, and a brotha is feeling the withdrawals :) Maybe getting some action and affection would have me chill the f**k out....sigh...only time well tell.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Love...In and Out of Time

April 29, 1978

It has been now 19 days since my mother left our world. I can't put into words what I feel right now...hopefully I will be able to articulate it sometime soon, and I will of course share it here. Of all the difficult circumstances in my atmosphere, the hardest to deal with is consoling my father. He and I are the only ones living in our family's house right now, so I spend the most time with him. He has just lost his best friend, wife, and soulmate of 33 years. Obviously, he is beside himself with grief. As much as I try to ease his pain, I know that nothing I do or say can get to the heart of his grief.My dad trying to act like he's in charge :)

Momma lookin' all kinds of fly

He and I have talked a lot about her recently, and I'm learning more and more about their relationship. He floored me the other day when he told me about how his life was a wreck and he was on his way to either jail or the morgue when they first met. My own heart about broke when he told me:

"Son, meeting and marrying your mother saved my life. God blessed me 100 times over by giving me the pleasure of spending the finest years of my life with that woman. So much of my life was her, and now she's gone. I don't know how I will go on...a big part of me died with her."

Family fun at Disneyland

I thought I knew what he was talking about, but I had no idea of the magnitude of his words until I sat down and thought about them. Then, yesterday morning, I was exposed to a movie that connected a lot of those words for me, and I was a crying mess for at least an hour.
Taken right before an anniversary "night out"

I was watching "Madea's Family Reunion", the movie version. While I love Tyler Perry productions for their comedy and affirming messages of blackness, for some reason this movie really hit home for me. Two scenes in particular really made an impact: the reunion scene, and the wedding scenes. When Cicely Tyson got up there and started preaching to her family about the responsibility of honoring and maintaining their heritage, I immediately thought of my mother. In many ways, she adopted that role in our family. Everybody looked to her as the glue that held our often fragmented family together. And then, when Dr. Angelou delivered that amazing poem, I was THROUGH. I thought....oh my god, THAT is what my dad was saying to me. That was the kind of love and adoration they shared. Here's the poem:

In and Out of Time by Maya Angelou

The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance...
our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out of time.
When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I had always loved you more.
You freed your braids...
gave your hair to the breeze.
It hummed like a hive of honey bees.
I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there....
Mmmm...God how I love your hair.
You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance.
Lost, injured, hurt by chance.
I screamed to the heavens....loudly screamed....
Trying to change our nightmares to dreams...
The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out
in and out
in and out
of time.
A very common scene at my house

My parents did indeed love each other, in and out of time. For 33 years, they worked as a unit.
Although they could put on the gloves and go 12 rounds, I've never seen them mad at each other for longer than a day. I think the longest time they were ever apart was the 4 days my mom left to visit family in Louisiana. When my brothers and I were growing up, we couldn't play one of them off the other to get what we wanted, because they backed each other up (damnit!). Every birthday, Valentine's Day, anniversary, and Mother's/Father's Day was like seeing two teenagers in puppy love (hell, I was conceived on a Valentine's Day, to give you an idea :)). I love how they were open about their relationship. Every aspect of it was honest and real. When they were all lovey dovey, you could see (and sometimes hear) it. When they were fighting, everybody in the damn neighborhood knew it. If one of them was in pain or suffering, they shared about it openly. I've only seen them divided twice, and both times it concerned my half brother Darnell. Even in those situations, they quickly resolved their issues and reinforced their bond.
Mom and Dad with my half-brother Darnell

Even through the bad stuff, they remained united. When my dad lost his father and best friend in the span of 3 weeks, my mom was at his side. When my mom screwed up and ended up getting the household in huge credit debt, my dad didn't drag her through the mud for it...he stuck his finger at her, said a few choice words, and went down to the bank and signed for a 2nd mortgage right along with her, no questions asked. After my mom had her first mastectomy and began questioning her beauty and femininity, my dad was right there to tell her how desirable and beautiful she was. During the second mastectomy, the one she never truly recovered from, my dad was right there, through all the follow ups, nurses visits, and tears my mother shed over losing her breasts. When Dad had his ankle fusion, Mom would damn near beat his ass for trying to walk around on it. Of course, it was out of love :). And then, on March 30th, when we found out the cancer had returned, metastacized, and was terminal, he supported her 24-7. Four separate emergency room visits, over 3 weeks in the hospital, trips to the pharmacy for pain and cancer meds, caring for her every need in between the hospital stays, cooking meals, helping her bathe, bathing her when she wasn't strong enough, making her laugh despite the pain and fear of facing dad did it all. In fact, my parents slept in the same bed from the day they moved in together all the way up to my mother's last 3 days, when she was moved to my brother's vacant room and placed in a hospital bed. I'm telling you, if that ain't love, I don't know what is.
Another night out on the town.

Yeah, my mother and father shared the kind of love that few people get to experience. They were in many ways polar opposites, but together they formed a powerful union. Through love, work, patience, faith, and truth, they provided a wonderful example of how a relationship and marriage should function.

Maybe that's why I'm having such a hard time dealing with some of these men out here? I've learned, through example, to love hard. To seek out a person's soul first, see what's there, determine if it's consistent with what's in my heart and mind, and attempt to build (slowly) a substancial relationship. I can't do the whole "let's be fuck buddies first and then see if we have a connection" thing because that's not what I got at home. Don't get it twisted, my parents were by NO means asexual (see my 2nd post); however, they weren't all out sexing it up without being committed and monogamous. Their marriage was anything but superficial, so I have trouble being superficial in my love and sex life.

I hope and pray that I can get the honor of finding someone I can love as much as my parents loved each other. Because, to be honest, I doubt I could settle for anything less.