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.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My Stress reliever, from Rashid's Page.

It's super late now and I can't mother's funeral service is tomorrow and I'm delivering her eulogy. Needless to say I'm on pins and needles from the stress of this week's events, her death, and having to speak publically about such a personal matter. I made a deal with myself...after I finish this, I'll go to bed. I'll definitely be posting about what happened these past 2 weeks, but for now I'll do this real quick and get some zzz's. Here goes...

the Gay Man's Survey
Welcome to the first ever gay male oriented MySpace Quiz!!!

Get ready, get set...answer, copy, paste and repost!!!


1. What is the first thing you notice about the same sex?
Overall appearance, how he walks, facial expressions (happy, sad, sexy, disgruntled)

2. Which male celebrity would you want as a love slave?
As a love slave?....let's see...i would say Brian White or Taye Diggs but they'd prolly flip the script back onto me! Djimon Housou would be fun :)

3. Gift card winner at work!...which store do you reach for?, or any sporting goods store.

4. Admit it, are you a size queen?

Hell no! I'm no fan of "modest" endowments, but I can't do anything with a Magnum XXXXLLL but look at it in shock.

5. What store do you base your fashion sense on?
Whatever looks good. I love Sean John, but Puffy can hurt a brotha's pocket. I'm gravitating more toward natural fabrics and linens, though.

6. If you could improve gay pride, what would you improve?
I'd have the focus be on community development through workshops and fairs, and spend less time and cash hyping up the parties. The parties will always be there, but the chance to congregate a mass of SGL family for a positive cause could be very powerful.

7. Have you marched in a gay pride parade?
Nope, never really been to a ATL, it's ON!

8. Honestly, how many times do you go to the gym?
Everyday usually. If i'm not working out myself, i'm training clients or running classes.

9. Honestly, how many nights do you go out with the boys?
Usually just once a week, if nothing else gets in the way. I need more social time.

10. How long was your last relationship? high school crush and I were together for about a year, but that's the extent of my relationships. Everything else has fizzled before a "relationship" could develop.

11. What would you do the moment gay marriage is approved by voters?
Smile, say a prayer of thanks, and encourage my partnered gay friends to do the do. I'm not quite there yet.

13. Where would you want to have your gay wedding?
Either amongst family and friends in Pasadena (hometown), or somewhere on the African Coast.

14. Who do you want to be there?
Everybody who supports my marriage and will buy a good gift :)

15. What kind of food/ who would cater your gay wedding ?
Depends on my man. If he's African American, soul food will predominate. If he's multiethnic or (gasp!) a different race, we will have a lil' of his culture in the mix.

16. Who is your diva?
I don't really have one. I like Janet, and Halle Berry...are they divas?

17. Which type of gay man do you avoid?
Unneccessarily bitter gay men are the worse. I also steer clear of the hopelessly DL guys...can't be associated with infidelity.

18. What qualities do you look for in a man?
HUMOR, a positive outlook on life, ambition, definite sex appeal, spiritual grounding, and easy to engage in conversation. Being able to break me off on a dance floor or having a voice are definite bonuses :)

19. What exotic gay locale would you travel to?
gay locale? I guess Rio de Janeiro, but it's not exclusively gay.

20. What song are you tired of hearing?
BEYONCE'S "DE JA VU". err time i hear it i want to say SWITCH!

21. Which club/bar in your gay neighborhood do you wish would just close down because its so tired?
I would shut down half of the sorry ass gay establishments down Santa Monica that treat black men like shit. I have no tolerance for racist queens, they gotta go!

22. Admit it, have you gone thru a vegetarian/vegan phase?
LOL, that is hilarious. My family is from da' South...we eats our meats. I do it lean and mean though.

23. Which restaurant/type of restaurant would you take a date?
Anyplace we can eat with freedom and can talk uninterrupted.

24. How much can you bench?
Stopped checking. It's worthless to know unless your workout goals are increasing brute strength.

25. What one part of the male anatomy always get your attention?
Backs, booty, and calves. If they are nice in all those areas, its guaranteed they will have a nice overall package.

26. Whole Foods or Bristol Farms??
Whole Foods

27. Do you donate clothes you dont use anymore?
Absolutamente. I was once a goodwill kid, so I always give back.

28. What do you think of Paris Hilton's new singing career?
BOO TO DA HISS! Why you gotta get my pressure up with this mess? Please!

29. Did you know Godiva Chocolates contain preservatives?
umm no....i should know though.

30. What would you rather watch, hot boys laying out, hot boys playing volleyball or hot boys washing cars?
Tie between volleyball and cars. I love volleyball, and I think water and 'wet' is soo damn sexy.

31. Do you go return to work late from your 10 minute break?
usually. I don't punch a clock, so I ain't trippin.

32. Where do you want to have your dream house?
My dream house is my grandmother's house, so Pasadena, California. I hope that I can one day have the honor of owning that beautiful home and keeping it in family.

33. Whats your favorite cologne?
Cool Water, but this Acqua Di Gio is starting to grow on me

34. Whats your favorite cologne on him?
I'm versatile. Something fresh and natural, like Escape or vanilla oil.

35. Have you worn red to a gay day at an amusement park?
never been to a gay amusement park day.

36. What are your favorite TV shows?
Noah's Arc, So you think you can dance?, Gray's Anatomy, That's So Raven (i know....)

37. Admit it, which TV DVD collection do you own?
Roots, and i will own Noah's Arc in a few days :)

39. Admit it, did you ever have a sugar daddy?
Naw dawg. I've dated a few older men, but they weren't ballin' out or anything.

40. What is the drink you always order at the club/bar?
Long Island Iced Tea, or an Adios Mutha****a

41. Finish the sentence...when I go to a house party, I avoid....
getting stuck in a corner, especially if the party is hella packed...nothing worse than being wedged in a corner when everybody else is getting their groove on.

42. What embarassing moment are you constantly reminded of?
I wore a helmet the first time I went horseback riding, and I looked quite "special". I didn't care tho, i didn't trust those shifty-eyed horses.

43. What does your last text message say?
"I keep thinking about you....can I come over?" No i'm lying....sigh...

44. Admit it, which fast food restaurant lures you each and every time?

In-N-Out. I try to stay away from everything else.

45. Your date just scored tickets...which singer/performer do you hope they are?
Jill Scott! That woman's presence and talent can make me melt.

46. Admit it, do you lie about your age?
nope, i like being 24.

47. What is your favorite sex position?
none of your dayam bidness sucka!

48. What movie, in theatres right now, would you take a date?
X-Men, but that's not new.

49. What movie, in theatres now, would you NOT take a date?
Little Man....all I can say is BOOOOOOOO!!!!!

50. You're the tour guide...where would you take an out-of-towner who is unfamiliar with your city?
We'd do the Hollywood/West Hollywood/Beverly Hills deal because EVERYBODY wants to see that. Next, we'd go get some good food, check out the Getty Center, and then maybe hit up either Circus, Catch One, or Pearl if we wanna shake it up.

*Redo and Repost as 'the Gay Man's Survey'*