Erected Perspective

Lessons Learned From Sake: Giving Yourself To Your Work.

There’s a rather interesting documentary currently on Netflix called The Birth of Sake. This documentary is about one of the oldest breweries in Japan that still brews sake in the old fashioned way; through a laborious method that requires the brewers to be on site for several months of the year with only two days off a month. Watching this documentary I was deeply moved because these men really gave themselves to their work, and despite the harshness of their endeavors made something with their own hands. I won’t share any more about the documentary because I’m hoping you watch it for yourselves, but what I will say is that as I grow older and feel myself becoming a cog in the corporate machine I sincerely respect the men and women that truly give themselves to work they believe in. They tirelessly expend all their energy to the tasks assigned to them and ultimately come out cleansed from it. Maybe we’re missing something if we don’t have that same drive.

Before I go any further with this conversation let me first say this, I do not believe in working for any entity that drains your spirit, life force, or morality. I wouldn’t give myself to work that doesn’t align with what I am, not for any amount of money, though selling out is super appealing at times like when the car payment or rent is due (great times to sell out). There is something beautiful in working and believing in what you do. Now, that being said I’m not naive enough to think that our society would run without society’s “downtrodden” functioning as the cogs. Hey that’s capitalism. However, it is my humble opinion that we should try our best to buck that system. The reality is that if we all could focus on what we were most passionate about and really give ourselves to it that humanity would truly be epic, and maybe we could evolve past the social limitations we’ve created to keep certain people (Yep, you know who I’m talking about) away from access to a comfortable lifestyle.

Life is too short for ___________________. It’s this statement that has always been a cliche, but be that as it may its never lost its validity. Life inevitably will come to an end for us all one day, and while some of us are content to wait in line. I don’t want to wait for my death on baited breath. I want it to find me enjoying my life doing what I love. For me, it’s writing. I want to write with such a vigor and vitality that years from now my work ethic will be studied to give some other dreamer the permission to exceed.

Quick side note: there’s a paper on my work desk right now with a breakdown of famous artist’s creativity. When they slept, when they created, when they did work for other people, etc. It didn’t help me, but looking at does inspire me to get on my own clock.

Like the men in the documentary I want to give myself to the writing and truly face it head on no matter the consequences. So, with that being said I’ll be introducing some new things to the site. Like pictures, yep we’re shedding some light in here, videos, and a plethora of other dreams I’ve a been patiently waiting to unleash on the masses. Starting next week something new will be dropping.

自業自得

“Work of self, obtainment of self.”

T.L.

Keeping Them Honest: An Open Letter To Readership.

Dear Readers,

Alright, it’s time to fall on my sword. I have been a terrible writer and blogger who writes here sporadically and without regard for you all. I own that. My eyes have been off the prize of being a writer, and truth be told I miss the hell out of it.

Recently I asked God a question, “what do I need to focus on?” The answer was much louder than I expected. I don’t know if you believe in a higher power, the existence of a sentient universe, or the laws of attraction, but the age old sentiment is true: be careful what you ask for. Man. These last few weeks have given me clarity and peace about everything but my writing. It’s the one part of my life that irks me consistently, the thorn in my paw if you will. I began writing because it allowed me to be a person I couldn’t be in real life: myself. I spent a lot of time when I was younger being the person everyone else needed me to be, and it was exhausting. My writing was the only place I was free to be who I wanted to be. Eventually, my life caught up and I could finally be me. I didn’t write much after that because I was too busy living the life I never had. You know what though, that nagging feeling to write never left. I remember hearing that your passion should bother you, and if it isn’t fulfilled it should nag until it’s completed. My writing, my plans for this site, and my plans for myself honestly stay on my mind annoyingly often. Add some work related nonsense here and there and you, my friend, have a recipe for a mental exhaustion.

Lately I’ve been doing a terrible job of balancing life and passion, and for that I sincerely apologize. The entire point of being a low-life never was to be a real lowlife. I started this blog because I wanted to make and show art. I’ve definitely missed the mark, so I make a solemn vow to do better and be better.

As it stands here’s the plan, feel free to hold me to it, every Thursday I’ll be posting some content. Every other day is a total free for all and I will write whatever’s clever. There’s a plan, chaotic though it be, to change this site into something. It’s taken me a while to get to this place, but for what it’s worth I’m kind of happy about it. Life moves you forward if you let it and I’m riding the wave.

I appreciate your patience with me and ask that you keeping reading. I promise to make it worth your while.

Sincerely,

T.L.

The Dangers In Looking Back

Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt after looking back to see the catastrophe she’d been delivered from. I heard that story growing up in church countless times, but now at Twenty eight it’s making a lot of sense. Let me tell you why, and yes this may take a minute.

In my post-fuckboy world I realize that I passed up on a lot of smart , beautiful, and sincerely kind women all due to my inability to understand I had some deep seeded issues that needed to be sorted out before I could really appreciate them. The prototype of the man I was building wouldn’t ever function right because I needed more work. I embrace and fully admit that now, but that didn’t stop me from looking back. Lot’s wife and I had that in common. Looking at where you’ve been is so much easier than facing forward. It’s comforting, it’s familiar, and it takes so much less work; or so I thought.

I, like other cliched villains, returned to the scene of my love crimes hoping that those same aforementioned women would take me back and let me be better. In my mind that’s what love looked like. It was leaving, learning, and returning better. I would try my damnedest to find my way back into their good graces so I could earn back lost time. Happiness I was sure would follow. But, as you can probably guess, it didn’t. Most of these women moved on and found someone who truly appreciated them. Others paid me no never mind despite my attempts, whilst the remaining patiently wait to see my soul burning on that Holy Day of Reckoning. Even facing such loathing I still looked back.

It took some years but I’m finally seeing why. Wale in his wisdom wrote a song, The Break Up Song (ha), and it has a line that’s been ingrained in my mental notebook. “Most times darling the sequel sucks.” Until hearing that I never thought about relationships being like movies. The first movie (pre-break up) tends to be much better than the sequel (getting back together after)  and it’s rare for that not to be true. Over the course of the last few years I’ve tried to apologize to some of the women I hurt. Some apologies went easier than others, but all came from a genuine place. I didn’t want to get them back, I just want to acknowledge that I learned my lesson and hoped for some form of closure (yep the simp in me won out).

From these apologies I’ve learned a lot about friendship and forgiveness. But it’s also taught me the dangers of looking back. Most relationships worked out how they were meant to. Even more so if you believe in amor fati. Life pushes and sometimes drags you forward so you can grow into the person you need to be. Looking backwards can hold up that progress. Our pasts made us who we are currently. Each mistake teaches us something that inevitably changes us, and holding on to past baggage is like an anchor that sticks us firmly in the ground till we accumulate dust, dirt, envy, and a myriad of other shit. Maybe that’s why Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt. Looking backwards and holding up our growth combine to make a slow form of death by poison. The kind of poison that kills slowly by ticking seconds off our lives. I don’t want to live like that, hopefully neither do you.

Life in its complexity doesn’t leave room for us to look back too frequently. Sure unlike Lot’s wife we can and should remember where we came from, but the caveat comes from wanting to be back there. Being a man in the midst of my hoe phase was fun, and the thought of it at times does seem rather  appealing (full disclosure giving no fucks was beautiful) in as much as being a kid again does when you think about a life without bills. But when that brief nostalgic moment is over and I come to my sense I’m happy with who and where I am now. You should be too.

None of us have reached perfection yet. Our prototypes are no where near completion but we go forward still, even if we may blindly do so. The past we survived is behind us, while right now is at the door and tomorrow beckons.

I’ll admit this post wasn’t for you per se. It was more catharsis for me than anything, but I needed it. Maybe you did too.

EP.

-As always,

T.L.

Four Years, and 21 things later.

About four years ago I started writing about relationships and attempting to give dating advice. I did this because for years I’d secretly been writing about my dating life. I was one of those kids who would escape into the pages of a blank notebook and just live there. I wrote a lot. Poems, stories, notes (of course), lyrics, songs, and would be pick up lines that I was too nervous to use. At that time I started realize patterns and connect the dots, or so I thought, in my head about how women were and how they then interacted with men.

Those were my credentials, and with them I wrote trying to translate between the sexes. Life came along later and revealed how flawed my perspective was, but I didn’t stop writing what I learned. Till it became another article “21 Things Every Man Wished You Knew’” came to be.

Now, this article was just a regurgitation of many conversations I had been having with my friends. We came up with this list after dealing with just a small portion of the young adult dating world. Taking all of our experiences I wrote this piece that at the time accurately fit the world as I saw it. Four years later, the world couldn’t be more different.

Evolution happened somewhere between then and now. I can’t really put my finger on the exact day, but I definitely know it happened. That being said, I need a new list and with it some more updated articles. The plan is to revisit the same topics but as an actual adult (at the time adulting hadn’t really caught up to me. Honest moment). So soon you’ll see another 21 things that, I, a man with some honest feedback from other men, have come up with that we wish womankind to really know. These are men who are great fathers raising awesome kids, men who are dominating the adult game of paying bills whilst still building a life they’re proud of, men who love women and unfortunately realize that they’ve caught those lifetime cooties our parents had, men who honestly just want to find our semi-best friend aside from our real best friends (who are squad, but you are too just not the same extent). Yes, those men. We’ll be rapping about it and it’ll eventually be a podcast topic (boom, totally a mic drop moment).

Life can give you a new perspective, one that really becomes apparent when you think about how much you’ve grown as a person. I smile when I think about it. Man, I had a great time back then, but I am happy to be who I am now. Just like I know many of us are when we face down our more primitive selves. We’ve evolved, and you know maybe this is how Pokemon felt (Total nerd reference. I own it.)

T.L.

The Trouble With Being Woke.

There’s so many things my heart is racing to put to this page. Insights that only through gazing into one’s on heartache, darkness, and shit could I even comprehend.

That sounded like a bunch of nothing so let me clean it up. I want to share with you the revelation that came to me this week, and with it share the darkness it brought. From there I will take your hand and walk with you through the shit and tell you a tale of heartache. Till finally we emerge better on the other side.

I will speak to you of what the cool kids call, “wokeness” and share the knowledge that cannot be unlearned. And here is where the dump truck of life freed it’s shit all over my carefully planned out life.

I recently went to go see the film, “I Am Not Your Negro.” And it altered my perception of blackness. The film metaphysically pierced me (I highly recommend it). The reality of my skin has always been something that as a black man I had to be cognizant of. I know that in any moment I could lose my life to the fears of some unjustified white man or woman. I made my peace with that long ago, and by peace I don’t mean that I accept such a fate. Merely that I know it is a fact of life. But the film showed me something else as I watched a collection of black bodies swinging in the breeze as strange fruit played, something broke inside of me. For the first time I faced the limit of my passiveness as my imagination forced me to feel what the last moments of a hanged man must have been like. Knowing that you will die at the hands of a crowd who’s fear and hatred of your skin blinded them of your humanity. Feeling the noose around your neck and looking out into that nameless crowd as you took a final breath. I broke in that moment. I pondered what my final thoughts would be, and parts of me spoke up. The Christian remembered Jesus’ last words, “Father forgive them, for they no not what they do…” I heard those words and wanted to believe that I’d say them. That my final act would be of forgiveness, but it would be a lie to say so. A voice of rage spoke up, “these violent delights have violent ends…” The rage that spoke filled me with a red seething heat as I looked out into the crowd. Faces glared defiantly at the human before them till I saw nothing but monsters in attendance. Rage then gave way to fear. Its voice was the truest. I would be afraid of death in this way. I would feel every eye on me and feel the burns from the hatred pouring from them. Only one question would remain as I hung dying. A simple why?

I wasn’t the same after that. Of course the film went on and provided new insights but I’ve never forgotten the eyes of the clansmen and their families. Not because I fear them, but because I feel it is my duty to remember and to live my life for those who had their lives extinguished by the monsters who gathered there. I promised myself that I would dedicate myself to reading more, and learning everything I could about my world. I promised to be the best version of myself all because I realized that I am the dream of the hanged man.

I’ll let that sit for a while. Hot tears are still in my eyes as I think about it. Everyday I live the dream that came from Strange Fruit. I have a good job, a great family, access to education, I can read, vote and live unabashed by many of the white whims that would mean instant death in their time. After I realized that I couldn’t be the same person anymore. I didn’t see point in knowingly watching television that I know was a distraction to keep me from paying attention to the real issues. I didn’t see the point in playing silly games of sexual pursuit with women who need more than my immaturity would provide them. I became aware of my hypocrisy in those moments, but that is a conversation for another day.

After that day I’ve been reading everything I can and I’m paying attention to the world around me. Connecting the dots and seeing the picture coming together, and as the picture gets clearer I realize that I cannot “unsee” the image it makes. Once you become woke you get to a point where everything is falling into place. The plots make sense, and all that we see has been orchestrated to be this way. You can’t go back afterwards after seeing some of these things. Think about that while you imagine The Matrix. One of the central characters Cypher reached that point. He couldn’t take back what he’d seen and it ate away at him. He sacrificed everything he’d known just to be comfortable again. Really think about that for a second. “Ignorance is bliss.” He said as he ate that steak that was only a figment of his imagination.
I used to jokingly say that statement all the time without honestly a second thought. Sure it’s better be ignorant of some things. We’d like to think that we’re progressive and can deal with the truth as it stands but history has shown us we can’t. Ignorance to the reality of things doesn’t quite work as well for black people. History continuously reminds us that. So no matter the appeal, we can’t accept it.

Rudyard Kipling spoke of the White Man’s Burden, not knowing that the true burden of man lies in the heart of people of color. Our burden is the true burden. It’s seeing the true image of America and each day having to put on a mask of conformity to make those around us comfortable. We do this to keep those who cannot handle the true weight of the world we live in so we shelter them from their legacy often and become scapegoats of their psyches.

So wrapping all these truths in a package is all I can do. The problem is I have don’t know who to send them to. Sure I would love for you to understand my perspective but truth be told it’s not fun wearing a mask all day. Seeing the way of the world I can’t buy back in to the American Dream and keep up an oppressive illusion. I know there’s still good in this world and that ultimately Love and Hope will prevail but in this moment I can’t help but think they’re running late.

The Supreme: A Reformed Fuckboy’s Lament

There are some things in this life that are hard to come back from, no I’m not talking about killing someone (Granted there’s no coming back from death…but you should totally talk to someone about that mind of yours). I’m talking about when a person drives you to the edge, well maybe not THE edge, but an edge nonetheless. I’m talking about when a person you’re dealing with makes an epic level mistake. Ladies and Gentlemen, the point I’m referring to is the point of no return.

I took someone there once, and even though years have past and she’s safe in the arms of better men the very thought of me takes her back to a dark moment. I remain Supreme Fuckboy in the hall of fame in her life.. I deserve it though, no arguments there. We had our sordid moments, and at the time I didn’t give a fuck so I lived up to it. This post isn’t about me though…Okay I guess it is.

Alright, little known black history fact, my greatest fuckboy moment… I was dating a woman and things weren’t going the way I wanted them to. Instead of working things out and doing the work necessary to find out just what we needed and wanted from each other. I decided that I could find another woman who could innately just know what I needed and give me everything I wanted.  And so with the blindest of faith, and decided to rip the bandaid off right then and there. So I broke up with her…via text message. There you have it. The crowning jewel in my glorious fuckboy crown. I even memorized the message:

“I’m not happy. I think we should end things…”

Those words were easy in the moment, and in my head at the time they prevented a real conversation. It was the coward’s  way out. I didn’t want to deal with her face to face. That was too much work, and though she deserved it the ocean of fish were calling so I left it at that. I dove into the waves and didn’t look back.

Years have passed since then, and thank the Lord for the obstacle course he placed in my path to help me evolve but I’ve never gotten over the man I was then. It is legitimately one of the few moments I actually regret.

Quick disclaimer

I REGRET NOTHING…except for this. I reached the final level of fuckboy that day and followed my dick to the end of the fuckboy rainbow. Spoiler Alert There wasn’t anything great there. I honestly ended up just sitting there for awhile waiting for something to happen.  It didn’t. There wasn’t a prize for being a player, for the large number of notches in my belt, or even the game I’d learned along the way. You know what did happen though?

A hand came down from heaven and humbled my ass.

So just a word to my fuckboy brethren escape the lifestyle whilst you can or you too will have the Ghost of Fuck Ups Past visiting your door step. I don’t know if you’ve heard though but Karma isn’t merely a bitch once you hit a certain level, she’s closer to a deity wielding the power to lay that ass down.

You’ve been warned.

Anyway…

Fast forward 2 1/2 years and many, many lessons later here I am reaching out to her. Wait, did you just grimace? Yeah I did too once the conversation started. Which brings me to the point of this article: there are some things we do in this life that we can’t come back from. I lost face that day and no matter how much change happens in my life, or how much I try to make penance I see now that I’ll be that Supreme Fuckboy in her mind. Life moves on, but what can I say I suffer from that disease, I forget the name of it, where I kinda want people to like me. Having her see me as the man I was stung to be honest.

Tread carefully with how you treat people. Burn your bridges effectively and with sincere planning. You never know the bridges you may need to cross again. In my situation, I don’t need the bridge and if I did it’s already decayed but it’s something I deal with. Not because I miss her or the relationship (it was great though) but rather that there’s still a person who will never be able to speak to the man I am. I want my evolution from Steve Urkel to Stefan Urkel to be undeniable. I want my childish days to be placed behind me where they belong, and unfortunately the blemish in her eye means something to me.

So here’s your lesson, show your best self each day. Be intentionally you and be mindful of your own hypocrisy. Don’t allow the you of tomorrow to be sullied by the you of today. They’d be pissed if you fuck up the future and then they have to travel back here to fix it. Have you ever seen a time travel movie where the Future person was happy to fix shit? Me neither.

The “Fuckboy” moments are fleeting, but the ramifications last a lot longer. Stay true to the person you need to be

Stay Woke

In the myriad of work and corporate bullshittery I find myself lost. Here I am working in a position I truly enjoyed to holding on for dear life to the remnants of what enjoyment used to be. What’s this mean?

Basically being conscious (or Woke for those not in the know) in corporate America exposes you to somethings. White privilege exists and White tears are a thing. If that’s news to you I’d assume you weren’t a minority. Being culturally aware in corporate America is like playing a game on hardcore mode within a even harder game that’s rigged to make it easier for a particular population of players. Yep, let’s go with that. There’s levels to this thing.

I constantly have to wear a mask at work because God forbid I mess around and say something truly conscious but very real I could make some person truly uncomfortable and force them to pour a drop of white tears out on the unwilling game. I’d be swiftly reminded of my place and put back in line. Being aware of how it feels to experience the other side of favoritism, or just how marginalization feels make the small injustices we experience in the office setting that much harder to deal with because now I see what they’re doing. I rather regularly want to yell out “C’mon Son” during staff meetings, or whenever the corporate earnings emails go out and we once again are reminded of how much money is disproportionally distributed to the higher ups and less so the working class people who honestly deserve it (yep you thought I was going to go play the race card again, ha! I totally could still for the record but no classicism is a thing too). In the words of the sage Donald Glover, “Stay woke. Niggas creepin.”

We have been dealt a shitty hand time enough to almost develop a six sense for the fuck shit. Crazy shit can happen and we won’t be surprised (cough…cough…The election 2016). Some of y’all fell for that Let’s Make America Great Again nonsense. Trump promised y’all seniority so to speak and large amounts of whiteness, and it’s okay. We the “minorities” get it but of course we’re totally going to hold it against you. You voted a clear cut bigot into office and tried to sweep it under the rug using rhetoric like “he’s going to bring back jobs” HOW SWAY?

American government has become a major corporation, run by major corporations and you honestly believe that a man who’s run a major corporation (and still will during his presidency despite the clear violation) will change any of that? C’mon son! (shout out to Ed Lover). Get out of here with that nonsense you’re wilding. “You know nothing Jon Snow.”

Now you can totally make any excuse you want because history is made by the winners, it’s not a big deal. But just know that no matter what you believe the fact remains that we now have an interesting 4 years ahead. Who knows, maybe some of you will realize that there’s some merit to the issues the masses of woke minorities and join us….or not. Totally leaning towards not.

To everyone else though in the real world, once again, stay woke. Goodnight and good luck.

Sincerely,

T.L.

Seekers & Finders

So I’m going to do something I get ridiculed for all the time…*cue dramatic music* Hasty Generalizations! Oh yes people, I’m going to make a very broad statement and try to hit as many marks as I can with this declaration: there are two stages of manhood. Seeking and Finding. Boom! Now before I drop the mic and walk away into the rain here’s what I mean.

When it comes to men and the way we deal with women, or our relationships with them we are either Seekers or Finders. For those who require definitions Merriam Webster Dictionary outlines them as such:

Seeker (noun), seek (verb)

  1. :  to go in search of :  look for

  2. :  to ask for :  request

  3. :  to try to acquire or gain :  aim at

Finder (noun), find (verb)

  1. :  to come upon by searching or effort

  2. :  to discover by study or experiment

  3. :  to obtain by effort or management

  4. :  to discover by the intellect or the feelings :  experience

  5. : to bring (oneself) to a realization of one’s powers or of one’s proper sphere of activity

Like I said above, men either at the seeking or finding stage. In the Seeking stage a man is trying to acquire or gain a missing piece of himself. He can be seeking this piece in various places, but there’s a lot of men who search for that piece in women. The Finding stage on the other hand is where a man knows himself well enough to be able to experience and recognize what he’s looking for. He’s searching for the pieces that fit the life he wants, and not the missing pieces of himself.

*Quick disclaimer: morality won’t come into this conversation. No fuckboy shaming. 

We’ve had the fuckboy talk already so I won’t be heading into those treacherous waters again, but we know that some men try to fulfill empty spaces inside of them by filling “other spaces” without regard or concern. These types of men are definitely seekers, but men who are forever single and have a track record of failed relationships are seekers too. So for the sake of your sanity think of seekers as any man who’s trying to find himself in other people or experiences.

Seekers are nearly completed puzzles that are so close to being finished there’s just one or two pieces missing and that emptiness is bothering them. Imagine a living puzzle just going around sticking puzzle pieces to themselves hoping against hope to make something work. It’s not the greatest of metaphors, but you get the idea. You see the issue isn’t the fact that they’re searching in women in this case, the real issue is that they are simply looking in the wrong place. It’s obvious that finding yourself should come from within, but it’s not that easy. Self-actualization ranks pretty high on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for a reason. Few people actually make it that far up the pyramid. We often find out who we are through adversity and challenge, but fight as best as we can to avoid them. Hell I didn’t truly understand me until I found out I was going to be a dad (that’s a good 27 years of seeking if you’re counting). Discovering anything about yourself as a man (or woman, but gosh share the spot light ladies) is honestly a hard thing to do, and it’s even harder when you live in a materialistic society that judges your worth based on how much you have, how attractive are the women you surround yourself with, and the depth of your pockets. So seekers try to balance their own personal issues along side the ones created by society, and spoiler alert it doesn’t work out well.

Seekers a lot of the time don’t know how to control things going on inside of them, and often resort to looking externally for peace. Often times that can mean there’s going to be a plethora of women left in their wake. They masterfully escape from facing and dealing with their internal turmoil and problems so they will likely bounce around from relationship to relationship never dealing with what’s really lacking inside of them because it’s easier than dealing with yourself. If I merely kind of care about someone it’s no big deal to forget about them and start over effectively distracting me from the bigger issue. Hooray distractions!

Think of seekers and they’re dating habits like a person who hates their job. They work at a place that doesn’t really fulfill their needs, it doesn’t provide them with anything resembling a sense of pride, but they stay there for the paycheck. After awhile even that paycheck isn’t enough to keep them there. Soon they start  imagining a dream job in that would. It’s the job they would love to have because it fits perfectly and provides them with the peace their current job doesn’t. Be it that job allows them more creativity, less stress, more freedom, you name it that dream job has it. Eventually they’ll get to the point where they will either need to leave for that job or something like it because they don’t like their current environment. This is where most people jump ship and swim for better shores and hopefully greener pastures.

We all can understand that (unless your life is perfect and in that case you deserve a major pat on the back which I’ll gladly give with a smirk because I know you’re bullshitting). They’re searching for the “ideal” place that will make their lives better. Now we also all know that there’s no such thing as perfect, and that every job no matter how great it is is still work at the end of the day so it’s not about the job it’s about the mindset. You could not like your job, but still go every day and enjoy the hell out of it. It’s all in how you face it. Seekers haven’t discovered that truth yet. While they’re bouncing around looking for ideal situation after ideal situation they meet women who fit the bill, but ultimately things won’t work out with them because they’re seeking out perfection and chasing after an image that no one can actually live up to.

So ladies, if you’ve dated a man who was a seeker you have to realize and accept that the relationship’s failing wasn’t your completely your fault (you could have some fault in it). He was missing something within himself. Your relationship with him could have been amazing, but there was more than likely a missing piece in his mind and it was a deal breaker that you didn’t have it. Don’t blame yourself or carry that weight because it’s not yours to lift.

Honest moment:
I was a seeker for a long time. Even when I thought I had found what I was missing I went back to old flames and tried to breathe new life into them, until finally I blew myself out. I would think I found a missing piece in myself and then go back to an older relationship expecting things to be different because I made some mental change. It never worked out because I never really changed. The smallest of revelations won’t free you if as a man you’re not honest and willing to deal with the bigger issues with YOU. There isn’t a woman on this planet that can fix you, except Erykah Badu she’s the exception, you are the designer of your life so unless you can truly deal with yourself you’ll never find what you’re looking for in a relationship.

Eventually everyone who’s seeking becomes a finder if they’re looking in the right place. Looking internally for what is missing causes a man to deal with issues that he escaped from. Now of course those issues depends on the man, but in my case I had to deal with my unwillingness to work through things. I would be so quick to quit and start over in anything. Writing, dating, etc. all because I wasn’t happy with who I was. I swore that a person would understand me as I was without any type of guide book or instruction guide and just know me. The irony was I never knew myself. Everything I was at that point came from someone else. I was a collage of what I thought others wanted and not who I genuinely wanted to be. The day I accepted the man I spent years sticking away in the recesses of my mind was actually me things got better. Relationships meant something, birds chirped, yeah you get it.All those issues I had with others really were coming from me.

Dealing with yourself lets you better deal with others. Simple truth. What’s even simpler is realizing that you have everything you need to be whole, and that only two whole persons can function in a relationship. You very well can’t ride a bike with one an a half wheels. Dating a finder will teach you somethings. He won’t look to you to fix him, and he won’t accept becoming your next D.I.Y project. He’s his own man, and looks to you to be your own woman. You won’t have to raise a partner you’ll be raising a family instead. Sounds good right? I bet you’re wondering how you can weed out the seekers from the finders right about now. You’re not going to like my answer.

Despite your hopes you really can’t tell the difference between the two with just a glance. You’ll have to put some work in and have a conversation (or multiple, definitely multiple) about what type of man he is and where he’s going. Listen actively to his words, but more so listen to how he looks when he says it. A man that knows himself won’t bullshit you because there’s nothing to gain from it. His truth will be that, his truth and you will either like it or not. He’s comfortable letting you walk away and will respect it if you do. Get to know him (ask real questions, discover his goals, talk about his past, and get him to speak about his future). and you’ll find everything you need.

 

-EP

 

Forgivable Blackness

The first time I felt racism wasn’t at the hands of police officers, enraged racists, or even decrepit and old southerners. The first time I realized I was black was when two little white girls scoffed at my family as we went to our neighborhood pool in a predominantly white neighborhood in Maryland. We’d moved from Wilmington, NC and until then race hadn’t ever been an issue. Sure I knew that I was darker than some, but I’d never felt racism. My best friend in the world was a white kid named Nick who lived up the street.We went to my Dad’s predominately black church and he ended up joining. As time went on we made other friends became the poster children of diversity. By the end of elementary school we were a close knit group of Mexicans, Indians, Whites, and Blacks. That glass house of inclusion broke that day those White girls spoke. I’ll never forget their conversation.

“Oh my god they’re black people who live here now?” One said staring at us disgustingly.

“No, they probably snuck in here from the hood.”  The little girl said satisfactorily.

They sneered at my little sister and I with so much hate. Like our presence was going to cause the sky to fall and the pool to boil over. We’d never even spoken to them. We stood by our bikes hurt and staring. My Dad was furious. He respectfully told the little girls that black people lived where ever we wanted, and to think we all lived in the hood was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard. I was so confused that day. My father is a preacher, and up to that point I’d never came so close to cursing. The little girls walked off as if he’d never said anything. Completely unbothered by his loud reprimand. When they’d walk off my Dad pulled us close and tried to comfort us. No other time in my entire life had any judged me because of my skin. I’ve never forgotten their faces. Not even to this day. If you ever asked me what racism looked like their faces would be my immediate answer. 

That depiction of racism was replaced after witnessing the death of Alton Sterling. There’s been  myriad of death these last few years at the hands of police officers and neighborhood vigilantes, but this one hit me harder than any other. Watching the video I felt hopeless, truly hopeless. Seeing Alton’s pained and bewildered face as he looked up into the cold fluorescent lighting while his life slipped away hurt (If you watched that video and weren’t equally hurt I have serious doubts of your humanity and soul).  Alton didn’t look like he knew what was happening or why he was being harassed, and that’s the trend we never know what we’ve done wrong. None of the other deceased men and women knew that they had committed any acts that qualified them for an immediate death.

As Black people we live in a different reality then our White counterparts, that’s just the facts. When they encounter police officers they don’t ever worry about not ever making it to the jails. Hell even the white serial killers who’ve blatantly murdered in the public eye have that level of faith. No Black person can say that anymore. We live in a desolate reality that reminds us daily that we are totally different from White people around us. We’re glaringly treated with a level of disdain merely because of our skin everyday. No matter where we go it’s there. In our workplaces we walk a fine line if we make one white person uncomfortable that’s our jobs. Don’t not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. If you doubt that go to any office building and ask even the most passive Black man if he spoke loudly in a white woman’s direction would he still have his job. If you need more proof ask a Black woman has she had an outburst around her White coworkers. The answer would be no. We are trained to restrain our negative emotions out of fear of a looming misunderstanding.

We live in a world were simply being Black is an unforgivable offense. It’s an immediate strike on our records, and we are constantly forced to make others comfortable because any fear or open opposition results in negatives ranging from a) death  b)loss of finances or c) jail time. Our very existence makes some people nervous. Our emotions are censored by a board of individuals around us who are sheltered by their complexion. We’re forced to hold in those same emotions whenever people speak negatively about things like #Blacklivesmatter, any racial based conversation, or even when we’re hurting following cases like Alton’s were being Black is a death sentence. We don’t hold in these emotions because we feel diminished, that’s not the case. We hold them because loosing that flood would devastate any left in it’s wake.There’s too much pain for us all to express in one moment. I’ve wanted to shatter the privileged mirror that many of the people I’ve known have been looking through their entire lives. I want them to feel the uncomfortable feelings I constantly shelter them from so equality can truly happen. But that will never happen. Never in a way that won’t result in a loss of life, or some glaring negative. The inconvenient truth is that White people are kept away from fear in any form. Just look at the “war on terror.” Any Muslim in their respective garb can find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun all because some “vigilant” person feels uncomfortable with something they don’t understand.

This world as shown me that my blackness is unforgivable from an early age. Being black means to be devalued and seen as less than in the eyes of so many. Growing up I wanted my blackness to be “forgivable” so I could live without fear of retaliation. I didn’t want it to hinder me and my goals. It wasn’t till later I realized how damaging of a psychosis that is to live under. Thinking that I needed forgiveness for how I came into this world. There’s a generation of children who like me feel that way now, and that’s a tragedy especially when it’s the majority who should be asking forgiveness for treating Black people so poorly merely for the color of our skin. We should no longer seek penance for our blackness in a world that holds it against us. I learned this lesson these last few months, and I’ll be sure to teach my daughter the same lesson.

 

Sexual Responsibility: A Defense Against Post-Fuckboyisms & Thotisms

I’ve always found it so interesting how people become blinded by sex. The “dickmatization” of women and the “lost in the sauceness” of men are constants in modern relationships and always end up back in a place where the “victim” of said traumas find themselves becoming jaded by their sexuality and feel as if the sex was responsible for whatever relationship issues that followed. Like sex was directly responsible for blinding them from other glaringly wrong things with the relationship.

I for one never understood it. I’m sure there’s some deep sage out there who will say something about how sex opens your soul to other people’s baggage (or spirits, I’ve heard that too) and the need to protect your essence. I don’t think that’s false, and as a Christian I totally believe that, however my stance on the issue is much different. I think it all comes down to Sexual Responsibility (and while I’m not talking about contraceptives you should already be using those. Gosh be an adult already).

Before you roll your eyes, here’s what I mean  it’s taking sex seriously and articulating your needs and expectations to your partner. All the issues we see normally stemming from sex come from people who blindly leaped into the ocean never really understanding the current or even how to navigate it before they went for a swim. Sex is a great thing, I mean I’m a big fan, and when handled responsibly it builds an incredible bond between people. Issues arrive when we let the wrong person in, stop seeking to get to know the person beyond a sexual level, or blindly let the positive emotions sex provides to steer us to a phony realization of emotion. We’ve all (if we’re being honest here) have had regrettable sex with a person who ultimately was a waste of time. We just made a poor choice, and we hopefully learn from it and move on. What blows me is when people use sex as the scapegoat instead being truthful with themselves and realizing they made a shitty choice.

I’m really tired of hearing women say they’re giving up sex because it complicated things. All that translates to is someone felt something that wasn’t there, or someone let sex build a false closeness between them. I totally get that these things happen from time to time, but what bothers me is the thought process that stopping sex will keep it from happening again. Not dealing with the issues don’t magically erase them. It’s something that you have to confront and deal with it. Sex is just like every other issue in life. You need to accept the issue before dealing with it. If you’re dating a man who isn’t worth much, sex won’t make it better. It’s a terrible reason to keep involving yourself with that man. The sex while probably great doesn’t give you some magical glasses that give you sight beyond sight into the man’s heart. As soon as the that great sex is over as  fuck boy is still just that, a fuck boy.

Don’t use sex as the reason behind failed relationships. Be an adult and just accept you made some bad decisions. As men sex is different. Sure it’s intimate, but there’s work involved. After said work is done we do feel lighter. but we’re going to feel the exact same about you as a person. Sure you may have shown me some great talents but my heart will be in the exact same place it was prior to sex. Sex is a form of intimacy, but it doesn’t really teach you about a person’s personality, their dislikes or likes, hell even what foods they enjoy. It only teaches you to have better sex.

Men aren’t often  as quick to say sex complicates things, but we definitely let it. We let sex drive us to do some immensely stupid things with women who weren’t worth any of the effort we put into it. Sex for a man in his prime is the quickest morale boost. A great night of sex will undoubtedly lift your spirits, but that’s not the way to do it. Just like women we let sex take the blame for so many of our relationship issues when in actuality it was just a sexual relationship anyway with a woman we allowed to believe it could be more. A Lie of omission is still a lie. One thing I will add in just as a caveat to the ladies who are reading this is that you make it easy. Great sex over time leads to emotions. As my friends and I say, “Life changes at the bottom of the box.” Emotions will appear and undoubtedly unless you check them will manifest themselves. Men aren’t responsible for that, but we do take advantage of it. Not all women are pray to this, but it happens way more than it should. Ladies think through your emotions, and keep them in line or better yet don’t involve yourself with a man who isn’t interested in what you want. Okay, back to the men. Brothers we make rookie mistakes too often because we want the easy lay up. Either we date women we’re really not interested in due to the sex, or we stay in a relationship with a person we don’t care about till we find better sexual options. I’d to say that this is only from the fuck boy portion of us but it’s not. It can happen to a post-fuck boy too. Sometimes we just gotta take the quick L, and plan to win a better more decisive victory. Lose the battle, Win the war.

Across the board, men and women can definitely start dealing with the issues we blame on sex. We’re adults in everything else so why not add another thing to our adulting list?

“But that’s just my interpretation, of the situation…” – Benjamin Andre