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Just a blog about life! My life, the life of others that I have been able to observe. The life of my loved ones and the life I am striving towards.

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PRESS RESET

PRESS RESET!
Today I am pressing reset on life. My move is not just a move it is literally the pursuit of happiness. 

Over the past few years I have been comfortable. Comfortable with my jobs, comfortable with my circles yet something inside of me was unfulfilled. I made a decent amount of money in a city that’s fairly inexpensive to live in. 

Though I have been promoted at every job I have ever had it has not been enough. 
Several years back I got clear on my purpose in life. I knew my move was imminent I just needed to press the button.

I encourage anyone reading this who is feeling unfulfilled, maybe feeling like there is more you want to do. Take time to look at what you love/ enjoy what you are good at and find a way to marry the two. Do not let life’s circumstances constrain and restrain you. You may even see an opportunity to develop to get to where you belong.

Once you determine what it is you love/ enjoy and/ or were destined for, set a date, then work in reverse to think through how you can make it happen.

Though I know my next chapter will not be easy. I have no doubt that I will learn and truly LIVE.

This is not goodbye forever, but rather see you later. To the city that groomed me, the people who prepared me and experiences that shaped me. 

So don’t be afraid to press RESET on your life. It may not be a move. Maybe it is a new job. Maybe it is pursuit of an education. Maybe it is even a business venture. Set a date. Make a plan and Go! God will provide the thugs you need for you!

🙏🏾 PRESS RESET!

3 Things to Help you Move Cities

Moving to a new city can be stressful and filled with anxiety. No matter the distance, it could be a three hour drive from your current city or a 5 hour flight from your current city, it still is a time of nervousness and excitement. 

Recently I made the jump and it has honestly been one of the best things I have done. There have been a few hiccups, but I started writing this blog to assist someone else in their journey.

3. Research the housing market.

I recently moved from Houston, TX to Los Angeles. I knew that I would be downsizing the square footage in my lifestyle unless I wanted to spend over $2k a month for a 1 bedroom with nice upgrades. It is also important to know if large deposits are normal in your city. In Houston you can get in an apartment with little ($300) to no deposit with good credit. For example in LA no matter how good your credit is, you are paying at least a $600 deposit and then paying for the first months rent. Understand what you get for your money in your current city may not be the same in the new city.

2. Be prepared to ask for help. 

Asking for help may not be financial. It may just be getting help finding a religious house. It may be help asking for local grocery chains, but you will need it adjusting to a new culture in what could be a new part of the country. I have had countless times where I have had to ask friends for restaurant ideas, bars, grocery stores and yes even financial help. 

1. Lastly do not over think it. 

Pull the trigger. Moving was the best thing I could have done. I miss my family and close friends oh and my guilty pleasure restaurants, but I have had so many once in a lifetime opportunities. Though my lifestyle is different I could not be happier and the sooner you do it, the better. Besides if you do not like it or the reason you move falls through (job, relationship, or family) you can always go back to what you know. If savings is your worry there is no right or wrong. More money saved does not equal an easier transition.

Prerequisite

For many the word prerequisite reminds us of the term we became familiar with while taking undergraduate courses.

The term, identified courses you had to take prior to taking next level courses. In many cases it meant taking your basics or making sure you mastered the basics.

Prerequisites, are also a must depending on the type of job/career you have. In the workplace a certain amount of work experience and practical knowledge is necessary to get and maintain your job/career.

Now that we all have become familiar with the term prerequisite is it safe to say that many of us have the wrong set of prerequisites when it comes to dating? On any given day as I scroll on social media or even view posts in one of the Facebook groups I am in, I notice individuals stating their prerequisites are a job, car, education, passport stamps and financial stability. For many years I too placed a good amount of weight on those qualities and add in education (formal). I felt like those things would yield an ideal partner. Am I the only one who has done this? The question is, “Is that all it takes?”

As I have matured my prerequisites are no longer the same. After having a fairly successful professional life (before the age of 30) I decided to stop slaving away for others to pursue my own passion. For about a year and a half I transitioned out of a life of excess and into a minimalistic life style. That transition taught me a lot. I found out who I really was and not what my car, trips, house, bank accounts and passports stamps portrayed me to be. I value integrity, a spiritual connection with a higher being (for me that’s Jesus), someone with a zest for life (with or without me) honesty (with or without me) and a intelligence (formal or informal). The reality is all of those qualities do not coincide with a certain vehicle, education or even home in a certain area.

I found that the superficial and dare I say materialistic prerequisites I had longed for were often masking ugly spirits, unattended insecurities and spiteful behavior. That is not to say everyone with an education, who is well traveled, drives a nice vehicle and had reached a certain socioeconomic level.

What I found is the qualities that I now valued were someone’s character and their aptitude had little to do with where they received their degree, their formal education (or lack there of) or even how many passport stamps they had. My prerequisites changed.

The the number of dates began to dwindle, when cute just did not cut it anymore. The number of nice restaurants I visited on dates significantly decreased and my bank account was happier for it. Intimacy was few and far between, because of the mental stimulation I now required. I rest easy knowing I have not wasted time seeing potential. Instead I see reality.

So while reading this I hope this does not read as an indictment to the well educated, well spoken, lavish home living, frequently passport stamped and well funded. In fact I hope it is encouragement to reveal more of who you really are and to require more than just the superficial as your prerequisite. A man/woman who works hard, has integrity, intelligence and is honest can achieve and attain as much if not more than the individual who is simply book smart, fiscally successful and cosmopolitan. You just cannot build character in a person who does not see the value in it.

What are your prerequisites?

Compassion without Comparison

Our country does not have as much of stave problem as we think. What we have is a society that has a lack of compassion and a society that by in large is void of honest dialogue.

Far too often in this country when someone says I like cheeseburgers with ketchup the person sitting next to them has to say so you do not like chicken sandwiches. Black Lives Matters, while I do not care for their antics, is not an anti-police, anti-white group it is simply a pro-black life group. 

Blue lives matter has taken the angle that people who are black lives matter do not support police. There is nothing more false. 

The issue is that there is a notion that Black people do not like police. When black pepper typically are deathly afraid of the results of interactions that occur with police.

If we start to be compassionate about our neighbor one day we can work together to fix this. I saw a great analogy it went similar to this. If Joe and his family sit down for dinner. Then everyone gets to eat besides Joe. Joe then says Joe is hungry. Then his family who all have plates say we are hungry, but keep eating, they now have a standpoint, but Joe still does not have any food.
That is what the people of color. Be it black, Latino or otherwise feel about our interactions with police. We are not saying a white life or Asian life is not as important. We are simply saying we want our life to be valued and spared at the same rate as a white life in the same circumstances of police interaction. 

I feel extremely sorry for the slain officers, injured officers and the individuals subjected to gun fire at a peaceful rally, but my heart is heavy that yet another black man has had his life take and his family’s life forever altered. Altered by over aggressive police officers, who more than likely will never see the inside of a jail cell. A cell that if any of the black men murdered were found guilty of for the petty crimes they were accused of, may have seen should they have been over sentenced and convicted.

Sadly my soapbox falls on deaf ears. My life has a better chance of being reduced to a hashtag via a police interaction than it does at the hands of a gun by a black man. Our politicians are inactive and our police departments will not address the systematic training and disciplinary controls that are not working! What is even worse, when the President assembled a task force to address this, those suggestions have not been pushed by local leaders, activists or civilians.

Our issue is not racism as much as it is a lack of compassion. I pray for the safety of my black brothers and sisters as I do for the safety of everyone! 🙏🏾

Image

The Walk

I have been in LA exactly one week as of today. Many people may not know this, but I got rid of my car in 2015 in order to save for the move I knew I would make.

One of my goals was to get a bike and really live a less is more lifestyle (we will see how long that lasts). Well I decided to uber to the gym, about 1.5 miles, from where I am currently staying.
About 10:30pm on Wednesday I finished working out and playing basketball. I did what I have done for several days now, I proceeded to walk home from the gym for extra cardio and in that space I also talk to God and clear my head. 

While walking I see a young Hispanic woman who is homeless and settling in for the night, in her car on Santa Monica Boulevard. She is reading a book with, what looks like a comforter and she is no older than 25. This seemed like a routine to her. She was not crying and she did not look upset, she looked fairly well kept.

That image did something to me, it jared me and I really felt overwhelming compassion in seeing someone so young in that position. Surely I am not too much better than she is, nor do I currently have a place to call my own. Though I did not know her story I could only imagine what brought her to that place. 

It made me think about what my journey may look like in LA. Part of me would like to think I would never be homeless, but the other part of me the part that has survived and lived despite many obstacles says, “Keep living”.

The other thing that seeing this young lady sparked was a refocused energy and an initiative I would eventually like to start. One day my hope is create programs to help transition people who are homeless into financially stable working Americans. Homelessness is not all about the want or drive to find a job, but often times the circumstances that lead many there.

I know some of us pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and made our own way, but for someone like myself I’m cognizant of the opportunities I both worked for and the ones that were provided to me. 

I shared this story, because it is a reality for so many and secondly to encourage everyone to find a way to help someone. Whether that be forwarding job/career information or referring someone you know is a good fit for a job (even if they are better qualified than you). 

Be a light and be a blessing to someone else.

How will you conduct yourself? Like Oprah or Like Wendy Williams?

How will you conduct yourself? Like Oprah or Like Wendy Williams?

How do you respond to confrontation or overly aggressive people?

Yesterday I did not take my own advice. Like so many of us I’m in a group text thread. While I had some downtime at work I glazed over a few text messages.

I see an individual who hasn’t learned that keeping it real is not always appropriate, being very tacky and very heartless. They haven’t been groomed on the appropriateness of certain conversations.

Regardless I open up to the group about a personal experience I had regarding my father’s unexpected death, hoping to bring a little compassion to the thread.

I thought surely this individual will back off regarding comments about the sensitive topic of unexpected deaths. To no avail they continued to drag it on and then they decided to interject an aside about my deceased father.

I won’t detail too much about the individual other than to say salty is an understatement that could be used to describe them. The type of individual who often goes too far with a joke or a read. The individual who you see carrying a lot of insecurities and as a result they aggressively pursue confrontation regarding their insecurities.

Nonetheless after their commentary I responded in a way that I’m not proud of. As I reflected about the exchange and my purpose in life I had to be more emotionally intelligent when dealing with hurt people.

One analogy that comes to mind is do you want to act or respond like Oprah or Wendy Williams. Both successful in their own right. One an up and coming media mogul the other the blue print and gold standard.

I thought I’d share this story, because it so important for many of us to reflect before we respond. In dealing with individuals you do not need to nor have to drag yourself to their level. Oprah is not trading slugs with anyone. She’s busy working on her purpose and expanding her brand. Her brand happens to be teaching people, helping them live their best life and growing people.  While Wendy is also working on her brand she’s doing it at the expense of others. From mocking them, to dirty reads, to mud slinging to attacking their character.

The next time one of us encounters a negative individual and spirit think how do you want to respond, like Oprah or Wendy Williams? Let’s all accept that challenge.

Love and Happiness

Love and Happiness

 

That song was made popular by Al Green. In the first line he say’s, “Love will make you do right/ make you do wrong.” This post is about how we could all stand to share some love and happiness.

I really want to latch on to the thought of LOVE for this blog and I hope the conversation around it is shared and continues.

I have been very fortunate to be surrounded and dare I say overwhelmed with LOVE my entire life. By many accounts I am/was both of my grandmother’s favorite and if I was my sister was definitely the favorite for my grandpa.

That said the LOVE we received from our immediate family and extended family (blood and sometimes not) set the tone really early. Our family was fiercely protective of one another. If discipline was going to occur it started at home. Encouragement started at home and most importantly affirmation started at home.

I lost count on how many times I was told I was smart. I lost count on how many times I heard I Love You and to this day whether by voice or text I will have those 3 words shared with me from members of my family.

That love and affirmation has propelled me through life. It made my experiences, missteps and dare I say failures that much easier. I knew I would be OK, because of the Love I received at home.

I know how fortunate I truly am and recently on Easter I was stopped in my tracks. While putting together an umbrella for my grandma’s patio and barbecuing my grandmother, who knows I am gay said something that made me stop in my tracks.

I don’t even really know what we were discussing, but maybe something about music or dancing and she said she couldn’t wait to celebrate and dance at my wedding. WOW! I haven’t thought much about my wedding or how it’s going to happen since I am not in any sort of relationship! It just got me to thinking how fortunate I am to have a family who loves me through and through.

For some reason I was extremely nervous to share my sexuality with my family. For some reason I just knew they would disown me, maybe kick me out of the family and Lord knows what else.

Maybe it was the stories of many other LGBT people of color that I knew and read about. Maybe it was what I saw in movies and televisions shows. I just knew that it was supposed to be that way. After all any guy that I had dated had been disregarded or even told that his “lifestyle” would not fly with their respective family.

I figured certainly my path would one day align with theirs. It was hard for me to imagine not being able to come to family dinners, reunions or spend holidays and birthdays with my own blood. To not feel the hugs and kisses my parents showered me with. To not get one of the hugs I look forward to from my grandmother, my brother and sister. Nonetheless as I shared it with the immediate family (many were shocked at nearly 28) nothing changed. Their love didn’t change, their hugs didn’t change, the kisses, the birthday gifts and calls, NOTHING changed.

I think the stories I have heard over the years of the young men and women who have been all but homeless or barred from attending their family functions, essentially striping them of their family privileges scared me.

I have heard the stories of young men and women who hear nothing from their parents except when they receive a text, email, phone call or voicemail to quote convenient scripture about their love they share for the same gender. I can’t imagine never hearing I love you or not receiving some of those hugs and kisses. As strong as I am and as much of a man as I am, that means something to me, it is a powerful source of strength.

That is the reality for so many LGBT people of color. They can’t come home for holidays or even to say hello. They do not have someone to call to share the good news about the love of their life and most certainly they don’t have a shoulder to lean on if and when that Love is cut short or disappears.

It got me to thinking, what if my straight friends spouse was not acknowledged or allowed to visit? How would that make them feel? Could you imagine never being able to take family portraits, enjoying Easter, Birthday’s, Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanza with the first Love you ever knew?

So many of us take for granted what family means and is. We take for granted how far we have come with the Love and support of family. No matter your religion, you are called to LOVE your family. Love them.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming walking into the world knowing you have so much support. I do not know how to handle some people who have been all, but abandoned. The world has made them hard and cold. I would imagine if more people embraced them with LOVE and kind words we might be a little better off.

So I encourage my friends who are straight to reach out to your family members who may be LGBT and let them know you LOVE them. Let them know that all you want for them is LOVE and Happiness. Maybe your view on their sexuality hasn’t changed, but the good thing is you don’t have to be involved in their sexuality. You just have to be involved with LOVING and supporting that family member.

Let’s spread the love and encourage one another. Life is hard enough just dealing with strangers, the people we work with and life’s random occurrences. Let’s share the load and spread a little LOVE and Happiness.

 

 

 

Leftovers 

The last year for me has left me conflicted when it comes to dating or in my case attempting to date. As I started thinking back on my experiences and then sharing experiences with friends I found commonalities.

We encounter so many individuals who simply have given their best to less than deserving people prior to us. That said many of us fail to take accountability for giving to people we know we aren’t compatible with. Many of us hope to influence or away someone into changing THEIR behavior.

My natural disposition is one of optimism. I am optimistic that life, love, professions and family can all be healthy and thriving.

Unfortunately what I tend to attract are extremely broken individuals. Individuals void of purpose, passion and dare I say promise. Now the individuals whom I encounter aren’t naturally broken, but as a result of their previous encounters.

My role in my relationships and interactions that have failed is clear. I myself brought broken pieces. I never really pieced myself back together, because I was seen as strong or put together my partners never thought to help me while I was busy trying to help them.

It seems so many of us can easily tell you we got back up after a fall, but the truth is many of us are really still battered and bruised from that fall. We are still aching mentally, emotionally and some of us even financially as a result of our choice to deal with broken individuals.

Let’s be clear those broken individuals are not bad or evil, they just don’t want to acknowledge they are still broken and they do not want to acknowledge they are still hurting.

So instead of giving us a fresh plate of them, of their love and of their effort they provide us leftovers. Leftover effort, leftover empathy, leftover intimacy and leftover love.

It’s so important that many of us take time to really heal. Carrying over life’s burdens from one situation not only continually damages you, but it can damage your future potential unions. Now you find that someone who is barely holding on has attached to someone seemingly strong and fruitful draining then of the energy they never really had.

They do not fill their partners up instead they keep requiring their partner pour more and more out of their cup. The domino effect of this is massive. The leftovers you provide your loved ones impact their work life, their spiritual life, their family relationships and their friendships.

Take the time to heal. Make sure you are serving people a fresh plate of you. One that is transparent yet working through your issues. Serve them the best you possible. Push through the pain, but still acknowledge it so that you can work together to fix it. Acknowledge the good that they offer and acknowledge your faults that you naturally have.

Quit serving your leftovers to everyone. The truth is nobody wants to take in something that everyone else has prepared.

Did you know…

Leading up to yesterday’s election I knew that things would not be good for the HERO act. 

  (Image of commonly distributed marketing materials for anti-HERO promotion)

I was shocked that people of color Hispanic and or black did not know that it protected equality based on their race. Instead everyone I spoke to focused on an issue that wasn’t even an issue (at least according to the text in the actual act). 

What I saw was that good ole’ fashioned word of mouth and some pretty horrible television ads had produced one of life’s most dangerous feelings FEAR. The opponents of PROP 1 latched onto a fear that men dressed as women would use the ordinance to prey on kids. 

Every time I saw a person of color discussing it in person or via social media it was clear they hadn’t read the ordinance and believed the unsubstantiated and offensive hype.

I won’t say much other than in 2015 I thought we made more progress. It reminds me of opponents of equality scaring people away from the polls in the 60’s. Even more disturbing in Houston, on the day of the election, a donut chain opens (which happens to be one of my favorites) and there was a line for at least 12 hours before the opening and 12 hours after. Voter turnout was low. Of nearly 2.5 million registered voters only about 25% turned out. I’m sure the donut shop had well over 2,000 guests throughout the day. I saw people who live nor work no where near the location posting about “happening” to drive by.
I’m at a lost for words, but I know for sure that should this voter turnout and fear baited messaging be used again, the presidential election won’t be clean sweep for any politician no matter their affiliation. If we think so then we are surely in more trouble than we realize.

Huffington Post’s article details, cites and provides actual language, and provides a high level view of how cities much smaller in Houston were affected. 

  (CampaignForhouston.com web image)
I’m at a lost for words, but I know for sure that should this voter turnout and fear baited messaging be used again, the presidential election won’t be clean sweep for any politician no matter their affiliation. If we think so then we are surely in more trouble than we realize.

The anti-hero movement did a lot. If anything what it did is allow secretly and not so secretly LGBT individuals and families to latch on to what so many believe, that is that individuals in the LGBT community and perverts/pedophiles are one in the same. 
I’ll stop there, but there’s a definite distinction. We need to be honest, but open minded enough to have a conversation for understanding and not to simply speak. 
Read the Huffington Posts article which not only details and cites actual language, but provides a high level view of how cities much smaller in Houston were affected. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE HUFF POST ARTICLE



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