6 Thing to Unsubscribe from!

I love lists! Lists help me stay on track and make sure I am making progress, with that said I created a list of things I wanted to see left in 2016.

This is as a result of social interactions, both in person and via social media.


SHARING PAIN- I mean that! The truth is we have all been hurt. The honest to God Truth is you do not get a pass to become the individual who hurt you. Yes it is hard to get over some things, but you have to get to work. The next point will expand on Sharing Pain. 


BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE – Sometimes in life we are victimized, but the reality is all too often we play a role in our own victimization. You know the bad relationship we are “healing” from. The friendship that not longer feels right. YOU played a role in that. You cannot blame everyone else for your choice to stay in something that you know is not good for you. Learn from those situations and learn to walk away rather than hanging on to them to the point you are bruised and battered.

 

BEING INTERNET SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVISTS – I get it Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter, but simply stating that and not supporting these lives is not helpful. It means not sharing Blue Lives Matters only when a Blue life is taken by a person who happens to be a minority. That means Black Lives need to matter beyond when being murdered by a police officer. Social Justice is important all the time and should not be ignored, because your childhood hero, favorite singer or local celebrity is standing trial. Yes your words are important, but actions speak louder than words. Do some work in your community.  Volunteer, pick up trash or even mentor, JUST DO SOMETHING!

 

POSTING PICTURES TO ELICIT NEGATIVE COMMENTS – Some may refer to this as trolling. Not a day goes by on social media where some one is not posting an image of a particular group of people to elicit negative commentary. Posting a picture of a woman who happens to be larger than the “standard” kissing a slimmer guy with the caption, “Say Something Nice”, or posting a picture of a group of gay men and saying ladies pick one is offensive. Sharing an image of a celebrity with the caption “suspect” is what traumatizes so many people and displays ignorance. Those actions speaks to is insecurities and contribute to bullying.

 

PLANNING MORE THAN EXECUTING- In 2016 I realized I had spent so much time planning my move to LA. I spent time crunching numbers and applying to countless jobs. So much so that I looked up and realized that I had been planning for at least 2 years. So many of us are making plans to do things and we spend so much time planning and we never execute the plan. At a certain point your planning become procrastination and hesitation. Take the leap and go. Your planning will assist you once you act.

 

TEXTING MORE THAN YOU ACTUALLY CALL OR SPEAK- In 2016 we saw an all time high use of social media, wireless carrier reported record numbers of data and text messages being used. All that to say with unlimited minutes we no longer use what is readily available. Social media has made it popular to send messages to everyone, but the people who are truly important in our life. Social Media has allowed us to communicate messages to people without directly stating what you have to discuss. This leaves so many opportunities to miscommunicate and leave out a lot. It is easier to share a complete thought via your voice or face to face than to attempt to share a message via text, facebook or instagram.

 

This list may not be things in your life or your friends, but whatever you unsubscribe from do not wait until 2016 is over to do it! Let’s start now.

Thanks for taking the time out to read! I know my posts can be lengthy at times, but I truly appreciate those of you who read, share and let me know your thoughts on the content of my blog. Let’s make the New Year one that is better than ever. Let me know what type of content resonates with you and as I encounter opportunities I want to incorporate it and share.

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Share That!

The holidays can mean a lot of different things for a lot of people. For me holidays were a special time. It brought my huge family together (beyond just immediate family) in segments, because we are literally too big to all be together for anything other than a family reunion.

We shared great laughs, we had great food and above everything else you felt Love! Real love, felt through handshakes, and genuine smiles. It did not matter what size or shape you came in, the love came freely.

As an adult, well someone over the age of 18, I made it a goal to share that. Every holiday I invited friends over. Friends who were not going home for holidays, friends who may have not had any family left, and friends who were disconnected from their family, for whatever reason.

So as my 3rd holiday away from my family approaches I encourage those who have the ability to share their family and their love with others. Though I am not able to open up a home to anyone this year one of my goals is to eventually do that.

This year provided many blessings and a lot more challenges. Moving to LA with no job, no car, and no stable home to call my own was terrifying. Spending my birthday alone and away from fellowship provided a real eye opener. Through all that I have been working towards this next chapter of my life. It looks different than before and it is more free spirited than ever.

Despite my challenges of being distanced from family and working at establishing connections and a real network in LA I am encouraged. Encouraged that genuine love does exist, between friends, between family and between strangers!

So I encourage everyone to share more LOVE. Every chance you get. Though this message is specifically about Holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza go beyond that. Be intentional with your Love and share it without the expectation of reciprocation!

Happy Holidays!

I want to date you not marry you!

Dating for me in the last few years can be summed up in one word, “anxiety”.

Gen Y or Millennials are a group with more options for dates, due in large part to dating apps and social media. With that comes the promotion of unhealthy coping mechanisms that are easily spread to those who are not independent thinkers. Daily we see people reposting and sharing statuses like, “Don’t catch feelings, catch flights” or some other pessimistic and flat out crazy message.

One trend I have noticed is individuals who want to date, but are afraid of getting burned so they are team “no feelings”. Team no feelings has a lot to say and actually probably feels a lot of emotion, but instead of letting out those thoughts and emotions they dismiss them. So if you even mention anything beyond casual sex, drinks or Netflix and chill they are running for hills for fear of showcasing their feelings. 

To these individuals I say chill! I just want to get to know you and uncover the layers of you. I do not want to marry you I just want to spend time getting to know you better. For me it is hard to balance multiple people. I have too much going on professionally and with family to add in 2-5 more people like I was able to do in my 20’s. 

Me dating you just means I want to get to know your favorite foods, what you like to drink, how you cope with stress, what makes you smile, what makes you angry. Those important things that help you build a friendship and then down the road (6 months) we can assess where we are and are NOT compatible. 

Next you have those individuals who act like dating is a race to the finish line. Everything is quick. We all know these people. After one date and a great conversation, with moderate attraction, they are planning the nuptials. Discussing couples activities like destination trips, intimate dinners, meeting each other’s family and apartment/ house shopping.

To these individuals I say, “pause!” Why are you in such a rush? You do not know if I snore (I do when I am tired or sick), what about our values, what about the fact that when I am hungry I am not always the nicest person. I need you to understand that in my case I moved to LA without a car or a place of my own, so while I am interested in potentially dating I have a lot to accomplish.

Let’s take a step back and work on developing a deeper understanding of our possible coexistence. See each other maybe once or twice a week, but have somewhat consistent communication. We do not need to talk all day or text every minute of the day, but let’s establish a consistent pattern that is timely and responsible with our adult responsibilities. 

It seems in either case the whether you are team no feelings or the rusher, we need to be super clear on how we feel about ourselves, about our past dating experiences and about what we want long term. 

So if and when someone like myself says I want to date you just understand that is an opportunity for us to get to know each other, nothing more, nothing less.

More than…

How many of us have ever walked into a room and heard someone bashing a person, because of their personal diet choices? Here’s an example you are at work and John is telling Adam, that he thinks eating Kale is for weak losers. Imagine if you eat Kale and enjoy it, yet John is your boss and Adam your friend is laughing while John insults Kale eaters. John then misquotes a passage in the Bible and Adam awkwardly laughs as he tries to remember the passage he knows doesn’t reference Kale. As you sit there annoyed and thinking is eating Kale really that bad? Does everything I have done good get negated. That is what millions of people feel when they see and hear their family members, coworkers and friends discussing their sexual preference. They have to hear the ones they work with, learn with, worship with and in some cases live with demeaning a choice that does not impact their loved ones, coworkers, friends and family members in anyway.

Sexuality is not something that determines physical aptitude, mental health or morality, yet in our country sexuality is all to frequently a talking point that seeks to demean and suppress the LGBTQ community.

There are physicians, entertainers, athletes, teachers, service workers, police officers, executives and the list goes on who live their life inside of a very sturdy mental box. Individuals who have competed academically, athletically and done so at a high level are relegated to what they enjoy in the bedroom. Every scholastic award, every medal, ribbon or trophy they have ever won is now negated.

This is not entirely due to a fault of one person, rather as a result of parents, friends, communities, religious houses and schools that frequently (by frequently I mean probably once a week) state that by being gay or bisexual you are less of a man or less than. In some cases many of us have even heard people threaten physical violence against someone who is gay or bisexual. 

I have personally seen acquaintances and family members share social media posts equating homosexuality to beastiality, misquoting scripture and liking or sharing demonstrative lies (I.e. Slavery introduced homosexuality to black people *insert a hard eye roll*) all based on someone else’s sexual preference. Some may have not known my sexuality, but I definitely took note. If it was not for the support system, parents and grandparents I had I would be in that number. Who I am may have been suppressed due to the discouraging things I have witnessed.

Our society has no idea of what the words, actions they exhibit and energy around homosexuality can do to those individuals. There are individuals have no desire to carry out a heterosexual love life, instead they have to fake it so that their family do not abandon them, their friends do not mock and ridicule them and their community does not harass them and turn their back on them.

As a result of individuals date in secrecy, they live in obscurity and are mentally tormented at the thought of revealing who they truly love and hope to build an existence with. They never share the photo or video we see so many of our heterosexual friends sharing of the “Love of their Life”. The thought that their mother or father would hurl religious scriptures, epithets and possibly violence in their direction that they would now be the focus of conversations at their religious house, family reunion, job or professional social circles is terrifying and very real. 

I have witnessed young men and women living false reality into their 30’s and 40’s. To make that even clearer that could be half of someone’s life or a little under a 1/3. 

For those that read this, be mindful of how you describe an entire group of people. Be mindful of how you interact with those around you. Your son, your daughter, your niece or nephew, your cousin or even your friend greet them with love and encourage them to be true to themselves and continue to love them no matter who they love. 🙏🏾

To those who had the courage to come out despite your opposition, kudos to you and may you find peace in your truth. Encourage those around you to get centered with their truth and their reality. After all we are all More than what occurs in the bedroom!

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7 Reasons You May Be Single – Perspective

After two relationships that each lasted about 3 years I found myself reevaluating everything. Looking at what I brought to the table, what I accepted and what was expected. I had to be honest with myself. In conversation and through observation with friends and associates over the past few years, I found some common dating issues:

7. Everyone knows everyone. Well at least social media connects everyone. So that may make it difficult to date someone, one of your “friends” has not dated. That is if you care about that sort of boundary. However for some the thought of dating a popular person or someone a friend or associate dated is a turnoff.

6. We do not create interactions that facilitate the type of relationship we want. Here is an example. You want to casually date someone. Nothing serious, just brunch, happy hour, dinner or movies occasionally. The catch is you indulge in frequent communication (daily text and phone conversations or day long exchanges) and you’re planning romantic experiences. That behavior then sends a message that this is not so casual. However, because many of us are not introspective we can push it off on the other person as being clingy or pushy.

5. You don’t really know what you want or you are scared to be honest. You sort of want a Netflix and chill situation, but you also want someone to confide in. You want a friend that you find attractive, but you also want late night pillow talk. There are a good portion of us who never take time from dating to learn what it is we want long term from a partner. We live in a time where sex is readily available, thanks to social media and some people are afraid to just be honest about what it is they desire or what is most important to them.

4. You are carrying old baggage everywhere. That old relationship and the person involved that left you broken, damn near homeless and distanced from family & friends (hopefully all 3 did not occur) is now who you see in everyone. The guy/ girl who shows active interest and wants to communicate with you or senses when you’re not quite yourself is now smothering you and you push them away for the slightest resemblance of the person you never should have dated months or years back.

3. You are scared. Look I get it! You are scared of commitment. For me committing to buying a pair of underwear is a huge commitment so imagine how I view relationships. Who wants to spend months or years, countless dollars and energy dating someone only to possibly be disappointed? The answer is nobody. Here’s the thing, every interaction does not have to turn out with you blocking them on every social media channel, blocking their friends and their number and avoiding local functions so you do not see them. It may be that the young man or woman you dated just had a different vision of what short term or long term looks like. That’s ok! Forgive yourself, better yet do not beat yourself up for dating someone that did not come with a warning label.

2. You will not own your role! Too many of us (myself included) have tried to do everything for everyone. As a result we do not spend enough time working on our own shortcomings. If you find yourself scouring your potential or partners social media pages and searching through their phone only to start up an argument about an emoji a fan left. If you are dealing with a non confrontational potential or partner this can send them running for the hills or shutting down.

1. Take your time. This generation is a microwave society. We want a relationship with 5 year benefits within 6 months. Before introducing someone to your family learn as much as possible. Before you two are double dating with the other couple that you know, find out if they can handle their alcohol are they responsible or if you even have real chemistry. Rushing into a relationship where you do not give yourself time is a recipe for disaster. We have all seen it on our social media timelines. They date for a month then they flood our timelines with the infamous “bae & I” pictures at the grocery store, in the bathroom, at the movies, in the car you get it I’m sure. Or how cold we forget the annoying hashtags #whenyouknowitsreal, #futurewifey, #futurehubby, #mybackbone then 3 months later the person is wiped from social media existence after a breakup that could have been spotted with a little more patience.

This post is not about critiquing anyone other than myself. I swept around my own door and found these gems. I then saw people around me dealing with similar issues. I hope this helps someone. If so do me a favor, Like this post, subscribe below and share it with your own network!

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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?

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.

 

 

 

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Watch and Learn!

You can tell a lot about how a person responds to failure or stumbles of others.

Do they rejoice? Are they excited? Do they perk up? Are they sad? Are they inclined to reach out help?

All of these questions matter and they should matter to you. Do you really want to be around someone who has a feeling of joy when someone else isn’t successful? Can you trust these people?

Watch and Learn!

#communicationMatters

Something happened in the past 10 years. We’ve gone from long conversations on the phone at night, that turned into face to face interactions and taught us enough or scared us away to make educated decisions about relationships and friendships.  Now we are in a space where we have a society full of poor communicators.

With the evolution of social media a good number of us have logged on to a number of social media websites and logged off of phone and face to face interactions.

In fact I can count on one hand the friends I have who when they do call still leave a voice message. I love them by the way!

What I’ve realized in the flammable climate of group texts, emails, social media posts and short attention spans, is that miscommunication happens all too often.

You see what a phone conversation would turn into a joke or appropriately handle, the leeway of a text, social media posting or missed phone call now ignites a beef or miscommunication that shouldn’t even exist.

In fact by the time a phone call is made things have usually gone from bad to worse. Former friends and/ or lovers don’t and won’t speak to one another and those around seem to enjoy the beef and not encouraging a face to face conversation or phone resolution.

There is so much value in a phone conversation that allows someone to communicate a complete thought. Even trying to communicate a complete thought on Facebook, blogs and most certainly via text, Twitter and Instagram can leave a lot unsaid.

Pick up the phone today and reach out to someone who you feel you did not communicate appropriately with or that you find value in. Communicate via phone or face to face and share with them what you really meant and what they mean to you!

#communicationMatters