LA VIE EN MOTS.

life in words.

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You Can’t Expect STAR Play When You’re Content Living on the SIDELINE.

Foreword: I’ve been on a writing hiatus of a sort – I had a ton of tomfoolery & transitioning going on. But I’m back at it, and I’m better than before…and discussing a topic that will probably make a lot of people uncomfortable (including myself, even as I’m penning it)! Sometimes, the things we truly need don’t come from a “feel good” Gospel – it’s a “get right” Gospel. So get into this “word” for you and yours!

Pardon my slightly obscene linguistic candor — “Sideline women getting main bitch feelings” (courtesy of my friend Chasity’s InstaGram @hairgeneticks). And it doesn’t only apply to women – men can be proportionately FOOLISH, too.

 

IMAGINE THAT. In a contemporary society infatuated with superficial beauty, money, sex, drugs, cocktails, grandiose lifestyles likened to the rich & famous, weekend after weekend “partying” (amongst other things), and a constant search for THE NEXT BEST (looking) THING, oftentimes the LAST thing many young adults focus on are monogamous, committed, mutually loving relationships. That is, until the weekend is over and many are left exhausted and by themselves.

 

I have family and friends everywhere – the major cities of southern California, D.C., NYC, London, Atlanta, Dallas, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Miami, Chicago, Kansas City, Charlotte, Philly, and of course, my newly-established hometown, Houston – and the story is the same in each place, relatively unchanged: people settle for the temporary “right now, this looks good and feels good so I’m going to run with it” (or let it run through me) instant gratification, but ultimately end up feeling empty and left thirsting for something whole & fulfilling. We’ve all done it. Well most of us, except the chosen few Holy Thou Art, 100% self-respecting, upstanding, stately “My heart & body has ALWAYS and WILL ALWAYS be a temple” folk who are completely and totally faultless in their eternal walk through life. But, on a serious note, the vicious cycle is incredibly addictive and enjoyable in the moment, but is at end equally vacant and void of substance.

For real-world practicality, let’s look at a few examples: 

When you’re a straight, heterosexual female, and you’re having spontaneos sex with a man you find yourself attracted to on the first night you meet him, and agree to do everything sexually under the sun he desires WHEREVER he wants to do it, yet you expect him to wake up (if he even spends the night next to you), hold you, whisper sweet nothings in your ear while love songs serenade you at a low volume in the background, and then take you to breakfast the next morning, fully cover the tab and tip, and call/text you the rest of the week like you’re the main girlfriend you already knew that he had – you might need to reconsider your grasp on reality.

If you’re a straight, heterosexual male, and you’re smashing a female you used to date years ago for old time’s sake over the holidays who’s now moved off to college and has found herself in a committed relationship, yet you’re expecting her to treat you with the same privileges of exclusivity, call you “bae” and other assorted terms of endearment, and run to see you every time you miss her cooking, her massages, and her first-time loving to give you a piece of “good” on a silver Tiffany platter – reconsider.

(I Don’t Discriminate…)

If you happen to be a bisexual/homosexual female, and you’re openly passing out sweet-tasting pieces of your candy to all the boys and girls who come to your yard every time they knock or ring your doorbell, yet you expect to get cuffed up, locked down, and two-step off the stage with a bling-bling ring? TRICK or TREAT! Reconsider.

And if you discover that you’re a bisexual/homosexual male who is partnering with a dude and holding him down like he’s your one and only, yet you know for a fact that he’s willing to run up in anything that will open wide and say “ahhh,” yet you expect him to leave those streets alone and come partner with you exclusively and settle down because you’ve turned your house into his home – children please, reconsider.

Of course, the preceding situations are a tad extreme and dramatized at some angles and not by any means absolute or definitive of the aforementioned men & women’s lifestyles, but they are intended to be eye-opening and should inspire self-reflection. When we take the time to analyze & dissect our behaviors, we learn a lot about ourselves, the world we were born into (the “static,” for this purpose), the world we’ve personally CREATED in our own individual circumstances (the “active”), and most significantly, our unique role and placement in those worlds and how the people within them perceive us. I emphasize the active to denote an OWNERSHIP that many of us have in the circumstances we find ourselves in, just in case you were thinking otherwise. Yes, ‘tis the truth: I, the author of this post, and YOU, the reader, can have a hand in our own situations. It is then, and only then, when we wholly accept this responsibility of ownership that we can start to move forward and resolutely change for the better.

Most people initially judge us based on how we look and what energy we emanate from the point of introduction, but if given the opportunity, they will certainly draw more important conclusions based on our behaviors, personal decisions, and life activities. Folks notice when you’re on some “I’m down for whatever” type hype. And that’s cool – if you’re indeed about THAT life and don’t desire anything more. But don’t expect to end up in their iPhone favorites list (under your real name), to get invited to dinner with mom & dad, or end up being the Mr. or Mrs. Self-respect is the supreme respect, and in its presence, respect from others is demanded and ultimately required at its best and strongest points. Also, if you know that someone is currently in a relationship or “situation,” as they often like to fashion it - don’t shake the table unless you’re ready to get SHOOK, to cite Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta lead songstress K. Michelle. That’s fire at its hottest heat, and unless you’re a CIA-trained operative, you more than likely will get caught up and/or suffer more than a few burns. And if you are indeed that good to not directly and immediately get caught related to the situation, know that karma is a real bitch. I’m just saying. Take heed.

My disclaimer: I’m not perfect, faultless, impeccable or unrelated to any of the above. I actually have had some major points of growth, examples that inspired personal reconstruction, and some fall flat on my face moments that I have to heal from and learn through. It is my goal with this post, as with most others on my blog, to shed light on the realities of my life and others’ lives to inspire positive change and save my readers a few future heartaches, tears, and bruises. Live real. Learn daily. Love hard (YOURSELF first & foremost, then OTHERS when it’s RIGHFULLY EARNED & DESERVED). FIND YOUR TRUTH, and learn to TRUST yourself and others in your life. And FREEDOM & HAPPINESS will become ALL YOURS! It’s easier said than done, but it’s possible…

Reg

Filed under k. michelle relationships sex sexuality straight gay lesbian cheating sideline love dating trust instagram love and hip hop atlanta houston dallas washington dc new york city texas honesty lies

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Different.

*Foreword: Decided to publish something I wrote a while back, but never previously shared…maybe it will give another the voice to express feelings I so miserably suppressed and dealt with on my own, and help them draw real-life, sensible conclusions conducive to their own wholeness and personal peace of mind. Its one of the most transparent, vulnerable, yet honest things I’ve ever composed regarding love, or what I once conceptualized to be love…maybe even to a fault. But at the end of the day, this genre of writing is about expression; I’m not aiming to appease or impress anyone. Every writer is open to the critique of their readership, whether publicly or privately. Try to feel me, though.

"Different"

A chance Saturday, you walked into my life,

The unflawed evidence of a voice I had many times heard before.

To me, you were the realization of a great thing.

I’d always possessed passion for dreaming big dreams—

Mapping out a plan, and chasing them with all of my heart.

To me, you were no different.

But for whatever reason, you became an exception to the rule of all the ones before—

Something about you captivated me. Moved me. Intrigued me. Elevated me.

To me, you became different.

What were once small talks grew to become great dialogues that built real emotions—

Bigger than me. Bigger than you. Bigger than us.

To me, you slowly reserved an important place in my heart.

Time passed us by, and with it came every possible challenge & trial—

But no matter what, when I fought through it with you, I could still manage to smile.

To me, you were a soldier.

And when my life was raining down on me and the personal storms grew worse,

I knew I could always dry my eyes and regain myself beside you:

To me, you were a refuge.

No guards, no inhibitions, no fears, no reservations, no qualms,

No insecurities, no filters, no plugs, or mutes…

To me, you were freedom.

But as in the way of the world, freedom is not unlimited—

It must be exercised sparingly, with tact, with sensibility, with restraint…

And to me, you became the realization of that truth.

Something that felt so perfectly right suddenly became so confusing, so complex,

So incredibly tangible, yet wretchedly beyond my reach—

To me, you became a catch twenty-two.

“Maybe it will all come full-circle,” I silently said to encourage myself.

I should just wait for you patiently, and the right time will come our way—

To me, you became a dream deferred.

I forced a smile in my waiting, a perplexed heart supported by stilts of faint hope—

Holding back the truths of that same heart by restricting the words of my tongue!

For you, I denied myself.

Pitting logic versus emotion, the mental versus the moved,

Sensitivity versus sensibility, MY MIND VERSUS MY HEART—

For you, I fought with and within myself.

Within myself it stayed ‘til the day I almost couldn’t take anymore! And then,

“I love you,” you cried, with tears in your eyes. “I love you, too,” I said.

The moment I waited for, the moment of honesty I knew would come, had arrived.

But after all of those staggering, intricate mazes leading us to the end—

Reality was waiting for me, only to say: “not all love is meant to be explored.”

You love me, but not the way that I love you; they may love you, but not like I do.

But even in all its innate beauty, love unequally matched will be void of its essence…

So although every part of me wanted to give every part of you everything - it can’t be.

The final answer wasn’t what I wanted, but the stinging reality remains…

After all, everything between us always was different.

Filed under different love reality emotion logic perfection pain joy sorrow conclusions life

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Perspective.

Millions of people see the same things every day. They see the same sky, the same sun, moon, clouds and stars, the same shacks, high-rises, skyscrapers, dirt roads, freeways, boulevards, even down to some of the same people and mirror image of themselves - but every single person sees something different in each case. Our sight and point of view is the sense that guides our proactive actions and reactions, as well as all that we internalize and feel. It is shaped and seasoned by a little bit of everything that we are, where and what we have been, and maybe even that which we one day hope to become. Being such, as we grow, our perspectives evolve, too - our vision of the world, its paradigms, people, and the powers that be within it, and most significantly, the way that we envision our own individual roles within it all. Moreover, in all its complexity, the way that others view us changes as well.

Last week, I had an old classmate send me a Facebook chat message in aims of reconnecting and catching up. Being the extrovert that I am, I openly welcomed it: I love quality conversation with good people, and seeing where all life has taken them and the experiences they’ve lived through to shape their existence. We briefly discussed some of everything, laughed about old times and inside jokes, divulged a bit about where we currently are in our personal and professional lives, and the like. It was going seemingly great. And then, they dropped a bomb (unknowingly) on my heart: “You were Mr. UVA! Never in a million years would I have ever thought that you wouldn’t have graduated from UVA and went on to a top law school, and be shining in someone’s firm right now. That was you all day!”  I felt like something inside of me was set ablaze. 

All I could muster up was “Yeah, me either. It was good catching up. Be sure to keep in touch.” Their perspective of me, shaped by their interactions with an enthusiastic, articulate, starry-eyed optimist back on the East Coast years prior, was void of the complex details of the struggles, challenges, and life experiences of the man who I have now become. In that moment, my mind, while traveling about a thousand miles per second, revisited how I used to be, how I used to view the world, how I used to feel about myself and my ambitions, and how the realities of the world changed all of that. I was forced to evaluate the stark contrast of THEN versus NOW based on history and occurrence. That night, I retired to bed with a heavy heart, full of insecurity and yearning for understanding and answers. How did I get so far away from all that I wanted to be?

Over the next few days, I would find my answer, the same exact answer, from three very different forms: revelation from deep thought and prayer, a late night conversation with my best friend, and at a happy hour with a lawyer over cocktails in a high-end, Uptown Houston steakhouse. In each incident/conversation, I was reminded that life happens, and often throws challenges at us that are so much bigger than what we can fathom, grapple, or control. It’s up to us how we view, analyze, and respond to those challenges. We can abruptly try to tackle everything at once on impulse and emotion, or we can take a step back, look at the big picture, and pick our battles wisely in a manner conducive that what best suits our future and sustenance. Unfortunately for me, more often than not, I chose the first option - an overachiever that became overloaded, overwhelmed, and exhausted by so much of life’s STUFF (often, not my own), and in turn, performing less than my standard. It was a hard pill to swallow that my own life choices had altered my ultimate perspective so much, but not for the better. Although I thought I was doing the right things, I was making decisions that pulled me from where I NEEDED to be. If I had just stayed on pace, I could have delayed those decisions and more forcefully handled all the undertakings I made in error.

But, that’s neither here nor there. I can’t dwell on what was, but can only live in the here and now, and make informed decisions moving forward. The lesson was learned, and it actually has stuck with me. I was also encouraged to remember that it’s never too late to achieve all that I did once dream. I’ve been told that same good news time and time before, but until my mind and heart was truly open to it, some wisdom that I needed was often discarded after passing through one ear and out of the other. Although reaching my goals will be far from easy, it’s not impossible. It’s not unattainable. And it’s not beyond me. I know who I am, what I’m capable of, and what I have to do. Now it’s just the time to map it out, keep my mind focused, and DO IT. Hopefully, you and I can both enjoy this ride - of course, with renewed perspective.

Filed under point of view perspective dreams law school university of virginia friendship insecurity education law houston texas ambition goals

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53 Plays
Coldplay
Fix You

coldplay : ‘fix you’ [2005]
the lyrics to this song always spoke so clearly to me and my situation…”lights will guide you home…and i will try to fix you.” raw emotion. and in the same fashion, i wrote the below nearly two years ago…


the longest goodbye.

you always taught me to be a soldier,

but even soldiers are sometimes allowed to cry

i thought i had gotten to a point where i could deal with it all…

until the true reality set in of this long goodbye.

even still, i tried to keep my head:

the one thing you always encouraged me to do.

but i feel as if i’m losing a piece of me

and i just don’t know how i’m going to make it through.

it’s been some years and trying times now

since this disease came and started to steal you away…

i remember the first time you lost your keys and misplaced your money—

grand theft: a precious part of you taken from me day by day.

i couldn’t believe it was going down like this,

you promised me you wouldn’t leave…

and i know God has a perfect plan

but damn it, for once, i refused to trust & believe.

i guess it’s beyond my own understanding

an exception to my ‘know-it-all’ rule…

i can’t go research this answer and reason

this time, i’m lost in my tears as a heartbroken fool.

i saw the pain that you were forced to endure

a slave to the devotion & purity of your own foolish heart…

i had never seen you lose it like that—

with my own eyes, i saw you slowly but surely fall apart.

and with tired hands, tears, and all that i had

GRANDMA i swear i tried to put your pieces back intact

a boy pushed beyond his human limitations

from those days on, i was called to act.

many of those days, we were all that we had

only memories of our days past could keep me afloat

the reality of the situation was far too much to bear

so with my dreams, notebook, and pen to get away— i wrote.

writing is still what i do to clear my head now

the best cure to manage all of my pain

it washes away most of this sorrow

rinsed clean like a midsummer’s rain.

i know i can’t be selfish and try to keep you here

but it’s tough to really have to let go

you’re one of few to love me unconditionally

the source of most wisdom i know.

but you’re only a remnant of who you used to be

withering and moving farther and farther away

i asked God to bring you back closer to us

and begged Him when I would go to pray.

but the news gets harder to bear each week

and i look to the sky just wondering ‘why?’

how could a woman so beautiful and generous

be left to suffer this way and slowly die?

i put up a front like i’m handling it all good

and like i’ve forgiven and let it all pass by

but Heaven knows the pain I still feel

when I look back on those years of just you & i.

we didn’t deserve that, Grandma

but for you, i’m still hustling to make things right

my hands are tied but wrapped up in ambition

i’ve got on my golden gloves fighting the good fight.

as hard as it is, i’ll fight for you

and whenever God’s ready, go get your rest

don’t hang around for me, my dear

you’ve already passed the test.

i wish you could actually read this and respond

i miss the old you more than you know

but its time for me to be a man and deal with this life…

but i promise to carry you with me wherever i go.

Filed under coldplay fix you reality

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a moment for myself.

these are the hours (1:27am here in Houston) when an empty (but comfortable) bed, my music, and my thoughts seem to avail the perfect time to shed light on a few significant points…

I wish more people could understand me. But, if they did, I wouldn’t be who I am. Being too “simple,” at least in the opinion of my preferred cadre of people, holds a negative connotation. I believe that it’s our complexity, our multi-dimensionalism, our many different layers that ultimately comprise our uniqueness, our defining elements, and our individual beauty. And for me, as of late, it’s been all about purging, enriching, and developing all of those varied aspects of my life to be where I want them to be. Or at least kick starting in the right direction. I had become tired of wanting more and knowing I can have more, and even encouraging others in lackluster situations to conceive and seek more in their lives, but not actually doing all the things necessary to cultivate growth within my own. 

In order to achieve positive change, you have to make some changes. I can’t go out every single weekend, buy top shelf liquor, and gallivant around the city’s hot spots if I know I want to save money and achieve significant financial goals. I can’t continue to sustain unhealthy nutrition habits if I want to look and feel better. I can’t learn and master a language if I don’t read, write, and study it. I can’t sharpen my writing skills if I don’t get in this blog and actually produce content or seek out other avenues for expressing my passion for the pen. I can’t have a successful relationship with anyone if I’m still doing, promoting, or tolerating the same tired stuff that bore negative issues previously. I can’t have peace of mind if I allow my mind to stay clouded with things and situations I can’t control. In sum, I can’t expect anything to change for the better if I’m not actually DOING better - “doing” being the ACTION word. 

So many people have asked why I haven’t been around, why I haven’t been calling them, why haven’t I been texting them, why I haven’t been going out, why I haven’t returned calls, texts, and Facebook, Twitter or Skype messages, etc. etc. ad nauseam.  And it’s for the very reason that I titled this entry: I’m taking a moment for myself to gather my thoughts, direction, and plan of action to do what I came to Houston to achieve at the best of my ability. Granted, I have a few of my closest & dearest (both near & far) who give me the gifts of my laughs, my entertainment, my love and my encouragement that only true friends and loved ones can provide. But in reference to being a little more detached from the mainstream: it’s not shade. It’s not anti-social. It’s not selfish. It’s what’s right, for me, at this point in my life. And in my opinion, anyone who truly cares about me and my best interest will understand that. I may lose a few people along the way, which is unfortunate (in some cases, not all)…but it’s certainly not the end of the world. The key lies in not losing myself and the sight of my goals to grow, establish happiness and stability, and flourish in this city I’ve grown to love - and that I will achieve by any (honorable) means necessary.

Filed under houston growth texas action self-improvement reflection moi me time friends honesty complexity relationships friendships maturity

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of forgiveness, of love, of ends and new beginnings.

It’s no secret that my maternal grandparents were the two most influential people in raising me. My parents were both young (mere teenagers when I was born), and in many ways, living their lives on their own terms, so my grandparents carried the majority of the weight in making sure I was provided for, nurtured, educated, and cultivated to become a self-sustaining man who could one day stand on his own two feet. They introduced me to the concepts of Christianity, Black pride, the importance of intellectualism, history, and research, personal & social responsibility, and most importantly, reverence for family and its solidarity. 

While both of my grandparents often carried burdens for their own immediate and extended family members in need and seemed to have it all together on the outside looking in, there was still often points of contention I mentally picked apart in my own head. Coming up as a kid in a 1990s society where I saw representations of the black familia via The Cosby Show, Family Matters, The Parent ‘Hood, et al., for me, there was often more left to be desired. Granted, no family is perfect - but there are some things I witnessed and experienced growing up that made me question what a family is REALLY supposed to be like, what a successful relationship and marriage consists of, and where the line is drawn to determine your loyalty to your family, and your loyalty to your own wellbeing.

Exposure to so many things beyond my years so early in my life served as both a gift and a curse. The gift lies in maturity, wisdom, strength, resilience, an unmoved reliance on my faith, and the ability to face striking personal realities & challenges with an ease and a swag of someone full of joie de vivre, in spite of what appears to be (and realistically, probably is) a life-shaking catastrophe. The curse, however, lies in a knowledge of situations, events, and circumstances that have up ‘til this point clouded my perception of togetherness, relationships, trust, love and happiness with a cumulus of negativity and pessimism. But, even with the aforementioned ‘knowledge’ I possessed, I could hold it together and “fake it ‘til I made it” because after all, my grandparents were still ‘together.’

In 2004, everything changed. My life changed forever when my grandfather left my grandmother (unexpectedly, after nearly 40 years of marriage, though they were never divorced) and I on Church Street hill at our century-old family home in western Virginia. And with him left her heart and her being, as well as my hope and naive sense of understanding, shattered in the sudden failure of their artificial support system. She soon after suffered a nervous breakdown, then the onset of rapid dementia, which accelerated into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which she is a current patient of today. Those years served as my most challenging to date - no child could ever imagine the toils that come along with witnessing the person who raised you revert to a childlike state of helplessness and despair, and holding the sole responsibility of caring for them. In those moments, I blamed my grandfather.

For many years (although when it was time for me to attend the University of Virginia he stepped in as a caretaker and accepted the reality of her sickness and condition), I still silently held on to so much regret and anger. I felt as if it didn’t have to happen in the manner it did. I felt that he purposely hurt someone so purely in love and devoted to him, even through his shortcomings. I felt that he shattered her heart, and shattered my world. And through those years and the following ones to date, I particularly struggled with controlling and expressing those emotions to respectable yet honest levels, and their appearance in moments of high tension, and their muting in moments of temporary peace and perceived happiness. 

The emotional struggles are real and have been proven tough, but with maturity and personal growth, my grasp on it all and my relationship with my grandfather particularly has come a long way. This afternoon, in the midst of a conversation about the care facility my grandmother resides in, he said these words that will forever alter my perspective: “Y’know, when I sit back and I look back over everything - there were things I could and should have done differently that I can’t change. Me & Jean had good times, and we had some very bad times…but we still did have good times. All I can do now is make sure that her doctors and caregivers provide her the best care, and that I stay on top of everything to make sure she’s comfortable, healthy, and provided for. God knows I only want to make sure that she is comfortable now, and he knows my heart.” 

Excuse my language, but it fucked with me. These could not be words spoken from the mouth of one of the most hard-nosed, poker-faced, seemingly emotionless people I’ve ever known! All I could muster out was “Well, wow, PawPaw. That’s a good way to look at it. That really is all you can do.” This whole time, I’m carrying around things, emotions, anger, bitterness, regret, and pain like a ticking time bomb, while God was working at the core of it all, and softening the mind and heart of the person I held in contempt. I say all of this not simply as a personal exposé or to bring shame to anyone’s legacy. I say it as a testament to the ability of time and our God to set all things right and grant peace, even though we may hurt for a while. And while those things that hurt us for so long might be bigger than us, ultimately they’re not beyond resolution.

Filed under family forgiveness virginia divorce alzheimer's disease marriage love beginning end sickness long term care

5 notes

simple inspiration on a rainy day.

I am naturally a pretty outgoing, sociable guy. I thrive on the energy of others, and love the opportunity to network and connect with individuals from all walks of life. When I was a young child, my family would actually scold me out of fear because I was “overly friendly” - I’d make new friends everywhere from the local grocery store and McDonald’s ball play pen to tailor shop trips with my grandfather and Sunday School classes. Yet, at 24, though I have always possessed that conversationalist, extroverted persona, it’s still been a rather lonely road. It’s easy to greet and superficially connect with someone, but it’s a challenge and a rare gift to truly relate and identify with someone’s life and perspective in a genuine way.
Today, I was troubled by the arrival of that same familiar visitor: solitude. My mind was clouded by so many thoughts, frustrations, longings, and feelings, those ever-present concerns that I carry day to day alone. I was simply exhausted and overwhelmed by a lot of things currently going on, and the inescapable consideration of serious life decisions that I have to make to reach independence and my conception of personal “success.” One of the few people here in Houston that I’ve allowed into my life to get to KNOW the real me assessed the situation, and offered some great advice: to renew my mindset, to find optimism, to focus on the beauty and passion within my goals, and WRITE. Then he shared some of his own perseverances and things that keep him grounded and focused. Over the next few hours, I was able to witness him put his own passions and creative works on the chopping block to be critiqued and assessed by others, with an outlook that remained confident and optimistic in the face of pressure. I saw a dream deferred transform into a tangible reality. Inspiring to say the least!
In that moment, I was able to re-center myself and muster up a bit of peace of mind. Here he is, an individual with his own struggles, problems, hard work to do, and life goals to attain, and he’s taking a moment aside to offer me support that so many others often readily request and take from me, but never reciprocate. An act of altruism and benevolence at its finest, for a recipient who needed it much more than anyone could know. I aspire to be a blessing to others in their challenging times in the same selfless fashion. Thank you to my friend for inspiring & uplifting me, probably so much more than you even know.

Filed under inspiration friendship