Tag Archives: love

Love’s Gonna Getcha’ (A History of Violence)

There are a million different ways to say “I love you”. As a male, even if whispered from the softest of lips from the one who holds us in the highest regards, the premise still seems unfathomable; it makes us uneasy. It doesn’t always come in the form of physical contact; it’s frequently delivered in subtle methods such as, “Put on your seatbelt.”; “Watch your step.”; “Did you eat?” or “Get some rest.” So as a man, imagine how uncomfortable it is when one of your brethren conveys that sentiment in any form. The slightest expression of emotion, the least bit of vulnerability is met with resistance or disdain. “Alright!” or “Stop tripping” are phrases that you might typically hear in response to adulation. An often time, a quick change of subject is warranted to re-regulate the testosterone loss by any displays of affection. “The male has paid a heavy price for his masculine ‘privilege’ and power.” According to Dr. William S. Pollack in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “Although boys have the same emotional potential as girls, their emotional range is soon limited to a menu of three (3) related feelings: rage, triumph, and lust.” Anything else and they risk being seen as a sissy, says Dr. Pollack. Society demands that men display “machismo” at every turn; and culturally, as a black male there are but two (2) reactions that can be made when faced with conflict; fight or flight; there is no in-between.

Long before deciphering the concepts of the Willie Lynch letter – The Making of a Slave (in one case pitting black male against black male), the publication of Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, or understanding the dynamics of the prison industrial complex, there was October 15, 1997. The phrase “black-on-black crime” was first brought to the mainstream media in the early 1970s, which included Ebony magazine using the phrase in a November 1973 editorial titled, “What Can Be Done?” As an individual growing up in that era, as I matured, it was a normal part of my existence. On that overcast October morning, myself and two (2) of my dear friends were involved in a violent altercation. When I reflect upon the run-in, it was incomprehensible. The echo of gunfire reverberated off the surrounding structures as a number of bullets pierced the skin of my fallen comrade. We had all scattered in different directions after he attempted to remove the weapon the assailant pointed at his head away from his face; seeking to deprive him of the currency and jewelry he had in his possession. As the tires squealed from the vehicle that was left idling in the adjacent parking lot, and fled northbound on the major roadway making their escape, I rushed over to my companion to discover what damage had been inflicted upon him. There were no tribal screams or acts of rage, flailing arms or legs as depicted in cinema; just a feeling of disbelief and remorse. I had seen this coming; spotted the play as it was taking place, and had done nothing to prevent it. I would like to think my skepticism about the events even taking place would relieve me of any guilt I may have had, but honestly we were slipping; I was slipping. We took the fact that we were in our neighborhood for granted and thought our stature in the community made us immune to incidents such as this. That was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

The paramedics quickly arrived on the scene and our friend was airlifted to a hospital that managed those types of injuries. I had been out of college almost four (4) years and was three (3) years into my career in law enforcement when the confrontation transpired. So as the police conducted their investigation, numbered cones marked shell casings and yellow tape intertwined with trees and branches, questions needed to be answered. Admittedly, neither I nor many of my immediate friends were cut from a fabric of cutthroats and killers. Like most of Middle America during that period, we enjoyed mimicking the lyrics of our favorite gangsta rap artists and lived vicariously through movie characters like Doughboy from Boys N The Hood or O-Dog from Menace II Society. But after witnessing what had transpired, I believe we were all willing to take penitentiary chances in an attempt to get retribution for the possible loss of our homeboy. A visit to the hospital determined that he would recover and the only thing left was to “get our man/men”. After the laughter subsided, the saline solution was properly filled and administered, bed pan checked and breathing apparatuses were in place, there was a sense of angst in the air; a collective tension that justified action needed to be taken. Traveling to the police station once removing the bullets from my hood after leaving the hospital, I contemplated what measures needed to be taken to satisfy my desire to avenge the earlier proceedings. Was I willing to go to jail and throw away my career for the sake of attaining “street justice” and to not look “green” (soft) for failing to retaliate for an occurrence for which I was involved? It was a no-brainer. I contacted Azreal AKA Samael (the Angel of Death) who was willing to help undertake the task of delivering vengeance. And similar to Dough, Lil’ Chris and Monster, but without the convertible ‘64 Impala, we rode through the streets of then Unincorporated Miami-Dade County looking for our transgressors.

In retrospect, I am glad we never found the culprits that dreary, fall evening. There was a case of mistaken identity and misinformation. It is amazing how a series of events can cause a chain reaction which could plummet an individual into the pits of purgatory. I still have the deposition that reads, “State of Florida v. (insert name)”. The charges were Robbery, Gun/Deadly Weapon 1st Degree Murder/Premeditated and Robbery Gun/Deadly Weapon. The funny thing is we, myself in particular, have had plenty of opportunities to have our revenge; if death were our intent. It is common for most people not to recognize individuals that they have casual to little contact with. Perhaps either of them could not identify us; maybe they did not care and thought we were not going to do anything; just some clean cut rabble rousers living their lives and not causing trouble. On one remote Sunday afternoon years later, my friends and I were all together, ironically at the scene of the crime by the basketball court. The primary suspect in question was in our view, less than one hundred (100) feet away; none the wiser to who we were and our possible intent. I spoke with the individual who nearly had their life taken by this person; identified the individual as the perpetrator of the offense and asked him what he wanted to do. Any answering would have been acceptable while awaiting his reply. He had lived through that unpleasant experience; had to endure the pain and heal both physically and emotionally. If he would have said, “Let’s duct tape that shit and put his ass in the trunk”, I would have gone along and help commit the dastardly deed. Being raised in a broken home or lack of formal education would not be the justification for my decision making; as I enjoyed the benefits of being raised in a two (2) parent home and being an academic scholar. Anything that would have help make him whole again, although wrong and knowing the ramifications, I would have prayed to have had the courage to undertake the task, and would have done so because of my love and loyalty to him. I would not have asked for anything in return because in my mind, that’s what you’re supposed to do as a friend; be all in. With adrenaline rapidly coursing through my veins, I reluctantly awaited his response with anticipation. “Nah…!! I’m good!” We never asked for the reasoning behind his answer, just a retort of, “You sure?” And from that point, the subject was never broached again until the writing of this piece. The entire incident has been lost to the annals time; only raised when expanding the mythology of the individual who was summoned to help swing his scythe as the Grim Reaper.

The phrase “black-on-black crime” makes sense only if you understand our propensity to commit crimes against people of our own race as inherently different from the way other racial groups commit crimes. There is no difference; crime is crime. In our case, look at how many lives a continued cycle of violence would have damaged. We may not have lived or been free from incarceration to have careers, be a presence in our children lives, create generational wealth for our families, or be mentors and educators. That is what is lost in the equation of violence amongst our own. If I get into an altercation with someone and as a result kill them, then essentially there are two (2) or more people no longer apart of society; unless it’s determined I committed the action in self-defense, there is a strong likelihood that I will be incarcerated for an extended period of time. As males, without our presence and the ability to reproduce, there would not be children. If children were had prior to the incident, there is no fatherly guidance. Without a male figure present, there is no family dynamic or structure. Upon release from a correctional facility, there is now an economic toll that has to be paid; the inability to get public housing, food stamps, student loans; one’s ability to succeed is hindered. In whichever case, there would have been either a choir singing or commissary bringing. At the time of the robbery, neither I nor any of my immediate friends (seven of us) had children; collectively we now have seven (7). I cannot speak for any of them, but his decision to say no definitely saved my life. In my twenties, I would have thrown it all away to get the respect from my peers by retaliating for the incident; to show my loyalty and prove myself as gangsta as any tattooed, grill wearing so-called “real nigga”; never thinking about having to retain an attorney to fight for my freedom or how any of us leaving the block (by death or incarceration) will allow another soldier to fill our shoes. If jailed, perhaps the continuous changing of the months on the calendar would have provided a sense of regret. For those armchair quarterbacking saying, “It couldn’t have been me!” it is easy to utter foolish rhetoric until placed in that life altering position. The prospect of taking another’s life weighs heavily on the human psyche. Who wants to send “kites” from cell to cell as a form of communication or use mirrors as an instrument for social interaction; or have family and loved ones mourn a loss clad in black attire? I am eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had to live and see my friend recover and move past that moment in time. I have never inquired if there were any psychological scars as a result of being shot; I am sure he would not tell me the truth if asked. On many occasions I have told the harbinger of bereavement how appreciative I am for him always being there when I have appealed for his services; it was not until I reached this state of consciousness that I realized how valuable my friend’s decision was to my current existence. The thoughts of our possible response play out like a nightmare in my subconscious and often times haunts my existence. Love comes in any many different fashions. Who would have ever thought the word “No” would be so reinvigorating. Thanks for making that decision King; for that, I love you.

Note: I have spoken to the victim involved in this incident prior to me sharing this story, and he said if he had to make that decision again, he would do so a thousand times. That in itself shows you that the cycle can be broken and people can rebuild themselves when tragedy befalls them. He is a better man than me; I pray I could be that forgiving. “‪‎We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)‬

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Live, Love, Laugh

So originally slated for today, I had planned on posting a blog called “Riddle Me This!”  I’m talking about that sh*t was gonna be deep discussing conspiracy theories and propaganda.  I had done my research; notes were spread out across my desk; and water was on deck to ensure I was properly hydrated and my brain was functioning at maximum capacity.  But as I began formulating the blog, I became engaged in a conversation with a friend concerning their goals and aspirations.  Now because I’m passionate about such things, the words began flowing; my fingers began hitting the keyboard of my iPhone at break neck speed.  By the time I finished, I had sent out about six (6) paragraphs; all lengthy in content and detailed with the precision of a craftsman.  I’ll keep this one short (I’ll try), but it’s gonna be an honest assessment of what “I” perceive life to be.

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From time to time, be on social media, etched in ink on someone’s skin or an individual wearing the moniker on a t-shirt, you will see the axiom, “Live, Love Laugh.”  The phrase is powerful in its content because if you simply live by those three (3) words, you should have no worries in the world.  Unfortunately, life isn’t always as simple as following a slogan.  As human beings we’re often times overcome with emotion; we experience elation, happiness, grief and disappointment.  With each life changing event our emotions ebb and flow like the rising and falling tide on the banks of the coastline.  It appears that most of us only experience the later of the three (3) words in that statement; not enjoying the pleasures of the first two (2).  The question must be asked, are you truly living or merely surviving.  The caged hamster is aware of its existence when it’s a captive as a pet.  There are only a few options: sleep, eat/drink and run on the wheel.  It’s as simple as that; nothing more.  Many of us are merely existing; unhappy with our current situations but too defeated to offer to make a change.  All the childhood dreams appear shattered like glass because of a wrong decision or life choice.  So to that end we settle; become content and complaisant; unwilling to pursue our life’s passions for fear of what people may think or the association of being deemed a failure.  So worried about being judged in the court of public opinion; so enamored with our “haters” that we spend beyond our means to satisfy those that can careless; lying awake well into the early morning hours contemplating our current situations and looking for a means of escape. So on bended knee we pray for salvation with the hopes of being granted favor.  And once given a sliver of hope, we broadcast for the entire world to see and hear how we’re so blessed; like a gambler; always highlighting the wins but never elaborating about the losses.  That’s not living, that existing.  In the phantom Bible verse, Hezekiah 6:1, “God helps those who help themselves!”  You can’t expect others to help you or relieve your burden without first trying to do so yourself.  So live!!!!! Drop that baggage and go…

They say time heals all wounds, broken hearts mend.  For many of us, the pain and anguish of love loss never subsides.  So we become scared to love again for fear of repeating the cycle.  Missing out on opportunities, because dipping a toe into the shallow end of the pool equates in the heart to being fed to a pool of sharks.  We want love to be unconditional only when it pertains to us receiving it.  Yet we remain reluctant to share those feelings on a consistent basis.  Here’s an example of what love is, and it’s not like Romeo and Juliet, as the lyrics of the old song will belt when heard.  Imagine giving someone money; any denomination.  If you’re looking to be repaid, it causes you some type of hardship by not having it or you’re constantly hounding someone to have it back, then you shouldn’t have given it.  Anything you give, whether money, love or time, you should do so freely and willingly without any strings attached.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants their feelings reciprocated, however there’s never a guarantee that the feelings will mutual; reaching the same level.  Love is never the same; it’s either ascending or descending.  But you can’t be afraid to give of yourself.  Essentially, that’s what every religion teaches in a roundabout fashion.  Love is the key.

But one thing as a society we do very well is laugh.  We laugh at the plight of others; we laugh when people are exploited and used.  But boyee…..  let that pistol get put on us, exposing our faults and weaknesses and we’re ready to fight something.  Laughter is good for the soul and a smile radiates a room when it’s genuine.  It’s ok to laugh at ourselves; it places life in perspective and means we don’t take everything so seriously.  So there it is! “Live, Love, Laugh.”  When properly understood, they’re the gateway to a happier existence.  Believe me, I’m not sitting here ideally giving advice; I too have experienced those same pitfalls, so it’s spoken from experience.  And when your Saturday approaches, and you’re lying on your death bed as the Grim Reaper begins to rap on your door, you don’t want to look back on your life saying, “What if” or “I wish I would’ve said or done…”  “Live, Love, Laugh.”  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Kill’em With Kindness After The Anger Consumes You

Disclaimer: Typically this isn’t the direction I’d like to go with the blog or how I would like the site, the show and the Fan Page to be portrayed.  I sat on this one for a long, thinking long and hard before I considered posting it. This post came from a somewhat dark and frustrating place.  It’s irreprehensible for me to allow this sort of thing to happen, but I have to express that these writings come from a “real” place and aren’t merely for entertainment or to seek attention. This is uncharacteristic of what we represent, however the thoughts are real; no different than what you may feel in the darkest corners of your mind.

 Metaphysics is defined as the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. When practiced, the participant learns that emotions are a response to reactions that are felt inside of them. Whereas, if someone is angry with you or combative in nature, that’s their reality and beyond your control. Your reaction in turn will lead to sequences that will alter your future. An example would be if you stubbed your toe while getting out of bed. If you allow that one event to affect your mood, and don’t view it as a singular moment in time, the remainder of your day may proceed as follows: you spill coffee on your clothes; you step in dog feces while walking across the grass; you’re involved in an automobile accident or receive a speeding ticket on the way to work; so on and so forth. The same is true in the inverse. If you start your morning with a pleasant attitude, the outcome will follow suit. Finding $50 in a pair of jeans; receiving the promotion at work you applied for; winning a prize in a contest. It’s the yin and the yang; the ebb and flow of the universe; karma if you will. It’s something that I practice and try to work on daily. However, on this occasion there’s a tremor of discomfort in my soul. The heartbeat is irregular; palms sweaty as the words spoken are rewound in my mind as a reminder of public perception. What began as a whisper continues to echo in the chasm of my mind.  See one of the leading principles is to not worry about what people say or think of you.  Whether you’re being praised or ridiculed, the objective is to stay above the fray; not allowing your ego to drive your emotions.  LeBron James is a better man than me to endure all the criticism he’s received for decisions he’s made during the past four (4) years. One of the reason I started this blog was to provide an honest display of life in the written word. Not only to provide information, but to always being true to who I am as an individual. It was purposely intended for me to receive the information that sparked this inferno, so it’s only appropriate that I fan the flames.  So for this blog “Parental Discretion Is Advised!” only because it’s personal and addressing “hate”.  Let the subliminal pistol play begin.  (Rules: “On my count, take ten {10} paces, turn, then fire!) 

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The funny thing about being human is, no matter how perfect we try to appear on the surface, we all have our visible flaws; internal demons that we try to keep caged before its savagery is mistakenly or purposely released on an unsuspecting individual.  I try to never personalize the blogs because I want to provide an objective perspective on the topics I discuss; providing the reader with a different point of view by allow them to think critically of themselves and the world around them.  The prism from which we view life is sometimes distorted by the emotions we harbor.  What may prove to be a major issue for one person may have no consequence to the other individual(s) involved.  What’s all the more befuddling is the fact that we never truly know the people we have angst with because without self-reflection and control of the ego, we never truly know ourselves to pass judgment. 

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For several days, my spirit had been troubling me about events that had taken place; and premonitions about future trials.  My inner voice had been warning me to stay away from different venues or verbalizing my thoughts on different topics because I knew there would be resistance.  Now that I’ve veered off the road of conventional thinking, I’ve created more enemies and most of those who I thought were friends, supporters and “family” has been exposed as frauds.  I have no brothers, sisters or a true best friend to confide in, so I release my passion with key strokes, the sound of the saxophone, snares and horns, and the consumption of libations; it’s therapeutic.  The later has proven to be a determent and it’s a vice I must break as it enhances what some may think is an already contentious attitude.  Drinking the 80 proof is similar to the injection of truth serum coursing through one’s veins releasing a euphoric sensation that engages the brain to transmit thoughts to the vocal cords having a residual effect on the listener.  The words may ring true, but the context and arena in which spoken can have damaging results. So before the onset of events leading up to my 25th high school class reunion, I wrote a blog this past Thursday titled, “Caps, Gowns and Tassels.”  It was a brief summation of my thoughts pertaining to the forthcoming festivities and how I was battling myself attend.  I’ll be the first to say growing up I wasn’t a guerilla (thug/hustler/bad boy), the most popular or a three time letterman of the All-Whatever Team. I was fine being myself.  During my developmental years I had the pleasure of hanging with a diverse crowd, which made me a well rounded person.  I wanted to be cool, so I completed my homework in school so I could walk home with no books and blend in.  But by no means, and I have this conviction to this day, was I trying to be more than what I was.  I was smart, and sometimes embarrassed to be so.  Most, if not all of the so-called “popular” people weren’t in my classes.  I didn’t skip school, smoke “weed” or have a car to take girls off campus for lunch so I guess that made me “green” (a square; nerd; regular).  So in “my” mind’s eye, I didn’t feel welcome amongst my peers so I didn’t attend as a result. 

A day after writing the aforementioned blog, I began feeling more hate enveloping me.  By happenstance, while working and listening to my iTouch, an interlude titled “Hater” by an artist out of Oakland, California named Yukmouth played.  As the two (2) voices on the track exchanged dialogue, I couldn’t help but relate to how the animosity of one of the characters verbalized what I had been feeling.  Inserting my name and show (The Porch Reloaded) in place of the featured protagonist spoke volumes; it captured everything I “knew” was discreetly taken place without my knowledge.  With all that being said, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been ashamed to face myself in the mirror and admit to erroneous behavior.  If I’m wrong, I’m raising my hand in the classroom yelling to the teacher, “Pick me! Pick me!” because I’m willing to take responsibility.  That was no more evident than in a blog I wrote titled, “I Hate Myself!  The Struggle Between Being Honest and Being Real.”  Resembling everything I write, I try to provide an honest representation of my feelings regarding the human experience; providing comfort with the hopes that the font jumping off the page allows the reader to become engaged with the struggles we all endure.  As if I’m telling them, “I know you feel my multitude of emotions.  The highs of the elations; the lows of the disappointments; there’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable.  It makes you authentic, real; it makes you human. Like a songstress singing a love ballad, I’m expressing your feelings for you.  I’m your voice.”  That blog was meant as an apology for someone who felt I had hurt and betrayed their trust; and it was an assessment of me and what I needed to do to be better as a person.  Despite that, the “hate” didn’t stop.  And I was informed that an unhappy individual voiced their displeasure regarding a past incident that I thought had long been resolved.  I guess some feelings die hard, and unbeknownst to me, this person was “extremely” hurt by my actions.  So now, like Paul Revere atop his mighty steed galloping from town to town, this person can’t help but bellow their disdain for me.  I can’t lie, initially I was bothered; for all my flaws, I always try to have a good heart and show love when warranted.  Unlike most people, I never intend to maliciously hurt anyone; whether it be physically or wounding their pride.  I wanted to retaliate, strike back, and blow the spot up!!!  But what would that accomplish!  It would make me hypocritical.  All the encouraging posts and blogs, my attempts to spread love and enlightenment would all spiral down the toilet with the press of the “post” caption.  Is it worth it?  To satisfy my ego and fight for my honor is it worth resorting to any measure other than apologizing?  I’m twenty-one (21) about mine and will stand in the paint right, wrong or indifferent.  With what I’m trying to accomplish, I haven’t even made it to a level where the real “hate” will start.  This is but a small sample size of what’s to come if I’m to reach the heights that I know I’m capable of.  I won’t apologize for not being suspended from school, spending a stint in jail or being forced to attend CSI classes my behavior warranted such discipline.  If having those characteristics or swimming in the same school, in the same direction, traveling down the same stream was necessary for me to be accepted, then I glad I grew up and chose another route.  There are things in my past that I’m unhappy of and I could easily be in a different position than I am now.  So apply metaphysics to this situation, “what you eat doesn’t make me defecate!” Therefore I dismiss the urges to battle in the court of public opinion; it’s a no win proposition.  But just know this, there isn’t a need for direct eye, a subtle gaze, fake handshakes/hugs/kisses or idol conversation.  You don’t f*ck with me, and I don’t f*ck with you!  I’ll help those who’re willing to accept it, show love to those that appreciate it and continue pushing forward with my endeavors to become a better individual.  Now I’mma peel off like a band-aid.  LOL!  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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D-Fense (clap, clap) D-Fense (clap, clap)

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No not just for some but for everyone

Lord we don’t need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides
Enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers
Enough to cross. enough to last
‘Till the end of time” – Diana Ross “What The World Needs Now Is Love”

There aren’t too many occasions where you can turn to social media and not find a post that does not quote something with positive affirmation. Whether the message focuses on remaining diligent in the quest for greatness or striving to enlighten others, there are those amongst us who try to give off a positive aura of caring for their fellow man and spreading the wealth of abundance. When the message is delivered by your favorite celebrity, pastor, or star icon, the words are met like a scripture; liked, quoted, commented and retweeted thousands of times without a second thought. It’s as if we need the assurance of others to allow us have a particular opinion as to how to feel when certain subjects are broached. Once they’ve approved, then surely we can follow suit because a person of that elevated status wouldn’t lead me astray.

“Did you know that your feelings show
You thought your love was locked up inside
But when your senses start to overload
Love is something you should never hide

You’ve got to believe in love
It’s a feeling that’s next to none
Can’t stop until we are one
With the power of love

Tell everyone to try
I promise you’ll reach the sky
One thing that we can’t deny
Is the power of love” – Luther Vandross “Power Of Love / Love Power”

 
When the subject of “love” is brought up, it’s as if the conversation is taboo. People appear openly afraid to express those emotions in the general public. Around friends, men would rather appear before a firing squad as opposed to declaring that phrase in the presence of their peers.  However, at funerals, those same men will use and exceed their two (2) minute time frame championing their fallen comrade and stating that “we” should voice these feelings because “life’s too short” and “tomorrow isn’t promised.” During courtship, because the relationship is new, the euphoria of expressing one’s feelings reach new heights. We need that affirmation from each other to determine if the bond is real and felt mutually. However, once the expectations are met and the feelings satisfied, we become complacent and all the acts that had us feeling that way no longer apply. The love remains but those feelings of ecstasy fade. Perhaps that’s the reason why so many people stray in their relationships, as they continue to chase the initial high of being happy in those moments.  People must understand that love ebbs and flows; it’s never the same. Love isn’t singular to an individual, it’s the passion and devotion to “all” things. Not just an affinity for a person, but for the animals, the trees, the universe at large. That’s what love is; not Romeo & Juliet but the one that’s described in the scripture of your chosen religion.

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Hypothetically speaking, what if all the religions were brought to together and had one message. The words of the Bible & Quran; the messages delivered by Jesus,  Buddha, Muhammad & Confucius were all brought together for one specific reason. To share the power of the thing we defend ourselves against. Think of the feeling you have after a Sunday morning of worship. The message is delivered by the pastor/minister and the word that is heard by ear resonates through your soul. Upon your exit, your spirit is renewed. But after the pixie dust wears off, similar to the complacency in a relationship, we defend ourselves from expressing those feelings until called upon unless when there’s a dire situation. Any sense of vulnerability reveals a chink in the armor. We crave the feeling, yearn for the warmth it provides, yet shun from it at times; hide from its embrace and run for shelter for fear that it’ll continue to hurt us; time & time again as with incidents past.

“Are you trying to find a beginning.
Or something just to hold on to.
Always know that love will find a way.

Is it hard this life you’re living.
Does the world seem so unkind.
Don’t you worry love will find a way.

Some say we’ve lost, our way.
Some say the world has gone astray.
But if you know where you’re going.
There’s nothing you can’t do.
’cause problems will come.
And they will leave you.
The world will try to deceive you.
But the truth will always be in your soul.” – Lionel Richie “Love Will Find A Way”

 
Corinthians 13:4-8 states the following: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs… Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves… Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”  Once we understand the concept surrounding love’s essence. We will enjoy its embrace and realize the fears of expressing it is propaganda played in our mind. Stop placing your feelings on a leash and let them roam free to enjoy life’s pleasures.  And if someone can’t or won’t accept you for the person you are after being sincere and genuine, it’s an indictment of them not you. Namaste!  “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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Leaps and bounds

If you own a telecommunication device and are one of the several million people that occasionally log onto many of the social media websites available to the public, then you’ve more than likely had the privilege of viewing one your “friends” addressing their “haters” or sending subliminal messages to their secret admirers stating one the following: “We spend money that we do not have, on things we do not need, to impress people who do not care” and “Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings & emotions…” One of my favorites is, “There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you.” When you look at the quote on its surface, it speaks to the fact that as people, we tend to make sacrifices for those who wouldn’t forfeit their desires to satisfy our needs. You reread the quote several times over, replaying incidents in your mind where you felt unloved, underappreciated and/or casted aside after making concessions for others who outwardly careless about your feelings, wants or needs. Some can disregard those actions and feel like their assistance is a blessing to others. Commonly these sentiments lead to severing relationships, alienation and resentment. Even when the situation is addressed and seemingly resolved, the bond that was once shared is never the same. In your heart you know it’s over, but you cling to the wreckage of an affiliation ravaged by distain; your self-worth couldn’t withstand the waves battering against the haul of your soul.

I reflect often times on the madness that’s called friendship. How we expect loyalty from others, and demand that people pledge allegiance to an invisible oath drafted by morals that those same individuals don’t adhere to. Like you, irrational decision making was also my calling card. As an only child and through my formative years, clamoring for acceptance was a norm. I wouldn’t realize this character flaw until I too had to learn the hard way that a rock only skips no more than three times when tossed across a body of water before submerging until its eventual doom.

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“This is a gang; and I’m in it!” During my tenure in college, that was one of my favorite songs. The track was performed by Compton’s Most Wanted off the album “Music To Driveby”. The track blared through the subwoofers as I would often times travel from Tallahassee to Monticello, Florida to clear my head and spend time alone. I could relate to the song in so many facets, and it remains a staple in my iTouch. It expressed the camaraderie that a group a friends shared; getting into mischief, partying, and other foolery. I felt my group of friends, although not deemed the “coolest”, were the realist people one could ever be around. You could always be yourself and express your thoughts without repercussions. There was no “hate”, because although we all lead different lives, we were all equals despite our socioeconomic status. So when one of my friends was shot during a failed robbery attempt, there was no question in my mind what had to be done. After the initial shock, I called up an individual who was known to resolve such matters, and off we went into the Saturday night air looking for the assailants who committed such a heinous act. As we passed by possible locations where the alleged perpetrators could possibly be or reside, I began to feel the pit growing in my stomach as to what could take place as an encounter grew near. I had been here before, so the emptiness wasn’t necessarily fear. I had felt the pain of false devotion before; left in a club holding cell defending someone who never threw a punch in defense of themselves. Projectiles whizzing across landscapes and altercations at an assortment of locations all in an attempt to earn an unheralded badge of honor which held no value. And when I thought of the occasions that I was either the instigator or the defendant, there was only one that warranted my “friends” to rush to my aid. And as these thoughts penetrated the fiber of my every being, I could only think, would these same individuals be willing to throw away their careers, college degrees, families and lives if it were me? I could name two, maybe three, but not definitively all.   I won’t lie to you and say there was a Tre’ from Boyz N’ Da Hood moment where I told the driver of the vehicle to take me (us) back to where my car was located, but I came to the realization that everyone isn’t willing to do what you’d do for the sake of friendship, love and loyalty.

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And as the years have passed, the lesson increases with its importance. Throwing rocks at the “chain gang”, looking at a period of incarceration, possible death, financial hardship and loves lost, all as a result of going the extra the mile for those that wouldn’t travel two feet to accommodate you. It’s saddening in a sense that the appreciation and admiration you have for others isn’t often reciprocated. I would never tell anyone to stop being good natured and not help your fellow man (woman) in their time of need. However, be mindful that the generosity you display may not be countered in return. And in your reluctance to assist someone, if the person dependent on your kindness begins to become agitated because you’ve now had an epiphany, tell them, “Keep calm and don’t be mad when I pull a YOU on YOU!” “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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Brain Washed – Reloaded; Still An Illusion

As I bask in the warmth of the afternoon sun; with blue skies filled with soft white decor suspended above the horizon stretched as far as the eye can see, this black man stands firmly entrenched in utter mental disarray. Shedding the skin of a past littered with lies, misinformation and propaganda, to the hope of returning to an indigenous state of simplicity and spirituality. The road less traveled they say is the most difficult. Radical thinking leaves you as an outcast. Being a part of the crowd is the norm; removing oneself from that crowd leads to ridicule and rejection. It’s safer that way; all the opinions match; a united front for those who dare question the status quo.

However, what if I told you that it wasn’t meant to be that way? That within yourself you possessed the ability to change your reality. Your mere thoughts and gestures held more power than the actions of others who took opposition. Your voice could make plants grow or whither. Your thoughts could heal your body in the physical realm and enhance your soul in the spiritual one. The foods you ate were genetically modified to change your DNA structure; chemtrails lined the skies to your detriment. Religion was a means of control and television a form of slavery. Corporations based their profits on your consumption, paid politicians to push their agenda and didn’t care about your well-being. A society where the NRA pushed for gun control during the era of the Black Panthers but now deems it unconstitutional in 2014. Where Black Leaders are silenced, jailed or killed for attempting to uplift their people. Where after over 400 years, the Willie Lynch syndrome continues to affect our culture and the exploitation of Black women on primetime telecasts is at a premium; that there are more prisons being built than educational facilities. The CIA introduced drugs to the neighborhoods of Southern California and the government bombed a community in Philadelphia. Pharmaceuticals companies have replaced street level drug dealers. Where the government has a machine to control the weather & create natural disasters (HAARP). And the endangered species are no longer housed in zoos or placed in wildlife preserves for their protection, but are hunted daily on city streets; nothing more than a newspaper or Internet article reflecting a life lost and a killer exonerated. That the version of history that we were taught in school was revised to favor the nation’s agenda while hiding its crimes. (Sigh)

If I told you all of this and more, would you believe me? Of course not! My name doesn’t carry the same cachet as an Amos Wilson; doesn’t resonate like a Cornell West, Dr. Umar Johnson or Tavis Smiley. But despite that, does it make it any less true; is the message any less real? Like having a megaphone and yelling “fire” into a crowded movie theater, some people won’t move until they feel the heat, are engulfed by the flames and suffocated by the smoke. And as humanity sits back comfortably, unsuspecting of the events taking place behind the scenes, the puppeteer strings the masses along like marionettes as we abide by their commands. The “Matrix” live & in effect. However, there will be no Neo or Morpheus to free the minds of the oppressed and enlighten souls.

“People don’t want to know the truth because it may force them to make changes that they’re uncomfortable with; changes that they aren’t willing to make. A comfort level has been established where a change in mindset won’t allow them to accept anything to alter their reality or ability to function. There’s no other truth than the one they’ve embraced. The truth destroys their desired reality, points out their shortcomings and look at themselves in a way they don’t want to acknowledge.” (#forbiddenknowledge)

“I sit alone in my four (4) cornered room staring at candles.” Not contemplating suicide, but trying to decide if passing along information to enrich the lives of so many is worth the banishment that comes with it. And that’s always the fight taking place within the soul of person tainted by the world around them…

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“Imagine being born into a dream: a mass illusion transformed over thousands of years by billions of people into what today you call reality.  The billions of people subdivided into territories they called countries, into belief systems they called religions and into groups they called races.

Countries subdivided into states, provinces and cities, which then subdivided into neighborhoods that subdivided into neighborhoods that subdivided into buildings or single-family homes.  Religions divided into conservatives and liberals sects, which then grew into more conservative and liberal branches.  Races divided themselves by all of the above, including color, tone, ethnic makeup and financial status.

Each group then teaches and defends that its way is the way and its truth is the truth, and each group creates its own reality out of what it believes.  Each group then tries to sell you on its current forms and laws, telling you that this is what is ‘right’.  Each teaches you that the closer you are to following its form, the happier, more successful and peaceful you will be.  And somewhere deep within, you know that it is your right to be happy and to be at peace.  So you buy into it, and regardless of how little sensed the illusion makes, you keep participating, for if you stop, you will be judged as an outcast, a troublemaker, a bum.

You are taught that if you stop participating in the group’s way of life, your hopes for happiness, success and peace will also end.  The group tells you that if you go against the norm, you will not find happiness, peace or success.  So you buy into the illusion the group offers, believing that there is no other way.  You carefully weave and contour the illusion into one you can live with for now.  But my friend, regardless of how you choose to weave, contour and experienced the illusion, it is still an illusion.” – James Blanchard Cisneros, “You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey From Perception to Knowledge, Peace of Mind and Joy” “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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The Fallen Are Never Forgotten

It’s crazy how some memories have more lingering effects on the human psyche than others.  I can remember listening to the message on my cellphone the morning of September 7, 2005.  I had just completed my overnight shift at Target and was preparing to head home.  Tragedy had befallen the then fledgling city of Miami Gardens, Florida.  On that date, a young man by the name of Drexsel Lemard Williams, II was involved in a tragic automobile accident which would later claim his life.  As word spread concerning the loss of this influential individual’s life, a once scattered group of people from various areas came together to celebrate the “home going” of a honored and well respected personality.  Known by friends and family for his care-free nature, his willingness to give to those less fortunate and his desire to enjoy life and its blessings, his death would galvanize all the adjoining neighborhoods within the Miami Gardens area.  The funeral was held on Saturday, September 17th, at the Greater New Bethel Baptist Church; but the events preceding the ceremony held far greater value.  There was a meeting held at the local gathering spot, Scott Lake Optimist Park, where prominent members of the community came to together and decided to collect money on the family’s behalf to start a savings account for his then adolescent daughter.  The “wake” held the night prior to the funeral turned into a block party. Everyone fellowshipped well into the early morning hours, reminiscing on memories past and telling stories of lore.  The day after, a barbeque was held honoring his passing; it was then that a pact was made to come together annually to commemorate the loss of loved ones and enjoy each other’s company.

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During the subsequent years since his death, a celebration of both his and others of those whom have lost their lives throughout the years has been held annually the Sunday before the Memorial Day holiday to honor their memory.  On that occasion, in an effort to give back to the community, the Drexsel Lamard Williams Memorial Foundation (unofficial) organizes a picnic where food can be consumed, beverages can be had and children can enjoy the amenities that comes from a community that would set an example for future generations that fellowshipping, coming together for a common cause and “giving back” are the groundwork for a healthy culture.  Naturally, there are some that have been upset about the title of the event and the “supposed” failure to acknowledge an individual whom they’ve felt were deserving of recognition.  People have to place their egos aside and realize that the event is bigger than a title, t-shirt or a “shout-out” dedication spoken over blaring music.  The symbolism is a result of everyone coming together, placing their problems aside for one day for communion.  The aroma from the scent of ribs and chicken will feel the air; music will be played to accentuate a time long since past; but the joy of seeing a past crush, “dapping” or hugging a friend having not been seen in years due to life’s attrition, or merely sharing an unspoken word – laughing at the weight the starlets of the school or the former jocks’ have gained all equates to a magnificent day.

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The time has come once again (May 25, 2014) to celebrate the 9th Annual Drex Memorial Day Family Picnic. We’re asking for all participants to donate $20 for the event; but of course any monetary contribution would be greatly appreciated.  The festivities will be held at Amelia Earhart Park located at 401 East 65th Street, Hialeah, Florida.  There’s a $6.00 entry and you can find celebration going down at Pavilion #3.  If you need any additional information or want to donate (water, soda and/or ice) please contact one of the committee members Tonya Harper-Newton, Tony Hall (T-Hall) Emeritus Brandt Edwards, Jonathan Tullis (JT), Jamal Black Williams (Black) or ShanteMssweetness Newsome (all of whom are on Facebook as listed). If you’re in the South Florida area, donations can also be given to Cedrick Harris @ Madd Cutters Barber Shop located @ 19709 NW 37th Ave, Miami Gardens.  Regardless, your presence is paramount, because creating memories far exceeds everything else.

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Death is never easy to deal with.  Many of us appear to be strong; masking our feelings behind material possessions, a false sense of confidence or having a vice (be it alcohol, drugs, gambling).  In our quiet moments we’re all vulnerable and cope with matters so precious and deeply entrenched in our subconscious that we dare not share those thoughts with anyone.  You aren’t alone, and there are many others who harbor those same emotions.  As I close, I’d like to honor two (2) special individuals who were important to me; my first cousin Channing Kendrick and dear friend James Davis.  Though you have long since left this physical realm, your memories remain strong in my heart and the love is always there.  May your journeys be that of eternal happiness and pleasure.  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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I Hate Myself! The struggle between being honest and being real.

“The road to success is paved with good intentions.”  The quote has been said repeatedly throughout the course of time and one of the meanings of the phrase is that individuals may have the intention to undertake good actions but more likely than not fail to take action.  Good intentions are meaningless unless followed through.  A different interpretation of the saying is that good intentions, when acted upon, may have sometimes led to unforeseen bad consequences.

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This is where the struggle begins and never receives closure.  For people of color, the word “real” takes on similar comparisons to the word “love”.  Being “real” is like a badge of honor; a coronation to knighthood.  Words that are commonly spoken are, “I’m a real n*gga!”, “Keeping it real!” or “Real n*ggas do real things!”  However, when someone states, “I’m just being real with you!” it’s supposed to translate to “I’m just being honest!”  No other culture has the distinction or share the importance as to what that word means.  See, when you’re being “real”, it gives one a pass to say or do whatever you want without repercussions.  It’s equivalent to praising a person, an entity or situation and then adding the word “but”.  Once a person says the initial statement then adds “but”, a negative statement or opinion is usually forthcoming.  So if I hurt your feelings with my remarks, “I’m just being real!” If I want to justify my behavior when the majority disagrees with my actions, “I’m just being real!”  If I feel threatened or want to exert my masculinity, “I’m a real n*gga!”  You can see memes that depict people of color being “real” when they have their pants saggin’, involved in criminal activity or performing other acts that doesn’t conform to the norms of society.  If someone is seeking their college degree, earning a living in the workforce, shows affection toward their significant other and/or participating in something that reflects positivity, that somehow doesn’t correlate to being “real”.  Being “real” sometimes rings hollow because it shouldn’t be an act or a word used to punctuate behavior.  It should be a way of life which doesn’t require titles or labels.

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In contrast, being honest requires a level of vulnerability.  It shows an ability to express oneself despite any impending criticism.  It’s something that people seek in friend and relationships, but many of those same people can’t adhere too because honesty sometimes hurts.  Honesty creates a rollercoaster ride of emotions.  When heartfelt, it can make the receiver feel inspired, joyous and appreciated; it creates a sense of trust and a level of comfort.  On the contrary, honesty can be deflating, demoralizing and gut wrenching.  Honesty creates both tears of joy and pain; it’s unyielding and is always pure.  There should be no ill intent when spoken in its rawest form.  It should be refreshing to the ears and the speaker’s intent should never be questioned when the words ring true.

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See I hate myself because I’m in constant conflict with the two (2).  Being labeled as “real” amongst your peers is equivalent to becoming a “made” mafia figure.  Being described in different circles when you aren’t present as a person that can be relied upon as being a stand-up individual is an honor that inflates the ego.  But how is that any different than being “honest”.  Honesty requires the dropping of your guard and exposing yourself to sometimes unwarranted angst.  Being honest is saying what needs to be heard despite the negative connotations.  What I’ve done, in attempts to become closer to people and be more engaging, is be extremely forthcoming with all of my feelings.  Good, bad or indifferent, I pride myself on being authentic.  It doesn’t mean this approach is right or beneficial, it only reveals what’s behind the veil and makes me more transparent.  I’m human, so I have my flaws.  And like most humans, I speak my mind and do so at junctures that is untimely.  Being honest comes with both praise and dissent; it’s never on neutral terms.  So if you’re overly positive, you have an ulterior motive; negative, then you’re deemed a hater.  People want honesty, loyalty and love, but when they meet individuals with these attributes, they at some point shun them because they won’t placate to their individual needs.  I hate myself because I aspire to be that individual.  However, the people in the world who also want to share those qualities are afraid to do so due to the possible backlash of public opinion.  So despite my continuing travels down the interstate to attain success, the intent, be it through spoken word or action can sometimes be misinterpreted.  Acts that may be thought to be in done malice are sometimes truthful assessments as to what’s taking place at that time.  Metaphysics states, “When you are truly comfortable with who you are, not everybody will like you.  But you won’t care about it one bit.”  I haven’t reached that level of tolerance yet, and until I do, the struggle will remain prevalent.  I’m gone! (b)

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