Upon Arrival pt. 1

It’s about a 4 hour drive from here to there. Check in is at 3PM, so if we leave now we’ll get there with time to spare. Maybe we can grab a bite to fill in the time?

Bet.

Yep and you already know we got plenty of that. State troopers like to lurk between 127 & the state line, so it’s now or later.

Cool.

The rest goes in the trunk. Let me get the aux cord. You heard this? It’s fire.

Right!

I told you it was fire. Let’s stop at the gas station and fill it back up. Then, we can stop at that place you were talking about on Yelp.

Amazing.

It was! Good choice. You can light that back up now too since we’re out of the boondocks. Do you mind taking over the aux cord?

Here.

Oh, this is dope. It’s so private. I’m not sure if a hotel will cut it anymore. Did you see this though?

Look.

I’ll probably spend my whole night in here. Wait, you’ve got to warm in up a bit first. It says after about 30 minutes…

Wow.

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Some thoughts on Lawrence & the Awkward relatability of Insecure

One of my favorite shows is, Insecure on HBO. If you’ve never watched it, I strongly advise you check it out. The episodes are only 30 minutes, so it’s 2 seasons are the perfect binge for the next time you take a “sick day” from work. The story revolves around the main character, Issa, and her many relationships. I’m not going to go too in-depth into her character and motivations at the moment, as there’s another character whom I relate to more personally, Lawrence.

To set it up for you, Lawrence is Issa’s significant other. At the beginning of the show, he is unemployed and basically being supported by Issa. She begins to question her feelings for Lawrence, which sets the show into a whirlwind of events that are uncomfortably relatable. The show is real and at times raw, but that is what sets it apart. It has made me take a step back, several times, to look at myself and the relationships I have with people. How could I have handled things differently? Maybe if I hadn’t sent that last text message, things would’ve gone in a different direction.

To me, the thing that makes Lawrence so relatable, are his flaws. Often times, when people are romanticizing themselves as characters in a book or a TV show, they tend to highlight the strengths and disregard their gray areas, the ones we all exist in. Lawrence’s arch is full of gray areas. Some of his courses of action are undoubtedly ones I’ve followed myself, right or wrong, so I find it interesting to be able to look from the outside – in.

Even before the story begins, it’s easy for me to imagine the issues Lawrence carries around. Being an unemployed, black man in America is a hell of a title to carry. You’re marginalized. He was either underqualified or overqualified for most jobs, or so it seemed. None of this really motivated him to do anything, he let himself go. His appearance was rough and he never wanted to go do anything (probably because he was broke and his girl was already paying for everything) until problems in his love life emerged.

I’ve seen lots of women argue that Lawrence wasn’t doing what he needed to do as a man, which I suppose is accurate (albeit ironic since gender roles have supposedly evolved in 2017 but I digress) and this, in a way, justified Issa’s actions. I’ve gone through a similar situation as Lawrence, not being completely on my own feet. I can relate to how he was ignored by the woman he loved, left home alone without knowing where she was and eventually cheated on. It just doesn’t make sense to me, that in a world where true love is very difficult to find, how easily it’s thrown away.

Trust is a key component of a healthy relationship. Once it’s gone, things will never be the same. Ever. The past is already written and the ink is dry. Lawrence did not violate the trust. He got a job, one that he was completely overqualified for and initially curved a chick that I’m not so sure I would’ve had the sexual maturity to deny. He eventually moved on to a better situation, and for now, has corrected the career issues that plagued him in the beginning of Season 1.

Lawrence did everything he was supposed to do, and still lost for it, another thing that has sucked me in week after week for two years. In this show, much like life, there have been no happy endings. Maybe the next season will provide one for Lawrence and the other characters. Or maybe it will continue to blur the lines between scripted television and reality TV….

Love & Loyalty

Two of the ancient pillars of civilization are love & loyalty. Over the years, in my life, I’ve seen both crumble and left in ruins. However, in some small pockets, they continue to exist.

It was about a year ago when I got a phone call from a high school friend. He told me he was getting married & asked if I would be his best man. As each year has passed, I’ve seen the number of weddings I attend increase, but he was the first of my true homies to make the leap. And I jumped at the opportunity to be there to support him.

It means a lot to be invited to anyone’s wedding, simply as a guest, but to be apart of the ceremony is an entirely different honor. I couldn’t help but question, why me? We hadn’t seen one another in years, hell, we don’t even live in the same city anymore. We’d both gone off to college, made new friends, he’d even joined a Greek organization. So why me? Honestly, I still have no idea, but it meant the world to me.

I didn’t meet his bride until the day before the wedding, at rehearsal and I instantly could tell she was an amazing person. She was cool as a fan and her presence emitted positivity and jubilation. I instantly felt a calm come over myself, seeing how the bride and groom to be interacted with one another. The rest of the rehearsal & night only continued to strengthen my happiness for the broski.

The day of the wedding came and everything went off without a hitch. There was a sense of relief in the room we’d all settled into after the ceremony. Bottles of liquor were being opened, Snapchat videos were being recorded, it was becoming a party. After taking more snaps, we headed over to the reception hall to really turn up. Some of the groomsman were late, due to a pit stop at the liquor store. It was all love.

During the bride & groom’s first dance that everything sort of came together for me. This was a REAL LOVE they share, as genuine of one as I’ve seen in my generation’s era. And this was a LOYAL friend, to allow me to be apart of this special day, a day neither of us will soon forget. Watching them inspired me and gave me hope for my own future. It was a reminder of what can be and I do not take the example they set lightly.

So bro, to you & your bride, thank you again for allowing me to be apart of your wedding day. Thank you for asking me to be your best man. And thank you for the reminder, that I need to get MY shit together!

Zones

Let’s be real for a bit..

Your defensive schemes all out of wack. The area your covering isn’t even the most vulnerable, you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. You’re looking outside – in, when you should be looking inside – out. Guarding against the run, as if you didn’t just allow me to pass.

Man to man coverage. Worry about who’s in front of you. That’s your responsibilty. Don’t depend on any sort of safety coverage and no don’t peeking into the backfield. But it takes a certain type to be able to do this. Some can, some cannot.

The end zone is the end goal, of course scoring is important, but so is time of possession. The longer you hold on, the better your chances of winning.

Should you choose to bend the rules, play without dignity or outright cheat, you will be caught & punished. Once word gets out, free agents won’t even respond to your messages and you’ll lose future picks.

I mean, it is all sort of a game anyway, right? We mask it as a playful activity, something for amusement, but in reality it’s so much more. We all want to win and hold up our trophy.

And after you’ve gotten that trophy every living being desires, you also get a ring.

That zone defense you’ve been playing got you here, but it won’t win you a ring. Come here. Do your job and only be concerned about the man in front of you.

And I promise the same.

 

4 Your Eyez Only

Nobody died around me lately. The city’s been heating up but my circle stays cool, mostly. It’s hard though, trying to do the right thing and stay out-of-the-way. I logged onto Facebook the other day, I know somebody who knew somebody that was killed. And another somebody who knew somebody did it. Both sides of the story, right in front of my eyez. One real nigga and one bitch nigga, depending on who you ask… the roles reverse. Both families, attempting to preserve their loved one’s legacy in the court of public opinion. In all actuality, the only thing that occurred was each post serving as an accelerant to the opposing side.

Mediators posting subliminal statuses about what may or may not have occurred. Speculation turned into acceptance and acceptance into anger/hatred. And I just watched. And would do the same again, if I had a 2nd chance. Why? Because I scrolled through the feed of the victim and the accused…

That confirmed the shit I learned in the streets was true
That real niggas don’t speak when they beef with you
They just pull up on your street, let the heat achoo
And if a real nigga hungry he gon’ eat your food

J Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only

One page, for months leading up to the events… full of fight reposts and “real nigga” status updates about “fucking other niggas bitches” amongst other things. The overwhelming insolence was but the buds of a more deeply rooted problem. Maybe he was a product of his environment or more likely, a victim of the circumstances within that environment.

The other page, as silent after the murder as before. Nothing but spam posts, for years leading up to what occurred. The dude definitely had the means to be more active on Facebook, yet he chose to separate. Right, wrong or indifferent he completely immersed himself and remained committed to the streets in every aspect. He was dedicated to the omerta lifestyle.

From what I’ve seen afterwards, I don’t see an end or resolution in sight. The people who’ve chosen certain paths, will lead to similar, unavoidable destinations. Their family members will speak of how great they were. The truth hidden amongst an intertwined web of grayish, mixed, black and white reality.  The cycle will continue to repeat itself. My only hope is, for our childrens’ sakes, myself & my homies can avoid being on either side.

See world, you’re no good.

Convince & Repeat

I’ve been away…

To deal with my affliction, as self diagnosed. However, I believe any clinical psychiatrist would agree. I don’t hear voices, but I must be insane. Truly, I must be. I mean, lots of artists & writers have dealt with mental illness. All the symptoms are there. The feelings of deja vu, repeating the same actions and expecting different results.

The adversity arises, year after year. I defeat it, send it back into the depths of obscurity and celebrate myself as cured. Things return to status quo for months, quarters at a time until the affliction returns to my realm.

Upon each return, it is more difficult to defeat than the last time. I’ve reached a point where I almost need it in my life, to feel normal, otherwise I’m a zombie…. lifeless and emotionless everyday, until it returns.

I receive nothing from it, instead I sacrifice who I am, my sanity as a whole… to appease…

… and to return to distant memories of when the affliction was but a flutter of naivety. Things weren’t always this way. But they have been, for quite some time now, the same. And as the affliction comes and goes, as does a piece of me each transition.

 

Photo Cred: Damian Michaels – The Road to Madness

Unhappy Fools

Wisdom is only gained through life experiences. Amidst the folly of youth, it’s often assumed that wisdom will be gained later in life. But sometimes, it is not. There are both young & old fools in the world. What is it that prevents a young fool from becoming a wise elder? Is it destiny? Or perhaps a curse of sorts, bestowed upon the young fool?

Bad decision after bad decision, repeating the same actions and hoping for different results. Isn’t that insanity? Or is it stupidity? Either way, eventually, the cycle should break… Right? After so many failures the pressure intensifies, weighing on one’s psyche. Insomnia and depression would be understandable, yet blissful ignorance only dulls the warning signs. How? 

If one cannot please one’s self, why instead is their happiness traded for the approval of others? A greek chorus of negative, miserable spectators never pleased with the events of the show. A petulant paparazzi encouraging and admiring only the worst behaviors.

Begin to value yourself. Eliminate drama. Ignore your foolish pride or be cursed to become an old fool.