…And Beyond

I don’t get invested in horoscopes or any astrology stuff. So when I saw the NYE party I went to last night had a palm reader,  I laughed. However, a couple of my friends were getting their palms read. The reader didn’t so much tell the future but state some accurate facts about situations in their lives. Curiosity won me over.

I really only wanted to know about my personal life. It’s weird because I wasn’t on the fence but I was struggling to accept the reality of a decision that had been made. People often look to things like this as confirmation for their already made up minds. For me, it was about hearing the decision out loud and knowing that it felt right.

Instead, she didn’t see or say anything about love. No marriage. No kids. What she did see was the beginning of an old dream and the birth of a new one.

I’ve been wanting to close 30s and Beyond for a while now. I even set the date a few months ago. Yet that date came and went. I felt like I still had important things to say. I had a perspective that needed to be told. On the other end of that, it was exhausting. The deadlines of writing would cause my chest to tighten. I knew the end was near.

Something the palm reader told me was to not be afraid to extend and stretch my vision. She told me that in my life line, she saw a tendency to find comfort in being too logical and linear, which prevents me from acting on the things I want. She advised me to stop over-planning in the area of finances and my career because there it was causing a paralysis in my progress.

The craziest part was she asked if I’d been sick recently. I had a stomach virus and was recently diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. She mentioned that a career was never going to fulfill me until I stopped obsessing about worst case scenarios. This was particularly timely because of a post I shared on IG in December and some recent tweets about reaching a place where neat and perfect isn’t unattainable.


I spent a few days last week going through old posts. This space has been deeply personal for me. It’s helped me understand and re-shape opinions I had about fatherhood, family, relationships, addiction, self-image, success, and of course God/my religious foundation. What many probably won’t understand is how much writing here takes out of a person emotionally.

The hope that God would give a definitive sign about when the time was right kept me from writing this post. However, as I sit here on January 1, 2017, it’s time for me to step into the beyond.

I wish there was a more eloquent blog post queued up for this. The truth is I’m writing while sitting in my garage.

If I could offer any advice to readers for the new year, I would say 2 things:

  • Don’t wait for God to send a drastic sign. Most questions are answered in faint, tiny whispers.
  • Your destiny is directly connected to your obedience. Some of us are delayed because of fear. Sometimes, it may be because we think we’re under-prepared or undeserving. In regards to 30s and Beyond and personal stuff, I was held up by harping on feelings that weren’t a big deal. Given the reading, I have peace in both areas.

If God isn’t yelling and screaming, will you still listen for His voice? When He gives you that gentle nudge or drops a thought in your spirit, will you give it the respect it warrants? How strong is your faith that you’re willing to close the door on what’s behind and step into the destiny that’s been prepared for you?

Your life can be anything you want it to be if you commit to make it so. Define what you don’t want in the next 12 months and meditate what your needs and desires. If you feel the stirring in your spirit to act on something, trust. Then go. I promise you’ll have peace in taking the 1st step.

From now on, I’ll be writing full time on Medium so follow me there.

 

 

Thanks For Reading My Mixtape

I’m a course of miracles with this shit
Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists
Therein lies the piece of God

-Hov “Drug Dealers Anonymous”

This song was one of my most played according to Spotify. It was the first time Hov got in his bag in a long time. Wordsmiths never fall off, they just pause to get new material. Aside from that particular song, I spent a lot of time exposing myself to a lot of new artists this year. Yo, Alabama Shakes and Brittany Howard are flames!!!! Anyway, while I was going through some of my older posts, I realized how much music has influenced my writing this year.

One of my writing goals in 2016 was to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to overcome insecurities about if my skills were strong enough for major publications. I wanted to tap into the other things that excite me. In a nutshell, I wanted to detach from devoting so much focus as a personal blogger.

There’s a level of commitment in writing that makes it unbelievably difficult. It’s like going to the gym. When you want to get in shape, you set a goal, develop a routine, and stay consistent.

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3 hours before a deadline

The space between good writing and great writing is pretty huge, especially in specific genres. However, I compare it to the gym because your efforts determining how high and far you can go. When you start to see results, the euphoria is an ego-boost. You want to keep going. You want to add weights or up your reps. You push yourself because you know what you’re capable of. And even if you plateau, your body never really forgets how to get back in gear.

That’s exactly what my process has been with writing this year. I’d spend 2-4 hours writing something. Over-analyzing sentence structure, carefully selecting words, and being deliberate in executing the often jumbled thoughts in my head. Then once it got put out for consumption, I’d obsessively check comment sections and likes and reads – whatever metrics were available. I’d want to top that. I’d want to try to surpass the own bar I set. Sometimes, I was successful.

So here is some of my work that you might have missed.

Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Exposes America’s Selective Memory On Race

What If The Black Community Really Did Want Revenge Against America

The Dangerous Lies We Have To Stop Telling Boys About Sex

I Bought My Own Place and Now I Can’t Afford To Date

For Pro Sports Leagues, Addressing Mental Illness Crucial

Here’s The Thing About Happiness

My Father Couldn’t Hug Me and I Refuse To Repeat History

 

 

The Year It Took To Rebuild My Confidence

Normally when I go somewhere or experience something new, I try to do an accompanying photo post to recap it. I’m not one of those people who takes tons of pictures of everything or constantly posts on social media. However, this most recent vacation last week was a little different in terms of how the planning went.

I’ve never been to San Francisco so I had no idea how massive the Bay area actually is. Over the summer, I knew I’d be in Cali towards the end of the year anyway so I started looking at reasonably priced flights to North Cali in the summer. Apparently, flying to the Bay area is expensive as hell!

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The flight wind up costing $215. Given the results I’d found, that was cheap as it gets.

Initially, I’d planned to spend most of the daytime outdoors. But the weather was like “YOU THOUGHT”. The positive thing is that I had time to reflect about this last year.

What I’ve noticed as time goes on is that we’re all dealing with the same types of things. We learn how to get through and get over by not being scared to be ask for support.

Men need to know it’s okay to struggle with sex and coping mechanisms and suicidal thoughts and therapy. It’s okay to question God and wonder if we deserve love after we mess up over and over. We need to get real about the range of emotions that make us human. But we also need to have conversations about accountability and learn how to own up to our BS then pick up the pieces and work through it.

I hit a point where my self-esteem was low. Some days I wasn’t sure how I’d ever get back to feeling “normal” again. Well, I can say it’s taken a year.

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#40Days – The Home Stretch

I had no idea what was going to happen when I embarked on this journey of total submission. All I knew is mentally I was hoping to take a large leap forward. I was having doubts in a few areas and I wanted to set new standards for the people that were  in and would come in my life. When I’d heard the message on that Sunday, it was a necessary instruction to stop and chill.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Today, is the 30th day.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling “off”. I couldn’t explain why and couldn’t even convey the feeling into words. Physically, I didn’t feel the best either. I’d had a rough boxing session with a client that literally kicked my ass.

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It took a few hours for me to key in on what was up. I’m writing this on my way to Cali, taking a few days for a well-needed vacation. Going through this last month, I noticed how even the smallest decisions can change your life so drastically. And sometimes you have to catch up mentally to where God leads you spiritually.

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The Post About Nothing And Everything

When I sit down to write for the internet to consume – whether it’s 1 reader or 500 – I’m deliberate with word choice and execution. However, today is one of those days where I need to let my heart speak. I have things that I’ve been wanting to share but have been waiting for the right moment or rather, the proper post do so.

I’ve grown a decent readership in the past few years so by all means if you’re expecting eloquence, you might want to ignore this 1 and head over to Medium for my latest piece.

So I’m currently embarking on a 40 day fast where I’m spiritually cleansing my life. It started after my pastor delivered a message where he spoke about reaching the point where you feel like you can’t take it anymore. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can watch it here. (Fast fwd to about the 15:00 mark)

There are parts of my life in need of a hard reset and purging. I don’t want to wait until the new year. I don’t plan on doing a recap or one of those “year of review” style posts so here it goes.

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Getting Through When You Feel Like Giving Up

About a month ago, I found myself in a bit of funk. Things weren’t necessarily going badly but emotionally, I wasn’t feeling great. Instead of doing what I normally do, I threw myself into fun experiences. I spent money on a few projects in the crib and went on a few spontaneous dates. I thought if I kept myself busy, I wouldn’t have time to be alone with my thoughts. However, the more preoccupied I was, the more jumbled my mind became.

One thing I’ve always maintained is that I don’t like to be a burden to people. When I start to feel this way, it’s just easier to keep things to myself. I wrote about this a few days ago on Medium – which to my surprise, a lot of people can relate to.

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Two weeks ago, after a date, I spent the night over the young lady’s house. Before this, we hadn’t talked for maybe a week. So after settling on the couch to watch Netflix, she flat out asked what my deal was. I didn’t know how to coherently say what was going on in my head because I didn’t fully understand most of the time. More importantly though, I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want to be analyzed. I didn’t want her to think differently about me.

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Photo Post #12: A Day Off For The NMAAHC

By nature of how technology works, journalists, influencers, and large donors spent the better part of September sharing photos of exhibits and intimate details of what thousands of visitors could expect from the National Museum of African American History and Culture during opening weekend. The nerd thirst was so real that Very Smart Brothas did an advice (satirical?) piece about how in-demand tickets for opening weekend were.

Thanks to Twitter, I happened to see when timed passes would be released. I’m not a morning person however this was worth setting several alarms for. I didn’t get tickets for Saturday or Sunday but there were a bunch of slots for weekdays. A few friends and I wound up making the trek into DC anyway Saturday morning and got a decent view of the ceremony too (pictured below). To be there was surreal having missed out on both Inaugurations. Taking in President and First Lady Obama one last time at a major event was so worth it.

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When I told my boss I’d need a weekday off to go to the museum, he got excited and suggested we make it a group thing because he has a connect. Yeah, nah fam. Everything I’d read warned me that the curation of the museum’s artifacts and the story it tells needed to be processed delicately. And given the general tone-deafness of some white people, I didn’t have the capacity to absorb their reactions too. While the museum is one they need to see, I believe it’s an institution for us to consume privately first without white noise.

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