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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile. I was going over some older posts and one jumped out at me because it related to a recent event.
If you don’t follow basketball, you likely had no idea who Monty Williams was before last week. He’s one of those coaches in professional sports where not a person alive would have anything bad to say about him. He’s a man of high character who wore his faith on his sleeve. He lost his wife in a tragic accident; a heartbreaking event that no one can fathom.
His speech at his wife’s Ingrid’s memorial service went viral. It brought to light the difficult topic of forgiveness. His poignant words resonated with us all.
That family didn’t wake up wanting to hurt my wife. Life is hard. It is very hard, and that was tough, but we hold no ill will toward the Donaldson family. And we, as a group, brothers united in unity, should be praying for that family because they grieve as well.
This a man who is suffering and will continue to suffer a profound loss. And yet, he held no reservation to forgive.
Part of my commitment to growing in faith is spending more time in fellowship. The church I go to does a monthly service that’s dedicated to young Christians. The pastor has covered great topics from employment to getting your finances right to most recently dealing with temptation.
January’s topic focused on relationships. More importantly, the pastor’s message was about the dangers of not having a plan for your relationship. His scripture text was about Samson and Delilah.
When I read up on the man Samson really was, I can see some parts of me in him. Samson is the type of guy that relies on his own devices when it comes to women. He follows his emotions because that’s what rules him. He makes the same mistakes repeatedly because in truth he has no idea what love really is.
You have to trust that God will place you in the right time and place to meet who He has prepared you to be with.
We’re all guilty of bad patterns when it comes to relationships. We pursue situations that are not godly because they make us feel good. We become so enamored by physical attachment that our ability to discern is rendered useless. The other problem is a lot of times we don’t even know why we’re dating.
Any relationship that’s built on false pretenses or opposing agendas is doomed to fail.
Yesterday, I had a chance to volunteer with my church’s missionary ministry. As part of the back-to-school season, the ministry’s leader asked for those who are skilled to donate their time and talents to give free haircuts. I signed up for 2 reasons: because I know how to cut hair, obviously. But the second reason was a little more personal. I know how important it is for a boy or young man – especially if he’s starting school or a new job – to have a fresh haircut. I didn’t have anyone take the care to show me how to shave. I taught myself how to cut my hair and it wound up being a side hustle for me when things got tight. I was honored to be able to guide a few of the older boys on how to choose clippers to keep themselves up between haircuts. It’s important for men of all ages to know how to groom themselves for every type of look and occasion.
A rare bare-faced me
This week on The Good Men Project, I wrote about how a great grooming experience has sometimes been the only thing that made me feel good about who I saw in the mirror.
What’s your grooming routine like? How often do you set aside time to pamper yourself?
What are you prepared to do?
What are you currently doing?
What have you already done?
As I woke up to write my birthday post this morning, I posed these questions to myself. It hit me like a wrecking ball last night about what happened the last time I was in LI. So it feels poetic in a way to be celebrating life out here. I considered where I am and where I intend to go. I looked at my responsibilities and how I prioritize things.
I used to think about how the universe plays a part in the way our lives go. You know the sayings – trust the timing of your life, people come into your life to be blessings or lessons, etc etc. I remember the Dalai Lama quote about how not getting what you want is sometimes the best stroke of luck. That applies in certain situations. However, the purpose in free will is that we are the sum of our choices. We’re free to change what we don’t like and make adjustments accordingly.
A few months ago, I wrote about bucket lists. The daily reminder that being black means being one encounter away from being a hashtag has changed my mind about that. As I look back on the first half of my life and think about the possibilities in my future, I’m honestly like a f*ck a bucket list!