Perspective

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

 

 

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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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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 #11: Getting Out Of My Head

This summer has seemed particularly long. I’ve been working a lot and haven’t had much time for anything else. It’s paying off though because I recently came into a job promotion that was unexpected. As a contracted opportunity, it’d put a few extra thousand dollars in my pocket. The problem is agreeing to it would inevitably pull me away from the career that’s always been my passion.

Earlier this year, my mind was made up professionally. After my trip to IMG, future plans were clear and financially, everything was starting to align as well. With my second job, I was able to save the money needed to pour into my passion. But when my contract was up and the review went well, what was supposed to be a short-term gig turned into a viable career option.

With any decision that involves money, I weighed all possible outcomes. Along with some personal things that happened within the same week, I was emotionally drained. It was as if divine intervention had taken control since my boy hit me up with dates for a group trip that had been on the table all summer. Given what I was going through, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

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The Outer Banks in North Carolina reminds of certain parts of the Hamptons, except much more affordable. My boy’s family has owned a house there for about 30 years and recently did a ton of renovations on it. The house and the neighborhood was pretty amazing! What I appreciated was how normal it felt. Even though it’s a vacation home and the beach was literally in the backyard, everything about it felt like being at home. I didn’t feel out of place or uncomfortable. That helped immensely with the anxiety I was already smothered by

What was funny is I’d gone to Vermont with this same group back in February. I’d had a conversation about career plans then because I’d recently graduated. When the same person asked for an update, it was nice to have good news to share. It wasn’t about impressing anyone. It was solely about having confidence and peace in the direction I was moving in.

Sometimes, getting out of the house is exactly what you need to re-focus your thoughts.

 

We Could Never Appreciate Muhammad Ali in 2016

America’s relationship with sports, more specifically sports heroes, is one of convenience and greed. Our memories of the greats are often served in palatable bits and pieces. This sentiment has been all over various social platforms since the untimely passing of the beloved Muhammad Ali.

It’s hard to say that the loss of Ali is sad because he lived a full life. But his death certainly calls attention to the collective conscience of America.

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Ali spent nearly a third of his life suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. To watch the champ — whose physique was truly a marvel in his prime — slowly deteriorate over such a long time is gut-wrenching. When I look at how this massive personality of a man shrank into relative seclusion, it’s reminiscent of how we tend to treat our legends after the sport they dedicated their lives to end.

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You Break Curses By Not Being Afraid Of The Scars

It’s taken a few days to digest Beyonce’s latest opus. I’m still processing the nuances of the visuals for Lemonade and the album. I watched the visual a few times. I gave the album a fifth listen last night. I’ve heard it enough to have favorite songs. I don’t think I’ve sat with the movie enough to catch all of the details. Thankfully, a lot of journalists have already analyzed and deconstructed both.

So I’m not exactly going to do that.

What I can take away from this album and its accompanying visual is that Beyonce has shed the last bits of perfection that she spent a great deal of her career and life living in. Save for a few songs, she’s talking about what happens to a woman after the honeymoon stage. How does a woman replenish herself when the well has run dry?

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