State Ya Biz

Friend or foe yo?

-Jay-Z

I have always oddly admired folks were were friendly and outgoing, and simultaneously been uninterested in being either of those things. I don’t deal with too many people at once because it’s confusing and I need to know who is real at all times… that’s hard in a big group. I don’t do foes… you won’t be around long enough to even get a title.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten more open because at this point I trust my people skills and refuse to lessen myself to accommodate others. But that comes with greater responsibility to myself. So I refuse to be bothered with you if I find out you are either 1) inconsistent, 2) an imposter, 4) dishonest or 5)selfish. Those things usually come across in how you behave when others are involved… you lie, you fake the funk, you only act in consideration of self and not others, and/or you change your tune depending on the audience. Keep it a dollar with me… cuz if it don’t make dollars…

You draw, better be Picasso, y’know the best

‘Cause if this is not so, ah, god bless

-Jay-Z “Friend or Foe”

I believe in forgiveness and giving folks grace when you know they are good people who just got it wrong. But if you are questioning someone’s goodness… my advice, be on some one hitter quitter type shit. At this point be really vigilant about who you share your spiritual space with… someone behaving irresponsibly with no regard for the other people involved are selfish and will push you in front of a bullet to save themselves; someone dishonest will trick you by looking you in your eye why they are picking your pocket; an imposter will put on whatever camouflage they need to fit into circles they know they don’t belong in… and will hammer their square asses into that round hole no matter the cost; and inconsistent people will kiss the devil in private then go ranting and raving about folks kissing the horned in public.

We have a habit of inviting people into our space because other folks vouch for them or they profess their place. Start making people state their business… what you want ’round here? What are your intentions? Then be real Malcolm X about people… sometimes your own folks turn on you when it benefits them. COINTELPRO type negroes are lurking around every corner taking notes, but then will claim they are there to protect and serve you in friendship. They buy their place with claimed commonality, one hand in the group hug the other robbing you. Imposters and liars. Selfish and unpredictable. Be on some “getcho hand out my pocket” type stuff. Protect your spirit.

There is no need to work it out, keep the peace, get closure, talk it out… they are dirty. Some folks sling dirt (along with drama and petty bs) while others of us use it to grow. As one of my best sistafriends says… we are not all the same. We need dirt to grow, but then we transfer to different and bigger pot. Cross go, collect $200, buy Baltic and Mediterranean, and build on the dirt. Concentrate on you, surround yourself with people who are good to you, who want the best for you, and just claim those other folks foes. Or better yet… call them nothing, but gone. Then flex on ’em…

And promise you never, no matter the weather

Neva eva come around here no mo’

-Jay-Z “Friend or Foe”

The Black Sheep

In the love and relationships, disrespect and jealousy related offenses are especially heinous in real life. My ability to cut you off and move on are unprecedented AF! This is my story…

I have never been a big fan of too many people… could be because my family was small and I was an only child and only grandchild on my mother’s side of the family. I was estranged from my father, so I got all the attention and love I needed in a very small circle. As a result, I have always kept my circles small. Plus, I don’t eat bad apples, and it’s easier to see a bad apple in a smaller bushel! But every now and then…

For the most part, I have maintained long term friendships and relationships. My good girlfriends are really my sistafriends. I have a boonapolis (Greek for bestie, main thang, number one boo) and day one’s, and we go back like bangs at Disneyworld in July. So too have been my relationships with men. Two of my longest relationships have spanned over almost half of my life. One, I was married to and the other I was off and on with for a decade, now permanently off. Fuck him. Anyway… you get the point. I commit, to a very small group of people. My loyalty runs deep.

But lately, folks have been trying me. I have had to euthanize some friendships and a relationship… fuck him… (oh I said that already lol) and since I know now that adversity usually comes with a big life lesson, I’m gonna share this lesson with you. Perhaps you will avoid it by learning it in the here and now. It’s double-layered.

“Who’s the black sheep, what’s the black sheep? Know not who I am, or when I’m coming, so you sleep. Wasn’t in my realm, or wasn’t in your sphere. Knew not who I was but listen here…”

1. People ain’t you!

People show you who they are. We each have a story, and while we are so busy sharing ours we forget to listen to the other person’s. I know if you listen to mine, that you will hear that: I can be centered on self; I am not overtly friendly or extroverted in spaces I have never been; I am selectively sensitive; I talk a lot of shit; I don’t tolerate ignorance or disloyalty; and I’m a fighter for me and mine. Those things aren’t inherently negative, but they might not fit in your world. You won’t know if you don’t listen.

My actions and temperament, ability to forgive, attitude, disposition, values, and traditions are all a function of where I come from, not in the geographical sense but emotionally and relationally. (Well maybe geographically too… I’m from Detroit. We different.) Who influenced me, and what was that influence. Did people mistreat me, and how did I recover from that? But that’s just ME! Other folks are not me. They don’t share my story. They come from a distinctly different set of emotional and relational truths. You won’t know who they are if you don’t listen. But be clear, they are not you!

2. No one owes you SHIT!

You don’t have to be bothered with people who malign your character, are disloyal, disrespectful, hateful, haters, or otherwise just bad for your personal business. That choice is yours. But no one is indebted to you in kindness or compassion, in fairness or loyalty, in friendship or loveship. People get to choose how fucked up or on the up and up they want to be. Their judgement day will come, but no matter what you think you can do about it… nothing you can do can change who they choose to be. Nothing!

Lemme say that again…

No one owes you kindness.

No one owes you compassion.

No one owes you fairness.

No one owes you loyalty.

No one owes you shit.

Trust that people are going to be who they are… that’s their own story! You decide how long , how far, and how much… if at all… you are going to swim in the sea of fucked up, selfish, bitter, resentful, negative, or otherwise unGodly people. That is your story. There is only one you…

the violet in a garden of roses;

the God MC in a group of mumble rappers;

a spelling bee champ amongst those stuck on the first reader;

unique superheroes and mermaids in an imagination dominated by the typical;

a Black Sheep …

“And you can’t beat that with a bat!”

A Poetry Moment: Friends or Foes

If I’m Barack, She’s Biden

Got a body, let’s get to hiding

She got a rap, I’m the hype man

Might add or multiply, never dividing

What about your friends?

We go together, like hip hop

She’s bass, I’m treble, issa bop

Take that, That that, we don’t stop

A coaster and a platter, we that doo-wop

What about your friends?

All I need is my girl friend, Bonnie & Clyde

Thelma and Louise, she’s on my passenger side

The Duke to my Rocky, sitting ringside

No matter who’s driving, always down to ride.

What about your friends?

Buried Bonds

I’m a Scorpio… tried and true.

Likes and dislikes, no maybes in between.

It’s all love or its nfg.

I’m a mystery to most people, only a very few folks know my heart.

But I’m a great friend. That’s right, great! If I f#@% with you, I f#@% with you consistently and intentionally!

I calendar when to check up on folks so I don’t leave them wondering if I care. I give great gifts from my heart. I send epic birthday messages. I try to do little things randomly to show folks they matter. I return calls…eventually, and I k.i.t. with everybody whose yearbook I signed. It might only be so much as a FB post heart… but you know I’m there! I big up my boonapolis so much it perturbs other people… #sorrynotsorry! I take my friendships seriously… so many of my friends are actually my family. But my loyalty isn’t limitless and I have a boiling point. It’s 129 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature at which the human heart begins to fail.

——–

Friendship is a relationship that forms based on similarities but lasts based on accepting differences. When we agree with others, and feel like they support our every move, it’s easy to be friends. Yet, the minute someone changes, metamorphoses into a different, better, unfamiliar, or troubling version of themselves… judgements, hypocrisy, impatience, and chaos often ensues. From water to wine is fine, but from liquid to gas is a whole other ballgame, often one we don’t care to play.

With age and maturity people become more intentional in their dealings with others, but that intention can go either way. Some of us are more gracious than others, willing to extend ourselves further where others fail to reach. While others of us (🙋🏽‍♀️) have a limit that you just aren’t welcome to cross, regardless of your very real imperfections. Our inability to offer you more grace is a flaw in itself. We are all flawed, but your flaws don’t get to inconvenience or worse yet, harm me. Bases were loaded, but you struck out! No mas.

“And here’s another hit Barry Bonds… we outta here baby”

If you have good friends, particularly good girlfriends, my suggestion is that you honor those bonds when you agree and when you disagree. Don’t vomit your insecurities and unfinished mess onto her. Don’t sully her name. Don’t question her integrity. Don’t wish her harm. Don’t issue ultimatums. Don’t show up for an I told you so when you weren’t there for the broken heart. Everybody loves sunny days, but can you stand the 129 degree scorcher?

Don’t Bury Bonds. They often don’t resurrect!

how many of us have them…

Boy meets Girl, Boy likes Girl, Boy & Girl start dating and become a couple. Boy & Girl break up…

Boy meets Girl,  they become friends, they are still friends 20 years later.

We tend to put a lot more time into getting to know our friends. Similarly, we spend more time trying to move away from dating into something more permanent in our partnerships. But friendships tend to last longer… Eros, romantic love, starts off stronger and tends to ebb and flow over time. Philia, or the love characterized in a friendship, is based on a longer lasting selfless care of another that is built stronger over time.

I believe the strongest partnership encompass all the kinds of love…romantic, friendship, and unconditional. There is no shape stronger than a triangle, no structures as large and strong as the pyramids.

There is no real partnership where you have failed to build and continue to build a friendship. The friendship may look different than the one she shares with her sistafriends and he shares with his crew, but if it is built in the image of the Flavor Flav hype man and the Issa Rae mirror b*tch … “you looking real bad, looking like a Queen”… then it is a friendship! Support, encouragement, empowerment, I got your back, you got mine type shit! It takes time, it’s not impatient, and it’s never unkind.

Friendship is the foundation upon which every lasting relationship is built … older married people become more companions than lovers, parents and children grow out of parenting and dependency roles into more reciprocal roles, and even siblings move out of competition and dueling into mutual admiration. So…choose to be friends first and foremost. Be active in getting to know who that person is and how they move. Take your time. Relationships should not mature because dating sucks, but because you have found someone genuine, and you can’t know that until you have rocked hard with that person. Friendship… even if you refuse it… will always be the head cornerstone.

One Love