A Stale Mate

Do you throw milk away on the date on the carton. What’s the difference between the sell by date and an expiration date? If you continue to drink the milk, at what point will it make you sick? Do you wait until it stinks? In my experience, we don’t fuck with the milk past the date on the carton, regardless of whether it says sell by or use by. Why wait until it’s spoiled to find out…

So why do we keep people around longer than they are needed and useful? Why do we ignore the expiration dates on our relationships, especially those that are romantic in nature? Why do we wait until people literally stink up our lives, make us emotionally and spiritually sick, before we walk away?

People are complex organisms… our brains, our mental center, and our “heart” or more appropriately our souls, our spiritual center, are both very much guided by our emotions. We may KNOW something is the right choice but not FEEL like it is, and be at a standstill. Our mind and our soul might be delivering the same message, but our bodies start to physically long for what it is used to receiving from a mate, their touch or just presence. We have physical reactions based on our emotional experiences. We cry, we tremble, we feel physical pain and anguish… at the mere thought of letting them go. Like the milk, we don’t want to waste… money or time. But the cost of milk versus the cost of letting don’t compare to the cost of getting physically sick or being emotionally scarred and abused. Expiration dates aren’t written on people like milk, but yet we still know when that time has come. The trick is in letting go.

I once spent years, not consecutively, but years nonetheless, trying to make a relationship work, with this man. We looked good together, we were both successful, we seemed a good match. Yet, no matter how good things would be going, we’d come to a point where he would become what I later realized was emotionally abusive. As good of a match as we seemed to make in paper, he was severely insecure about my friendships, professional success, position, and intelligence. Years would go by and we would run into each other and fall back into old ways, spending time together. Yet the last time, once I was aware fully of what was happening, I no longer needed explanations, closure, or anything but to shelve his ass into someone else’s pantry. He was not healthy for me, he was past his expiration, and was spoiled AF. He probably had mold spores by this point. It was a wrap. Unlike anytime before, I had done the changing. I was so protective of my own peace and my self that I would not allow any stale mate to position himself on my already full plate. I need nourishment, and my food can touch. I didn’t need him ruining or taking any valuable time from the other parts of my life.

We often hold on to people in fear of them leaving an empty space we believe we might never refill. But trust me, other people who are looking for the type of relationship you have to offer are always present. You just have to be as well. Removing the unnecessary will make room for others. The act of being able to remove those who do you no good is not possible until you take inventory of what you allow to sit on your shelves, waiting to be picked up again, and purge everything that is not in service of making you better. It’s much easier to type it than to do it, but it can be done. If you have a new box of Crunch Berries and you both are calling each other’s names, but you still have spoiled milk in the fridge, you’ll never answer the call. That same carton of spoiled milk will flash in ur mind when you are grocery shopping, making you believe you don’t need a new fresh carton. It’ll have you dreaming of cookies and milk… but in reality it’s no cookies and shit for you. Get rid of everything that holds you back… spoiled milk and stale men, moldy bread and broads doing the most. It is easy, you just close that space in your life. Bust a MFin move!

We make excuses for people and our own behavior that keeps us locked in places not meant for us. In love relationships, uncertainty is always there. When we see someone as long term, and the terms don’t meet our expectations, the first time, we tend to make excuses for folks. Yet we carry that little bit of heartbreak through the span of the relationship until it has reached a point of no returnđź’”. Then we reside in that heartbreak for months and years, never standing up and moving out of the muck to fresh ground. That first disrespectful comment will likely be followed by another. That first push or balled up fist will definitely be followed by another. That first other woman may either stay or go away when the newer one appears. Continuing in it is a choice. Letting go is a choice. We can still validate our feelings of disappointment, upset, heartbreak and simultaneously free ourselves from people who mean us no good, who won’t protect us, and who harm us mind, body, and soul. But you can also walk away the first time. They were ripe for the tossing at that point.

I don’t know much. But I’m sure that love is kind and patient. It’s not abusive, inconsistent, disrespectful, hateful, chaotic, or ever ever unsafe. It won’t play a hoax on your soul, trick your mind, or cause your body trauma. It won’t make you sick, and it’s not stale and definitely not spoiled. Love is always fresh and nourishing. Get you sum! And cut that zero…

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”

Building ships

I’m invoking Jermaine Jackson for some musical inspiration… that’s pre-hair shellac Jermaine, but post Jackson 5 nostrils Jermaine…

“We’re like two ships on the ocean/That pass through the night”-Jermaine Jackson

Some people we pick, others the universe just kinda puts in our face. I’ve found a lot of my personal picks were based off of things that don’t really matter once you get put into the open sea…how they looked, their background, education level, wealth, shoe game, whatever. It was like judging the ability of an ocean liner to stay afloat based on its name… The World Traveller might not make it off the shore. The universe pushes you towards people who will do your soul good and away from people who only mean you harm. It’s in the ions and shit. Two separate ships in the night just pass one another, but when we are trying to build a ship together, we need to really unite on a soul level.

I have bestie who is like my square, that person you go to to get back on point, who reminds you who TF you are when you forget, who stands on the mound and goes to bat for you, but who also calls you on your fouls. I have a man that supports me, loves me, ensures that I am well emotionally and will defend my honor physically if need be. My mama is dope, and tells me I’m smart and responsible and better. Those are the main ships in my fleet. But I have space and room in the docks. Some of my folks don’t seem to make sense if you think you know me or you think you know them… you base that on mostly visual and some social perceptions. But relationship building, is much like building a ship…

One will weave the canvas; another will fell a tree by the light of his ax. Yet another will forge nails, and there will be others who observe the stars to learn how to navigate. And yet all will be as one. Building a boat isn’t about weaving canvas, forging nails, or reading the sky. It’s about giving a shared taste for the sea, by the light of which you will see nothing contradictory but rather a community of love. – Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry in “Citadelle”

You see, you are drawn to, you often don’t pick, your team. The group of people who help you reach higher ground. My team is so beasty! One a motivator; another who lives in service to others, a constant supporter; yet another who is organized will keep you on task and structured in your grind; and then the one that keeps the laughs and the party going when you most need them. You come together with these people individually and build rowboats, lifeboats, motorboats, to get you both where you need to be from day to day. Then often those people come together in a way to help you go from shore to shore. Whether one person or several, they are supportive, kind, empathetic, attentive… things that you wouldn’t know extrinsically about someone who just enters your life. But your energy brought them to you. After all, we are all just beings made up of energy, it’s in the ions and shit.

In high school my friends were cute and super smart, and some small part of me at 15 cared that they were cute and super smart … but they were also good people who had my back. Those same girls were the women who watched my son when I was sick, kept my home stocked with groceries so my ex-husband wouldn’t starve, and flew to see me in No Man’s Land, Oklahoma when some raggedy dude was acting an ass and I felt alone in that godforsaken town. In college, many of the guys I met … I probably only paid attention to at 18, in part, because they had good teeth, handsome bone structure, and cars. Yet many of them have become friends who I learn from constantly . I have also made some friends who, like me, were successful and no nonsense, but they liked me better when I was standoffish and uninterested in new people. They are no longer my friends because I changed, grew, opened up, and they didn’t like my progress. Most of the friends I have made more recently, might not even seem like “my kind” of people to outsiders… but yet we connect deeper. You can’t see souls, you can only feel them!

Smiley and Frowny
Winky and Side Eyer
Extravert and Introvert
Tall’ums and Short’ums

Don’t judge books by their covers, ships by the names emblazoned on the side, people by your assumptions. You are likely wrong. I mean who knew in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, Funny Cide would beat Empire Maker… I mean who sounds faster, stronger, more horse racey? But when your grandfathers are Slewacide and Forty Niner, and your stable mate is a young American Pharoah (Triple Crown winner) you might just be a beast! Always, always, bet on beasty! It’s in the ions and shit!

Just Show Your Love

I be your Knower, you be my Wiz
I’m your Mister, you my Mrs.
With hugs and kisses
Valentine cards and birthday wishes…Please
Be on another level of planning, of understanding
The bond between man and woman, and child
The highest elevation, cuz we above
All that romance crap, just show your love
You’re all I need” -Method Man

Once some guy, with great intentions, bought me one of those 7 Mile and the Southfield Freeway clear heart balloons with a bear inside, surrounded by stale chocolates and Reese’s cups. I remember looking at it like… oh, wow, thanks. As he was grinning ear to ear like he had just hit the gift giving jackpot. I recall the bear’s eye was sitting at the bottom of the balloon rolling from side to side. I was that sad little eye in that moment, just rolling about aimlessly trying to find my way out of captivity that I shared with regret, the promise of really bad gifts, and a lifetime of dusting teddy bears with runaway eyes. I vowed that would not be my life.

Most important, gifts are not my love language, so while I understand that may have been his thing, it wasn’t mine. I also realized, when I expressed my thoughts to my friends, that people are wayyyyyy more romantic than realistic in their standards and expectations about relationships. I personally don’t care about candy and shit on Valentine’s Day, or the day at all. We put this pressure on ourselves and others to show love in ways that don’t register as such to the receiver. Moreover, we give in to these ideas because it is what other people think is acceptable, sweet, romantic, and thoughtful… and we adopt that view. Those folks selling cellophane wrapped love are not there for the true gift giver, the guy or girl whose guy or girl is going to squeal with delight. They are for the guy who knows that shit is ugly but doesn’t yet know if you do or not.

You wanna do something that’s gonna make her smile? You want to show your love… Be her knower.

Since I’m repping Black History Month all 29 days of February 2020 and Black History every 365 days I’m granted, Black Love is the highest form of Understanding that Black people can attain and aspire to. Knowledge according to Supreme Mathematics is to know, listen, and observe. The purpose of Supreme Mathematics is to give us a framework for discovering who we are in the universe. Before we can know and learn anything else we must first know and see the divinity in ourselves.

Only one who knows who he is can fully learn (knowledge), accept (wisdom), and love (understanding) who I am. Once he can explain to me who he is, what pleases him, his desires, his wants, his needs, his passion, and his purpose… he can absorb mine. Receiving gifts may be how he feels love, but other than a birthday gift, flowers from time to time, and maybe that pair of Js I’ve been eyeing, they just don’t equate to love for me. So he will be able to communicate that to me, and then both hear and listen that it’s not for me. He won’t attempt to make his love language mine so it’s easier for him to remember and process, but will want to have full understanding of who I am, what pleases me, my desires, wants, needs, passion , and purpose.

This shit is so simple. It will save you money buying two dozen red roses when she likes sunflowers only in June, that pair of $800 Louboutins when she only wears flats, or tickets for him to see Nas when he wanted to see Kenny Chesney. We shouldn’t be attempting to love our partners in the ways we want, but in the ways they best receive our love. Sure, we can sprinkle in some surprises and buy a gift when he really prefers Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch, but we first must make sure we are giving what is needed, not just what we want to give. That’s wack.

Stick with your girl, I got that M-E-T-H-O-D, man!

I’ll be your wisdom. I will help you make good decisions and process that knowledge, to a level of elevation where a whole lot of real has splashes of well placed romance… keep the card, give me the hugs and kisses! Be my knower and everyday will be like Valentine’s Day.

But hey if your woman likes cellophane wrapped love, do your thing.

Proud does not equal Prejudiced

Only modern marriage has been concerned with the notion of romantic love as its impetus. Historically in America and currently in most countries and cultures, marriage serves a far greater purpose for continuing and maintaining legacy through progeny, wealth, and cultural traditions.

Anti-miscegenation laws in the US were enacted in many colonies in the early 1600s, forbidding marriage between African slaves and White colonists. Even as white men were allowed without punishment to engaged in most often forced sexual relationships with Black women, marriages between Black men and White women were strictly prohibited. Into the early 20th century many states enacted miscegenation laws also banning minority races from marrying each other . The Supreme Court ruling of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) struck down those laws as unconstitutional. Many legal historians and sociologists have cited the threat of miscegenation as the primary reason for segregation laws from the 17th to early 20th century. These laws were used to set racial boundaries, control immigrants, and set up a racial hierarchy.

That’s racism at its finest!

Yesterday I read an article on Black Detour, You Can’t Be Pro-Black and in an Interracial Relationship, which stated emphatically, pausedwriter’sthatideabecauseisisn’tofmanyit’ssomereasonmentallyword

I’velongershe’sexperienceIlearned

Let’s

hundredslanguageslaveryhierarchymembers ofexistedcycledayJamestown

enactmentmiscegenationofcoloniesconcoctamiseducateofandthathumanthat’sandmuchature, just wild and reckless actions in the name of racial purity and the rejection of difference. Who are we if we take on these pathologies. I’m pro-Black but I will never be a a Black supremacist.

Let me assure you, I’m educated, middle class, I’ve succeeded in terms of the American Dream, but I am not immune to the system of racism and the virulent White supremacy that infects far too many of our White counterparts. I have been targeted because I’m smart, Black, and female by mediocre White men and scared but protected White women. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. My parents were big Afros with fist picks and Black Panther Party Black. I’m my Grandma played the numbers around the corner; dressing not stuffing; hair braided in the summertime; Pink Oil moisturizer; bamboo earrings; asymmetric hairstyle Black. My high school graduating class was 98% Black, and 98% college educated. I’m pro-Black; Black and Proud; Young, Gifted, and Black; Blackity Black. But I’ll never be a Black Supremacist.

Marriage is a civil institution, and in most of Western civilization it has morphed from a contractual agreement between families into a partnership agreement between individuals. In America, the results of immigration and war changed the priorities of marriage as different cultures brought their traditions and women went to work. The changing gender roles and integration put people in different spaces, so women no longer looked to men primarily to take care of them and people if different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups were in closer proximity to one another. As the climate changes, so does the landscape. Interracial marriages grew in number as the climate changed.

Love has always been the foundation of relationships between humans, how that love or genuine care for another began, was expressed, or was manifested has certainly changed over time. But love, at the end of the day, is the expression of understanding and acceptance of another in their truest form. Love is a choice to grow with that person and support them in finding their true self. It is void of all prejudice, celebrates difference, rejects ego, and is never an act of power or control. To declare that to be proud to be Black, and for the forward progress of the Black culture in America is impossible if you partner with someone other than a Black person is a statement of power, control, and supremacy. It seeks to keep us separate to advance some notion that the purer our Black, the better.

Purity is a racist notion. In every iteration of the word where race is concerned, pure equals White. There is no such thing as racial purity. Europeans have colonized almost every country in the world, and they have had jungle fever, rainforest fever, dessert fever, you name it, since the beginning of time. Miscegenation was began by White colonists and continued by White people until it was in their best interests to control it. They did so under the guise of purity… yet that didn’t keep Thomas out of Sally’s bloomers. So clearly, purity was just a decoy. Power and control were the captains of that ship… and the love boat simply doesn’t sail with them at the helm.

People should be free to love who they love. Regardless of how they arrive at that choice, it’s their choice to make. That choice does not alone take away someone’s pro-Black card. Any Black person about the forward progress of Black culture is going to marry someone who is also about the forward progress of Black culture. That is not an idea that is bound by race. Ultimately, anyone pro-Black should first and foremost be pro-humanity, pro-inclusion, pro-equity, and pro-diversity. Our allies, regardless of their heritage, share that with us. That is what we should desire to see in the image of our partners… real acceptance and understanding. Love.

We can uplift, support, and celebrate all of who we are, what we produce, and our talents and still be interested in being members of the larger society that respects all people, who they are, what they produce, and their talents. Period. White supremacists have tried to paint us throughout history as savages, ignorant, unable, uneducated, thugs, miscreants, nothing more. But we are as unique, creative, intelligent, talented, and different as humans are. Yet ancestrally we come from a more communal culture that is unlike the individualistic culture that is America. Our nature is different, and that is okay. It’s neither better or worse, right or wrong, it’s just different. If we start rejecting difference, we are no better than the supremacists our ancestors were tortured by.

If we attempt to police love by injecting it with prejudice, we are attempting to build our own systems of race based exclusion, in the image of White Supremacy. I refuse to believe that is who we are. That is not who I am. I once married, and if I marry again he’ll likely be a Black man. I could also meet and eventually marry a man of any race who was interested in all people being celebrated, respected, included, and considered not in spite of their differences but because of the richness and diversity of difference. But trust…

To simplify pro-Blackness as one thing is to simplify Black culture… it’s too colorful, creative, and beautiful to fit in a box. We can spread love, promote love of all colors, still and root for everybody Black… at the same damn time!

Dressed in All Black like the Omen

So what is NOT EVER gonna happen is that we will not be sacrificing ourselves for fools, okay.

I’ll be brief because this really won’t take long.

I have called my mother, my girls, or whoever hurt by some raggedy ass boy who thought it was okay to disrespect me, lie to me, deceive me, play with my emotions, or fuck with me. I have a few times. And each and every time, at least one of those people threatened to bust that jokers head to the white meat, or dangle him over a balcony like Big Red… my office hours are. And while I likely didn’t want harm to come to him, they truly did.

They were .02 seconds from getting dressed like ninjas, grabbing blunt objects, piling up in the car like circus clowns, but sans the colorful outfit and red nose, and riding out. I know this because they have called me with the same nonsense from some fool who got the incorrect impression that he was the prize and the beauty in that tandem. Well, if he’s the beauty, then call me the beast. It’s a tale as old as time, that boys will be boys. But like the saying goes, boys will be boys and that’s why God made hot grits and shanks.

Act up you can get snatched up.

In 2020 we are anti-tomfoolery. So gentleman, please act accordingly. Women are to be respected, treated with kindness and tenderness, and loved. If you can’t do that, pick someone else, but leave her/me/us alone. Mmmkay. Otherwise, you are susceptible to being two pieced by her friends, sister, mother… allofus.

He that findeth… and if you find someone who you cannot treat properly then you owe it to her and yourself to let her go, so that you both can make room for the right person. But at no time is it acceptable to mistreat her. At no time is it acceptable to disrespect her. And if you even think about touching her in any way other than out of love, then I hope you like nub sandwiches because you’ll be missing fingers.

We won’t be allowing our sistafriends to hurt in solitude or be mistreated in silence. While you are taking advantage of the woman who supports you and has her shit together except for falling for you, we know how y’all do. You treat these thot pockets like gold, and have the nerve to compare our hustle to her handstands. Nope, nope, and nope. That’s not how any of this goes… but until either you get the memo or she drops your potato head ass, we will support her and plan your disappearance. At the same damn time. No hesitation. And let Sasha Thumper know she can get it too, live and in living color.

And ladies, if you have a partner who treats you well, cares for you, expresses his feelings, and his actions co-sign… then reciprocate. We can’t be out her cracking skulls for you when you are acting a damn fool!

Love each other, cuz the only pouring out we acknowledge is garnished with a lemon wedge and mini umbrella… while your friends singing ‘this is for my homies’!

Girls are gully out here in these streets showing up and out for our good sistafriends. Be clear!

Where my girls at?

Relationships 301: Lessons Learned

So I’m super private. There are some things I just don’t think it’s necessary to share… mainly anything about my relationships. Even people I do talk to about it only know bits and pieces, usually until it’s over, and even then I don’t share much. As I have experienced more, I realize how many lessons there are in the journey. And lessons definitely need to be shared…

I am a relationship girl… I am my best when I have a partner because alone I can tend to be so self sufficient I’m not very receptive to others and their needs. I know, I know, you can’t imagine that…but it’s fact. Sharing a space for three years in college, sharing all my organs, womb, and every ounce of personal space I’ve ever had with my son, and working at building a partnership in a marriage and other partnerships I have been in, have certainly broken me out of some of that. Notice I said some. As my child becomes more self-sufficient, and any time I spend single and available, I can easily slip back into that mode. So I believe that the universe sends me people I was meant to learn from to prepare me for this moment.

I was once married. I’m not now. Things happened. But I met a man with his own home, ten years on the job, investments, what seemed like a fellow self-sufficienteer. But I soon realized that a lot of that was perpetrated by someone else as work by his own steam. So I was expected to help a grown man do things I thought he knew how to do. But if you know anything about me, that’s not gonna fly. So we fought, and soon our verbal fights turned to his attempts to strike or physically harm me. At that first moment, I planned my exit. So early on I learned that every relationship, EVEN every marriage is not for a lifetime. Til “death” do us part might simply mean until the death of this union… or the death of my ability to function in this union. That’s certainly the case for me… and no one can tell me otherwise. Opinions are like assholes.

After marriage I was what you’d call a serial long distance monogamist. I dated a dude in Atlanta, one in Phoenix, and one right around the corner but emotionally distant. I cannot say I didn’t know that going in though, if I’m honest. Part of their unavailability was the draw… because I wasn’t sure what I wanted either. I thought I could live in Atlanta, that a change would be good. Nope. He thought moving back to Detroit from Phoenix on some whole Captain Save’em mission was what I desired… but I didn’t need saving and I wasn’t ready to give up my Captain’s hat. This rig was mine to control and I liked it that way. Plus he’d have just run us into an iceberg or some dumb shit. The other dude, well… again I was aware he was not available and to some degree neither was I, until I was, and at that point he was no longer a viable option. Nevertheless, this period taught me that it’s better to be alone than to give or have a portion of a person. We often split ourselves into bits and pieces and spread those bits and pieces over fertile ground to see what will grow, and the answer is NOTHING! We must be whole, ready, and open or any relationship is just an exercise in futility.

So I settled in singledom… and true story I asked for a love like my first love or none at all. It was so honest and raw. It was without pretense, neither of us knew about sending our representatives or being anything other than who we were. We met on a Friday and we saw each other almost every single day for a year until I went away to college, and although we tried, that proved just too great a distance to overcome. They say ask not, want not, and from that ask, that very guy, sent me a message out of nowhere. Yet, it was out of everywhere. Out of the universe. Sent from the heavens. And we have not missed a beat since…

Who and What we have become was only possible through the experiences we gained apart. When we talk we often wonder what if, should have, could have… matters not. The truth is that WHAT IS is all that matters. Now is the only time that matters. That is what dictates when, how, where, and what. If your right now is not where you want to be, be assured if you have put in effort to your expectations, it’s where you are meant to be. Keep living. Id gladly hit restart and experience all that over again to end up here. It’s the first moment I have felt like now is mine. He’s the first person who has assured me, without words, that if I let my guard down, he’ll protect the fort.

Lessons learned. Now back to my privacy!

My Privacy

Grand opening…” -Jay-Z “Encore”

People tell me I’m super private… it’s true.

I am usually doing a lot that I don’t broadcast on social media or to anyone other than those involved… because people have too many opinions about things that don’t pertain to them. Too many. So to keep from having to bust heads, I just keep things to myself.

But there’s another reason as well.

“… in your mind you have complete privacy… there is no difference between what is and what could be.” -Chuck Palahniuk “Asphixia”

Let’s say you are a painter… when you paint a picture in your studio, no matter how abstract, it is exactly what you say it is. It is precisely your definition of it, because you are making it and how you see it, is the only view of it. You have a gallery showing and suddenly it’s a cactus, a wilted flower, a young Israeli girl contemplating life, or the meaning of life depicted in color and movement. nope. nope. Nope. NOPE! It’s a bowl of cereal, I just like cereal, dammit.

“… privacy is…the freedom to be left alone to experiment, make mistakes, to forget, to start anew, to act according to conscience, and to be free from the oppressive scrutiny and opinions of others.” -unknown

The same is true about your personal life. The decisions you make about your professional life, family life, love life … yikes…are only seen through your eyes until you release it. After that, whether you are personally swayed or not, other people’s opinions about the things you have chosen become real. It is still what it is, but what it could be, before it even reaches that level, is now a paint by numbers affair and anyone can color it with the hue of their choice. Nowhere is this as true as your love life. You and your partner define your relationship and it’s exactly that and has unlimited potential, limited only by your own hopes and dreams. Until… (“do you want more...”)

When you let people into your relationship, suddenly you are met with commentary, questions, and opinions that are often not totally pure at heart… instead people are nosey, envious, jealous, and not simply curious about the happenings in your life. You can tend to tell by those things that attempt to pierce the visible layers and go deeper into parts of your relationship only meant for you. It’s one thing if you invite it, for advice or otherwise. It’s another if you haven’t offered that information, or have made it clear that area is not accessible to guests. Beware of folks minding your business. It often comes from a place of no damn good.

“I want a relationship where they know of us, but nothing about us.” -unknown

Folks can be messy saboteurs in any parts of your life where you are starting to shine. The dark often wants to snuff out the light. It could be about your choices regarding your career and the moves you are making. It could also be about things going on with your family, friends, business dealings, anything going on in your life that involves your personal choices or relationships with others. You don’t have to explain yourself, your choices, and your relationships with other people, those things are yours until you either ask or inform. It’s a thin line between a public, private, and secret. If any other person is involved, it’s never secret no matter how tight lipped you think that other person to be. What is private lies somewhere just beyond secret but not yet public. It is there where you build your strongest bonds and make your best choices, because once you expose yourself to the outside world, what is and what could be become enmeshed in folks’ bullshit. The stronger your bond the stronger your ability handle the world around you!

I need you to remember one thing. I came, I saw, I conquered

The truth is this, success feeds you in private but failure starves you in public. We have to be accountable to ourselves to maintain those things that are most dear to us, most fragile, most combustible, most valuable close to our hearts until they have incubated into full grown experiences ready to take on the world. No one needs access into your inner sanctum… that space is for you and anyone else personally involved in your private matters. Don’t send out public invites to a private party. Decide if you want cake, music, to rent a hall or to have an outdoor picnic. It’s your party after all … do what TF you want to. But don’t post it on Facebook unless you want folks to crash and show up empty handed making song requests and shit.

“… grand closing!”

Supahood

“…the hooder the better, we better together” -K. Michelle, Supahood

LL liked his girls around the way. Walter Orange liked his women mighty mighty, and Carl Carlton liked his ladies built and stacked.

And I like my dudes hood! That’s right… I’m all cardigans and glasses by day, but I’m trap music and … well ok, RosĂ©, by night. I’m not talking that good girl, bad boy stuff… I don’t want nothing bad, but a pair of shoes. But what I am talking about is a dude that meets this description…

“He knows how to treat a lady
But he won’t let you get too rowdy
He stands up for himself
That’s what I like most about him” Fantasia, Hood Boy

He can be blue collar or white collar. Drive a Benz or a Grand National, but be sure, he will treat you like a Queen, keep his Queen in check, and keep everyone else away from the castle. Checkmate! He’s like the King and the Knight wrapped into one… bustin a MF move, but keeping hoes at bay, cuz he’s only got eyes for you. Swag on a million, respect on a billion, and good lovin on a trillion.

So listen, I have dated hood and what we’ll call suburban… and I married & divorced some combination. I discovered that while I might shop in the metropolitan area, I need my dude from the trenches. There’s something about a clean cut, gainfully employed, hustler. He’s confident, sexy, protective, and the only thing he likes more than his sneaker collection/PlayStation/car/or whatever his thing might be… is his woman.

Be clear, I’m not downing a brother from outside the wards, the boroughs, or on the other side of 8 Mile… hood is a mentality and not just a location. There are some distinct qualities of a hood dude that aren’t up for debate. Let me describe him for you.

“He be with the shit…”

…but he takes no shit. You’ll feel safe at the crib, the green light gas station, and at the trap house (not that he’d ever take you to one). No matter, you’re safe! Loyal like a Cane Corso, he’ll lick your face and snuggle with you, but he eats trespassers like a midday snack.

“Chocolate brown, nice smile”

Hood doesn’t mean unkept or ashy. Baby smells like some combination of oud, vetiver, and vanilla; looks like he’s chiseled out of black walnut; sounds like soul music at night and hip hop during the day; and feels like home.

“Used to have goals but he got rid of those”

Black AF, confident, and intelligent. Yep, be clear we aren’t talking about dummies or the uneducated. Both book and street smart. Knows the art of war and how to win friends and influence people. No need for lists to check off, his whole life is about leveling up.

“If I tell him it’s a go he won’t hit the brakes.”

The truth is that some men tend to be overly concerned with what other people (read: men) think and have expectations for their woman, especially publicly, that you might not have for yourself. How you dress, how you talk, don’t say that, don’t do this. But a dude who is bout it will help you take off those shoes that hurt and carry em for you. He loves you in a dress and heels and even more in jeans and sneakers. He takes you out and watches you have a good time. Most importantly, his only expectations are that you be exactly who you are, because he values the real. He makes it easy because he decides he wants you, ensures you know it and assures you of where you stand without words but through actions. Consistent is his middle name… he’s driving, so he’s headed in the direction he labeled as the destination on day one. And when he has doubts, concerns, or issues… he speaks on it to fix it. Never war, just peace with you.

“He’s Super hood…Super good”

Speaking of love, he’s not afraid to show it, cuz he ain’t afraid of shit… including you. He’ll tell you “pull your skirt down, B” when you are tripping. He’ll point out where you are slipping in a kind way and then help you fix it. He’s gonna keep it 100, because he knows no other way. He’s dedicated to making sure all your wildest dreams come true. “When I’m with you all I get is wild thoughts” … cuz sir, you da best!

Real men lead with intention and purpose, kindness and tenderness, confidence and security… if he’s also from the block…

“I ain’t going nowhere let’s get that understood.”

Ambitions as a Rider

So I see this tomfoolishness on Instagram, and I’m triggered. Not because this is my life, I care about either of these people, or this somehow relates to me… but because it’s the DUMBEST shit ever! Snoop should stick to rapping, that show he has with Martha Stewart, and wearing fucked up hairstyles. He’s good at those things. He should stop trying to promote healthy relationships. This the same negro who was married but walking around with two hoes in dog collars and chains.

Beyond that… this is all one big HELL NO!
I don’t know who came up with the term ride or die, but clearly it was a wack ass dude who felt like his woman should be willing to suffer to be beside him. She should want to die rather than walk away from him. He would call her strong, his Queen, his secret weapon in exchange for her blind loyalty.

If the only two choices are riding and dying, I wanna sit this one out. Shit sounds like a set-up.

Ride or die chick fighting insecurities, want a ring and my last name for securities.” -J. Cole Sparks Will Fly

America has very poor messaging to young women and young men about patriarchy, feminism, marriage, relationships, and gender roles.

-Women should aspire to be wives.
-Men should aspire to be wealthy and have many women, including a wife to bear his children and/or groom him into a man.
-Women are told to be virtuous and pure while men are praised for sowing their wild oats.
-Men run things while women are in the background, taking their notes or making their coffee.
-Women are expected to be whatever her man needs, and men are expected, to just be men.
-Women who comply , or who ride or die, will receive the spoils.

Those messages are not just floating out in space. They have become a major part of the American code. These messages are reinforced in our homes, in church, in school, on television. They often result in women making choices that aren’t based in reality but in some false social construct.

Some women exchange a ring for their respect, honor, and dignity. They are asked to be less of themselves for the comfort of that man and comply just to be married. Other women stay in relationships that are wildly toxic in order not to be alone… and that toxicity can be everything from emotional abuse to physical violence. Still others give up their own dreams and desires to support a man, who will never return the support, leaving her vulnerable to his whims because she’s given up her independence. All are riding, and all dying a little bit, emotionally for sure.

So we have couples like Gucci and Keyshia. I mean of all the people and relationships to promote, this is what we are doing?!?

Dude had (still has) a huge ice cream cone tattooed on his face, a lean induced beer belly, and he was ashy as hell all the time. He meets her. Then he goes to jail and spends the bulk of their relationship there. She stays with him, despite his continued problems with the law, drug use, and according to the meme, cheating. She matured him, groomed him, and supported him. This is the ashy, drug addict cheater with dairy products inked permanently on his face that she sacrificed parts of herself for. Articles call her the living example of love being patient and kind. But who was being kind to her? She certainly wasn’t being kind to herself.

Why are women expected to put up with a man’s disrespect and dishonor for the hope they’ll one day get the best of him? Why was she not worthy of the best of him from jump!?!? She may be a rider, but did she die? Maybe a little. A woman should not have to suffer to be besides her mate. She should never have to sacrifice to the point of emotional distress. She should have bigger ambitions than being just some man’s comeuppance. Always the prize, but never the winner.

She was with wild Gucci, on drugs Gucci, cheating Gucci, in jail Gucci”

Yeah but WHY? She already was successful. She was an urban model, in videos, and had a successful beauty business when they met and started dating. He was ashy af. But somehow she decided to give him a chance… now we’ve seen it time and time again. These dudes who look like struggle and a lifetime of regrets end up with attractive women… because they are wealthy men. She was successful but she didn’t have a rapper’s wife lifestyle. So perhaps, and most likely that’s why she endured these betrayals. Money often inspires blind devotion. That blind devotion requires giving more of yourself that you can ever hope to receive in return. There is no price on self worth!

This is Gucci after therapy/rehabilitation… a street man groomed in his 30s”

He should have healed himself before he involved her and her children in his toxic lifestyle. Here is where the difference between a healed and unhealed person becomes evident… the healed individual will walk you around their shit, so you see it but you aren’t made responsible for it. Unhealed people want you to sit in their stink so you can take it on as yours and feel obligated to help them through it. He allegedly gave her two million to hold while he was in jail, where do you think she was going? Nowhere. But she was certainly double boiling in his bullshit!

“…this is a rider … you bitches is with the next nigga after a couple fights “

So we already talked about her riding.., she’s in an unmanned car being driven into oblivion. Where tf is she going? But you are damn right I might be with the next one… now it would take more than a couple of fights, but if women are expected to put up with a man who is immature, addicted, in jail, inconsistent, and unfaithful, then call me uninterested. I’m not riding to my death. Period.

Everyone wants this”

Nah fam. Everyone does not. I can wear white to a house party. I can put on a pearl headband to go to the grocery store. Give me a man with millions and you can be sure I won’t waste a dime of it having some elaborate party for television, to show people why I ride so hard for dude. But I won’t be playing Build-A-Man… especially with an ashy dude with 31 Flavors on his face that can’t stay out of jail or other women as my base. I’m sure she has finally gotten the best of him, but at what cost?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a rider all of my life. But I’ve also died a little in my spirit dealing with people who were just passengers while I drove us to the finish line. I’ve resurrected those parts of myself. At this point, no other human gets to dictate my path, so I’m no longer just riding. Beyond that, if we lose, we losing together and if we win, we’re winning together. So move over, I’m driving too… you do some riding. But no dying happens on my watch. I got ambitions.

“…now you got me right besides ya. Hoping you listen, I catch you paying attention to my ambitions as a rider“-Tupac Ambitionz as a Ridah