My Day of Positivity Starts…NOW

Encouragement sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of life. My inspirations, namely my kids, have to help me realize how beautiful my life has been and how great it is to share with others. My sarcasm and quirkiness occasionally overshadows my compassion and care for humanity. Therefore, I like to make it crystal clear where I stand with life’s positivity. I am all for it.

We may find ourselves under pressure at times or feeling a bit despondent but never forget your value as a human being on this wonderful planet. Look around you and give thanks to the Creator for life so abundant. And take a moment today to share your positivity with others as the day wears on.

And now for me, I am going to make the very best of today – as we all say – tomorrow is not promised.

In the words of my little ones:

My kids: Daddy, what day is it?

Me: Uh…

Us: HUMP-DAY!

He Who Is Without Sin…

A friend of mine posted a link from a website bashing Nicki Minaj’s cover to her newest album. My friend was on point in how the website was very hypocritical in bashing Minaj’s willingness to be objectified yet the website had numerous other links and pictures of other women being objectified. The debate also turned the way of those men with young girls and how we raise them to not only be the object of a man’s desire but reach for more. This got me to thinking – where does the blame go? Is it men that objectify women or the women who allow men to objectify them?

Frankly, there is enough blame to go around. Our society has become overly sexualized and it is running rampant. Yet, we have all taken part of this behavior. Therefore, how can I honestly look at Ms. Minaj’s pictorial and bash her when I support her music by listening to it? Or how can I turn my nose up at strip clubs when they used to be an every weekend occurrence? Why, after I’ve been Born Again do I suddenly become judge?

I believe the truth points to how we as humans want to help others to not go down paths we’ve already explored and where we have experienced devastation. It is a noble effort but judgmental nonetheless.

Now that I am a father to my daughter I do think twice about what influences my daughter and son have in their lives. I do hope to raise them in a way that is responsible yet free. Allow them the opportunity to experience life on their own with the hope they make good choices that do not haunt them for life. And even through all of this my own daughter still might end up on the cover of Rolling Stone with her ass out; and then again, maybe not. I can only do my part in steering and directing the path of my kids to the best of my ability. And that is grand.

Superficially Speaking

Let me be the first to say I have no solution or answer to the subject at hand, I only recognize it as an increasing issue in our society.

More and more people are becoming more and more shallow with how we view one another. I don’t know if it is only an American issue or whether other countries experience this phenomenon but it is troubling no doubt. When I view various reality shows and TV ads and look at magazine covers (https://www.facebook.com/nickiminaj) I am struck by an overwhelming identification to focus on purely physical attributes while not addressing more in-depth characteristics. While it is always great to have eye candy there must be some value in other areas of our existences. At least one would hope.

Yet, we all support these images because we buy into them. We support the fashions by one-upping our acquaintances. Our eyes can’t help but be drawn to what we see. For that matter, it is our senses (external) that initially guide us and move us towards a direction that is most pleasing. Sometimes this path isn’t always in our best interest, yet we press forward not caring whether the outcome is detrimental in our longer term life plans.

And I, like everyone else, fall victim to this. However, I do like to have substance in my life. I like the idea of intelligent conversation along with a deep outlook of life. I like to explore finer things and dissect troubling matters. I feel it adds to my overall value as an individual and it is good for my spirit. I hope to raise my kids to not be so shallow and superficial that they might expand their minds as best they can through introspection and analytical thinking about the world.

Yet, my mind, like many of yours wanders back to Nicki Minaj. And it seems to be a prison that we can’t escape. Women will admire the fashion of the Kardashians but discount the talent. We will speak of the Beyonce’s genius yet not give much thought to her substance (although I’m sure she is a deep thinker). And our Desperate Housewives will continue to show us there isn’t much room for conversations that don’t involve some type of argument or debate.

And I think about my little girl. I shake my head as I continue to lead her down a path of balance and equilibrium regarding life’s superficiality.

I can only hope that this trend is only a fad and society prefers a much more deep-rooted depth of our human existence than what we project. Otherwise, I need to find another world in which I can live.

Celebrating Life’s Wonderful Moments

Today I celebrate my son’s birthday! I feel so honored to have him as my son and I am happy that God put my kids in my life. Through all of the turmoil I have experienced it is moments like these where I sit back and just give thanks. Whether you know who or what you are giving thanks to, just give it, it won’t hurt.

Then just celebrate those things around us that give us joy. Life can be beautiful.

COMMITAPHOBIA (kuh-mit-a-foh-bee-uh) –noun

1) A man’s irrational fear of being in a committed relationship; 2) Fear of “settling down” for a man; 3) Usually a condition found with men, difficulty being faithful; 4) A man’s emotional state when dreading the thought of only being with one female companion over and over and over and over again.

Sentence: Jason had been stricken with commitaphobia as he contemplated his future with his main squeeze Sheila.

We all have heard it a thousand times. Many of us have lived through it numerous times. And some of us men have been stricken by this disease in our lifetimes. How does it manifest itself in our lives and what can we do about it?

I have studied this disease among my male compadres and am puzzled by the same results – the fear I see in their eyes as they try to live a rich, deep, meaningful life by committing to the woman of their dreams. It doesn’t matter what walk of life this poor man comes from but any man is capable of contracting this condition. And once he gets the condition it is virtually impossible for him to recover. Or at least we know it will take him some time.

Symptoms of this ailment are usually the following: a) the inability of a man to focus on one single woman; b) a man backs out of conversations that deal with commitment when initiated by said female companion; c) the desire to sexually conquer a female – ALL females; d) lackadaisical attitude toward female companions when prompted for emotional intimacy [also known as “the arm’s length syndrome”].

Studies have shown more than 50% of men deal with this affliction yet help does not seem to be readily available. Some statistics have shown 2/3rds of the male population is screaming for assistance due to the onset of this terrible state. These numbers increase dramatically after divorce or over age 30. It is a serious epidemic in our communities. We need the government to take action and provide assistance – like mandated health care.

But wait; there is help for this affliction right around the corner!

I have personally enlisted the help of various psychologist and medical professionals to understand, dissect and learn more about our disease to see if there is a drug, similar to Viagra that can help a man overcome this fear. There seems to be hope on the horizon. I have found many times the affliction can be treated by mental stimulation. Other times it is best to wear a man down. It is also treated by constant catering to the man’s desires. Other sure proof methods show a way to a man’s heart (which is one source of this issue) is by his stomach and this still stands true.

Do not despair my female accompaniments. And do not act rash by switching gender teams (not that there is anything wrong with that). Instead, work with us men to eliminate this awful condition. Most of us men don’t want to be stuck with commitaphobia and are willing to go through treatment.

However, our studies need money. There are ways you can help. For the price of a cup of coffee a day you can save a man from this dilemma. You can help him find his way. Or you can adopt a man to wean him of his commitaphobia. It will take time but believe me it can work. I know this because I, too, was afflicted by this disease. I was a commitaphobe.

Be Blessed.

Next topic: Why are men pigs?

Everything is AWESOME!

…when you’re living in a dream!

Yes, according to the fun kids movie Lego Land everything is awesome as long as you conform, keep life light, don’t focus on the hard stuff, and work as a team. Woo-hoo!

But seriously, life is awesome. It is full of beauty and magnificence. It is pleasurable and wonderful. I look around my wonderful city of Chicago everyday and I am reminded of these pleasures. Therefore, I enjoy taking a moment in my crazy world to acknowledge just how awesome life is.

Regardless of the trials we face and the pains we all feel – because they are real – we should always be reminded of how awesome life is. YOU are awesome! I AM awesome! WE are awesome together!

Now go tackle that day with all of your awesomeness!

O-M-G! Am I Really Incapable of Love?

What if you discovered something about yourself that was so hideous, villainous, outrageous and terrifying that it pained you to think about it? What if you woke up one day looked in the mirror and discovered you were the boogeyman, albeit wearing a nice crisp Kenneth Cole shirt with Levi straight legs? What then would you do as you left your humble abode to venture out into the world exposed for all to see? What if? Accept what has become? Push it aside as a non-truth? Or face it head on?

In a recent conversation about L-O-V-E (I shudder at the mere mention of the “L” word) I was the Peanut Gallery throwing small bombs of negativity. In true fashion to my pessimistic, sarcastic, and insensitive characteristics I had difficulty answering the simple statement.

L-O-V-E is _________.

Of course I could have wordsmith and found a very poetic description to fill in the blank. Or I could have quoted Biblical scriptures stating the prescribed definition – say it with me you scholars – I Corinthians 13:4. I might even make light of the moment and awkwardly provide a voice of humor sheepishly masking my real feelings. But the real challenge for me was I could not answer honestly. Maybe it’s just me or maybe some of you have gone through this. But how do you answer a question if you are unsure of the context? Better yet, is it possible that we don’t know what we don’t know?

And I may not know what love is. I don’t mean the love I have for my children, or my parents and siblings. Or the love I have for my friends. Or even the love I have for my cats. But what about love for a significant other?

In my marriage I often felt I was out of my league with love. My past relationships were brief compared to others. I never really engaged with another human being on such a deep level that I found myself shallow of thought. Yet, I felt encouraged and hopeful because I had seen an example of love through my own parents. I also believed in love as I was growing up. But something happened and my beliefs were shattered. I felt ill equipped to nurture my loved one as needed or to show compassion when required. I was headed for a bad turn and I didn’t see any way around it. And there it was – THUMP! I hit a wall of despair and my marriage and family crumbled. In the accident I was relieved of all sympathetic thought and any desire to show another human being love.

Therefore, I became incapable of holding onto one of the greatest gifts to mankind. Maybe I held onto the pain of a bad breakup time and again. Or the loss of my puppy as a child deterred me from loving again. I have felt there is nothing harder to overcome in life than the sadness caused by broken dreams. I have been depleted of emotion giving way to a shell of my former self in an effort to protect. In the long run I know this is an unhealthy place to be. Therefore, I recognize where I am and I move forward in correcting this trait.

I can love again.

If I focus on fixing ME the rest will follow. We all hear and many of us ascribe to the idea that we must be made whole. Making ourselves whole is a matter of discipline and introspection. It might be a painful process in the beginning but the results will be magnificent. Butterflies aren’t born beautiful they evolve. And so must I. Musicians George Benson and Whitney Houston (rest in peace) sang it best in the song The Greatest Love of All – “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”

This sounds like a good starting point for me.