I am an A-N-G-R-Y Black Man

…as was told to me by an unreliable source but I went with it.

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My first response was, “What? I’m Black?” Well I sure wish I was informed that about 50 years ago. Oh yeah, wait, I was reminded of my Blackish [shameless plug for the new series on ABC] ways since I can remember. Yes I was told of my black roots from my loving and adoring parents, while being reminded of my inheritance through reparations from my black brothers and sisters, and then down to the non-Black folks that marveled at my athleticism and ability to dance like Carlton.

So I suppose I was aware of my being black. But was I angry?

I set out to understand whether the statement rang true for me or was it merely poppycock?

Side note: when was the last time you can remember a black man using poppycock in a sentence? I digress.

  • I have been surrounded by negative news of police brutality in recent weeks and I have been beyond disappointed.
  • The news surrounding black on black crime has made me despair for the future of my own kids and the impacts of our collective neighborhoods have on their lives.
  • I sit and ponder the fate of black men previously held in high-regard only to have sins of the past take them to new fates – and my heart is shattered.
  • I think of my own childhood and my desire to assimilate only to be called out of my name by my own brethren and I feel betrayed. Et tu Brute?
  • I relive in my mind promotions eluding me and my frustration levels mount because I merely want my offspring to enjoy the abundant fruits of my labor – but my cupboards are empty.
  • And finally, my experiencing first-hand the evils of divorce and the impact it has on my family, my friends, and my community and I become greatly unsettled.

But still I’m not as angry as I felt I should be. Where is the anger people notice within me?

Upon resuming my analysis of my life disappointments and shattered dreams I came up with this:

A – Always

N – Negate

G – Gross

R – Representations of

Y – You!

I finally discovered how I have been perceived and what it means! My light bulb moment came in the middle of the night as I was tossing and turning wondering where my agitation was coming from. I went through my mind yesterday’s debates and other uncomfortable disagreements where the last straw was bashing the character of others. And this did, in fact make me ANGRY.

But my emotion of anger was not misguided but on point. It was defending who I am as a human being. Others may become angry for various reasons but their anger is just as valid as mine. We are all humans and demand the respect as such. Thus, I came to the point that I will not accept a view of myself that is not in line with my own truths. Basically, this translates to “I don’t give a *bleep* what you might think because I know who I am.”

On the surface this might sound angry but in truth is not. It is standing up for my beliefs. And I trust each of you will do the same.

Go well and with love good peeps.

I am a Whore for LIKEs

It started out innocently enough. A simple phrase, a quote if you will, coupled by back and forth banter that produced my first LIKE. I became excited about the idea of someone actually LIKING my post. There was a little Sally Fields in me as I accepted this newfound appreciation. The euphoric feeling was similar to the time I first spotted my own name in the Michigan State student directory – I was overcome with emotion! I had arrived. And now, the LIKEs I began to receive catapulted this addiction to another level. Every waking moment, every breath I took, was propelled by the fuel I was taking in because of my popularity. And then I realized as I sat in the middle of my room – alone – shivering – and destitute. I had become a whore for LIKEs. My name is Daniel and I am addicted to LIKEs.

My life didn’t start out this way. I was never a big attention whore. In fact, I was somewhat reserved. I wasn’t the type of person to blatantly display a desire to be noticed. But the technology made it so easy. Now there are LIKE buttons everywhere, they are unavoidable. Each new application insists on creating this sense of competition by allowing each of us to cast our votes on a minute by minute basis. Do you LIKE the restaurant? Do you LIKE my pic? Do you LIKE my posts? Do you like my YouTube of my bouncing on the edge of a cliff? Argh! It’s overwhelming. Help!

In the beginning I would make sure I rationed my guarded inventory of LIKEs so that I would not waste them. I didn’t know at the time that the companies allowed for an infinite number of LIKEs available for my disposal. Thus, I was careful to provide my opinion to only those posts that really mattered.

Then I became sucked into the attention machine. That’s when things began to unravel for me.

I quickly realized the success to gaining more attention…ahem…LIKEs was to reciprocate. If I was generous with my LIKEs then I might have others provide for me the same. And boy was I right. I used my mother for LIKEs, my nieces and nephews, my kids, even my dog! However, I can’t turn back the hands of time and the phenomenon is out of control. I dread the day when applications add a DISLIKE button. What if my posts end up on the higher side of DISLIKEs than LIKEs? YIKES!

At any rate, I vow to get this addiction under control. I believe we should be able to express ourselves however we like to – no pun intended – and not have to worry whether someone is paying attention to our thoughts. It doesn’t matter whether you like to take pics of your food, show Fluffy the cat doing backflips, or provide deep thoughts like Stuart Smalley. Just be true to whom you are and screw everything else. And if you are fueled by the popularity bug in social media then so be it – just be ready that the bug could come back to bite you should our life patterns change. You, too, might find yourself in a help group for addictions.

In the meantime – please LIKE my post! I appreciate it!

Go well and with LIKEs good peeps.

My Non-Bucket List (or Things I will Never Do In My Lifetime)

Ah, life, filled with such joys, mysteries, and pleasantries. I want to get out more and more these days and enjoy these moments as I have become wiser with age. My eyes have experienced many things, my ears have heard the essence of beautiful music, and my senses have been brought to life because of my surroundings; therefore, I thought it would be good for me to reflect on some things that I promise myself I will never do at this stage of life. You do with your life as you desire, as for me, these following things will never make it in my book of life upon its completion.

  1. Become the next RAP/Hip Hop sensation – I’m quite certain I missed my calling back when I owned my beatbox, 2 turntables and a microphone. Sad to know I sold them at my garage sale.
  2. Skydiving – naw, I’m good here. Even if I live to be the ripe old age of 100 I will not have any desire.
  3. Eating deep-fried grasshoppers – really?? Do I even need to explain?
  4. Visiting Liberia – well, unless I join the missionary.
  5. Discovering nano-nuclear energy – technically I can still do this, but I’m having too much fun avoiding school at this juncture.
  6. Shooting zombies – I think I would get great pleasure blasting some zombies but what if it was someone I knew, like the guy I’m friends with in Accounting? I hope it doesn’t come to that because I’m sure he’d still remember the screwed up financials I provided him. My bad dog.
  7. Bungee jump off a bridge in the Amazon jungle – see Skydiving explanation above.
  8. Become a Texan – not even sure how this could be remotely possible, albeit it this is one thing that COULD very well occur given my employment. I’m just not cut out for wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and a cotton shirt with a big ass Texas flag across the front. Oh brother.
  9. Time travel – I know many of us are waiting for Marty’s return to the future but I’m guessing most of my generation will not see time travel come to fruition. Besides, who wants to end up like Jeff Goldbloom in “The Fly?” That would suck.

Yes, I know my list is fairly exhaustive and of course anything can happen. I won’t necessarily count these things completely out but I am 99.99% sure they won’t happen; although, I can really see myself as a shining rap star – kind of a cross between Kanye and Jay-Z perhaps? Only time will tell but don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

If you’re Sexy and You Know it Clap Your Hands

Yes, women have heard it time and time again. Many men have uttered it time and time again. And most everyone believes it to some degree – I’m just too sexy!

But can we be real for a moment? I mean, not ignore facts and truth? Okay, great, then here it goes…

YES, you are ALL SEXY!  (In your own right, anyway)

Therefore, I’d like to take a moment and describe sexy for me – feel free to create your own list if you’d like.

  1. I love your curves – big or small – curves is where it’s at. And if you don’t have curves don’t fret because the smallest of curves emanates sexy.
  2. I enjoy a good, sexy stare as if you are mesmerized by me. Yes, it might be to pump up my ego but I will walk to China and back for you.
  3. When you giggle I giggle. Like a child. And it melts me.
  4. When you talk slowly and directly but in a soft tone I could listen to you until the end of time. No lie, end of time.
  5. When you walk with confidence I love to stare and revel in your aura. There is nothing sexier than a well defined strut.
  6. Women that give speeches – it combines beauty and smarts and there is nothing sexier than when the two worlds collide. The ultimate in sex appeal is how God crafted a being in this manner. Am I talking about a unicorn? Of course not, you’re real!
  7. Touch me on my chin or cheek and I will be at your command. I’m not into massages or such but when a woman knows just how to touch a man the man forgets any discomfort he has with touching. I’d be ready to cuddle with you throughout the night.
  8. Give me a big, beautiful, genuine smile and I will be yours. Forever.

All Smiles

There is nothing wrong with being sexy and we should cherish what sexy really is. It isn’t how you dress, whether you’re good in bed, or how good you can twerk, but it is your attitude starting from within. As a man I can’t get enough of the beauty women are able to display and it inspires me to be on my “A” game as well. Thus, it isn’t about how hard you have to work to please me it is how your sex appeal ignites me.

And when I am on fire I love it.

Go well and with love good peeps.

And Now for Something a Little Lighter

All I can say is WOW. I mean, WOW. I’ve experienced heavy stuff over the last couple of days – the topic of the day – Domestic Violence. Video releases of extreme punches and the fallout from that video. The topic has drained me mentally and tired me out. Therefore, I need to focus on something else to wipe my mind clean of the stressors of the day. Thus, as my good friend Bill Murray exclaimed in Stripes, “lighten up Francis.”

And lighter it will become. In my moments of lightieness (is that even a word) I’d like to focus on none other than me. Me!

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment in your life that you’d wish you could take back? Of course you have. We all have had maybe even a few. And I’m no different. So let me start with my embarrassing moments.

College days – way back when – while grabbing dinner in the dorm and trying to look like the tough guy I was I overfilled my tray with the high-cholesterol grub of the day and I became careless. When I set my tray down on the edge of the drink rack is when it happened. Whoop! There went my tray, grub and all down my entire body. If there was a rock I would’ve hid under it. I grimaced as the crowd stared at me. I can barely remember any noise as the entire room of 300 or so hungry college students took notice. I cried in my head, “Mama!” On a good note – at least I didn’t spill my drink. Wait, I actually did.

Or how about a time when no one was looking? It’s a little strange having an embarrassing moment when no one is looking because it feels like that old tale – if a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound? If no one sees you are you still embarrassed?

The short answer is yes.

As I was walking home one day down a side street in my neighborhood, minding my own business, I unknowingly passed under a bird’s nest. What happened next surprised me. The damn mama bird began attacking me! It flew over my head and darted down toward me intermittently pecking at me. As it swooped down I flung my arms at it in that “shoo-away” action. What the Hell?! My work backpack flung around in confusion as I began to frantically try to get away from the crazy bird. And then the daddy bird began to attack me as well. I began to trot away to get out of the eyeshot of the birds and away from the nest. This was as bad as a bee attack. Had there been a video of me flailing it would have been both humorous and embarrassing. At least there were no human eyes on me to witness this event. Embarrassing nonetheless.

Ah. I feel better to get these things off my chest. And I’m happy to share with you my little life stories that make up my life. We have to find those moments in time when we really need to lighten our days and take the pressures off of us. This is merely one of those times and if you can’t laugh at yourself how can you laugh at others?

Go well and with love good peeps.

Poetic License

I couldn’t wait to lay my eyes on her smooth caramel complexion, soft brown eyes, and voluptuous curves. She was everything. Her mind, body, and spirit captured a place in my imagination cementing the idea of us together. I imagined the air of her breathe as it touched my warm cheek as she would lean into my face whispering life into my ear. I could almost feel her body as I thought of the embrace we would have when I met her in the doorway of her newly acquired home. Once I held her in my arms I feared I would never let go thus exposing my true vulnerabilities with this goddess of mine.

My heart was thumping loudly through my crisp off-white Polo button-up as I parked my car. The thoughts that were running through my mind reminded me of the time when I first glimpsed a cute little redhead in the sixth grade. It was an innocent recollection of desire while I became acutely aware of my climb into boyhood. And here I was many years later with that familiar feeling. This feeling felt innocent enough although I thirst to meet my princess as I walked up the concrete steps. My previous thoughts of our first date ricocheted through my mind like tiny silver pellets. My plan unraveled as I took each step.

I rang the bell with a solid push from my thumb as my other hand held tightly to the bundle of brightly colored flowers I brought along for good company. I felt a tinge of sweat beginning to make its way down the side of my temple. In this moment of brevity I thought to leave, exit, get away and not allow her to witness me in such an awkward state. This wasn’t who I was. Was it? I was confident, witty, intelligent, and full of life. I make people laugh and smile at the stories I tell. I was the guy in the room where eyes gravitated. But who was I now?

My thoughts dissipated as the door gently swung open. And there she stood – in all of her beautiful glory. I was speechless.

I had prepared a poetic opening to address her as she answered the door but I was at a loss for words. Her beautiful brown hair glistened under the light from the porch as it effortlessly stretched to touch her shoulders. Her smile of acceptance should have eased my tense bones but instead its power melted me like butter and it left me as a useless puddle of emotion and sweat. My poetic license was lost for the moment as I made every attempt to regain my composure.

I prayed this was not a prelude for how the rest of my date would unfold. Well, my prayers fell upon deaf ears.

At least she invited me in.

…to be continued…

What Value Doth Saith a Man?

Recently I had a great conversation with a beautiful, young, intelligent, and successful woman. We spoke over a candlelit sushi dinner and with just the right background music playing overhead. Her smile was radiant and her sense of humor was refreshing. She had a confidence about herself that shone through her lovely skin tone. And as we mused about our days and life and fun times she then popped me the question – What can a man offer a successful woman like herself besides his muscles and a dick?

Uh, what, huh?  Come again (no pun intended)?

I stammered as I searched for the answers. Mind you, she was not referring to me as we are merely friends (I think?). But her line of questioning did put me on the hot seat for a moment. I was not ready for the conversation to take this type of turn, but it did. Wow I thought. In my translation of her question I conjured up a doable meaning for me – What value does a man have to a woman?

In my quest to uncover this mystery about us men I felt it was in my duty to educate her but also enlighten all women that might have the same question.

Here are the results that protruded from my brain:

P.S. – I did not use the aforementioned values so eloquently established by said friend.

…waiting for it,

…hmm, harder than I thought, but give me a moment,

…I got it! Wait, I don’t have it.

…Can you repeat the question please?

Well, heck, I really only can come up with two things – good loving and muscles (or the ability to buy muscles).

But is that really all a man can offer a successful woman? Have men not evolved in a way which their value is seen as greater than the two-item list? Are we men resting on our past laurels? My friend then spoke of the unthinkable for a man; she wanted some type of emotional connection. I had to ignorantly, but innocently ask the question, “what the Hell does that mean?” Like, someone to talk to when you are lonely? Talk about my day at work? Should I whisper sweet nothings in your ears? Or are we talking telepathy? I was at a loss for thought and clearly out of my element.

“Check please!”

While I may not be the most metrosexual man of the day I like to think I am a fairly progressive person; someone that has been open to new ideas and various opinions. I believe in letting people speak freely about their thoughts and I usually try to keep an open mind when doing so. But now I was lumped into this archaic value of men – to protect and help make babies. Speechless.

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I don’t think it is a bad thing that a man can provide some muscle when needed. A man can install an air-conditioner when it gets hot outside. He can fix a tire on a cold winter’s day. Some men can barbeque up a storm and with minimal preparation. How about change a light bulb high above or even skin a fish. And a man can sexually satisfy a woman when he puts his mind, body, and back into it. And maybe, just maybe, a man can connect emotionally, evolving of sorts – but call it something else. How about call it thought engagement. That I can understand.

Go well and with love good peeps.