Get In Where You Fit In?

Kanye West’s song “Clique” says it best: “ain’t nobody f*king with my clique, clique…Ain’t nobody fresher than my clique, clique…” Well, some of you know the rest.

And what about getting in with a gang of folk? Who are my homies? What makes up my clique?

If you’re like me you might wonder whether you even fit in a defined group. I’ve never fit in just one group. I sometimes felt like an outcast searching my way through trying to get in where I fit in. Or should I fit in where I get in? Conformity. I tried this as well but it didn’t do it for me. Thus I was an empty vessel adrift at sea looking for similar vessels as me.

When you come from a diverse upbringing it may add to these feelings of exclusion. However, other people come from a homogenous environment and still feel the same. Those of us who feel this way usually fumble our way using a trial and error approach hoping and wondering whether we will find that friendly clique there for us. It is only human nature to belong to something; defining that “something” is the key.

I went through my punk rock stages but I didn’t dress the part.

I tried on hip-hop fashion, but didn’t dress that smart.

I even bought a pair of cowboy boots only to realize I wasn’t a Southern bunk.

It wasn’t even the clothes I was wearing that would hide my dismal funk.

When I was a young lad my father said to me and my siblings, “ya’ll are different because of your life experiences. You will forever have to deal with this.” He was right. We traveled around the world due to his job and always found ourselves trying to get in where we fit in. But what I didn’t realize is that eventually I would find my diverse clique merely by the laws of attraction. When I stop trying to fit in the universe guided me to where I needed to be.

The journey has taken me some time over my years and now I am lucky to have such a diverse group of influencers. These friends and family are all unique and I suspect we have all felt very similar with this journey. And the great thing is recognizing our uniqueness and cherishing it. It has made me a more enlightened individual who understands the value of being unique brings to our world.

So I finally found my clique, clique, clique. And ain’t nobody fresher than my clique, clique, clique.

But the Words Just Slipped Out

I know I just met you and we’ve only just begun to hang out. And yes, I think you are the most beautiful creature this Earth has created. I couldn’t find another like you if I searched all four corners of the globe! I know you will bring the best out of me and me of you. Seriously, are you thinking what I’m thinking? Is this real or is it just fantasy? I…I…I feel a little confused because of this feeling. Yet, I want to tell you. I want to tell you, “I love you.”

Screech! “Hold on there little pony!” my inner being states.

Back da hell up! Did it really just come out of nowhere? Did I really say what I think I said? Was it an out of body experience? Or was I transported into another man’s body as he was just popping out the most loaded phrase ever – I love you.

Three little words that carry so much meaning and can transform a relationship. These words are not to be used lightly nor taken lightly. It is the phrase that can defuse most any situation and bring back peace after a calamity. We all have found ourselves in this situation at some time in our lives; whether we were 16 or 45. And there is that moment of unsteadiness, insecurities, and nervousness before we let it rip from our lips. But when it does come forth we exhale as if we were holding our breath for a million years.

What next then? It’s like I just climbed Mt. Everest. It’s like I just defeated Godzilla. How do I top that?

You don’t.

You build on it. You live it. You nurture it. You believe it.

So goes relationships. If you both believe in these spoken words you do what you can to make it happen. You will find yourself trying to do what you can to ensure that the words you spoke are real and the meaning behind them never fades. But as our day-to-day realities set in (bills to pay, kids to nurture, a job to perform, sanity to maintain) we have a tendency to move on with our lives and the phrase begins to carry less weight as it once did. Oh, we will say it constantly, and we might even show that we mean it but the first time we spoke it becomes a distant memory. And all we have left is that diminished memory of when that time first occurred. I imagine a fuzzy picture from the past that reveals something nice without the details to show.

Some of us will continue to believe in the “love” portion of the phrase for eternity. However, I am more skeptical that can be the case – there may be too much time passed to really truly solidify the statement in our hearts and any pain received during the relationship may bury the phrase as if it were the Evil Villain from a James Bond movie. We have separated the “I” and “you” to only reveal an empty “love.” And so ends that moment we hoped would last forever.

At some point after a breakup the phrase has to be discovered and uncovered like an archeological dig. It will be carefully excavated from our damaged hearts and delicately washed to reveal its wonderful form. The time it takes to bring the phrase back to the surface depends on so many factors and is going to be different for each individual; we just know that it is possible.

As for me, I’ll keep my thoughts and words to myself for now. I will closely guard them as the treasure I believe they are. I will use them with extreme caution and hope that when the moment comes for me to release these incredible words of hope I will do so with the commitment and fervor I once did. And there will be no second-guessing or confusion, just love with a purpose – longevity of the moment.

Daddy Dan

I Love You but I Don’t Like You

Oxymoronic? Maybe. Crazy? Possibly. Sensible? Debatable. A path to destruction? Very likely.

Work with me on this.

This phrase as well as many other similar phrases is a contradiction in terms when we go to the root cause of the definitions. If I try to understand this statement logically my brain explodes. In computer science we call this an infinite loop which ultimately crashes the computer. BAM! There it goes. So what then on how to re-program my brain to logically understand the statement? That is not possible. What is possible is to understand root cause and then to extrapolate scenarios. These scenarios are what scare me.

Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, and they fall in love (for whatever that is) and get married and live happily ever after. No? Right, because at some point girl says, “ooh, I really don’t like your butt right now!” Boy says, “I agree, I don’t like you either.” They go to bed feeling some dislike for one another. However, the boy is usually going to try and perform make up sex (because we like sex) but the girl won’t have this because her emotions are not there (feeling dislike). The couple wakes up still feeling dislike. This dislike is like a virus. If it isn’t squashed it will harbor in the crevices of our feelings and take root like cancer. The boy and girl haven’t resolved the dislike. Ultimately bitterness sets in. Now what?

The dislike has turned to bitterness, love has not been able to grow, and the couple now faces the daily tasks of trying to figure out how to undo the bitterness that has set in. This opens up the long road of therapy in some form or another; usually unsuccessfully. It unlocks the door to such more sinister things as infidelity, anger, and hatred. And how does one truly rationalize love and hate in the same sentence? You don’t. They are at odds. Like good and evil. Like yin and yang. Like Elvis and Costello? I am just kidding on this last one.

But what I am not kidding about is the destructive pattern the potential “dislike” created. An innocent admission of hurt or disagreed feelings and it escalates into something serious. Relationship problem #1 identified.

We gotta fix this crap!

Well, the fix is in. It isn’t rocket science and we all admit to it and we all say it – forgiveness; the lifeline of civilization. We can stop all wars with forgiveness. We can repair broken relationships with family and friends. We can make the world sing in perfect harmony! We can overcome – anything. We could live without pressures of disapproval knowing that our sins, either conscious or otherwise, would be forgiven. As I write this column I am reminded of the forgiveness from God. It is fascinating when you think about how to forgive.

This is not an easy task. It is much easier to exclaim “I love you but I don’t like you.” We all know that the two adjectives cannot coexist over a long period of time. Therefore, many of us have figured out that over time we do learn how to forgive. Forgiveness comes by choice. However, it can only come after wounds are healed although scars may remain. But we tend to feel better when we sincerely forgive. It ain’t easy but it is vital in this thing called life.

Go well and with love my good peeps.

Sexual Performance Indicator©

I am a finely tuned Maserati blasting on all cylinders. When you hit my gas and push my clutch I perform as I was meant to – full, unadulterated, lasting pleasure. I am a magician in the driver seat seducing you beyond expectations and fantasies. I give you all I got to push you over the limit and feel your blood rush through every vein as you scream with…well, you know the rest.

Then I wake up. Another day. It is time to go make the donuts.

In a recent online conversation I had you would think every man was built like a Maserati when it comes to sexual performance. When it comes to pleasing your loved one…your mate…no, your dip…well, uh, or even your just-for-the-moment chick all of us men believe we are masters of orgasms. Yet, according to some studies the majority of women rarely have orgasms during sexual intercourse. As a side, this number decreases if the woman has first read 50 Shades of Grey (but that’s for a later discussion). Thus, which one of our species is off base; the well-tuned, well-defined hunk of a man or the chick?

We are aware of the facts – we just choose to ignore them.

The challenge here is a man’s ego. Well, frankly, my ego. I, like any man, want to know that I provide pleasure to my woman. I want to believe that during the act of making love (and yes, I like this phrase better than using “sex”) I make her feel special, appreciated, comfortable, and desired. Thus, when I do make her feel all of these things it pumps up my ego – and we all know how fragile a man’s ego can be. But how do I really rate on the scale of sexual performance? Is my 60 minute sexual performance just in my mind and the reality is a mere 5? Inquiry minds need to know. My bright idea is to create some type of measure, a way to gauge how good the sex is. Maybe create some type of indicator that moves up and down (no pun intended) during performance.

A Sexual Performance Indicator (trademarked hereinafter).

This indicator idea is a bit tricky. It is a valiant effort to introduce the indicator to our bedrooms or kitchens or living rooms or public restrooms but it needs to be tested for accuracy. We cannot allow us men to tamper with such a device; this will skew the results. There is no need to trick our women into believing they just experienced the performance of their lifetime, or at least until the next performance comes along. We should just keep it real. And I believe I nearly have the device invented. Or, I can suggest we introduce another way to measure our performance. It is more of an old fashioned way – a way which focus’ less on devices and more on judgment. We can ask our partner for feedback. Gasp.

When we get feedback it opens us up to critique. Criticism is the number one killer of ego cells in America. It is hard to overcome. It can make a grown man cry. It can make a human withdraw. It can hurt. Yet, knowing an area of our lives that could use an enhancer we might actually find ourselves in a better, ahem…position to perform (there goes more puns). It takes a strong individual to listen to criticism and then make adjustments. There is nothing wrong with that. I, for one am willing to swallow my pride, take it where it hurts, and go with the flow to improve in an area of life that we seldom want to speak of – our sexual performance.

If this doesn’t work I will have the SexPi™ available soon for a mere $19.95 (shipping and handling not included).

Thankful Tuesday

diversity

On occasion I like to acknowledge that I am thankful; therefore, here is my list of things for which I am thankful…

Thankful for my beautiful kids – God could not have given me finer gifts,

Thankful for life and it’s abundance – even though in the midst of storms my life is full of abundance,

Thankful for family and friends – without others surrounding us through our turmoil we would never make it alone,

Thankful for the beauty of this world – when I look out the window and take it all in I feel Peace beyond all understanding.

What are you thankful for?

Did I Get Married for the Wrong Reasons?

When I was a boy discovering my sexual appetite all I did every day was to stare at every female booty on this planet. You know, hormones kicked in. And it wasn’t so much I wanted to have sex with any booty that jiggled but I had a deeper, more complex plan. I was beginning to look for the perfect woman, companion, and confidant that I could not only share my inner most secrets but someone who would not judge me for my weirdness – someone who, frankly…could make me some beautiful babies to carry on my legacy.

sex appeal

Yup, that was it. A nicely hourglass-shaped, physically appealing specimen that would do the work of housing, ahem, I mean, carrying my unborn children; a woman that would become the incubator for my chicks. A conduit in which my babies would come out and look at me and say, “Hey Daddy Dan, I’m here to carry on your good name!” Thus, it wasn’t sex alone that drove me to marriage but the desire to carry on a legacy through offspring. Every man has this desire to see his “shorty” carry on the family name even if from afar. Little did I know my incubator would want something more? I was bamboozled.

I wasn’t really bamboozled. I was in love. Yes, some might consider my view of my potential wife shallow and short-sighted. But I did want children. Women have a tendency to choose a mate, usually a father, based on some physical attributes. It has been proven when women search they desire a man that is six-foot two, built like Adonis, and can beat somebody down when provoked. This is not merely for the woman’s own viewing pleasure and sexual appetite, but it suggests when they have kids the kids will have the traits of the father. The man would be strong yet sensitive, sensual and trusting, yet tough and resilient. Truth be told, men view future baby-mama’s in somewhat similar fashion. Does she have nice child-bearing hips? Is she built proportionately? Or does she have some other physical attribute important to the man that ultimately will determine an important element about that child?

As we venture through this subconscious path of desires, reality usually steps in and brings us back down to Earth. We are generally happy about our babies once they’re born. We care less and less as our babies mature and we pray they are healthy and capable. And we also find some deeper connection and love for the woman that produced the baby for us and she is no longer just the vessel that contained this life form until its birth.  We men do understand the importance of the role.

Thus, it isn’t all about marrying the type of woman that is going to provide you with kids that you subconsciously desire but also a woman in whom can be a good parent. Men desire someone that is a partner and can assist in the duties of child rearing. You want someone that is capable of raising and nurturing a small human being to be the best person they can be.

Concluding, I didn’t marry for the wrong reason, but it was one of many reasons; although, it is a big reason and should not go unnoticed. However, through maturity, that reason – how good of a child can my future spouse and mother of my kids provide me – is less and less important. More important is the love I have for my kids even in the midst of a marriage gone bad. For they are still the legacy afforded to me from a Higher calling. And I am pleased.

Family and the Single Dad: Why I can’t wait till summer vacation!

When did public schools around the country start giving standardized tests for 3rd and 4th grade? At what point did homework seem to consume so much of a parent’s time? Who does Algebra at the age of 10? Did I miss the memo for these life changes? Apparently I did. Having kids at my age has made me reflect on how involved my parents were with my school work when I was the same age as my own kids. I am glad that I have half a brain to figure out the correct answers. Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader? Uh, well, probably not so much.

I have always said if I had my kids when I was in my twenties I would have had more energy and time; however, I have found myself with more wisdom and money by having kids in my forties. It’s an interesting exchange of priorities – time and energy versus money and wisdom. Now I have to add education into the mix. I might have had a fresher outlook for schooling in my twenties – thus able to focus better, help my children with their school work, and understand the problems presented. My current attributes are patience, empathy, and compassion. Life is always filled with irony and decisions, and homework in my household has not escaped this dilemma.

I am not in the same household as my children’s mother making it more challenging to assist in the duties of homework. This shared responsibility is a bit more taxing today versus what I remember as I grew up. With the divorce rates pushing nearly 60% I wonder how many of us parents struggle to deal with this changing landscape of education. I’m happy we did not go down the road of homeschooling because I can only imagine the challenges that present themselves as a person goes through a divorce. It seems an impossible task. Time commitments and dedication to my child’s education is exacerbated because of the separation but it is necessary.

My own parents were fairly bright individuals but I honestly don’t recall sitting and going over my homework assignments with them. I will have to ask them. I do remember they were very busy and there was very little time to assist me and my many siblings with much of anything – coming from a big family will do this. I suppose a smaller family unit might have a different dynamic when it comes to educating the youth; but I have a small family and I still struggle with it. There is a lot of homework each week, my kids hate doing homework, I hate doing homework, and it is more complex. Algebra is being introduced in some elementary schools, Common Core math has been introduced, and ISAT scores are ultra-competitive. The educational environment today is not for the weak-of-mind.

I feel bad for those young single parents that do not have the academic background to assist their children. Unfortunately, these children will find themselves behind the eight-ball as they grow. And it isn’t keeping up with kids during these growing periods. My own struggles are evident when I assist my kids and I have to hide it best I can. My kids need to believe that I can answer any question. This helps with their confidence. Occasionally I have to punt the question to God and tell them to wait for that answer. (“Daddy, when does infinity end?” “Daddy, how was God born?”) For the most part, I am able to plow through the difficult school subjects and provide them with the appropriate answers. I do fear my involvement will diminish as they progress in grades. At some point I will have to ask myself “am I smarter than a 5th grader?” Sigh, I already know that answer.

Daddy Dan