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.

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.

Anger Management 101

Hey YOU! And You! And You! Take a deep breath with me and slowly exhale and say “woo-saa!” Relax, do it again.

We have all been there with our emotions. We have experienced a moment or two when we are on either side of the anger chain – instigating or receiving. Every angry emotion we experience is valid, otherwise it wouldn’t exist within ourselves, however, many times we need to get a grip. This is where I want to help.

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It very well may be that someone knows how to push your buttons. Or you might have a tongue that can split concrete. Or you might like taking out your aggressions on the nearest garbage can (of course not the metal ones as I wouldn’t want you to hurt your precious fists). And you might even feel justified when that no-good-loser-two-timing-deadbeat-of-a-dad makes that stupid mistake and you pick up the nearest object and hurl it his way. No matter that it is your size eight shoe with a metal heel. And you might be justified. But in the end where does anger get us besides potential broken bones or scars (both emotional and physical)? Therefore, I want to share some ideas on how we can all overcome this emotion rollercoaster of anger by practicing a few simple tactics.

First, let’s look at it from the instigator standpoint:

  1. If you don’t have something good to say – STFU! Pretty straight forward but ultimately the tongue is what gets most of us started.
  2. Don’t text mean crap. A doctor once told me be wary of the sniper shots you take with your spouse and loved ones. You know what they are – a little jab here or there.
  3. Keep your hands to yourself. This applies to both men and WOMEN. Women are no more free to strike a man than a man a woman. Unless it’s in self-defense which then I would recommend using some other type of force…like a taser.
  4. Remember the love in your spirit. We all talk about how loving we are – well then show it even if you become frustrated with a given situation.
  5. Stop looking to blame. Annoying, annoying, annoying. Just stop it even if you believe it in your heart. Otherwise, repeat #1.

And for those of us receiving aggression that tips us off into the deep-end of anger:

  1. Ignore, ignore, ignore. If you have to count sheep – think of baseball games – or lilies in a field then do it. Don’t go off the ledge.
  2. Don’t drive or operate machinery. And if you are driving don’t speed. Kind of like the Xfinity commercials – you don’t want to end up in a ditch because of your cable provider.
  3. If you need to speak to anyone use your life line and call a friend. However, attempt to steer the conversation away from the object of your anger and instead focus on talking about lilies in the field. Or baseball. Or, whatever… (Repeat #1)
  4. Put the text machine down and don’t do it. Don’t record into infinity the nasty thoughts you conjure up. It’s no fun to have these things backfire on you.
  5. Go work out. Somewhere. Anywhere. Just don’t punch cheap plastic trash cans because they need protecting, too.

Remember good peeps, we are all in this together whether we like it or not. Stupid people make stupid decisions in which we have to pay the price. Sometimes we may be that stupid person and other times we are not. It’s life. But working on ourselves can get us through these difficult times.

Now excuse me while exercise the list for my own self-control.

Go well and with love good peeps.