Survivors of Marital Bliss

61 Years and Counting…

On May 5, 2017, my parents will celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary.

6 – 1 or sixty-one or seis-uno (okay, I made that up).

But still, 61! The proclamation of this anniversary is not to admit my own years on this planet, although, not near 61, but to expose what it takes to make 61 years of marriage.

Thought bubble: didn’t Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris have a 61 milestone at some point? I digress…

We all have either blessings occur in our lives or a little luck or some combination of the two. We might have good things occur on occasion or bad things that occur in bunches. And every time we overcome those obstacles or celebrate these good times one thing is certain – we made it through.

Making it through isn’t just about you – although you might think it is – but it’s about everything around you. It is how you leave an impact on this world or how you touch (influence) others. And usually we aspire to touch in a positive way.

Therefore, to put in perspective of the magnitude to survive this momentous occasion I want to explore the significance of “making it.” I thought and wrote about one statistic at a time and in no-particular-order; although the first is most significant to me:

  1. Today’s divorce rate is a whopping 50 percent! The odds of making it past year 8 is off the charts – you can take that ‘ish to Vegas, baby. And may the odds be forever in your favor.
  2. Surviving military service during the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War. Downright lucky to have survived both let alone the streets of the inner-city.
  3. Diseases like cancer, diabetes, and all kinds of other bogus shit that crushes us humans daily! To survive the percentages is nothing short of a miracle. logo.png
  4. Car crashes is still a major killer in America. Count yourself lucky if you have avoided a disastrous outcome via unsure hands at the wheel of a steel killing machine.
  5. Natural disasters – thes
    e are easier to avoid if you stay put – but if you’ve traveled the world to Timbuktu and back you are liable to have encountered a disaster or two. Not my folks.
  6. Raising a shit-load of kids and staying the course. Hey, if one of the parental units said, “f- this, I’m out!,” I couldn’t be mad at them.
  7. One in four black men in prison – NOT my daddy!
  8. Shot by a cop – this would have been easy pickings back in rural Mississippi, circa 1950, but, alas, the good Lord was watching out.

And there are multiple other challenges, ahem, “opportunities” [as we like to call them in business] where my parents overcame or luck was on their side for their longevity.

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But I will say this – commitment, perseverance, respect, admiration, being on one accord, and love is the glue that held them these 61 years. And for that, I feel truly blessed to be witnessing this rare occasion. Good job parental units. Well done. I pray God will see you through many more anniversaries.

Now each of you go find your life partner to help you achieve that 61.

Go well and with love good peeps.

 

My Tank’s on ‘E’

I don’t remember when I heard the phrase love [emotional] tank but I do understand the concept of it needing refills on occasion.

It didn’t register with me in the past because I merely thought it was sensitive speak taken from a woman’s magazine, or from that guy that always appeared on Oprah, or just some talk on the street from new-age metro-sexuals. But I must confess over the last few years it has begun to sink in. I have exhausted much of my emotions on my kids, family, friends, co-workers, and others and I have yet to fill up my tank. Therefore, I began feeling the emptiness that existed and the effects of my tank on ‘E’.

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I may be a bit late to the game, especially considering I coin myself a Man of Wisdom, but I am always open to learning and understanding. I remain open to educate myself so that I can learn from past experiences and not repeat the same mistakes…over…and over…and over…and over again!

Better late than never seems an appropriate statement at this juncture.

Therefore, I am now on a journey to fill my tank abundantly! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my tank filled by the love of my kids, family, friends, and co-workers (you know, that work spouse we all brag about), but I tend to go full throttle until my tank is nearly depleted. And this can’t be healthy. For anyone I deal with – kids, family and friends, etc.

I know what a full tank looks like and I know how if feels. I know how it drives me and provides me with the emotional nutrients to sustain me. I recognize when it’s present in me and the effect it has on others around me. I become a beacon of L-O-V-E that burns intensely. And I long for more when already my tank is full to the brim. I can never get enough.

My challenge is to position myself to receive love – because I will be better equipped to give love in return.

There is more than enough love within us to spread across this wonderful space in which we occupy. But somehow, we tend to get caught up with the craziness around us and forget what it really means to love. Fill your emotional love tank to the brim and see how it feels for you – it can’t steer you wrong. There’s nothing like operating with a full tank.

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Go well and with love good peeps.

How to Avoid Love: A User’s Guide

I have become an expert at masking feelings, not showing all of my cards, or just not having an ounce of emotion flowing through my veins. In sports it’s a good thing – “that boy has ice water flowing through his veins;” in relationships, uh, not so much. Let me preface this article by stating that I am not a SME [subject matter expert for non-corporate types] nor have I ever slept at a Holiday Inn proving that I’ve gained some universal knowledge about the subject. I just simply like to think out loud and capture that shit in a blog.

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I’ve noticed through various exploits and other accidental mishaps that I’ve become a stone of a man. Maybe it was all of the Jägermeister I drank, drunk, consumed throughout my life but somehow I seem to have become devoid of feeling. Now I don’t mean feelings for my kids or my mama don’t creep up every now and again, but feelings that are expected in relationships. Don’t get me wrong – I want to have these feelings percolating through my being but they just don’t seem to be happening. Therefore, I thought it best if I just prescribe how I deal in hopes of providing some kind of guide to the other misguided and disenfranchised men out there in dating land. NOTE: in the words of the great Jimmy V, “don’t ever give up, don’t ever give up,” (even though it might appear that I have by writing this column).

The Guide

  1. Avoid prolonged and unnecessary eye contact when out on a date. She’ll give you those puppy dog eyes and next thing you know you’ll be buying rounds for the whole got-damn bar!
  2. Do not engage in small talk after work. I get it. You’re tired, you wish you had someone to talk to. You want to be heard. But, don’t give in. It’s better to stay silent and go into listening mode rather than engage in the fact that your co-worker is an ass and it’s getting on your last nerve.
  3. Ignore compliments – even though they feel reeeaaaalllll good. Let’s face it men, we’re like women in this way in that we want to hear how good we look, how strong we are, or how well we screw. Those are all compliments that get the best of us. And before long you’ll have a hoop through your nose while being strung along like a pregnant mule. But hey, if you’re happy about that I’m not one to judge.
  4. Say stupid shit. Like this blog. And you’ll be sure to avoid any possibility of love seeping into your heart and you being captured like a wild boar. Image result for roasting boar cartoon Roasting over a flame. In the middle of a jungle. Lost.  Damn, that imagery just sucks.
  5. Never, and I mean never, bring your kids around. God knows, she’ll do some nice stuff, the kids will be impressed, then you’ll hear about her for a long time to come. Better to keep the kids guessing.
  6. Get a job! Shit, any job. Three jobs. Stay busy. If you just do that you’ll stay lonely like a mutha. (Just buy a lot of those magazines like The Source or Smut.)
  7. Follow the relationship advice of our male compadres. We don’t usually fare well in this arena so it would only make sense that you’d listen to the gibberish coming out of the mouth of your bro; because your bro is so knowledgeable about sport’s and statistics it makes sense he knows about the opposite sex.
  8. And finally, don’t be such a mama’s boy. How can you turn your back on a woman you damn near fell in love with if your mama says, “so-and-so is such a nice girl?” Before you know it you’ll be saying “yes, dear” for many years to come.

And finally, follow Steve Martin’s “Lonely Guy” for further advice.

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Go well and with non-love good peeps.

An Unexpected Intersection of Love

Man, I was a brother down on his luck with love. Shit was horrendous. I couldn’t maintain a relationship to save my soul. If there was a time to SMDH this was it. Fucking women. Fucking life. I swear, I was hating it all as the story goes.

And then she showed up.

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It should have been a bad time to meet because my mood sucked and I felt I would bring her down. I was feeling funky and unlucky and didn’t give any fawks! But there I was waiting for this imagined goddess who would turn out to be connected to me like my angel twin – literally sent from the heavens to intersect with my life when it most counted. And trust me, she did.

My kids had been giving me the flux all day before they were to go back to their mama’s home. I, being the decent fellow I have always been, didn’t mind “watching” their assess from time-to-time so she could take care of her shit, but this time I wasn’t having it. My plans appeared to be thwarted for the night as this wrinkle was presented to me by the Ex. My first inclination was to tell her to screw off; but I didn’t. Thus, I was doing my daddy duties when I said “yes.” Needless to say she was a tad late in picking them up. I wanted to curse her ass out but I thought, “what about the kids?”

Then my piece-of-shit-car didn’t want to start in these frigid temps. I tell myself day after day I’m moving from this cesspool of a city – the cold, the crime, the cops – the triple C’s of destruction. But I can never pull the trigger because my heart is bigger than my brain. I persevere as I need to but not without proper bitching.

After a fellow citizen decided to act like Mother Teresa I got rolling. I figured a good meeting place for my online match was somewhere warm yet accessible and safe for all. I’m not a fricking Dexter but no telling these days of the women a man might meet. I saw the movie I married an Ax Murderer so I wasn’t taking any chances. Besides, I had a couple of extra dollars because a brother just got paid! I gotta take advantage of these moments because they seem less and less frequent these days. Shit sucks.

I sat at a quaint table near the bar that faced the door. I realized I wasn’t being very chivalrous during this courting period but it was cold as Hell! I threw out the dating etiquette book and ordered myself a Scotch on the rocks to calm my nerves. I eyed the other patrons around me to familiarize myself with my environment in case a MF’er decided to go postal in the joint. But it was all good. So I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more – after a few more Scotch on the rocks.

I swear by the time she walked into the place I was just getting up to put on my coat and leave. I was angry that she would have the audacity to treat me like this; we spoke a few times prior and the conversation was good so why would she be so disrespectful? She approached me as I stood there eyeing her up and down. I admitted to myself she was fine as anything my eyes have seen although I was still upset about her seemingly lackadaisical approach to this date.

But then it happened – she spoke to me.

Each word that came forth from her luscious lips was carried by the most beautiful songbird I imagined. My heart melted as she neutralized my anger and she proceeded to gently blot it up with her metaphors and loving innuendos.

Within the first five minutes of our new relationship I muttered the words I think I love you.

 

I Used to Love You…But I’m Good

I remember the exact moment when our eyes first gazed. I had beautiful thoughts of you run through my mind as my mind imagined “us.” I envisioned you and me in a foreign land laughing, talking, and foreseeing the future as one. I felt your presence in my spirit as our brief encounter seemed like an eternity. However, it was only brief as I was introduced to you, but I remember the feeling well – euphoric.

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As I made my acquaintance I remember the feeling of your skin as I reached for your hand. Because I am a renaissance man I chose to kiss your hand as a sign of respect as well as a chance to feel your silky smooth skin grace my lips while briefly catching the scent of your perfume for the day. What was that? Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique? Or maybe it was your natural scent that danced around my nose and awakened me like a splash of cold water on a hot summer day.

I did not want to release your hand for I believed you would be mine. I wanted to run through the building with you in tow down to the fountains hidden behind the finely manicured greenery purposely placed to welcome in guest of the building. And I thought to myself “this is where we will have our first kiss.”

Your laugh and giggle tingled my spine as you sheepishly flirted with me while I gently released your hand. I glimpsed your bright smile and I was overcome with an emotion I had not felt before. The smile of a goddess right before my eyes. And if you had noticed, albeit a very brief nano-second, you would have seen how I lost my cool, calm, and collective demeanor all because of your smile. I nearly melted away.

We exchanged meaningless pleasantries as we both tried to contain the obvious metaphysical connection we were experiencing – hoping not to expose our true feelings to one another. But the bystanders knew because of the energy we shared created an aura around us like a firefly at night. You and I had forgotten we were among friends as the world seemed to stop for the moment as we took in every detail of one another.

And as I walked away I knew. I just knew. That someday we would be in an embrace sharing our vows and professing our love for each other to the world. As the sun is inevitable to rise our path to love would bear just as true. We would never love another the way we fell in love that day.

But I’m good now. And I’m over you now. And I release you from my spirit.

Go well and with love good peeps.

You Are Valued

Words or phrases like self-worth, value, confidence, or “knowing thy self” all kind of relate in a similar way. These words or phrases are the cornerstone of our being and drive us to become what we become in life. They take us to higher planes of emotional aptitude and give us a light that others recognize and value.

But what if you have lost your way and feel you have no value?

What if a boss is terrorizing you and chopping you down every chance they get? Or a boyfriend or girlfriend that doesn’t see your value in the relationship and they begin to treat you like dirt? Or you’ve become “dead weight” to your family because of broken promises or instabilities that got the best of you?

Well I’m here to tell you none of that really matters. None whatsoever and it should not keep you from sleeping at night.

In the words of NWA – F* them muthaf*ers!

Value is found everywhere on God’s green Earth. Value can be found from the sands of Lake Michigan to the shores of the Ivory Coast. A mosquito buzzing through a Louisiana swamp has value. A grain of grass deep in the Everglades of Florida has value. A cloud floating overhead on a warm summer day has value. And all people have value. Life is worth living.

It may not feel like your life has some value during difficult times – we’ve all been there. But it does and it usually takes a life-shaking moment to wake some of us up again in believing we are worthy. I truly hate hearing someone declare another that they are worthless. And I, too, have been on this side of the equation – not feeling someone had any worth to me. Unfortunately anger and resentment can cause us to feel a certain way and needlessly or uncharacteristically lash out at others. The recent Baltimore riots are indicative of this devaluing of self. And we need to stop!

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Most often a value of an object is merely man deciding the object has value, thereby raising the object to a level of subjectivity based on the popularity of the object. But I declare the object had value before man came along to provide his stamp of approval. The trick to recognizing our value in life is to cut out the noise of the haters and know that our self-worth is not based on how many Facebook or Instagram “likes” we receive.

So many relationships lose value because the individuals have decided there is no value. A decision that can damage the psyche of one or both parties involved in the split. Unfortunately, it may take some time to repair the psyche from a broken relationship; however, I say again, neither person lost any value for which they have. Their decision to claim the relationship no longer had any meaning was an affront to stop trying.

Next time you are walking down the street and eye that homeless person remember they too have value. Or if you spy that angry kid that is always getting in trouble take a moment to help him or her see the value in themselves. Also, know that your dick of a boss might be going through something because they are not feeling valued. Let them know they are valued.

If we all felt valued every day think what kind of world we would build. We could build a utopian society indeed.

Go well and with love good peeps.

How Do You Decide?

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Choices, choices and more choices surrounded by decisions, decisions, and more decisions amidst a complicated landscape of relationships. My mind is overwhelmed as my time is limited yet the thought of sharing and giving remains an innate part of my overall being. Thus, the desire to connect in some type of way (apparently I’m feeling some type of way) is continually vying for my attention and demanding I take action. All actions will result in reactions.

Therefore, how do I decide?

Relationships are a mutha; let alone our relationships with our kids, parents, siblings, friends, etc. Yet, our makeup as human beings relies heavily on our ability to create relationships and sustain them. When you think about it – it is a very selfish act. The intended result is to satisfy the bubbling need to connect which is within all of us. Of course, you are free to live a nomadic or reclusive life and rid yourself of any true human connection.

Most of us don’t want to be reclusive – or alone. Therefore, we find ways in which we connect through church, extracurricular activities, and other social functions. Upon connecting we develop and nurture a relationship with another individual hoping for great things to come. And ultimately we sustain a long lasting relationship in which we can look back over time and proudly reflect on the journey it took to achieve that pinnacle. I imagine a Gandhi like figure sitting atop the mountain overlooking a serene and beautiful valley while mind, body, and spirit are one with God.

But before I become so Gandhi-like, I still need to decide, make a choice; take action as it relates to engaging in a meaningful relationship.

So here’s where I become creative and design a process (I know, it’s so “business” talk).

  1. Be deliberate in my actions and desires. This method is very Neanderthal-like; I knock you on the head with my club, throw you over my shoulder, and wander off into the sunset heading for my cave. A bit outdated (and quite illegal) but the intended result is achieved.
  2. I sit back and wait for a line to form as women anticipate meeting me… (crickets, crickets) Yeah, this has a very low probability for success but nonetheless, it’s an option.
  3. I can always let the chips fall as they may. There is absolutely no control in this method and I leave it all to the “universe” to guide me. What happens if the universe says “No RELATIONSHIP for you!?” (In my Nazi Soup Kitchen voice.)
  4. I can devise a very scientific approach to understanding the landscape of choices and then act on those choices very methodically. Oh, wait, eHarmony and Match.com have the patent on this method.
  5. Pray my way into a relationship. Somehow, I see this as very similar to #3 above, but this “universe” is a true serving God. However, other complications can be debated with this method (religious beliefs, science, etc.)

Finally, as I sit back and think about these methods to become engaged in a relationship the fog clears from my head and I listen to the voice directing me – be still my child. I come to the realization that I can’t force the magic of a relationship but I should anticipate its ability to be present when I least expect it. During this time my focus becomes inward as I rid myself of the skeletons and complexities I’ve created to become a renewed man. This I can live with.

Go well and with love good peeps.