I was in a very brief discussion earlier about love on twitter and I noticed something about my responses that conflicted with something I very much want to believe in.

A friend said he didn’t know how to address the concept of love and I agreed with him by stating it was ambiguous and that I would rather chase rainbows. The thought caught wind to others and further clarification was desired.

Crazy thing is, I’ve wrote about the concept of love several times, and each time my opinion of it varied based on my personal experience, observations, and what I may have learned or read about from some scholarly article, blog, or religious text during that moment of my life. But my recent opinion of it was a little more pessimistic than the latter times.

This recent go round with the topic, it seems that I completely disregarded everything I ever said about “love” and I found myself speaking from a stance of confusion and hurt based on relatively new events in my life.

The concept of love varies depending on which type we are talking about. There are many forms of love, yet my mind instantly connected love with the romantic form, eros. My response was completely combative with disdain. As I reviewed my impulsive thoughts I realized it was an expression that I’ve observed frequently in my peers and media that portrays black males that I never fully identified with until now.

I’ve had a few discussions within the past two hours that inspired me to translate my thoughts to the written form to better organize and understand this process.

So let me just clear this now, I sincerely believe in agape (unconditional/spiritual) and philos (brotherly/sisterly) love. And I suppose I believe in eros (physical/romantic) love, but f*ck b*tches and get money lol. J/K. I believe in romantic love, I’m just not in the emotional/mental/trusting/vulnerable space for it until I feel like I’ve overcome the residual effects of the past.

This really isn’t a blog about how I feel about love because I’m obviously a chameleon when it comes down to it nor am I an authority of the concept, but really, my curiosity to how does love fit in the socialization process of our immediate environments, society as a whole, and our experiences.

For most inner city black men/boys, there aren’t many examples of love beyond the love displayed within a family, and unfortunately for most, it is only experienced through a mother’s love and siblings due to the absences of many fathers. That then leads to a lack of healthy, positive examples of love between a man and a woman which one should first be introduced to in the home.

Many rely on observations of love from what they see in from their peers/streets or are subconsciously exposed to through media. It appears to me, that the most common example of love is the love of money. Most of it these desires stem from poverty stricken circumstances but then, there are communities of other backgrounds that endure the same circumstances that don’t share the same passion/lust for money. Without delving too deep into what I believe the root causes of this process, I’ll just say integration (assimilation) may not have been the best outcome for black folk during the Civil Rights era.

It seems that the love of money/success trumps the spiritual purpose of love. As many are so willing to sell (out) themselves for the sake of money, will quickly rationalize or justify their immoral behaviors based on how much money they can make off it.

Next, the experiences of black men/boys and black women/girls with love. I think many will agree that there is a lot of unjust trauma and strain in the relationships of black people. We suffer from the systematic ramifications of slavery, Jim Crow, racially inequitable and discriminatory policies, self-hate, and the media. All working simultaneously and subsequently to suppress us from learning to love each other the way we need to unite and thrive. Examples and observations of healthy relationships are the foundations of love. There is no premise for us to be in favor of love because it is almost impossible to understand and apply to our lives if we have never observed or experienced it.  

Back to experiences though. I don’t necessarily believe it’s the direct experiences of two people that cause the most strain, but more so how each feels about themselves when entering a relationship, and the incognito presence of preceding generations to bestow appropriate wisdom to situations to put in context and cultivate the younger generation through a healthy process to learn about the positive & negative experiences of love.

Also the socialization processes of men and women. It seems like women have been conditioned since birth to believe in the premise of romantic love and men haven’t. So is there any surprise in the disparity of women who openly desire love vs men?

These are some brief, quick type of thoughts that I had that I hope would open a honest dialogue in whatever medium to those that choose to read, share, rebut what they feel about love and the socialization process that guides its meaning as well as solutions or recommendations to evolve beyond said socialization processes.

 

I’ll leave yall with a popular passage about love:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13

So I was having a conversation with one of my friends and this statement came up, “I’m surprised you don’t have a girl, as nice and fine as you are”.  I told her my situation and said that no woman would desire a man in my situation (I’m too embarrassed and humiliated to share my situation publicly, thats how undesirable I am lol).  She then follows up with “if you dated white women you’d have better luck.”  lol

By the way my friend is white.

Initially I laughed because it is a notion that is widely accepted as fact and it was ironic that a white woman would propose it to me.  Then I thought deeper as to why this generalization is so popular amongst my peers.  I have a general idea why. The stresses and strains of black male/female relationships have been deteriorating for some time, whether it been systematic or our own self infliction.

Being both a man and black, I feel like we have failed our women.  We have failed our women to the point where there is a lack of trust and faith that we could do better through the plight of our struggles, cuz hell, most of us don’t.  Most women have taken a chance on one of us type of brothas or know someone first hand that might have been and it didn’t favor too well for them. Many of us have lost so much pride and dignity within ourselves, that we grow accustomed to exploiting and extracting the very innocence and love and care that women have to offer for our own selfishness and child-like tendencies to be taken care of.  Of course that deviates from another issue of our relationships that is also slowly crippling the foundation of our families.  When it’s all said and done, most women of color are scorned and as Thurgood Jenkins (Half-Baked) so eloquently put it, “ain’t fallin for that shit no more!!” Not to mention the abandonment issues and tend to linger as a result of the father issues that are ever so prevalent amongst black people. This could then possibly lead on to say that women of color of my age group aren’t “settling” for men in my type of predicament for the fear .  Therefore, they are no longer submissive to us unless we prove off top that we can provide for them right now.

So then we have the backup plan. The white woman to save the big black buck in distress. The thing is, it’s not so much of a race/ethnicity issue, as it is a culture issue.  If you’re not apart of low-middle socioeconomic class of the metropolitan/city areas, then you would not be familiar with some of the behaviors that are now more typical to these communities.  So this backup plan isn’t exclusive to white women, but for any woman who hasn’t been exposed to these isolated group of men.  All they simply want and desire is a black man.  They want to submit themselves physically to a black man.  Ignorant to the experiences that women of color are unfortunately, disproportionately privy to.

I think the real conflict is that often, men of undesirable conditions prey on these type of naive, docile women, allowing this notion to perpetuate itself.

With that being said, have no fear, my desire and preference is still resides within strong women of color, regardless of my unrealistic odds of them proudly claiming me as their man throughout my current temporary plight  😀

 

7 Day Social Media Fast

January 10, 2011

Im fasting from social media starting an hour ago. Purpose of this fast is to focus on being more creative and productive without the peer influence of social media. One of my weaknesses is my desire to communicate and share with the world. That isn’t a bad thing, but it is taking away from my productivity in areas that I really need to focus on. I need to shake my dependency to share any and all of my intimate thoughts with the world and learn to live in solitude with myself once again. I have become dependent on sharing my thoughts that it sometimes detracts me from taking care of my most dire priorities.

Things to work on during this fast:

Academic and Technical Writing
Exercising
Peace of Mind
Reading books vs. reading articles & status updates
Develop a concise and pragmatic 5 year plan.

Dont Ask Dont Tell Thoughts

December 22, 2010

A friend asked me this morning what my thoughts on the “Dont Ask Dont Tell” Repeal. Thought I would share them here.

I’m impartial to it. When I was in, there were so many #manlaws being broken, I didnt need to ask or tell anything to figure out what was going on. And it was from those who were perceived the most macho, the grunts (infantry). as i look back at it, i suspect the activity was also prevalent among the administration units as well. i never saw anything flamboyant but i did see lots of blatant “WTF” type stuff going on. i essentially just shrugged it off and stayed in my lane and got my paycheck.

Homosexuality in the military isn’t exactly a brand new phenomenon. only in America has it been forced in the closet the way it has. i expect a level of it in any institution that is dominantly populated by a gender. i think its the most obvious in sports, especially womens basketball.

I feel if a person sincerely wants to fight for the same cause you’re fighting for, then their sexual orientation is irrelevant. When your in life/death situations, the last thing im thinking about is “i wonder if he’s gonna try some gay shit?”. im more concerned if a person will have my back (not literally) when we’re in combat. I think more focus should be put on the commonalities rather the differences.

I, personally, am not bothered by the repeal. I hope the decision doesnt spur any hate crimes though. If i have any concern though, it would be of the men that are overtly feminine joining to exploit their homo-erotic fantasies. I also have the concern that people will look too deep into it, causing the military to become ever more divisive, which is the last thing the American “super-power” needs.

i know how to do inception

October 31, 2010

I lost faith due to my circumstances, a friend recently suggested to me. I became a victim of my doubt.  Causing me to lose faith in myself and everything else around me. I was hopeful in many different regards, financially, academically, and relationships wise that everything would work out. Eventually negative thoughts from my experiences or stories from others experiences infiltrated, creating a conflict and strain on my beliefs.  This new perceived reality made me forget who I am.

Yesterday, was pretty much a big breakdown. Trying to internalize and process my own issues on my own coupled with the strong possibility of not being able to go home for the holidays took a toll on me mentally, I just couldn’t deal; the feeling of inadequacy of not being able to provide for myself, the “perceived reality” of failure: academically & financially, the disintegration of a hopeful relationship (the fear of losing “it” in time and space). A mentor definitely could have came in handy.

All this led to was my depriving quest for knowledge. I allowed my “lack of assurance” to dictate and manifest itself in losing my purpose and focus  in myself. I thought I failed myself by foolishly thinking by not fulfilling my goals within the time constraint I placed, by feeling I was not being the best example for my nephews,  and to those that may get lost in the “odds” (bka “the statistics”) . I got lost in the fear of not being good enough. I forgot my worth.

But when its all said and done, these are all ideas. Just ideas that can change in a moment. Nothing is ever absolute (except herpes and death lol). My fears clouded my greatness of creating an opportunity in the moment by instilling the concept of failure and defeat in my conscience. Its crazy how powerful the mind is, it determines whether a moment lasts a  lifetime or only be temporary. Ultimately you choose.

My negative mentality became the source of my problems. Thats when I realized, I just performed Inception on myself.  Aint that about a bitch?

this is a blog i wrote a few years ago about this lady i met at a futuristic thinkers conference in san francisco. over 3 years later and i am inspired and consoled by her thoughts. elders have a beautiful way of putting life in perspective for you.

she told me she admired me and that i gave her the best laugh shes had in awhile which she said she needed.

we talked about the warriors, online gambling sites, sambo kids eating watermelon, why preachers get gift bags for delivering prayers over food, and ways to help society.

we talked about the future and what it would be like.  she asked me what i thought about it, and i told her i was scared of the future.  i was scared because i dont know if people consider the future.  i dont know how prepared they are for it.  i dont know if they are strong enough for it.  but most importantly, i didnt know if they were in control of their future.

she asked me how could someone who speaks so much of the millions of hopeful ideas that exist, think so negatively about it.  i assumed i was starting to become jaded from my environment.  then i realized the way i was thinking many before me may have as well.  and they permanently became that way.  jaded by their environment and for the future of their people.

i saw the look in her eyes and knew she didnt believe me.  she knew it was merely an excuse.

then i told her how i really felt.

i told her that as long as i am alive there is always hope.  and that although from time to time i get weary and weak, remembering my ancestors and the rich legacy they laid renews my strength.

i told her that my jaded responses were a reflection of a fear, of doubt, within me that i didnt know how to confront yet, simply because i ultimately felt alone.

i told her i dont think anyone understands me or understands what i do.  that they dont understand me because i strive for something that even i dont quite know yet.  that everything i go for has been purely intuitive. that apple jacks feeling that cant be explained.  that i do everything randomly and ironically like it is in some divine plan, after i do it it all makes sense.  a dot is connected.

she then asked me why do i do what i do.

i told her because i feel like im supposed to.  that it was done for me and i am returning the favor.  and vice versa, that once upon a time i felt a certain way and i didnt want the next person to feel that same way.  i told her my experiences as a child with no father, no guidance, no one to show me the way.  i told her how easily influenced i was because i had no sense of who i was.  i told her my anger problems. i told her about my vices.  i told her about how i got kicked out the marines and how i went to jail.

and she listened with a warm smile.  and again, she told me she admired me.

and again, i cracked a few more jokes, and she told me how much she needed that.  and i smiled.

i would do anything for her to make her smile again.

she listened to me when the room wouldnt.

she heard my ideas on what could be done and she believed them.

she was a woman that just wanted to hear my story.

she told me i was different.

i like that lady.  actually, i love her.

ive been yearning to write this experience down so i can capture it in its freshness so i can reflect back on it when i get down.

she was a seasoned woman.  maybe in her 60’s or 70’s.  and my spirit connected with hers as a grandmother-grandson would.

after everything was all said and done, i told her thank you for listening to me and that i apologized for talking so much about myself, that i sometimes have an arrogance about the things i do and that i was working on it.

she responded back saying that “you are so awake and aware of what you do that you are ahead of your time.  i thank you for sharing your thoughts and your feelings with me. you have exceptional ideas and i would like to work with you and share some of my thoughts with you.  if you could see yourself you would have no reason to even think as jaded as you did.  you have brought me hope.”

we exchanged contact information and she told me that if i havent heard from her in a couple of months to contact her.

inside me, i scared to have to wait a couple of months to see if she would contact me.  i was hoping she would contact me the next week, or maybe even the next day.  i told her i would probably contact her sooner, and she said that would be fine.

one of the things was awkward though was i was trying to learn about her and her history because i knew she had alot of information to share, but she kept insisting to learn about me.

but, she listened to me without telling me what i should do, what i needed to do, and without coming on to me.  she simply wanted to hear my story and it felt good to tell her.

the vulnerability of help

October 1, 2010

help: the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose

Earlier this week my Urban Sociology teacher expressed some concern of how unprepared he felt the students were of an upcoming test. I asked him to state his theory on why this was and he explained that students dont work in study groups and learn & build together anymore. He said that women tended to act envious of each other (i.e. She think she cute! – type of attitudes) while the men were afraid to ask for help for the fear of being perceived weak.

the latter really struck a chord in me because the past few weeks have been extremely challenging considering my unfortunate financial circumstances as a student. ive been undergoing a serious evaluation of myself, learning to be grateful that most my human needs were being met, appreciating the necessity of welfare in this capitalist system.

black men and help is my area of concern. as a black man that has been fairly independent (legally & illegally) for the past 15 years of my life, i have a fair understanding/misunderstanding of what it means to ask for help. as well as to what depths i would go to remain independent of others.  ive understood manhood to be surviving without  asking for help (by any means necessary). asking for help always seemed like a sign of weakness, a sign of vulnerability, so ive strived to dwell as far away from help as much as possible based on my misconstrued/self taught notions of manhood. as misguided young black men, no one wants to be perceived as weak or vulnerable. especially in this society where norms have been lost in translation as a result of the lack of real black men available/active in the community.

how many black men do you know are ashamed or afraid to ask for help? *raises my hand* lately ive had to swallow my pride and succumb to this thing called help which has become an everyday work in progress for the past month. there is something very humbling about asking for help. something im growing to learn to be a very necessary trait in a world of basic relationships.

many issues in individuals and community can be easily resolved if, us as black men, were fully open to asking for help. if we were able to put this false sense of pride to the side, unlearn the destructive nature of striving to be independent and learning that seeking help is a sign of building. the building of ideas, relationships, solutions, etc.

its ok to ask for help.  its the man thing to do. but make sure you ask the right people…that could be an obstacle within itself.