LA: Month II

I’m late. I swear I have started to write this blog at least three times this month already, in my head. Plus, I’ve jotted notes in a sharpie pen on a legal pad at work, like a week ago. Yet, I digress. My two biggest areas of opportunity going into month three are timeliness|time management and securing financial awareness|stability. In fact, it’s sad to say that I kind of stopped using my Erin Condren Life Planner for a bit. I feel awful, but I intend to end the year strong.

Aside from the shame that comes with the dust and blank September pages of my life planner, things continue to go well for me in the city of angels. I finally feel like I am settling into my job. No, it is not on my list of things I love to do, but I am ok with my current situation. Speaking of work, its hard to deal with the amount of money I spend on transportation everyday. I actually enjoy the luxury of riding, instead of driving to work, reading, listening to audio content or sleeping.  Each day, each trip rather, uber/lyft sends a complimentary receipt via email. I have so many that I am haunted. Honestly. There is no way I can continue to ignore the amount of money I spend just getting around here. Think about it; I mean we’re talking at least two trips a day. Hundreds of dollars a month, that all adds up, and I’m sick of it!

I feel like I’m really learning what it means to have a roommate as well. Somedays (a lot of them) it feels like Franceli and I spend more time being roommates than we do being friends. So much so that I have had to find quiet reminders, remnants of a friendship bound along life’s journey. I have always known that I’m a particular person.  A creature based on habit and routine. I am a planny person (despite having neglected my planner this month). I think I live a pretty quiet life. I love my own space and the companionship that comes with the ownership of my own little corner of the world. Don’t get me wrong because it’s not that Franceli and I yield two completely different lifestyles, we just happen to have two different operating systems, ya know? She’s the droid to my iOS device. (lol) In all fairness it is the beauty of our friendship that makes this situation work. And that’s what I am most grateful for.

This month comes with fresh opportunity as well. I am so ecstatic to be a host on Afterbuzz TV. Like, beyond. Currently, I am on the panel of three after shows: This is Us, Inhumans, and 90 Day Fiance. I almost feel as if the whole world it’s opening itself up to me. Lending me her ear to speak the entirety of my vision.  That’s a feeling many of us know to be fleeting, but when it comes it’s for sure something to grasp with the grip of both hands.

I also got the chance to produce a music video that will be released later this month.  (More on this later!) That’s not something I ever imagined being in the position to do. It lets me know that there is a place for me in entertainment bigger than the little I’ve imagined. Especially when it comes to music. Y’all know my first dream was to sing back up for Mariah Carey!

This month was showing of so much. More than anything I know the work that comes with being successful. Strategy is important. Time is of the essence. And, you can’t do shit without money. Thank God for favor because I still got tricks up my sleeves!

 

Here’s the thing..

It has been a while; quite some time, really, since I have been able to write anything. I have like two drafts saved where I started, but I didn’t finish. And, I have thought about it, writing, a lot, it just always leads me nowhere. you know? It takes a whole lot to be great. I can honestly say I am not operating in even a third of the amount of effort required for me to be greater. While I say that boldly, as a matter of fact, it brings me no pleasure or satisfaction. It is kind of disgusting because I know I am just resting on it all; purpose, talent, platform, ra ra rah…

I have been thinking about Kontrol Magazine the past couple of days, too. Not my decision to like sever my relationship as a writer, but rather the fact that I have not been in a position to write since. The fact that I was writing consistently on a nearly daily basis. It makes me wonder. Why is it that much harder to put the emphasis on your own shit? Why do you (and I can only speak for myself here) have to be backed into a corner to be greater? Beyond that, why do you have to be doing it for someone else for you to feel it is worth all of your efforts? And why does that make you feel that it will yield greatness?

Lots of questions, I know. But, thats where I am at. I have been reading Good or God? by John Bevere and if you have been listening to the podcast I’m sure you are well aware of that I have been on this journey of increased spirituality because I am finally to the point where I am facing and defining myself as a Christian. I feel like for most of my adult life I have had no idea what that means, to me personally, as it pertains to my life. It’s definitely shedding light on so much, so I’d recommend it. But, I bring it up because I feel like I have always had this struggle with purpose, and being certain that I am aligning myself with the will of God for my life. Just know that I’m working on it.

Here’s the thing. This is real life y’all and we are all on the same quest, to be greater that what we already are. It is a hassle and I must admit, I’ve learned this: Being great is way harder then it looks, even at second glance, and it takes a hell of a lot more time and effort.

That being said, I have a few short term to long term goals I gotta get started in accomplishing.

  1. reconnecting with theatre.
  2. promotion at work.
  3. directing and performing in Tell Pharaoh for Black History Month.
  4. GETTING BACK IN SCHOOL.
  5. tithing.
  6. expanding the blog and podcast.

These are in no particular order, but they are  all only 3-6 month goals. Thats the intimidating part! If I am going to accomplish anything, I’ve got to start now, and so do you. Set goal for yourself. Write them down and find ways to hold yourself accountable. I am honestly counting on your help to see me through all of this!

 

#THEOVERTURE: The Year of 29.

tumblr_myyn8iEn8d1qakh43o1_500Let me just preface this by saying that I have been listening to Barbra Streisand, The Broadway Album, for about a week when this birthday theme was so revealed to me. You see, I have spent no great amount of time thinking about experiencing, or reflecting upon my 29th birthday. Probably because it’s a year considered to be inconsequential and transitionary. Its not one of the bigger moments one considers in a lifetime and I think more often than not it is a year that is seemingly overlooked.

Well, not for me! I can remember turning twenty five and having the crisis of my own mid life. I was unaccomplished, unfulfilled, unsatisfied and there was this enormous pressure, a longing to be greater than what I was that left me stranded, miserably. Then, at twenty six it was worse. In part, because I had to sit with the fact that all that pressure was still applied and I was nowhere closer to achieving any of my own greatness. So by the time twenty seven and twenty eight came I had found ways to release the whole idea of pressure. I felt okay about life and where I was. I still looked ahead to the establishment, not just of position or growth, but the establishment of self that I believe comes with being thirty years old.

That’s when it hit me. An overture comes at the beginning of the musical. The stage manager calls the house lights to half, then there is a fade to black. I like to consider that moment of silence. There is a brief turnover when the audience quiets itself and prepares to willingly suspend every bit of disbelief, accepting the world of the piece. In that moment the orchestra begins. It’s so fluid. The orchestra plays, incessantly so, every piece of sheet music to be heard over the nights engagement. They turn from song to encore and even reprises. The audience is left with an impression of music they will find to be familiar as the musical presents itself.

Just like 29. There are so many things I have learned in an effort to be greater. I have read great books, challenged my own thinking, my beliefs. I have been shaped my past experiences. I have been tested by my own will to succeed relentlessly and even by my spirituality and personal relationships. 29 will be the test of it all, and at the same time, the arc of all that I have yet to experience and garner.

The year of 29 is my own personal overture. It is a set up, a welcome invitation to all that I envision to be fulfilled with by thirty. I definitely intend to live out the last of my twenties doing exactly what I want! Honing every bit of my talent and believing in my dreams more than I may have ever imagined. #THEOVERTURE starts in Washington, DC, a place I’ve spent so many birthdays, Memorial Day weekend ,and it will end in the Dominican Republic, lord willing, May 2017, at 30.

Cheers to another year, may this be the best year of your life.

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Speak the elephant.

I haven’t said much of anything lately. There is no denying it; but, I have been quite intentional about being button lipped as of late. It’s the word of the year, for me. I’m finding more ways to house my actions; my thoughts and behaviors, with intent.

In hindsight, I have actually took the past few weeks to notice that in many ways I haven’t aligned myself with all that I’ve purported myself to be, as a brand, and for that I’m remiss, because it does good for none. My purpose is the oneness of the human experience, the gift we have to share in the fact that we are so much more alike than different and The Sunday Afternoon is a way to take note of that. Well, so much of that realization, of coming to terms with the fact that we are all the same, is in being transparent. Honest.

My friends and I have been talking about it so much. The fact of the matter is that it is way more easy to be faux transparent. You know, where you talk about how you’re completely unlike so many other people on social media because you’re transparent? You’re still an artist but what makes you different is the fact that you’re not “faking” it, that you are open and honest about your “real” life and you are showcasing it for all the world to see in hopes of encouraging people. Well, as cute as all of that is, you’re not. Let me speak for myself, I’m not. I thought I was, for the longest, but the more I think about it the more I can see how easily I sweep around the rug with a pile of dirt underneath. Now, don’t get me wrong, its apparent that I’m a pretty open person, I just don’t want to ever be in a space where I find myself augmenting segments of my life for fear of shame, judgement, etc.

I 100% believe in the power of my testimony. We all have to come into that realization, all on our own and as soon as we find ourselves ready to be honest we’ll communicate our truth without having to thinking about it, thats transparency!

As follows is an excerpt of mine:

I find that as much as I have learned to enjoy being alone, as far as I have come to learning to be alone without the sting of loneliness, I spend at least 80% of my time alone, and I don’t like it. I’m in an environment where I can’t find the ability to make friendship or acquaintances that are stretching me and I don’t even know if my growth is being stunted. At 28 years old I am a gay Black man with zero prospects. However, I thank God for Jesus because I know my worth and I own my sexuality. Knowing the two keeps me from dating sites and prizing the possession of my sex. (it aint for everybody.) 

Most people have no clue what it means to support someone else until they need it, and that bothers me.

I started a new job in July of 2015. My car insurance cancelled that same month. My license was suspended shortly after, or before,  which kept me from reinstating said insurance, I had got a ticket in December of 2014 in North Carolina, headed to my baby sisters graduation from East Carolina University. I never stopped driving, illegally. (riding dirty) I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I had to get to work and for me that meant being especially careful on my approximate 2 hour travel time, to and from work. The expenses of adulthood are ceaseless and while I was making ends meet, I could not find an opportunity to resolve my situation. Particularly because that ticket from NC required that I come to the state and see the District Attorney for it to be paid, thats a chance I was not willing to take and while I knew I needed to find time to make a way, I was more concerned with being present at work, being seen as prestigious and meeting expectations. There was not one time when I doubted that God would  make a way. I can remember the prayers I would say everyday before leaving, just praying that I would get the day done, make it to and from work wrapped and cloaked in the will of God, surrounded in favor. And, each day I rejoiced in its completion, its hard to believe this went on for months. In October of 2015 I got notice from the VA DMV that they knew I had been riding dirty, had no insurance, and therefore would be fined the $500 uninsured motorist fee. In November my tags expired and I became increasingly anxious about my situation, still I could not find fit a solution. By this time I’m crunching numbers, and somethings just aint adding up, I could not afford to get my license because I could not afford the risk to go to NC, the ticket there, or the fee and fines to comply with Virginia. Well, I kept driving, I kept excelling at work, and I kept praying.

December 2015 I’m heading to work, trying to get through the HRBT and the day I had been dreading, yet preparing myself for, all the while, met my chest with angst. I saw those pretty blue lights behind me and I pulled over to the right shoulder. I exhaled, and I prayed.

Lord whatever this is, whatever happens I accept what you allow. I know that this is in the will you have for my life and I continually surrender myself to you. If it means going to jail, I’ll go, whatever it means lord I thank you for your grace and your mercy, Amen.

Then I text my mother and I told her my whereabouts, just in case. The officer, a black man greeted me at the passenger door of my car and asked for license and registration. I was honest, I was completely transparent in saying that I had none, that I knew the risks but I had to get to work and I understand that he would have to do whatever he would. He left and came back shortly later. He told me that since I was honest with him, that was the only reason, he would let me go. That he didn’t condone my driving without a license, that it was illegal, how I could face jail time,  and that he needed to be quite clear in stating that he was not telling me to drive without a license. But, “it doesn’t cost anything to be kind, be safe, get to work, and get your shit back.”

Listen. I was flabbergasted. All I could do was thank God, won’t he will? I couldn’t and I cannot wrap my mind around the amount of grace and favor that continually surrounds me. Undeservingly so, but I digress. I said all that to say that through it all my faith didn’t waiver, I did not question God or even my bad decision making. I consistently give praise and I continually press towards living in greatness even knowing that I don’t have it all together. I’m a lazy christian a lot of the time. I still haven’t found a church home. I don’t remember the last time I sat in a church or watched online for that matter. Yet, all things work together for the good of them who believe.

It’s February 29, 2016. I got insurance on my car last week. I went to North Carolina and paid way more than I expected in tickets. I am finally in a position to pay to get my license and registration. Oh, and I got a promotion at work. Aint God good? I’d tell you how good he was if I thought I could, but I can’t.

Life has been no crystal stair for any of us, but I am still here and its by the grace of God.

Don’t ever forget it and remember that you have the ability to completely change your life by changing your thoughts, in an instant.

Men have daddy issues, too.

I can remember being young. Eight, maybe nine years old, dressed identically; me and my twin, that was as identical as the two of us would ever come to be, at a birthday party. Actually, thats not true. Not the twin brother, birthday party, or identical dressing, but me recalling it. The truth of the matter is that the only memory that services me of that day is pleading, eyes stained with tears, for the doctor not give me a shot, in a effort to repair my broken wrist. I was (am) deathly afraid of needles, and deer.

That was the day my dad saved my life. The story is that I had climbed a tree, and a football was thrown. I thought I could catch the football, in the tree, and fell; eyes rolled to the back of my head and my father rushed in, resuscitating me with mouth to mouth. I have no memory of any of it. But what I know for sure, that which I keep concisely stored in the trunk of the vault of my elephants memory bank, is that my father is a huge contributor to the person I’ve come to be. It’s almost startling, at times, to think that the man with whom I share my favorite musical, who has been to every production I’ve ever acted in, the man who was more concerned with my soul and the intactness of my spirt, than my feelings, when I told him I was gay, gives me grave issue. Somewhere, subconsciously, I have been dealing with the realization that at 27 years old, I, a black, gay, man, have daddy issues.

The more I began to think about the concept or consider its affects, I saw that it wasn’t something so foreign as most of us may believe. It got to the point where anything I would see that displayed a father or fatherhood, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Toy Story 3, you name it, had me balling. I struggled to wrap my mind around it. I knew that there was something lacking in the relationship I have with my father, but there was no moment or experience shared that I find to be detrimental to this prevalent disconnect. In adulthood, we live seven minutes apart. We rarely speak, outside of the daily scriptures my dad texts a list of voluntarily (or not so voluntarily) subscribers. I don’t get it. But, me not getting it, leads me to explore this topic. We live in a society, or community even, that is adamant about its idiosyncratic view of Black men. Surprisingly, we don’t take the time to consider the notion that men come grown, incomplete, and with daddy issues.

There are so many problems with men, not unlike women, that host the stem of these issues. The only perspective I wish to speak from is my own. My twin brother has always been close to my father, he and my stepbrother, and his choosing was to be with him as much as he could. I’ve come to envy their relationships. For moments even, I was so jealous that I compared my accolades and my success, in wonder. I felt like the only reason my father would speak to me was to learn what new happenings or activities I was participating in just so that he could sing my praises to friends and family, and pat himself on the back. Where did I go wrong? Was it in my choosing my mother? Were we too much alike? Was it my attitude? All these questions have surfaced overtime, and most consistent, Is it my sexuality? Whats interesting is that I don’t ever remember being especially close with my father, but there was no rift, as there is now. I don’t know if my memory even counts as an accuracy or if I’ve reconstructed it, blaming our loss in relationship to my coming out.

Ultimately, in each of us lies uncertainty, insecurity, and emotional instability that we have to overcome, all our own, in order to shape and structure productive relationships. Sooner or later, it’s something that I have to discuss with my father, its just not that big of a deal, now. A few weeks ago I went to a surprise birthday party for my cousin. In preparation I squirmed with anguish and anticipation knowing that I would be there, in a room, with my father. I was his son and he was my father. Each time our eyes meet, even when I think of him now, I can see the comprising of myself, not only face, but spirit,and I like that which reflects from the dim haze of older irises.

If you haven’t already, check out my website: THESUNDAYAFTERNOON.COM and subscribe to the newsletter. Also, look forward to this Sunday Afternoon, I’ll have an update and tips for dealing with daddy issues! lastly, share your thoughts, opinions, and feedback! Voice your story and help me to be sure I painted the truth.

Everyday is a little like Sunday.babies