The Lifestyle

Looking for Hope in the Election Results

Dear America,

I wanted to write this letter post-election not to necessarily express my discontent, but to express my hope.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly disappointed by the results of yesterday’s election. It has been no secret that I was pulling for the former secretary of state.  Although my enthusiasm for her dipped substantially over the course of the election, I always knew in my heart of hearts that she was the better candidate between her and Trump.  Heck, I thought, and continue to think, that Trump embodies the dangers of white privilege and money, and is a champion of xenophobia, racism, and sexism.  But regardless of my feelings of the now president-elect, he will be taking the oval office in just a few months.

As I’ve said, I’m not really writing this to express my discontent, so let’s get to why I’m hopeful.  If you recall, at the start of the century, George W. Bush was elected to the highest office in the land.  You can argue until you’re blue in the face about the legitimacy of that election process, but it won’t change history.  People thought his election was the worst thing that’s happened to this country.  That was until he was reelected in 2004.  Eight years of bad foreign policy, economic plans, and overall decision making, left this country in a pretty low place. However, it also left this country and it’s voters in a position to receive change.  Big change.

The Lifestyle

Top 5 Excuses I’m Tired of Hearing for Why People Won’t Vote

  1. I Don’t Have Time to Stand in Line

This excuse may be a valid one, if so many people weren’t willing to stand in line and wait for other things.  We all know a friend or family member that has woken up at the crack of dawn to stand in line at Best Buy or Walmart on Black Friday.  Heck, you yourself may have rolled out of bed to stand in line for two hours to wait to get a TV or two.  Or maybe you’ve been one of those people to wait in line to get the latest iPhone or pair of Jordans.

The point here is this.  People are eager to wait in line for small picture material items, but are reluctant to wait in line to vote.  That sounds crazy.  Taxes are always on the ballot.  If you want more money to spend on phones and shoes, try voting. In fact, if it will get you to the poll faster, think of voting as an opportunity to possibly earn you some extra spending money.   Everyone could use some extra coin.  And if you still can’t wrap your mind around waiting in line to vote, then GO vote early if your state allows it.

friendship

You Have Many Acquaintances but Few Friends. Know the Difference!

Good morning folks.  I decided to take a minute to talk about true friendship.  I know most of us think we learned what a real friend is when we were kids.  However, in a day and age of social media, and so many claiming to be hurt by friends on a routine basis, I think it’s worth making the distinction again.

Back in high school, my dad taught me a very important lesson.  He told me, “in life you will only have a hand full of friends, but many associates.” Also, he stressed the importance of me not confusing the two.  Honestly, that was the best advice he’s ever given me.  Listening to those words of wisdom has prevented me from trusting too many people and repeatedly getting hurt by people I call friends.

For clarity sakes, I would define a friend as a person that you trust with your tears, brings about some cheers, and alleviates your fears.   It’s a person that is equally invested in supporting and loving you, as you are them.  An associate as my dad puts it, or better yet an acquaintance, is someone you never go deep with, nor is there a mutual expectation or desire to do so.  You two only share surface information about what another, and keep it light and fun.  (You sharing all your business, and a person telling you relatively nothing about his life, is not mutual.) A quote puts the difference between friends and acquaintances this way:

“An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.”

I almost hate that Facebook calls everybody that you add or adds you a “friend.” I mean that simply is not true.  A person just doesn’t have over 2,000 friends.  He or she doesn’t confide and trust in that many people.  Nor do that many people confide and trust in him.  Heck if I’m to be completely honest, I have some people on Facebook right now that I don’t even really know.  Most Facebook “friends” are NOT your friends people!  That goes for followers on Twitter, Instagram, and the Snap.

And just like romantic relationships, friendships need to be nurtured.  I’m not saying friends need to necessarily see each other all the time, and be on the phone every day. Heck my own friends can attest to the fact that I’m not the person to necessarily talk to you Monday through Sunday.  However, in nurturing a friendship, it’s important for people to set aside time in their busy schedule to at least send a message every now and then to check in on a compadre.  To make sure a person is doing alright.  Regardless of whether or not friends talk daily, real friends both have a sense that if either needed the other, he’d be there.

Friendships also may have to be reevaluated from time to time.  Two people that consider themselves to be friends should be in a equally beneficial arrangement.  That means one person shouldn’t always be draining the other of time, resources, and energy.  Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, wants a friend that always complains, does nothing but take, and exudes nothing but negative energy.

Look, I have days where I’m not going to be sunshine and rainbows (no pun intended). And during those times, I may need a friend to pray for me, send positive vibes, and lift me up a bit.  I can’t turn to a constant Debbie Downer for that support.  He can’t possibly give it to me.  That one-side relationship would drive me crazy.  I refuse to always be there for someone else, and he never be there for me.

To be honest, friendship is like a bank account you share with another person.  If you are the only one depositing money and the other person is always withdrawing, you’d be pissed.  Trust and believe, your positive energy, time, and support is much like currency.  So get pissed and reevaluate your friendship if you’re the only one lending the supportive listening ear, words of wisdom, or time.

Oh and if your friend can’t ever support you striving for better, that isn’t a friend worth having either.  I understand change is not the easiest for some people to digest; but, if you are trying to elevate your career or overall life, and a person can’t support you in your efforts to do that, hit the “reevaluate button.”  If you can’t go to the club and bar as much because you have to study, and a person doesn’t understand that, hit the button.  If a person tells you your dreams are impossible to reach, hit the button.  (Now if your dream is to win The Voice, and you can’t, don’t hit the button.  Listen to the friend. LOL!)  Just use discernment.  And if you don’t have good discernment, ask God for some.

In short, I just want people to save themselves some heartache by simply watching who they consider a friend.  Associate or acquaintance is not a bad word, and you can call people that.  They shouldn’t be offended, and you shouldn’t be afraid to say it.  Once you make the distinction between the people around you, you may get out of the habit of telling all your business to the wrong people.  Or expecting so much from folks that you mistakenly classified as friends.

The Lifestyle

“I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”

It’s been a few days now since the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five police officers in Dallas, and I haven’t posted anything on the site partially in an attempt to gather my thoughts.  If you stroll through my social media pages, you’ll will see short blurbs and videos expressing my outrage over what has happened within the last week.  However, I’ve yet to publicly state my peace on the matter.  And so here I am today.  Saddened by the state of this country, angered by moral hypocrisy and ignorance, and humbled to be among the living of an endangered people.

The Lifestyle

Top 5 Takeaways from OJ Simpson: Made in America

When I first heard that ESPN was going to be doing a documentary on OJ Simpson, I was one of the many people that was thinking “my gosh, not another OJ special.”  I felt America has been talking about this man and his infamous exploits since I was a young boy, barely in school.  Then with all the 20/20 and Dateline specials, combined with the Ryan Murphy American Crime Story anthology from earlier this year, I really had no intentions on watching OJ: Made in America.  Well, let me just say how glad I am that I ignored my original inclinations.  OJ: Made in America may be the best documentary I’ve ever seen.  It was so enlightening and captivating.  And it wasn’t just a story of the OJ Simpson murder trial.  It was an insightful history of race relations in LA.  From watching the mini docuseries, I was able to come up with five takeaways.  Well more than five really, but I’ll just list five here.  Take a look!

The Lifestyle

Race to Blame for the State of American Politics

Despite record breaking turnout in some states’ primaries or caucuses, I for one find myself increasingly underwhelmed by this 2016 presidential race.  I’m sick of the media talking about Hillary’s emails, I’m tired of the back and forth pettiness between candidates, and I’m beyond over the ignorant and clownish phenomenon that is Donald Trump.  To be honest, American politics is slowly becoming a sick joke that I can’t believe is our reality.  And I’m left to wonder, where did it all go wrong?

The Lifestyle

Why Pro-Black Movements Are NOT Anti-White

Look, I won’t attempt to beat what should be an obvious dead horse, but I will offer my two cents on the nonsense. While Beyoncé is not responsible for this debate, she has definitely brought about the resurgence of the conversation.  A conversation that still baffles me is even taking place.  It might be 2016, but some things apparently never get old.

Black Power, Black Lives matter, and similar pro-black sentiments, have never been created with an anti-white premise.  They were created as an expression for black men and women to embrace and rally behind in the face of injustice and inequity.  Injustice and inequity subtly, and sometimes overtly, perpetuated by the governing authorities of a given place and time in the U.S.  When black lives were trampled, overlooked, and lost, it was movements sparked by the chants of “Black Power,” that showed this country and the world, that people of color are united in our demand for something better.  That the unfortunate accepted norms, were no longer tolerable.  And that our voices will be heard and change must be imminent.