Posts in Thoughts

Being Okay with Being “Okay”

I’m often surrounded by messages, or I find myself in spaces of “self-empowerment.” There’s always a brother or sister circle advertised to uplift, encourage, and inspire. It’s often filled with phrases like “live or walk in your truth” or something that is meaningful to that group regardless of how hokey it may sound.

But… idk.

I often wonder if the question of knowing our self worth is a bit lofty. What if, even for some of us, our self worth is to be low? I often think about science and how it applies to regular-degular life — and natural selection comes up. This idea of “survival of the fittest!” Maybe everyone isn’t meant to be a star or important. This isn’t to be confused with the idea that everyone should feel validated, because that’s a thing and should continue to be. However, just maybe, some of us are just meant to be in the bleachers while the rest of us are out there going for gold.

This comes on the heels of a thought I have about relationships — a common theme: good enough to fuck, but not good enough in which to be in a relationship with. What is it about someone that makes them only good to fuck, but not good enough to cultivate a relationship? What is it that makes the folks who are sitting in the proverbial bleachers stay this way? How did it come to be? What is it about the proverbial players who are going for the gold that makes them stand out? Stellar? I’m learning that there are roles that we all play in life. Some of us are good and comfortable being in the bleachers. Some of us are good and content on winning that gold medal.  Some of us fall in between.

Just some thoughts. Discuss below.

Podcasting 101: The Beginning

This is the beginning of my podcasting series. Here you can learn all there is to know about getting your podcast up and running with ease.

You can listen to my podcast at 2Guys1Girlshow.com

email me if you have any questions!

xd@thexdexperience.com

 

Here’s the links I mentioned in the video:

Hosting:

http://www.podomatic.com
http://www.podbean.com

Microphones

Blue Mic Snowball: http://www.bluemic.com/products/snowball/

Amazon ($49): http://amzn.to/1NvO713

Blue YETI mic (used for 2 Guys And a Girl podcast): http://www.bluemic.com/products/yeti/

Amazon ($124): http://amzn.to/1YwaN1u

Recording

Audacity: http://www.audacityteam.org/download/

Editing

Adobe Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orJnMKm7Ano

I’m Lonely And You Probably Are Too

I haven’t been able to put in words what I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. You know when you have something to say, but aren’t sure how or what to say but you HAVE to get it out? On a train ride with a friend, she pieced it all together for me, and I came I had a bitter realization about myself and…the rest of the world. Let me explain.

I often see complaints about people’s dating lives. So many people I follow on social media lament over their dating woes and lack of love lives. Most of the complaints aren’t serious and rather trivial ranging from sexual positions or if the person has reliable transportation. I find myself thinking about these things, too and often times making mountains out of mole hills.

I also log on to Facebook and bitch and moan about another FB friend getting engaged or having a baby. It’s like, why on earth would I be upset about that? Those are joyous occasions and should be celebrated by everyone. And even if they’re ugly, at least you’d have something to laugh at, right?

So it’s like…what is wrong with me?

No one ever likes to admit that they’re lonely, but I guess I’ll set myself out there and truthfully admit that I am lonely. There’s power and freedom in pulling back the layers of what’s bothering us to get to the root of the issue. I find myself scoffing at happy couples, and where I publicly say that those things aren’t bothersome for me and that I mind my own business and all that jazz. In reality, as you get older, companionship–intimate companionship is the grand prize. Going through life alone is one of the worst things on the planet when the whole entire world hates you. I’m Black, gay, opinionated, with a platform–the world hates that. The world already marginalizes me, and that’s fine. But there’s a different type of sting when your heart is marginalized, too.

I’d even further venture to say that a lot of those people who do the same thing I do are just as lonely. I’m not sure how to “cure” this, but admitting it might be the first step.

 

Or maybe it’s just the lonely talking.

Grace and Mercy

My mother used to own a Pontiac. I can’t remember if it was a Thunderbird, but I remember it being a coupe and it was grey. It looked like a DeLorean and albeit small, it was always able to handle a 6ft Douglas Fir Christmas tree attached to the roof via twine. Around the holidays, Sis (my mother, see previous posts) and I would sing carols at the top of our lungs with all the riffs and runs that our Black, beautiful hearts could muster. My favorite was “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” I sang it and my mother always would reach and hug, or hold my hand when it came to the lyric “you can plan on me.”  That memory played out in my head as I handed in my resignation letter about 3 weeks ago.

In a post on my social work blog , I talk about the things leading up to me leaving. And where I have spoken about being too old to not do things that make you happy and the like, I think one of the lessons I’ve been needing to hear through this “journey to 30” is that having people in your corner that love you unconditionally is God’s grace and mercy smack dab in your face.

I think for a good portion of my life, I felt like I had to do everything alone. That’s commonplace for Black gay men–this idea that no one will understand us sans subjugation, ridicule, or sheer hate. We become hardened and cold because of it, impacting us almost at a cellular level as this idea of thinking impacts every facet of who we are and what we become. And….it doesn’t have to be this way. God, or whomever or whatever  you believe, fashions people to be in our lives to make it through–to survive. Through journey to 30 and the lessons that come with it, I can surely attest to the power of friendship, family, companionship, unwavering and unconditional love from a support system that’s divinely ordered.

 

Support (if you feel compelled) via paypal: XD@TheXDExperience.com

Work

When I first started this blog, it was for me to sort a bunch of these growing pains out. Tying loose ends, and trying to make sense of what my life has been and will be. I figured writing through it would help me, and perhaps those who read this site, help others too.

Let’s back track. I have a confession. I’m obsessed with working.

My mother always worked, and she still does. She works for a major retailer that’s in and out of hot water. It was her first and only job out of high school. It was always just she and I, and her rationale for anything and everything was “I have to work.” I find myself doing the same thing. Work is a mode of survival for most of us. It’s a source of fiscal support, and working gives you purpose…it also gives you an ego boost when you do a good job at something–a self esteem boost.

Over the last few months I realized that work, whether it was my full time job or doing ‘XD’ stuff, was an escape to not have to deal with real issues or people or things that I’m just afraid of doing for whatever reason. My obsession with work caused me to miss out on a bunch. So, I scaled back. That’s why I haven’t written much.

When Adele announced ’25,’ she explained that she had to live a little. I did too. Me not focusing on helping others, branding, or whatever and doing the things that make me happy and not worry about reproach was necessary. And honestly, that’s probably one of the hugest lessons I can take from this journey. I am too old to let life pass me by and not do things that make me happy. I am deserving of a happy life that is stress free, balanced, honest, and fun.

I spoke to my mother a few nights ago. She was just getting off work. I asked her for some money because, hell I live in New York City and shit is expensive. She obliged and she said to me that she would put it in my account when she got off of work the next day. She said jokingly, “You’ll take care of me soon, right?” She laughed.

 

“I will, once I figure this all out.”

 

“You will. Work through it.”

 

–XD.

I Don’t Want Kids

I have a niece. Her name is Noah. You’ve probably seen her around on instagram and such. She’s not my biological niece, but she calls me “Unkoh” and that’s just fine. We take selfies together with our tongues sticking out and we watch Elmo and “Spyman” (Spiderman) on occasion. My mother buys things for her, although they’ve never met. Noah’s mother, Jade, said to me recently that my mother buys things for Noah because she knows she’s not going to get any grandchildren.

When I was a kid, I always declared that I didn’t want children. I always jokingly told my parents that I didn’t want children because I didn’t want to be responsible for their hours and hours of therapy. When I came out to my mother, her immediate thought was grandchildren. I was her only “miracle” child as she was told she couldn’t have any before I was born. She figured I would get married and have children one day, eventually.

Going back to Jade’s words, I felt guilty. I’ve been wrestling with this guilt for the past couple of weeks and I don’t know how to process it. I guess a great part of getting older is this tussle between doing what’s right for you vs appeasing your parents. I don’t see children for me. My personality doesn’t welcome children in my life aside from the ones I can drop off to their parents house after a few hours. I know I can’t have kids to make my mother happy, but I want to make my mother happy. Does that make sense?

What’s interesting is that not wanting children (or marriage, we’ll get to that later) is that is has become a deal breaker in some of the men I have entertained as of late. I’m running into a lot more men who desire heteronormative romantic archetypes. In other words, I’m finding a lot of gay men who want to a lot of straight shit. And sure, having children isn’t necessarily a “straight” thing…but then…maybe it is?

I’m still figuring this all out, and I guess that’s what turning 30 is all about.

 

Anyone out there with me?

The Way Masculinity Is Set Up

“u masc” “Are you masculine?” “I prefer masculine niggas.”

I’ve talked about online dating here a couple of weeks back, and what I failed to mention is that online dating governs and dictates how a good portion of Black Gay Culture responds and reacts to things. It almost drives conversations at some point or another.

When I was a contributor at Mused Magazine, I’d often read Black Gay stories and the most visible, or shared, were ones about online dating in relation to preference. In essence, a lot of the things I read were about people being upset at the no fats no fems no whites credo that some folks to which adhere. I would never understand someone’s anger, hurt, frustration, or fear of someone else’s preference. I would always shove it off and say, “Well, let me focus on who likes men like me.” Whereas I do continue to share that same sentiment, the idea of masculinity has come up a lot in the thoughts I’ve had recently.

Folks argue that gender is a social construct and all that bullshit. Frankly, I don’t care about an ongoing sociological argument that won’t ever be palatable to an audience that would need to hear it most. What I’m trying to figure out is why masculinity is valued? And further, what does it mean to be masculine anyway?

I had a phone conversation with my good girlfriend who just finished her doctorate. We had an in depth conversation about…niggas. What rang true to both of us was something that I just happen to blurt out.

Well, I think men, straight and gay, do a lot of shit for appearances. They aren’t sure how to adjust their lifestyle to make it look a certain way. Masculinity is designed to be measured by another man’s worth….

That’s why I can’t get jiggy with gay men chasing this idea of a masculine man cuz it’s super insecure and silly

I’m not posing this as law, so much as this is something I’m questioning and leaning further to reject. We do a lot of shit for appearances, you know? Buy flashy things to “get women” or “get men.” We tend to honor this belief on making people feel bad about their circumstances. And don’t get me wrong, I do this. The other day, I tweeted something about “balling on fuckniggas,” because I mean…why wouldn’t you? I also think about tests of strength, like arm wrestling. I tend to think about men and their quest for their next nut to add to their list of bodies (this is more so for the straights, but it still rings true).

This all sounds so destructive, to me. Femininity isn’t the antithesis of masculinity as it comes with it’s host of issues. But in the context of us, or me, rather, I’m not sure I can continue to acknowledge masculinity as a commodity. In fact, it might just be a defense mechanism.

I’m still flushing this out. Maybe you can help. Share your thoughts.

When It Doesn’t Get Better

My mother was born in the late 1950s. A military family, she moved all over. Oklahoma, the Dakotas, Kansas, Missouri and finally settling in California in 1970. I call her Sis. 

Sis and her sister were one of the first Black children in an integrated school in Wichita. In the second grade, she and her sister entered the school with all eyes on them. She hated the attention. She also hated what she later learned as micro aggressions and…there was just flat out fucking racism. Her parents prayed through it and told her that this is just the way it is. Sis went on through life thinking this way–pray about it, ignore it and whatever it is, things will get better. 

She raised me to be this way. Ignore what’s happening, pray about it, it’s going to get better. 

It didn’t. 

I have gone through a lot, as a lot of us have. I was molested as a child. I was raped and gay bashed as a teen. My boyfriend committed suicide. I went through a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t have. 

Since then, I’ve unpacked and worked through those issues and I can thank God for being so well adjusted after all of these things. However, I never worked on addressing abuse head on. 

I’ve often told people to ignore abuse, you know? “Oh, just ignore them.” “They’re nobody.” “They’re not worth your time.” I’ve come to grow and understand that approach is more damaging than it is helpful. And I guess in turn, that makes me an abuser, too. I’m sorry for that. What’s helpful is to listen and support. 

That’s what I’ll do from now on.

For myself, too. 

Death is Dumb.

About three weeks ago, a friend of mine passed away. I didn’t really know how to process it, and I still don’t. My friend and coworker’s father passed away. She came to me for words of encouragement, and all I could do was provide a shoulder for her to cry.

I counsel for a living. I get paid, and essentially my life’s work, is based on listening, assessing, providing options, and support. And in order to do those things, you have to have some sort of grasp on what life has the ability to throw at you. I understand heartbreak. I understand drug addiction. I understand family issues, abandonment, trauma, rape, homosexuality, and a whole bunch of other things that I can say, “Okay, I can deal with this.” Yet, I can’t grasp death, especially not now.

My first experience with death was when I was 6. My grandfather passed away from a massive heart attack after a successful surgery that removed a tumor from his brain. I remember being able to see the form of the tumor. It was in his t-zone and I used to ask him why he frowned so much even when he smiled. I have faint memories of my grandfather. I petitioned at 3 years old for us grandkids to get a raise from $3-$5 because it wasn’t enough to get what we wanted from the ice cream man. Grandpa was a stout man. He had big hands but they were always welcoming, and warm. He was our jungle gym and let us play in the creek in the backyard even when G (my granny) said no.

We sat in the hospital for 6 hours for the surgery to be complete. We all saw him, and he was awake. He couldn’t speak because he had a tube down his throat, but he was responsive. He didn’t want us to leave because he hollered out when we turned our backs to leave the poorly lit room. The next day, we went to visit him at the hospital. He had died on our way there. There were a lot of tears, sure. I remember crying mainly because my G and my mother were crying. I remember crying because I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew I was supposed to do so. There was a whirlwind of family, stories, fights, and everything that goes with a funeral, and not once did anyone explain death to me. I didn’t ask either.

My mother always told me that she knew I was smarter that most and that I was able to navigate things on my own, and she rarely had to explain things to me. Where as I appreciate the compliment, I’m not sure this is one of those things I could’ve…gotten on my own. I’m 29 and I still don’t get it. I’m getting older, but I’m not supposed to be losing friends at this age, right? Isn’t that how life works?

There’s so many ideas and views on what death means, and I suppose I have the right to choose which fits most comfortably for my own good. But, what happens when the ones close to you, your age even, just…die? Is their life cut short? Were they here to fulfill a purpose? Did they fulfill it? Where do they go?

I think about children who die. They’re innocent. What lesson is to be learned? Why?

I think about people who live to be way into their centennial. Why them? Why do they get to live as long? Is it luck? Is their purpose not fulfilled?

I often joke about being pissed about dying early because I’ll miss a new Beyoncé album, or a new season of Love and Hip Hop. Laughter is the only thing that gets me through the unknown. It’s a scary place, and I honestly hate the shit.

What I do know is that I probably won’t figure it out until the end. And that’s…

 

yeah.

Hella Sensitive

I’ve been thinking a lot about love. Not necessarily what one would think about love, but what no one thinks about–err wants to think about, anyway: the end.

I haven’t been in a serious, committed, head-over-heels, you make me sick, inconvenient loving relationship since 2007. That’s right. It’s been almost a decade of weeks of dating men I’ve met only for the two of us to just say, “fuck it” and go our separate ways because God wasn’t finished healing us yet. And where I’m not sure I’m in a place to share my space with someone completely at the moment, I can’t help but think about break ups and how selfish they can be.

Break ups are selfish, you know? It’s literally one person deciding that they are done, and want to move on.

“This isn’t working for me. I need to do what’s best for me. I need to leave.”

This is frightening. I was told as you get older that you have less tolerance for bullshit, but no one told me that your heart becomes…hella sensitive. There’s no other smart way to describe it, but as such: hella sensitive.  Where I realize that I’m too old to not be doing things, or surrounding myself with people who don’t make me happy, I can’t help but wonder about the other person. How can one just leave something they’ve built with another person? How can one just…just leave?

 

More on this later.