🌤A New Beginning🌈

Kisses from a-broad.

It’s taken a couple months to write again. Many personal and professional happenings needed to run their course. It was more important to be mindful of what was taking place than to document the narrative.

I find it is important to take time to refine oneself, polish the stone with wind or water, shaping and changing. I’m sure this can be agreed upon. However, the how in “taking time” is very personal. It’s unique to you alone. The most loving partner can only support this process that they themselves cannot avoid.

The more difficult circumstance is contending with these transformations without support. The crux is that new beginnings occur whether we ask for them or not. Our preparation must come in the form of daily living. Constructive habits that contribute to the lifestyle and wellbeing we want to project. This contribution is not always found in huge efforts to radically alter our existence but small, progressive attitudes and actions that benefit our overall desires.

What would the post card read if I wrote myself a note at the culmination of that short journey? It would be curt and unimaginative. I learned that quiet and pain and fear have a crucial relationship with one another. Many moments of pain can make one moment of relief, like ecstasy. You hold on to that slight freedom and make believe all the things you’ll accomplish. Success becomes a smile and a laugh before the rush of discomfort overtakes the previous aim.

It’s not over. It’s just begun to attack everything you had once maintained as right. As doable. One day turns to one week, then two, and the realization that change is far from a choice is shouted in your ears. It’s deafening.

After it changes you, be prepared to discuss those changes with your people. Those closest to you should know you are not who you used to be, pretended to be or maintained yourself as…tell ’em who you are now. The reel running your show in their head probably needs editing and an update. Sure, you are still the same essential you, but now you’ve been forced to evolve and see your transformation for what it is…about time!


Because I Said So: A King’s Response

There are fewer indicators that somebody means what they say than actually saying what they mean. This week Kanye West (KW) and DJ Khaled (DJK) have had a monologue with the world. Soliloquies that do not include the actual love they have a espoused for the past years. A message of love that was clearly a gimmick meant to pull in young audiences and brand them as cross-cultural creative ambassadors.

Now the cats out the bag. Puss is in boots and these boots were made for walking.

Despite what these men have said, the conversation is really about how egomaniacal and self-centered these husbands are towards their audience and, more directly, their wives. As single men, they took one approach towards their fans and brands. Now that they are married with progeny, these men feel that they have advice to share from their positions in society. But, just like Jay Z, grown men’s revelations are their own, some are just fortunate to make money putting their thoughts on wax. The difference is how the message is delivered and KW and DJK possess no finesse in their delivery. Ironically, this is about their inability to use their mouths for good.

These two points of contention need to be addressed: (1) can you base the evolution of your thoughts on evidence of new learning and (2) does anyone benefit from your ideas but yourself?

If your answers are NO then there’s a problem and it’s YOU. Learning is a life long process. If we stop reading and having dialogues we impede our personal and collective growth. Without dialogue we cannot change minds but dialogue requires all parties to listen to what the other has to say. Maybe it’s basic and altogether irrelevant but you have to hear it to know. Then you can begin to adjust and determine what is wisdom and what is utterly damaging self righteousness.

In the words of DJK, “Congratulations, you played yourself!” Karma is sure-fire and ever present. The need for attention and to maintain a masculine profile has brought to light how troubling the rationale of men can be. It is damaging to all parties. It damages our relationships and our communities. Let’s practice the ART of COMMUNICATION.

The Spiral 💔🌪

img_1423.jpgIt fluctuates between the confessions of love and the demand for performance. The success of laughter and the failure of words. The thought of familiarity and the knowledge that it remains superficial.

It’s easy to fall back into the Spiral. You’ve talked yourself out of the manipulation and into new possibilities. Then, They, turn your desire for new possibilities into an expression of selfishness and opposition. I mean, it must be understood that you can’t expect Them to take news positively if They view it as bad. There is no changing their mind to accept the set of criteria you are presenting as reasonable practices for breaking up fair. Some people are used to extremely destructive behaviors being the cause of their separation. Some realize they’re just growing apart. Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective.

Speaking of perspective…the Spiral requires that you have a keen awareness of problematic habits brought out or performed by Them and are still open enough to listen to the pain of their suffering. Even if it’s the suffering they bring on themselves.

We can’t expect them to perfect the relationship hustle any time soon. So the question is whether or not the length of the process is worth the wait? People are always worth our time. BUT, they are not entitled to take from us what they never intend to replenish. The sad part is when they recognize there is nothing left.

However the saddest part, is that the Spiral stems from childhood and adolescence when we learn how to respond to the emotional needs of others. If we are given limited img_1422opportunities to express ourselves and feel our feelings, we may repeat these behaviors into adulthood because they’ve never been corrected. It is difficult to reserve our corrections, the learning from our lessons for the experience of intimate partnerships. Will we have enough experience to draw from…or perhaps too much? If we put this work off, then we risk learning far too late how to improve ourselves and be a person who is capable of being in a long term relationship.


Gaslighting Between the Lines

Image result for stock photosWhen people cross the line, we generally know what that means to us. Either you’re not very smart or I’m getting to know you in an entirely different light. So what happens when the person who is testing you knows how to draw within the lines. They use their knowledge of you to guide every conversation towards them being the authority on a subject. You are left in a defensive position and if you speak on it, you will be considered the person who is making it impossible for the two of you to move forward, beyond the same argument.

This reminds me of the film industry right now, vying for the dollars of its patrons but forever doubting their requests for representation and a sharing of power. So, the patron has decided to use their wallet wisely and support business and creative projects that clearly benefit them directly. This is the wake up call the complacent partner needs. If you don’t realize they are ready for change in a way that misses your definition of change then perhaps you are in need of an amicable separation.

It’s too difficult for one person in a relationship to carry he weight of the entire partnership. In fact, it might not even be a partnership, but a long term arrangement no one is defining but by the terms of a hetero-normative society.Image result for stock photos change direction

Labels or no labels, there are agreements people make to help them determine their compatibility and ongoing growth. Some open their boundaries and some define their boundaries. Some even break the contracts they set years ago and forgot about.

It is more important to listen to the difficult information your partner has to share than determine you can create a reality they never poke holes through.

You’re not strong enough, skilled enough to create and uphold a world that is selfish and unreal. One that is incompatible with the very person you are trying to keep, to impress upon them that you’ve changed or are worth the investment of intelligence and emotions. No one is guaranteed the privilege of keeping their best lover. Things happen and get in the way. The best we can do is learn from the small criticisms, whether true or not. The more gaslighting your partner participates in, the more you know they are afraid of being an authentic person, vulnerable to ideas that may call then to the table.


Relationship Primer: A setting for happiness

Primer has saved the face of many a cosmetic user. A couple of sprays in the morning and you have a full day of long wear makeup. Unfortunately, this is not true for relationships.

Primers help set things in place, but they can’t keep them their forever; looking fresh and new, feeling youthful. At the end of the day the makeup has to come off to allow your skin to breath, to remove the soot of the day, to let the perfection go. And it’s in this moment that a relationship is tested. Are you able to refresh your perspective on how to engage your partner and the goals you’ve set? Did you even set any goals? Are there goals? Do you share them? Do you still know your partner? Have they changed? Have you noticed?

Happiness is not something someone else gives or makes…it is. Your partner can’t make you happy. They can live in such a way that the environment is conducive to receiving and giving so that happiness is experienced. When a feeling like happiness is considered something someone else is responsible for then you are not in control of it and it remains an external force. You are left waiting for happiness to arrive instead of knowing that happiness is all around, it just may be blocked by the circumstances of your life.

Happy is an elusive state of being. If we are too attached to it and where we believe it has come from, then we become dependent on that false source. To recognize the multitude of expressions one must reveal in their own life, is to understand that one person is complicated in and of themselves. We are desperately complicated. Put one and one together and you get two humans with myriad of layers and details. The problem we create is trying to sort out all of these complications into compartments so they can be dealt with instead of simply understood. Many of us skip the understanding part of knowing our partner and rest in “all you need to do is”…love me?

Love and happiness are not inextricably linked in relationships. Love does not extrapolate the needs of your partner. Happiness does not sustain love. Sustenance comes from the work one does in being a friend, building a real partnership. Much of the work will come from communication and the method one uses to do so. Many of us are not taught how to communicate or actively listen, we simply have picked up cues throughout the years. Others seek a high level of communication and are rejected by the notion that this is even necessary. After all, a relationship is not a thesis, right? Why do we have to sort out all ideas and feelings and causes and effects? Probably because if you want to be in a conscious, present, nourishing relationship you have to challenge yourself to give and receive in the same way.

It’s sad how long some of us wait within the cells of a relationship before breaking out. I have heard too many stories of couples that have been together over 11 years and it’s been nothing but drama and trauma. Have we ignored the co-dependent nature of our society? And why are we replicating this unhappiness for ourselves and our children?

At the end of the day, we take off the primer (that set the makeup that made the day). We must remove what has soiled us, what will build up and clog the places from which we breath. From the song Love and Happiness, it is only too true:

I have to say
Love and happiness (love and happiness)
Love and happiness (love and happiness)
You be good to me
I’ll be good to you
We’ll be together, yeah
We’ll see each other
Walk away with victory, yeah oh baby

The People’s Celebrant

Economically challenged people have the right to participate in the institution of marriage. To celebrate the life of a loved one who’s passed.

I want people to know that if these things are a part of the scheme of their happiness, they can reach out to an officiant that is inclusive and attentive. I welcome all couples and all occasions.

This is a new prospect for me. As a couple embarking on the next step in their relationship, we have this in common. I take the responsibility seriously and believe it an honor to support others happiness.

This is a simple declaration that I’m here, a certified wedding officiant in New York, and if you are a couple outside the paradigm that needs help, it’s here.


Embracing the Darkness 🧟‍♀️

I have determined that the negativity I have expressed in my life has had a purpose. Most people have taken that purpose away and repositioned it as a darkness that must be purged, a choice that was made to not look at the good. But this isn’t true. It’s far from the truth because without good you cannot have evil, there is a balance in the universe, there are the Eight Winds and there is a reason we as humans experience joyful moments and those of suffering too.

I have learned a lot from the challenges that I faced, in those that I ran from and had to face anyway. It’s lead me to question important aspect of my identity as well as society. It’s made me a critical thinker. But it has not caused me to forget the notion of happiness and it’s expression in my life.

Happiness is not always the extension of your lips across your face or the showing of teeth. It is quiet, calm, prepared and content. It is joyful, expressive and loud. It’s many things, but the norm tends towards identifying happiness as an exuberant expression of fulfillment.

I recently watched Temple Grandin’s story with Claire Danes as the lead. So many individuals on the Autism/Aspergers spectrum do not show their emotions the way many of us expect. Instead of this 😂 you get 😐 and instead of ☹️ you get this 🤯. It’s fair to all of us if we begin to refuse old ideas of observing behavior and pick up new ways of understanding it and letting it go.

Happiness is one of the eight winds. It is not the only emotion you need to survive. It is what everyone needs to live their best life but it is not our only tool in the kit. We must forge swords and shields for those who take it upon themselves to infiltrate. They must not sway the causes you make with their own feelings.

2018: A New Day in a New Year

This new year has brought many resolutions and determinations to create positive changes within our individual lives. People are choosing to make clear statement about how they want to live and how they’re going to be treated and how they’re going to help others do the same. I hope these things could be true for me; It’s one day at a time, one determination each day.

Most of us are asking the universe for success, successes I’m sure people have earned and worked earnestly for, however it’s hard to compete with success. All of the extremely positive posts of social media users fixing their lives and re-positioning themselves in the world. It’s difficult to know what that will truly look like for those of us who feel bound to the past and procrastination. This procrastination isn’t the kind that you dealt with in high school, and you needed to turn in an assignment and couldn’t meet a deadline. This inertia is fueled by years of unrealistic expectations and beaten paths that were not mine and the true feeling of invisibility.

2018 is another year on the Gregorian calendar. I expect that I will have to wake up each day and consider what I should do. Should I go into work and bang my head against the wall. Should I tell people that I need a change of scenery and venue. Or can I hope against hope that this year will make me feel real again.

I never thought I would become an automaton. I was too decisive and independent. But the more I grew up and tackled the world around me the more I realized my shield and my sword we’re gonna take some time to forge. In the meantime I was borrowing from the proof of small things. Small treasures that hold value beyond their size and monetary worth. I hope for the simple things again; nothings simple anymore.

2017 The Year that Was

The children in this picture had no idea what 2017 would be like. It was an intangible future that could only be realized through movies and imagination. There are many professionals pictured here, a doctor, even, and the kid wearing the shirt that says Lee is named Lee. I have three cousins in this picture and I don’t talk to any of them for any particular reason.

It seems that with the year ending everyone is reflecting on the positives of what 2017 brought them. Perhaps it’s too clear and too much of a daily reminder to reflect on the negatives. There are too many and no therapist on site. This picture is a reminder that the past was and the future will forever be the thing we are walking towards.

If you could only be five again, but then again being five wasn’t perfect.

2017 put a fire under my ass to work hard and be recognized for that. I attempted to manage my life but the changes kept coming. I’ve always either been a student or teacher so I gauge my year by whether or not I’m in school. The beginning of the year is September the end of the year is June. However, if I’m looking at 2017 from January to December I have no idea what transpired. I’m sure I got myself in trouble at work. I built two new units for freshman. Still no work doesn’t validate itself. The emotional well-being of my students is of the upmost importance and it seems that they are all losing their shit at the same time. So I think we went from worse to worst. We are all a little broken right now which is completely fine, but it’s quite difficult to be broken and putting other people back together.

I look forward to the positive changes that will take place in my life. I’ve learned a lot about the threats that impact the lives of so many people who are ignored on a daily basis. Sneaking on the bus to beat the fare. Living check to check. Medical mysteries. Refusing to ride in an ambulance. Living in a food desert. Move to another food desert. Health care. Mental health. 2017 might have been the year to admit my job has developed some sort of PTSD I have to face.

I am determined to take care of the things I’ve been ignoring because my job took precedence over my life. Once you owe people money, for that degree you earned, you don’t feel free until you’ve paid it off.Student loan collectors are relentless–I took care of it. Now I need to continue working towards abundance and mindfulness and always appreciation.

I am also determined to be more patient with myself and free myself from anything that has bound me to rejection. I definitely have an unhealthy relationship with rejection. As much as I can explain that young men have to face rejection as they grow up and approach individuals as a part of life; I can’t seem to bring myself to let go of the validation of others. I believe once this is not a part of my job, where my work truly speaks for itself, i’ll be able to separate criticism from personal evaluation.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy and fabulous new year! If we don’t have our own fabulousness then what do we have? 2018 here we come.


Paradigm Shift, Mindfulness, and Personal Empowerment

Tom & Tom : Black Like You

All things culture, with a splash of color