straight from the heart

Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

Progress, Accomplishments & Prideful Celebration

In Education, Parenting on May 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

Twenty-three years ago today my first princess was born. She was such a cutie, quiet & full of smiles. Today she remains the same, just more beautiful! This weekend is her coming out party, her celebration, a celebration about her & all she has accomplished; no more than when she graduated from Stony Brook University this last Friday! The pride I felt to see her accomplish her goal is unexplainable. I sat there remembering all her doubts & struggles; the many conversations & “lectures”, her stresses before a tough exam or course. Through it all she persevered, not by just making it, but making it with success & some acclaim. As a parent, there is no better feeling than seeing your child reach a goal with such veracity! To see her smile after the ceremony was priceless. As the oldest, she has set a great example for her brother and sisters, something to emulate & strive for. My hope is that she takes this day, her 23rd birthday, to celebrate (responsibly of course 🙂 ) and applaud herself for all she’s done! Yes – it is she who accomplished this. We as parents may lay some groundwork or assist when needed, but ultimately it is the child who must take it, utilize it & grow from it. In that vain, she has succeeded. So go ahead and enjoy your weekend sweetheart! Have a great time, bask in your accomplishments. You earned it all. Just remember tho, this is just the beginning. Don’t stop now…..the fun has just begun.

To acquire knowledge one must study; but to acquire wisdom one must observe.

– Marilyn vos Savant

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Honor, Integrity & One’s Code

In Friendships, Relationships, Self-Improvement, Society, Spirituality on May 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Throughout my life I have struggled with many levels of betrayal from different folks. It didn’t always register with me, but I always felt a certain kind of way. It didn’t change how I treated or interacted with anyone, but it always left a bad feeling in my gut. Sometimes the betrayals were small in nature, while others were bigger. People would do or not do certain things, leaving me to question how or why. Sometimes, especially when younger, I would approach or call out some folks in an effort to understand their reasoning or inform them how it was not appreciated. As you can imagine, that did not always go over very well, so suffice it to say I had many battles. As I grew older, I would internalize it more and cope differently. Some of these instances, probably more than not, would be very minor to most folks, but to me – especially dealing with friends or family, always left an imprint. Even after these instances, I maintained solid relationships with most because of my sense of loyalty, attempt to accept or understand. But honestly it would chip away at me, sometimes manifesting in bitterness or distrust. I remember thinking one time if it was me? Was I just different? Why do these things bother me or why can I not be like everyone else and let stuff be? Now let me be clear, it wasn’t a difference of opinion or handling a situation correctly in a different way than I would-no; what I am trying to explain is when one of your “people”, who you have been there for whenever needed or helped or listened to or carried or supported, basically doesn’t reciprocate or even appreciate. Again to be clear, I never did anything with the intention of getting anything in return – never. It’s more a hey, we are “peoples” I got you; but I would be damned if others felt similarly. It wasn’t til I met a guy who became a sort of mentor to me, who after working with me for a few weeks, approached me with a smile while saying he understood me, claiming we were very similar. Surprised, I asked how so. He responded how I live by a code. A code he believes not everyone lives by. While humbled by his words, I gave it a little thought, but continued living. Recently I met another professional who after speaking with me a few times, reiterated the same exact thing. He also explained how I live by a certain code of honor & loyalty; a code of helping & thoughtfulness. How I am too hard on myself when things go awry. He mentioned selflessness and sincerity; passionate and thoroughness. To hear this again, it made me acknowledge how I do have a code I try to live by and how it can sometimes affect me when people portray a sense of loyalty or togetherness, but rarely act on it when it doesn’t benefit them or puts them out of their comfort zone. It’s like when you help your friend or cousin move, but when you need the help they are too busy. Or when you call your friends always asking bout their loved ones, but rarely is it initially asked of you. These are the minor ones, all which I am sure can be reasoned about or made excuses as to why, but ultimately it is a snapshot into who they are or what their code is. I understand people have different codes they live by, which is what makes this world interesting. But it’s when they are cingular in focus that give me pause. By no means does it make them all bad people, just different. Different can be great, but when it affects your code or moral fiber, then it may be time to loosen the cord or move on.

When someone shows you who they are you best believe them.

– Maya Angelou

Truth, Posturing & Keeping It Real

In Society on May 10, 2014 at 1:36 am

I pride myself on being real at all times. Trying to adhere to my moral code each and every day, even when the world around us tries to infiltrate and force us to change course. I even have the words Be Real tattooed on my back under a big dude, who’s there to watch my back against the posers; although I am not so sure he has done too good a job. I am not perfect, but I give it a helluva an effort. But what confuses me is when some brothers proclaim they keep it real as they denigrate the English language, dress a certain way for certain functions or behave in character, regardless who they offend. I started thinking more bout this recently as Allen Iverson’s jersey was retired by his old team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson was a great basketball player, one of the best “little” men of all time. He was fearless on the court & often singlehandedly beat the opposing team. But he was also known to be a selfish player, who wouldn’t listen to his coaches, could be a disruptive influence in the locker room & allegedly became a degenerate gambler. Since his playing days, his life has apparently spiraled downward, as has happened to so many other “ballers”. But I digress. During his jersey retirement ceremony, Iverson came out dressed as if he was in a rap video, wearing oversized clothes, gold chain, fedora type hat & glass-less frames. Now he can wear what he wants & he may be true to himself, which is of utmost importance, but what irked me a bit was when other players, current & retired, began a social media campaign applauding Iverson’s “realness” & how he’s “the realest to ever play the game”. Really? How is that? Cause he spoke in slang? Dressed “hip”? Chose to play a team game by his own rules? Now I reiterate, I appreciate Iverson being real to himself & being himself around others. I also respected his game. He is who he is – so big ups to him, but when all the previous players who’s jersey have been retired came out in custom suits & speaking eloquently, they were not being real? They weren’t the realest? Try telling Jim Brown or Bill Russell that! How bout Kareem? He wasn’t as real? Come on son!! We have to stop teaching the brothers & sisters in our communities that being real isn’t dressing or acting a certain way and definitely not speaking a certain way. That being kind, thoughtful and attentive is not weak, but can actually signify “real” strength and character. Why is it when someone strives to elevate his game, to improve his situation by educating himself, dressing “professionally” or speaking using proper enunciation, he’s not real or is a sell-out? Truth is that’s real. That person could be acting true to self, to their ambitions, their beliefs on the best way to promote themselves on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean they are all real too, hell no. There are plenty of people faking the funk in all walks of life. I am positive we all know phony’s. And if we truly think about it, I am sure we can come to the realization that they all come in different packages.

What I moved out the ghetto so I ain’t real now?

– 2Pac

Caring, Effort & A Good Father’s Pain

In Family, Love, Parenting on May 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm

When does it start? When does your child begin to disregard all you have taught him by example, let alone words, and instead begins to listen or allow outside influences to cloud their thoughts and shape their behavior? To in some instances, turn against their father in ways not understood? Now all father’s are by no means created equal. There are plenty of father’s out there who are not involved in any meaningful way, who are by all intents and purposes, donors. They deserve the resentment that may come their way. But the funny thing is, sometimes…shoot most times, these jokers are never subject to any. This post is about the pain a good father feels when his likeness turns on him for reasons outside his control. The hurt a good father feels when he looks in his son’s eyes and sees a blankness, a resentment or a misplaced anger, even while his own eyes show the hurt he can’t hide even when he tries. There is an emptiness a good father feels after all he has done or tried to do for his seed(s), only to be told he does nothing, means nothing or is not cared for, even though he knows those sentiments may be coming from elsewhere. At some point, the child – regardless of what he hears elsewhere, must recognize or realize what is right and make his own decisions. My eyes well up just writing this, thinking of all the efforts a good father continues to make, with indifference returned to him. How alone he feels, when others who know better, either remain silent or by continued association, stay on the sidelines, watching the crime unfold – but yet do little to prevent it. Yet, even through it all, a good father perseveres. He continues to try to get through to a piece of his heart, even when he’s obviously not being heard or appreciated. All the good father can do during his private moments, is hold his head high as he looks in the mirror, a tear running down his face, and feel a comfort -small as it may be – knowing he’s done all he can. Unfortunately, try as they may, it doesn’t dilute the struggle or hurt. A good father pushes forward, amidst the turmoil, always letting his child know he is there for them. Is tough love going forward the answer? How much is a good father supposed to accept when unconditional love is not working? When is it ok for him to resist, while he awaits for his child’s awakening? The truth is all a good father can do is try to understand the root of the issues & where it comes from; to be there when that awakening finally comes with open arms. So until that time comes, I will always remain your FATHER.

There is a time for departure even when there’s no place to go.

– Tennessee Williams