straight from the heart

Archive for 2016|Yearly archive page

Work, Blessings & A Random Thought

In Family on December 21, 2016 at 9:03 am

As I sit on a plane heading to Atlanta for business,  I was just told to be prepared to give a speech to our staff at our Corporate event, outlining our company and its direction.  So I begin to think of the year that is passing & the year ahead, which led me to think of all the past, present and future hard work & obstacles I will have to undertake to get to where we as a company and I as an individual want to be.   In the midst of that, I began to focus on all the blessings I have had in my life, both personal and business oriented.  If I was to comment on all of them, I’d be writing a chapter as opposed to a blog post, so I will thank the good Lord now for all of them.  But I’d be remiss if I did not focus on my biggest blessing, my children and all the excitement of having them in my life, which would not be the same without them.  To honor them, I will try to use a few words to describe them:

Mariah – focused & compassionate. My eldest princess.  She is hard working and understanding; respectful and diligent. Non-judgemental. So proud of her!  No one has ever said a negative word bout her – except maybe her sisters. Lol. Future Leader!

Caresse – carefree & sweet. The next princess.  She lives life w/no worries. Always smiling with a calmness about her.  Has a way of making those around her smile. On her way!

Chelsea – thoughtful & social w/a flair about her, but tough. She’s my mini-me in many ways.  My next princess.  Very family oriented & sensitive. Caring & helpful. Full of spunk!

Jared – innocent & responsible. My only son.  Strong minded & loyal. Tougher than he looks, but shy.  All the kids love him.  Cautious, but figuring it out!

Cosette – classy & quiet. My next princess.  She’s dignified & intelligent with a world of potential. Studious & inquisitive w/compassion. The world at her fingertips!

Cambrie – rambunctious & independent. My littlest princess (about to be 3). My angel. Full of life, infectious personality. Loveable. Can’t wait to see her grow! 

So there it is. Thank you Lord for these beautiful children & allowing me to be a part of their lives. 

Now I gotta get back to the work part….

I’d rather be a man who has nothing but has it all, than a man who has it all but has nothing. 

              – Sugar Ray Leonard

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Sadness, Anger & A Message To Our Young Brothers

In Racism, Society on July 8, 2016 at 12:19 pm

I am both sad and angry today.  As most of you have probably read and seen, there have been “at least” two more murders of Black males at the hands of law enforcement.  As result of that and the feeling of hopelessness and unfulfilled justice, vigilantes then struck in Dallas, killing at least five law enforcement officers at a protest rally.  I have said this for many years, if the mistreatment, harassment and unjustified killings of people of color continued – a new civil war would erupt or as wifey recently stated – more like a revolution would commence.  Now, I know a lot of police officers, my dear brother being one, and I can understand their stresses; I can even see how some of these things happen in certain cases and how the general population wrongly jump to conclusions right away, but real talk, I am done!  I don’t want to hear any more excuses as to why this keeps happening.  This has been happening much too often to ignore or brush off as just training issues.  Police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly twice each week. That’s nuts.  Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved. Only 1 of 2 officers convicted for their involvement in Matthew Ajibade’s death received jail time. He was sentenced to 1 year in jail and allowed to serve this time exclusively on weekends. WTF?!?!? The post reported that “Unarmed black men are seven times more likely than whites to die by police gunfire.”  Now why in the hell is that?  Really?  Is it that we are more menacing looking?  Intimidating? One of the killings was a 12 y/o black male youth in Ohio who was playing w/a toy gun in the park w/his 14 y/o sister.  A cop pulls up & begins shooting!  Kills the boy dead – no questions asked.  I get shivers thinking of that.  Shivers of anger and confusion.  How bout Mr. Walter Scott in Charleston, SC, shot in the back as he ran away  and then seeing as the cop tried to plant a gun near him.  What also angered me with this one was seeing a black female cop arrive on the scene and do absolutely nothing, but stand guard of the dead man!  And now these two latest murders – cause let’s face it, they are murders – of Alton Sterling and the incomprehensible murder of Philando Castile in Minneapolis after being stopped for a broken taillight with his girlfriend and her 4 y/o daughter in the car – even after he told the cop he had a gun on him in which he was licensed to carry.  The cop asked for his license and registration then shot him as he went to get it!  Did I mention there was a 4 y/o child in the car!!!  Shooting with a child present??  Mr. Castile had his seatbelt on the whole time, thus restricting his movement somewhat.  Where you that afraid Mr. Officer that you not only murder an innocent man, but put a 4 y/o child in harms way?? These are just some we know about because they made national news.  In 2015, an unarmed mentally ill man in Texas was killed while holding a fucking soup spoon!  As a person of color who grew up in a rough environment during the drug craze of the 80’s, this shit hits home.  There were several times in my youth where this easily could have been me.  Some of you reading this know quite well the hell I am talking bout.  I have been accosted, detained, pushed & even “pulled on” twice for no reason other then for “looking the part” or having the audacity to question their actions.  I sighed as I wrote that, a tear nearly dropping, as I remember those times and continue to believe it was my brother blood who was looking out for me from above.   Let’s analyze this for a minute.  Is it the lyrics to our songs that get them nervous or afraid?  Is it how we dress, walk, talk or carry ourselves.  They root for our athletes, our entertainers and visit our doctors, but they shoot our children dead in the street.  I plead with all our youth, please check yourselves.  Give them no reason – even tho recently that doesn’t seem to matter.  When you get stopped, and I DO MEAN WHEN NOT IF, you get stopped, chill and do what is requested; answer politely while holding in your frustrations.  Take the ego loss – it’s a situation you/we can not win.   Never reach for anything & always keep you hands visible.  Pull up your damn pants and button your shirts.  Stop all this colors shit, talking shit bout what you gonna do or not do….real gangsters move in silence anyway.  Respect yourselves and your fellow brothers….don’t you see what can happen?  What risk you put us all in??  You get pulled over, shut your mouth & just follow instructions.  What’s the point of flexing?  Now I am not saying its anyone’s fault.  Shit these law enforcement entities need to better train their officers, realize they are scared, prejudiced, bigots or incapable of “protecting and serving” us.  I know some cops who have no business being on the job!  Down-low criminals  – for real.  To all you brothers who are in law enforcement – DO SOMETHING DAMN IT!!  No way you guys can not see what the fuck is happening & not feel some kind of way.  I could have gone into law enforcement – had several opportunities – but was turned off by the arrogance and bullshit I saw.  God knows what he does for sure, cause God knows I would have not stood for this shit in my house.  I would have been a Serpico (look it up) type and probably would have had some major issues with some of these bastards.  How could any of you just stand there and allow this to keep happening to your fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and friends.  Yes it seems no one of color is immune.  Right now it’s hard for me to look at some of these dudes and not feel angry; not question them in my mind as I walk by – what type of cop are you??  I do not like that feeling.  I thought I left those thoughts alone years ago.  Yet here we go, 2016, and has there really been much change??  And where the hell are all the big time athletes & entertainers??  Where is our generations Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul Jabbar & Mohammed Ali??  Some make little comments, some may wear a T-shirt, but where is the outreach?  The boycotts?  The real dialogue that can help bring change & awareness???  Instead you rather maximize your advertising dollars and not make any waves.  Well in the immortal words of Tupac Shakur – “Fuck All Y’all!”  Stand the fuck up and be accounted for.  For whatever reason, God has blessed all of you with some power – power of $$, power of a fan based, power from your skill sets – something – use it then!  Use it to help those that need it right about now.  I don’t want to hear people like Jordan, Barkley or Woods say it’s not their jobs to be role models or to get involved.  Yes the fuck it is!!  You are in the spotlight, for whatever reason people listen to ya’ll and care bout what you have to say – for whatever dumb reason, so use it man.  Be a man, a black man at that, and lend a hand.  Shit, maybe one day it will be one of your own laying in the street.

 “Where’s our part of the American dream?!”

                            – Malcom X (1961)

 

Appreciation, Lack There Of & Father’s Day

In Family, Love, Parenting on June 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

Father’s Day.  A day meant to celebrate those men who have handled their business, been an integral part of their children’s lives & have left their footprint on their families.  The reality is father’s are mostly under appreciated and taken for granted; they play second fiddle to ma dukes & it isn’t even close.  No matter what good or how many sacrifices a father has made, mom’s always take top billing.  When something goes wrong – dad’s fault.  When relationships end – what did dad do?!?  When the children have to finally fend for themselves – dad never helped.   When decisions or advices are given – let me see what mom says or the enteral “…well mom thinks….” It’s crazy to me. Now all good moms deserve kudos, for sure!  I mean I love my momma dearly and that love is well deserved, but I loved my dad just as much; appreciated all he did and provided. I tried to let him know whenever I could how much too.  The advices given, the life lessons, the time spent coaching, car pooling etc.  At times it’s like we are just participants in their lives.   Any news to share, we have to hope the wives fill us in.  Any mistakes or tumbles occur moms are given first crack at resolving or providing comfort.  God forbid a father makes a mistake or says the wrong thing, the backlash is swift and lasts a while; for mothers – maybe an hour or two.  For you step-dads out there, this is magnified.  At times it feels like you fall behind not only mom, but friends, family members, social media and the family pet!  Good Father’s take solace in knowing they are doing all they can, as best as they can, in making sure their charges grow up to be honorable and responsible adults.  We have to keep pushing forward, unnoticed to make sure all ends well.  Keep providing, protecting and loving.  It’s what good dads do. So for all you good dads out there, enjoy your one day in the sun.  Take in all your efforts, love them all the same and smile knowing you are doing one hell of a job!  

Happy Father’s Day my good brothers!

There are two things we give our children – one is roots the other is wings.

               – Unknown

Thoughts, Surroundings & Positive Deposits

In Education, Family, Friendships, Love, Relationships, Religion, Spirituality on February 19, 2016 at 10:21 am

Been doing a lot of thinking recently; I mean I am always thinking don’t get it twisted, but been doing more thinking about my surroundings, my interactions and my “people” / network.  It seems the older I have become, the more wise I try to be, the less tolerance I am developing.  All my life I have strived to always do the right thing by others – not always myself.  I have always tried to help when needed, asked or implied.  I have always tried to impart any knowledge I may have on a subject or use my influence or connections to assist others.  I have neither been perfect nor always cautious with my approach, but I have always been consistent.  Basically, I have always tried to leave a positive or helpful deposit regardless of “delivery”.  I have been taking stock of the deposits those around me, past or present, have made in my life.  In being honest with myself, I have to admit – there have been only a small few who have made positive deposits, especially on a consistent basis.  Very few have ever added or done anything without an ulterior motive or “want” in return.  They are all cool, don’t get me wrong, as long as there is a benefit in it for them or a need within them are satisfied.  They take all the time, be it actual time, energy, emotion, money etc…, but do they ever leave a deposit?  When you are in need are they there to lend an ear, a hand or a shoulder?  Sometimes it’s just knowing you can count on someone or someone actually “listening” when you need to get something off your chest.  What’s crazy is when you choose not to give in or can not assist a person who you have always tried or have helped, how quick they flip and attack.  They start to judge or become accusatory of your efforts, not seeing the pattern they have always exhibited.  It’s always about them, never about you.  Then you start hearing how “you’ve changed”, “you don’t care anymore” or the best one “you forgot where you came from”.  Nah, its not that.  Honestly it could mean you just couldn’t provide the necessary assistance or the assistance provided could not solve the actual issue.  Perhaps the positive deposit being left is trying to help them problem solve on their own or see the pattern they’ve created, while giving them the room to adjust and fix.  It’s not always that one specific instance, but rather all the instances before or after that will continue if the pattern is not altered.  Sometimes it’s about big picture processing not individual, micro instance occurrences.   And oh boy, when you call them on this, well – that’s a whole other post.  Suffice it to say, the onus and wrath is put on you and the issue at hand gets blurred.  We as people do evolve, not so much change.  Our perspectives, based on life experiences change.  We must adapt for sure.   Life is full of stresses, most self created.  Our time and energy is limited, especially the older we become.  Thus we must surround ourselves with individuals who consistently leave positive deposits in our lives. I can only assume this is why some folks find God; it gives them that positive infusion of hope and purity we all seek.  I am not saying forget all the old heads, never that.  What I am saying out loud – truly hoping that I am hearing myself, is to just try to guard your time, heart and soul more.   Take stock of those who provide the positive deposits in words, actions or shared experiences, even when they are masked in ways we choose not to see.

They say I’ve changed, I say you didn’t.

– Joe Budden

Poverty, Basic Needs & The Different Faces of Bigotry

In Politics, Racism, Society on February 8, 2016 at 7:48 am

Racism in America exist. Still does and sadly it appears it always will.  You see it everyday in their eyes, their responses. You feel its presence in interactions. You read about it in the news.  You see it play out in the media. I mean how is it that Floyd Mayweather gets roasted for his boastful antics, but Connor McGregor isn’t?  Now I am not a fan of how Floyd promoted himself – I am a big fan of his skills – but McGregor is just as boastful and disrespectful to his opponents yet is categorized as a colorful, exuberant character?  Huh?!? BUT this blog is not about that type of bigotry – more on that at another time. This is about the bigotry that transcends race, color or creed.  It’s the bigotry of the rich vs poor, the haves vs have nots.  This has never been more evident than the water scandal in Flint, Michigan, a hard scrabble, blue collar city.  If this was a more affluent city, do you really think this would have happened AND continued once the problem was brought to light?!?  Come on now!  This has been a disgrace. Children have suffered all in the name of money.  Think this would happen in Scarsdale, NY? La Jolla, CA? I think not.  It doesn’t stop there. How many times have you heard or read about some wealthy person who gets away with a crime cause they could afford to sweep it away.  The other day I was at a dinner in Baltimore with some attorney clients of my firms. The fact they were all Caucasian, while usual, wasn’t the focus.  The conversation turned to a couple of people, teenagers & adults alike, who had committed an injustice or crime (regardless of the severity) and due to connections or money for proper representation, were able to “get off” with nary a fine.  Being a man of color, with modest means & a hard scrabble upbringing, it rankled me. It’s not like I did not know this occurs, but to hear it then & there, coupled with the mater of fact sound in their voices – I had to comment.  I told them of a recent story I had heard when a truck driver, who was a man of color, was delivering some equipment to my home.  As I usually do, I chatted him up as I appreciated him delivering my shipment. Somehow the conversation turned to him advising he had done two years in prison. When asked why, he explained assault.  Apparently, he was at a bar when he got into an argument with another patron, someone he knew of, who had been harassing his son.  He admitted they were both a little inebriated so it escalated. Noticing it was getting heated, he decided to walk away, but the other patron, a younger Caucasian male followed him outside & tried to attack him.   He defended himself & apparently “beat this boy down.”  He of course got arrested and charged, even though he had witnesses collaborating his story.  He could not afford a good attorney and thus was forced to take a plea deal, which resulted in his two year stint, even tho the injured party decided not to press charges! If he had money would he had done time?  I think not!  The table grew somber for a few as they took in every word.  Their eyes told the story.  This story happens everyday all over the world. It doesn’t make the news, but affects many. Bigotry and injustice comes in all forms.  Working class and people with less monetary means (I hate using the description of poor people, cause they can be people of character, joy, dedication and thus never a “poor person”) feel it everyday on our roads, in our schools and with our healthcare.  The people of Flint deserved better.  It is their right as humans to drink water without the fear of getting sick.  It was a travesty without reproach and needs to be used as an example for all humanity’s sake.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. 

           – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Experiences, Homlessness & Sometimes Why 

In Society on January 28, 2016 at 11:08 pm

Everyday on my way to work, as I exit the train at Penn Station and join the heard of others dragging their behinds to work, one can see an unfortuantely high amount of homeless and sometimes mentally unstable individuals roaming about.  Some are sleeping on the sidewalks, asking for change or meandering about, as we make our way to our final destination.  It’s a daily observation and one that is both disheartening and frustrating. This morning as I was walking to work, I overheard two obviously more fortunate people blasting what appeared to be a homeless male who they had to sidestep. I overheard them say a few vile things, obviously judging this person rather harshly.  I wanted to share a story with them, if only time permitted, but they hurried along, not caring too much about why this person was the “way he was”.   I shook my heard as I remembered one evening when I was in 9th grade, I was on a the train heading back home to the Heights.  I had just finished wrestling practice and had picked up a turkey sandwich and some warm donut holes from the comer deli next to the school. The deli owner knew when I was in training I usually had to cut weight before my match, but as a treat, every Monday, he would save me a dozen warm ones.  This particular day I only ate half my sandwich and closed the bag. Out of the corner of my eye I observed a disheveled man staring at either me or my bag of goodies. I asked him if he wanted the bag of food, but he politely responded “no sir”. Taken aback by his politeness, I urged him to please take it as I was not going to eat it. Shocked, I remember him saying “really??  Are you sure”, all the while I am thinking – no biggie.  When I walked over and handed him the bag, he took it and ate it so fast, I am not sure he even tasted it.  I sat back down, thinking nothing else of it.  Maybe ten minutes later this same gentleman approached me, profusely thanking me for what he described as my “act of kindness”.  I tried to tell him it really wasn’t much at all, but I could tell he wanted to talk.  He went on to explain how it had been a long while since someone had been so nice to him. “Usually”, he said, “all I get are looks of disgust.” “I was not always like this” he explained.  I nodded my head, really just to placate him, but just wanting to return to my newspaper, when he showed me an old ID badge with his picture on it.  Apparently he was once a VP at Lucent Technologies, which at that time was a huge corporation. He went on to explain how he lost his wife and two children to a drucken driver and couldn’t cope with the grief. He was lost and spiraled into severe depression.  He lost faith and didn’t want to deal with life anymore.  He had lost faith in people and couldn’t deal with life as he knew it. According to him, my unsolicited small act of kindness made him “hopeful”. He told me he appreciated it and walked away. That interaction, left a deep impact on me; it help me realize how tragedies sometimes shape the course of someone’s life and how profound the saying not to judge a person until you walk in their shoes is. This man taught me a valuable lesson, several really.  Yes we can learn from everybody we interact with.  Not everyone we see laying in the street are drug addicts, lazy or bums.  Some might just be former executives who could no longer cope with life after a tragic event.  Perhaps they need some mental help, a hot meal or just a good morning. Since, I have often wondered what became of him. Did he recover?  I know it’s never pleasant to be approached, to have to walk over or move out of the way from these less fortunate individuals, but if we could just empathize a little and realize sometimes shit happens in life, then just maybe we can learn to be a kindler people. 

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. 

– Simone Weil

Disappointment, Heartache & The Perils of Blind Loyalty

In Family, Friendships, Relationships on January 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm

This has been building for a while.  I tried to ignore, work around and just hoped I was wrong. To hell with it, the world is full of them.  People who take, take, take- but give very little.  They smile in your face, talking ’bout how “we boys” and “there’s nothing but love”, but in reality they are nothing but bitch ass people who use your “blind loyalty” to fuel their needs, but rarely, if ever, reciprocate.  I was recently told by an outside observer, who was privy to certain moves or comments made by some of those I have held dear to me for many, many years, how I have to seperate emotions and personal feelings from people or business.  He explained how most people “love you” when they can gain from you.  When they can prosper by either your various forms of generosity or word, but have little want to give back or help when their number is called.  The truth of the matter is, these people “don’t give a fuck bout you” and you need to recognize that.  Felt like a ton of bricks just fell on me.  The truth is, deep down – I always knew this.  I am not stupid or naive, but yet I refused to believe or give credence to their blatant tells.  I found myself rationalizing their behavior or actions, refusing to believe the continual small betrayals.  Nah – not my boy – he’s not like that!  Known the brother for 30+ years – nah we family, I would tell myself.  Shoot, even family fall into this category.  We all know those who congratulate you, tell you how happy they are for you when they see you progress some or attain some recognition, but sadly wish you fail deep inside.  They get a sense of joy when things go wrong for you.  Man – that’s some shit right there.  I have loved my folks since I took my first breath.  Helped many of them out in all kinda ways!  Some of ya’ll are reading this right now.  It hurts and angers me to see, hear and/or feel the betrayal, backstabbing or downright disloyalty when it occurs – small or big, it doesn’t matter.  The aforementioned person tried to soften the blow by expressing how much he respects and admires my sense of loyalty to folks, how I try to blend the personal and business aspects of life for win-win situations. But sadly, all he sees is my growing frustrations, disappointments and reactions.  “You gotta stop” I was told, “that stuff will hurt you, kill you even.  People don’t care – only when they can get something from you, when they can’t or don’t like it when you have to correct or call their attention to something, they are quick to turn on you.”  He was being real with me.  The sad truth is – this ain’t groundbreaking news.  The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.  I’ve been seeing this shit for years, continuously from the same folks; people I have cared about, those held dear; yet I wouldn’t stop assisting, wouldn’t stop helping when I could.  All that I received was a growing sense of resentment.  My fault I guess because they never earned my loyalty.  I have to realize that just because we grew up together, we are family or we have some perceived kinship, doesn’t mean they deserve the blind loyalty, which should be reserved for those who have exhibited it in return. The only people I owe my loyalty to are those who have never made me question theirs! Recently people have said to me, Rog – bro, you’ve changed! You’re not the same!  Someone even told me I used to be the “helper” or the person that took care of things.  Well, where the hell is my help?  Where is my call to see how the hell I’m doing?!?!  Where’s the appreciation??   If I didn’t change, I’d still be knocking people on their ass for less then this. But emotional survival is a battle.  Truth of the matter is, it’s my nature to be caring, to help, to be all in.  I have always tried to see the world as full of opportunities.  Also true is how it’s also in my nature not to sugarcoat things, my opinion being how does that help anyone?  What matters is my heart has always been pure. I keep it 100. I guess people prefer the bullshit to the truth sometimes.  A long while ago someone told me how relationships were all about how one person makes another person feel, what void they fill in the other person’s life or what they can get out of that relationship.  Man, I thought that was the most selfish shit I had ever heard.  Maybe he was right….

There’s something wrong with your character if “opportunity” controls your loyalty….

– Unknown

The Barber Shop, Lessons & A Lasting Impression

In Education, Family, Love, Parenting on January 16, 2016 at 3:16 pm

I arrived for my haircut appointment like any other day, hoping my barber was on time, checking my emails & reading my news.  Luckily my barber was only 2 minutes late, which was a small victory in itself.  My barber and I have a pretty good relationship.  There’s a respect factor we had from the onset.  He talks to me about many things, personal and not; we go back and forth and I try to provide him with my insights or opinions when requested.  The barbershop was alive and the conversation ranged from sports, to what they did the night before, to who the best rappers were; the usual harmless fun barbershop banter. It was fun debating certain comments with them and listening to them state their cases.  While in the chair, a brother walks in with a young girl, maybe 12 – if that.  The young girl is carrying  a rack displying bracelet beads as the male with her walks station to station peddling the “homemade jewelry”.  When they arrived at our station, the brother begins to converse with my barber briefly.  I initially thought to myself, damn, another interruption – I gotta go.  I look up at the young lady and can tell she was a bit uncomfortable or shy about approaching folks while carrying the merchandise.  Thoughts were running through my head, you know – was this some sort of street scam, who would use his daughter to peddle items just to make a buck, were these really home made?  But within seconds, I thought otherwise – more like who cares and I focused on the obvious lessons being taught.  The brother appeared quite humble and respectful as I asked the young girl if she made the jewelry, which she replied by smiling and nodding her head yes.  Her dad smiled too and said she made each and every one of them.  He would glance at her,  trying to cajole her into verbally selling her creations, but you can tell she was new to this.  A deep sense of respect hit me.  Here was this guy, in my humble opinion, teaching his daughter entrepreneurial traits, confidence building tactics and survival skills.  Here was this young girl, tagging along with her dad, willing to learn and deal with the ups and downs, the rejections and the triumphs, each time she tried to sell her creations.  Her smile was bright and her eyes, while unsure, still twinkled.  Her dad, well his eyes showed pride and even admiration toward his little girl.  I was moved.  I have been at the barbershop hundreds of times, many of which included interruptions from people selling all types of items – most ill begotten.  Not this time, this time it was simply a daughter & her dad, striving together to succeed.  Small victories each time, but lessons nonetheless.  Now all this occurred within 2 minutes – maybe.  I purchased two of her creations, telling her to keep them for herself – cause she earned it.  Her dad very surprised, looked at me and smiled.  We nodded at each other with mutual respect and they went bout their business.  I went bout mine, smiling, happy and full of hope.

“Picture jewels being handed to an innocent child….”

– Tupac Shakur

Excuses, Explanations & The Thin Line Between Them

In Self-Improvement, Society on January 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Whenever something happens where the outcome is less than desirable or completely different than what was expected, there no doubt is always a reason as to why, an explanation.  Something outside your control, an unforeseen circumstance, someone else flipped the script – it happens.   We fix it & move on.  Those explanations are usually one & done, the situation is corrected & the outcome is as close to desirable as possible.  Now when a person continues to fall short of expectations, the outcomes are continuously weak or the “dog ate my homework”, well then those become excuses.  We all know those to whom there is ALWAYS a reason why things do not go as planned, expectations are not met or their situations are always dire.  Those, my people, are full of excuses – whom  try to camouflage them as explanations.  “I am just explaining to you why I couldn’t do this” or “It was not my fault, all these things happened…”  When this becomes a chronic situation, either at work or in your personal life, then guess what – they are excuses!  I am so very tired of people always making excuses as to why their situations don’t improve or why they keep doing the same things; of them passing the buck onto others or outside forces.  It is much easier for these folks to pass the blame, then to really look in the mirror, into their psyche and realize they are the common denominator.  They are quick to keep telling you what they can’t or couldn’t do, while rarely, if ever, telling you what they CAN do; never providing internal solutions  to remedy the specific situation or chronic behavior or outcomes.  When brought to their attention, they get very defensive, usually just shutting down, too busy thinking of more excuses to make their point and less listening to possible solutions or different ways of handling future instances that may help provide a different outcome.   Character flaw?  Maybe, but it doesn’t mean it can not improve or slowly begin to tip to a more productive side of you.  There is a fine line between them for sure.  We can all justify why something did not get completed or why we can not achieve certain things.  There will always be outside forces making things challenging.  It’s when we decide not to let these things sabotage our goals, or find ways around them, with concrete plans and outside the box thinking, that we begin to turn those excuses into non factors.  If left to its own devices, these continued excuses will continue to derail people from their ultimate wishes.  It’s a correctable problem, but before it can change, it must be acknowledged.  So for those of you this speaks too, raise your hands and admit “Yes, I am an excuse maker!”

“Open your eyes & that will quiet your voice.”

-Willie Mays

A Hiatus, Reflection & The Rebirth of a Voice

In Self-Improvement on January 2, 2016 at 11:08 pm

I know, it’s been a while.  Took some time off from writing to focus on other things.  My lil sunshine has kept me quite busy & work is non-stop.  I expect big things in 2016 – I hope.  But mostly, I took time to step back & reflect some.  2015 seemed to fly by & I lost that want to write, to verbalize my thoughts.  Things happened, some good, some bad & often I would think of commenting, but never had the will to sit & cement my opinions for all to see.  I began to wonder who the hell cared about what I thought or had to say anyway, even though many would ask when I would write again.  Although I appreciated the inquiry, the urge seemed to have gone.  Recently however, that want returned; that will to communicate my thoughts – a release if you will.  I sat back & re-read some of my older stuff & felt some kind of way.  I keep thinking of my lil sunshine, who just turned 2 yesterday, and figured if something was to happen to me, this can be a way for her to someday read my writings & get a deeper understanding of who her daddy was, what he was about.  As for my other kids, it still gives me a way to reach them; to touch them “silently” with my words.  Hopefully, as they continue to navigate through this world, it can provide them some food for thought, some guidance.  Mostly tho, I decided to do it for me – as a way to quiet my mind; put some thoughts out there while releasing the bottleneck of ideas and opinions that infiltrate my dome.  A way to express my joys and frustrations, my victories and defeats, my happiness and pain.  I exercise to work my body; this will help work my mind.  It’s also a way for me to look back as well through the upcoming years and gauge my hopefully continued growth.  Did my thoughts change?  Did I see the world through an evolving prism?  Did I become wiser?  I am positive somethings will never change with me.  My code is my code, which I am proud of, but I am sure some opinions may change or evolve; how I might begin to see things from a different set of eyes.  The trick is to remain true to self, to your core & then blossom around it.  Therefore, I am gonna let my voice go and throw caution to the wind. So the hiatus is over; the reflections are ongoing, and the voice….ahhh the voice is back!

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

-Nelson Mandela