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Archive for the ‘Friendships’ Category

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

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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

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

A Life, A Death & Good People

In Friendships on January 5, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Yesterday I said goodbye to a dear friend of mine, who after a long battle with chest cancer, succumbed to this horrible disease. He was a type of dude loved by all because he accepted everyone just the same. Never judged, always open armed & with the biggest of hearts. The type of person who made a positive footprint in your life, in his own subtle ways. He celebrated often, loved freely & enjoyed his life always. Even during his recent battle, his spirits always seemed good. When I would call, he would greet me as he always had – Roger Baaabyyy…. We met about 10 years ago while on vacation in Mexico, both New Yorkers, from different boroughs, different nationalities, but with a passion for food, friends & travel. We hit it off rather quickly, becoming quick friends & celebrating holidays together. We shared friendships & families. I used to say I didn’t need new friends because I had my old friends from short pants days that I still hadn’t figured out, but I was wrong, because I was glad to have befriended him. We shared many laughs together. I always looked forward to his July 4th BBQ’s – still the only person that could get me to eat a hot dog. I don’t know what it was, but those hot dogs sure were good. He brought people together, always ready with a plate or glass, not caring where you were from. It’s unfortunate that good people like this die at such a young age. He didn’t always take care of himself, struggling with his weight & smoking his cigs. But he lived a full life all the same. Life is short folks, we are promised nothing. Enjoy what you can, love what you do & live how u want. Take care of yourselves so you do not contribute to an unnecessary early demise. Enjoy those around you & learn something everyday. Stop sometimes & take in your surroundings. Watch a rainfall, a flower bloom or a kid smile; find the beauty in all things. Appreciate those who show you love as you never know when the good Lord will come calling. Rest in peace my dear friend, you are already missed & will never be forgotten.

Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting ‘…man, what a ride!’

– George Carlin

Time, Resolutions & New Beginnings

In Education, Friendships, Parenting, Relationships, Self-Improvement on January 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm

2012 was an interesting year with many ups & downs. It started with such promise, saw it’s share of turbulence & potential then ended with a thud. Once the new year rolls around we get reflective, thinking about what we can do the following year to improve upon our lives while making positive footprints in the lives of others. The problem with resolutions, noble & full of promise as they may be, is they are often short lived. One starts with such enthusiasm to accomplish it all, but inevitably it fizzles, causing us to fall back into our old baits & routines. It is hard for most people to sustain the energy to change everything they feel the need to change; it is why I suggest people take small gradual steps, toward reasonable attainable goals, to fulfill their souls. Focus on the most important goal or needed change in your life & gradually work your way to achieve it. Truthfully, we should not feel the need to wait for the new year to hold ourselves accountable. I guess the new year allows us to hit the reset button, to forget any transgressions and to build on the positive steps taken. Time can be our ally, allowing wounds to heal & resolutions to be reached. Everyday is a new beginning; an opportunity to grow, strive & accomplish. If the new year is when you decide enough is enough on anything, then be definitive. Stay the course, know what you want or need, then take the necessary steps to achieve. Everything that happened the preceding year had a purpose; learn from it. Embrace what was learned or gained, not what failed or was lost. What one considers failure others may see growth. I will share a few of my resolutions with you all to hold myself even more accountable. I hope to become more spiritual & patient. More understanding & compassionate. To read more & develop a long term life plan. But most important, the same resolution I hope for year after year, is to find freedom & inner peace. Being true to myself going forward is a great start.

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

– Henri Bergson

Interactions, Meanings & The Power of Words

In Friendships, Relationships, Self-Improvement, Society on July 8, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Sticks & stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me. Hmmmmm – really? Whoever penned that phrase may have been delusional. Maybe it was their attempt to have people look at a person’s actions while disregarding some of their words? While that may hold firm on occasion, many times it doesn’t. Bones heal my friends, but sometimes words, especially how delivered, linger. I wonder, when someone professes their love & devotion to someone, how in the heat of a discussion, disagreement or argument, they would reach into that person’s soul & insult them in ways they wouldn’t do to anyone else. Say things they know will deeply affect their mate; things that can completely change things in a fateful instant. Are the things they spew what they really feel about that person deep inside? Are they intent on causing this person hurt to placate their need to remedy whatever wrong they feel they were subjected too? Discussions, disagreements or arguments, by nature usually imply a difference of opinions, some stronger than most. But why must it get to a point where the words become daggers & the vibe becomes tenuous? People may think the words used are just that “words”, but fail to realize the power these “words” can yield. How much hurt, resentment & eventual damage they can cause. It can cast doubt over all the positive words & actions they may have done in the past. We have all been guilty of saying things we have regretted, but we must learn from these instances if we want to make any relationship we choose to be in work. It’s hard for people to rip into someone for slights or perceived infractions they themselves do all the time. Blankety stating, “this is how I am”, doesn’t cut it if you want to be in a serious relationship with someone who has expressed some concern over certain reactions, especially if it causes the other person angst. Being in a relationship sometimes means doing & listening to things that one may not care to do at a particular time, but you do anyway because the person you profess to care for needs it. Folks, relationships are hard work, but should be the most rewarding interactions we have. Try to understand the lasting impression some words can have on someone. Is it a pride thing that causes you to lash out with such harsh, insulting words or phrases? Is it pride that causes you to pile on the insults once you see how those words were received instead of apologizing or trying to make right? Is it really worth ruining a wonderful thing over it? Or is it how you really feel & you just want to make sure the intended party knows it? If this is it, is there a better way? Now I understand how certain words can carry more weight with different people or different cultures, but if you are in a relationship and truly love your mate, don’t you owe it to them to understand better the impact your words may have? Think about these things the next time a discussion, disagreement or argument breaks out, it may help keep a good thing going.

Cursing the darkness only delays the dawn.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Smiles, Demons & Death

In Friendships, Society, Spirituality on May 9, 2012 at 4:54 am

A few days ago we learned Junior Seau, a popular, all-pro NFL linebacker inexplicably committed suicide. By all accounts, he was respected by his peers & well liked by all. Everyone who encountered him in the days leading up to his death all state he appeared happy, smiling & full of life. They saw no clues indicating he was in trouble, depressed or on the brink. Here was a man who seemingly had it all to the naked eye, but was drowning inside. Being a football fan who respected his ability on the field, I was saddened by his death. It made me think of an old dear friend of mine, who years ago also made the decision to end his existence on this earth. I remember feeling devastated when I heard the news, thinking to myself what could I have done to have prevented it. I began to reminisce about all the good times we had shared. I remembered the day when I first noticed a change in his behavior. How he went from being a fearless, seemingly confident young man to a confused shell of his former self. We kept him close until he gradually appeared to have regained his mojo. He seemed in control, affable & content. Sadly, he fooled us. He was still hurting inside. Those smiles he showed were but a mask, a tool he used valiantly to ward off those demons he carried within. Would a weekly call prevented his demise? An occasional visit? Folks, I understand life takes hold and we either grow apart or are too “busy” to reach out to many of our people. We see them smile, having a good time while in our presence, but are they ok? Do we take the time to really watch them, talk to them, find out what is happening in their lives? Do we let them know we care? That they have people in their corner whenever needed? It can be a little gesture, but one that can resonate with them. Just because we see them smiling, does that mean they are in a good place? Why do we make excuses, saying we are too busy? Why can’t we seem to share important moments in each others lives, making excuses when it’s time to partake in special occasions? Life is short folks & happiness are moments; moments made special by the people we share them with. Some of us are blessed to have that special someone in our lives who complement & complete us, those are the truly blessed. Some have a good group of “friends or acquaintances” with whom they visit with on occasion. They interact with them often, those are in good shape. I speak of those that when the party ends, find themselves alone. They see no value in their interactions, are not happy with where they are in life or are disappointed in things that have occurred. You see when they leave the party, they still have their solitude. These encounters can be seen as superficial, leaving them more empty. Therefore I have come to the conclusion it’s those shared occasions in each others lives that define relationships. Even if it’s a five minute encounter with a stranger, I try to make those five minutes as pleasant as possible. Relationships are the lifeblood of life. So reach out to your people. Share in their lives, accomplishments & family. Show them you care. You just may save a life.

One who sees only with their eyes are easy to fool.

– Jackie Chan

Mars, Venus & WTF?!?

In Friendships, Relationships on April 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Folks I admit, I give up!  I used to fashion myself a “womanologist”; meaning growing up with five sisters, having numerous female cousins, nieces, daughters etc, I figured I had a good understanding of the female species.  WRONG!!  I tell you it is amazing how people of the opposite sex can see things so differently.  No matter what race, color, creed, education level, job, height, weight etc, women seem to be emotionally the same in so many aspects.  Now now ladies, relax.  I mean no disrespect as I know we need women in our lives & I love the women in mine, but let’s be honest – y’all ain’t easy!  Why is it that when a sister finds a good man, now I mean a real good dude, she starts to find or dwell on his perceived shortcomings?  They expect him to read their minds all the time, know what they are thinking or react to things the way they want him to react?  If he’s home just watching a game, some will complain he is not doing something.  If he’s doing something, they complain cause it’s not how she wants it done.  If he wants to spend time with her, he’s possesive; if he doesn’t, he doesn’t care.  If he makes decisions, he is taking her wants for granted; if he asks her for her opinion before doing something, he’s weak & indecisive.  The worse part is that when a woman first meets a male of interest, she is enamored with how he is, what he does, how he looks or how he carries himself.  Inevitably however, that same female begins to complain and attack those same traits.  Poor brothers begin to wonder WTF?!?  In the beginning they are so sweet, willing to visit her man, do nice things for him, give him a back rub, pick up his laundry,  then slowly but surely, as the man begins to catch feelings and gets into his lady, BOOM, the niceties begin to disappear.   The worse part of it is when I speak to those guys who are no good, that don’t really care about their ladies, who cheat, leech, abuse etc, they seem to not have these issues; their women seem commited & willing to do whatever to keep that situation alive.  They try everything to get that guy to treat them how the good brother was! Again WTF?!?  We all know a female or two or ten, who will lament letting the good one go.  You know the one she didn’t love cause “he was too nice” or “loved her too much”.  She will go on & on how she should have kept him or done better.  Don’t want to hear it anymore ladies.  No man is perfect.  We are fallable just like you.  No, we can not read your minds or even think about things like you do; it is what makes us different as a species.  However, when you find a good dude who loves you, who cares for you & wants to share his life with you, be easy.  Acccept him & his faults, focus on all all the good he actually does.  He may not be perfect, but he may be perfect for you.  So embrace his love, you will probably be rewarded!  Now excuse me, while I attend to my carribean queen who I commit to love and misunderstand for the rest of my life.

Yes Dear?????

I know a bunch of women who play the game trying to find the 1 & a bunch who found the 1 once they stopped playing the game…

                                       – Joe Budden

Friendship, Reunions & Lasting Memories

In Friendships, Relationships on August 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

Friends are God’s way of making up for family.  Friendships are a very important part of a person’s life, be it your significant other, who usually becomes & should be your best friend, or new friends you meet during your day to day experiences.  However, there is something to be said about old friends, friends one grows up with; friends who have shared good, bad & ugly moments with you as you migrate thru your formative years.  These are friends one may not see for a few years, but once they get together, it’s like they never stop.  Like they are back in the neighborhood playing stickball, “snapping” on the corner or just hanging out shooting the breeze.  There is a bond that forms that is irreplaceable really.  Stories that unfold and become things of legend.  Sure, we stay in close contact with some throughout life, we are disappointed in others life choices or we hold grudges against some for some real or perceived infraction.  But on the real, at least for me, my friends have always been able to count on my shoulders, my ears & my voice.  To see some of the old guard at a recent reunion made me smile.  It bought me back to a simpler time when life was fun and things were much less complicated.  The hugs flowed easily & the pride in seeing “my boys” was huge. Watching how their families had grown, how little miniature replicas of them have joined our lives was priceless.  Watching our children interact like we used to almost bought a tear to my eye.  My son called one of my friend’s son a “partner” and at one point my son was sitting at a table, side by side, with the son of one of my closest lifelong friends – like he & I used to do many years ago.   I just looked at them and could not help but hark back to our younger days, when we were their ages.  It was like having an out of body experience, as if I was looking at us during our many skull sessions we have had over the years.  Now here they were, imitating us unknowingly.  Looking at old photos of each other and being able to laugh – hey it really was cool to dress like that back in the day – was classic.  Not everyone showed up, which was to be expected, but most of the major players were all there.  Unfortunately those that failed to show did not get to experience and re-live the special moments we all shared.  It’s ok to meet new people and develop new friendships, but it NEVER replaces our old “brothers”.  There is a special bond that no matter where we are or what we are doing, there will be moments in our lives when something happens that causes us to remember a moment in time when we were all one.  It’s not about being extra sentimental, but rather about embracing our youth and the people who at different times, have helped shape who we are or even what we have become.

Everyman’s memory is his private literature.

– Aldous Huxley