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Ties That Bind: Chapter IV

Colby thought about calling his younger sister Samyra after his brunch with Mavis a few days ago, but decided against it. Samyra was his “wise sage” when it came to women, well, woman; this one. Rye, as her loved ones affectionately called her, had met Mavis only a couple of times, but instantly knew she was what Colby needed in his life. She didn’t hesitate to tell him that whenever she asked about Mavis, which was often. Over the years, Samyra would matter-of-factly ask how “her girl” was doing. C would feign not knowing who she meant, but Rye would quickly let it be known. Because of that, Colby figured it best not to tell her about the brunch and day together right now. Instead, he did what he always did; rewind the whole day in his mind.

C called Bean when he was about 15 minutes away from her place. She was already dressed and ready to go, which was out of the ordinary. Even more unusual was that Colby was on time. The day was starting off as an anomaly, and they’d been nowhere yet. Brunch was relaxed, filled with laughs and the staple of all professional black folk brunches, endless mimosas. After they ate, Colby mentioned taking a stroll around the Tidal Basin, which Mavis acquiesced too. It was shaping up like Mrs. Wilson wouldn’t see her daughter til later, much later, in the evening, if at all.

From the Tidal Basin, they went to East Potomac Park to watch the planes at nearby National Airport, then to Hovermale’s for ice cream. By the time Bean made it back home, it was almost midnight. Because it was late, Colby walked her to her door, embraced her in such a way that spoke more than mere words ever could, brushed her face softly, and walked off. Mavis sighed that sigh women do…yeah…*that* one, and prepared for bed.

On his way home, C stopped for a pack of wine-flavored Black ‘N’ Milds and a six pack of Modelo. He made it home just in time to catch the Lakers’ highlights on Sportscenter. He lit the Black, popped the top on a bottle of Modelo, and chilled out the rest of the night, until he finally dragged himself to bed about 330am.

As Colby thought, he became more introspective, something he found himself being more and more lately. Thinking about anything to do with Mavis would spark it. Nonetheless, he took inventory of his life, and the multitude of decisions he’d made, and why he made them, and this included the women he’d dated since he and Mavis went to dinner all those years ago. None of them could ever hold a flame to Mavis, and Colby knew it.

He knew the questions, especially since he had asked them repeatedly lately. What Colby didn’t have was the answers, well not all of them. The easiest answer he’d come up with to all the questions he’d posed to himself was “it was all Bean’s fault”. But Colby knew that way of thinking was bullshit, and not true at all, well, 98 percent not true. Yes, if they’d have dated after “the dinner” when they were younger, there’s a chance Colby might’ve not matured as he had. He was honest enough with himself to admit that. Then too, his kids could’ve been their kids, and Colby might’ve had what he swears he’s been looking for since they first dated; a true soulmate.

Until roughly the last year, Colby never believed in soulmates, but damn if his soul didn’t tell him that thinking was foolish. From the day last fall when Mavis had called him and invited him to dinner until now, she’d been speaking to not just his soul, but his spirit as well. He took note of that very interestingly because the only other being who could reach his spirit was Jesus. If she could talk to his spirit, then for sure himself, God had to have his hand in the mix. Colby for sure wondered what God was doing in his life, but he wasn’t going to question too much. He’d done enough of that in the past, and still never got an answer. Nope, this time he was gonna go with the flow, albeit, with a slowly forming definitive purpose.

As the day continued on, Colby went on thinking about what Mavis meant to him. She was seemingly the antithesis of what he *thought* he wanted in a woman. Immediately, a voice spoke to him so softly he almost missed what was said. “Exactly” is what he thought he heard. Colby shook it off as him just trippin’, and got his mind back on Mavis. “She really is different from CJ’s mom and Collette’s mom, hell, from all my exes”. “Exactly”, he heard ever so softly again.

The second time he heard it, Colby knew he wasn’t tripping. He was sure God was speaking to him. Why now, C wasn’t sure, but he was glad to finally be hearing something, anything, from The Father. C was doubly glad because he figured if God was speaking to him about this woman, then hopefully other parts of his life couldn’t be too far behind. That brought something else back to his remembrance; he’d been meaning to become more prayerful. With this, whatever it was, that was going on between he and Mavis, Colby knew he’d have to do just that.

What he couldn’t bring himself to do was tell Mavis any of all this. The last time Colby told her how he was feeling, his true feelings, she basically told him ‘thanks, but no thanks.”. He was apprehensive about sharing with her these new/old feelings that crept up. If he told her and she wasn’t receptive, despite what she’d told him at their first reconnecting dinner last year, he feared he’d have to cut himself off from her. If she felt anything like he did, he didn’t know what he would do. Despite his apprehension, something would have to be said soon, and the chips would fall where they may.

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Posted by on 04/21/2015 in Uncategorized

 

Ties That Bind: Chapter I

Colby was nervous.  Last week Mavis called him and asked could they meet for lunch because she had some things she wanted to share with him.  This was odd; especially since she never wanted to meet. His gut told him life was preparing to flip upside.  Only after agreeing did he realize his acquiescence sounded much too excited.  She gave him the place, time and date, they said our goodbyes, and hung up.

That was 174 hours ago.  And now here he was, sitting in Brio, waiting to have dinner with Mavis again for the first time in 10 years. In those 10 years, his life had been many things; stable being a key exception.

He had time to think as he waited. It seemed like each decision he made after their last dinner was a good one initially, then the fallout would hit…

First he met the woman who later became his wife, and they had a son a few months after getting married. Within two years however, they were divorced. Then six years after that, Colby met another woman who seemed to finally fit what he thought he wanted.  The relationship prospered, but he was hesitant about getting married again. She seemed to understand, or so he thought, and things kept progressing.

Soon after, they found out she was pregnant. She began pressing the marriage issue, and he started chafing at the thought. Colby knew it was the socially “right” thing to do, but marrying her wasn’t “right” for him…and he told her, which was hard. Once she delivered their daughter, the last vestiges of the relationship died quickly. After both instances, Colby found himself wondering, “where did I go wrong?” Suffice it to say, in relationships? Everywhere.

During the years between their dinners, Mavis and Colby would talk on an inconsistent basis.  They were still friends, so the connection was there, but it had…changed.  Whereas before they’d have in-depth, soul baring conversations; the talks now were superficial, like small talk-on-an-elevator superficial.  There were things about her life he wanted to ask about, but it was like an unspoken topic that couldn’t be uttered.  So they continued the same dance; “How you been? How’s the family? Are you still working at XYZ?” Talking, but not really communicating.

After a few years of not seeing each other, he called her and ask could they get together. She had just purchased a condo near Howard and had a housewarming which seemed the opportune time.  However, Colby couldn’t make it, which frustrated him greatly, but the next week he was there, getting the “realtor tour”.  She’d done well for her self, and though he was happy for her, seeing Mavis in her home gnawed at him…why he couldn’t quite decipher.  After the tour, they talked a while, and had a few glasses of wine. They talked about the past, his kids, her desire to be married and have kids, and their careers.  It was just an easygoing night, and one he needed.

Eventually, the witching hour came, and he knew it was time to leave.  They shared a lingering hug, and Colby left.  The walk back to his car was a replay of the previous few hours. Rapping with Mavis was always effortless; like it was what talking to a woman was supposed to be.  As he walked and thought, one thing she said kept repeating in his mind…”nobody ever ‘got’ me like you did”. 

Though unintentionally, a few months went by before they talked again.  She called one day while he was at a restaurant with his son.  During the conversation, Colby asked him if he wanted to “meet one of daddy’s friends”, to which he excitedly said yes. They left the restaurant and headed to Mavis’ place.  Once they arrived, Junior knocked on the door and answered “me and my daddy” when she asked “who is it”.  As she opened the door, Junior stood there dumbfounded.

Now his mother wasn’t unattractive, at all, but she couldn’t hold a candle to Mavis.  Even at seven years old, Junior knew loveliness when he saw it…and she was the embodiment of it.  Mavis reached out her hand, and after some prodding from his father, the boy returned the gesture.

“Nice to meet you sir. What’s your name?”

“My name is Junior, like my daddy.” Colby gently reminded him that he was a junior, but that Junior wasn’t his name.  

“Oh yeah, my name is Colby.”  

“Well, nice to meet you Colby.  You’re just as handsome as your father.”  Both of them blushed.

After the meet and greet, Mavis got Junior something to drink and escorted him to the living room, where he found something to watch.  She returned to the foyer and began fawning over him to his father.  Mavis and Colby shared a few laughs, talked, and finally joined the boy in the living room.  Little Colby took to Mavis as if he’d known her all his life, and she relished the attention.  They talked, played, and just enjoyed each other’s company.  

For a moment, things got awkward when he asked how they knew each from.  “We grew up together” was all either of the adults said.  That seemed to pacify his curiosity, and eventually, he went back to watching TV.  Mavis looked at the older Colby, he looked at her, they both looked at the boy, then back at each other and smiled.  Big Colby wasn’t sure, but he thought he caught a glimpse of moisture around her eyes.  Before he could ask, she went into the kitchen for a moment and then returned.  Her eyes were dry when she sat back down.

Thirty minutes later it was time for the Colbys to leave.  Junior asked her when was the next time he’d see her, to which she put the father on the spot, saying “well, Dad?”  “We’ll see, but for now, come on boy so you can get home.”  They exchanged hugs and the guys left.  On the way to dropping him off, Junior said “Daddy, I like her, and I think she likes you”.  “Well son, I’m glad you like her…I’m not real sure about the second part of that though”.  “Dad…trust me, I know these things”.  Colby Senior laughed the rest of ride.

After he dropped Junior off, Big Colby started thinking again about Mavis, and old thoughts and feelings started welling up inside of him. Here was this woman, whom he’d seen grow from an awkward pre-teen to this stunningly smart, gorgeous, charismatic, independent, and confident woman, and just like old times, he was in awe. NO-BODY, had ever flustered him as much as she did…and she knew it, and probably even enjoyed it.

Colby snapped back to the present, anticipating both Mavis’ arrival, as well as what she wanted to talk about.  A few moments later, Mavis she walked in.  He stood to help her with her jacket and pulled her seat out.  Once seated, they rehashed the events of their respective days, and ordered drinks and an appetizer.  Colby wanted to get to what she had to say, but he didn’t want to seem too eager.  Moments went by, but then Mavis changed the subject.

“I know you want to know what I have to say, but first, you have to promise me you won’t get mad.”

“Woman.  After 13 years of knowing me, have I ever gotten mad at you?”

“No, but I’ve never told you anything like what I’m about to”, she replied.

“Ok.  Mavis Sabine Wilson, I will not get mad, or angry…happy now?”

“Yes.  Ok.  What I have wanted to tell you for a while, but especially after I met Colby Junior is this…I feel like I’m the reason Colby Junior isn’t our son.”

 
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Posted by on 02/25/2014 in Uncategorized

 

15 Alternative Reasons A Husband Could Be Acting In An Odd Way

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an article that was at the end of another one of my internet rabbit holes.  You know how you can click a link on one page, then another and another, and before you know it, you’ve spent an hour reading things and watching videos?  Yup…that’s how I found the article.  What caught my attention was how the author presented their arguments as fact, and without seeming to have any insight into how the mind of a married man works.  After reading the article, I decide to present a rebuttal, from the mind of at least one married man.

1. Ignoring Problems

There are reasons why a husband may not seem intent on dealing with problems.  Just because he ignores them doesn’t mean he wants a divorce.  Perhaps he’s already processing them and is working on a solution.  How is his woman speaking to him in regards to the problem?  Does she come off as attacking and slick-mouthed, or genuinely concerned?  Just because a woman doesn’t hear anything about a specific problem doesn’t mean the man isn’t working on a solution.

2. He Is Always Busy

What is the home life like?  Is it stressful because of the disconnect between the two people, or is it because of forces outside his control?  Men are instilled with the responsibilities of “provide and protect” from an early age.  If one or the other can’t be done (usually providing) it can gnaw at the very core of a man.  He’ll spend as much time as necessary to get that provider label back.  The way he looks at something may be skewed, but he’s not always trying to leave.

3. Changing His Physical Appearance

Let’s say a man is getting older, has gotten flubbery, and doesn’t like what he sees in the mirror.  Yes, it does happen to men too.  But he starts getting in shape so he can feel better about himself, and better his health.  And, and *GASP* he wants to look good for HIS woman.  That means he wants to get a divorce?  Or could it be his woman’s insecurity about her physical appearance is informing her thoughts about why he’s “all of a sudden” getting his Mr. Olympia on? Hmmm…

4. He’s Lost Those Loving Feelings

Folks assume that men are wired one way, and only respond negatively to affairs of the heart.  Well let me let everyone in on a little secret…men try are proactive, but we can be reactionary too.  To assume that a man just up and started losing ”those loving feelings” is generally foolish.  In a perfect world, maybe, but in the real world, there are things that his woman no doubt did, or is doing, that have fed into her feeling like his feelings are gone.  Perhaps checking for the plank in her own eye before looking at the speck in her man’s would be wise.

5. No Action In The Bedroom

For this one, you’ve got to get a wee bit closer.  Ready?  Ok, here it is…men can get tired of sex.  It’s earth shattering news, I know.  But wait, there’s more.  Weight, stress, age, stress, pressure, stress, and stress can drastically interfere with a man’s libido, as well as desire for sexual contact.  Society would have people (women) thinking that men are always ready, willing, and able, and if he’s not then it’s a problem.  Guess what, there most likely is a problem, but not one that means a man is done with his relationship.

6. He Doesn’t Want to Spend Time Together

This is one of only two I can’t offer an alternative reason for.  The majority of issues that couples face result from the lack of effective communication, and time together, where they can just focus on them.  If a man isn’t willing to put energy into either…then there’s definitely problem.

7. New Circle of Friends

If we’re talking about Drake, then “No New Friends” is fine, but we’re not.  Maybe a man needs a new set of friends.  Perhaps the friends he was hanging out with at first were not good influences and he recognized that, so he has cultivated friendships with people who can enhance him as a person, as well as his relationship.

8. He’s a Workaholic

Let’s assume a man is a workaholic.  Is it possible he was one before meeting his significant other?  Sure.  In some twisted way, was it comforting to her because she knew she had a man who was willing to work as much as need?  Probably.  So now that “it’s” official, his strong work ethic is a problem?  Nope…can’t let it fly.

9. Nasty Comments

“Sticks and stones break your bones, but blah blah…”  The biggest load of crap we’re taught as kids.  If a man is making nasty comments toward a woman, my general question is, “what did she say to him?”  Men can only take but so much slick talk before we’ll respond in kind.  Maybe, just maybe a woman should check how she sounds and what she says before getting them panties in a bunch about her man saying something foul.

10. Bad Habits Emerge

Ok, this is the only other one there’s no alternative for.  If destructive habits are emerging, the source of ol’ boys’ stress needs to be found…and quickly.

11. He Doesn’t Contribute

If he’s super old-school, a man will probably take out the trash, do the yard work, and give his woman the checkbook and that’s about it.  Maybe once in a while he’ll cook just because, and will pull up the slack if his woman is feeling sick.  However, most men probably feel like if they’re making most of the money (providing) and ensuring the home front is secure (protecting) then their job is done.  If a woman desires help from her man around the home, don’t assume he’ll pick up on it…ask.

12. He’s Never Home

One question: is home someplace that can be refuge for a man, or is it a confined war zone that the world he faces everyday can’t fathom?  If he’s not comfortable being home, he won’t be, period.

13. Hidden Phone

Nowadays, many people’s (men and women) phones are the lifeline of their job.  If a man is on his phone a lot, and he works in a communication intensive field or he’s always on call, then the phone is necessity.  If he’s never given his woman reason to suspect anything, and she know’s the kind of job he has, she needs to breathe easy.

14. He Won’t Compromise

Has he never compromised, or is it recent that he has stopped?  Perhaps he’s had enough of his compromising becoming synonymous with him giving in.  If he’s always “compromising” to make his woman happy, but…wait for it…he’s not seeing where she compromises, he’ll stop.

15. No Smiles

Maybe he’s had a long day at work, got some bad news, or God forbid, ate some of his woman’s cooking knowing she can’t cook.  Whatever the case, just because the man doesn’t smile doesn’t mean he’s looking to check out.  There’s probably and underlying reason for it, and finding *that* out will be better for the relationship in the long run.

Did you read the original article?  Do you agree or disagree with the original points or the alternatives, or both?

 
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Posted by on 02/24/2014 in Uncategorized

 

Man Card Revocations and Letting Daughters Down

It was late one Sunday night that I realized two things. First, my man card had to be turned in. Secondly, my daughters had a sucka for a father. Ok, not really on either account, but fora few hours, this could’ve been the case.

See y’all gotta understand, like, I HATE bugs. Not worms, or even most spiders, or even the slow walking ones. The kind I hate are the ones that creep along, but sense you moving around, and dart off like Carl Lewis in his prime. They move too fast for the average person to get them the first time, and then you gotta look for them, but hope you see them before they see you. It’s stressful.

So anyway, like I was saying; Sunday night I got home and the commenced to watching Law & Order like an OG ‘spose to. Out the corner of my eye, I think I see something gray moving slow. It’s dark so I assume it’s lint being blown around by the A/C. A couple of minutes later, the “lint” is creeping in front of the TV. Bruh…I IMMEGIATELY hop up to cut the light on, but never take my eye off the “living lint”.

As SOON as the light illuminated what was going to be a dark time in my night and life, the thing gets ghost! I usually sleep on the couch, and where does the bug go? Under the m*********n’ couch! Now I’m telling the bug and myself, “nope, nah, not tonight champ…I got work in the morning. We are NOT doing this. You gotta go bug, tonight!”

The first thing I did was grab the broom. I figure, “if I can squash it, I’m good and then I can go to sleep.” The only problem was, I had no attack plan.

The Better Man Project ™

Focus on the door that’s shut, or look for those that have opened.

Opportunities present themselves in the face of adversity all the time. In fact, when we fall, it’s much easier to see what we are really made of than when we are flying in blue skies. Life often works like a series of “the next 200ft.” Things can be so foggy at times that you never really know what you are dealing with ahead of what you can see. That’s where faith comes in. Faith is the courage to keep going when you honestly and absolutely have no idea what really is going to happen to you after you complete the 200ft in front of you. Going headstrong into that takes some guts.

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I encourage you to endure. To keep chipping away. Did you know that a lot of the railroad through Sierras…you know those tunnels that the…

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Posted by on 01/18/2014 in Uncategorized

 

love letter to black women

Can’t wait to read the “letters” that this will spawn.

 
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Posted by on 12/16/2013 in Uncategorized

 

The Mind Knows…Does The Heart Believe?

I have been perplexed for some time about my spiritual walk.  I mean, I believe that God exists, as I believe that Jesus existed on earth.  I also believe that Jesus was/is God incarnate in the form of Man.  So in this aspect, I have faith.

What troubles me is, in my mind I know and believe all the above is true.  I question if my heart “knows and believes” it though.  I mean, I see folks get a “feeling” and wonder if that’s it.  Am I missing something?  Is my inability to feel this feeling a sign that my salvation isn’t sealed?  Or, is it that I’m looking for something that not everybody gets?

It’s a conundrum because my mind works overtime, daily.  I readily admit that I over analyze everything.  It could be that I’m over analyzing this as well.  But I’d over analyze if I’m over analyzing this thought too.

See the problem?

It started when in my teens.  I first dedicated my life to God and accepted Christ as my savior at 13, while attending a Baptist church.  This didn’t mean much…then.  I did it because I had passed “the age of accountability” and was deathly afraid of dying and going to Hell.  The second time I was 22, and had just gotten out of a soul-rendering relationship.  The last time I was 26, and decided to do it to make sure I had my Baptist and Apostolic bases covered; and because my soon to be wife had an apostolic background.

Right there, we see that all the times were a reaction to *something* in my life.  However, I still believe/d in the transformational nature of Jesus’s love.  So I’m left to wonder, “has my life been purchased with Christs’ blood, as the Bible states when Christ is accepted into a person’s life?”  Or, “am I just falling into another pattern of insecurity about my relationship with Him?”  It’s stressful to say the least.  Worse yet is that, I can only see incremental changes in my life, but others think I have a “calling” on my life.

Do you know how stressful all this is?

And I go through this every few months.  If there is such a calling, I wish God would just show it to me.  I mean, I know He can use others to speak things to people, but just once, I wish He would speak it directly to me. Truthfully, because I don’t think He has spoken to me, my wondering about my heart ramps.  There are things I have a desire to do that aren’t of God, and I know that.  What keeps me from doing them though?

Is it not wanting to disappoint Him?  Is it something within me that fears the repercussions?  Do I know better, and also know that I’ll only have me to blame if the situation goes awry?  The answer to all is simply, yes.  Since the answer is yes, I get a measure of comfort in knowing that Jesus is around, and has taken up residence in my heart.

But it’s still what I know, and not what I feel.

Perhaps I’m searching for a “feeling” that isn’t meant to be felt; at least not by me.  Maybe the feeling I imagine I’m suppose to feel is not real at all.  It could be that the insecurity I do feel is God’s way of letting me know that in actuality, I am His.  Maybe the wondering I feel is His way of keeping me close so that I’ll always stay connected.

The Bible says: “His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.”  This being the case, it’s possible I will continue to have these bouts of doubt.  If it is His way of ensuring I stay close, then who am I to question the One who made me like this in the first place?

-D.G.

Am I alone in feeling like this? If not, how does God keep you close to Him?

 
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Posted by on 08/26/2013 in Uncategorized

 

Suicidal Thoughts

“Killing one’s self is the most selfish thing anyone can do.”

It’s a refrain we hear continuously when somebody commits suicide.  It’s the same thought I initially had when I first heard about Freddie E. killing himself.  Who am I, or anyone else to say that?  I was wrong for thinking it.

It’s “Monday Morning Quartebacking” a situation that has no chance of being corrected.  We don’t know what drove him to take his own life.  The decedent’s family are really the only ones who have a right to feel like this.  But the reality is, they’re just as selfish.  Oh, it’s unpopular to say that, but that fact doesn’t make it any less true.  Granted, it’s fueled by grief, anger, and other assorted emotions, but the fact remains.

People who take their own life have their reasons.  What isn’t up for debate is that just because those of us left don’t understand it, there are still reasons.  Just about anything could combine to fuel the feelings that nothing will get better and the only option is death.  Emotional, environmental, mental, and physical factors can play a part in it.  Financial and physiological factors do too.

In the monolithic black community, the same factors for those in other communities that commit suicide exists.  We just never deal with it.  We say how we don’t understand how one of us could do it.  Proclamations are made about how “I’d never do that.”  For the people making these assumptions (that is what they are) please stop.  Just because a situation hasn’t arisen where you’ve felt like ending it all, never take it for granted that one can.

Reports and studies have attempted to pinpoint why black men in particular are killing themselves in greater numbers.  Of course nothing is definitive, but these studies do begin to form a frame of reference for us to examine.  The speculative and subjective nature of the topic cannot be denied.  Nor can the necessity of identifying the root causes of suicide.

Everyone can’t be saved, and it would be foolish to try.  Our community can do more to find ways to help those who are reaching out however.  We must take time to recognize the signs of those in distress.  Passing on a phone number to a hotline is cool, but can we invest in these men?  Society has basically said we’re not worth saving, but as quiet as it really is kept, black men are the backbone of our community.  If we’re not here to hold it up, our ‘hoods and families will continue to crumble.  Compound this with the havoc wrought from killing themselves and the fabric of our communities gets torn; sometimes irreparably.

Nothing about suicide is easy to accept, or deal with.  Our aim should be to move the discussion closer to the center of attention.  If more people (especially black men), begin to understand how it affects those left, maybe that will help stem the tide of unnecessary deaths.

Resources

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

http://www.afsp.org/

 
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Posted by on 08/08/2013 in Life, Uncategorized

 

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