Sometimes I wonder if all the stuff my grandmother told me was wrong. Do good people really get rewarded in the end? Do people who spend their lives stealing happiness from good people have a debt to pay? Some people get enjoyment from adding dark clouds to sunny days. Sometimes I wonder if those people get to enjoy their sunny days or are they so accustomed to darkness that they shun the light? Is that the reason why they enjoy putting pain into the lives of others? Sometimes I want the confirmation that they will be punished for their acts. I don’t necessarily want to be the one to do it myself, nor would I get particular enjoyment by seeing them suffer. But I do want to know that they will held accountable…
To All The Women Who Have Ever Loved Me, Still Love Me or One Day Will Love Me:
Let me start off by saying…I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not being what you have become accustomed to. I have tried and tried again to be more like the other dudes in my circle and out of my circle. I just can’t be…I can only be me. I can honestly say that I am tormented by a severed relationship with my Mom. Mix that with the loss of my Great-Grandparents, the estranged relationships with my siblings and the fact that I have no biological children…that’s a perfect formula to create a lone soldier. Very few people possess the power to anger me, even fewer possess the power to hurt me. I have conditioned myself to be able to walk away from any situation without lingering effects. Anything I dedicate myself to (work, basketball, writing, etc) will have the majority of my time. Any woman that wants to be a part of me will have to be a part of those things as well. I was born to be a leader, a man of the people, a man dedicated to his generation. And that type of man is not easy to be with, but he is worth being with.
My emotions are well protected. You will not be able to tell how I am doing by looking at me. You will not be able to tell how much I like or love you by glancing. You have to look deeper. I love you will be said non-verbally more often than through speech. My actions speak much louder than words. But many of you are hung up on hearing empty phrases. You have gotten used to the average guy. I also have enough integrity to not get in a relationship with someone who I know adores me, if I don’t feel like I can hold up my end of the bargain. I will never purposely mislead you into a state of misery and self-doubt. But if u look at what I do…you will hear exactly how I feel about you…often!
Let me end this letter by saying…there is a void in my life. As I get older, I find a growing need to share my experiences with someone. Although I have become a loner from years of being single, I know there is room for a special woman. But I might not be open to abrupt change, that don’t mean I don’t want it. I am a dynamic personality, you will need one as well or we will not be evenly yoked. As long as you know you are joining a movement…
My apology for allowing so much time to pass before I decided to write you this letter. You have been on my mind a lot lately, mainly because of where my life is heading these days (more on that later). But there are a lot of factors that led to so many obstacles being between us.
After your death, there was so much tension between my family and the family of your older sons, which led to both sides withdrawing from each other. There was doubt that I was truly your son. Because you died so soon after my birth, there was never a chance to clear anything up. This is why I wasn’t given your last name…which increased the doubt and confusion.
My great-grandmother (mommy’s grandmother) felt the need to over saturate me with love and protect me from the vicious rumors surrounding the situation. I was a grown man before I was offered any clarity or closure on this topic. I didn’t even meet my other brothers (your other sons) until I was in high school, even though we lived virtually in the same area of the city. I was also in high school before I ever saw a picture of you! Imagine, being told your father died when you were 6 weeks old, but there is no trace of him left for you to identify with. No pictures, no stories, no proof besides word of mouth that you ever even existed.
Mommy spiraled even further out of control after your death. She often spoke of how different her life would have been if you were still here. It seems like you were the only person in her life that looked at her as if she had any worth. When she lost the only man who made her feel special, it devastated her to the point where she never fully recovered. She became a life-long addict who spent more time in prison then she did with me. She eventually died of complications due to the H.I.V. virus she lived with for the last 15 years of her life. She passed last year and I regret to say our relationship was not as close as a mother-son relationship should be. I wonder if that is also a product of you not being here.
In my adult life, I have been offered many theories from both sides as to what actually happened between you, my mom and your other sons’ mother. It is my understanding that you were in a happy relationship with the mother of your two sons and well on the path to being married. My mom, who was the total opposite of her, was your mistress. My mom was considered a “street chic” and many people urged you to not get involved with such a woman. So when I was born, naturally, there were skeptics who didn’t believe I was yours and urged you to be cautious. But you always knew and told those closest to you that you knew I was your son. My great-grandmother said you came to see me every day of my life up until the day you got in that motorcycle accident that claimed your life at the tender age of 27. She said that’s how she knew something was wrong, because you came everyday at the same time (even though she was probably very mean to you…knowing her). So once you were gone, mommy’s family decided it was better to remove me from the equation. And that left me with great-grandparents as a mommy and daddy…thus I am one of the oldest young men you will ever meet.
So for a long time these things weighed heavily on my soul. I had a wonderful man (my great-grandfather) step in and be the best dad he could possibly be considering he was blind and 60 years older than me…but it wasn’t the same as it would have been with you. I was subconsciously bitter that the man who made me wasn’t around to make me a man! I hated having a mom that was an addict that often bought drugs in the community in which I lived. I was forced to not only coexist, but I played basketball and hung out with some of the dudes who had “served” my mom. I was angry that I didn’t know what you looked like or what your hobbies were. I internalized all these emotions and it made me very distant with friends and family…subconsciously.
But as I became a man, and started going through my own experiences, I understood you more. I was able to get pictures of you, and I felt like I was looking in a mirror. I found out that my love for dressing “fly” came from you, my love of music came from you and my tendencies of dealing with women in a certain way also came from you. I came across letters that you had written to my mother and I felt like I had written that same letter at least 10 times to my significant other at different times in my life. I feel that every black boy on his road to self-actualization has to come to terms with understanding the traps his father fell victim to. I find myself fighting to avoid the same situations with women that I resented you for. When you attain knowledge and wisdom through experiences, you see that it makes more sense to be mad at the conditions that created the climate for those things to happen rather than being mad at the person for succumbing to the temptations within that climate…ya dig? So now instead of carrying around anger or confusion, I carry around astonishment in the fact that even though you were gone, you still raised me and passed along many of the characteristics that made you who you were.
You have been heavy on my mind lately because I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first born son in a few months. I want him to be fully aware of how great of a man his grandfather was and how splendidly flawed we both are as a result of everything you were and weren’t. It’s crazy to imagine you being a bigger presence in my life at 33 than you ever were before. And as I welcome my son into this world, he will know you more than I did…and for that I am grateful!
I hope this letter brings you peace and closure on a chapter that has been open for too long. It has for me…Peace Dad!
Your Loving Son
The entire state felt disappointed a few weeks ago when Connecticut’s own Andre “Showtime” Drummond announced that he decided to do a “post grad” year at Wilbraham & Munson in Massachusetts instead of accepting the scholarship offer he received from the National Champions. Everyone had their fingers crossed hoping the nations top prep player had chosen to stay home and take his talents to Storrs, CT. But when he didn’t, true Husky fans remained optimistic about this season (after all, they do have one of the top players in the country in Jeremy Lamb, they are returning 4 starters and have signed two blue chip recruits), but not as optimistic as they would have been had “Showtime” decided to wear the Husky blue. But CT’s collective prayers were answered today when Drummond announced via Twitter that he changed his mind and would be enrolling at the University of Connecticut this fall.
Connecticut has not had a recruit this highly touted since Calhoun let Hartford Public High School superstar Marcus Camby slip away to the University of Massachusetts back in 1993. Camby had a stellar career at UMASS, eventually leading them to a Final Four appearance and capturing the John Wooden Player of the Year Award in his Junior season. He was drafted #2 overall to the Toronto Raptors. Calhoun also received criticism for allowing Waterbury native Ryan Gomes to leave the state as he accepted an offer from Providence in 2001. Gomes was a second round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2005 and has had a very productive NBA career. Calhoun did not want to lose this one. It is safe to say Drummond is the highest recruit in Connecticut history as most people believe he will be a top 3 pick in the NBA Draft in 2013. UCONN made no secret about their interest in Drummond from day one. As rumors swirl surrounding Calhoun’s retirement, this may be his last hurrah. If it is…he saved his best for last!
Whenever I sit and try to think of a list of my “components”, I always marvel at the sheer random complexity that is me. If you are what I like to call a “people-watcher”, I will leave you baffled and looking for a new hobby. When people think they have me figured out, they are always staggered by a wild card type fact that changes everything they thought they knew about me. This presents a dilemma in my life, the proverbial “double-edged sword” or the Gift, disguised as a Curse. Even though I stay a step ahead of anyone trying to take advantage of me, I also, subconsciously, built a fortress around me with walls too tall for anyone to care to penetrate or climb over. My life has become a collection of temporary feelings, and seasonal affection. Not just romantically, bust even on the platonic friend level. I’ve had a wide collection of “best friends” and “significant others” who I later found out I was never very significant to.
Let me give few examples of the factors that make this equation: I make all these different playlists in my iPod based on the mood I’m in or the direction my day is going. These playlist will be as random as hearing Smokie Norful’s “I Need You Now” immediately followed by Beanie Sigel’s “Fuck Jada”. Jay-Z’s “Dear Summer” followed by Donnie Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free”. I sometimes find myself sitting up until 3am because there was a special on Leonardo Da Vinci on the History Channel that I started watching when “The Wire” went off at 1am. Not to mention that while watching “The Wire”, I was TiVo-ing the season finale of “Sex And The City”.
This all came to pass back in the late 80′s and early 90′s when I was running around the Bowles Park housing project all week, but in Welcome Baptist Church every Saturday and Sunday. This duality is beautifully constructed to give someone the vicious malcontent of a pit bull, but also inject him with the compassion of a Good Shepard tending to his flock.
There are many critics to my writing. I’ve heard on several different occasions that my opinion pieces suggests that I have a problem with black women. Some people say I must have been hurt by someone so deeply that I will never be able to love properly. But anyone who has seen me with my daughter knows this is absurd. Anyone who knows me closely knows I gave up a life in New York City to come back home and take care of my ailing grandmother who was in the twilight of her life. These facts don’t seem to be aligned with a woman bashing, female hating pig. The fact is my opinion is ever evolving. As I evolve, so will my thought process, and so will the random complexity. So while this makes me a nightmare to try to figure out, it also gives me the flexibility to appeal to at least 4 of your 5 (known) senses. Adversely, it also means I probably have a strong opinion about something your passionate about that will make you hang up on me at least once a month.
Honestly, I have no intention to change this. I am happy to be made up equal parts of Biggie and Thelonius Monk. I’m just as much Julia Roberts as I am Sanaa Lathan. I have just as much Patti LaBelle in me as I do Bette Midler. I listen just as much John Mayer and Kings of Leon as I do Drake and J. Cole. I would love to eat dinner with Malcolm X, but I would eat lunch with Bobby Kennedy on that same day.
This was just a random glimpse…look quickly, I’m evolving faster than expected!
5) That we are not emotional!
We are actually very emotional but we show it in primitive ways. Our “I love you” comes in various forms…more often than not, its comes NON-VERBALLY
4) That our silence means there is something wrong!
Sometimes we just wanna be still for a second. It has nothing to do with our love for you. Often times our everyday lives will test us in ways that we are not equipped to express accurately. At these times, we just need time to reflect without talking OR LISTENING!!!
3) That we cheat because we have fallen out of love!
Although it may seem foul to say, sometimes men cheat simply because we had access to another woman. One of the most natural things a man will do is seek out that which he desires. Most times the desire is temporary, or just simply trying to quench a thirst. Those men that have figured out how to abstain from cheating do not have more control than other men, they simply do not put themselves in positions where their resolve is tested. So simply put, A MAN IS ONLY AS LOYAL AS HIS OPTIONS…but indulging in another woman does not mean he does not love his own.
2) That we have to be in charge!
This is a huge misconception. A man will willingly follow a woman’s lead…IF SHE CAN TRICK HIM INTO BELIEVING THAT HE IS THE ONE LEADING! What she cannot do is lead and tell him every chance she gets that he should just fall back and let her lead. This is an uncomfortable position to put a man in because it will make him feel that he has lost his way. But cleverly disguised…a man will follow you…ALL THE WAY DOWN THE AISLE!
1) That we like fast women!
Women put too much stake into who a man is sexing. Men like playing with fast women. Some of them even like the chaos of having a fast mistress (or baby mama). But ALL MEN SEEK PEACE IN THEIR HOME. And the older we get, the more we realize that women who party all the time, and lack the traditional skills of the pre-modern homemakers…do not make good mates. So although you may see men in the streets in the faces of some of the most non-traditional women…they almost always go home to the woman who was able to provide peace and comfort in his life (no matter how fat or unattractive she may be)!