“Pessimism is a Self-Fulfilling Malady”

Doubt РDeath РDisillusion?  

I have grown tired of living in a world full of hate and hurt. ¬†Whenever I begin to break out of such limited thinking and living, I found that so many negative energies seemingly exist just to put me back. ¬†I’m often reminded that…

“Pessimism is a Self-Fulfilling Malady”¬†

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That was the profound quote that stuck with me from the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.  The quote came from professor Orlando Patterson, co-author and editor of The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth.  His speech was powerful and best of all, unapologetic.  Dr. Patterson is 76 years of age, and even though I may not agree with every word that he says or writes, it is refreshing and empowering to hear an elder speak with such courage.   Check out this article on Patterson and The Cultural Matrix. Continue reading

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3 Movies that inspire ME as a father

#3 – Chef

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I get great inspiration from this movie – a southern guy works to redeem himself after a failed marriage and has to learn how to be a responsible, attentive father, while maintaining and/or creating the career that he wants.

I really struggle with these same things. Continue reading

Everyone Makes Mistakes, Right?

My dear Sista in the arts and in the cosmos, Erykah Badu, seemed to make the mistake of her career. ¬†Bad album? ¬†Or photo shoot? ¬†Nope. ¬†Far beyond the awkward appearing relationships with the various fathers of her children. ¬†In fact, who cares about that?!? ¬†That is her business. ¬†It doesn’t affect her music, her flyness, her understanding of love and family, and as a fellow musician who fantasizes about meeting and even performing with her, I have no beef with her lifestyle.

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Continue reading

A Father’s Love Vol. 3: Pharoh and Clifford

Well, most of my closest people know that my partner, my Bean-town buddy, my boy! РRoh! (as we affectionately called him) has transitioned into another life.  (That means he died).  After nearly 14 years, 6 cities, 3 cars, 2 schools, and about 7 or 8 residences together, I am now without my dog, Pharoh Kareem.  He had been sick for quite a while now, but just kept bouncing back, ultimately giving me a false safety net that would eventually break.

As painful as it was to see him¬† go, I was equally relieved, because I know there wasn’t much that I could do for him anymore.¬† I had to carry him down the stairs to go outside; he would barely eat and had a terrible cough.

One of the most interesting things about his passing is, that Saturday eveing after work, I rushed home from Guitar Center to pack my drums for a show at the Myxx in Cleveland Heights.¬† I peaked in the door to see ‘Roh and he looked terrible.¬†¬† He looked dazed and was breathing hard.¬† I reluctantly thought, “Oh no”.¬† So, I rushed to pack my drums so that I could check on him.¬† Within less than 10 minutes of loading time, I returned to find him dead on the kitchen floor.

THAT was some painful stuff.

Now let’s be real, I loved that pig (bad varsity Blues joke), but he would sometimes get on my last nerve!¬† But, maturity set in for both us and towards the end, ‘Roh and I would sort of look over at each other and make a calm gesture, whatever it might be at the time.

I really began to see something different when Kali really got know him over the past year.¬† She would come into the kitchen and just sit on the floor with him.¬† In retrospect, I think that I was missing the signs that the end was closer than I knew.¬† In fact, after he passed I went into a mode of hurt and devestation knowing that a) I saw the sign but didn’t jump and give him that last bath (a real bonding act for us), put the sweater on him that I had bought for him¬† few weeks prior, or the hardest part, to hear Kali ask about him.¬† That, above anything else, caused the tears to fall.

After A.R. (after ‘Roh) soon became the prime opportunity for a certain 4 year old to ask for a puppy.¬† Long story short?¬† We got 2 fish.¬†¬†One for my place, one for her mom’s¬†– Emily Elizabeth and Clifford (characters from¬†Clifford the Big Red Dog.

A Father’s Love Vol. 2: A Holiday Dilemma

So, Christmas has come and gone and Kwanzaa is well underway. ¬†I spent the entire day with Kali which included time at the park, lunch, walking, a movie, the whole nine! ¬†We had a great time, to say the least. ¬†I’ve even given up my office (b.k.a the 2nd bedroom) so that she can have a room at my place as well. ¬†Funny how she’s gotten to the age where she asks questions like. “Daddy, where’s my room?” with such innocence and curiosity.

Bottom line, we had a long, near flawless day, until after I dropped her back at her mom’s. ¬†Earlier in the day Kali asked for an Alice doll (Angelina Ballerina’s best friend – for those of you don’t know). ¬†I hesitated in my mind because she had just received several toys/dolls the day before and I truly don’t want to get her into the habit of expecting a gift everytime we are together. ¬†But despite all, I told her that I would find out where Mommy got the original doll from and we would see about getting the new one.

Fast forward to the end of the night… I was driving her back and she fell asleep within minutes because of the long day. ¬†I carried her to the door and she went into her aunt’s arms, slightly awake, but clearly out of it. ¬†We said our tired goodbyes and I left for home to begin Kwanzaa. ¬†Before I got home, her mom called saying that she was crying saying that I promised her an Alice doll and that she didnt get it. ¬†Now I do understand dissappointment, but come on!

This is why it is so hard for me to celebrate holidays in their current state of beg and buy. ¬†This has increasingly become the norm with all the “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday”, and the day after Christmas. ¬†Buy, buy, buy, and children (and adults for that matter) get a ridiculous amount of toys, gadgets and the like – digging further into debt and further away from any kind of a true meaning to Thanksgiving or Christmas. ¬†Kwanzaa is still preserved, but over shadowed by sales that traditionally follow December 25 and the upcoming festivities of New Year’s.

After a grand day of activities and undeniable love between me and my little girl, it all ends with big tears running down her face, professing that I promised a darn toy?!? ¬†Even at the tender age of 4, Kali is well aware of the power of superficial gifts and is susceptible to get caught up in the mindset of wanting far beyond her needs, to the point of greed. ¬†I won’t dare be too harsh about this, after all, she may just be acting out because she misses me and (as she often says when stalling) “I don’t want to go”. ¬†It’s possible and I will have to monitor this over time. ¬†Meanwhile, it’s a chance for her mom and I to start communicating on this and be prepared to combat some of the worldly garbage that isn’t going away anytime soon.

Stay tuned…

A Father’s Love Vol. 1: An Introduction

My little girl lives with her mom.  Her mom and I divorced a few years back before she turned one.  The time I spend with my daughter is very special to me.  I dont see her as often as I would like, but give everything I have when we are together.

This was the advice given to me by my dad. ¬†he told me, “the time will come, just do the best you can. ¬†Don’t force anything, she will know who you are.” ¬†So far, so good.

After the divorce, I was made to pay child support as expected.  It was awfully steep if you ask me, but then again, who asked me?  I just adjusted and moved on with my life.

Overtime, I have watched several men run from child support, quit their jobs, get arrested, fight for custody just to lower the payments and so on. ¬†I try not judge, but I will admit, it’s hard.

So, at the end of the day, I can sleep sound, knowing that she at least has the financial resources she needs, trusting that her mom is using the money in the proper manner. ¬†Beyond that… there’s a lot of work to be done. ¬†Day by day, year by year. ¬†I’m confident that, one day, everything will be just fine and these challenging times will be a thing of the past.