Sunday, December 30, 2007

At the Close of Another Year

As the year 2007 comes to a close, I sit and reflect on my goals and setbacks and achievements and failures over the past 12 months. Of course, some things I am more proud of than others. But as the Bible says (somewhere lol), all things work together for the good. Therefore, I embrace them all and take them as lessons learned to help me grow into a stronger, better, and more confident person. And hopefully, I will learn to not make the same mistakes over and over again. So here are some of the highlights for me for this year:

1. I landed a permanent job after a two-year cycle of unemployment and temp work. When I would hear about people being laid off, I would say to myself, I hope that does not happen to me. But in April, 2005, that became me. And damn what a wake up call that was! There is nothing more frustrating than to not have your skills and expertise being utilized in the workplace or worse, not being paid enough for your skills and expertise. After temping at Merrill Lynch for low wages for about 10 months, I was informed that my department was being relocated to Jacksonville, FL. Because I was a temp (and not an official employee of the company), I did not qualify. I was guaranteed to lose my job. But thank God a former coworker of mine put in a good word for me at this banking company that he had moved to. One of his coworkers was just fired at the time, and they were looking for a good replacement. After 3 (yes 3) interviews, I was offered the position in March making my best salary since graduating from college. To all you out there looking for a new job, don't give up and utilize your networking skills to the fullest. Yes it's gonna be hard, and there are times you will be frustrated, discouraged or even depressed. But keep pressing on and tell everyone you're looking for a job. You never know who's gonna remember your name when the right time and opportunity comes. In due time it will happen, believe me!

2. I still have not moved out on my own. I told myself that 2007 was the year that I would strike out on my own. Sadly, that was not to be. Because I had fallen behind on my bills because of the unemployment and temp work, most of my money went to catching up with that. Even though I'm living somewhat comfortably financially, the money I had left over was not enough to save up for an apartment. It sucks, but I am determined to really do it next year. That will be my top priority for 2008! Hopefully my bonus, raise and IRS checks together will make for a nice down payment on an apartment. The next step obviously would be to find a suitable location. I would like to move a little bit further north so that my commute to and from work would be shortened. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

3. I worked out the medical bill issue my aunt left for me....somewhat. Refer to my posted titled, "It's Nice to Have Family...Right?!" for the full details. I was successfully making payments for about 5 months to the law firm that had sued me. Problem is, I missed the first payment (no money, what else) and now they have sent me another letter asking for a default judgment against me. I'll have to figure out how to resolve this issue on my own this time. My aunt wrote the letters to the firm last time, but I don't want her involved in it this time at all. Shit, I can write the letters myself (even though I'll have to find out how to use all that legal jargon).

4. I have learned to further appreciate my friends more and more. Don't get me wrong, I have always shown (or tried to show) how loyal and loving I am to my friends, and I appreciate them. Cause I truly believe that good friends do not come a dime a dozen. That's why I treasure the ones that I have. But two major occurrences this year made me realize that I have wonderful friends: when two of them decided to take on the responsibility of caring for a 17 year old that otherwise would've lost his way, and the other was when one of my good friends was hospitalized for a heart condition. Each of these instances strengthened our friendship bond (that goes for our entire circle of friends) because it showed how great we can be when we stand together united in our friendship and helping each other get through rough times. The actions that my friends have displayed has taught me that I can be the best man I can be, because I'm surrounded by plenty of them. (After all, a person is very much influenced by his surroundings.) And even though they sometimes annoy the shit outta me and say/do things I don't understand, I really love and proud of my friends (yall know who you are).

5. I made it through another year of being a born-again virgin. What? You thought all of my highlights were gonna be serious? Please! LOL. Yes folks, it may be hard to believe, but this year marks over my 5th year of not being a bottom. (I haven't been a top in a while either, for that matter.) And screw all of you who think that needs to change. It's my body dammit lol.

6. I am still single and enjoying it. As I have stated before (especially to my friends), I really do enjoy being single and don't worry about finding a man. People frequently ask me if/when I am in a relationship, to which I nonchalantly reply, "No." Oh well, such is life, I say to myself. If I want to remain single, that's on me. No shade.

So there you have it, Jersey Brotha's 2007 highlights. I leave you, my fellow Bloggers, with a Happy New Year, and may 2008 be the year that you are abundantly blessed in all areas of your life! I'm looking forward to that myself.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Family Member at Work! (Conclusion)

This is the conclusion to my previous blog with the same title....

Well folks, my curiosity finally got the best of me about my work "family member." Today, as I celebrated my 2nd day of vacation, I casually exchanged e-mails with him (hell, I was bored and wanted to talk to him). Thankfully, he was willing to return the e-mails. So then he asks me to help him set up his 401K account, which warranted a phone call. As I was helping him set up his account, I heard him laugh. I asked, "What are you laughing at?" His reply: "At my manager." So I said, "Oh, so are you and your manager having a kee kee moment?" His reply: "Down!" (emphasis on the word of course) After this (and many other) discussions, my intuitions were damn near eating me alive, and I had to know for myself what was up with this dude. I slowly started to drop hints at him. This was our e-mail exchange:

Me: I have a question to ask you, but I don't know how you're gonna react. It's kinda personal.
Him: Then don't ask lol.
Me: LOL then it's gonna eat away at me. I wanna ask you cause I think you cool as hell, but I also don't want you to think less of me (or vice versa). *Sigh* What's a brotha to do?
Him: Lol nah I hear u, but we r just getting to be cool n I would not wanna mess that up. So just leave it alone lol.
Me: Do I have to leave it alone? LOL But for real, I know we're still gonna be cool. But dammit, my inquisitive side is getting the best of me. I gotta get this weight off my shoulder lol. I don't wanna ask you at work though.
Him: Go just ask. goes...I took a deep breath and slowly typed what I had wanted to ask him for months now....

Me: Do you get down?

I hesitated for a few seconds and finally built up the strength to push the "Send" button. As I awaited his response, all kinds of thoughts came to my head:

What if he does? Has he been watching me too? Am I finally gonna have some real fun at work? (LOL) Was my sexual preference now gonna come up at work in the presence of other coworkers?
What would I say/do if he says no? How would he take it? Is he gonna be offended I even asked him that?
Why did I even ask him in the first place? Why did I let my curiosity take over me like that?

I'm sure many more thoughts came to my head, but I didn't have time to think of more, cause the reply finally came back. Ohhhhhhhhhh boy! The moment of truth!

Him: How did I know that's what u wanted to ask? Well sir, no I don't. But a good friend of mine does. N that's where I get some of the "how u doin" stuff from. Cuz I think its funny. N when u hang out with someone u usually pick up their outragous behavior, as in my case. But u do?? I am asking. Wouldn't make a difference to me.

Shit, he was being honest with me. The cat's almost all outta the bag, so I figured that this was the perfect time for me to tell him...

Me: Yup, I do.'re the first person that knows (outside of my friends that also get down). My own family doesn't even know, cause you know how we as black people can be!
Him: Nah. I kinda knew u did. That's y I kee-d with u about shit. I wanted ask. But I was like nah just leave it. But hell yeah we still cool. I respect u for who u r, and u have shown me who u are. So it doesn't matter what u do privately. But u kept saying "my boys my boys" about your people n I was like he definitely gets down lol.

O my! Let me find out he had his gaydar on the whole time lol. Apparently, I've been outting myself slowly around him. Oh well. But damn am I glad he took the news the way he did! I feel like a weight is lifted from my shoulders. I have NEVER told a coworker that I get down. Hell, my family doesn't even know! Now I feel like I can talk to him about anything, and I won't feel ashamed or judged (as black folk can do). Even though he doesn't proclaim to be a true family member, I can confide in him and make him an honorary member. Yaaaaaaaaay I didn't lose my kee kee partner! But shit! Now all my fantasies about him will remain just that...fantasies. Oh well....can't win em all lol.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yes, I Want This Love

Those that really know me know my feelings about men and relationships. I am reminded of a song by Elton John called "I Want Love." I think it pretty much describes my views, for better or worse. I finally got around to finding the video on YouTube and decided to post it. I don't expect a whole lot of people to relate to it. But just listen to the words more than watching the video. This is my kinda love. If you don't like it, too damn bad LOL.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's Nice to Have Family....Right???

The following posting was originally on my Livejournal page back in March. Since I'm a full-fledged Blogger now, I decided to put it on here. I made a few changes, but the bulk of it is still the same. Read on my fellow Bloggers...

I've been living with my aunt since 1993 after my mother's death. It was just the two of us until 1996, when she decided to (finally) get married. Back in 1999 or 2000 (when I was still in college), she came to me and asked if I would put my name down on a finance plan for some dental work that she needed done. Her credit was too bad (and so was her husband's) so, as a good and caring family member, I agreed to do it. Back then, my credit was excellent, so I saw no problem. And she told me that she was gonna keep up with paying the bill so that it wouldn't reflect negatively on my credit report. Hell, she was the one who instilled in me the importance of having good credit, so no worries.

Things were going well at first. The bill came every month, and I would pass it along to her so that it could be paid. For the first year or two I just assumed everything was fine. A few years ago, I noticed something weird that showed up on my credit report, then gradually the bills and phone calls from the collection agency came. I had my first discussion with her about it, and she again promised me that she "would take care of it." Me being naive (or just plain fuckin stupid!) took her at her word and didn't mention much about it again.

Earlier this year, the dreaded letter appeared in the was a letter from the Somerset County Courthouse, and I now was being sued for the full amount (about $2,700!) I found out that she did not make ONE SINGLE PAYMENT since 2001!! As if I don't have my own damn bills to about, now I gotta worry about this one. I walked my pissed-off ass into her bedroom and showed her the court letter. When I asked her why
the hell she didn't take care of it before, she simply replies, "I forgot." You forgot???? You ain't forget to ask me to put my name down for this fuckin bill!!!!! I couldn't believe it. I don't think I ever felt more used and taken advantage of in my whole life. And to add insult to injury, she calls herself being Christian and gave herself the title of "Evangelist." Hmph! All she did was apologize to me, but I was in no mood to hear any apologies. That shit was for the birds a long time ago! All I wanted to see was money being exchanged. This is definitely going to affect my apartment search (since landlords look at credit reports), which is further adding to my frustration. I'm worried I might get stuck living at home even longer, at a time when I'm really tryin to change that. * Big sigh*

UPDATE: I ended up going to court this summer on my own (cause my fuckin aunt told me that she "wouldn't be able to make it") and speaking with the law firm that was suing me. (The law firm paid the bill to the collection agency, and now they were looking to recover that money from me.) With the help of a mediator, I agreed that I would pay them 80% of the total payment (roughly $2,200), which will be broken down into monthly installments of $300. After the bill has been paid in full, a letter will be sent from them to all 3 credit bureaus informing them that this bill has been satisfied. (This is the only thing on my credit report that is seriously delinquent.) What a hard lesson this was for me. I should've gotten something in writing from my aunt agreeing that she was going to pay the bill, cause I didn't have a leg to stand on by the time I got to court. They are not gonna wanna hear shit about how I thought my aunt was taking care of it. My name and social security number is on the bill, so that makes me (and me alone) responsible. Case closed. (Oh, did I mention that she has worked for various law firms for 30 years???). I love my aunt but I am disgusted by what she did. I have made it my top priority to get this bill paid by mid-2008 and not let anything like this happen to me ever again. Nice to have family, right? Right?!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Family Member At Work!

I really love my job. It's smaller and privately-owned (which means I get recognized more easily for the work I do), the people are friendly and relatively down-to-earth, and because the company is constantly growing, there is lots of room for growth and opportunity.

Speaking of opportunity, I noticed this little cutie at my job about a week or so after I started working there (which was about 7 months ago). The old wishful thinking started to play in my mind. "Hmmm....I wonder if he gets down or not. He's a little cutie." Of course, nobody at my job knows that I do, but damn, wouldn't it be nice to REALLY confide in somebody at work like that?! He's 22 or 23, just graduated from college, and this place is his first job out of college. Been there over a year now. He's Guyanese (but I believe he's been in the US all his life) and currently lives in the Bronx. He sits on the other side of the floor as me, so we started communicating through e-mail. He's a cool dude, but sometimes he's hard to figure out. Sometimes he can come off as abrasive, but I can deal with that. Hell, that makes me wanna find out about him even more lol. But he also can be a little hard to figure out. But I'm a patient man, so I just learned to sit and wait for any signs.

The first sign came about a month ago. I came over to him to tell him that the CIO witnessed a coworker and I doing our little exercise regimen (push-ups) in some little room where our help desk is. He said when he found out, he "gagged." Red flag #1! Just to make sure I heard right, I said, "You did what??? You gagged?" He said again, "Yup, I gagged." Alriiiiiiight! A door seems to have opened. Let me sit back and wait for the door to slightly open again!

The second sign came earlier this month. When I asked him to buy something from a catalog for a kid's fundraiser, he took one of the catalogs and started to peruse through it. He saw some knife set and said, "I don't need that cause I already have a knife, and it cuts down (emphasis on that last word)." flag #2! *Sound of the door slowly creaking open a little more*

But folks, today's e-mail exchange took the cake and solidified my belief that is dude is indeed a family member. I was telling him my little story about what happened on one of the cleaning ladies threw away the food that was in the fridge (as she was told to do every Friday), and how she disgustingly dug all through the garbage with no problem to try to retrieve it for me (which she successfully did, but I damn sure didn't want it then. Yuk!) Anyway, after I told him what happened, this is what he wrote...."
Oh no! I would have raised hell for that. The cards would have been read that day. Shade of all shade would have come out lol." Ladies and gentlemen, we have red flag # 3! *Ding ding ding!* When I read that, I could hardly believe my eyes. No straight man on their drunkest fuckin day would write anything like that. The thought of having family in the workplace sent me into overdrive lol. Now I'm left with a small dilemma.....I wanna ask him soooooo bad if he gets down. But how? And shit, what if my assumptions are wrong and he really doesn't get down? Then I'll be looking very stupid. I need to figure out something cause my interest has been tremendously piqued now.

*Sigh* What's a brotha to do?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Where Are They? Are We Here Already?

I was watching the news last night, and a segment came on about how Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Newark to lend his support/suggestions on how to curb the murder-rate problem that's plaguing the city. It seems like whenever you turn on the TV and there's some uproar about a problem facing our community, you either see Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.

Then the thought came to me....why don't we see any prominent black leaders within the black gay community? We have no problems discussing other subjects concerning our people. Is this subject still taboo on a global level? Cause God knows I do not want to see Terry McMillan representing us on another program discussing her hatred/bitterness about gays just because one (count em, one) deceived her! I think the leaders are within ourselves. Hell, who can better represent each one of us than us ourselves?

What does everyone else think?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Day My World Stood Still

I seriously debated whether or not I should post this next year or this year. But I figured hey, why wait until next year? There may be someone out there that's going through or went through the same thing. They need to hear this story now!

This day, 14 years ago, will forever be etched in my mind. My beloved mother, Elizabeth Brunson, lost her battle with a horrible disease I was 15 years old at the time, and it was truly one of the worst days of my life. But first, a little explanation on how it got to that point.....

I have always admired my mother She went to college (Rutgers) and landed a good job with Blue Cross & Blue Shield (now called Horizon). But I admired her even more after my father passed away, and she was left to raise my 2 older brothers and I on her own. In 1988, she was determined to start a new, better life for us. So we moved from East Orange to a more peaceful Linden. Things were going pretty well for us. We had adapted to our new surroundings and loved it. We were experiencing a newfound peace.

Four years later, our serenity was tested. It was around 4PM (I remember Oprah being on TV), and my mother walked into the room that my brother and I were sharing. I was sitting on my bed doing my homework and when I looked up, my mother had a tissue in her hand and a look of despair She rested her elbow on the dresser and blurted out those awful words, "I took an HIV test today and the test came back positive. I have the AIDS virus." All my brother and I could do was just sit there and look at her. What can you say to a person that just told you something like that? She definitely didn't wanna hear that everything was gonna be alright, and she can get through this. Shit, we didn't believe that ourselves! I scared and worried for her. Questions just came running to my head: What are we gonna do if/when she dies? And who gave this to her? It was too much for a 14-year-old to think about.

Over the next few months, I watched my mother go from energetic and independent to a feeble, dependent woman who was losing her hope, faith and will to live. It was a time of few highs and many lows. Her illness prevented her from working a steady, full-time job. Weight loss, pain in her body, and constant visits to the hospital (that was attributed to her not taking her medication) were customary. Her condition also caused her to become irritable and cranky most of the time, and she often lashed out and/or kept saying how she wanted to die. It was so heartbreaking for me, and many times I just cried and prayed to God that some miracle would happen and she would come back to her old self, or at least not let this virus ravage her body and spirit. I felt so helpless, but I knew I had to be there for her and help her in any way I could. Many times I would go into her room and just kiss her on the cheek as she lay on her bed. I didn't need to say anything, because actions speak louder than words. She had found this facility in Newark (by this time, we had moved to Irvington) for AIDS/HIV-infected people. They feed them and take them on daily outings such as the zoo and restaurants. It's also a facility where you can sit around, watch TV, play games, and just sit and be with your family. This was during the summer, so many times I accompanied her to the facility. I just wanted to be around her as much as I could while I still had time.

But like they say, time waits for no man, and my mother was no exception. A few days before that fateful day, my mother once again entered the hospital. On a Sunday morning (around 9AM), my aunt (the one I stay with now) woke my brother and I up and told us the two words that I knew I was going to hear eventually...."She's gone." We both got dressed, and we headed over to my other brother's girlfriend's house to get him so we could all go to the hospital. It seemed like an eternity, but we finally made it to East Orange General Hospital and went up to the room where my mother had spent her last days alive. We entered the room and there she was, on the bed with her eyes still open. For a few minutes, we just stood there and looked at her. For my oldest brother, this was all he could take, and he broke down and walked out of the room. This was the first time I had EVER seen him cry. My aunt went out to console him. A few minutes later, I came out of the room enveloped in grief, and my aunt had to console me too. I cried for so many things that day: that I was never going to see her again, that I wouldn't have any more mother/son moments, that I would never hear her voice or see her smile again. But the main thing I cried about was that she went into eternity in some bare, cold hospital room without being surrounded by people she loved and cared about by her side. I couldn’t help but feeling guilty about it. I later learned that she also had a brain tumor, so I guess her body gave out from trying to fight off two maladies at the same time. And to this day, I’m still not sure who she contracted HIV/AIDS from. It could’ve been my father or a man that she was seeing at the time of her death.

So now here I am, 14 years later, reflecting on that horrible day and the aftermath. Honestly, there are some days where I don't think about my mother. Ironically, one of those days is Mother's Day, but that's because we were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses, and we didn't celebrate any holidays. But there are some days when she just pops up in my mind and I get really sad, especially songs specifically about a person's mother ("A Song for Mama" by Boyz II Men and "Thinking of You" by Lenny Kravitz immediately pop into my mind). I’m able to view pics of her with no problem. My cousin videotaped a cookout he had at his house, and it has my mother in it. I can’t bring myself to watch it because I don’t wanna remember her in her suffering stage. It’s painful when your father passes away, but when your mother passes away the pain is almost unbearable. I wish she could've been there to see me get my first job, graduate from high school and college, get married, have a child (if I do decide to do those last two things), and all the other joys of life. But I know she’ll always be with me in spirit and mind. But everything happens for a reason, and God was showing me just how strong a person I was (or at least needed to be at the time). If I can make it through losing both parents before the age of 18, I can make it through just about anything. This trial has made me into the strong person I never saw in myself. I'm not where I wanna be, but I'm definitely not where I used to be! And I embrace this lesson in life and get through it. Notice I said "get through it" and not "get over it," cause you don't ever get over the loss of a loved one; that chapter is never closed. And to all you out there having problems or differences with your parents, appreciate them anyway, because you never know when it's going to be their time to go. And when they do, it’s going to be one of the most difficult things you will ever have to deal with in your life.

And you know something else? I didn't even break down at all when I wrote all this (but my eyes did fill up with tears a few times). I am so proud of myself for this inner strength, but my mother would be prouder. Thanks Mommy, and I love you!

August 8, 1949 - October 3, 1993

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ever Wonder?

This topic actually arose when my good friend, his man, and I were walking back to the car after we had enjoyed the festivities of the West Indian Day Parade on Labor Day. I meant to post it sooner, but better late than never right? LOL Here goes.....

I was born in East Orange, but I moved out when I was 10. My friend was born in the Bronx, but he moved out when he was a kid too (can't remember the age). His question was direct and thought-provoking (as with most of his questions): how would your life be different had you lived in the inner city all your life? For me, I know for a fact that I would have more 'street smarts.' I lost that when I moved. And when I was robbed 2 1/2 years ago, having street smarts really would've come in handy.

So now I ask all of you who went through the same experience....have you ever wondered how your life would be if you lived in the inner city all your life? Would it have impacted your life positively or negatively? How/why?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

20 Years (Father)

In the past, I haven't given September 16th much thought at all. It came and went without much notice. (Most of the time, it was during a work week anyway.) But this year, the date holds a significant milestone for me. As much as I tried not to think about it, it kept poppin up in my head, and I even had to remind my brothers about it. For it was on this day, 20 years ago, that the man we knew as our father went into eternal rest. I was only 9 years old at the time. And like anything else traumatic that happens to you when you are a child, it is a day I will never forget. But first, a brief overview of my father....

William Howard Brunson was fun to be around and seemed happy to all those who came in contact with him. (My brothers and I never called him Dad; we always called him Bucky. I never knew why, and we never questioned it.) But he was also a man who was battling some serious demons in his life. He had spent about 15 years of his life in prison from the time he was about 19. After being released from prison, he met my mother, had my brother, got married, and had me, all in about a 4-year span. (My oldest brother is from another man, but Bucky raised him as his own.) I remember my father having only 2 jobs: one was at Consolidated Laundries, where he would ship towels, sheets, etc. to various companies, and another at Biase's Restaurant, where he worked as a cook. Both were located in Newark are no longer in existence. He was hard-working man, but he also battled a serious alcohol addiction, something that started when he was young. I would remember times when he would drive me around and drink, or times when he just plain forgot to take me somewhere cause he would be too drunk to remember. At times, my brothers, mother and I tried to curb it by pouring out all his liquor one day. My mother even took him to rehab, where he stayed for a few weeks. But it wasn't all bad times. I also remember good times at beaches, amusement parks, and even home. He loved to cook, dance, and just plain have a good time and always enjoyed the pleasure of company. He was a fun-loving man, but I can't really say he was loving. I don't ever remember a time when he said he loved me, or even displayed some type of emotion. This sometimes confused me, because I couldn't understand why. And like most black families, my brothers and I got a big-ass helping of ass-whuppins and punishments whenever we did something wrong. At night we would lay in our beds and say, "I hate Bucky! I wish he was dead!" That wish proved prophetic.

On that previous Friday before this date, Bucky spent most of the day vomiting and laying in the bed. My brothers and I did not know what to do. When my mother came home from work that day, we told her that he was in really bad shape, so she rushed into the room and immediately took him to the hospital.

That was the last day I ever saw him alive.

A few days later, I was told he had slipped into a coma (I didn't know what it was back then). And then on Tuesday night back in 1987, around 6:30PM, my mother came home from the hospital devastated and told us, "He died. He didn't make it." The years of alcohol abuse had finally taken a toll on most of the organs in his body. First she hugged my oldest brother (15 at the time), then my middle brother (12 at the time). I ran into the bathroom to wipe my tears on my towel, then came back to hug my mother. Contrary to what some people say, KIDS UNDERSTAND DEATH! We knew that our father was gone and was not coming back.

I remember his wake (sooooooo many people were there), but we could not go to his funeral, which was located at a church. At the time, my mother was a Jehovah's Witness, and they do not deal with churches in any way. So my mother, her friend, my brothers and I stayed in the family car while the funeral was taking place inside. It seemed like forever, but the people finally came out hugging and consoling each other through their grief. We got to the gravesite, and I stood in the front with my grandmother's (father's mother's) arms around my shoulders. One of the Jehovah's Witness elders make some remarks, then they lowered my father six feet below to his (final?) resting place. As we drove away from the cemetary, the thought of not having him around once again hit me, and tears slowly came to my eyes.

Now that I'm a grown man and had 2 decades to reflect on this day, I've discovered one thing that I either kept hidden or just plain didn't realize: my father inadvertently passed along his trait of not allowing people to get too close to him. He tried to shield himself (with alcohol) from what he didn't want to face (life?). Don't get me wrong, I'm a chill, down-to-earth dude with quite a few friends. But I do not allow a person to know everything about me. At times, I find it difficult to fully convey what I am feeling, especially to a man. Hell, that's most likely the reason why I have never been in a serious relationship. I'm scared to let my guard all the way down to let someone in. Am I angry for what my father may have done? No. I don't hold long grudges against people, and he wouldn't be able to see or feel my anger anyway. Madonna made a song years ago called "Oh Father," and one of the lyrics read, "Maybe somebody/When I look back I'll be able to say/You didn't mean to be cruel/Somebody hurt you too" I'm sure there were many things my father was hurting about (trying to make something out of his life after serving time in prison, trying to provide for his wife and children, just trying to be a responsible man in general). Even now whenever I hear this song or "Dance with my Father," the words hit hard and deep. Somtimes I can't even hear the entire songs without tearing up or just turning it off. Guess I realized I love and miss my father more now than I ever did before.

December 8, 1939 - September 16, 1987

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mr. Nice Guy? For What?!

I am sitting here a little hurt but extremely annoyed. The person that considers me his best friend (whom I have known for about 3 1/2 years) has a strange way of showing it. (Those in my circle know who I'm talking about.) We've had spats before, but today's was a little worse than the others.

The latest spat involved the very root of all (or, in this case, a bill). A few months ago, my said "best friend" stated that he wanted a laptop and asked me for advice on which one to get. I suggested a Dell because I've had the most positive experiences with them. So I spent a day or two looking on the Dell Web site to try to find one that was best for him. Because I have a Dell card, I even took it one step further and agreed to put the laptop on my card and have him give me the money back in installments. The first payment was fine, but as time progressed, the payments started to arrive later and later. Now he sends me the money only a few days in advance, which does not really work for me because I need to time for the money to: a) post to my account (because it still is a bank transaction after all) and b) pay the bill online. In the past few months, the bill was paid literally on the day it was due. I don't like payin bills on the due date; if I can handle it, I would rather them to be paid with days (hell, even a week) left over so that I won't run the risk of encountering a late payment and thus, showing up negatively on my credit report. The first time he did this, I was a little annoyed but I got over it. But this time I was not so forgiving. As the due date quickly approached, I felt it necessary to send him an e-mail reminding him that I still needed the money, to which he replied that he would have the money for me on Friday (this past Friday). Friday came and went with no money-exchange. The next day I text him and asked him when he was gonna give me the money, to which he replied, "As soon as I get outta bed." (Mind you, this was 1PM Saturday, and he tells me that he "forgot" about the money the other day. But yet, he sure didn't forget to keep asking me when the laptop had been ordered and arrived.) A few hours later, he finally drops by unannounced, hands me the money, then promptly leaves. It was as if he was annoyed and he was doing me a favor.'s your responsibility! I was the one that was (and should be) annoyed, and with every reason. Now I had to scramble to make sure the money was in my account and the bill was paid by Tuesday. *Sigh* So I called him and told him to make sure the money gets to me earlier. Reluctantly, he agrees.

Anyway, by the time today rolls around, I can't really say I was mad, but I definitely just wanted to clear the air and let him know where I stood with this situation, because I didn't have a chance to really speak with him about it on Saturday or Sunday. So I e-mailed him and told him that the reason why I was a little annoyed is because I went out of my way to do a nice thing for him, and his getting an attitude with me about the promptness of his payment gave off the aura of someone being ungrateful, rude and inconsiderate. In a nutshell, his reply was that I "just wanted to complain," that I was "whining," and how I needed to "get over it." But then he says to me that after he finishes paying me for the laptop to never do anything for him again! Excuse me??!! So I said, "If that's the way you feel, then fine."
He got a lotta fuckin nerve! And to add insult to injury, he forwards our conversation to some of our friends and to his coworker (as if her opinion really matters), and he claims that nobody agreed with me. It was basically some underhanded shit to me to try to make me into this dude with serious mental problems while he's the innocent victim who didn't do anything wrong, which disgusted me!

Yes it started out as just an issue about a bill, but it's really escalated into a bigger issue. Almost everything I say he brushes off. If it doesn't fit his little criteria of what is right or logical, then you're wrong and he doesn't wanna hear it. I am tired of it, and it hurts my heart to know that somebody who claims I'm such a best friend can also be so passive concerning others. But I'm a little angry at myself because none of this would've happened if I wasn't tryin to be so nice. I am really starting to hate it, cause you can only be so nice for so long before somebody comes along and screws you. First my aunt (that's another story), and now him. Sometimes I feel like I'm abusing myself for being a fuckin nice guy. As much as I really don't wanna say this, I think I'm gonna have to get rid of this "nice guy" persona. It's not getting me anywhere. But I'm probably just talking out of bitterness and anger right now. Time will tell though.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

True 'What the Fuck' Moments

This one was too good to not blog about lol....

Today when I was on my lunch break around 2:30, I get a phone call from a number I do not recognize. Usually when that happens (and today was no exception), I let my phone go to VM. The way I see it, if it's really important, they'll just leave a damn message. Lo and behold, the person sure did leave one. I didn't check the VM right away. I waited til about 5 or so. Half because I was still relatively busy at work, and half because I forgot. When I finally got around to checking it, it was from this dude I went to high school with that I just got reacquainted with through another HS classmate's baby shower a few months ago. (I gave him my business card and put my cell number on it. I'm a corporate homo lol. But I also like to help people in any way I can. And besides, I might need him again one day in life and vice versa, and I've learned to not burn bridges). Not to put people down or anything, he's a nice dude but the dude's head ain't screwed in too tight lol. (When I saw him walking into the building for the baby shower, he was carrying on a conversation with himself.) Anyway, the VM (through all the stuttering and pauses he made) said that he had something to ask me, and it was "very, very important." Hmmm....what the hell could he want with me? So I finally returned his call, and he proceeds to tell me that "the issue is now settled" and how he felt "embarrassed" to even ask me now.
"Well you already spent time leaving me the VM, so you mind as well tell me," I replied. *Another pause from him* " you have five big ones? I have to start class soon."
W....T.....F #1! Did he just ask me what I think he just asked me, I thought to myself. I don't even give my family members money like that! Why I give that much to somebody I barely even remember from high school?! I quickly regained my composure and asked him, "Are you talkin about $500?" "Yeah, yeah, that's what I'm askin," he said.
"Sorry man, I can't help you there," I said.
"Oh ok," was his only reply.

So then the conversation moves toward him going to a job fair tomorrow and how he's looking for work. I ask him what field is he looking in, and he tells me "something in a warehouse" (he worked for both Fed Ex and UPS in their shipping department). I don't think he went/finished college, and based on his eccentricities, it was kinda hard for him to find much else. I told him I knew somebody that I believed still worked at this warehouse
in Woodbridge and would contact him to see if his job was hiring and get back to him. I called the dude and left him a VM. And guess what, the weird dude calls me back again about a half hour later wanting to know if I heard from the dude. "No. I left him a VM. I'll let you know when he calls me back."
"Aight," he says, and hangs up. Just as I pull up to my house (8:30), I get another phone call from you-know-who. W...T...F #2! At this point, I'm just annoyed as hell. What the fuck is he callin me again for, I say to myself. I'm not returning his call til after I finish eating. So around 9:15 I prepared myself mentally for what I was about to hear from this dude.
"Oh, I forgot to ask you, do you know if this dude has morning shifts at his job?"
*Sighing in my mind* "I don't know man, he still hasn't called me back yet. Once I know something I'll make sure to call you back."

As of 10:35, no call back from dude lol. I guess he finally got the point now and gave his fingers a rest from dialing my number. Just had to share my 'what the fuck' moments with yall.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Be Optimistic Through It All

I usually don't come off sounding preachy, but this is a rare exception.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been talking online with a cool ass dude from East Orange. He hit me up first, and he seemed like he was sane (thank God for that lol). He's 20 years old and about to go to college to further his education. At first, his age turned me off, cause dudes that age really don't have much to talk to me about. But this one is very down-to-earth and has a sense of humor (big pluses in my book). I saw a face pic of him already, but one day he asked if I wanted to see his other pics on his Myspace page. I said OK. So as I gazed through his pics, there was one that particularly got my attention...he was in a wheelchair. Of course, I've seen people in wheelchairs before, but I have never had a real conversation with anyone in one before (as crazy as that sounds). Not wanting to offend him, I politely asked him, "What happened to you that you ended up in a wheelchair?" He wasn't offended at all, and he was more than happy to answer my question....that he was born with a spinal cord defect that caused his hips to separate. Hence, he couldn't walk. He had his tough times throughout his life. But his response was, "Such is life." And we all know that going to school with kids can be brutal, especially for someone with a disablility. Hell, they can be some cruel ass bastards sometimes. But in spite of that, he has still managed to keep an upbeat attitude and is extremely independent (since 15, he told me). I was dyin when he told me about his fights and how he whupped some ass in his chair lmao.

After talking with him, it really made me realize how blessed I am and how grateful I should be. If a person who has been in a wheelchair ALL HIS LIFE can focus on the positive even through his disability, then what the hell is my able-bodied ass complaining about? Yes, we are all human and are gonna gripe sometimes because of the problems life brings us (whether it's with our finances, jobs, families, relationships, etc.), but we must realize and always remember that all things work together for our good. Everything we go through happens for reason, and it teaches and shows us just how strong of a person we are. I'm reminded of the Sounds of Blackness song called "Optimistic," and the chorus goes "As long as you keep/Your head to the sky/You can win." My online friend has inspired me to do less complaining and have more gratefulness. I have learned to keep my head to the sky. What about you?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Am I Missing Something?

I know some of you have heard this before, but I feel the need to reiterate it: I LOVE and enjoy being single. I tell you, when I tell people on my job that I'm single, they're genuinely surprised and look at me weird. And then when I tell them that I'm not really dating, they really get surprised. (They will seriously gag if I told them what sex I've dated lol.) Anyway, one of them told me that it was time for me to settle down and find someone. Then an old high school classmate that I had just gotten in contact with again was asking me (through e-mail) why I was single. I gave them both my customary answer: "Love will find me in due time." Do I believe that? Sometimes I do, most times I don't. In that area of my life, I just let the chips fall where they may. Hell, sometimes I try to stop the damn chips from falling altogether lol. But that's the nonchalant side coming out of me. I try to understand their way of thinking, but I'm having a hard time. Maybe they're just taken aback that a good-looking (no I'm not conceited), semi-successful dude with a good head on his shoulders is still walking around unattached. Who knows, but I know I ain't worried about it. So why are they?

But honestly, is there something wrong with me wanting to stay single? Is it weird for a 29-year-old man to say that he rarely dates and is not looking for a relationship? I know that everybody needs somebody, but does that automatically mean a significant other? Why can't it mean family or good friends? They will be there much longer than a man will! I can be happy without a boo dammit. And besides, I just don't think I have the patience to deal with the bullshit that most dudes dish out (as I experienced firsthand this week lol). It's hard being people's friend these days, let alone being their date/boyfriend. I would like to know what yall think. Help a brotha out. Am I missing something?

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Icebox Continues (Part 2)

As promised, here is my continuation of my icebox. OK, so I finally got in contact today (through text) with the dude from Friday. He hit me up when I was on my lunch break. He sent me his normal text ("Wassup"). After a few brief text exchanges, I finally came out with it and told him that he's a nice dude but he's not my type. To which his reply was, "Never said I was looking to be anyone's type. To be real with you, you was never my type either." I couldn't help but wonder, was I too MASCULINE for him lol. Who knows? I left that one alone. But then he tells me *drum roll* that he has a boyfriend! Oh reaaaaaallly??? When I read that, my big eyes grew even bigger, but rest assured I was not trippin at all. I laughed after a while cause I pay these dudes no attention most times. Then my inquisitive side got the best of me, so I asked him how long he's been with his dude and how things are going. (Cause why would he be goin out on dates with me if things were OK with his dude? Was he tryin to be a fake ass playa, or was he unhappy and trying to escape his problems through me?) He tells me he's been with him since March, and things are cool. That's where the questions stopped, cause then he precedes to tell me to stop with the questions because it doesn't concern me. I simply replied "LOL whateva." The nerve of these dudes...tryin to have their cake and eat it too. I've already taken his name off my BGC list. I'll give myself up to a week to delete him from my Yahoo IM and my phone (blame my benefit-of-the-doubt-givin side lol). Maybe he'll wanna still talk to me on a friends-type level, but I'm not holdin my breath. Oh well, another one bites the dust.

And so my icebox continues to freeze....

Until next time fellow bloggers!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Icebox Continues (Part One)

Wassup yall,

When it comes to men, dating and especially relationships, I have an icebox where my heart used to be. Hey, I'm not ashamed to tell it. (But don't get me wrong, I'm still a cool-ass person.) It's been that way for a LONG time, and I'm not holding my breath on if that will change soon lol. Let me tell you my latest encounter:

Yesterday I went out on a second "date" with this 23-year-old dude I met online. (I put off meeting up with him again for as long as I could lol.) He seems like a nice dude, but he's a little too fem and brash for me. Anyway, we agreed that we would go see Rush Hour 3 up at Essex Green at 10:15, and he told me to call him once I got to his area in Orange. So around 9:05 I exited 280 and hit him up. No answer. I called a second time. No answer again. I called a third time and left him a VM. Not wanting to leave the area, I parked my car on a side street literally around the corner from his house and left him another VM and text. I waited 40 DAMN MINUTES for him to return his call. At this point, I'm pissed! So I said to myself, if he doesn't answer this one last call, I'm goin home. I call him one last time and lo and behold, he decides to answer. I ask him where has he been and if he got all of my texts and VMs, to which he replies he didn't cause his phone doesn't get a good signal where he is. Hmmm....he had no problems texting and calling me non-stop from his home when I was on the train coming back home earlier, I thought. Then he tells me that he was away from his phone because he was busy cleaning up his house! WTF??!! Didn't we have a "date" scheduled??? So he apologized (half-heartedly in my book) and I asked him if he still wanted to go to the movies. By this time it's damn near 10:00, and the last movie is at 10:15. So either we were gonna be late or barely get there on time. So he goes, whatever u wanna do. *Sigh* I hate when dudes say that to me if we're goin out a date. He starts mentioning some places where we can go for a few drinks (good idea!), so we stop at some lounge/bar/restaurant in South Orange called Toro (nice restaurant, bad service) where I enjoyed an appetizer and a big glass of Grey Goose and cranberry. Most of the time we were both sendin texts back and forth and occasionally conversing. And honestly, I was just ready to send his ass right back home. He fucked up my night! After that, one of his peoples called him and told him that they were outside his house and they wanted to go to the city and chill. Thank God, I thought to myself, now I can get rid of his ass. So I dropped him off and went on home. This was around midnight.

So now I'm gonna get in contact with him very soon to let him know that I really do not see this going anywhere, and he can either take it or leave it (I'm not gonna say the last part to him though. I still care somewhat about people's feelings.) I text him this morning simply asking if he enjoyed his night out, to which I got no response. He's probably working at the hair salon anyway, so it's cool. But I gotta tell him sooner rather than later and cut my losses (not that it's a loss for me any damn way!).

So, just like all the others, I got tired of this dude after only a few encounters. I know I know...why? And why did I go out on a second date with him? I really don't know why. It's become sort of a sub-conscious thing with me. There's always one thing that really irks me about a dude, and I find myself resisting and keeping my distance, which prevents anything from developing. As far as why I went out on a second date, as much as an icebox I have, I really do like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I thought that by the time the second date came around, there would've been something new that I found in him that I really liked or was attracted to. But there wasn't, and now I'm gonna tell dude that, even though he's a nice dude, I have no attraction to him and I don't see anything evolving. I'll probably hit him up tomorrow cause I'm enjoying the night out for my boy's b-day, and I refuse to let that fool fuck up my night tonite lol.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

To My Friend on His Special Day

I found this poem online. This could be applied to any one of my friends, but this is dedicated to my really good friend Jay on his special day. Out of all the friends I know that I chill with on the regular, I've known him the longest. This is for him:

Friendship . . .

. . . is you.
. . . is love.
. . . is shared.
. . . is forgiving.
. . . is understanding.
. . . is shared secrets.
. . . heals many hurts.
. . . is not judgmental.
. . . is shared laughter.
. . . is slow and steady.
. . . can be angry at times.
. . . is dependable and true.
. . . is more precious than silver or gold.
. . . is meant to be savored like fine wine.
. . . is not perfect, much like we are not perfect.
. . . does not hold grudges or demand perfection.
. . . makes all the wrong things in life, right somehow.
. . . is meant to be gulped like lemonade on a hot summer day.
. . . is always there, through times of trial, happy times and hard times.
. . . just happens, but once discovered, needs to be tended like a beautiful garden.
. . . is a road to be traveled slowly, remembering the sights and sounds.
. . . is strength when you are too weak to notice its there.
. . . is a cherished moment of mutual understanding.
. . . reaches into your heart and grabs a firm hold.
. . . is a refreshing rain on a hot day.
. . . is sunshine through the clouds.
. . . cannot be forced or induced.
. . . is relaxed and comfortable.
. . . is a shoulder to lean on.
. . . is an ear to whine to.
. . . gets better with age.
. . . is shared tears.
. . . is shared pain.
. . . is shared joy.
. . . is shared.
. . . is love.
. . . is you.

Happy Birthday Jay! Much luv to u!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yes I Finally Did It!

Well I've finally arrived into the world that is Blogspot. I'm sure my friends (you know who you are) are all breathing sighs of relief knowing that I've given in to their peer pressures, relented, and joined them lol. And they can also rest assured that they will be able to post comments to my blog with NO HASSLES and NO PROBLEMS at all (right everybody?). But honestly, I like this little Blogspot better than Livejournal. It has a certain flair and vibrance about it, but maybe I'm just being overdramatic lol. But welcome ya boy with open arms!

As far as what my blog will entail, it's hard to say. I can't promise you quick witted, sharp words of wisdom like Dee or dancing You Tube clips like Shawn, but what I can tell you is that I will do my very best to make sure you can relate to and/or understand a dude that was reared in many parts of the Garden State. And I will try not to make my subtlety turn this blog into boring bullshit lol.

And with that said, I am open to any suggestions on what my first topic should be about. We all need a little push, so somebody please push me into a topic. Then I'll be OK after that. I'll allow one week for suggestions. Make em good, make em believable, make em ME!