The Teflon Heart

Last week, I wrote that I will write less about my past and more about my future.  I guess it’s safe to say that I am going to go back in order to go forward today.  As I have written, the experiences of my past have had an indelible mark on my current perspectives and behaviors.  Today, I seek things that bring me joy, and I try to avoid things that bring me pain.  In the past, in order to exist as “painlessly” as I possibly could, I developed a Teflon heart.  What is the Teflon heart?  The Teflon heart is the heart that is so guarded and protected that it rarely lets anyone or anything in because entries could possibly lead to destruction.  The Teflon heart convinces the questioning mind that everything is okay.  The Teflon heart tells the questioning mind that they are both blessed because they are able to work in conjunction with one another because I woke up this morning.  The Teflon heart is only dedicated to protecting and preserving what’s left of my fragile heart.  Here’s the thing; the Teflon heart wasn’t helping me, it was hurting me.  To feel pain is horrible.  To feel nothing is worse.  I have existed feeling nothing.  My soul felt numb.  The Teflon heart was working, but it felt like a safe with nothing in it.  Honestly, I have never wanted to exist without sharing my heart with someone.  I have never wanted to vacation alone.  I have never wanted to sleep alone.  As I have said before, I believe that a cold and still bed is cruel.  Again, I have never wanted to exist alone.  However, in order for me to avoid the very things that I feared, I had to do something about my Teflon heart.  Therefore, I decided that I was going to let a little light in.  I did.  The warmth of the light did something to my spirit.  It made me feel things that I both feared and desired. It made me look forward to the next day with hope rather than the familiar “sameness” that I had grown so accustomed to.  My heart filled with feeling.  It also made me afraid.  I am still afraid.  Although I am afraid, I would rather let love in and be wounded than maintain my Teflon heart and feel nothing but emptiness.  Today, my heart is ablaze with hope, anticipation, happiness (can you believe that?), and yes, something else that I am afraid to mention because it is too fragile to speak.  For if I speak it, it will become a whisper.  If it becomes a whisper, it will become a bold proclamation.  If I proclaim it, it will become a roar.  If it becomes a roar, it will be my mantle.  I really do want the mantle.  So, life is good.  For me, looking forward is strange, because I have always feared the road ahead because I was so comfortable with the roads behind.  It didn’t matter that those roads were full of potholes, dead ends, road blocks, and stop signs, I was very familiar with them, so in a very dark way, I was comfortable.  Those roads only seemed to take me to the same place; the corner of nowhere and hopelessness.  The road ahead has rest areas for when my heart grows weary, exits that have life and experiences, and directional maps for all of the places my heart has always wanted to go.  Metaphorically speaking, I am on this road with the sunroof open, Miles Davis on the radio, and all of the windows down.  I am enjoying this ride, and even if it ends, I am a lot further than I would have been if I continued to stay on the same old road.  Love is scary, but it is worth the risk.  Today, I know that if my heart dies again, it still desires to try again.  I want to live.  I mean I want to really live.  I want to, no, I’m going to be the man that I have always dreamed about becoming.  In order to do that, I had to get rid of my Teflon heart.  Now, I realize that some may say that the Teflon heart is fashionable, but some things are timeless.  I consider love to be one of them.  If your heart is moving inside of the Teflon that conceals it, remove the lock and break the mold.  The only way for any wound to heal is to expose it to both light and air.  Trust me, it’s scary.  However, it is so worth it. Who knows? You just might turn your existence into a real life…..Until next time, Patrick.

As always, this week do something for someone else for no reason at all other than to make their day better.  Also, if you get to where you’re going, don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.  Oh yeah, if you break the lock and the mold for the Teflon that contains your heart, please leave a manual for those who don’t quite know how to do it.  You just might change the world…….

iMatter.

For quite some time, I’ve been trying to outrun my demons.  However, it seems that they attend a gym with a better qualified trainer.  These demons have kept me stuck in regret.  In it’s purest form, the prefix “re” means backwards.  Words such as retrospect, regress, rethink, rescind, reconsider, etc. all imply taking some form of a step back.  So does regret.  Regret is both unfair and unforgiving.  I have spent so many years on regret that it has directly affected my progress.  I’m trying.  Recently, someone that means a great deal to me looked into my eyes and asked me about me.  I didn’t even know how to respond. I was asked about the sadness that I spend so much time trying to conceal.  I was asked how I felt.  I was asked and not told.  I felt like I mattered.  I was instantly snapped out of regret and placed in the now. Now, this is where I am.  This is probably going to be the last post that I ever write that deals with yesterday.  I was told that in order to go forward, it is important that I don’t look backwards.  I was told that in order to be good for anyone, I must first be good with, and for me.  I was told that healing is possible.  Here’s the thing; I believed them.  While I lay awake watching the ceiling watch me, I began to think of all of the ways that I was going to change.  You see, yesterday was both my friend and my enemy simultaneously.  I real friend often forgets the things that hurt and always remembers the things that heal.  Regret is not my friend.  I am going to let my mother’s spirit rest easily with the knowledge that her son is okay.  Mama, I love you, but it’s time for your son to start loving himself a little bit more.  I am going to understand that growth and pride aren’t always partners.  I’m not going to be as afraid as I’ve been in the past.  I’m an expert at advising and a novice at practicing.  Your best life IS on the opposite of fear.  My best life is on the opposite side of fear.  Although a four letter word, love, in it’s purest form doesn’t offend.  Therefore, I won’t let this emotion convince my wounded heart to tell my questioning mind that it’s being offended.  I am going to open up.  Like an old movie theater, I’ve been closed down too long.  It’s time to turn the lights on and allow new films to be written and shown.  For quite some time, I’ve been waiting to feel like it’s okay to be myself.  I want to be a good man for me.  I want to be a good man for a family.  That’s important.  I am going to dance.  I am going to plan.  I am going to grow.  I am going to be okay with the reflection I see in the mirror.  I am going to forgive me.  I wasn’t grounded, I was anchored.  There’s a difference.  If I was grounded, I would understand the terrain, and in knowing that, I could circumvent the snares in pursuit of the fruits of joy.  I am anchored, so it doesn’t matter how much I try, my movement is confined to the weight that keeps me on the ground.  I’m going to cut myself from that anchor.  Life is short, and I don’t want to waste another second of mine.  I matter.  I am not a mistake.  I am not the abortion my mother should have had.  I am more than my mistakes.  I am greater than my failures.  I am stronger than my fears.  I am worthy of love.  I am worth of family.  I matter.  Perhaps, now that I am growing to recognize this in me, I will finally give my feet permission to travel to the places that my mind has only dreamed about.  If you find yourself stuck in the mistakes of your past, understand this, yesterday is jealous of tomorrow.  There is nothing that you can do about yesterday, but today, work to ensure that tomorrow is a little brighter.  As you grow comfortable with your warmth and light, please share and shine until the world understands that love is the most powerful force on earth.  With love, anything is possible.  Flaws and all, I am going to learn to love all of me.  Patrick.

As always, this week, please do something to help someone else for no reason at all other than to make their lives a bit better.  Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.

The Ripple Effect of Goodness

Life is funny sometimes.  You can be kissed a thousand times out of love, and it’s hard to forget the one time that someone turned their back on you.  I’ve been trying to overcome the pain of having someone turn their back me all of my life.  I’ve been so busy trying to overcome that pain for so long, I’ve overlooked how far I’ve come.  Love is all around me, yet I either didn’t notice, or couldn’t accept it.  Today, my eyes were opened.  I’ve got it.  Here is the story.  I have a friend who was frustrated after a long day of work.  After her long day, she returned home, and her son seemed to be more demanding than her boss.  In a state of frustration, she reached out to her father because she was at her wit’s end.  She asked her father why he never complained about all of the times that he’d come home from work obviously tired, yet he always had time for her.  She braced herself for an extensive response about responsibilities and family.  She was prepared to hear, “that’s just what you have to do.”  What she wasn’t prepared to hear were these simple, yet beautiful words; “because I love you.” “Because I love you.”  Wow….Her father loves her in totality.  He loves her in a space and place that allowed her to become all of the people that we all try to be before we settle on the version of ourselves that is most comfortable and fulfilling.  He loves her in a place that only she truly knows because only she truly knows the nuances of her thoughts and emotions.  “Because I love you.”  One kind act can change mankind.  One good word can change a life.  A hug can save a dying heart.  We always hear about the ripple effect of wickedness.  We rarely hear the about the ripple effect of goodness. The ripple effect of goodness is all around you.  It is the neighbor that you speak to before you arrive home.  It is the comforting silence that you share with those you love.  It is the laughter that you share with your friends.  It is the phone call that you take, yet you never speak because the person speaking to you needs to be heard more than they need to listen.  It is the pet that makes you feel loved when everyone and everything around you makes you feel otherwise.  It is going without in order for someone else to go with.  It is giving your last because someone else may need it more because they are too far past last.  It is allowing someone in because their absence would be far more painful than their presence.  It is defending someone when no one else will.  It is everywhere. The ripple effect of goodness is everywhere.  We are so busy trying to get to where we are going, it’s easy to forget why we’re going.  We are going because we are all desperately trying to make this charade called life worth living.  Don’t you want to know how far the ripple effect of your goodness can go?  I know I do.  The smallest of actions can have the greatest of impacts if we trust and try again.  The greatest gift that anyone can be given is “because I love you.”  After that, all is well and in it’s proper perspective.  Patrick

Her.

Love is a rainbow.  It contains all of the colors of life.  Some are known.  Some are unknown.  The unknown colors are bearable because love makes us feel safe in the midst of our fears.  I believe that the greatest gift the Creator bestowed upon us was the gift of the Woman.  Without her, what’s the point?  She has heaven in between her thighs, hope in her eyes, and life, power, and inspiration in her lips.  Her hips cascade and wind like the wonders of nature.  How I adore her hips.  The very sight of her makes a bad day worth it.  I know that you’re stronger than me, but thank you for allowing me to feel as though I am.  Thank you for taking me back after the many times I left.  I was never really leaving you.  The truth of the matter is that I never quite found me.  In leaving, I realized that without you, I’m not the same version of me.  We makes me better.  You are my hell and serenity.  I know that you say that I am your man, but you love and protect me like I am your son.  You are my sun.  You are my light and warmth.  Sometimes, your rage is both crippling and frustrating.  However, like the rainbow, beauty often emerges after the storm.  We can settle that above the fitted and beneath the unfitted sheets.  Before you, I was an uncultivated animal.  Since you, I am a meticulous savage.  I feel God when we’re together.  Maybe that is why the Creator gave us almost two of everything.  It’s possible with one.  However, with two, we are limitless.  You are the other half of my soul.  It’s true.  They say that our hearts spend it’s entire existence searching for it’s own reflection in another.  Once your heart finds it’s reflection, don’t waste a second on second guessing.  Another love may never come.  Patrick

The Search for True North

Most of my life, I have been in a state of “longing for belonging.” I’ve never quite felt like I was where I should be even if it appeared as though I was.  You see, when I was a child, I decided that I would change the world through the practice of law.  When I had the opportunity to watch the law in practice, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me.  Following that, I decided that I would change the world through education.  I’d like to think that I’m still doing that. However, I am growing keenly aware that the playing field is tilted between the wealthy and the “just trying to make it.”  It seems that the wealthy are in direct possession of all of the educational fruits.  Those that are trying to make it are within sight of the fruit, but there are traps, holes, tricks, unrealistic expectations, and apathetic guides leading the way.  Despite those odds, I continue to push.  While I am not where I once was, I am still not fully where I want to be.  I am still not who I want to be.  I believe that there is something that lives inside of me that continues to push me forward.  I call my forward True North.  I am seeking my True North.  I once taught the book “The Giver.”  In this book, Jonas was in search of something that he had never seen, didn’t quite know was real, and the very discussion of it could get you “released” from the community. You see, his world was black and white.  It was predictable.  It was safe as long as you asked no questions, adhered to the rules, and blended in.  Lois Lowry, the author of “The Giver,” was on to something.  Jonas’ world sounds much like mine.  While I am on the same road to the same place everyday, I often ask myself, “can I do this for the rest of my life?”  My house, my car, my fleeting vacation plans, my faux friends, and my 401k aren’t good enough reasons to continue.  Me, I am in search of my True North.  I am in search of that thing that will satisfy my soul rather than my sight.  I am in search of becoming the person that I can be proud of even if no one else is.  I am in search of the me I was intended to be.  I am moving towards my True North because for all of my adult life, I have been trying to escape my Definitive South.  My Definitive South is not a place of solace for me.  My Definitive South is a hell that I was once forced to call home.  Outside of my mother, in my Definitive South, people either didn’t know how to dream, or they never believed that dreams could come true.  Because they didn’t fully understand their dreams, it seemed that their mission was to kill mine.  I tried to kill my own dreams too.  I tried to convince myself that being one of them was better than being one with me.  I decided that as an individual, I was not enough.  In the words of a Young Soldier, Frankye, “you are enough.”  You are enough.  You are enough.  You are enough.  There is nothing wrong with you or your dreams.  Birds dream of flight.  Fish dream of depth.  The sun and the moon both dream of light in different spaces.  The winter dreams of spring, and the summer dreams of fall.  Because we are all different, our dreams are different.  They should be different.  Your dreams don’t have to be confined to the understanding or acceptance of someone else.  As you push towards your True North, please know that as you continue on your journey, you will meet people and have experiences that will strengthen and encourage you.  The strength will come in the form of overcoming obstacles, and the encouragement will come in the form of those who offer understanding rather than discouragement and condemnation.  The journey towards your True North will lead you into, through, and ultimately, outside of the wilderness of your life that is aptly called fear.  Remember, fear is nothing more than the absence of faith. We often speak about being true to others, while we consistently cheat on ourselves.  For once in your life, if you haven’t already done so, be faithful to you.  Follow your dreams to a place and space that was customized for your heart and happiness.  Even if no one else understands your True North, that doesn’t make it any less real.  Think about it; fish that swim beneath the sea no nothing of the clouds, and inversely, birds that fly amidst the clouds know nothing of the depths of the sea. However, that doesn’t make either of those spaces less real.  They exist.  So does your True North.  Let faith lead the way.  Let love be your companion.  Find your True North, for your arrival is greatly anticipated.  Until next time.

As always, this week do something for someone other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their lives better.  If you’re able to do so, don’t document the moment with a photo.  Be one with the moment in your spirit.  Also, as we journey toward our True Norths, please don’t forget to develop maps along the way.  Those who are following us are going to need them.  Patrick

The Why and How of it All.

Prior to his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. embarked on what he called the “Poor People Campaign.”  Similarly, prior to his assassination, Malcolm X also began to grow more and more concerned about the need to unite and work together for a common cause.  Sadly, both of those men were taken from us before their dreams and goals were realized.  I firmly believe that great leaders create leaders and poor leaders create confusion.  Today, it seems that we are all drowning in a sea of confusion.  Even if it appears as though we are winning, we are actually losing.  You see, we are actually coerced by our wants, and consequently, we are ever increasingly becoming slaves to our need to keep, maintain, and ultimately, improve the fruits of our labor.  In fact, it seems that we are more concerned with the fruits than the roots.  In my opinion, therein exists the problem.  For example, I was recently speaking to someone who has a cousin that plays in the National Football League.  He went on and on about how powerful his cousin was.  In fact, he said that his cousin was so powerful that people rarely objected, disagreed with, or even remotely challenged him.  He said that it must be challenging to have “so much power.”  Because he was clearly enamored with his cousin, I allowed him his moment.  However, in the solace of my own mind, I found myself asking this question; “if your cousin does indeed have so much power, then why does he consistently kneel for a flag that was designed to keep him on his knees?”  I tried to dance with issue, but whenever things began to grow honest, his consistent response was, “that’s too deep for me.”  I believe that his cousin is rarely challenged by people who need him to provide them with the desires of their hearts.  They need him to take care of them in some capacity.  I guess it’s true; silence is for sale, but the price isn’t necessarily cheap.  It seems that the more successful someone grows, the less they are able to say, feel, and ultimately fight for what they once believed to be true.  Many young people label Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole as deep, and I agree with them.  However, the harsh reality is the degree of their depth is only commensurate with the depths that their label heads will allow them to go.  You see, to some degree, even our cries for freedom in musical form are controlled by the “powers that be” in contractual form.  We need to do something different if we want to be, live, accepted, and ultimately, respected differently.  Here is the how.

I don’t believe that anyone is above or below.  For whatever reason, we often praise people that we regularly see and hear on television, films, social media, and radio.  Simply because they exist on those platforms doesn’t mean they are deserving of praise because to a very real degree, those platforms are for their individual improvement rather than societal improvement.  In order to heal, grow, and build our society, we must all begin to work together regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, education, profession, professional affiliation, state, neighborhood, gender identification, sexual preference, and past experiences.  If you have access to much, and you regularly see someone who has nothing, share with them.  This way, you can both have something.  You just might change their life.  If your neighbor doesn’t have access to a car and you have one or more in front of your door, when they need food, medical attention, or occasionally, a ride to work, take them.  You just might change their life.  If you notice that someone is being verbally, socially, culturally, or religiously trampled upon, speak up for them.  You just might change their life.  If you have had the opportunity to make it out of a poor community, why not get together with like minded individuals with access to similar resources and rebuild the neighborhood rather than leaving, becoming “brand new,” and ultimately painfully reminded that sometimes it’s not about where you’re at, it’s also where you’re from.  You just might change hundreds of lives.  If you know there is a school near your residence that has nothing, students are growing apathetic, and high school dropout rates are increasing, volunteer, assist, and work to improve the overall school community.  You just might change hundreds to thousands of lives.  If you notice that the children in the neighborhood are really good at “twerking,” yet they are either incapable or unwilling to begin working, teach them how to do so.  You just might change their lives.  If someone calls you a name, rather than insult, fight, or fatally wound them, walk away.  My mother was right, if you argue with a fool, there will be two instead of one.  Also, as the African Proverb states, “it matters not what you call me, it’s what I answer to that matters.”  The government cannot save us. We must save us.  Choose Truth.  Choose Kindness.  Choose Unity.  Choose Compassion.  Choose Acceptance.  Choose Understanding.  Choose Empathy.  Choose Love.  Choose Now.  Choose.  You just might change the world.

As always, this week, do something to help someone other than yourself for no reason at all than to make their lives better. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, do more than leave a map, leave a rope for our inevitable fall, ointment for our inevitable wounds, and a light for the times that we will inevitably lose our way.  Until next time, Patrick.

As a Matter of Life

As of late, more and more, I find myself compelled to speak out.  These are my truths, and by no means do I mean them to be absolute.  However, I do believe that the only thing that is absolute is the fact that we were all born with a purpose.  While we are all born with a purpose, some of us may have neglected our purpose, thereby, restricting our ultimate potential.  These are my truths.

I believe that the Black Lives Matter movement should expand beyond police brutality and begin to examine the horrors that our people are exposed to in our own communities.  Why?  If black lives truly mattered, they would matter to US FIRST.  If Black lives mattered, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, DC, Richmond, Little Rock, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Montgomery, San Francisco, Atlanta, and all other major Metropolitan cities would be safe for Black people, for it is there that many of us reside.  If Black lives mattered, we would not only police, but ensure that OUR neighborhoods were safe for OUR people.  We should not, nor should we ever expect anyone to take care of us.  WE should take care of US.  We are no longer slaves.  Slaves needed a master for direction, protection, and ultimately, provisions.  A free man or woman only needs an opportunity, and they can take it from there.  If Black lives mattered, we would pay greater attention to what OUR CHILDREN are seeing, hearing, and most importantly, believing about what it takes to be successful.  Simply put, if the oppressors can control what our children see and hear, they can also control what they think.  Maybe this is why the majority of their music and musical icons are dedicated to not only the destruction of OUR own people, but also the destruction of OUR communities.  Gang banging, drug dealing, hustling, boosting, robbing, and murderous individuals should NOT BE WELCOMED IN OUR COMMUNITIES!  I say that unapologetically.  Sure, some rappers have saved themselves from physical incarceration and murder by rapping instead of gang banging and hustling.  However, their safety has impeded hundreds of thousands of our children from recognizing their potential one dab, nae-nae, drip walk, and hit the quan at a time.  Our kids can dance, but many of them can’t read.  It is our responsibility to clean our dirty laundry. WE must clean it.  I am outraged by the recent increase in assassinations of Black men by police officers.  This is what I believe to be true:

If you are a pastor who cares more about your bottom line than the spiritual, mental, and communal well-being of your parishioners, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!  Sure, God wants his shepherds to be successful, but he also wants the same for his sheep.  With that being said, let not your increase be directly contingent and synonymous with their decrease.

If you are currently selling drugs in your community and making decent men, women, and children not only zombies, but addicted to your product in order to increase your bottom line, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET! SAY NOTHING!

If you are a gang banger who hates other people who look just like you because they are from a different neighborhood and have chosen to wear a color that is contrary to your own, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!

If you are an African American teacher who chooses to not only remain silent, but compliant with the ridiculous expectations they are placing on our children in the modern day classroom in order to “keep your bills paid”, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!

If you are an African American boy who has dedicated himself to sleeping with as many women as you can in order to keep your braggadocious numbers in tact in order to impress your other boys, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!  I use the word boy because a man takes care of a woman, boys play with them.

If you are an African American woman who is dedicated to mentally and emotionally dismantling every African American man who comes in your way in the name of tangible and economic-independence, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING! Queens not only watch Princes grown into to Kings, to some degree, they also help with the process.  Understand this; in many instances, if you meet a King who is willing to lay with you, understand that he already has a Queen.  Therefore, you will be nothing more than a concubine.

If you are an African American politician who cares more about the rights, privileges, and protection of your white constituency, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!  Understand that your endorsements are more than believing in a particular product or service, it is also a commitment to the ideals of the endorser as well.  We need real leaders, not puppets who will do anything to be accepted at the golf club by people who believe that you don’t deserve to be there anyway.  Tiger and OJ dedicated most of their professional lives trying to appease white Americans.  How did it work out for them? (Take Note)

If you are an African American entrepreneur, business professional, or legitimately successful by any legal means, yet you have never returned to the place that made you to not only invest in our children, but also assist them along the way because “you got yours, so they need to get theirs,” YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING! Understand that we are free.  Who cares if the elite don’t like you.  I believe that it is better to be respected than liked.  If you are willing to give up not only your self-respect, but also the respect and commitment to your own people, you are a well-dressed, mis-educated slave.  You don’t feel that you deserve what you’ve gotten, and you also believe that you must dance to keep it.  Carter G. Woodson was right, “there is a distinct difference between having an education and being educated.”  If the above mentioned describes you, you indeed have an education.  I believe a simple education is nothing more than modern day freedom papers.

If you are a real housewife of Atlanta, New York, Potomac, Beverly Hills, NBA, NFL, MLB, loved and hip-hopped (really rap because truth-lies= hip-hop), or reality TV’d into your success without regard for the fact that our children are watching you, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!  Ratchet is not the new righteous.  Understand that the media is interested in your ridiculousness rather than your intelligence.  Remember that BET was sold to Viacom.  The Viacom board and leadership don’t look like us, so why should you expect them to really care about us.  For them it’s about the expansion of their bottom line, not the improvement of OUR communities.

If you are an athlete who has dedicated most of his/her life to entertaining your master for profit, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!  While kneeling during the moment of silence is a form of protest, we must be fully committed to the mental, spiritual, economic, societal, and physical liberation of all of our people, not simply those who have been assassinated at the hands of under-educated and afraid white police officers.

If you are a parent who makes sure that your child has an iPhone and Jordans, but they don’t have a three ring binder, pencils, pens, paper, or books, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!  I firmly believe that just because you look good, it doesn’t mean that you are good.  I have personally witnessed students who care more about their appearance than their future.  This is quite scary, and it must stop.

If you were born in Africa, yet you loathe the African American for not being white, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!  Africa is, in my opinion, the richest continent on earth with the poorest people.  How did that happen?  Understand that the power that white people possess is a bi-product of their ability to work together and our inability to do so. We are all brothers and sisters, and we need to begin treating each other like it.  Our dark skin is beautiful, not reviling.

If you are a white teacher, parent, politician, or neighbor to Black people, and you think that those aforementioned roles give you permission to speak frankly about the Black experience, YOU SHOULD BE QUIET!  SAY NOTHING!  Honestly, you can take a white man or woman, clean them up, and educate them, and they will be considered professional.  However, as Malcolm X stated, “you know what they call Black people with Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees…..” If you want to work with us, legitimately work with us.  Don’t consider doing so a form of community service.

I realize that this may have stirred quite a few feathers, but right now we are in desperate need of real leadership, real goals, and real objectives.  We need to stop protesting and start lobbying.  We need to start voting.  We need to start not only respecting, but loving our people and ourselves.  WE are the only people who can fix US.  It’s OUR job.  America has never been fully great for us, and when Donald Trump speaks of making it great, I think that we all know what he’s talking about.  He couldn’t fix his marriages, so how in the world do we expect him to fix our country?  Come on.  Stop it Donald.

I am not perfect, yet I am willing to work towards the improvement of our community.  Remember, the quickest way to destroy any community is to pervert them to the point in which they become the instruments of the own destruction.  If there was ever a community that this has happened to, it is ours.  We can fix it.  While I don’t have all of the answers, I sure do have a lot of questions. If we are willing and committed to change, we should RAISE OUR VOICES AND SAY SOMETHING! Together, I believe that we can make these wrongs right.  Who’s willing to work with me?  Let’s start today…….

Depression in the Midst of My Blackness

First of all, let me say that mental illness is real.  Now, when one thinks of mental illness, for many, the first thought that comes to mind is a straight jacket, a padded room, and the inability to function.  That is not what I suffer from.  I suffer from sadness that is sometimes debilitating.  This sadness is known as depression.  For me, depression entered my life like an unwanted guest that had no intentions of leaving after the death of my mother.  Initially, I thought that I could handle it.  I couldn’t.  I thought that I could drink it away.  I couldn’t.  I thought I could sleep it away.  I couldn’t.  I thought I could exercise it away.  I couldn’t.  I’ve even tried to love it away.  I couldn’t.  Like most of the mountains that I’ve climbed throughout the course of my life, I had to face my depression head on.  Was it hard?  Yes.  Is it still challenging?  Absolutely.  However, this is something that I am dealing with on a daily basis.  You see, when I was a child, Black people, especially Black men, didn’t discuss depression.  For us, it was just life.  As I’ve grown as a man, I understand now that it’s not.  Depression is something else.  When I was younger, I was taught to handle depression in one or all of the following ways: going to church, going to the club, going to a bar, sex, avoidance, refusing to speak about it, or keeping it to myself.  None of them worked.  For me, depression was like a scarlet letter that once acknowledged, I would be perceived as a weaker man.  I now know that I am not.  I’ve never written about this, but I will now.  I recently learned that a friend of mine killed himself not too long ago.  In my silence, I was devastated.  Why would he do that?  How could he do that?  Even though we hadn’t seen each other in quite some time, I felt robbed of laughs, memories, football, and drinks that we can no longer share.  Why didn’t he reach out? After moving past my own ignorance, I understand now that he couldn’t.  I believe that he lost both his words and trust in people that were once considered family and friends.  Because life is sometimes the equivalent of trying to catch the wind in a jar, we are all trying to keep up.  However, when someone that you love, consider a true friend, or is just an overall important person in your life begins to show signs of withdrawal, disinterest, silence, or seclusion, don’t turn a blind eye or a deaf ear.  Despite what many may think or believe, depression is not something that you can just “get over.”  Like the raising of a child, living and enduring life with depression requires the support of a village.  As humans, we all desire a tribe to belong to.  Sadly, I lost a member of my tribe, and I feel his loss everyday.  Family, I know and understand that social media can make us believe that our own lives are inadequate because everyone seems to be so happy and prosperous.  Don’t believe the hype.  The reality of the matter is that for some, they are nothing but well organized and designed photographs.  We live in a tough world, and right now, it seems to be spinning out of control.  If you feel the same way, in the words of Donny Hathaway, “hang on to the world as it spins around.”  It will get better, but it takes more than prayer, it also takes effort.  If you find yourself suffering from depression, please seek assistance because the world needs you.  They say that when a child is conceived, a man ejaculates 100,000 sperm cells, and of those sperm cells, 99,999 die.  The surviving sperm cell is you.  This means that you are not a mistake.  While you may have made some mistakes, your being and presence isn’t one of them.  This thing that we call life is a game that we learn while we are actually on the field.  Let me say it again; the world needs you.  Your children need you.  Your family needs you.  Your friends need you.  We all need you.  How do I know?  These are the words that I tell myself each morning as I look into the mirror and face the hardest person to deal with in my own life; me.  Recently, I was speaking to someone about loving yourself.  I firmly believe that before we can practice self-love, we must first accept ourselves.  Self-acceptance is the introductory course to self-love.  Again, there is nothing wrong with you.  The truth of the matter is that some wounds just take longer to heal that others. If you are depressed, or you know someone that is battling depression, don’t wait to deal with it.  Deal with it now.  Please call (800) 273-8255 and begin your road to healing.  It’s like lifting weights, at times, we all need a spotter.  With that being said, if you ever find yourself needing a spotter, I’m here.  Family, thank you for supporting me on this journey called my life.  I firmly believe that the best is yet to come.

As always, this week, do something to help someone else for no other reason than to make their lives better.  Also, if you do something good for someone, don’t document the moment on social media, for the Creator sees.  I believe that at the end of the day, that’s truly the only thing that matters.  If you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.  Oh yeah, if you’re looking for the answer to the most serious and imposing questions in your life, here’s the answer (drum roll…), Love……  Patrick

The Myth of Fair

Okay, I know, I know.  I haven’t written in some time.  Truth is, I’ve been watching in amazement at some of the things that have been going on in this Nation.  I’m amazed at how easily people fall into compliance with things that clearly go against the grains of humanity.  One of the most heavily used words I’ve heard over the course of the past few weeks is the word fair.  What is fair?  To me, fair means that resources, treatment, opportunities, and otherwise are equitable.  Again, based on my loose understanding of the word fair, I can only reach the conclusion that fair is a myth.  There is no fair.  There is only what is.  As one can clearly tell, I was not born with the silver spoon.  With that being said, I grew up knowing people who complained about “fair” while others seemed to prosper under the guise of “legal and policy.”  Simply put, legal policy has very little to do with fair and everything to do with protection.  The real question, in my opinion, should be who is being protected?  It’s clearly not me or mine.  It’s clearly not my community.  It’s clearly not anyone that I have an intimate relationship with.  Who is it?  I believe that legal policy is designed to protect the interest, position, power, and finances of the wealthy.  Period.  The rest of us are required to “make it work” for our interests as best we can.  What is going on right now with immigration is clearly unjust.  However, it is legal policy.  I firmly believe that this legal policy is wrong.  I also believe that we, as a sovereign nation, must act now.  This Country was built by immigrants, so I don’t believe that people, many of whom have no idea what it means to struggle, should design or implement policies that aren’t aligned with the very principles this Country was founded upon.  The debate over the American borders is really blowing my mind because when my ancestors were forced to come to this Country, the powers that be were all about open borders.  Why?  It directly benefited them. Now that minorities are beginning to find not only hope, but also opportunity, the borders are becoming a problem.  Our problem isn’t the borders.  Our problem is the people that we elect to represent us.  That is our biggest problem, yet we seem either unwilling or unable to do anything about it.  As I said in one of my previous posts, the only difference between being a poor minority and a poor white person is often times, the zip code.  Other than that, everything is the same.  It amazes me that so many people who, although a different ethnicity, are in the same boat as me.  Yet, they profess undying love and faith in our president.  As you can see, as long as this man remains in office, I will write the word president with a small p because this man, in my opinion, represents small ideals, actions, and beliefs.  Prior to campaigning for president, this man gave NOTHING to the people he now claims to love and represent.  Prior to campaigning, this man was not a Patriot, nor did he demonstrate an undying commitment to America.  I believe that, to some degree, many Americans have become drunk off of the “Trump Punch,” and they find themselves saying, doing, and believing things that otherwise, they wouldn’t.  How much more are we willing to take?  How much more are we willing to sit back and watch?  This isn’t the United States of America anymore.  This is Donald Trump’s America.  I will never pledge my allegiance, commitment, or support for Donald Trump’s America.  Listening to children scream in pain and agony for their parents because they came in search of a better life has done something to me.  Watching and hearing the Holy Bible twisted in a manner that seemed to benefit wrongdoing has done something to me.  Watching the class, dignity, and honor that this Country once stood for erode has done something to me.  Because all of those things have done something to me, I am going to do something.  I am choosing to be non-compliant and silent about these injustices that are being committed in this Country.  I am now placing my sole faith, trust, and love in the Creator and Love.  I believe that the Creator has given me strength and Love has given me purpose and courage.  Collectively, I can now do anything.  If you remain silent in the face of injustice, you are condoning it.  If you are compliant with injustice, you are supporting it.  If you are supportive of the unjust, you, yourself are unjust.  Now is the time to see what you are really made of.  Now is the time to demonstrate what it means to be an American.  The immigrants that are now entering this Country are coming armed with only hope.  The original settlers, well…. Let’s just say that had a little more than Bibles.  If only we truly believed what we are supposed to stand for.  Stand up America.  Fight Back.  Stand.  Speak.  Unite.  Make America American Again.

As always, this week, do something to help someone else for no other reason than to make their lives better.  Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.  Patrick

Thoughts for Kanye

It took me some time to think about the comments made by Kanye West. This is my thought. Kanye, may the missing letters that form the words that I’m not going to write about you be a reflection of all of our unknown ancestors, heroes, and heritage that swim beneath the sea, died trying to be free, and fought hoping that we wouldn’t have to. We’re done Kanye. That is truly my choice…..