Wednesday, September 30, 2015

About Last Night: Will You Marry Me?

I believe I am as old school as they come. I am a card carrying member of the Chivalry Conservation Society and The Temptations "Treat Her Like A Lady" has been my theme song since I first heard it. I am a door holding, chair holding, coat assisting, ladies first kind of guy, which makes last night's dream seem strange to me. I dreamt that I was proposed to by the one woman walking this earth that I would say yes to. In 2015, woman continue to break down barriers and show that they are just as capable as their male counterparts, but there are just some things I will always be old-fashioned about. To me, a man, in a heterosexual relationship, should always be the one to propose marriage. Do you agree or are you ok with women proposing marriage and men wearing engagement rings? Let's discuss.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Musings

The process of applying to high school has certainly changed in the last 24 years. No more simply looking at the book, finding 8 schools you like and waiting to see what happens. This weekend, I went to an All-City High School open house. Every school in the city represented and every middle school parent coming out to hear about all the exciting programs that these schools have to offer. There are definitely a whole lot more schools and options available now. Lil Panama already has his eyes on a few schools, but encountered some schools that weren't on his radar that now are. Next stop on this journey is the individual school open houses, which take place over the next two months. Let's see how this goes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

An Open Letter To . . .

Dear Sanaa,

Although this is my first time writing you, I have been a fan of yours for years. I first took notice of you in "The Best Man" and "The Wood" and you became a permanent fixture on my radar after "Brown Sugar" and "Something New" (yes, I enjoyed this movie, even more so than "Love & Basketball, but that’s our little secret). Your work on "Family Guy" and "The Cleveland Show" was just classic. Whoever gave you an opportunity to show off your comedic side needs a raise. Sadly, I can’t say that I have seen everything that you have been in and that’s part of the reason that I am writing you at this time. There’s a lot going on with you these days that just leaves me shaking my head.

I saw your most recent movie, "The Perfect Guy", last week. I must admit, I wasn’t in a rush to see it and only went so that I could look at you for two hours. I didn’t go on a stalker level, (clearly, you won’t have to worry about me making out with your toothbrush or kidnapping your cat), but on a level of appreciation for you, your talent and your beauty. I am happy for you and the success the movie had (I see you even had an executive producer credit), but I can’t say that I enjoyed the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it, but it was too predictable for me and did not have any character development (at this point in my life I am more interested in understanding what’s going on in a characters head so that I can have some kind of understanding of why they do what they do). And having the cop all but ruin the end for us didn’t help one bit. Besides, after "The Boy Next Door" and "No Good Deed" the expectations were a lot higher for the next stalker movie and yours just did not deliver.

Apparently, the movie wasn’t the only new venture you had this month. I heard your new single, "Emotional". Or should I say I heard the first minute of your new single. Your voice isn’t half bad (God Bless Auto-Tune), but I just couldn’t get into the song itself. One day soon I will force myself to sit through the entire three minutes and thirty-six seconds, but I don’t think there’s anything at the end that will make me change my opinion. I do applaud you for stepping out of your comfort zone. From what I hear, everything you want is right outside of it. And that brings me to point three.

French Montana?!?!?! When I saw the video that you, Puffy and French did I would have understood more if rumors of you and Mr. Combs started circulating. Never did I think it would be French that you would (allegedly) hook up with. I guess things with Colin Kappa-nick didn’t work out and those rumors about Baby Boy were just that. Hope this relationship is all that you want it to be. Enjoy it for as long as it last.

Don’t let any of this lead you to believe I’m getting off of the Sanaa Lathan bandwagon. I will still ride for you. Consider this a letter of concern, a hope that this is just a phase and a wish for bigger and better things for you on the horizon. You will always have a fan in me. Take care.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tripping Over The Broom

A few years ago, I befriended a young man who joined my church. Like many of the other men in the church, we didn’t pass judgment on him or his past. We embraced him and let him know that we all have our share of flaws and just like himself, we are all trying to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday. With that foundation being set, we became close friends and occasional confidants. That bond led to him asking me to stand by him when he marries the love of his life; an honor that I did not hesitate to accept – and that’s when everything went downhill.

As time went on, I was starting to get concerned. Months had passed and no information was being shared. I had no details about the wedding. Didn’t know when or where (I mean, I figured the wedding would be at the church, but what about the reception?). A few more months passed and I finally received a text telling me when the wedding would be and what the color scheme was. I few more weeks had passed and the reception location was revealed. The next bit of information I received altered the course of a friendship.

Thinking I was going to get a text about the tuxedo fitting and bachelor party, I end up getting a text telling me that my services as a groomsman were no longer needed. I was taken aback by that text and felt a little bit disrespected by the fact that I wasn’t even deemed worthy of a phone call or a face to face conversation. After venting to a few people, I brushed it off; thankful that I didn’t invest any money in this wedding before getting the book.

That would have been the end of the story, but what they did next left me speechless. A week before the wedding, they started sending out letters to people who were invited uninviting them from the reception. The reason stated was that they couldn’t afford to pay for the amount of people that had RSVP’d to the reception. I had decided that I wasn’t going when I was kicked out, but when I heard this little bit of news I couldn’t help but laugh. I know what it’s like to plan a wedding so I know money dictates everything, but the way this thing went down, I looks like they wanted a wedding more than the marriage. They did not plan this thing out at all.

I wish them nothing but the best in their marriage, but I certainly hope that this experience taught them to live within their means. If they couldn’t afford a reception they shouldn’t have had one. If they truly wanted to be married then just have a ceremony at the church and have a reception in the banquet hall. I’m certain it would have been cheaper than the catering hall they used. If they wanted a big reception, then they should have saved for it. Finances is the number one cause of divorce and if this is an example of how they are with money, then they might not last long. Not really my concern, I have my own issues to deal with.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Full Disclosure Friday: My First Time

When I first decided to return to the blogosphere, my good friend over at THE FIT FAMILY asked me to do a guest post on here page about something that I don't tell too many people about. Now that she has posted that post, I will share it here.

With all due respect to January 1st, for the last few years, I have considered my birthday to be my own personal New Year’s Day. It was eight years ago around my birthday, I was removed from a bad situation and felt like I was given a new lease on life. Since then, I have used my birthday as a mile marker; a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year to come. As part of that preparation, I would write a list of things that I want to do before my next birthday. In all these years, the word “run” has never been on any of those lists, but somehow, in 2014, that’s exactly what I did.

Three days after my birthday last year, on a beautiful Saturday morning, I found myself standing at the beginning of a trail. I had walked the trail a few times, but never had I thought I was about to do what I stood there about to do. The last time I ran for any extended length of time was towards the end of 2007 on a treadmill. If I had it to do over again, I would remembered what the route was and at the least had some appropriate shoes (don’t think Nike Air Max’s were made for distance running). Oh well, too late now. I was there, and there was no turning back.

A downhill start gave me a false sense of security because as we all know, what goes down will ultimately go back up. Less than a quarter mile in, that first incline seems like I was climbing the side of a building. Another brief decline and I was finally on even ground and found my groove. A mile and a quarter to the other end of the park (according to Nike+) so this was going to be at least a two and a half mile run. I knew I could walk a mile in less than 20 minutes so I figured running two and a half would certainly take less than 50 minutes; although time was the least of my concern. How would I feel when it was over? How’s my breathing? Will my legs feel like rubber after this? Will my knees hold up? What will I have for breakfast when this is over?

Coming around the other half of the course was a much easier chore. One little hill, but mostly even pavement. Not much on the scenery, especially once the lake was out of my sight. Thankfully, I had my music to keep me going. Ultimately, I ended up doing a little less than three miles that day. Two and three quarter miles in anywhere between forty and forty-five minutes became my standard run(using the term loosely, as there definitely was a fair share of power walking) for the first few weeks. I didn’t die and it wasn’t all that bad, besides, I was going to Jamaica in six weeks, so if nothing else, I might shed a pound or two. Turns out, a pound or two would turn into twenty-three by the time I went to Jamaica, but would I keep it going after the trip was over?

After the trip, I continued to hit the course. Maybe not as often as I should, but I definitely haven’t given up on it. Run, walk, speed walk, combination of all three, whatever it was, I was out there. I increased my distance, time and average pace since then. Still can’t say that I enjoy it, don’t think that day will ever come, but I haven’t given up on it. One thing is for sure, I have come a long was from my first run, although I have a long, long way to go.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Open Letter To . . .

Dear Mrs. Davis,

I prayed and fasted before deciding the write you this letter. Not really, I actually had two slices of pizza and a bottle of water, but I digress. Congratulations on your 27 years with the county clerk’s office. I haven’t been at any job more than 9 years, so to be at one job for 27 years is a major achievement that you should certainly be commended on. I am writing you at this time though, because I don’t think you should make it to the completion of year 28. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a headhunter gunning for anyone’s job. What you do at your job is your business; at least it was until recently, but the fact that I haven’t been able to go a day without hearing your name and seeing your face recently has made this issue my business too.

Before I continue, let me tell you a little bit about myself. For two people who don’t know each other, we have a lot in common. Like you, I work for a government agency, granted, I don’t have the longevity at my job that you have at yours (and probably won’t). Like you, I also deal with people face to face. Like you, the requirements of my job have changed recently. Like you, some of our job requirements go against our beliefs, personal on my part, religious in your case. Ok, that’s where the similarities stop. When your job responsibilities were modified recently (by Supreme Court decision at that), you took it upon yourself to basically tell John Roberts and company to go fuck themselves and decided that not only were you not going to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but you weren’t going to issue ANY marriage licenses. What part of the game is that?

Last I checked, that was the primary function of your job, the main reason you get paid. If that wasn’t bad enough, you had the audacity to make this a religious issue. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to disrespect your religious beliefs. Feel how you want to feel. That’s your prerogative. THIS, though, is not a religious issue. THIS is an issue of insubordination. I’m sure that somewhere in your employment contract there is language to the effect of "failure to execute the primary and reasonable functions of your job is grounds for immediate termination". Your persistent failure to do your job has led you to a few days in jail and made you a celebrity within the Republican Party. What it should have made you was fired and unemployed.

Now that I think about it, my issue is not totally with you. The entire situation was handled poorly and you just became the face of it. As the old saying goes, heavy is the head that wears the crown. I don’t wish anything bad to come your way. If I was to wish you anything, it would be some time to reflect on the situation and a Bible study based on Matthew chapter 7 verses 1-5. I won’t even ask you to change your personal beliefs, you are who you are and you believe what you believe. All I ask is that you just treat people with the same respect that you want them to treat you with. Karma is a bitch and one day the two of you will meet one day. Take care.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

One Job

It's getting more and more difficult to watch the news these days. All of the senseless violence and people acting stupid just make me shake my head in disgust. A few weeks ago, there was a story reported about a woman who lost two sons to senseless violence on the same block three years apart. Sadly, I saw this story played out on Facebook, because the mother of those boys is a friend of a friend of mine who ironically enough, also lost her son to senseless violence (a sorority that has way too many members if you ask me). That reminds me how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken from you. Because of that, I make it a point to follow one simple rule - GET HOME AT THE END OF THE NIGHT. No matter what I do or where I go during the course of the day, I need to make it home and sleep in my own bed. Try to avoid making decision that will interfere with that one objective. I have no desire to end my day in a hospital bed, jail cell or morgue. If I don't do anything else during the course of the day, my job will always be to obey rule #1.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Motivational Monday - Experience Is The Greatest Teacher

“The wisdom and experience of older people is a resource of inestimable worth, recognizing and treasuring the contributions of older people is essential to the long-term flourishing of any society.” – Daisaku Ikeda

The best part of my current job has to be the people that I encounter on a daily basis. Everyone has a story and when time permits, I listen to as many stories as I can. The way I see it, every encounter I make with an individual has to be mutually beneficial. Yes, I am providing them with a service, but more times than not, what they provide me is almost as valuable and will stay with me for a long time.

That statement has never been truer than it was at a community outreach event that I worked at last month. During the course of the day, I encountered plenty of people, but one left a serious impression on me. I have this thing about children and elderly people, that when they start talking, they get my undivided attention. On this particular occasion, I had the pleasure of encountering a 90 year old woman. I knew that professionally, I could do nothing for her, but I engaged her in a conversation anyway. For the next half an hour, she hipped me to her keys to a happy life. Those keys will stay with me and I thought I would share them with you as well.

Her first key, was “Don’t Go Into Debt”. It’s a little too late for me, but I can use my experience to encourage others not to do it if at all possible. Like the old saying goes, “never a lender nor borrower be”. Whether its credit card debt, student loan debt or a $20 loan from a friend. DON’T DO IT!!!!! If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it. If you want it, save up for it. Don’t let money, or the lack thereof, control you.

Her second key was “Get Your Education”. She told me a story about how her and her two brothers all went to school (they went to Howard, but I won’t hold that against her) and obtained both Bachelors and Master’s degrees in their respective fields. She acknowledged that it was a struggle, but like anything else worth having, it was worth it. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing what you want to do.

Her third key was simple; “Travel”. Get out of your neighborhood and see the world. There are so many people who don’t leave the city that they were born in. I’m guilty as well. Yes, I did leave New York plenty of times and saw various parts of the east coast, but I didn’t get my passport until two years ago and didn’t use it for the first time until last summer (I have been out of the country before that, but it was in a pre-9/11 world in which you didn’t need a passport to go to Canada or Mexico). I missed out on seeing things and having experiences that I can’t get back. If you are young, I highly suggest that you see the world; domestic and internationally.

Her last key was “Stick To One (Wo)Man” She talked about the differences between relationships today and when she first got married. Talked about how her and her husband didn’t always see eye to eyes, but never strayed or gave up on each other. She talked about how they never slept in separate beds, or even slept on opposite ends of the bed. The way she was raised, if there is space between you and your spouse, there is room for the devil to get into your relationship.

This woman was just a pure joy to meet and I am thankful for the wisdom that she dropped on me. If you ever get a chance to sit down and enjoy the company of an experienced individual, give them a few minutes of your time and just listen to them. They have so much experience and have been where we are trying to get to. She is 90, I pray every day that I can see half of that, and taking advice from her and people like her will help me get to where I want to be.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I'm Sorry, But I'm Back

*taps mic* Is this thing on? Better question, is there anyone here? It's been a year to the day since I wrote my last blog post. Never did I imagine going that long between posts. Even if nobody was reading or commenting, just having the space to write about whatever I wanted and express myself freely had kept me blogging. I don't know what changed last September that took me away from it. . . I take that back, I know what happened. I finally acknowledged something that I had been denying for a very long time. I had lost myself. . . nope, that's not it, can't lose what you never had, so I will say that I acknowledged that at 36 years old, I didn't even know who the hell I was. At an age in which I should not only know who I am, but also be in my professional prime, I was just out there existing and living the life other people wanted for me instead of doing what I want, when I want, living how I wanted to live. I am still struggling with that, but I know that I need to find myself soon before it's too late.

A great friend of mine recently sent me a text saying that "if you live to please people you will die under the weight of their ever increasing expectations". There is so much power in that statement. If we think about it, we have expectations put on us in every aspect of our lives . . . or maybe it's just me. We get expectations from work, home, family and any and all organizations that we are in. I have been guilty of putting those expectations ahead of my own personal wants, needs and desires. I have done things for other people that aren't in line with what I want and catering to those expectations have set me back in what I want to do. That stops TODAY!!!!!.

I am back, for better or worse. That might not mean anything to anyone else (not that I had much of a following when I left), but it means a lot to me. Don't know what I will be writing about, but I'm back. Opinionated, authentic, true to myself, I'm back. I called this blog "Stripped" because it was suppose to serve as a place for me to voice my opinions and not hold back. If this is truly the last blog of Organized Noise, then I need to go out with a bang. Consider this your first and only warning. I will offer no apologies for what is posted here from now on. If you can't handle it, you are within your rights to never return. No harm, no foul. If you stay, I have just one rule; this is a NO JUDGMENT ZONE!!!!! You continued reading may not necessarily reflect that you agree to everything that is written here, but it does suggest that you accept me for who I am, flaws and all. With that being said, let's restart this ride and have some fun with it.