I’m Different

2 Chainz voice- “I’m different yeah I’m different, I’m different yeah I’m different” and while I’ve never pulled up to the scene with my ceiling missing I do have my middle finger up to my competition….or those who see my difference and whisper.

Metaphorically speaking I exist in a place socially that’s similar to a flower living deep within a rain forest. It’s hard to find, hard to understand how it exist among the tall trees that block its sun and even rarer to be surrounded by other like-minded flowers. This is where I am, perfectly fine looking up at the trees, existing mostly in my plot of soil and giving oxygen and life to those who happen to stumble across where I exist. I grow here, I live here and I drop seeds here to help continue the cycle before my time has passed. I can only hope that my presence in this forest helps push the male evolution forward.

I’m a heterosexual black male but I’m different from what society accepts as such. Truth is, I’ve never felt like I fit in with any particular demographic but it wasn’t from a lack of trying. Growing up and into my adult life I was cool but never cool enough, I was nerdy but not nerdy enough. I’ve been sexy but not sexy enough and I’ve been ugly but not ugly enough.

I’ve tried to be the Alpha male, I’ve tried to be the hardcore guy, I’ve tried to be the type of black man society says I should be. Honestly, I’ve tried to be homophobic, I’ve tried to be sexist, I’ve tried being a male hoe, I’ve tried being the good Christian guy, I’ve tried believing in the philosophy that women are lesser than men and I’ve tried being the token black guy. And you know what? Fuck that shit, it’s NOT ME.

Though I’m a proud black man who believes in black love, black families and loving black women I’ve often been told by other black people that I’m not black enough because of the way I speak or the way I carry myself. I’ve had white friends think that they’re more black than me because they wear a hat backwards and talk with slang that they’re more black than me. A failed belief that what you wear makes you something else other than what you actually are.

It’s been this way since I was a teenager and obviously because of the color of my skin I never really felt or feel I fit in with my white friends completely because even though they say they didn’t see color, they definitely saw my brown skin and see my brown skin and to a certain extent, judge me based on that. I’ve always felt like an outsider no matter how much I tried to fit in to society and that continues even today.

Maybe part of that is my fault because even though I’m naturally inquisitive about human beings and am always loving, respectful and friendly to those who’s lives I come across I don’t really let most people into my life and into my circle. I also don’t talk much about what’s going in my life and so when people don’t know you and don’t know what you’re doing, those who want to know are left to make up their own stories and beliefs about you . Which if we’re being honest is mostly based on whispers and lies that other people have told.

I’m different and even though I’ve always felt like an outsider for the majority of my entire life mostly everyone that knows me; loves being around me. It’s funny that someone like myself who often sits back and people watches at events is one of the most popular guys. I’m not trying to boost my own ego or toot my own horn but those who know me always want to be around me or says how cool as fuck Jay is. They love me, they respect me and they likely won’t say a bad word about me but they will say they “don’t know” and they’re likely to say “there’s something different about Jay” or that “I don’t know” whats up with him when people ask.

But who they see and get to be around is me and they do know MOST of me but because I don’t fit into any societal description of male structure of what they’ve been taught to think about a strong black male they refuse to accept me as it is and as I am. Who am I?

I have gay friends, I tell other men in my life that I love them, I compliment other men on their style and I hug other men because I truly believe that the world doesn’t tell men enough that they care for them and I know for a fact that men don’t tell other men they have brotherly love for them. I’m all about the empowerment of people but as a black man I’m definitely about the empowerment of black men and these actions are not always accepted as manly; which if you ask me is pretty ridiculous. To think that women are the only demographic that needs to hear and feel words of encouragement and love is to think that men are unemotional.

As I stated I’m a emotionally balanced guy, I dress fairly well, I keep my physical appearance nice, I get my feet done, I’m not homophobic, I support the LGBT community, I cry sometimes, I’m in touch with my emotions, I’m not aggressive with women, I openly admit that I don’t always have the most confidence and I don’t yell when I’m having a disagreement.

I’m transparent with my life beliefs, I’m not a religious person, I believe women can be sexually free as men, I’m sexually open with the women I sleep with, I talk mostly proper, I’m quiet but strongly opinionated, I stand strong in my core beliefs, I’m intelligent, I’m genuinely a nice guy, I do things that black people “aren’t supposed to do” and I’m metrosexual. All of these things mentioned makes certain types of people,in certain types of demographics uncomfortable and though they’ll never admit it publicly they know they need to do better at expanding the life they know and live.

All of this isn’t “supposed” to be included in one man, especially a straight black man but this is part of who I am and this who I give to people every day, every get together and every person who really wants to know me. But I wasn’t always this guy and I get why it confuses people and why some people confuse this type of male with being gay, ESPECIALLY when they don’t know any. Everything they’ve learned has taught them that men think a certain way and that men act a certain way.

I was taught this too and it’s part of why it took me so long to be comfortable in my own skin. It’s part of why the majority of you aren’t comfortable with men capable of balancing the masculine with the small percentage of their feminine side. In truth we all (men and women) have them both but we suppress them because it’s “not what men do” or it’s not ” what women do”. Did you know that men and women practically have about 20,000 genes alike? And the only major difference is that men have X and Y chromosomes and women have two X chromosomes? Read more The Difference Between Men and Women

It’s not easy breaking from what you’ve been taught and I was confused about who I was as well for a while in my 20’s but I’m 100% certain that this is who I am and I love it. I love the skin that I’m in, I love the man that I am and I love the man I’ve become even if it makes me feel like I don’t fit in. Anyone that truly knows me knows that I don’t want to fit the mold of anything. Not even for myself. I want to always break the mold and challenge myself to be greater than the person I was a decade ago.

Still; it doesn’t stop the frustration from building up when you catch wind of what people say about you. Even in a spiritually conscious person who knows not to place value in the words of people who don’t matter to you such as myself, it can still create energy within you that frustrates you. Trust these next words; I’ve learned that there’s no amount of women you can sleep with and brag about sleeping with that will stop people from believing what they want if your lifestyle is different from theirs.

Similarly there’s nothing you can do to change the opinion someone has of you if they don’t really want to change their opinion of you. That’s why it’s important for all of us to live our best life right now while we still can. I know that someone somewhere needs to read the words written in this article and when they do they’ll begin to stop hiding who they really are once they finish reading this. And someone somewhere who has a negative perspective about men similar to myself will read this article and realize that they need to do better on their perspective of what real men are.

There’s nothing wrong with being the norm and there’s nothing wrong with being different. Things just are the way they are and it’s up to us to stop trying to put everyone into the same criteria that we’ve placed our friends and ourselves in to. So please; stop trying to justify what people are based on your own experiences and to the reader who’s different and unsure about whether or not they should conform? DON’T!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” and Maya Angelo said “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be”and I’m saying the greatest thing you’ll ever want to be is the person unafraid to see their life’s contradictions and work tirelessly to become aligned with their soul.

I’m different and that’s more than okay and maybe in my next life I’ll be a mahogany tree that catches all the sunshine and who’s bark is as hard to the touch as my soul but until that rebirth I’m perfectly fine being a black flower blooming majesticly as fuck….

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Good Enough: To Whom It May Concern

J.M. Barrie’s character Peter Pan said “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it” and lately I’ve been trying to understand how people develop the belief (even if unconsciously) that they aren’t good enough to have a healthy relationship. I’ve been pondering why perfectly “good enough” people doubt whether they can fly high in healthy relationships. Truth be told, I take no pleasure in this endeavor because at one point my life I too was a person who self sabotaged their intimate relationships, I too didn’t believe I was worthy of a healthy relationship.

Still; lately I’ve been noticing a troubling trend among daters and I’m wondering if their belief in their inability to fly has damaged them in the dating world forever. Obviously the metaphor is not about flying at all but instead it’s about the doubt that prevents you from even trying. It’s about the fear of falling before you even launch, before you even understand, and before you even get the opportunity to truly be in love.

So naturally I’ve been trying to examine the unfortunate truth about people who self sabotage relationships due to the fact that they don’t believe they’re good enough and of course the best way for me to do this is to examine my own life and then compare that to other people I know to determine some form of understanding about “not being good enough”. It’s a daunting task and it’s one that can’t be answered in one article but I do want to tackle one section of the many moving parts of the “not good enough personality flaw”.

Question; what responsibility or role do we as daters play in trying to convince the person we’re dating that they’re good enough for us? That’s the question that I’m going to try to find an answer to in this article because quite frankly I think there are many people self sabotaging their relationships because ultimately they don’t believe they’re good enough. Is it up to us, the dater, partner and lover of the one who sabotages to help them through their issues? And if so, how much?

I remember at the end of my last relationship my then girlfriend said to me that she “realized that she’ll never be good enough for me”. I found this to be completely ridiculous, not because I didn’t believe her words but because I never once said anything in a negative way towards her to make her feel that way about our relationship. In fact, I went out of my way to accept her as she was. I went out of my way to speak life into her and her living situation. I never once told her she wasn’t good enough for me and never did any actions (as far as I’m aware) to make her feel like she wasn’t.

Were there things that I saw that she could improve on? Absolutely, and I suggested things that could be done. Were there things that she saw that I could improve on? Absolutely, and I tried to change once she brought it to my attention but like many things in life; changing into something new takes dedication, fortitude and a true desire to want to do better but more importantly it takes the belief that you can do better.

Identifying things in your partner that can benefit them is natural. That’s part of what being in a healthy relationship entails. Your partner should identify areas in your life that one, can be improved and two, that they can help you with. If your partner isn’t identifying things that can be improved in your life then they don’t really care about your overall well-being. If you aren’t identifying and suggesting things in the person you’re dating life then you don’t really care about them. Why be together if it’s all about staying the same?

Constant criticism is not the goal nor is that healthy but partners can’t get defensive when your partner tries to show you a better way to live. If you do, one can’t help but wonder if you care about your very own happiness and believe me when I say that not caring about your happiness will frustrate your partner even more than you not receiving their advice.

Furthermore, there will always be a few things that your partner likes that you’ll change towards because you want to please them. For example, maybe you like your man to have a little hair on his chest or maybe you like your lady to wear a little bit of makeup and you suggest a slight change.

There’s nothing wrong with that and there’s nothing wrong with you adapting and adopting small changes for the person you love. All of that is to be expected in relationships. If my lady tells me she likes a certain cologne over another cologne that I normally wear then I’m going to wear the cologne she likes more often and not get defensive.

Still, with that said I often wonder if I didn’t do enough to help my ex feel like she was good enough. I often wonder if I could have said more, shown more, and done more to make her feel come confident in the relationship. Was there anything I could have done to make her feel good enough? Do we have any responsibility to do so and would it make a difference?

As a person who lived much of his adult life as such a person who thought he wasn’t good enough, I can speak frankly to this experience and I can speak absolute truth to sabotaging my previous relationships in my twenties and I can say without a shadow of doubt that in my personal experience there was nothing that those women could have done to make me feel completely at ease about my worthiness.

Those women could have told me how much they liked me, loved me and adored me every five minutes and it still wouldn’t have given me the lift I needed. I still wouldn’t have believed I could fly and I would have found a reason as to why it can’t be. Like many people; I ran away from perfectly healthy relationships or found illogical excuses and convinced myself that they were valid reason’s as to why they and I couldn’t be.

Maybe you’ve been doing this as well and maybe you’ve been blaming your ex lovers as to why none of your relationships have worked but if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that we always have to account for the common denominator, which is always ourselves. You have to always account for yourself, your thoughts, your actions and your old bad habits. You have to be aware when the thing that constantly sabotages your relationships tries to reestablish its dominance over you.

The main responsibility that a dater, partner or lover has in the development of someone is to speak life into them. They don’t have to take on your burden, your flaws, your worries or your insecurities unless they want to and if they do; it’s up to you to make quick changes so that it doesn’t bring them down.

It’s not up to the dater to convince you that you’re good enough. It’s up to you to know it to be true because if you’re relying on other people to justify your good enough then you’re giving up the control that only you should have. You’re ultimately placing your worthiness in what other people think and view as good enough.

Why does this happen? The better question is why do you allow it to happen? Why do you believe that you don’t deserve someone who loves you? Why do you continue to allow those who don’t live your life to control your life? Why do you continue to conspicuously go ghost the moment someone shows you your worthiness? If you’re dating someone who does these things it can be utterly frustrating right? It’s maddening when you go out of your way to show your appreciation thinking you’re making progress together and a month later you’re back at square one or even worse. Why does this happen?

There are many reason’s why people do this and I believe that Women Have It harder for various reason’s but comparing yourself to others and what they have is one of the biggest reason’s as to why people don’t feel good enough as stated by @timgoetzinger in his piece Monsters in the Bed: Enough IS Enough but what can a person do to break away from self sabotage? Here are a few tips I call the Divine 9.

The Divine Nine

  1. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
  2. Evaluate your past relationships and identify common problem areas that came up. Tackle them with ferocity.
  3. Pay attention to your insecurities and stop them from gaining momentum when they show up in your new relationships again and then do the opposite of what your insecurities make you feel like doing.
  4. Try to remove your ego from the equation. Ask yourself if you have a valid reason to be bothered or is it just your ego trying to convince you that it isn’t an ego bruise.
  5. Get help! Find someone to talk with about the problems that you’re dealing with mentally and listen to the feedback.
  6. Work on your self-love.
  7. Find closure on the issues from your childhood that are causing issues in your adulthood.
  8. Find closure from your past relationships. Many people are continuing to allow people who are long gone to remain in present moments.
  9. Bask in the compliments, acceptance and love that your partner gives you. Live in those moments but more importantly TRUST in them.

May these words strike a chord inside anyone whose eyes have been glued to this screen. Understand from this moment on that you’re more than good enough, you’re God enough because God is you, in you and created you. So unless you believe that God creates inferior versions of God self then you’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that you’re good enough for anyone and deserve the healthiest and happiest relationships that life can bring.

“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”
Beth Moore, So Long, Insecurity: You’ve been a Bad Friend to Us

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Good Enough

Rebel for A Cause

A closed fist is THE universal symbol that someone is angry and ready to fight. A closed fist in the air is THE universal signal that someone is ready to fight for their cause. When more than one person accumulates in one place with closed fist and hands in the air it is THE universal sign that a rebellion is taking place.

I don’t see myself as a rebel but I raise my closed fist for my cause. I’m not a freedom fighter, I’m not an insurgent  nor am I a revolutionist. I don’t rise in opposition against established governments and I do not resist authority. I trust that for the most part those who have authority are doing the best that they can in an extremely challenging and evolving world. As naive as it may be I see the best in each and every human being that exist. It’s a fact that we are who we are based on the experiences that shaped us as we grew. I do not judge people for the human greed that often overtake those who set out with the intentions of changing the world in a positive way.

It’s important to understand that we are human beings that will certainly make many decisions that aren’t ideal here and there. I stand firm that I’m not a rebel but in a sense I am a rebel by some definitions of the word.  I do revolt against things that try keep my desire for growth locked inside a box. And yes, while some boxes may hold valuable items of information; any type of box  that does not help me understand the complexity of life holds no value. I ask, what’s the point of being placed inside a box if you can’t carry me where I desire to go?

Yes, by definition I “show or feel repugnance for or resistance to something” But by this definition aren’t we all rebels? Aren’t you a rebel if racism makes you feel disgusted and you fight against it? Aren’t you a rebel if you believe that marriage is for the existence of heterosexual people only and you fight against allowing gay marriage? Aren’t you a rebel if you fight against any religious information that is not of your belief? Aren’t you a rebel if you fight for equal rights?

The word rebel has taken on a negative connotation for many different reasons but by this definition we all are rebels fighting for our cause. Be aware that rebels fighting in the middle east and other countries for their right to believe in their own system is not the only type of rebellion that exist. I for one yearn for and fight for a spiritual revolution.

We all fight for what we believe and we all push back against things that contradict that belief, especially if we feel that some things should not be forced upon us. I happen to fight against two main things in life; spiritual bondage and life entrapment. We as spiritual  human beings should be able to explore all the possibilities that exist in life without blow back from those who dare not venture into the unknown. We should also be free to challenge any form of regulations that clearly benefits the few instead of the many. If you can’t fight for the latter then you have given in to the oppression that keeps us divided instead of united.

If you look back through human history you will find many rebels. Do you think it’s a coincidence that almost every individual labeled a rebel was someone who lived in either poverty or captivity? Or was someone who fought against discrimination?  Let me name a few for you

  • Spartacus- notable leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War
  • Zhu Yuanzhang, aka-Taizu-born in a poor village as the oldest of seven children, he joined a rebel army, became emperor and established The Ming Dynasty
  • Pancho Villa-born as the oldest son in a poor peasant family
  • Harriet Tubman– Born into slavery
  • Nat Turner– Born into slavery
  • Che Guevara-Argentine physician and revolutionary who played a key role in the Cuban Revolution, traveled south america and saw the poverty and wanted to change it.
  • Mahatma Gandhi- was a lawyer who fought against British Government in an effort to seek Indian independence

This list could go on for so long that you would grow weary of reading it. The point I’m making is that rebels are only labeled rebels because they fight against things that should be every human right to have. It doesn’t matter the race or religion; what matters is the cause. And as long as there are people who want to limit what you need to have and know they will try to label you, them and I as people who like to rebel just because. But the truth is, every rebel has a true cause, it’s just a matter of whether or not you can relate to it.

If I must be labeled because of my beliefs then yes; I’m a rebel for spiritual freedom and expression. I’m a rebel for life exploration and I’m a rebel for limitless information that will benefit the masses. I’m not trying to start a war but I can understand why so many do when they are tired of being oppressed by someone else’s belief, rules and regulations. Especially when they do not benefit the people who need help the most. You too are a rebel for a cause; maybe it’s white supremacy or women’s equal rights or it’s being an advocate for equal adoption rights. No matter the cause it’s a cause you feel is worth fighting for and that makes you a rebel by definition.

Truth be told, I don’t like being told what to do and how to do it because “you say so’. That doesn’t work for me and it never has. It stopped working for me when I was a teenager and because of it I began rebelling against the rules my mom set for the house. I never truly learned anything when I was forced to learn something that someone else deemed important. I only began to truly learn when I was allowed to search for the answers by myself. This is likely the one thing that I still maintain in my life as an adult that I did as a teenager.

This rule remains true for kids and adults; when you tell someone what they can’t do you can be rest assured that they are going to go out and do it if they are curious about it anyway. No one likes being told what they can and can’t do, no one likes being placed into a box, no one likes having their back pushed up against the wall. When people feel oppressed they push back and they fight back. This is happening all over the world and while I disagree with the brutal murders that are happening across our beloved planet  I can understand why riots and protest are happening. And if you can’t, then you are failing to relate to the cause that is almost always a cause for some form of equality and/or freedom. How can you not be a rebel for that cause?

I fight to help all of you grow more in all areas of your life and I will continue to find ways of getting you the information that is needed. I might not be able to free all of you from the bondage that engulfs you but I will certainly try but like the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink” but maybe just maybe I can get you to raise your fist in the air for the cause…

I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves-Harriet Tubman

The Butterfly Effect

A Very minute change in the initial conditions of a system can have dramatic effects on that system over time- Chaos Theory

Can one small change  set off a chain of events that  lead to large-scale alterations of an event?Can a small decision that you make have a larger impact later on in life? Can a small decision that you make or not make tomorrow be the larger difference in someone’s life? Can someone’s small act of kindness be the “minute change” that prevents someone from becoming the person who might kill hundreds? Can someone else’s decision to quit their job and start their own company (employ you) because their manager was rude to them be the reason why you have a job now? Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?- Ed Lorenz. 

You and I make choices each and every day that we rarely think about. We do actions that come second nature to us and we rarely even think twice about it. I ask you reader, all those questions in the beginning to make you think twice about the things you say and don’t say and the things you do or do not do; to make you wonder. When we think about unity we often overlook how our decisions connect us all and how one decision can create a larger change in someone else’s life or in our very own life.

The theory behind the Butterfly effect is that it’s possible that the smallest change in a system can change the over all outcome of the end result. If we can but for a moment change the word system to “human-system” we can see how this theory  holds true in our lives as well and not just in the weather system which is where the Butterfly Effect was first used by mathematician Edward Lorenz. The best way for me to paint the clearest picture for you is to show you how it has worked in my own personal life.

In 2010 I got “let go” from my job. I was but a small piece in the bigger scheme of things with the company I was working for. But that one action by the general manager would then lead me to make a decision to uproot my life and move to Florida. Prior to that moment I was still hoping to keep my life in Virginia. No one gave it a second thought at that company once it was done. From that decision to be letting go, led me to make  another decision to move (which I did). Within my first year of living in Florida I made the decision to join a meetup group for young professionals where I met new people who would later become my friends.

One year after I moved to Florida my sister moved to Florida because she needed to get away from where she was and now had a brother to stay with in a place she could envision herself living. She would then meet her now fiancée because of it. Are you seeing the pattern from that one decision of me being let go? Do you see how that’s General managers small choice created a different effect in someone else’s life later on? After joining the meetup group, one year later I would make the decision to become the organizer for this group where I would meet a woman  who becomes one of my closest friends. Because of her I would then get a interview with a company I had never heard about before and then I would be able to refer my sister and other friends because of it.

A small decision to let go of me, led to larger events happening in other people’s lives later on, not to mention my own. I could go on forever with examples as to why what we decide to do or not do can play a major role in someone else’s life. If you look at your life, can you find an example of how a decision that you made effected someone else? Can you find an example of how a decision that someone else made played a factor in where you are today? We can even look at past relationships and see that the decision to move on or their decision to move on allowed you and/or them to find someone who better fulfills their needs.

You, me and others in your life aren’t just connected because of our spiritual energy, we are connected to one another based on decisions that were made years ago that are now coming to fruition.. Every choice that we make has the potential to literally change someone else’s life including our own and that’s powerful and yet, also a little scary. A simple decision to be kind to someone may be enough of a gesture to change the perspective of the person who feels unloved, preventing them from committing suicide who then goes on to create a product that changes the world.

It’s important to remember that what we often go through that we define as “bad” is most often the event that allows you to change your life for the better or in another way. It’s an opportunity to alter your life in a new way. It’s a way to create a new wrinkle on your timeline, to literally change your destiny. It isn’t always a bad thing when things happen to us that causes temporary pain. Of course, let us not be naive into believing that all decisions that are made end up being positive. We know this to be false by examining other area’s of our lives that we may be currently struggling with. But, what if we simply missed the opportunity to change what we saw as bad into good? What if you failed to see where you could change your life based on someone else’s decision? This is still the butterfly effect because we are creating  a small change in the initial “human-system” from what the end result was estimated to be.

It’s not possible to consciously know which minute changes that we make end up changing the larger scale of someone else’s life in the future but it can be very empowering to know that we truly do have the power to change the world. You have the power within your life to change the world that you currently live and you don’t have to be a politician,  lawyer, doctor or scientist to accomplish this. Do you want to be a life changer, a world changer?  Know that you already are and simply do your best to make positive changes that could be the domino effect that is needed. The coolest thing about understanding this theory is that even when we or others make decisions that we think will harm someone else (sometimes we do this intentionally) that it’s still up to the person being affected to choose the next step. We all are connected friend and in more ways than you may understand in this moment. Knowing this connection, isn’t it extremely important to remember to do unto others as you would want done unto you?

Look over your life and think about what small changes have happened that changed the system and changed you and then think about what decisions you can make going forward that may do the same for someone else. We all have a place in this system of life that we exist in and each and every last one of us have responsibilities to those who came before us, to those existing now and to those who come in the future now to be the butterfly who changes the tornado.

 “It used to be thought that the events that changed the world were things like big bombs, maniac politicians, huge earthquakes, or vast population movements, but it has now been realized that this is a very old-fashioned view held by people totally out of touch with modern thought. The things that really change the world, according to Chaos theory, are the tiny things. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently a storm ravages half of Europe.”
Neil Gaiman, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

Domestic Violence: Weak Men and The People Who Accept it

I come from a family where domestic violence has tormented multiple women in my family. I could tell you the story of how I watched my mom get beat by my dad when I was a young boy and I could tell you the story of my older sister and how she too was beat by her ex husband but I won’t(at least not yet)because this isn’t about me and my personal disgust with violence, this is about all of us. This is about how much of our society have decided to not only turn the other cheek when it comes to domestic violence but have accepted it as okay in many area’s of the world, some of those areas being right here in the United States.

Back on February 20th, 2014 I made this statement in a Sports Blog on Facebook in regards to the most latest Domestic Violence that was in the news. {Please excuse my language but I believe in transparency}

“Ray Rice knocked his fiancée out. I no longer have any respect for this man. What you do on the field means way less to me than what you do off it. I associate men who hit women on the same level as men who are on the down low..both are bitch actions. I hit a woman once in my life, I was eighteen and it was my older sister (whom I was bigger than) and I felt like a bitch ass right afterwards and vowed never to hit another woman again and I haven’t. I now walk away or avoid women like that energy. Grown ass men know better and what’s sad is Ray Rice is going to get off with just a slap on the wrist, why? Because I highly doubt his fiancée is going to press charges. And all will be forgotten by the world. Ray Rice you aren’t a man, you’re just a boy in a man’s body playing a manly sport. Innocent til proven guilty? Nah not in this case, ain’t no excuse in my book. Signed.. Disgusted fan”

I stand by these words because IN MY MIND, there is never a good reason for men to ball their hand’s in to a fist to punch a woman or even slap her for that matter. Unfortunately there were plenty of men who disagreed with me in this group and who honestly believe that it’s okay to hit women IF she put’s her hands on him first. I believe in respecting the beliefs of others regardless of how shocked I may be by them, so I listened(read).

They used examples of women wanting equal rights thinking they are men and/or some women being able to actually fight better than men and/or taking advantage of the system by physically beating men and then claiming self-defense in order to put the man in jail in a revenge attempt of why they were angry with him. There were even some that said that “these bitches shouldn’t be worshiped the way that they are”….Reader, think about that for a second. When did it become about worshiping in their minds instead of simply understanding there are things you do and things you don’t do.

Now, I do agree that there are women out there that take advantage of a system that is quick to imprison men in regards to cases involving domestic violence. There are many false claims, but when it is your word against her word, which do you likely think will be trusted more? Understand men that, this is why we as MEN must take the higher role and gracefully bow out of the altercations that are provoked. Good news will not come from physically fighting a woman. I also believe that no one (man or woman) should physically attack another. We should teach our daughter’s that it is not okay to fight a boy but yes it’s okay to fight back if you need to. We should teach our son’s that it is never okay to hit a girl, period. I understand their argument that if a woman feels bold enough to hit a man she should be bold enough to expect what comes back in return but I simply can’t condone taking sides with the defense that it’s okay to fight back with a woman.

There has to be another choice we can make. There are other options aren’t there? Is punching a woman my only option against a woman who is trying to fight me? Whatever happened to grabbing her and holding her down? Why can that not be enough? Is it not man enough to do something else that gives the attacking  woman a reality check of the situation? A reality check that says “this will not end good for you and especially not for me”

The one caveat(if there is one) is when a man’s life is being threatened by the attacker. If it’s a life or death situation then all bets are off. My life is more important than someone who does not value it.

It’s important to note that men can be domestically abused by women and let us not forget about our brother and sisters in same sex relationships. Domestic violence is unacceptable in every type of relationship. Our mentality for domestic violence has to change or the number of victims will continue to rise faster than they currently are. WE HAVE TO DO BETTER!

This article is for anyone who has ever seen, heard or are victim’s of domestic violence but because women are  the number one victim, I’m focusing on them mostly. When did it become acceptable to beat women? When did it become okay for men to get more time in jail for dog fighting versus beating a woman who is not strong enough to defend herself? Not to devalue the lives of animals (I love dogs) but I VALUE human lives even more. Even more so, when did women decide to stick beside the men who feel bad after the fact of destroying her face and not before the hand is risen?

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.1
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.2
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.3
  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.4
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.5
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.6

When did these statistics become okay? The number is growing because people, BOTH men and women are deciding that it is what it is. No, it is what it is because people are choosing to accept it for what the demoralizing thing that it is. 1 and 4 women! Look around you right now, Find 4 women and know that 1 of them is likely to be a victim and she will likely never report it in fear that nothing will change or be done. How does that make you feel?

“Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of  transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next”  This leads me to believe that the men that admit to being okay hitting a woman are victims off this and don’t even realize they are following in the footsteps of the person who they say saw beat their loved one. These men think they are nothing like the men before them because of the different variable that they have added to the situation. Whether it’s one degree of separation or six, it is your actions that determine if you are alike or different.

For example, for every action there is a reaction. Something that needs be done, decided. It is what we do in those reactions that ultimately define who we are. I choose not to hit a woman because I know that we live in a society that will always look down upon that and gives women the upper hand in some cases.I choose not to hit a woman because I know I am the superior physical being.  I choose to walk away instead of being labeled a woman beater.

Instead, I choose to be defined as the bigger person. The government legal system has taken actions to put more black men behind prisons so I react by choosing to not place myself in situations that will get me prosecuted or wrongfully accused. It is not about allowing women or the government to take advantage of us,  it’s about understanding the circumstances and making the best option there is. It’s deciding to take ownership of my actions because we can’t control the actions of others..

We have to do better as a society in taking ownership of our actions. Not speaking out against domestic violence is an action. Is it the right RE-action? No! Staying with a man who beats you is an RE-action and I can’t condone that either. You only have so many times to use the victim card until people stop listening. If we don’t take ownership of the things that are destroying the foundation that we need to progress, then we have no right in asking for help. We can’t ask for help and also be willing participants in the regress.

I punched my older sister in the face after being smashed in the face with a cup. It was a natural reaction, I didn’t even think about it. But prior to that moment I had plenty of time to walk away from the situation but I didn’t because I wanted to make a point. You can’t beat me. Little did I know that when I threw that punch I had already loss. Nothing makes you feel worse then hurting someone you love dearly. Nothing hurts more than looking in the eyes of a woman you have just hit and seeing the same hurt and fear that your mom gave when it happened to her. That’s a pain I will never forget.Never.

It’s time to stop passing down domestic violence, it’s time to stop over-looking domestic violence and it’s time to stop accepting it. I will continue to do my part in speaking out against such things that devalue the human race and I hope you will join in the cause.

To Be Continued…..with or without you

Flawless: Beyonce Carter

This is not what you think. No, this is not a post by a man glamouring over the curves of Beyonce (though they are nice) No this is a post about misinformation. This is a post about being uneducated on togetherness. This is a post about understanding Empowerment. Are you ready? Let’s go!

In a world where access to information is at an all time high I was shocked to see that something was missed(or was it?), ignored and not discussed by the masses in Beyoncé Carter’s Itune version of her song  “Flawless”.  Everyone was talking (especially women) about Beyoncé saying “bow down bitches” and how “hard” Beyoncé was trying to be in the song, or even worse how she isn’t being a role model for young girls. Really quick I’d like to point out that  the word bitch has become like the word Nigger. People have tried to take ownership of the word so that it no longer cuts deep the way that it use to. Women now call themselves “bitches” as a source of “empowerment” but it will always have a negative connotation attached to it  no matter how its said or who is saying it if it is said as an attack on someone’s character, precisely like the word nigger. Try as we might it still means and feels the same way if said by someone we do not know.

Truthfully speaking people using the word Bitch or Bitches doesn’t bother me any more than someone using the word Nigger, Nigga or Ninja, I don’t put my energy in to that anymore because a person’s mentality is their burden alone and besides I do understand what people are trying to do with trying to deflect the meaning behind it. I don’t have to respect it but I get it. Let us get back on subject about something  being missed among the masses. It wasn’t the aforementioned topic it was a fifty-two second part in the entire song that received little to no attention. It was fifty-two seconds of true empowerment for women but it fell on deaf ears. The words were

“We teach girls to shrink themselves to make themselves smaller. We say to girls you can have ambition but not too much, you should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you’re reflecting the man.

Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage, I’m expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now Marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage but don’t teach boys the same?

We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or accomplishments (which I think can be a good thing) but for attention of men. We teach girls that they can’t be sexual beings the way that boys are”.

Words spoken by Chimamanda ngozi Adichie but give Beyoncé the credit she deserves for the real meaning behind her song Flawless. It was not about bitches bowing down, it was about women respecting her for what she has done and what she does. It was about her as a woman defying the odds even when it’s expected for women to aspire to marriage only. This song was about people understanding that not only did she chase her dreams down, she owns the crown regardless of what society thinks and more importantly understanding that society is misleading women. This should have been the real discussion, this should have been where our attention laid because this needs to be talked about but instead it was on something far less empowering.

Chimamanda raises a great question does she not? Why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage but don’t teach boys the same? I also ask is the disconnect between men and women happening simply because of what we are taught as little kids? Would there be a better connection if we taught both little boys and girls to aspire to the same things in life? Would there be a better connection in intimacy if we taught little boys and girls the same things emotionally?

Could it be so simple as Equal Education on living? These are the questions and topics that should be discussed, debated and fixed. I didn’t see one Facebook post, tweet or instagram picture from women about the words spoken in this song by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, instead I saw post about “I woke up like this” or trying to tear down Beyoncé for the lyrics in her songs. How about this? Instead of finding fault in her, ASPIRE to be like her in her work ethic.

The majority of society will stay true to form in its goal to mislead an uneducated people. When I say uneducated I do not speak of master degrees and PhD’s, I speak solely on common sense/knowledge. We live in an information age, not knowing truth from false is unacceptable. Women speak of wanting to be equal but try to tear down a woman who is the definition of success, not only financially but also in love and marriage (as far as we can tell).

But like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (look her up) stated, women have been taught to compete with each other instead of lifting up each other. It’s funny because  that sounds exactly like the issue that exist within  the black communities as a whole. However, this isn’t just about black people, it’s about all people not sticking together and that has to stop.  I ask, how can it be stopped if the conversations aren’t being had? How can women have a bigger voice if the women listening aren’t truly hearing?

At the end of her statement Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave the definition for Feminist: “A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes” and sadly the majority of people who are trying to belittle Beyonce’s  accomplishments are  the same women Beyoncé is telling  to be “Flawless”.  We all know that Flawless is not possible but it can be a mentality to strive to be. It is that same drive that has allowed Beyoncé “to wake up like this” not you.

It’s time to change the conversations, its time to stop missing the empowering moments(like in this song), its time to wake up to the bigger issues at hand and its time break through the glass ceilings that have been placed there by people who don’t want women there.  It’s time to stop shrinking  and  instead it’s time to educate each other(men and women) on the misinformation being taught.

As a man I don’t care how you wake up but I do care if you don’t WAKE UP….