Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I SUPPRESS THAT EMOTION (Public Displays of Emtion)

I Second that Emotion was a hit single first released in 1967 by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The song has a nice sway and easy going feel to it as many other songs did that shared the same record label of Motown back in that time period. The song itself is very simple; a man trying to date a woman who is afraid of commitment and would rather string men along. Robinson the leader of the group refuses that kind of lifestyle but rather he promises her that if she is willing to settle down he will be around for her. The song was originally the idea from a phrase that was mispronounced. Thank goodness for the phrase being mispronounced as it led to a song that topped the charts. In modern day the phrase is still commonly mispronounced but we all know that the song still is a hit.
Public displays of emotion occur every day in life and everywhere a person may go. All and all for the most part even I would have to say that publically displaying emotions is natural, but it’s something I find uncomfortable. Whether it is a hearty laugh that has reached a higher level than it should have, someone crying hysterically, or someone just being overjoyed by the moment, I am uncomfortable. I usually try to keep a firm grasp on my emotions at all times in public and in private. I think that it is the proper thing to do. That does include hugs because for the most part a handshake can send the same message a hug can with less contact needed. This applies to me though.
For those who laugh in public how is it the laugh can become so good or so loud you forget where you are? I am one of those people who looks at a person for a second just wondering if they are for real. When you are loud in public all that does is get you attention that probably isn’t needed. Also I have yet to hear someone with a loud laugh in that actually sounded good. To me nothing can be that funny in public to lose control except for maybe a comedy club. In private is more acceptable to let loose; you are in private.
Then for those who cry, sometimes I am at a loss. I actually had a boss cry in front of me one day. I had to let her know that wasn’t my specialty and guide me if she wanted me to stay or if she wanted me to leave her alone. I eventually stayed. Women crying in public of course is more accepted than for a man to cry in public. Once again a fact of life I disagree with. I think men are human too and although I refrain from crying that ultra masculine idea that is out in the world only leads to destruction. Of course there are certain times when life just takes over; I just don’t know when those times are outside of perhaps a funeral or even wedding.
Being overjoyed is also another concept of people’s emotions I just don’t understand. How does someone’s excitement or joy reach the point that a person can’t control themselves? It’s one thing to be lost in the moment for a minute, but to stay in the moment is just rude to the people around the individual, and I can only imagine it gets exhausting after a while In my opinion rather than just spend the moment being overjoyed and celebrating in public why not wait until later when you can go wild with emotions and feelings in private?
I am the person of the group that is usually referred to as being cold and sometimes emotionally unavailable. Terms I don’t like but I have come to accept. I think it’s much more important to stay calm and in a level place than to lose control over emotions in public. I also tend to be the more logically friend rather than the more emotional friend. I think logic should trump emotions any day of the week. People make mistakes based on how they feel and would rather ignore what the logically know is right. What’s the trick to controlling ones’ emotions though, just keeping a level head at all times, if you feel your emotions are about to over powering you simply imagine an empty room and looking that emotion in the room until you have the time and privacy to deal with that emotion accordingly. Yes, emotions are good, but remaining in control is even better for everyone.

A GENTLE MAN IS HARD TO FIND ( Good Men are Everywhere)

Originally a stage play written by Reverend David Payton that went on tour and did very successful, A Good Man is Hard to Find is about the lives of three women involved with men on different levels. The lead couple is a preacher who has a wife who is very ungrateful for her husband. Like most preachers he spends a lot of time involved in church activities. She becomes so self-centered that she begins to neglect her son and eventually has an affair with her boss. Due to the success of the play it was adapted into a movie starring Golden Brooks, Deborah Cox, Darrin Dewitt Henson, and Hill Harper. The movie debuted in 2008 and went straight to DVD. By the end of the movie it was believed that the husband and wife would stay together despite her affair and Brooks’ character changed her mind about what a good man really is.
A quote said quite too often by women who are trying to comfort a female friend and said by single women who want a man or have just been done wrong by a man, “A good man is hard to find”. Not that I go searching for good men, but I am a good man and I have some male friends who fall into the good man category as well. I started thinking recently though after having a conversation with a female friend. She has only had three relationships in her life and all three were with bad boys who were complete losers but she wanted to stick by them in hopes to show she was faithful and dedicated, not a gold digger, and she also thought she could change them, or rather help them change. After talking to her I took my dog for a walk and ran into a female neighbor of mine who is about my age, I stopped to help her with her bags, and she then proceeded to thank me by rubbing my chest and inviting me upstairs to her apartment. I politely declined and this woman flipped out on me. She asked me why I am such an uptight person and told me that it wouldn’t hurt to live a little. I declined her offer for two reasons, one I had my dog with me and she has a dog and two and the most important reason I don’t think that an appropriate “thank you” is having casual sex which was meant in her hint when she touched my chest in the long version of the pectoral test that some women give to men.
This all made me think though, do some women really know what a good man is, what a gentleman is, or when they are pushing him away. I have a very close friend, and while I would never call him a gentleman I would say he is a good man. This is a fun loving, ambitious, respectful, and caring individual. He has dated before and usually only entertains long term relationships. While my friend has a few flaws that of being a party boy sometimes and still finding himself he is a good man. Really I must elaborate this friend is twenty-three years old so I wouldn’t really say “finding himself” is that much of a flaw; twenty-three is still young and many adults that age still haven’t fully found themselves. Overall though when we were in college together he was viewed more so like the party friend by girls. If they were going to have a party he was normally the second or third name on the list but he often never fell on the boyfriend list even when he was single.
I on the other hand am a gentleman. I wrote a blog about that a little while back but one thing associated with being a gentleman is that is takes work. Being a gentleman isn’t all that common these days but it’s rewarding to me and the lady I will marry one day. I am a gentleman in the language I use, the beliefs I carry, the responsibilities I take on, and the way I treat women. My neighbor recently made it seem like I am uptight which is when I informed her that it takes work to be a gentleman. One thing a gentleman never does is engage in meaningless sex. I have had moments of seeing a woman in need and didn’t want to stop to help, but I would because it’s the right thing to do, or I was in a hurry and didn’t feel like holding the door for a woman behind me, but once again I would. Being a gentleman is hard work that can sometimes be unrewarding in present day’s society where life for a man is about being a thug and life for a woman is being an independent woman and if he isn’t Mr. Perfect move on to the next.
Woman should be independent, but not to the extent that they confuse being a strong woman with being an island. In high school the girls would date the bad boy types, in college, girls would date the bad boy types, and now that college is over I have a friend who is still stuck in that rut. We had a conversation about why she thinks her boyfriend isn’t too bad and I was very confused on the points she brought up and how she could believe that meant he was ok. My friend has never wanted to be seen as a gold digger and her boyfriend told her he doesn’t like gold diggers, but at the same time her boyfriend, who is about ten years older, lives with his brother in a two bedroom apartment and is poor. A poor man doesn’t have to worry about a woman being with him for his money. I let her know that was actually sign number one he wasn’t a good man. A good man and of a course a gentleman don’t mind spending some money on the woman he is pursing. A bad man, however, does. She continues to believe that he will come around and be a Christian despite how much disrespect he throws out when she prays. That is sign number two that he is not a good man. While a mate isn’t required to fully understand or believe the same thing as their mate they are required to fully respect it though because that means that they have respect for their mate. Sign number three though that he is not a good man is the fact that he can’t work on himself. No good man, or good woman for that matter, says this negative trait is just me accept it or move on. Meaning no good person says I have an anger management problem so deal with it.
While woman may say a good man is hard to find I believe that a good man is easy to find, a gentleman is hard to find. I think that in today’s times women don’t know what a good man is. This is part of what is messing up gender expectations. When women don’t know what a good man is then good men begin to doubt themselves and feel as though they need to conform and change to fit the expectations. Once they have that walk on the wild side those good men just don’t return back from the walk. For the good men out there stay on track your time will come, for the gentlemen out there holdfast, it may take work to be a gentleman but the rewards are enormous, and for the women out there carefully think about what you call a good man the traits and characteristics you want him to hold. I leave on this note you can’t have a PhD man with a Tupac personality.

Monday, June 1, 2009

NOT THE FIRST NIGHT ( Sex on the First Night)

Monica Denise Arnold was born on October 24th, 1980 in Atlanta Georgia. She only uses her first name as her professional name so the world has come to know her as Monica. Singing rhythm and blues as well as pop Monica has established herself as a singer and songwriter, and occasional rapper and actress. Monica released her second album The Boy is Mine to huge success in 1998. In July of that year she released her second single from that album, The First Night. This song dominated the charts at number one for weeks. It actually has a very simple theme, going on a first date and being tempted to but refraining from sex or anything that may lead into that direction. Too bad that song knew more than what people over a decade don’t know.
Recently I was talking to a close friend of mine, a male friend and he told me he saw nothing wrong with having sex on the first night. When I spoke with another male friend he expressed a different view, he didn’t believe anything was wrong with a man having sex on the first night, but if a woman did then she is a slut. I really disagreed with that viewpoint since it takes two to engage in most sexual activities. To be honest I am still surprised that there are people who don’t see anything wrong with having sex so quickly. I take a bit of a Christian viewpoint and believe that sex should only be engaged in by those who are married to each other.
The first thing to consider is what does sex mean to people to be able to have it on the first night and what their bodies mean. While I have always believed that sex is the giving of one’s body to another person people these days think that it’s just a means to an orgasm. People also see nothing wrong with sharing their bodies so quickly as long as both people are on the same page. I believe that the human body is a person’s most valuable possession and if you can just share your body so feely and easily then you don’t value your body so much. I think that the best thing to do is wait, although I can’t force people to wait until marriage, but if people must engage in casual sex then they should at least wait until date number three.
Second, when you sleep with a stranger you can’t be mad at the outcome. No matter how well the first date goes people have to understand that they still don’t know the person that well. Most serious conversations about diseases and children don’t occur quite so soon. I was watching a television show recently and a woman said that people need to quit having babies with people they don’t know, then a second woman on the panel went back to clarify that statement and said people need to quit having sex with people they don’t know. I am on that same accord. Pregnancy and disease are the consequences of actions taken. While not everyone who engages in sexual acts get a disease or pregnant the rate is still too high, and then to risk it with a stranger is just stupid. I do believe that is one of the reason we have so many abortion clinics and venereal disease clinics. People believe that they can engage in risky behaviors and face no consequences.
The other day I was watching a separate show about behavior on the first date and where the man should take his date. One of the men said the casual place was too much if he wasn’t going to have sex afterwards. I want to know when did it become acceptable to pay for sex in any way. You don’t decide where to take a date based on the chances of having sex afterwards, nor do you decide it’s ok to continue dating someone because the sex was good. These two phenomenas are running rapid though. There are plenty of men who feel as though it’s okay to buy a woman an expensive meal if he is getting sex afterwards, this is simple prostitution. Whether you are trading money or some kind of goods for sexual satisfaction you and the other person are engaging in an illegal and immoral activity. A trend though that is unfortunately on the rise is that men and women feel that they need to have sex on the first night to determine if the person is worth future dates. The last time I checked sex is something that can alter and change, there are products and toys and options if the sex is bad; however, if someone has a bad personality then there is no way to change that.
The biggest reason though that all of this concerns me is because with each passing decade morals and standards have been on a steady decline. Now that it’s acceptable for people to have sex on the first date what more can happen from there? People are so worried about celebrities but not about their own lives. Until people begin to gain some morals for themselves again the country is going to remain in trouble. Individuals need to turn this issue around. There is nothing wrong with not having sex on the first night. If you are with someone who is trying to pressure you that fast then there is no telling just how morally bankrupt this individual is but one thing is for sure, that person doesn’t need to be in your life.
As a proud Southern Baptist with traditional values and conservative beliefs I think that sex is something that should be worked up to. Sec on the first night only leaves conversation to work up to not passion or love. For those who think the other person is in the wrong sex is an action that takes two people and is always better when you actually know the person you are with. Orgasms may be a great experience but so is adhering to morals and waiting so that a person can build up passion and make love with an amazing person. After all if you are busy having sex on the first night you are not getting to know more about the person’s personality, only their lack of morals and respect for themselves.


Hubris today is defined as an overwhelming sense of pride or self- confidence; or even arrogance. Hubris is most often tied to the pride, one of the seven deadly sins. It’s commonly believed that hubris is dangerous for the individual and that it can even lead to a fatal retribution. In Greek literature hubris always led to the protagonist’s downfall. The most notable example is that of Icarus. Icarus was the son of Daedalus, a craftsman so skilled it was said that he could create moving images. Daedalus was eventually exiled and imprisoned in Crete. Longing a sense of freedom and to escape Daedalus made two sets of wings made out of wax so that he and his son could escape the unfortunate circumstance. There were only two problems with the wings that Daedalus warned his son about; the wings couldn’t come to close to the sun nor the sea. Once Icarus put the wings on and began to soar hubris took over and he flew to close to the sun, thus melting his wax wings. Icarus then fell into the sea below which present day bears his name, the Icarian Sea. If only hubris hadn’t taken over Icarus would have lived to successfully escape.
Recently I did a blog about the seven deadly sins. I even included the ones that I suffer from the most; I wasn’t surprised when I found out I suffered the most from pride. That really made me start thinking. It is rumored pride is the only sin that a person can’t beat and that pride comes before a big fall. Since then I have thought about when pride crosses over to hubris and if I am in fact that close. In ancient times mortals had the gods to keep them in place and make sure that they didn’t get out of line. In today’s times we have employers, community and church leaders, and good friends to make sure that we don’t get too full of ourselves. The question becomes what can a person do for themselves to realize what is too far or too much of a sense of pride?
With the twenty-something years I have been alive I have been a fortunate and promising individual. Whenever I looked I was doing something that my peers and even some adults weren’t doing. I was baptized at the age of four by my choice, from there I was one of the three people to start the student government association at my elementary school, in addition being the first year book editor and I would even be left in charge of the office. All of that was by the age of eleven. From there I went on to concur playing two instruments, National Junior Honor Society, overcoming my mother’s passing and the accomplishments continued to add up. Never did I think I was gaining a big ego or overvaluing myself.
Once I reached high school I didn’t slow down, in fact I sped up and added more to my plate. It was finally in high school I gained self confidence. I think then was the first time people began to see me as arrogant or anything of the like. Most of the time I ignored the talk because I have never thought I am better than anyone else; I just figured that people had a problem because I was moving upward and doing a lot in high school, the church, and my community. Once I graduated high school as Salutatorian I continued to do more and more once I reached college. I felt that if I wasn’t moving forward I was moving backwards. Again I encountered the arrogance and stuck up talk, but I ignored it because I know at the end of the day it’s not me.
Reading more and more of Greek literature helped me to understand what some of those characters went through and perhaps where the differences begin to develop in life. The mortals back then had reasons to believe why they were good or possibly even deserving of more as I have. I always figured that arrogance partially came from an empty feeling of entitlement. One thing I know I can do is look back on my accomplishments and feel proud of what I have done in life. The bad part is sometimes looking back all a person can do is see the end result, not the struggling to get there and that someone else was only a half inch away. Truly it is amazing to see just how much of a slippery slope pride becomes. It’s dangerous, it allows a person to believe they aren’t prideful until it’s too late and by that time the person believes they have a reason to be prideful but they don’t realize truly how bad they are. By the time that conclusion is reached hubris sets in and it takes a fatal or near fatal action to place a mortal being in place. With the state of the nation I believe I have come to my low point or significant setback in life.
The trick, the thing that a person can ultimately do is never believe how great they really are. Once you start believing the hype and the way people treat you your ego automatically develops and grows. I am in the state where I know realize what it’s going to take for me to get out of my hubris state and death defying fall; I can no longer look back. There is a term that I am officially adopting, “I am only as good as my next victory”. Now that I am out of college the time for setbacks is over and the pressure to succeed has become that much more real. I know one thing; I won’t go into the history books for hubris.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Eric Marlon Bishop, better known as Jamie Foxx recently released his chart topping instant hit single “Blame It” The concept for the song is very simple and one that many people from any background can relate to a drunken night, engaging in activities you normally wouldn’t do, and then blaming it on the alcohol you drank the night before. A song Foxx was at first unsure of but after an evening at a strip club he knew it was going to be a hit. “Blame It”, has been played at every club across the United States and has every potential of being the summer anthem.
Prohibition made its debut in the United States in 1920. It actually stuck around longer than one may have thought. This was a law that bounced from country to country for a while which simply outlawed the use, sale, manufacture, transportation, and drinking of alcoholic beverages illegal for everyone in the United States. Despite this law lasting for thirteen years alcohol was still made and sold; only it went by assumed names and like most illegal drugs it was easy to get a hold of. Once prohibition was finally ended alcohol and its consumption has not been the same since
Present day alcohol is only illegal to persons under the age of twenty-one. Most states have laws on open containers, drinking and driving, and public intoxication. This rules change a little depending on certain cities. For instance a person can walk around the French Quarters with an open container but as soon as they walk across the street it then becomes illegal. Or in New Orleans a person can go to a drive through daiquiri shop and get a daiquiri. As long as the straw is not place into the container it is considered closed. Once the straw is inserted however the daiquiri is considered open and a person can instantly be charged with drinking and driving. Yes in 2009 prohibition is over with no signs of coming back. Presently in addition to talks of raising the tax on alcohol some people congressmen are even contemplating lowering the national drinking age to that of eighteen.
It’s fair to say drinking has its pros and cons. In the United States most people have had their first drink during their teenage years. Drinking is the only socially acceptable drug so therefore it’s everywhere. Most parties in high school serve some kind of alcoholic beverage. In addition to parties serving alcohol most peoples’ parents keep alcohol somewhere in their house. To add insult to injury parents these days are becoming more liberal in their parenting and while they say they don’t encourage their teenager to drink they will allow it at their house in the claims of keeping an eye on their child and monitoring their drinking behavior. After all most circles of friends have a parent who is known as the cool parent who lets their own child and some close friends of that child get away with murder.
While drinking may not be forced on people it’s certainly an expected recreational activity to engage in. Many drinking games start during the high school years whether at parties or simply while hanging out. The method of the games may change but the substance being consumed remains the same. The point of drinking at that age is not for relaxation purposes but more so for purposes of acting out of control. The concept of having a drink to relax is one that more adults have, not to say adults don’t engage in drinking games as well.
Everyone who drinks has had a time in their life where they got drunk. The first couple of times it’s excusable. I mean how do you know you have had too much to drink when drinking is new to you. Alcohol doesn’t show any effects until on average about seven minutes after consumption. The bad effects of it range from slowed motor coordination, slurred speech, some people tend to get angry or violent, there’s the possibility of passing out, drunk driving, and for the unluckiest of them all there is alcohol poisoning which in turn leads to death. Alcohol also has social consequences; while some people like to drink other people love to drink, daily. This can cause people to lose friends as well. When drinking there’s a thin line that shouldn’t be crossed the line between having a good time and becoming a rude drunk. While alcohol is fun, it does have its bad side which can’t be ignored.
The song is so simple, one many people can relate to, drinking. In the song Foxx makes a reference to a woman who wasn’t attractive until after a couple of drinks and she wanted to take things to a physical level and had it not been for the alcohol she wouldn’t have; one of the reasons why sexually transmitted diseases and unexpected pregnancies is so high. Once people begin to drink their better judgment begins to subside for what many people believe are their true inner desires. Sometimes it’s the case and sometimes it’s just a person who has lost their better judgment. Blame it on the alcohol in deed, that’s easy to do. Take the results of the consequences however, is much harder.


Jimmy Ray is an English pop-rock musician whose birth name is James Edwards. In 1997 Ray released his first single from his self-titled debut album which did very well in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The chorus of which continued to “are you?” and would insert different names until Ray defined himself as Jimmy Ray. Even though Jimmy Ray would not release another album he is very well known for the smash hit single he did have.
Identity is defined as the condition of being oneself or itself and not another. It is also defined as the condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is. A person’s identity is how we define them, for instance we know exactly who and what a doctor is. They have a set role, so much to the point that doctors have a perceived persona, people assume a doctor will be intelligent, able to help, writes with bad penmanship, and has wealth or at least is rich. Identities help others to know who we are but they also help us in knowing who we are. Over time though identities can be lost, confused, forgotten, and changed.
With the current state of where I am in present day I realize my identity has been lost. For years now I have been a student, an uncle, an employee, a son, the friend who always had money, the smart one, a model, a leader, but now most of those titles don’t apply to me anymore. With the recent recession and unemployment rates I have lost a lot of my identity that I never thought I would lose. I graduated two years ago from college and I figured I would be in graduate school right now pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology; which in turn would mean I would still be a full-time student. Due to me having a constant job since the age of seventeen and never going too long without working I am accustomed to being an employee. Being a son and uncle are two titles I can’t lose, but those transform over the years. When I started college I was younger and less mature than I am now. My father and I had the relationship of a teenager and parent and even though I was a good teenager overall I like other teenagers had days and weeks of attitude toward my parents. I have been an uncle now for the past eleven years and as I grow older and more comfortable with the role and title I have had to adapt it toward an aging nephew since I have to be a positive example for him. With so many changes and very little time to reflect on everything and all the new meanings and being in a lower spot in my life I have realized that I have lost my identity.
I have never been the type of person to be easily confused except for when I am tired. These days I am confused about my present day identity and who I really am. I was once a leader in many of the school and community organizations I joined. Now, however, I am not a member of any organization. I wonder, does this mean I am still a leader? After all a leader must have people who follow him. Or with me trying to be an uncle to one nephew who needs an uncle and one nephew who thinks we are equal. I have to now wade through all of the confusion. Part of the confusion I believe is the fact that for years I have held multiple titles at once and they have been continuous. For so many years I have been moving consistently around the clock. If I wasn’t in class, I was in a meeting, or I was at work, or I was leading an organizational meeting or activity. With all of that going on I never need to figure out who I really was because I was constantly being told who I was. I decided lately since I have a little bit more free time it is best to try to figure some things out so I can figure out my identity. The trouble I have found is that I don’t know what my own identity really is. The more and more I try to figure it out the more and more confused I get. Something so simple in theory can be so complicated in actuality.
The more I try to solve my confusion the more I have started to wonder is the real reason I am confused about my identity because I have forgotten who I am. For nearly ten years I have had so many titles that I have had to balance and juggle. Now I am starting to wonder have I just forgotten who I was. The startling part about that concept is that years ago I was a child with a child’s mentality. There was no real identity back then it was just a child engaging in childish behavior and hoping for the best outcome. As an adult did I forget who I am? Back when I was younger what was I really about? There were the basic ideas and thoughts my parents put into my head; I have to wonder was that me? So many children rebel against their parents and who they are for various reasons. I never really did that. Now I wonder am I really the good son who was meant to grow up into a good man or was I meant to have more of a bad boy persona. In turn for so many years I was the guy who always had a date. For so many years I always thought I would end up being having a serious long-term relationship which would grow into marriage. Yet I remember at one time I was a loner who didn’t care about being in a relationship. For the past two months I have realized I don’t want to be in a relationship, at least for right now. I wonder was I really a loner, or am I really a loner now? Am I supposed to be the friend who is always dating and involved or am I meant to be the single friend? I have forgotten which one I truly am. When I was younger I only imagined having a professional job, really having a successful career. I didn’t imagine being a workaholic. Over time though balancing school and work I became a workaholic. Lately, I haven’t had the choice on whether to be a workaholic or not. Being at home all the time is making me think did I really like working? Perhaps I am a lazy person. The more days that pass the more I have had time to think and ponder questions about what I have lost, how confused I am in present day, and what I have forgotten.
The answers slowly started to come to me in a fit of self-discovery. Over the past year President Obama has aligned himself with one word, change. Over the past two years I have had so many small changes back to back and then a move and more changes back to back in my life that confusion has happened. What I didn’t realize though is that I am still who I was last year and the year before that. I am still a son to my parents, I am just older and more mature. Instead of talking about prom, report cards, and being able to drive the car to school the conversations have changed to what’s really going on in your life, how is the job market and career building going, are you dating? I am realizing that just because I hold a title like uncle doesn’t mean that I have to be one way all the time. My nephews are in two different age categories, one is in middle school and the other is in college. Those relationships will be different and now that I am older, an actual adult, and out of college the way in which I can be an overall uncle is changing and growing as well. I am no longer the uncle who just graduated from high school or the uncle going to college parties and being on the college homecoming court. With college out of the way I am the young adult uncle who can be there to guide and mentor. When I was young overall I was a good son I was a good child; flashing forward a couple of years to now I am looked at as being a gentleman. I didn’t lose the identity of being a good child, it has changed and evolved over the years as I have grown and matured. While a leader must have followers to lead being a true leader doesn’t disappear because at present moment I am not leading someone. My personality is that of a leader that of being in charge and trying to help guide people in the appropriate direction. My identity is still there it’s just changing.
Identity is a funny concept. Some people lose their identity trying to please others; some people forget who they really are because they are trying to ignore part of who they are in order to focus on a different part of who they are, and some people just get confused on who they are based on current situations. Lately I have been very confused, but I realize that change happens on all levels. When change is done intentionally it can be controlled and the actions and consequences from that change are easily seen. Change that happens unintentionally is often more subtle and not easily seen. With the changes I have been going through I didn’t realize that I am still the same person. My identity isn’t forgotten or lost; it’s simply changing and growing into more and better. I no longer have to ask am I Theron Exum. I know for the most part who Theron is. While I haven’t figured everything out yet it’s okay because there is no law about completely knowing oneself upon completion of college. I know three-fourths of myself and I am getting more and more intimate with the rest of me. In time I will have it all figured out but as for right now I am satisfied with the amount of knowledge I do have about my identity.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A SONG FOR MAMA ( Evelyn Renee Hardaway Exum)

Around Thanksgiving of 1997 Soul Food premiered in movie theaters across the country. This was a very popular film about family and a grandmother who passed away. I am probably one of the only people left who have never seen the movie. The movie had an all star cast though and a great soundtrack to go with it. Boyz II Men were just one of the various groups on the soundtrack. Their song “A Song for Mama” became an instant hit on the soundtrack and they later released the song the following year close to Mother’s Day. It has no become a song I think about every Mother’s Day for the simple fact of timing. The movie Soul Food debuted around Thanksgiving, in less than a month’s time my own mother passed away from lung cancer.
As much as I would love to do a blog about my mother’s entire life I can’t. I was only around for the last twelve years of it so I missed a considerable amount of it. Ironically, some random song helps though. While I don’t know most of my mother’s life I do know my life with her so overall that has to be good enough for me to live with. Listening to Boyz II Men I do remember the small things about what see taught me. It’s amazing that over the years there are so many lessons we learn while we are young that we tend to forget who has taught it to us. Prime example looking both ways before crossing the street; this is something so simple and small, it’s even an automatic given, before crossing the street look both ways. So far it’s one lesson I have yet to fail; I haven’t been hit by a car yet.
Even though my mother passed when I was twelve she was the first girl in my life. Of course I had two or three girlfriends before the age of twelve, but in school, church and society we learn small lessons about how to treat our mothers that our own mothers don’t have to teach us. Every year Valentine’s Day roles around and every year I have three guy friends who are my age and I know even if they don’t have a girlfriend at the time they are still going to buy a Valentine’s Day card for their own mothers and mail the card off. I remember being younger and trying to make a card for my mother. Of course when you are a child you make some of the worst card in arts and crafts but mothers have a special built in skill of making it seem like the horrible ugly homemade card is a valuable piece of art that is priceless. I don’t have any of those cards but I remember being young and seeing her face and my mother would always give me a big hug and a kiss on the check afterwards. Now that’s a mother’s love, act like a card is priceless, but in its own way it is because the card is more of a symbol that she must be doing her job correctly.
Perhaps the very first protector I remember growing up was my mother. I remember being in the car with her one day and telling her how I was being picked on at church and how she told me I have to stand up for myself. I even remember the day I did stand up for myself and how proud I felt because the other children backed off. Little did I know my mother already stood up for me and had a little conversation with the parents of the three children who were being mean to me. Even though she didn’t want me to know, my mother was going to take care of the situation but she wanted me to learn how to take care of my own situations, after all you can’t go running to your mother every time something goes wrong in life.
Fearless would be one of the many adjectives I would use to describe my mother. For as far back as I can remember nothing scared her. Of course when you have a son you want to grow into a man you can’t run around being scared all the time, all that does is teach him to be scared. Well I know like to believe that nothing scares me. I am of course a God- fearing man, but the line stops there. I had an incident with a garden snake about a year ago and I was the only one who didn’t jump, scream, or run off. I think pretty much I have gone through the normal fears, being held up at gun point, snakes, possums, a car crash that should have been deadly, but right now I don’t have any fears, or at least any known fears and I know that’s because of her.
Unfortunately the song does take a negative turn though; one I hear so many people say whenever they find out my own mother is dead. So many people often times say they don’t know what they would do if their own mothers would die. Well I know what they would do, get a little depressed for a while but ultimately you have to pick up and move on. When I was twelve I think I was the last person in the world who knew my mother was going to die. I was hoping and praying beyond all hope that she would get better the next month. I still remember the family friend who told me though that it didn’t look like we were going to get the miracle we wanted. Unfortunately she was right and about two months later my mother died. After that I remember being a little numb and depressed for a while, but I remember snapping out of it. The key to moving on is remembering that a mother doesn’t die so that their child can join them two months later.
Present day I think about my life and how it is today. I also think about how different it may be with my mother in my world. Overall, not that I would have chosen to kill her off but I am pretty pleased with how my life is now. I have been very blessed and had wonderful opportunities come my way. If my mother remained alive my life would be different today. I know I don’t want to find out how different it would be though. Perhaps it would still be a great life or perhaps it would be worst. All I know is my mother did her job; despite her situation she remained a mother to me until the day she died. Even though her life was very short lived, especially in my eyes, Evelyn Renee Hardaway Exum was the perfect mother to me proving it’s not quantity of time spent with someone but the quality of time. The quality of time she spent with me is enough to last me my lifetime.