Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Magic, Motown and Me

This morning I walked out of my apartment building to greet beautiful weather. I had a pep in my step as in my head I could still hear the Mariah Carey cd I was blasting while in the shower and getting dressed. It is the morning after my latest magic trick and I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I along with 9 other people, over the weekend pulled a rabbit out of a hat.

During the course of the weekend I felt a range of emotions including fear, anger, desire, and accomplishment. Ironically, several times during the weekend people complimented me on how calm I appeared to be. Little did some of them know that at those very moments I had either just flipped out about something or was tired and wanted to be somewhere soaking my feet. I will admit however, that compared to previous Memorial Day weekends I did a much better job of pacing myself and not worrying about things that were either too minor for me to concern myself with or beyond my control.

For me, the people make the weekend. I have made many new friends during Memorial Day weekend. This weekend I saw many people from my community that I only get to see once a year and I also saw some out of town folks that I hadn’t expected to see. I chatted it up at a reception with my former Gay American Idol, danced the night away with my favorite model and embraced some of my favorite magicians from LA, Philadelphia, New York and South Florida. The only one of my favorite magicians missing was the Prime One from ATL. I will see him soon though.

Friday night I met Serious and he was seriously cute and exuded an energy that drew me into my fantasies of a future for just a moment. Two words: Dynamic Duo. Serious is my age and it is only on rare occasions do I meet someone my own age that captivates me in any form. He did it successfully without even knowing he did. I should seriously stay away from him, he could be trouble.

This weekend I also reconnected with Motown. I met Motown last year when I attended LA at the Beach. He and I both were staying at the host hotel and spending a little time in the lobby. His face screamed with familiarity but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly where I had met or seen him before. Finally that weekend, I found myself standing at the elevator waiting to go downstairs when I heard a voice. “Have we met? You look so familiar.”

Motown and I began a rather engaging conversation. He and I had never formally met. We had just been to many of the same events over the past four years or so. Brown, brawn, naturally beauty - that was Motown. We spoke several more times during the weekend but didn’t exchange contact information. I suppose we figured we would see each other around again sometime and on Friday morning we did.

I was making my way through the hotel lobby and I saw someone wave at me. It was Motown. I was pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed a delightful chat and rundown of the weekend ahead of us and set a date to connect again. Saturday morning he and I had breakfast together and Saturday evening he escorted me to a reception and then we snuck away for dinner and drinks at one of my favorite DC martini bars. I was lovin’ that Motown sound.

Sunday offered us no time to connect. I had no time and later no energy. Monday we had a farewell lunch and ice cream before I left the hotel. Unlike Los Angeles, I asked for his number and email address. He gave me both. I’ll use one or the other soon. For all I know we could make beautiful music one day.

Monday, May 23, 2005


This morning I woke up without much of a care in the world. I had a great weekend and I knew my boss wouldn’t mind the fact I’d be coming in the office an hour late today. It’s pretty typical of me on a Monday. I had two pleasant phone conversations before I left my apartment and I was on my way. Things seemed to be moving as normal as my life and day can go. Then when I got to work I opened an email that was not too kind. For about fifteen minutes I sat staring at my computer livid. Not only did someone send me an email that I could only see as a personal attack, he had also carbon copied at least ten people. Some people I don’t even know. I wanted to go 1987.

I was baptized in 1988 and when I feel like I am about to lose my religion and act out with a devilish tongue or behave in a manner that is so far from what I think Jesus would do, I call it going 1987 – the time before I said I would take the high road.

I exhaled and eventually sent a reply. I knew that the wrong thing to do would be to send a reply immediately as that would have contained thoughts probably not so clear and definitely words that would have not been appropriate. Again I felt victimized by someone whom I thought was an amiable associate and again I was being faced with negative energy and criticism for community service work I do because I still believe in some ways has a positive impact on someone. It took me a while today to get over this incident and it was certainly a reminder of many things.

Most importantly it was that I go to church for a reason and when the minister says some things I need to listen. Just yesterday in her preaching she said what I should have said as soon as I finished reading the email, don’t let trouble – trouble you. I can’t allow someone else’s negative energy to enter my physical, mental or spiritual space. I can’t give anyone that power. I can’t control other people or what they say and do. What I can control is me, my attitude and my energy.

Devil get behind thee!

Starr 7

During a weekend when many thought I would be swamped with taking care of this and that I found myself unusually not busy, calm and at ease. I took great advantage of this calm before the storm and spent a lot of time with me this weekend – not just by myself but with myself. I had a might good time. Sometimes I like myself so much I forget other people are around. My Starr 7…

1.Friday night was my final fraternity Chapter meeting for this year. I was overly excited when the meeting was over because it also meant that my term as secretary had come to a close for this fraternal year as well. In my efforts to have more balance in my life and not run myself ragged I politely declined the nomination to run for another term next year. I am not sure who will be taking minutes but I will be taking a minute for me.
2.Saturday morning I talked to my mother for the first time in two days. It was a delight. She and I typically talk on the phone every single day with the exception of this time of year when her schedule and mine are both busy. I was happy to talk to her and see what was going on in her world. Not much had changed in the two days since I’d last talked to her but I am a momma’s boy and I just like to know everything that is going related to her.
3.The weather in DC was beautiful and I ventured to Starbucks for a cool drink and then to Dupont Circle where I sat on a bench and enjoyed the sun, scenery and peace.
4.When I was walking away from the circle I caught the glimpse of a familiar face out of the corner of my eye. Her name escaped me but her distinguished features could not. It was my supervisor from my very first job that the government knew about. The summer before my senior year of high school I sold season tickets to a theater series over the phone to ‘arts patrons’ throughout the greater Cleveland area. I approached the woman we exchanged simple pleasantries and both got a good laugh thinking about that time during our lives and how small the world is. Makes me wonder is there any truth in that theory that if a man sits in one place long enough he will see nearly everyone he has ever known.
5.I love my people. Sometimes I hear folks talk about patronizing black owned businesses and I will admit that I’ve shared a comment here or there that wasn’t the most positive. Saturday afternoon I was reminded only of the positive. I decided to stop through a rather popular clothing and whatnot store owned by an African American woman. I enjoy walking into stores and being greeted with a smile followed by a “hello, how are you?” or “would you like a cool drink?” The question alone is refreshing.
6.I went to church today and pulled from the service three great points to remember. First, everyone can take the same medicine but everyone won’t get the same results. Second, don’t let someone make you who they are and finally my favorite don’t let trouble, trouble you
7.After church I took my Sunday stroll. It may be old fashioned to some but nearly every Sunday that I am home and the weather is fair I take a one hour walk. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for nearly four years and generally take the same route on Sunday’s or any other day I feel the need to get some fresh air. So over the four years I have grown to know some of the folks who live in the houses that I pass. Per the usual one of my favorites was outside working in his front yard today. We normally chit chat for just a second and have never even shook hands but today he gave me a big ol’ hug, friendly and warm. A great way to start the week, feeling embraced.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Black Magic

When I woke up this morning I felt butterflies in my stomach and uncertainty creep through my body. Today is Thursday and I am a week out from the big event I have been working on since August. This is my third year working on the annual event and never is the working process exactly the same. Many people show up to the event and see the magic as it happens, they see the rabbit being pulled out of the hat. What they don’t see is the magician months, weeks and days before putting in all the thought and work required to get the rabbit to come out the hat at just the right time and just the right angle. It takes tremendous effort to make magic, but the master magician makes the trick look easy. I aspire to be a master magician. Look out David Copperfield!

The past few weeks have been crunch time and I have been keeping late hours and very early mornings. A few days ago I didn’t want to tell anyone but I found myself in a stoop, another temporary valley of being tired. At the same time I had much work to do. I had my back against the wall. I knew I was tired and at the same time I knew that things, particularly the things I said I would do, needed to be done and the prevailing thing that resonated in my mind was – no man can control a calendar. When you are planning an event and the date of the event is set in stone you can’t stop time from moving. If you like it or not that day is going to arrive and if you want it to be a success you better work! It can be said that having your back against a wall is a good thing because you only have one move to make and that is ahead. You gotta bust through, go forward and push ahead! It is my prayer that all of this pays off. I got a rabbit to pull out of my hat next week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

District Livin'

At 6:15pm I grabbed my bag and hustled to the elevator and out the side door of my office building. I was headed to have a bite to eat AQueer. I haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks because most of his time has been devoted to putting the finishing touches on his first year of graduate school and most of my time as of late has been spent putting the finishing touches on next weekend. AQueer and I decided to meet up on U Street and sit in the corner of the café near the window so we could admire the sites of the city. Most of those cites were men passing by, only occasionally did we acknowledge just the sheer beauty of some of the remaining structures of historic U Street.

AQueer, who once lived here in DC has been living in Baltimore since moving there for school this past August just couldn’t stop smiling and talking about the feel of being back in the District. He said he misses atmosphere DC offers and the beautiful men and women here. He said what we often hear, that we don’t miss something until we don’t have it anymore. After about an hour it was time for him to get back on the train and head home and for me to walk down the street to Duke City for the kick-off reception for the Black Pride Resource Guide.

When I arrived at the reception there weren’t too many people there so I decided to do a quick voicemail check on my cell. By the time I checked my voicemail and blinked my eyes the room had filled with people. Lots of them the usual suspects and a few faces I’d never seen or at least remembered seeing. For the next two and a half hours I did one of the things I truly love to do when I’m feeling it– socialize with my people. I talked someone about music. I talked to someone about community building. I had a wonderful conversation with a young man about the lack of dialogue around class issues in any of our shared communities. I laughed. I made brief remarks. Of course I did some politicin’ but most importantly I had a good night in good company.

Sometimes I complain about this town but for all of the gripes I have with it I realize that there are a lot of perks to living here. Besides New York City I can’t imagine living anywhere else at this juncture in my life. Every city has a few elements that one could not like but here the positive seem to outweigh the negative. I often take for granted the freedom that I have living in the District as a Black man and as a Black gay man. There are some social and professional opportunities here that I don’t know that I would be afforded in many other places, certainly not my hometown. Tonight I am happy to be where I am. As I tell my friends all the time, I am always where God wants me to be.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Re: LA

When I stepped off the plane I waived my hand in the air and greeted the city. Hello Los Angeles. I rolled my back to the curbside passenger pick-up and just seconds later my friend Blue Sky rolled up to get me. I requested that he have two things in the car waiting on me once I arrived. He had both, a cheeseburger and a cape cod. From the airport we went to his house so I could do a quick costume change and from there we went to the Catch. Thousands of miles away from DC I ended up catching up with two very familiar faces at the Catch. Seeing both of them, one guy from LA and another from Texas that just so happened to be visiting LA, was a reminder of why it is always important to look my best. I never know who I will see or who will see me. You can catch a train, a bus, a cab, even a cold – but I won’t let you catch me slipping.

After I danced and enjoyed the sights of LA nightlife I headed back to the abode of Blue Sky where I enjoyed a sweet slumber. I was happy to be away for a few days and knowing that I was granted me peace of mind and ease. When I woke up it was Mother’s Day and I had to call my mother first thing. Because of the time difference she didn’t answer her phone because she had already left for church. I called my grandmother next and she answered with hesitancy. She doesn’t like talking on the phone too much and says that she didn’t initially recognize my cell phone number on her caller i.d She and I spoke for a quite some time and she loved the card I sent her. I was very happy she liked the card. The past two Mother’s Day holidays I’ve tried to extend myself to her more than I did when I was a kid, partly because I am an adult and realize the importance of giving her just due and partly because I imagine that on Mother’s Day she reflects on the two of her children she has buried in the past five years. I want to make her feel good and loved because she is.

After talking to my grandmother I headed to my favorite LA place to dine – Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffle. I don’t know what they do to the chicken, but it is always delicious. I am often perceived by others as being very pristine. That perception would go totally out of the window by anyone who has witnessed me clean a bone or two at Roscoe’s. I absolutely delight in the eating experience. From lunch I headed to the Beverly Center and a few other random shops and stops enjoying the view along the way. I think the hills and mountains around LA are beautiful. I didn’t go to LA to shop but I did purchase a new tie and a pair of cufflinks – for nothing. When I go out of town I take any gift cards I have just in case I run into a store that may be in DC but they don’t carry all the same items. Such was the case here. The tie is very spring and the cufflinks are very all year long. I can’t wait to wear them. Sunday was capped off with dinner and a stroll through a bar in West Hollywood. I finally got in touch with my mom and I also had a brief conversation with Fresh Rain. He brings a smile to my face and I know that I want to continue to get know him. I pray he wants to know me too. I dream of a healthy courtship.

Monday morning although out of town I woke up early and did some work. I sent emails and made phone calls both for work and for an organization I work with. I realize that the work would be home when I got home but I didn’t want some things to just sit. I can barely just sit. Lunchtime arrived and it was off to Hollywood again to a diner I like not far from the spot I think the City of Angels looks angelic, Mulholland Drive. Whenever I sit and look out over LA from that mountain it reminds me of how small I am and how large God must be. The sight is vast and beautiful.

Monday evening concluded with a trip to Universal Walk, dinner, a movie and bowling. I am not a great bowler but I think its fun. Sometimes I just have to have a good time and this weekend was certainly one of those times. Last night I boarded a plane at LAX and this morning I hopped off the plane, on to a train and to the elevator that brought me to my office. I’m getting right back into the groove of things.

I noted to myself on the way to LAX last night that it would be a great idea for an ad campaign to see the words: REjuvenate, REfresh, RELAX – It all starts here LAX.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Turn this Mutha Out

Finally, Friday has arrived and I am looking forward to tomorrow like a child looks forward Christmas. Tomorrow in fact, I will be getting a gift, the treat that I bought for myself two days ago. The past few weeks have been very busy at work and in just three weeks I will be involved in executing one of the biggest events I have ever pulled together. I have been a believer that if you work hard you should play hard so the other day I committed to myself that if the weekend travel deals really offered a deal I’d take the airlines up on their offer. They came through and tomorrow I will be passing through a DC airport on my way to the West Coast.

I will hop off the plane at LAX tomorrow evening just in time to grab a bite, a cocktail and do a costume change before catching the hot boys of LA at the Catch. Sunday I plan to roll over and call my mother to tell her I love her and confirm she got the card I sent. After lounging for a bit I will lounge some more and stroll to my favorite LA eatery, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffle. I don’t know what they do to the chicken or where they get it from but it is absolutely delicious and I can taste it right now. This weekend will be all about relaxing and enjoying myself, not running around the city or wearing myself out or too thin.

Actually, when I first stumbled on this incredibly low fare for the ticket I hesitated before I bought. On one hand the ticket was a steal. On the other I thought about how I might be needed to do something in DC this weekend, or that this, that or the other. The usual angst I put myself through. Then I concluded that sometimes it needs to be about me, not any organization I work for, board I serve on or other person. Like they say in the cosmetic ads, I’m worth it. I deserve it. I am young. I am single. God is good to me. There must be times in life when I treat myself not cheat myself.

So City of Angels, its Mother’s Day weekend and I am coming to have a mother of a good time.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Rain Drops

Tuesday night has come and gone and for the first time in nearly a month I didn’t spend it with Fresh Rain. There was no precipitation in the air. I haven’t talked to Fresh Rain in days. We haven’t talked, not because I haven’t reached out, but because he hasn’t reached back. Last week I thought we both had a wonderful time. In fact, he noted that he really enjoyed himself. So why then have we only had one fifteen minute conversation since the last time we went out together? Why does it appear that he has pulled back just as we were getting to know each other. I don’t know. I may not ever know and most importantly I am not going to spend too much time wondering why either. What I do know for sure is that for the few weeks we held pretty steady conversation and the few times we went out I thoroughly enjoyed his company.

Fresh Rain was a great learning experience for me. I stepped outside of my box, I put my best foot forward and I didn’t become too attached too soon as I often have a habit of doing. I am proud of myself. This experience showed me that although I have some growing up to do that I have grown since the last go around. Maybe it will rain again.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


At all times children need to be nurtured, cared for and someone must always be responsible for them. These duties all naturally belong to the parent of the child. But sometimes the parents want to take a break from their child or children. They want a break because they want some leisure time, or they have something else that they need to do and can’t concentrate on the youngster at the same time, or because they just want someone else to feel what they go through every day and they can be comforted in knowing that they aren’t alone, someone else knows exactly what they are going through.

Parents hand their children over to babysitter for these reasons. They ask that someone else temporarily nurture, care for and be responsible for their child or children. This is babysitting and while that child is in your care you take on all the roles and duties of the parent, babysitting. Babysitting is a tough job.

In the same token that people like to relieve themselves from their children, so often also is the case that they like to relieve themselves of their own personal problems, dilemmas, stigmas and issues. How do they do that? The same way they hand their children off to close friends and family, they will through projection try to hand off their problems and issues to you. When they are going through something they will plant a seed in your ear that perhaps you are going through, have gone through or you’re about to go through the same thing. They will talk to you and have you thinking that maybe their problem is your problem, maybe what you are doing is not going to work out because it didn’t work out for them, maybe you should model yourself after the imperfect them instead of the perfect you, maybe you aren’t this, maybe you aren’t that, maybe you have been on the right track but on the wrong train, all these different maybes. I call this maybesitting. In the same way people want you to take on their kids so they can be free from them or want someone else to be go through parenting and problems they are going through, they want you to often take on their issues and you must say, “No I am not maybestting your problems today, tonight, tomorrow or any other day.”

We cannot be our most healthy selves if we allow other people to successfully project their unhealthy mental or emotional problems on us. We must refuse to own temporarily or permanently issues of others. They do not belong to us and we need not accept them or nurture them for if we do then they become an unnatural part of us and will begin to grow and fester creating real problems that didn’t already exist.