Friday, July 29, 2005


Yesterday I went to the bathroom at work and made note of a consistent pattern at the urinals. Because there are two urinals side by side and two stalls in the men’s bathroom on my floor – if there are two men in the bathroom at the same time, one uses a urinal and the other person immediately goes to a stall. This may not be the case in every bathroom in every building but I don’t think it is too far from being commonplace. At first I thought it was just because I’m openly gay and men were afraid that I would see their private parts. That may still be the case with some, but after talking to another colleague who is the picture of perceived heterosexual male, I learned that such is the case when he visits the little boy’s room too.

I know men who don’t take showers at the gym for fear that someone will look at them. I know others that go to the gym and strip naked with the hopes that someone will look at them. It is all so interesting to me; the male body and body image. I for one am not comfortable with getting naked in front of people. I recall having to take a swimming class in high school and dreading the process of having to change in the locker room. I didn’t want anyone to see my naked self. Not until recently did I feel comfortable walking around even among friends without a shirt on. Part of that may be my conservative nature. The other part could just be me not feeling so boastful, with nothing to boast about really.

One of my best friends says he doesn’t even get naked to have sex. His body issues I think far outweigh my own. I have never been too thick, never too slender. I’ve always had a pretty average body. I once thought about joining a gym to give me more energy and just have a healthier body but what prevented me from going through with that was the fear that my body would blossom, I would get muscles and be a muscle queen. I’d rather be a slim one. Something about muscle queens has always kind of freaked me out. I suppose I have more issues than I thought.

Men love to work on our bodies and more often than not the more muscles you have, the stronger, more attractive and more masculine you are perceived as being. Aren’t those the three qualities that gay men admire most? That will be in part two of the epic I’m writing about why I am single. I’m not so visibly two of those three things. Read any personal ads lately – no fat, no fem, no fakes (weaklings and liars). I went out with a really muscular guy once. I ended up staying the night at his place. I couldn’t move my head the next morning. His bicep was on it. I had to wait until he rolled over before I could adjust myself and inhale air again. I never slept in a bed with him again. There would be no newspaper headline reading: MAN FOUND SUFFOCATED UNDER MAN. I wouldn’t want to go out like that. So I never went out with him again.

Body. Genitalia. Pecs. Arms. Chest. Legs. Body. Funny.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Clean and Clear

This morning I woke up at 6:30AM to continue a project that actually began a few days. One would imagine that it wouldn’t take several days to complete but for me this is no small task. I am in the process of cleaning my bedroom and washing, folding or hanging every article of clothing that I own. It wouldn’t be such a large project to tackle if it weren’t for my own habits.

I often thoroughly clean every room in my apartment with the exception of this one, my bedroom. My logic behind this has always been that because it is such a rare occasion that I allow someone into my living space and even more of a unique situation if I allowed someone in my bedroom that it didn’t matter how pleasing to the eye it was, especially if it were essentially for my eyes only. But earlier this week an acquaintance from the City asked if he could come visit me this weekend. Although I thought it would be a slim chance of him actually coming down, I decided that it would be best to make arrangements and take the proper steps for me to be a good host, including cleaning my bedroom as he would most likely be sleeping in here with me.

As I began the wash and dry rigmarole it became therapeutic and as the room started looking better and transforming in a strange way so did I. Once, I saw a woman on Oprah talking about how the space around you has an effect on you. Clean spaces make you feel clean and think more clearly. I call my bedroom mission control because it is where my phones, computers, writings and many files are located. A cleaner, less cluttered mission control I believe is turning into a cleaner less cluttered mental space as well. There is also something going on in my spirit rather separately urging me to get the room cleaned as well as throw old things out. I need to be ready for change. It may not be today or tomorrow or even next week, but certainly some time soon this room being cleaned is going to be a benefit. There is another project I hope to begin this weekend that will further prepare me for what is yet to come.

“Success is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet.”

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Honey, I Love

As a small child there were three words I would hear at bedtime that would make my smile light up the night, Honey, I Love. It is the title of one of my most treasured books. Even as an adult the words, rhythm and images excite me. When I read it today I hear the voices of my mother and my sister reading it to me as they did with fluid and playful voice inflections when I’d lay in my bed with pajamas on – the kind that had feet.

This weekend I had the great pleasure to sneak up the coast to the City for the 7th Annual Harlem Book Fair. Books, authors and words amaze me. My people inspire me. So, the combination of books, authors and words of and for my people of course blows me away. It was a beautiful day and a warm evening. I was reminded of many of the things I love.

Honey, I love.
I love a lot of things, a whole lot of things.

I love spending time with Country Boi cuz he’s so sweet and warm
Whenever I’m around him I exude my most natural charm

I love Black vendors - selling their creative things
from books to soaps to incense and gold and silver rings

I love walking down 135th and seeing familiar faces
Waiving, smiling and receiving deep friendly embraces

I love being in a City with millions and not being alone
I’ve never paid rent in NYC but I feel like it’s another home

I love books of all genres from people who look like me
Even if I don’t agree with their words I love them for who they authors be

I love that is has been nearly a month since I last said I wanted a man
For me that’s a long time to actually keep that stance
And I’m moving to being closer to okay with the possibility of taking another chance

I love my friends and frat who will partake with me in a good drink
And enjoy stimulating conversations that call for me to think

I love Manhattan and no longer fear her as much
And if she invited me to stay today, I think I would resolve to go ahead and at least pack my clutch

Honey, I love.
I love a lot of things, a whole lot of things.
And honey, I love you too.

Monday, July 18, 2005


My head is banging, my thoughts are spinning and there is no remote control for this thing called life that would allow me to press pause. The past 48 hours of my life have been moving quickly and with scenes that I wish I could stop and reflect on for a few hours. But I know, time waits for no man. I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and think about the events or the conversations that I’ve been having. I wish I could but I have to keep moving.

Scene I

I was in his arms and we were dancing. We were both dressed in white and could see the sweat that made our clothes stick to our bodies and give our faces that extra shine. The room was hot and his body temperature was hotter. The music went from mid-tempo to slow jam. I heard Luther singing, he was telling me that he was still in love with me. My dance partner pulled me closer.

Him: I should have had you a long time ago.
Me: Good things come to those who wait.
Him: I’ve been waiting a long time.
Me: Just imagine how good I must be then.

Scene II

I opened the book I started a couple of weeks ago and haven’t been able to quite finish. Three words, the right people, is all I was able to read before my phone rang. The caller ID had a number I didn’t immediately recognize. The name however was familiar. It was my boss and it was Sunday. I picked up the phone. She asked for 15 minutes of my time. An hour and a half later we concluded our conversation.

Scene III

It was another humid summer evening in the District. As I lay on my sofa catching a slight breeze every time the fan oscillated in my direction I stared at his beautiful dark brown skin as the light from the television beamed on his cheek. He was lying on my living room floor on top of two long pillows fast asleep. He was vulnerable and some would argue that to some degree so was I. When he called me earlier in the day he wanted me to hang out with him. It was a request that I had to refuse. I wasn’t leaving my apartment. I had made my cameo public appearances for the weekend and an encore wasn’t on my agenda. Instead he asked if he could come by my place. When I saw him I knew he wouldn’t stay a few minutes or a few hours. He would stay the night.

This beautiful Black man was lying there sleeping. I wondered what he was dreaming about and even more what happened to his dreams.

This morning he shared stories. I wonder will he ever share himself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Children's Tale Revisited

For the past two weeks Meech Muffin has taken a break from reading his usual selection of business and real estate books to revisit some of his favorite children’s tales. As he has been reflecting on his childhood and how his experiences of then have shaped him into the man he is now he has been weeding through the lessons of these books and taking an interesting look at what he thinks about these tales as they relate to him today and also thinking about what they meant to him when he first read them. I applaud him for what he is doing. I imagine that if I did the same thing I would learn a thing or two and be reminded of the many lessons I had to be taught again in adolescents and adulthood that I should have gotten long ago.

Not until tonight did it really sink in how so many valuable life lessons are found in the stories we tell our children. I suppose that is why we create them and read them to youngsters all the time. Our intent is to teach them and ourselves while we are young the most basic and even sometimes more complicated lessons about life. I have always said that I like really young children because they will say anything that they think and do what comes natural to them. This is the same reason I like really old people. The young people don’t know any better and the old people, they do know better. They know the so many of the things we think are important don’t really matter. But I digress.

Tonight I went to dinner with a new friend and after hours of great conversation and good company we parted ways. He was on his way home and I was on my way to the bookstore to pick up the latest copy of the magazine for African American women. My friend Aziza has been working there for a few months and I was told that this month I had to check out the issue. Well, I got to the bookstore, purchased the magazine and went about my way flipping pages as I exited the store and began making my way around the circle.

My mouth dropped. There was my friend Aziza in three pictures being highlighted for her fierce cut in the magazine for African American women. When Aziza first moved to the City she faced many tough times and it took everything she had in her to really get on her feet. But when she did, she did. Of course, her pictures and the write up about her hair in the magazine does not have a whole lot to do with her actual position there. This was a small fruit of her labor. This was icing on the cake. It was her making her mark. That is a lesson I got from a children’s book just nine months ago and needed to be reminded of – always make your mark.

In fall 2004 I had an experience that several years ago could have brought me to a mental breakdown but luckily God has over time instilled in me strength to get through even the roughest patches. During this time I spent in the valley of many things I had the opportunity to read several books to a class of first and second graders at a local elementary school. One of the books I read was written by Debbie Allen. This particular story centered around a young girl who wanted to be a dancer and for a number of reasons she felt that maybe she wouldn’t be able to and that she didn’t have what it took to be a dancer. In the story someone steps in and offers her some advice about standing out, being who she is and doing her very best and to no matter what make her mark. By the end of the story she rises to the occasion and makes her mark. Just like Aziza. Just like my momma. Just like my mentor. Just like so many other folks. Just like I pray that I am doing.

After tonight I think I have some more books to add to my summer reading list. I could learn a lot from reading more children’s books.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Moving On

In one month and one day I will mark the fourth anniversary of my move to Washington, DC. When I moved here I had a sound purpose. I’d move to the District to accomplish one mission, obtaining my masters degree. That mission has long since been completed. I have remained here for a number of reasons. I’ve grown to love my environment and the world that I have created here for my adult self. The District has been good to me and if the District could talk I imagine that it would say that I’ve been good to it. But as I approach my fourth anniversary of my residence here I begin to put significant thought to the question of if I will celebrate a fifth anniversary.

I have succeeded in creating a vision for my life. I know what I want for my life. I don’t know however if the District will offer me all of those things. From an economic perspective, a single black man in my field does not stand to have large salary improvements often and in leaps and bounds. Those types of salary increases would be critical to me continuing my existence and enhancing it here in Washington in the manner in which I’d like to comfortably live.

I have long since preferred the practice of working over wishful thinking. I won’t sit and wish that things could be different, easier or more affordable. I’d rather do what I have begun more and more these days - try to develop a plan to work to afford me the life that I want for myself even at the risk of having to leave the city I’ve grown to love. I also imagine that I will soon change my vocation because I only find parts of it to be enjoyable and I often would rather be doing something else. Plus I must be real about the dollar bill.

Today I talked to my mentor. It was refreshing to hear his voice and gather his insight on this place that I’m in. He was supportive and has long since encouraged me to move to another city where the cost of living is more reasonable. “That isn’t the town for you to do it on your own,” he offered referring to my desire to soon be a home owner. I don’t want to live in an apartment for the rest of my life and a condo doesn’t sound all that appealing to me either. The cost of buying a home or condo in the District these days is now by and large beyond my price range and there are no apparent signs that the housing market is about to soon change. At the same time I realize that even if I change my field in the next year or two that even an increase in salary unless it were huge, wouldn’t put me in a position to buy a home (where I’d want to live) in the current market. So I move. Where, I do not know. Moving with my eyes on the long term future, not just the now.

One day, one month and one year from today I am not certain where I will be or what I will be doing, I don’t know even know who if anyone I may be with. I do know that the time has now come for me to start plotting the course and working the plan to be there, doing it, with myself or alone…moving on.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Believe It

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.....And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson

Friday, July 01, 2005

Yes, an Adventure

After a week in New York I am finally back in the District. I can say that my time was well spent and that I did have an adventure. Of course in a literal sense I only travelled up the East Coast but in a more figurative way I travelled many places and arrived at a destination, a conclusion rather, that I’d been circling for some time.

I cannot recall a time in my life where I have been as happy and satisfied with myself and my position in the world as I am right now. My life is far from perfect and so am I. For my understanding of that alone, I am grateful and I can smile.

While in the City I travelled to a place of balance. I sat in a space and realized that I didn’t have to be of the space. I can be here and I can be there. I can be in between. I have to find the place that is just right for me. For me, not a clique, not a community, for me. The question is not where do I see myself in a village, the question is where do I see myself in a world.

I journeyed with another man to a place of forgiveness. He is the first man that I ever kissed. He is the first man that I really had a crush on. He is also the first man that ever shunned my potential love because I was too effiminate and overtly gay. I was only 18 then and he was only 21. He shunned my affection for his own protection – of his wrap, from the wrath of his Christian family. I only wanted to be in love. He had yet to love himself unconditionally. Years later, we are both more mature. He lives in the Bronx now a far cry from his mothers house in Cleveland. On Wednesday night he and I stood on Christopher Street and he whispered poetry in my ear. Aloud he asked for my forgiveness. He wanted me to forgive him for his ignorance and the way he treated me. I had no choice but to forgive.

I went to a place where I felt good all over. The last time I felt that good was a day that I don’t even remember. I was alone. I was walking up a set of stairs from the subway station and I was met with a cool wind that was a welcome escape from the summer heat. I don’t know where the wind came from but as I walked up the stairs it felt so good and right. It reminded me of the days when I would sit on the bench behind the Hall of Fame in Cleveland and stare at the lake and watch the sun go down. The breeze coming off the water relaxed me and embraced me with peace.

Last Sunday I saw Motown. I wasn’t moved by his music. With my eyes wide open and a heart filled with glee I was in a place of comfort – a place where I was and am truly comfortable with just me. A boyfriend would be lovely. A lover would be wonderful. But right now, I am not searching. I have been moving to a place for a couple of months now in which I am happy with me. I had a great breakthrough one morning this week. For the first time when I asked myself would I date me the answer was yes. I have not been able to say that before.

Do I think that people were made to be alone forever? No, I don’t think so. But right now I am and I don’t know when that is going to change but I will not chase anyone. I will not cry in his absence. I will not wallow with thoughts that I am not worthy or that my day will never come. I will soak up life, enjoy my time and company, my friends and my family and live.

I vivisted a place of nonjudgement. I met a guy in the City that I think is special. He is twenty two years old, originally from Alabama and has been living in New York for a couple of years. He is full of energy and there is something about him that makes me want to hold on to him. A few days after our initial meeting I learned that he was in the adult entertainment industry. That explained what about him and his interactions and attention from others I couldn’t put my finger on. At one point he and I were having a drink and I was being pulled by someone to talk about magic tricks and he was being questioned by two fans about his work. It was a very different scene that made me chuckle on the inside. He in some ways is the antithesis of me but in others we are similar. We hung out all week and exchanged numbers. I am not sure if we will talk or hang out again but we both enjoyed the moment. I didn’t want anything from him except friendship, he offered that. He didn’t want anything from me except friendship and I supplied it. Silly are the stigmas – we are all people.

So to Aunt Ester, the rather mythical character created by August Wilson, yes, I have been on adventure. I have been moved by the Earth and the spirits that lie within. To Ruth Ellis, the proud black lesbian who lived, I enjoyed pride and will carry it with me in my walk each day of the year, not just one Sunday in June. To my uncle Andre, when you died five years ago, I am at point in my life where I am not sure if you ever made it there, I am happy with even my imperfections. My great adventure, continues. So live.