Thursday, September 21, 2006

26 Life Lessons

Fifty one weeks and one day ago God allowed me to begin another year of life. Tonight I visited a dear friend of mine and we began talking about life and how much has changed and not changed in our lives since the last time she and I were together. I thought so much about what has happened since my last birthday. I have learned a lot since I turned 26.

I have learned….

…that an ocean is a spiritual place.
..that if my back is against the wall that I will push forward.
…that it is not always about me.
…that no matter how much I may love someone that they may not love me back.
…that I do want to have a relationship with my grandmother.
…that I want to learn more about my fathers side of the family.
…that my love is good.
…that love can be painful.
…that love can be wonderful.
…that love is unexplainable.
…that sometimes I do cry, my tears just flow on the inside.
…that I can catch the night bus alone.
…that crime does not pay.
…that I could run for public office.
...that I have not overcome all of the insecurities that I thought I had.
…that I must cherish my friends more.
…that those that really know me, really do.
…that I can talk about sex openly and honestly with my brother.
…that one kiss can change my life.
…that I am not the only one.
…that I can say no.
…that I am still a writer.
…that there is still hope.
…that influence is transferable.
…that I have grown up a lot.
...that I have a lot more growing and learning to do.

Tuesday will begin another set of lessons.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Reason for the Season

I can tell that the season is starting to change. Literally, I can feel it in my body. The days are getting shorter yet feeling longer than before. The temperature is falling. Soon leafs will be too. Autumn is in the air. I wonder what that means for me.

For so many years now my life has cycled in a pattern with the four seasons. Since high school autumn has been the season in which I have been faced with a serious question or challenge. It is in this season that I have done like the trees and let go of old things so that I could sustain myself and prepare for new growth. There was the autumn in which folks disappointed me, school was not an option. There was the autumn in which I was chosen to stand in the middle for the good of the order. The autumn when I was taught and then asked to teach in unreasonable circumstances that there are times when must go along to get along. The autumn in which I learned the meaning of grace and endurance and at the end of that season I was so duly rewarded. But it took sleepless nights, hard work and prayer to get there. Examples are abundant. Autumn is upon us.

I recall two years ago on my birthday, September 26 I was sitting down and as easy as a baby coos I looked across a great hall into the eyes of a woman and said to myself that that she would deliver the next great question, the next challenge. Nearly one month later she called me into a room and she did. Perhaps, because my spirit had prepared me I was not so taken aback. I rose to the occasion, answered the question and because of a power greater than myself stood in victory. That is the thing. I believe that this cycle I go through is all done under the watchful eye and guiding hand of God. It is part of his plan. I couldn’t create one so perfect.

This year, I have had a grumbling in my belly, one that says that I will be forced to choose between two ideas. Neither of them is right or wrong. It is simply one choice, one choice that could affect the rest of my life. It is that time.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hope in the Unseen

I am thankful that at the beginning of every day and at the end of every night God blesses me with hope.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Timing is everything.

One of my favorite times of year in DC is the week of the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference. My beautiful people come to Washington from across the country to share information, best practices and empower each other to go back and make a positive impact on their communities. I love it. I also love that the week is full of receptions and parties. The fun that is had when the dignified leave the Convention Center and Capitol Hill for the day to get their get down on at night is unreal.

This year I had two invites to receptions and one invite to a soul food lunch hosted by my congresswoman. But that was not enough. I wanted to go to the emerging leaders party held on the Thursday of ALC week. But I had no ticket. I spent most of Wednesday afternoon calling, emailing and sending text messages to everyone I could think of who could get me a ticket. At the end of the day I came up with nothing.

Then it happened.

Yesterday I had a 9AM appointment with my barber. I was running late but when I got to the Metro stop I stepped off the escalator and a train was right there. I had to transfer a few stops later and usually I have a long wait. Not yesterday. The transfer train came in two minutes. I was really moving. It was a good morning.

I was a block away from the barbershop when I heard a good morning from across the street. It was a friend from Capitol Hill who happens to go to the same barber that I go to and he was leaving his 8:30AM.

Him: Good to see you.
Me: Better to see you.
Him: Are you going to be out and about tonight?
Me: Well, I have two receptions. I always do the frat thing and then there is a young professional group having something I’m going to breeze through. If I had my way I’d be blowing through the Black Party.
Him: Why don’t you?
Me: No ticket.
Him: No problem.

He got two tickets for AQueer and I. Once we got there another friend made sure that we didn’t have to use the tickets to get in or stand in the line. Being from EC AQueer also turned two drink tickets into four.

That is how it happened. Timing was just right.

And last night on the dance floor at the Black Party I had a great time. These are the times we live for and at 3:30AM it was time to go to bed.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mr. Nice Guy

Yesterday morning AQueer had some dental work done so I spent my evening with him as he tried to recuperate. He took codeine and I drank cocktails. We were a perfect pair. AQueer and I hadn’t had a slumber party in some time and I think it was just what the both of us needed. It had been a good but at times emotionally pulling week. As I sipped on a martini while we were watching MTV I saw a photo of Nelly that sent me into a Sex and the City stream of consciousness. Nelly spit the rhyme – what does it take to be number one? Two is not a winner and three no one remembers. Carrie Bradshaw once pondered the age old question – do nice guys finish last? All of this hip hop and heart got me to thinking about my most recent past.

To the Wiz, I gave my everything. I was a good friend, a good listener, a good everything you can imagine. In my best efforts to treat him differently than all the other men that had done him wrong, I allowed him to inevitably treat me the same way I vowed never to be treated by anyone else. I was the nice guy.

In relation to the Biz, I wanted to be his friend at the very least. I know he is coming out of a relationship right now. While I know there are some vultures that would fly down for the attack I’d resigned to sit back and be patient. He and I chatted the other night and he abruptly logged off. I sent him an email. It was most sincere. He opened and did not reply. He is out of the country on business so I can’t reach out to him via phone. Maybe I should have left well enough alone. But I think he is cool and after all, I’m nice.

Even crazier, while at my desk yesterday morning my cell phone rang and I had to blink several times and wipe my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing the screen with distorted vision. Fresh Rain was calling. He hasn’t called me in over a year. During our 2.5 hour conversation we caught up on each others lives. He even filled me in on the origins of his current relationship. I thought that he had gotten back with his ex. I was wrong. He is in fact in a relationship with a guy that he started really talking to around the same time he met me in the spring of last year. Get this. He said that he was digging me but the other guy was more aggressive. Silly me. I was trying to court. I was trying to move a bit slow because I knew he’d just gotten out of a relationship and said that he wasn’t really looking for one immediately. Nice me.

I could go on.

Fresh Rain asked me why I was single. He said he didn’t understand it. Later on in the day I talked to the Bayou2Boston and he asked the same question and said he didn’t understand this unexplained phenomena either. At least we are all on the same page. I think that I’ve come to a point in my life where at least once a week someone that I am asked if I am single and then looked at like I’ve told them that the Statue of Liberty has disappeared when I tell them I am. Maybe there is a guy out there who wants to be in a relationship with me and David Copperfield has pulled one of his tricks and has him hidden somewhere. That is far fetched but might be the answer I give to the next person that asks me. They will ask and I will say yes. Then they will ask why and I will say its part of a TV Special. It sounds more fun than my traditional, “I don’t know.”

But what I do know is that in my heart of hearts I still want to keep holding on to the belief that nice guys don’t finish last. Do they?

Friday, September 01, 2006

I've Known Rivers

When I woke up there was something different about me. I couldn’t tell what it was though. I was just in a unique mental space. I was at peace yet I had a yearning I could not explain. I rolled out of my bed and immediately went to my bookshelf. It is my favorite book but not one that I have picked up in some time -The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. I had to touch it, feel it and read the very first poem in it aloud. There was a connection. The words rolled off my tongue slow and smooth like fresh dew falling to the Earth.

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world
and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I read the poem in its entirety, closed my eyes and placed the book back on the shelf. I’d satisfied that longing. I was no longer thirsty.

My day went on as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Around midnight I laid my head down to rest. Sleep. I fell asleep easy. A few hours into my slumber my phone rang. It was Langston. It was about 11PM his time and 2AM my time. This wasn’t so unusual. He and I have shared many wonderful talks at this hour. But this was something different.

Langston was singing. He was feeling some kind of way. I couldn’t put my finger on it so I just kept the conversation going. He would talk. I would respond. He would sing. I would listen. He seemed restless, my dear Langston. He said that he had to go. I whispered a sweet good night.

Then last night while I was laying on my loveseat thinking about thinking about the world and absolutely nothing at the same time I got a text message. Langston wrote: Thank you for last night. I replied: Our friendship means more to me than you know. Thank you. He wrote back: Make sure I know before we leave here.

I think that explained my morning the previous day. My need to touch the book. My need to read those words. My need to connect with the world’s Langston Hughes. It was around the same time in the universal time frame that my Langston needed to touch me. To hear my words.

Our friendship means so much to me. It flows on its own.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.