Finding Motivation Is Key

I haven’t been writing a lot in 2018 on a personal level because I decided to focus more on the business side of writing. Though that wasn’t the only reason. I also felt like I’d run out of things to say. So often as creatives and writers especially you get your motivation from real life, I look at like a battery. The more you charge it, the more powerful it becomes. For me 2018 was a year of growth and learning. Taking in moments as opposed to sharing them.

I’ve become a father and when I tell you it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever felt, I’m not even sure that does it justice. Just holding him and looking at him and realizing that he’s a part of me is something that changes who you are as a man. Not just your priorities but I’ve never felt love like I feel love when I look at him.

I thought it would gross me out to change diapers or get spit up on but I find myself excited when he takes a poop because I know it means he isn’t constipated or gassy. When he spits up and looks at me and smiles, it’s because I know he got a good burp in or he ate too much and now he’s relieved. I’ll be driving to work and laugh at something he did and it brings joy to my life. Being a father is amazing and he can’t even play outside yet. I can just imagine what it’ll be like when he’s walking and running.

Having my son and living life has given me stories to write about, stories to focus on. Not just when it comes to my blog but when it comes to novels and scripts. Sitting back and watching, listening, ingesting the world around me.

I once saw this meme that said, “Be careful what you say around me, I’m a writer and anything you say or do may be used in a story.”

I have never related to anything so much in my life. 2018 pushed a button inside of me, a button which reminded me that life isn’t as short or long as we think it is. Life is just life. You live in the moment, you live in the day and before you know it, years have went by. What did you do with those years? What did you create? Who did you help? What did you inspire?

I’m sitting in my office writing this on a Saturday morning and before I know it it’ll be February and before I know it, it’ll be August. 2018 will be my last year viewing the world from the sidelines. I’m tired of playing it safe. I want to take risk and try new things. Write new genres and push myself professionally.

Being unhappy or unmotivated for the sake of it isn’t the move anymore. Make this last month of 2018 count.

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We Had A Baby Last Night

“If I can’t eat, neither can you.” Those were the last slurry words she spoke to me before she fell asleep from the epidural she swore she would never get. That’s an entirely other story I’ll tell at a later date. We’d been at the hospital since 9:00am and the doctor told her not to eat anything. What should have been a routine check up turned into the doctor telling us to come straight to the maternity ward.

“You’re about to have a baby.” He said with excitement.

No bags were backed, we were in separate cars, both planning on heading to work. Now we were being told we were about to have a baby one week early when she wasn’t even dilated past three centimeters. After a couple hours of running around and making arrangements we were in the birthing room arguing about the pain medicine she swore she would never take.

“If I can’t eat, neither can you.”

I waited until she was good and knocked out before telling my mom I was going to get something to eat. The least I could do was wait until she couldn’t see me eating. Memorial Hermann in the Heights is a weird location. It’s close to a million restaurants but almost none of them are in walking distance.

Walking distance for New York maybe but not for Houston.

But right next door to this massive Hospital is a small Mexican restaurant. No flat screens or fancy tables. No granite counter tops or 12 dollar margaritas. Just cold Coronas in a big ice chest and tequilas I can’t name. Starving and needing to get back to the birth of my first son I ordered something quick and then something happened.

You know that thing that happens in the movies where the music gets dramatic and you know the story is about to take a dark turn. My mother’s name popped up on my caller ID. If you knew my mom you’d know one thing about her, she never asks me for anything. That means seeing her name meant I knew she wasn’t calling to ask me to bring her some food.

“Dr. Ahmed is here. There’s something the matter with the baby’s heartbeat, it’s dipping too low and they can’t wait for it to stabilize. They need to perform a C-section now! You need to get back here Demez.” Ten minutes ago we were laughing and anticipating my son coming at six in the morning. Now at 8:30pm they were telling me if they didn’t perform this emergency C-section he might not make it here. Throwing a twenty on the counter and running back to the hospital I stepped off the elevator and as soon as I walked into the room there were nurses and doctors everywhere prepping her.

The epidural was causing her to shake uncontrollably and the anesthesia was making her nauseas and sleepy. With her eyes barely open and squeezing my hand she asked me, “Do you remember your promise? If it’s between me and Lennox, choose him.” For months she’d been telling me this and for months I’d been telling her that nothing was going to happen. Now here we were with her having a bad reaction to the epidural she didn’t want to get and my son’s heartbeat dropping with every second.

“I remember what I promised you. I got you. I love you. Nothing is going to happen.”

My mom and sisters helped me put on my sterilization gear. I followed the doctors and nurses to the operating room. This is the part that literally shook me to my core. Up until this point I was sure everything was going to be alright but they put me in a waiting room that felt like purgatory.

I’m alone in this waiting room and there’s one bench and no one else can be in this room. The nurses tell me to wait and they’ll come back for me. I can see my family and her family on the other side of the door every time it opens begging me with their eyes for answers I don’t have. At this point I don’t have to be brave for anyone. Not for B, not for my family, not for her family. I’m alone and now I have nothing but my own fears. What if my son doesn’t make it onto this earth? What if his mother doesn’t? What if neither of them do? Closing my eyes and praying to God for what seemed like the first time in months all I asked is that they both make it out okay.

The operating room is cold and sterile and quiet. They walk me over to her and ask me to keep her calm, to make her laugh. I’m supposed to make her laugh when she’s terrified and shaking. Cool, let me do my Kevin Hart impression while his wife is delivering a baby. I tell her to remember our trips, to think about the first place we’ll take Lennox. I tell her to focus on me and to focus on what it will be like to hold him.

In the midst of me talking I hear the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard in my life.

I hear Lennox Noire White crying. At 9:13pm on 6 August 2018 I hear my son crying for the first time. Cleaning him up, they place him in my arms since B is still being operated on. He’s 6 pounds 11 ounces and the most beautiful boy I’ve ever seen. A thick head of curly black hair, incredibly quiet for all he’s just put us thru and my world.

An hour later his mom is wheeled into the room on her bed and holds him for the first time.

That was my Monday.

That was the story of how I almost had a heart attack trying to say hello to my son.

I Can’t Wait To Teach You How To Be A Proud Black Man

Dear Lennox,

I Can’t Wait To Teach You How To Be A Proud Black Man

Since your mother walked into the kitchen on that January evening and told me about you I’ve been thinking of what I wanted for you, of how long I’ve been waiting on you to get here. This world, this world you’re about to be born into isn’t the kindest of places to little black boys that will grow up to be black men. We will do our best to protect you and shield you from that ugliness but that will be a time when we aren’t there. When you become aware of your skin tone, of the way you’re perceived.

It will be in that moment that you still hold your head up high, that you don’t respond with anger or violence or fear but respond with the confidence of knowing where you come from, who you come from and who you are.

Text books will tell you that slavery never existed.

Schools will tell you that the Civil War was over States Rights.

Teachers will want to silence you if you ask too many questions.

Slavery did exist.

The Civil War happened because they wanted to keep us in chains.

Ask all the questions you want and I will have your back.

I want you to grow up watching your mother laugh, watching us be affectionate. I want you to know that it’s cool to love a woman, to need a woman, that they are not easily replaced. I don’t want you to sexualize them before you even know what sex should be. I won’t tell you it’s cute when you grab a woman on her ass. I won’t smile when you sing words to songs you shouldn’t be listening to. I want you to understand that love is an amazing feeling and has nothing to do with your hormones.

I’ll never be your friend but I’ll always be someone that you can come to and talk to about any and everything. I won’t judge you or curse you out but I will tell you when you’re wrong. I will tell you when you have to live with the consequences of your actions. And then I’ll hug you, I’ll hug you because my father never hugged me and I grew up thinking that made me tough.

There’s nothing tough about hiding your emotions. Nothing tough about needing to cry, about wanting to cry but holding it in because you don’t want to be seen as weak. There’s nothing soft about hugging your mother or calling her when you’ve had a bad day. You won’t know what it feels like to have to do it on your own blindly. To have to search for answers. We will be here to give you the blueprint so that when you go into this world you won’t be blindsided the cruelty of it.

I’ve been a lot of places. Traveled and enjoyed their cultures, their food, their music but I’ve also collected books in each of these places. Books to teach you, books to make you want to explore the world one day. I read to you while you’re in there baking, I rub her stomach and tell you about the beaches of Belize. I kiss her belly and tell you about where Langston Hughes studied in Paris and where Eddie Murphy ate steak off a models back. I talk to you because I want you to know the sound of peace when you hear your father’s voice.

Your biggest responsibility as my son will be being yourself. I’d love for you to love reading and writing and boxing. But if you end up loving dance and painting, I’m going to support you.

The first time your mother heard your heartbeat on a monitor she cried. Not like one of those sweet teary eyed cries but an actual ugly cry. I didn’t cry, I didn’t shed a tear. I just closed my eyes and said a prayer that you make it into this world okay.

The Forgotten Child

The Forgotten Child

When I was a boy I would sit on the laps of my mother and aunts, looking at the stars, fascinated by the night air. I wouldn’t stop crying unless they took me outside.

When she was a girl her father showed flashes of being the greatest man she’d ever known before he was the first man to break her heart.

When I was a boy I went to live with my mother after she graduated college, only to cry myself to sleep because I wanted to go back to the only home I’d ever known. My grandparents picked me up that same night.

When she was a girl she went and lived with a new family, learned new things, saw new things. A new father, a better father. Until she wasn’t there anymore, until she was back in the darkness. She felt like she deserved the darkness.

When I was a boy I thought I deserved the world.

When she was a girl she felt guilty for getting the world. What makes her special? Why the happy meal and her own room when they weren’t sure if the lights going to be on.

When he was a boy he wrote love letters to girls.

When she was girl she wrote love letters for boys, so her and her sister would have something to eat.

When he was a boy his parents took in the child of a friend.

When she was a woman she took in the child of a friend.

He saw that boy get bigger, healthier, happier.

She helped that boy get bigger, healthier and happier.

When he was a boy he saw his parents cry in the doorway as they took the boy away. The look of helplessness in their eyes knowing his life would never be the same.

When she was a woman she watched them take him away. His smile fading as the memories of his happiness fueled their disdain.

Compassion, compassion in it’s truest form often comes from the ones of those that received very little of it. The forgotten child is often the child that grows up to be the adult that wants to save the forgotten children.

True compassion and selflessness comes with heartbreak. You often find yourself protecting everyone, sacrificing for everyone, giving to everyone. When it’s all over, who has given to you? Who has sacrificed for you? Who is protecting you?

Even as a hero, the forgotten child is often forgotten.

 

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We Aren’t Our Grandparents; Not Sure If That’s A Good or Bad Thing

When I was growing up my bedroom was right next to the living room and there were so many nights I would hear my grandmother and grandfather sitting in the living room talking. It was their routine. My grandmother would sit and read her bible and my grandfather would wait until the news went off and join her while she fixed him something sweet to eat.

Most nights I’m not sure what they talked about but I know they had very few secrets if any and they were each other’s sounding board. The thing about their generation is that they understood at some point your family evolved. Your immediate family went from your mom and dad and brothers and sisters to your husband or wife and your children. Your secrets and concerns stopped being between bestfriends and siblings and started being with your husband or wife.

Our generation has moved away from that and I can’t tell anyone reading this whether or not that’s good or bad, what works for you and your relationship works for you and your relationship but I can tell you that it can’t help that we don’t have that same sense of closeness and loyalty anymore.

It also works on the opposite in. My grandparents and that generation, the women didn’t ask a lot of questions and in a lot of cases, they didn’t have a lot of options. If they found a man that had a good job and was a good provider they didn’t divorce him no matter his flaws. Our women are different, they have jobs and careers and in a lot of cases are more financially stable then the men they’re with. There isn’t that same sense of accepting whatever he brings.

How cannot that not be a good thing?

I wish I could work and not worry about my wife working but we don’t live in that world anymore. You need two incomes and when your woman has to work how often can you come home to a homecooked meal? It’s the last day of 2017 and I haven’t one time this year.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, there’s no right or wrong answer but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a happy medium.

In case I get the feeling to write at 10:00pm on my cell phone this will more than likely be my last blog of 2017. So let me leave anyone reading with this thought.

Generations may change, cost of living and eras may change but the bond that a man and woman share will never change. If you find yourself questioning the priorities you share with a person you need to talk to them, make sure you’re on the same page. Often times we spend so much time analyzing that we forget to put down the cell phones and laptops and talk.

Do more of that in 2018.DSC_0341(1)

Why Aren’t You Married Yet?

FB-Ring.jpgIt’s in poor taste to ask a woman her age.

It’s sort of not cool to ask a married couple when they’re going to have children.

Why do we really care when someone is going to move out of their parents’ home?

I can list a dozen different questions in a dozen different areas of life that aren’t probably the coolest questions to ask but people ask them anyway. Let’s add one more to the list.

“When are you going to get married?”

There are several reasons why people ask.

  1. They can be family and friends that are generally interested in your happiness and they want chubby babies to hold and put on Facebook and Instagram.
  2. They can be friends that think he/she is wasting your time and they’re asking you the question so that you can see he/she is wasting your time.
  3. Their relationship sucks and they are married or aren’t married but either way they see in you two what they want so it makes them want it for you.
  4. People are just nosy.
  5. If you’re too impressive in life it intimidates people. They start to look for reasons to pick you apart. If they can’t do it on a singular level they’ll do it on a relationship level.

 

I’m not naïve to the fact that friends have conversations. That guys talk at work or in the barbershop and girls talk in group text and over drinks. I’m not blind to any of this at all, so I know the question will get asked, especially when you’ve been dating someone for a while. What I don’t get is when it comes from complete strangers or people you aren’t cool with.

My mom wants to ask me why we haven’t gotten married, it’s my mom. Her aunt or best friend wants to ask me, those are people that love me. A random co-worker that sees a picture or reads a blog wants to ask me? Who sent you? I’m not cool enough to insert meme’s into my writing but if I was I’d insert one here.

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This may sound cliché but there’s no right or wrong way to do marriage or love. I’m sure you’ll read a hundred different experts tell you they have the answers. Most of those experts have been divorced three times and probably don’t slap their wife on the ass when she’s leaving the house. Some people get married in 3 months and they thrive and some get married in 3 years, either way it’s their decision. I get it, believe me I do, we let people in our lives via Social Media and they care. I know it’s become cool to “give no f*cks” and to say, “I’m not on social media like that,” but if you have a smart phone and have to deal with Houston traffic, you probably are on social media like that.

The next time someone that doesn’t know my middle name or wouldn’t call me if they hadn’t or from me in a month asks me, “When are you going to get married?” I’m going to start to ask some questions back. “When are you going to stop commenting on pictures of women that look nothing like your wife?” “When are you going to tell your kids to stop asking to play with my phone? My games are for me, not them.” “When are you going to respect your marriage?” Nothing to shady but just enough so they understand that it’s not okay.

The Cowboys lost last night and the Texans won so that’s always good too.

Today I Sold My Guns and I Feel Safer For It

sandy-hook-638x458A part of me wanted to google dates of mass shootings and tell the story of where I was when each one happened but if I’m being honest I’ve become desensitized like most Americans. I see the news, I imagine the horror but it no longer shocks me. That is until this weekend. That is until I was on Instagram last night and I saw that one of the people killed just graduated high school. I started to think about my little sisters and cousins that are around that age, that probably go to clubs and parties and I just take for granted that they’ll come home safely. The same way those victims’ families thought they would make it home safely.

When Sandy Hook happened I cried for the first time in a long time over something I saw on the news. I remember being at work driving and they said on the radio that an elementary school was under attack. And then I remember logging on Facebook and seeing the live time updates and seeing this picture of a little girl that was murdered. I remember looking at that picture and thinking, “Why do I feel like my daughter would look just like that?”

Today I was sitting in my bedroom and I looked over at a .32 Smith and Westin I keep on my nightstand. It’s a simple gun, six shoots, it never jams. I keep it on the nightstand at night just in case some criminal and group of ninjas kick down my door and I’m forced to defend myself. It’s been on that nightstand since I moved into this house and I’ve never shot it. Not at the gun range, not in my backyard on New Year’s Eve, not at a person. As I’m watching the news yesterday and I’m hearing about all the murders and all the violence, it hit me. I don’t know anyone that’s been murdered by a gun. .I’ve never had a family member shot. I’ve never been car jacked or shot. I’m more likely to die in a car crash because I’m texting than I am in a mass shooting.

Today I sold my guns because they’re more likely to be used by my future children to kill each other than they are to be used by me to kill an intruder. Today I sold my guns because I don’t go hunting, because I’m not going to be sitting in a restaurant and a man comes in shooting and I decide to be Rambo. Today I sold my guns because I’m tired of hearing about these mass shootings and just talking and writing. I’m tired of letting the media make me believe that at any moment I’m going to get 11 bullets put in my body when it rarely happens. Today I sold my guns because I’m not a gangster, because I don’t want another mans’ blood on my hands. Today I sold my guns because I feel safer with them outside of the house than I do with them inside of the house.