Overcome Inspire and Achieve: Pain Is Power Inc.

Gregory Jones Jr.

Gregory Jones Jr.

The parking lot is filled with luxury cars, there’s a live band playing while the crowd mingles and chats. Smiles and takes pictures. The women are in dresses and hats, the men in summer suits, mostly tailored. This isn’t the Kentucky Derby or a corporate luncheon. This group is in the heart of 5th Ward which is a neighborhood in Houston, TX. A neighborhood located in the backdrop of Downtown, filled with poverty, crime and opportunities lost.

Today they have gathered to try to change the path of the children at John Marshall Middle School. The library is filled with reminders to the kids, education, ambition, drive, hope. Even though the smiles are plentiful and the food is amazing no one is forgetting why they are there. Especially the man who has put it all together, the man who has not waivered even though most of the charities expenses have come out of his and his board members pockets.

Gregory R. Jones Jr. is the Board President and Founder of Pain is Power Inc. and his message is simple.

“At one time or another, we all face challenges whether they be financial, health-related, personal or otherwise. We believe that if it wasn’t for the strength gained by overcoming such challenges, many of the world’s most successful people would not have acquired two of the most vital characteristics to greatness: courage and perseverance. Our goal is to inspire and cultivate those same characteristics and life skills to help the underserved youth and children in our communities realize their greatness.”

Gregory, like a lot of men and women at this launch event, didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. Coming from an impoverished neighborhood in Dallas, TX he’s seen what it’s like to make it out and he’s also seen what it’s like for those that haven’t.

“What we see a lot of is the dream gap. Kids that want to be musicians, basketball players, athletes and after that nothing. We want to change that, to show them that there’s so much more out there. Pain Is Power, Inc., focuses on three fundamental principles: overcome, inspire, achieve. We believe, with the right skills, anyone can overcome any difficulties presented in life. Through those triumphs, lessons are learned which help inspire us to aspire for more and achieve success.”

Something else that stood out to me about Gregory and Pain is Power is that they are putting their money and time on the line and doing things the right way.

“Up until today we’ve probably received a total of about two hundred dollars in contributions. All our paperwork is filed and pending with the IRS. I believe it’s important that non-profits show they are serious before they start to ask for money.”

The principal at John Marshall Middle School, Michael Harrison, is all in favor of the program, that’s why he opened the doors today and allowed the program the opportunity.

“When I initially offered the contest to the kids, (the turn down for what contest) we had an overwhelming number of kids to sign up. Four years ago when I become principal here things were rough and we’ve done a good job of not only changing the test scores and attendance but of changing the mindsets of these children. This program helps us do that.”

You can read more about Pain Is Power Inc. and also donate money or time at www.painispower.org.

Wanting To Be Better For You

me

Dear Son,

In my mind one when you’re old enough to read this the internet will be replaced by some virtual reality world that makes Google and Facebook look like the slowest things on earth. Until that day comes though I want you to know something, I’m trying my best to be a better man for you. I want you to have a father you can be proud of.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve gradually toned downed the drinking, I’m eating apples for breakfast instead of bacon. Today after work I’m going to get some mint, cucumbers, limes and water to make some drink that’s supposed to make me feel better. I want to show you how to throw a baseball, how to grip a football. I want to be there when you read your first words and write your first letter.

I’m 31 so depending on when I meet your mother there’s a good chance I’ll be in my 50’s when you’re a teenager. I can’t let you beat me in basketball until you’re at least 16. In order to do that I have to do better, I have to be better. Most of my life I’ve let writing consume me. The late nights, the missed meals, the drinking, it’s all been so that I can be a better writer. I suppose I never thought about what sort of man it was making me.

I never had a father that expected anything from me because he didn’t expect anything from himself. I don’t fault him for that because it just wasn’t in him, when I was younger it made me cold. Now it gives me perspective, responsibility. I look forward to placing expectations on you, not to be what I want you to be but to be happy. To know you’re loved and cared for. I’ll expect good grades and for you to eat your vegetables and say yes maam and no maam because that’s what I’ll teach you, that’s what we will teach you. I write these letters because tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. If I die when you’re a child, I want you to read these and know you were loved before I ever laid eyes on you.

Let me get to work now so that I can keep getting better.

Love Always and Forever,

Your Father

Why Raising Another Man’s Child Can Be Just As Rewarding As Raising Your Own

Family

Family

What are traits about others that people admire?

Being Selfless,

Passionate.

Happy.

Loving.

All those traits apply to single mothers. Of course we all know examples of bad mothers but most of the women I know lose their mind when their child is sick. They go without if their son or daughter needs a little more to eat or drink even though they know the kid is full. They take off work in order to make sure the kid isn’t at school sick when they know the child was probably never sick to begin with.

Mothers are selfless, passionate, happy and loving as hell when it comes to their children. The good ones are but the great ones are all in.

I recently had a friend tell me that she stopped talking to a guy that she was crazy about because he treated her two daughters differently. He wasn’t abusive or molesting them but the youngest girl was a daddy’s girl so she had an attitude towards him. So he would do things for the oldest girl and not for the youngest. These children were like 4 and 7 by the way.

She said, “Mez, he was being indifferent to my youngest daughter instead of just giving her time to adjust. He bought my oldest some candy, when the youngest asked where hers was, he said; ask your daddy.’ What sense does that make? So I dumped him.”

I could tell she missed him but she did what was best for her child and that made me smile.

My point is this, as a man when you can find it in your heart to love, care for, respect, play with, encourage, teach and just grow with the one thing in this world that that woman loves more than anything else. You’re going to win in life.

I grew up with a generation of people where a lot of us didn’t have father’s in the household. I know a bunch of women my age that aren’t with the men they have children with. My grandparents grew up in a generation where you got someone pregnant and married them, forget that you didn’t love her or that she wasn’t the woman you saw yourself with. You did it because it was right, because being there for her and your children was more important than dating and trying to find ‘perfection.’

When you take on the responsibility of a woman and her child or children; she knows the sacrifice you’re making. She may not talk about it or bring it up but she’s aware that they’re plenty of childless women out here. She’s aware that her child is going to have an adjustment period. She’s aware that the child’s father is either going to be in their life or is in their life and at the end of the day it will be ‘ME’ that has to be the bigger person.

I’ll be the one having to bite my tongue if they’re arguing about child support or insurance. I’ll be the one that has to pick up the pieces if he doesn’t come to get that kid for the weekend and she’s hurting because her baby is hurting.

Once the smoke settles and she realizes I’m not going anywhere, she’ll love me more than she’s ever loved anyone because I’ve handled loving her and that child like they were the most important things in the world to me.

I grew up without a father, my stepfather was a bum. So I don’t know what it’s like to have someone care about me, come to games, come to recitals, pick me up from school and have that man on man talk. If it would have been my stepfather I would have loved that man to death despite his short comings. That’s the thing about children, they aren’t slow, they aren’t blind. They simply want to know that you’re there, there for them. There for their mom, there for that family.

I want a son more than anything in this world but I want a wife first. I want a bestfriend first and I want financial security first.

Being with a woman that has a child isn’t a handicap, it’s a blessing in the sense that I’ll be able to not only touch the life of my future seed or that woman but I’ll be able to touch the life of a child that needs it. I respect women and I understand doing what you have to do to raise your child.

A woman can’t raise a man and a little girl needs a father. She needs to see a man treat her mother like a Goddess no matter how cheesy that sounds. I loved a woman whose daughter looked just like the child’s father, I mean they could have cloned this kid. Every time I tried to kiss her or hug her, the little girl would jump in-between us or look at me like I was evil. I thought it was the cutest thing in the world because I would want my daughter to do the same thing.

We’re adults for a reason, we have to be the bigger people. Children need adjustment periods and when they do adjust they’ll love you just as much as they love their biological father. I firmly believe that but you have to be a man, you have to be real and you have to be sincere.

The friend that I mentioned earlier, we aren’t that cool but if we were I would have went to the doctor with her, I would have went to the Lamaze classes and helped her out with cravings. Not because I want a relationship with her, I don’t know her like that but I would have done it because every woman deserves to have someone there with them and because her child’s father is unworthy. I would hate for those vibes to sink into that womb.

So I don’t know how many male readers I have but if you do read this, give a woman with children a chance and to all the women out there just know that some man will love you and want you not just because you’re fine as hell but because he wants to be an asset to you and your child’s life.

She’s Smiling Down on You From Heaven

20140422-013941.jpgDear Son or Daughter,

I know today can’t be easy for you. Whether you lost your mother when you were six or sixty, whether it was cancer or a car accident. Today can’t be easy because I know you never forget her calming words when you were sick or her smile when you were sad.

Today can’t be easy for you because today everyone around you is celebrating their mother and it makes you remember yours. The conversations after school when she answered a question or solved a problem that you didn’t think could be solved. That time when she got a t-shirt or pair of shoes you didn’t think she would. That Christmas where you couldn’t wait to go outside and show your friends what you got.

It was never about the Christmas gifts or food at Thanksgiving or clothes on the first day of school. It was about watching her cook and sing, cook and talk on the phone, cook and ask you to taste this or taste that. The older you get the more you appreciate how happy she was to see you happy. The older you get, the more you remember what she taught you.

I know you see a picture of her and cry sometimes, not wanting to question God but doing it anyway. Wondering why you couldn’t just get one more day, one more hour, one more minute with her. Another hug, another conversation, a phone call just to tell her about your day because no one could understand like she could.

Our mothers are our Guardian Angels, they carried us for nine months and sheltered us, sacrificed for us, went without for us. Just because she’s not here doesn’t mean she still isn’t doing that. When you have those moments where you feel like no one understands, it’s her that’s the voice in your head, in your heart. When you have heartbreak, when that person that should have been there for you during the bad times falls short; it’s her whispering, “You deserve better.” The moments she shared with you, no matter how brief they may seem now made you the person you are.

The love you have in your soul for your mother can never be filled, it will never be replaced but understand it doesn’t have to. Let that love make you great, let that love flow to your children, your husband or wife, your passions and ambitions. She still watched over you, I swear.

Your mother is proud of you and so am I. Stay strong and if you need to talk I’m here.

Sincerely Yours,

Demez

Hell on Earth: The Revolution II

Everyone else was sweating, quiet, but sweating. She could see their chest beating up and down, she knew their heart rates were probably through the roof. Some of them were in faded military uniforms, others were in old street clothes, there was no standard look. This was war and war wasn’t pretty. They all looked from the enemy to her, from the enemy to her, waiting on her command.

Hearts beating, palms sweating, she laughed. It was a quiet laugh but it was contagious. They all looked at her like she was crazy before they started to laugh. Her heart didn’t beat fast anymore when it was time to attack. She couldn’t remember the last time her palms sweated.

War

War

They took her world. They took her child, her mother, her life. For her killing them was peaceful, it was art derived from pain. Most of them were sleeping, they looked like children, teenagers but that was the enemy’s plan. Who would attack children? Their red eyes gave them away though.

Aliens weren’t little green men or big Godzilla like monsters; the aliens that took out half the population shared their DNA. It turns out there were two earths and theirs was older, more polluted and more vicious. For them this war wasn’t about land or resources it was about power. Attack us before we had the capability to attack them.

“Don’t waste bullets. Don’t fear death! If you get close enough use your claws! Rip their fuc%ing hearts out and make them regret they ever stepped foot here! I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, hungry for revenge and thirsty for their blood! Follow me and reclaim what is ours! Follow me and die a legend or live a REVOLUTIONARY!!!” Putting her guns in the should holster and putting on her claws she looked each of them in the eye and jumped into the enemy camp screaming, hoping more would come out so more would die!

The revolution is now!

Love Is Not A Fairytale… It’s A Truth

20130710-053801.jpgThe Princess kisses a frog and he turns into a Prince. The poor peasant girl goes to the ball and ends up becoming Cinderella. The lowly soldier finds a sword in the weeds and becomes the greatest soldier the world has ever seen. You close your eyes and pray and the next day God sends you the person of your dreams.

All of those sound amazing and I’m sure so many of our lives would be so much easier if these stories were the norm but the truth is love is no fairytale. Love is incredibly dangerous and vicious and even at its best it’s scary.

When you love someone it’s impossible to be logical because there’s nothing logical about love. It’s easy to say we should always put our own best interest first, easier said than done. Let me ask you a question, if you let someone borrow your car for a day and they brought it back to you scratched and dented would you let them borrow it again? Probably not, you’d get it fixed and move on. If you let someone stay at your home and they scratched the floors and stained the furniture and started a grease fire in the kitchen you’d kick them out ASAP. We treat material things with such importance but we put our hearts thru hell! That’s because when it comes to love we take ourselves to limits even we didn’t know we had, limits that can literally break us.

Sex feels so good because God created it to reward us for marriage and creating life. We love these little people that look like us, we post pictures of them and would give our lives for them because they were created from those sexual unions. They were meant to be rewards not burdens. Society has turned that love that comes natural into fear. I’m not a parent but even I can see how just sending your child to school can be scary as hell.

Love doesn’t come without sacrifice, sacrificing your good sense because who in their right minds would put their happiness and sanity in the hands of another?

@authordwhite on Twitter.

Civility in Love and War…

imagesCA4RUXG1“What do you want me to do?”

“I want you to be a got damn father!”

“Fuck you! I send you that check faithfully! How do you think you’re living in this house?! Who got you a new car when the old one started tripping!? Don’t tell me I’m not a father to that boy! He doesn’t have a need or want in this world!”

Calming myself, taking a deep breath, and rubbing my temples I knew I needed to be the bigger person. He hated me and he probably had a right to but what he and I both knew was that he was taking out that hate on our son. I could accept the way he looked at me, not answering my calls, the slick things he wrote on FB. I could accept all of that because I knew his heart was broken but the moment he started treating our son like just another bill to pay is the moment my sympathy stopped.

“You’re not the same with him. You used to pick him up from school and take him to practice every Tuesday and Thursday, now all of sudden you can’t get off work in time. Every night you’d get on your iPad and read part of a book with him now you don’t get good reception? Everything was cool when I was single and you thought there was a chance of us getting back together. Now that I have someone you’re cutting us out of your life… Little by little. I’m a grown woman, I can accept it. Our son is seven! Seven! He just knows his father doesn’t treat him the same?!` You hurt him, you hurt me! You’re a good man but if I have to watch him cry himself to sleep again I will come for you and make your life hell!”

He stood almost a half foot taller than me, even in my heels, but I caught his eyes and wouldn’t look away. A year ago I came home and told him I didn’t want this marriage anymore. I wasn’t happy, his touch didn’t do it for me, our conversations were dry. Our season had passed and even though our vows were for better or worst how could I spend the rest of my life with a man I didn’t even want to see me naked?

“Don’t threaten me Amanda. That’s not something you want to do.”

My ex-husband didn’t raise his voice. He didn’t make any hand motions or smile. The coldness was a tone I’d only ever heard him use with business associates, never with me but when it came to my son he was leaving me few options.

“I will threaten you. You paid for this house, you paid for the car I drive but understand this! Your son sleeps in this house! Your son goes to school, to practice, to church, to the grocery store in that car! You handle your business and I’ll give you credit for that but I won’t give you credit for doing what you’re supposed to do! As soon as I stopped fucking you, flirting with you, talking to you like I talked to you when we were married you stopped being a father to him! Is that the kind of man you want to be!? You’ve always wanted to be a better man than your father… Right now, I can’t tell you two apart!”

As soon as the words left my mouth I regretted them but I needed him to hurt just as much as our son was hurting.

“Bitch! You want to know why I don’t pick our son up from school and take him to practice anymore. Why I don’t call him every night and read that chapter with him? Because when I bring him home I have to look at your face, when I talk to him at night I have to hear your voice in the background! I had this house built for you from the ground up! I paid off those student loans and hooked you up with a buyer when you thought your clothes weren’t stylish enough for the job I got you! I never threw it in your face, never asked anything more of you than that you love me. Be a good wife and a good mother. You shitted on me, have another man coming and going into the house I built! You want to threaten me, tell me I’m like my father! I’m getting full custody of my child, you’ll hear from my lawyer tomorrow! Let your new man pay this mortgage, let him pay for that Benz in the garage. I’m not here for him, well now I’ll be here for him every day!”

Stepping away from me he walked out the door leaving me in shock. Our divorce was simple, he literally gave me everything I asked for. I never had to ask for child support on time or ask him to leave me alone. Today was supposed to be me trying to make him realize our son needed his father and now he was ready to go to war.

I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of crying, at least not until he leaves the driveway.

If he wants to see a bitch, I’ll show him a bitch!

Seeing Tomorrow Today…

imagesCAC5JOYD14 December 2018

 When you love someone, really love them, when your world revolves around their sun you can never talk about them enough. Everything they do is cute to you, every move they make is sexy, every frown makes you laugh. They can do no wrong because that love negates any negative thoughts. Five years ago I was sitting at my computer, a drink on my desk, my phone in my lap. Writing and thinking how it didn’t really feel like Christmas. Today I’m flirting and smiling on a cool winters night with the woman that has not only changed my life but given me life. Renewing vows just so I can tell the world how special she really is one more time. A hundred people holding a candle, all the trees lit up with lights, a three piece string set playing Adele in the background. I put my hand on her stomach and kneeled down, “I love your mom more than anything, be good tonight little one, I love you too.” 2012 seemed like yesterday…

“You do know people don’t normally celebrate five year anniversaries with vowel renewals right?”

“What I know is that if they were married to you they would.”

She was standing in the pavilion, looking outside at the dozens of trees lit up with Christmas lights. At the hundreds of people standing on their feet with candles in their hands. She was right, people didn’t normally have these sorts of celebrations so soon but I wasn’t them. I’d waited too long to pretend like every second wasn’t the best second of my life when she smiled at me.

“You don’t know that author. Look at me; you just want me barefoot and pregnant.” I couldn’t help but laugh at her choice in words. She wasn’t really showing at three months and her feet were far from bare. I didn’t know what they cost but if I checked our credit card statement I was sure I’d gasp.

“You’re like 3 months and this is only the second baby.”

“Only the second baby? Boy please! That spoiled son of yours is bad enough, I hate to see what this little girl is going to have you doing. And there are no more babies after this, two is enough. One for me and one for you.”

She had to laugh herself at her bravado. I didn’t know who was more excited about finding out she was pregnant, me or her. “Don’t put this on Facebook or I’ll kill you! I want to put it on my page first this time!” I couldn’t help but laugh because she was dead serious. I loved that about her.

“If she looks like you, no matter how she looks, I just can’t imagine saying no to her.”

“So I’ll end up being the bad parent. Hell no! I do that with Julian. With her I’m going to be the fun mom and you can be the one making her go to bed.”

“You really want to have this conversation when we’re about to confess our love for the second time in five years to about a hundred friends and family?”

How was I supposed to be the bad parent with a little girl that looked exactly like her? That wasn’t even going to be possible. I rarely told her no and when I did I felt like shit so to do it with someone that was innocent and a mixture of us both wasn’t really possible or logical but I wasn’t going to tell her that.

“They’re just here for the free food and drinks, they can wait. Now… Are you going to be the bad parent or do you want to go the next seven months looking but not touching?”

I grabbed her around the waist and pinned her against me.

“You wouldn’t do that… you’re a freak.”

She kissed me and bit my ear.

“Shut up! But you love this freak.”

“That I do, let’s do this.”

Five years ago she walked down the aisle and I waited on her at the altar. Tonight we would walk down the aisle together, hand in hand, husband and wife. Our son walking in front of us, our daughter walking with us.

Five years ago I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Tonight I knew it was all worth it.

Taking Another Man’s Wife Act II

“Are you fucking her?”

“Excuse me.”

“You heard me, are you fucking her!”

“That’s not any of your business, you have a husband. Worry about who he’s fucking.”

“I don’t have to worry about who he’s fucking, I gave him some this morning so he’s good.”

That was two hours ago, he hung up right after that and she’d been calling ever since. The last time he looked at his phone it was twenty missed calls. She only said it to hurt him; he knew that much, but what he also knew is that she was probably telling the truth.

What kind of right did he have to get mad at a woman for having sex with her husband? That was just as stupid as her getting mad at a woman posting about how good a time she’d had on his Facebook wall. The text started ten minutes after she’d wrote, “I had a great time last night, can’t wait to do it again.” The calls started five minutes after he responded, “The feelings mutual, you looked amazing last night, I needed that.” Nothing sexual happened, it just felt good to him being able to hold a conversation and kiss a woman good night knowing there was no one else in her life.

But she didn’t see it that way. Call it jealousy, call it insecurity, call it crazy. She just didn’t understand why he needed to go out with other women!

He wanted to turn his phone off but his grandfather was in the hospital and in case someone needed him he needed to have his phone on. She’d long ago filled his voicemail up, the messages went from, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that,” to “fuck you, if you can’t answer me, I’ll just call my husband to come home early from work.” Every insult was followed by an apology, every hateful word was followed by a lustful counter.

Washing his truck, the headphones drowning out everything around him he jumped when he felt the cold water hit his back. Turning around she was standing there holding the water hose. He started walking towards her when he saw the little boy in the car seat in the back; he looked just like his father. She sprayed him with the water hose again, this time in the face. He walked over and snatched it out her hand. “You can’t answer your fucking phone!” She said, loud enough for her son to hear though at his age he wasn’t sure if the boy understood his mom was a damn fool.

“What are you doing here? You have a bad habit of stopping by uninvited.”

She stepped closer, “You didn’t have a problem with me coming by uninvited when you were inside of me last night.” “You shouldn’t have brought his son over here like this,” he didn’t want to stare at the child but he couldn’t help feel guilty. “He’s a baby, he doesn’t know what’s going on. He doesn’t know his mother is over to her boyfriend’s house trying to apologize for being a bitch.” She tried to hug him but he stepped back. Kids had more sense than parents gave them credit for. “You need to leave.” He started back washing his car, he shouldn’t have turned his back to her. He didn’t know where it came from but as soon as he looked up the passenger side window on his truck shattered. Her baby was screaming in the back seat but she didn’t drop the tire iron that was in her hand. “I swear to God if you see that bitch again or ignore me the next time it won’t be your window I aim for.” She got in her car and calmly pulled off.

Another Man’s Child…

I’ll be 30 in a couple of months and the older I get the more women I meet with children. I work with a lot of guys that are older than me and that have had a lot more experience in the world than me and they all have one mutual piece of advice.

“Do not talk to women with children.”

But this is the thing, why not? When you really think about it the only thing that separates most of us none virgins from having children is a sperm here or there. I’ve had enough unprotected sex in my life to have 40 kids but I’ve been blessed because I’ve pulled out or she’s had protection. So who am I to judge or cut out an entire class of women because I sperm slipped through?

I know a lot of great women that thought they were dealing with some real men and once those pregnancy test came back positive, they realized those guys weren’t real at all. Does that take away from the woman she is? She’s still smart and cool and sexy and confident, now she just as a little more baggage. And as a man I can choose to look past that and see where it goes or I can turn my back and talk to the woman who’s man had weak sperm. I’m not a quitter, if she’s a good woman, a child isn’t going to change that, it’s only going to enhance it.

I get what my boys and co-workers are saying. They’ve dealt with the drama and issues and complications that come with being with a woman with a child but all woman aren’t created equal.

The same way I can get into a situation with a woman that has no children and a crazy ex is the same way I can get into a situation with a woman that has a child and a crazy child’s father. If a woman is addictive, she’s going to be addictive with or without a child coming with that package.  Am I currently dating a woman with children, no. But if I was to meet one that has a child and she was everything I wanted. That risk is well worth the reward.

I’m Demez and I’m drunk and rambling on a Friday night. I need a baby mama.