Confident Black Men and Women Scare America

I have written about LaVar Ball since he popped on the scene because in the beginning I felt like it was a click bait story. You want to get a couple shares, a couple retweets, write about LaVar Ball. So I stayed away from it but then something happened. I started to see the hypocrisy in the way we society views black men and independence. Let me give you a couple of examples.

  1. Nike exec George Raveling on LaVar Ball: “The worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.”
  2. Unnamed NFL Coaches, “Colin Kaepernick is a traitor and I would never want him on my team.”
  3. Republican Congressman, “Obama took 400,000 for a speech; we need to take his pension.”

What do all three of these things have in common?  The black men involved weren’t docile enough.

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Why is that whenever I hear about Lavar Ball I never hear that he’s been convicted of any crimes? Why is it that I’ve never heard of his sons getting in trouble or of him hitting his wife? Why is it that I haven’t seen one piece on him being a good father and mentor while I’ve seen two hundred stories on black boys and them surviving without fathers? That’s not the story they want to put out there, they’d rather focus on how bad of a guy he is because he doesn’t want to take their handouts.

Now let’s talk about Kaepernick, teams were saying he’s asking for too much money and most people were happy to accept that was the truth. Meanwhile he comes out and says, “No one has talked to me or returned my calls so how would they know what I’m asking?” Guys have beat their wives, killed people drunk driving, fixed games and the worst person in the league is a guy that took a knee to bring awareness to cops killing black men and women?

Lastly, President Obama was criticized and attacked more than any President in history when there was no basis for it. The worst thing he probably did was wear that tan suit that time. After eight years of this Republicans lost their minds seeing him on vacations and smiling. They lost their minds that he and his wife got this huge book deal and they lost their minds even more when it came out that he was getting 400k for a speech. I live in Texas, ex-politicians and athletes have been getting paid for years to give speeches but now it’s a problem?

Confident Black Men scare America because they hate our strength. When Tiger Woods was winning Majors he was “Blasian,” I’d honestly never heard that term in my life. When he got caught cheating, he was a black man. When Kanye West said, “Yeezy’s will jump over Jordan’s,” we laughed and said no one buys Adidas. Now you can’t find a pair of Yeezy’s anywhere, they stay sold out.

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Lavar Ball says, “If the Lakers draft my son, they’ll make the playoffs next year.” He didn’t say they’ll win a Championship or that his son will be the best Laker of all time. He said a team full of young talent with a pass first point guard could make the playoffs. People are literally hostile at that. He has confidence in his son and that makes you uncomfortable? Just because Archie Manning wasn’t on TV every day doesn’t mean he wasn’t behind the scenes making sure his sons were taken care of.

A Day In Florida; A Day I Wont Forget

airportWe’ve all been at home watching the news and you see something unimaginable happen and what’s the first thing you think, “That’s horrible!” Even though in the back of your mind what you don’t want to admit to yourself is, “I’m happy it wasn’t someone I loved.” This doesn’t make you a bad person or an evil person, it makes you human. None of us want to pass an accident on the road and imagine it’s our child or woman or mother.

So today as I’m boarding my plane to Havana and buckling my seatbelt I look at my phone one last time before I put it in airplane mode and the CNN update says, “There has just been a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport in Florida.” An airport I just left my girlfriend at, an airport my cousin works out of often. The flight from Miami to Cuba is 45 minutes and that was the longest 45 minutes of my life.

When I arrive in Cuba there’s no WIFI, no cable, they have their own cellular network, everyone speaks Spanish and I notice no-one is on their phone tweeting or texting or snapchatting. My mom tries to call me and the call drops, my girl tries to call me and the call drops, customs doesn’t want to let me leave Cuba because they’re wondering why I landed and stayed for three hours just to leave. What’s supposed to be this perfect vacation to start of 2017 has turned into this nightmare moving in slow motion. The not knowing killing me more than bullets ever could.

After a plane ride, a bus ride, a train ride and AT&T suspending my service for using my phone in Cuba I’m waiting at a train station in Miami. Half my luggage gone, lost or stolen and half my heart in the pit of my stomach. Who do I see pulling up to greet me, the two women that seem to always have it together but managed to scare me to death.

My phone now functional I get text after text, call after call, message after message. Telling me in the heart of the storm my reporter put aside her fear and told the world a story that needed to be told. In the blink of an eye she owned her courage and did her job.

A Life Long Battle With Depression

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Last Night In Paradise

Depression can be a taboo word, a word associated with weakness or uncertainty. I often wonder are my thoughts just in my head or figments of my imagination. In a couple of weeks I’ll be 33 years old and I’ve been fighting depression my entire life. I suppose I used to be ashamed of it and maybe a part of me still is but I always told myself, “As long as you have more good days than bad days, you’ll be okay.”

There haven’t been a lot of good days as of late and that scares me.

My favorite show is the Game of Thrones and one of my favorite characters is Jamie Lannister. There’s a scene where he’s talking to his father and his father says, “You’re going to need all the help you can get. A one handed man with no family and no friends.” Sometimes I feel that way, like I’m a one handed man with no friends and family.

The solitude I feel, the loneliness, the emptiness, I’ve always thought it made me a better writer. The thing is though, what’s the point of being a better writer if the rest of me is in shambles?

It’s 5:00am and here I sit, at this computer, a glass in my hand, the world in slumber waiting for the weekend. It’s 5:00am and I’m worried that I will lose this battle one day.

5 Life Lessons I Learned In the Last Week of 2015

photo(1)This has been a tough week. My grandmother passing hasn’t really hit me yet, at least I don’t think it has. So, I’ll do what I do best and write. Even though it’s only Tuesday, we only have two days left in 2015 and these are the life lessons I’ve learned.

5- Life isn’t about what happens when someone is sick or dying or gone. Life is about the moments when they’re here. The moments you have an opportunity to do right by them. It’s easy to cry once their gone but it’s even easier to talk to them and make them laugh and be there for them when it’s inconvenient. Anyone can be a good grandson or husband or boyfriend on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when the Texans aren’t playing. Can you be a good person when you’ve just gotten off work, your feet hurt and you have to fight traffic? Give people their flowers while they’re living or you will regret it.

4- Character is who people are when they’re scared. You ever see the zombie movies where two people are running and one of them pushes the other down so they can get away. That’s sort of what life is. You’re either willing to be a good person and do the right thing when your heart is beating out your chest and you feel like your back is against the wall or you’re not. Sometimes being a good person won’t pay off right away but it will pay off. Karma is a living, breathing thing.

3- You should always be honest but not everyone deserves or appreciates it. Giving someone a piece of your mind or checking someone may make you feel good for a moment but we don’t always have to keep it real. Sometimes smiling and walking away hurt people so much more than yelling at them or “checking them.” It won’t feel good to bite your tongue. It won’t feel good to see someone doing wrong or going down a wrong path and knowing you can’t stop them. That’s life though, some people only learn by getting burned.

2- Build your own home before you try and help others. I see so many good natured people that give and give and give and then they look up and don’t have anything? You can’t help people if you haven’t taken the time to look out for yourself. My grandparents weren’t wealthy, my mother and father aren’t wealthy. Anything I build in this life, I will build not because of handouts or luck. I will build based off the life lessons I was taught. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither are wealth, families, friendships. You want a garage, start with a screwdriver. You want a office, start with a pen. No one is obligated to help us. We have to help ourselves.

1- Be a man that gives more than you take. I can’t take care of a woman at this point in my life. I’m okay with that but what I can do is take on a bigger burden. Maybe I don’t pay all the bills but I pay the biggest bills. Maybe I don’t always clean up but her car stays clean and I take out the trash. Have a home, don’t move in a with a woman. Go to work and if you have children, let them see you treating their mother like a woman that means the world to you.

There’s A Difference Between Giving Up and Knowing When Something Just Isn’t Working

Who Doesn't Want This?

We all want this but life isn’t perfect.

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That difference between true love and love.

“I’m never getting divorced.”

“People in our generation don’t know what loyalty is.”

“A man should take care of a woman like my grandfather and father did.”

We throw these phrases around in 2015 without actually thinking about what we’re saying. You notice how it’s always single people that make statements like, “I’m never getting divorced!” Or that say things like, “People don’t want to work for relationships anymore.” I respect any couple that can go through the ups and downs of life together for decades but let’s be honest about something. A lot of those women and men put up with things our generation would never put up with and why is that a bad thing?

If you work at a job for a year and realize you suck at it; no one blames you for quitting and finding a new job. If you buy a car because it’s sleek and pretty and realize the gas mileage sucks and it floods too much in Houston for something so low to the ground; no one judges you for trading it in for something that’s more practical. So why is it that we are so judgmental of people that realize a relationship or marriage isn’t working and decide to move on? If you give someone your all for six months and realize the differences are just too great to overcome would it be easier if you gave them a year, two years? Who are any of us to judge whether or not someone gave their all? Tell me if this makes sense: Be unhappy for a decade but you can say you were married for ten years or be unhappy for a year or two and spend the next eight enjoying your life and maybe actually finding someone that makes you smile.

For the longest time people would ask me about past relationships and I would say with pride, “I was with my ex for eight years.” But as I’ve gotten older I realized it didn’t make me strong or better than someone else for being in a relationship that long when I knew neither of us was happy. It made me a man that was afraid. Afraid of accepting that not being with her would mean uncertainty. It would mean maybe she would find happiness without me or maybe I would feel guilt for giving up on her. Fear of time wasted or guilt can’t be the cornerstone of a relationship. Being honest with yourself isn’t quitting, it’s being an adult.

How arrogant is it for people that are in marriages they resent or single people that have never even been engaged to make statements like, “People don’t try anymore.” Every marriage, household, relationship is different. You think that man or woman that you feel like just gave up went into their marriage with the idea they would get divorced? Every story is not the same and it’s okay to say, “This isn’t working, let’s be happy.”

Dear God; I’m A Flawed Man

IMG_0128 Dear God,

I can be insecure at times. If I’m being honest at 4am on a Tuesday morning I can be insecure a lot of the times. I wonder if I’m ever going to be the writer I see myself being in my head. I wonder if I’m ever going to be the husband or father I make the characters in my stories out to be. My insecurities are masked by my talent, by my ability to stop people from getting close to me. My insecurities protect me from my fears.

Fears that consume me. Fears that I drown in the unrelenting sea of bottles that have come to comfort me. Fears that hold my confidence in their hands like the oceans hold fish and ships. Fears that I’m not sure I will ever overcome. Fears that aren’t based in race or religion or sex but fears that are based in emotional and mental uncertainty.

Why is it that I was created this way? Why is it that I can’t see what everyone else seems to see in me? Does it make me weak? Does it make me undeserving of the life you’ve given me? Sometimes I don’t know where I’m going or where I’m destined to be. Sometimes I don’t know just how much my life matters or is going to matter in this world. There are times I’ve looked for signs, prayed for guidance only to feel more lost than when I first fell to my knees.

Last week at this same time before the sun rose I stood on a beach letting the waves wash over me looking out into the horizon trying to see my future. Trying to see if I could be a man better than my father, trying to see if I can be a man better than the man I am now. As the sun rose and my eyes burned from the salt and the tears I couldn’t see it. Falling to my knees in that sand I felt as though. I felt as though I felt nothing which is the worst feeling in the world.

Will I lose everything dear to me, everyone I love? Will I forsake the love you have for me and fall to doubt, envy, insecurity, fear? Or will I rise. Will I grow into the King’s blood that pumps into my flawed heart?

I write about relationships and love. I write about life and responsibility. And even though I have an amazing woman in my life and an amazing family at times I feel as though they’re all an illusion. A dream that turns into a nightmare when I awake and they’re no longer going to be here.

For a man that prides himself on not really needing friends and being able to spend hours and days alone just writing; the thought of being alone in this world scares me more than standing on a beach with a sword waiting on a thousand ships with 10,000 soldiers bearing down on me. Death doesn’t scare me, war or tension don’t scare me. But the idea, the thought of dying unaccomplished or alone scares me to death.

This morning, I just want to talk to you God, write to you. To ask that you don’t give up on me. To ask that you don’t allow me to give up on myself. I will keep fighting with your help. I will keep living with your help. I just need you.

In Your Darling Son Jesus’s Name,

Amen

~ Demez

Sobering Thoughts Before Dawn

Today makes 5 days of soberness. I’ve never been much of a soda drinker outside of putting it in scotch or bourbon so giving that up wasn’t hard.

My stomach doesn’t hurt as much, I’ve been sleeping better and I’ve probably drank more water in the past week then I probably drank the last 4 months. Even with saying all that I’m up right now withy the rain falling and the cold bearing down wishing I had a whiskey neat warming me. Does that make me weak?

Weak that I’m craving something that’s literally making me sick? That’s more of a depressant than it is a stimulant. I often wonder if it’s just in my genes, if it’s something that no matter how hard I try it’ll always be on my back.

I’m not an alcoholic, I’ve seen intervention but at times I do feel lost.

I’ve pushed people away so that I can get my mind right. Thus is something I needed to do alone. Something I have to do alone.

Pray for me.

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