Random Thoughts to End 2017

Drake has this line in one of his songs where he says, “Sometimes I wish I can go back in time, not to change anything but to experience the feeling of those moments just one more time.” I’ll be thirty five in a month or so and 2018 will more than likely be one of the most life altering years of my life. It’ll also be the year where I become the man that stops believing in happiness and starts believing in obligation. What I mean by that is at some point in every adult’s life you have to stop chasing what you think will make you happy and start pursuing what will make you successful and provide a foundation for your family’s future.

2017 was a good year for me. I achieved some goals, fell short on some other ones but overall I kept pushing, kept going in the direction I needed to go in. That was professionally. Personally a part of me feels as though I took a step back. I’ve went days and weeks without talking to anyone. I’m not sure I have any meaningful friendships and mentally I worry that I’m giving up on the idea that life always balances out.

I breathe words and this is my first time writing in weeks if not months. I used to wake up and do it every morning. I used to feel like not writing was like not brushing my teeth or drinking water. There are moments where I’m driving or sitting at my desk and I worry that this is how it starts. That one day I’ll walk past a bookstore and linger for a second, wondering what happened to my aspirations of being on those shelves.

In 2017 I’ve been to Cuba, Paris and Belize. They all had their own charms about them and they all the things that were not so great about them but I understand one fundamental thing. I was blessed to be able to be there. I was blessed to make it back home from each and every one of those locations. Not everyone can say that.

I try my best for each of my blogs or articles to have a theme, a point that I build on and wrap up all tight and neat in a bow. I’m not sure this one will. I guess these past couple weeks everyone keeps asking me, “How have your Holidays been?” And I respond with, “They’ve been good.” I think I just wanted to come somewhere and say out loud, “They’ve actually been sort of crappy.”

I miss my grandmother. I miss coming home from work and being able to walk into a house that smells of freshly cooked food and warmth. This is the first Christmas I’ve ever had where I didn’t receive a gift and it’s weird because it’s not so much about getting anything as it is about the feeling or exchanging something with someone and that…. I can’t explain it.

On social media and to my family I have to be upbeat and glass half full. Because it’s about more than me, it’s about those around you not having to feel as though they need to save you from yourself. But sometimes you just need to tell your truth even if it’s to a couple strangers on a blog you haven’t written on since Thanksgiving.

Be safe out there this weekend and Happy Holidays.IMG_3740

Holidays, Social Anxiety and Being An Introvert; the Gift That Keeps On Giving

Do you know anyone with dyslexia? It’s not that they can’t read or write it’s that they literally see the words differently than we see them? They learn differently, interpret differently. If no one takes the time to diagnose them they could spend their entire life feeling like they can’t read or that they’re dumb.

That’s what being an introvert is like, it’s being in a room where everyone is reading and writing and you want to learn, you want to read but you see the words differently. Whether it’s being around people or hating crowds or noise you never get comfortable.

I’ve been a loner most of my life. I remember turning eighteen and my mom bought all this food and a DJ and when no one showed up to the party she looked sad for me and I felt so bad telling her that I didn’t tell anyone. The two friends I had that showed up looked at me like I was crazy, “Why didn’t you tell us? Everyone would have come.” Even then I just liked being alone, at least that’s what I thought it was.

Now here I am years removed from that moment and it hasn’t gotten any better. I don’t really maintain friendships well, my body language is horrible and even when I have to talk to people I can come off as cold or uncaring.

 

Something I rarely write or talk about is the perception people have of me. Since I was a child I’ve been called everything from gay to arrogant to mean to stuck up to anti-social, even crazy; the list goes on. I usually ignore most of it or use humor or insults to push back. The truth is though, often times all I wanted was to fit in. To not be the guy that walks into a room and doesn’t talk to anyone or tries to start conversations and people feel as though you’re mocking them or uninterested.

It’s as if you’re locked inside of your own mind. You know the right things to say and do but your hands and face and energy give off this vibe that betrays what you meant. I’ve spoken to people for hours at a time and even with that I can tell they aren’t comfortable around me.

What makes it worse is that I’m smart and funny. I don’t say those things in an arrogant way, I say them because it’s confusing to people. How can you be an introvert when you don’t have a problem talking to women or making a crowd laugh if you’re talking about your book or giving an interview? How do you explain to people that you have to force yourself to do those things? That your heart is beating out of your chest and you find solace in the quiet after the storm.

Holidays just amplify it, even family look at you as though you think you’re better than them. They wonder why you don’t come around or leave early. Everyone takes you so seriously that even when you joke it’s taken as sarcasm or being an asshole.

I’ll end this with a story. It was a couple years ago, my grandfather passed away that January and I took it hard. There wasn’t anyone to talk to or grieve with, everyone just sort of assumed I would be okay. A couple months later my aunt died and after the funeral I just didn’t want to be alone. I went over my cousin’s house because I knew that’s where a lot of my family would be and literally everyone there was surprised to see me. People I’d grown up with and had sleepovers with acted as though it was the weirdest thing ever. I listened to inside jokes from years of them hanging out, I watched people speak to me as though I was their neighbor that went to college and was coming by to give my condolences. How do you make a situation more awkward? You tell people, “Hey! I’m right here! I’m trying!” I wasn’t going to do that. That’s what my world is like.

That ladies and gentlemen is a rare glimpse into unfiltered Demez. It’s wanting to stop by a friend’s house on a Sunday afternoon and not, it’s looking at your phone all Thanksgiving and realizing not one person text you to say ‘Happy Thanksgiving.’ It’s calling someone to say “I’m sorry for your loss” and they laugh at how uncomfortable you are. It’s knowing there’s a good chance most of your relationships will fail because your tormented by the need for affection and the curse of isolation. It’s seeing people enjoy life and wondering why you weren’t invited knowing that if you were there, they wouldn’t be having the fun they’re having.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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A Love Letter to My Mother

My Mother and I

My Mother and I

Dear Mother,

Last week I was texting a woman I’d met and she asked me if I’d ever written any love letters. I told her of course, I’ve written several, a lot more than several, considering I’m a writer and romance is something I take pride in. Her next question caught me by surprise. She asked, “Have you ever written a love letter to your mom?” I put my phone down and laughed because the question seemed weird. “A love letter to my mom?” However, when I really thought about it, I realized nothing in the world makes more sense.

You were the first woman I really loved before I even knew what love was. There’s no bond like the bond between a mother and child. When you really think about it, I was in your stomach, I grew from something the size of a pea to who I am today because you nurtured me. What you ate I ate, what you read, I read, what you listened to, I listened to.

Our relationship hasn’t been what a lot of son’s relationship is with their mother but don’t think I don’t love you and appreciate everything you’ve done for me. I remember when I was in the 9th grade on the bus school and you called the 97.9 to brag on me. I remember you were 8 months pregnant walking around the campus of Sam Houston when I first went to college. I had no people skills and you and my aunt found me a roommate.

The very first job I had was an internship at your company and I was horrible. I almost caught a sexual harassment charge though that girl wasn’t even cute and was sort of evil, I scanned the wrong documents, I came to work late. With all that you covered for me.

I know I can be cold at times, standoffish, but I need you to understand that’s not a reflection of you. I think you’re an amazing woman and an amazing mother. That’s just something inside of me. Something I have to fix and deal with on my own. My little sisters look up to you. I look up to you.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be affectionate or call everyday but I will always be there for you because you are my mother and I do love you unconditionally. The way a son loves a mother. So now the next time I talk to a woman and she asks me if I’ve ever written a love letter to my mother, I can tell her.

Of course. I wrote one my Mother’s Day.

Love Forever and Always,

Your Son Demez

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

Give. Share. Love. Obligation

Co Written By: Ashley B. Patton

Her Words
I am your average fly. Moving full speed ahead with no real direction, I can often get entangled into the stickiest of webs. Unintentionally, I make rash decisions that often happen when a young adult becomes a real adult. Everything is going smoothly; life’s boat is coasting with the tide. Then out of nowhere comes a tropical thunderstorm that does everything but sink my boat. Freaking Life of Pi.

Drowning in my own web of confusion, I am often stuck to my own mess trying to pray my way out of what seems like rock bottom. When I finally stop fighting the air and relax, I coast. During this frightening yet tranquil time, I reach out for help. For no matter how deep the fertilizer I find myself sinking into, my family will always be there to help pull me out; No matter what.

His Words
Last night I went to visit my grandfather in the hospital, I left my wallet at home and had 5 dollars in my pocket. Parking was 10. My cousin was just a phone call away. Whenever my aunt or grandmother cook they ask me if I want a plate, they actually insist. My uncle helped fix my brakes, all he wanted was a thank you. No matter how hard my day or how stressful my struggle there has always been someone there.

Her Words
I imagine myself a vagrant. Walking the streets day and night; night after cold, rainy night. I have hit rock bottom. Only out on the pavement, there isn’t a mama to call. Hell, I don’t have a phone to even attempt! My hair and skin are full of soot and I haven’t changed clothes in over a week. Even if I had family to go home to, I am too ashamed to show up unannounced and filthy. On top of all that, I am hungry. Yes, the soup kitchen fed me lunch yesterday, but it’s been almost 12 hours since my last meal. The last car to pass by gave me $1. A McDonald’s burger would sound okay if I felt like being stared at and treated like I have leprosy. It does little good to cry and I have forgotten how to smile. So I just sit here on this street corner, waiting for the next $1.

His words
Newspaper is my savior tonight. I stick it in my shoes to fill in the holes in the soles. I stuff it in my pants to block the wind from cutting through me. Today was a good day, a lady handed me a couple pieces of chicken and half a biscuit out her car. My stomach wants it but I’m trying to save it for Thanksgiving. The line at the shelter was down the street, I saw older guys that needed the heat more than me. It started with me losing my job, then my car, then more couches then I could count before my pride made me stop asking. Now I’m here walking. It’s easier to walk then it is to sit. If I sit I may not get up.

Her words
There was always someone to tend to my every need when I had lost the ability to care for myself, I give as much as I can give to those who do not have a lifeboat. I throw out a lifeline to those in my path as I travel down my own journey. For it has been said that we should pull up others as we climb higher; I just tend to reach all the way to the bottom with my outstretched arm. Every $1 I pass through my window, every care package I distribute, and every meal I serve to those less fortunate than myself is more than an act of kindness; it is my obligation.

His Words
To say I live a blessed life is an understatement. I’ve never experienced struggle. Giving doesn’t start with a turkey at Thanksgiving or a ham at Christmas. Giving starts with our intentions. The change in our ashtrays. Watching a single mother have to put back groceries and buying the things she couldn’t afford. For me giving back is showing little boys that its cool to read. It’s giving away a coat that still fits because someone just needs it more. Doing for people that need it is simply my obligation.

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Cuffing Season or Settling Season?

182240_562470723185_118401058_31406809_1126638_nIt’s incredibly easy to feel like cold weather and a Boyz II Men Christmas CD is Gods way of telling you that he doesn’t want you to be alone during the Holiday season but isn’t there something sort of off about giving the most intimate and family oriented time of year to someone just because it’s cold or you don’t want to go to Thanksgiving dinner alone?

I’ve been guilty of making cuffing season jokes since Halloween, maybe even before that, but understand something, Cuffing season is a real thing. Outside of the songs and jokes people really do enter into situationships this time of year and there are tangible reasons for it. The weather is colder, the nights come earlier, people don’t want to go out. It feels better lying on the couch watching a movie, cooking and staying warm. The Holidays feel better when there’s someone to share them with even if that’s not someone you were wanting to spend that time with in June or July.

It’s more than just physical interaction by the way and by physical I’m not talking about sex. It’s being close to someone, laying on them, cooking next to them, seeing them step out the shower. Even if you never do more than feel their body heat against yours you’re building a connection with someone based off the fact it’s cold outside. You’re spending Thanksgiving feeding him or her, you’re going to buy them a Christmas gift because you like how they look in a tie or a pair of shoes. Feelings start to develop that aren’t real because come Spring you’re going to want to pursue other options. We all want to be important to someone, the important thing is that it isn’t phantom importance.

There’s a difference between compromising and settling, compromising is having an honest opinion about where you are in life and what you’re looking for and realizing your expectations will have you lonely. Settling is seeing the way someone looks at you and falling in love not with that person but with that feeling. Settling is him calling you and asking if you’re hungry and you remembering how good that feels to know someone is thinking about you. “Cuffing Season” isn’t the time of year to decide which is which. It’s okay to be alone, being alone is better than having to pull yourself out of a situation you never intended on being in anyway.

Why Valentine’s Day Matters…

fancy boxMy name is Demez White and I can’t stand negative people. I don’t like to be around them, I don’t like to talk to them or date them. Life is too short to hate everything or to be so cynical.

I’m the guy that lives alone and has no children but still decorates for Christmas. I’m the guy that will buy flowers for a first date, pick you up if it’s storming or if it’s late at night and I don’t like the idea of you going to Whataburger alone. And guess what??? I still love the idea of Valentine’s Day no matter how good I treat my “her” every other day of the year.

I’m fully aware that there is a segment of our population that hates everything. Valentine’s Day is commercial, Christmas is about Jesus, not about gifts, Mothers Day is just a Hallmark Holiday, “you should honor your mom every day. I won’t tell those people to shut up because they feel how they feel but I will say this, “Just because you don’t like something, why try and convince everyone else not to like it?” If you’re so happy with your everyday life, why are you putting down other people that take pleasure in something you don’t even care about?

I have one of the most loving families you’ll ever meet. We celebrate birthdays, graduations, have Sunday dinners and care about each other’s feelings. Every year when I did have someone I made sure to go out of my way for her because if I was with her she deserves it. And this idea that “you should do it every day” doesn’t work for me. Because as a man I’m not going to go over the top every day. I can’t go to Crave and get special cupcakes every day; I can’t go to Victoria’s Secret and get special Valentine’s Day tops every day.

So you keep on hating Holidays and life and worrying about what makes other people happy and me and the people like me will just stay in our lane with the people that think like us.

Happy Valentine’s Day or in your case, Happy Thursday.