One of the reasons writing will always have a place in our society is because it allows you to explain yourself. Unlike Twitter which gives you a character limit and you can easily be misquoted or Instagram which gives you one minute and someone can take a fifteen second soundbite and ruin your life, articles allow you to give your entire side.

I have a lot of thoughts on my grandparents generation. I do believe in a sense they were the best of us, they were brave and professional and they built homes, communities and families. But they also had their flaws, they spoiled their children and made a lot of them lazy which led to being bad parents. They cheated in a way in which they would have entire families across town.

They are just such a confusing yet interesting generation. I won’t  get too deep into it but I’m sure a lot of it has to do with being raised by parents that were heavy in Jim Crow and segregation. They saw their parents and grandparents struggle and not know how to read in a lot of cases so they wanted more. More often included sin.

The one thing they did that I did respect, is they always knew to take care of home first. There’s a part on Fences that goes unnoticed. He gives his check to his wife faithfully to pay the bills before he buys his liquor, hangs with his friends, cheats. He knew to take care of home before anything else and when he stopped taking care of home, his life fell apart.

Women were the same way. A woman may have had all the chores to do in the world or may have worked her ass off but she knew when her man walked through the door there would be dinner. She knew that no matter what he was taking care of home so she took care of him.

Our generation has lost that. We live in this constant state of taking care of everything and everyone but home. It’s a bunch of things, it’s technology, it’s circumstance, it’s social media. But they all lead to the same conclusion. We are a generation of selfish people.

In the 90’s a man or woman would work all day and when they got home from work they would call their friend and have a conversation about what went on. Maybe if they have an office phone, they’ll call during lunch. Now we’re in an era where people have 24/7 access to you. If you aren’t talking in a group chat, you’re on the phone, if you aren’t on the phone, you’re on Facebook. Everything feels urgent when the truth is, it isn’t. We carry our phones around like slaves. We neglect those closes to us in hopes a stranger likes a picture.

We don’t take care of home. Getting online and pretending to be in love means more than coming home and making sure someone ate. Going to hang out with friend’s matters more than coming home and surprising your significant other. Everything becomes an argument about who did what or who does more because the truth is our generation just doesn’t care about home.

So we end up with blended families and regret. We end up with people not appreciating what they had until it’s gone when the truth of the matter is, the same people you neglect your family for. The same strangers you crave attention from, once you lose the person that was there for you when the camera phone was off, none of that attention will feel as important.

Life has been and will always be about priorities. Every decision we make leads to the next decision. You can try and justify them but in your heart you know, we all know.

Our grandparents didn’t always do things the right way but they knew to take care of home first.

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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Fall Is Falling In Love Season

Can I be honest with you all for a minute?

I’m not afraid of talking about love or feelings or fears. I’m an adult, adult’s talk about these things. There are plenty of guys that want to be the coolest or hardest in the room, that’s not me. I’m not built like that, I cook and write and flirt and love the little things that make women women. That’s who I’ll always be and I thank God for that.

Living a life where I’m anything or anyone else would make no sense.

Every season is falling in love weather. You can’t control when you meet someone and everything starts to make sense. But something about the fall is just sexy to me. I have better days when the sun isn’t shining as hard and the nights are cooler. I tend to be on my phone less during the day because I actually enjoy working outside.

No matter how cool technology gets it will never compare to the feel of body heat next to you on a couch or porch when that first Fall breeze hit your face. When you have those moments of peace, conversation and attraction falling in love is the most natural vibe in the world.

We fall in like during sunshine and falling leaves. We fall in love when the sun goes down and it’s not quite cold enough for a sweater but just cool enough for her to sit under me because she has goosebumps. When the seasons change so do our outlooks. With beautiful weather comes beautiful memories and with beautiful memories comes sensations that make our lives matter.

I’m sure a lot of people that’ll read this love summer, short dresses, late nights after day parties and summer vacations. I’d never knock summer but Fall is when I feel most alive and how can you not fall in love when you feel alive.

It’s cool to be cynical and feel like love is an overrated word or romance is dead. If you feel that way I can’t blame you because you’ve dealt with stressful men or women in your life. But if you are that person, all I can say to you is to not let that taint the season coming up.

Picnics in the park where the bugs aren’t as bad and the sun isn’t as dreadful. Late night drives to Galveston where you can’t tell just how dark the water is or just how rocky the sand can be.

Stop letting the past haunt you and say yes to whatever guy asked you out last week. Say yes to whatever woman is throwing signs at you but she may not be your type. Say yes to making memories and maybe falling in love.

 

 

 

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I’m Demez and I’m Having A Midlife Crisis

“It took me becoming “midlife” to realize what midlife crisis really meant. It isn’t losing your mind or chasing your youth; it’s getting to an age where your responsibilities outweigh your passions and you have to decide to give them up.” – Lennox’s Dad

A midlife crisis isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t some emotional or mental breakdown where you feel unstable or ashamed. It’s a crossroads moment that every man and woman deal with. It’s that moment where you decide to either settle into a comfortable living and forget about your dreams or you keep pushing and risking the future of your family. 35-40 is that age where you have to decide, do I keep working for a company I hate because I need that retirement or do I not take that promotion because the more hours I spend here, the less hours I can devote to my craft. It’s a real question and it’s a crisis in the middle of your life.

When I was younger I’d see the guy that was about to turn forty and he’d have a little grey coming in, his hair was going away and he’d go get that sports car or motorcycle. Everyone would whisper or joke with him, “Look at Bill, going through a midlife crisis.” I told the same jokes.

When you’re 18 or 21 and feel like you have everything planned out, it isn’t that you think 35 or 40 is old, it’s that you think it’ll be different for me when I get there. I’ll have my dream home and dream car and be a bestselling writer. I won’t settle or give up on my dreams. And then life happens, bills pile up which means you have to take a promotion you don’t want to make more money. That promotion comes with more hours at work. Maybe you have a child or get married and now you’re responsible for lives. Instead of investing that thousand dollars into your passion, you have to save it in case your child gets sick or your woman’s transmission goes out. And slowly you start to realize you haven’t done what you loved in days, then in becomes weeks, then you stop all together and start to focus on your “career.”

There’s this point where it hits you, it has to, I can only speak for myself obviously but very few people were dreaming about making 50k with good benefits when they were twenty two. Your dreams were probably so much bigger than that.

The real definition of a midlife crisis isn’t chasing youth or feeling old. It isn’t seeing grey in your beard or hair and dying it. A midlife crisis is being 35 or 40 and looking up and realizing you’ve been at that job you hate for 5 years and you convince yourself that you may as well work 5 more for the benefits. A midlife crisis is not finishing that book or not starting that food truck because you have to choose responsibility over passion. Imagine dreaming about becoming someone your entire life and now you realize that may never happen. That’s a crisis of life.

Why do you think so many people in our age bracket are walking alcoholics? Our generation makes fun of crackheads and the old guys that get a 40 after work but we’re worse. We literally invented days just to drink. Brunch and Mimosas, Taco Tuesday, Steak and Beer Thursday. The drinking, the fear of commitment, the starting a new relationship and abandoning your family, that’s because we’re going through midlife crisis’s and don’t know it. We look at that as something that happens when you’re 50, not 35 but how many people do you know that die at a 100? I can name you a bunch that die at 70.

All I’m saying is, don’t let obligation or responsibility stop you from pursuing your passions. If you have to take that new job that means you’ll be working 7 days a week, sacrifice your football games or social media time and chase your dreams. Do not let life rob you of what you love because that’s what “we’re supposed to do.” Keep pushing, keep putting out content, keep believing in yourself.

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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.

Trump’s World Is Coming, Get Prepared

Something hit me recently, it came to my attention that most people look at Donald Trump as a character, someone who we love to hate but everything will be okay once he gets out of office. The problem with the mindset is that it doesn’t account for the scale of the damage he can do with simply the stroke of a pen.

Let me give you a cliff notes version of just a handful of the decision he’s made that can literally change all of our lives in a heartbeat.

  • He lifted protections that were in place against banks and wall-street. In the Mid 2000’s when banks were going bankrupt and people were losing their homes. When banks were giving out sub-prime loans, that’s going to start happening again and when it does, there won’t be a bailout this time.

 

  • He’s lifted environmental protections against oil and gas companies drilling in the oceans. This was put in place after those oil tankers lost millions of gallons of gas and destroyed coastal areas in Mississippi and Louisiana.

 

  • This may be the biggest one. Trump will have the ability to shape the Supreme Court and these men and women will be relatively young, meaning they’ll be shaping laws in this country for the next 20 years. Most don’t believe this but there’s a chance Roe V. Wade gets overturned. I’m not even a man that believes in abortions but I do believe women have that right. Could you imagine a world where women had to go to backwoods towns and risk their lives for an abortion?

These are just a few, this doesn’t even mention the immigration issue and the separating of families. The alienating of other countries and aligning ourselves with world leaders that are for all intent and purpose, dictators. This doesn’t account for the school programs that are being shut down.

Trump’s world is coming and it will be a dark place.

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I Don’t Think Thoughts And Prayers Are Working

Today a high school on the outskirts of Houston was shot up. So far they’re eight children dead and four more seriously injured. By the time I post this those numbers could go up. It seems that the idea of gun reform is a lost cause so I won’t beat on that drum today. I also won’t offer thoughts and prayers because if I was a parent, that would do nothing for me. Your thoughts and prayers won’t bring their child back, your thoughts and prayers won’t take away the pain that will hunt them the rest of their lives.

As someone that has a child on the way, I can only imagine what it must be like to shelter and care for and nurture a child. To survive colds and child birth and hurricanes only to have that child gunned down somewhere where you thought they would be safe. Somewhere where you’ve been sending them since they were old enough to learn.

I’ve never seen a parent that didn’t worry about their child riding their bike in the street or getting home from school safely. I’ve never met a parent that didn’t keep one eye on that kid when they were at the beach or pool. I’ve never seen a mother bathe a toddler and turn her back for more than a couple seconds. These are all natural instincts and fears, what isn’t natural is worrying about your child at school.

We as a society offer thoughts and prayers to these parents, we set up GoFundMe’s and marches and as soon as a playoff game comes on or our President says something stupid; we’re on to the next hot topic of the day. We forget that these parents will never get to move on from this, they will never heal from this. You don’t think parents from Columbine still don’t think about their children, that was in 1999. You don’t think the parents from Sandy Hook don’t watch their neighbor’s kids playing in the street or see birthday parties on Facebook and break down? This is real life, real trauma, real heartbreaking stuff.

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When our grandparents pass away after living a full life surrounded by family and friends you can understand it, you can hold their hand and feel that they’re at peace. When children don’t make it into this world, it breaks your heart, you ask God why but it’s life. It’s not supposed to happen in the middle.

I have a little sister that’s in the 11th grade. I have countless cousins and nieces and nephews that are in High School. If I’m being perfectly honest, I never really thought anything could happen to any of them. There are over 20,000 high schools in this country, the odds of one of them being involved in a shooting like this is under 1%. I use to rationalize it that way until today. Until it happens in your city, until you realize Texas leads the nation in buying guns. Now I can imagine it, now I can imagine what these families must feel.

I don’t like what I see when my imagination takes shape. So I can only imagine what their real lives must be life after today. After all the days where something like this happens.