November 15

Pardon Me While I Burst

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I stand in line for pardon, begging to be forgiven for past sins. As I meekly approach the hour of judgement, at the slow pace of twenty-five to life, I wonder what the executioner has in store for me. If there was a witch in the middle of the woods, who could tell me how it ends, would I seek her out?

My friends and I explored the woods many days in my youth, as darkness creeped into the sky. We never found her cabin, but I found some peace of mind. In the stillness on the trails, I gently winded through what seemed like endless thoughts. Past swamps, I wondered if I would ever be a man I was hoping to be?

Would I settle down or chase beatnik Kerouac dreams? My soul is wandering and old. It is not destined for any one location, but a sailor sojourning through the sea. As I laid my head down at night, I found the oceans of the depths of my mind. Ever expanding horizons to conquer. From land, to sky, I traveled across synapses hoping to find a place to call home.

To sleep perchance to dream. I am recycling lines. Both others and mine. My soul appropriates as it grows ever older, wandering and wondering if it will ever find a home. When walking through the stillness wasn’t working, I found myself pulling shoes from feet, to walk barefoot. I needed to feel. Anything. Even the pain of thorn in the balls of your feet is something to keep you grounded. Keep you present. To keep you from brambling through the thickets of your brain.

I ask the Good Lord to wash my feet. I ask for judgement, but demand to be free. I am not looking for God, I am looking for a witch in the woods to tell me my lot in life. To cast bones and rattle chains. To show me my colored strand in the fabric of this place. To show me where the shears will decide my fate.

I stand in line because I see others doing so. Asking for penance is not my style. I am fire and brimstone. A heretic of the modern worlds. As they preach for peace, I can be found like the snake in the Garden of Eden.

“Let it burn” I hiss.

Let it burn. I am not of this world. To me, they are the aliens. Abject in thoughts. Minds sickened, subconscious drunk on reality tv.

“Let it burn” I begin to chat. “Burn it to the ground.” 

I miss the days searching the woods. Before technological chains kept us inside. I miss the Kerouac dreams I keep recycling when I write.

A longing for a cup of coffee and wayward skies.

I turn the volume on the music up, little by little. I will drown my thoughts tonight. I don’t want to explore tonight lest I drown. In thoughts of lighting this world on fire and laughing as it burns down. I am no longer gently winding, the waters are choppy and I begin to move faster and faster.

Faster.

FASTER.

At a frenetic pace, I am crashing through the woods. Wildlife startled, I am searching for the witch.

“When will I be free of this mind!” I scream.

Laughter, soft and sinister. I am past the caveats and closer to danger.

“WHEN WILL I BE FREE OF THIS LIFE?” I bellow!

Somebody sedates me. I sip the rotgut and begin to slow my pace. I sip the fire water and slowly I fill fine. I am pulled from the woods, given proper shower and shave. Someone’s hand on my back, I am gently moved forward. I stare with dead eyes, asking to be saved.

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November 15

Beauty

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I contend I may never be a beautiful writer. The one who has words dancing along the screen. Awe-inspiring, like ballet dancer pirouetting through my mind. My words are stripped, naked and raw, for inspection and reflection. Bits of myself, unapologetic and open.

I fear I may never find an alleyway tucked between busy streets. An escape plan and a cup of coffee. The bustle moving around; I will forever be pulled with the crowd. Even if it is kicking and screaming, I may never find that quiet-tucked-in-alleyway home.

My mind percolates as the coffee brews. It takes me to the edges of despair. Babe, I ain’t gone over yet. I stare out over cliff, dangling one foot and hoping a gust of wind doesn’t sweep me to my demise.

Babe, it ain’t killed me yet. 

My essential oils are the smells of fire and chemical reactions. Nicotine, creating emphysema halos above heads on a late night. Lips dipped in whiskey and slow tunes to set the mood. I want to out smoke, out drink, and out shine the moon. Chasing the stars from the sky as cups spill over; drowning out the night.

I want words to make you fall in love. A spell-wrapped stanza, quivering as it drips. A shiver as I crawl in. Inside you. Down your spine. Causing goosebumps up your sides and down your arms. I want to be the tragic quote, causing star-crossed lovers to fall into one another’s arms.

Kiss and dance. Spin her round and lift him up. Do your stuff, Love, do your stuff.

Long have I been a prisoner of my mind. I lay shackled to a long lost romanticism of words. Voracious is my appetite. For those who don’t know, it means I always want more. I am hungry for love and lust, as Shakespearean thoughts spin tragedy into love.

It’s tragic in this mind, but I call it home.

I try to blood let my thoughts. There are pieces of paper hidden around this home, with words scrawled, barely legible, as I let it out a little at a time. I am not filled with books, I am filled with time. And tales. And meter.

And rhyme.

I am the songwriter who couldn’t sing, putting simple heartache to chord. There is no music, but you should be listening for the verse.

I carry my pain simply, like Johnny Cash singing Hurt.

I would go as far as to say I am the Man in Black of words, burning in a ring of fire. The world needs beauty, but that will never be me. I am bare naked in my words and the scars catch the light. If breakdown is your beauty, then maybe I am your guy.

As the coffee percolates my thoughts, the ballet dancer begins to pirouette through time.

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November 15

Tomorrow’s World

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As blood poured down my face, I activated the camera on my phone and snapped a picture. Being kicked in the face had it’s perks.

Only moments before, I was on the ground letting out an ugly howl/shriek/cry as I clutched my face. By the lightning pain shooting through my face, I could tell my nose was broken. I had gotten into a fight with three guys and decided to take one to the ground. You don’t win three on ones, you just pick someone to hurt as badly as possible before you get your ass stomped. I’ve been in enough fights to know it is nothing like the movies. People don’t come at you one at a time. They swarm, punching and grabbing you from every which direction.

When the first big guy threatened me with a good time, I gladly obliged him. Connecting with a clean right he didn’t see coming, I followed it up with a left before I felt the next guy grab me. Shimmying out of my shirt, I swung wildly before making my own grab for someone. As I took one to the ground, I figured the end would be soon. I began throwing as many elbows and fists into the dude’s face as fast as possible.

The first punch to the back of the head did nothing to stop my swinging. When an uppercut came, I rolled away hoping that would be enough. As a boot made impact with my ribs, I wanted to laugh. If I wasn’t gasping for breathe from being kicked in the ribs, I might of. Clutching my now bruised ribs, I made the one and only mistake of the night. I left my face unguarded. As the boot connected with my nose, the searing pain blinded me.

I couldn’t tell you how long I laid there mixing blood and tears into the dirt, but when I got up most of the people had cleared out.

I didn’t care about the bruised ribs. Or the broken face. My mouth filled with blood, I cared about taking a selfie.

Many years ago, as a kid I followed some pretty heavy metal bands on Myspace. I remembered this one lead singer who had a profile pic of him with blood running down his face. I don’t know why, but I always wanted a photo like that. It seemed like the perfect picture to describe how I felt. Bloodied, broken, but smiling. It captured my daily struggle with life.

Snapping that selfie was like crossing a life goal off my list.

“Are you taking a fucking selfie?” Someone said, half horrified, half laughing.

There is a certain madness I know I carry. To take a picture moments after being sprawled out in the dirt is insanity. But, I was alive. A bit broken, but alive nonetheless.

There is a line I love from the movie Green Street Hooligans. Once you’ve taken a few punches and realize you’re not made of glass, you don’t feel alive unless you’re pushing yourself as far as you can go. 

Maybe part of my problem is the romanticism I wrapped violence in growing up. In today’s world, that isn’t acceptable. But, when I was growing up, fighting was something you did.

As a boy, I fought because I was the only white kid in an all-Mexican neighborhood. When I moved to Connecticut, I fought because I was angry and having a hard time assimilating. If you have never been West Coast to East Coast, you wouldn’t understand the shift. People are nicer out west. The east is rife with stuck up folks who wouldn’t know politeness if it hit them in the face. So I hit them in the face.

I am not proud of the broken knuckles I have accrued over the years. For awhile, violence was all I knew. When I became a father and tried to live my life in a more thoughtful manner, I realized the world was changing for the better. Out back bare knuckle brawling wasn’t something I wanted my kids to embrace.

It always kills me when I see people bitch about how the world is changing. It’s too politically correct. People these days want things the last generation had to work for. Back in the day, my parents beat me and I turned out fine.

All of that, all of it, is bullshit. Trying to make a world where a kid doesn’t feel the need to lash out violently because he is different is a world I am happy to be a part of building. I want my kids to not have to worry if they are different. I want your kids not to worry, too. As far as free handouts, if I can do my part to get children the chance to go to school, go to the doctor, do things I didn’t always get the chance to do growing up- I am going to be for that. It doesn’t feel like entitlement to want to leave the world a better place for my children. I once had a chair thrown at my back because I wasn’t going to my room fast enough. I can remember every ass-whooping I got growing up. I can barely remember the hugs and kisses.

I didn’t turn out fine. I turned out a fucking mess.

Unless you are working your dream job, in your dream home, with your dream car- chances are you didn’t turn out fine either. This isn’t me judging or attempting to condemn the past generation. They did what they felt was best. I am hopeful of that at least. But if I have to see the guy I went to high school with, who was smarter than me back in the day, say he turned out fine because he got ass-whooping as a kid- I might go crazy. Working at the local gas station in the same shitty town you grew up in doesn’t mean you turned out fine.

In today’s world, you are more crazy for wanting to provide free tuition than you are for snapping a picture after getting your face broken in. Nobody sees something wrong with that?

People complain about everything changing in the world as we try to build a more inclusive society. I don’t think we are doing enough. I don’t want Today’s world.

I want Tomorrow’s world. 

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November 11

American Hangover

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The thought of deporting my father-in-law appeases me. Unfortunately, after he snuck in this country illegally, he went back and did things the right way, becoming a citizen. Damnit.

It is interesting to me to watch what’s going on in my country. It goes to show how two people can see a situation so vastly different. This sort of thing must have researchers dry humping fact sheets. It is equal parts amazing and terrifying to watch.

MY SON LOVES TO TURN THE CAPS LOCK ON WHENEVER HE SEES ME WITH THE COMPUTER OUT. MAYBE HE IS ON TO SOMETHING. MAYBE I SHOULD WRITE LIKE THIS. WAKE UP AMERICA!

It got too intense there. It’s already intense enough in here and spiraling fast. Let’s ease off the caps.

I can’t be too angry with those who voted for Trump. While him becoming the president-elect gutted me, I looked more towards the failures of the Democratic Party than this being the voice of the people. They propped up a candidate with a controversial history and inability to connect with the young voter. Sure, maybe there was never a prison sentence or any charges- but the damage had been done.

Man, I miss Bernie. Maybe the fifty percent who chose not to come out to vote missed him too. I watch the protesters take to the streets and count bricks in hand. I look for matches hanging out of pockets and a part of me thinks maybe we should burn this country to the ground.

I grew up on war. A lot of us did. Watching Giuliani take the stage felt like the good ol’ war boys sneaking their way back in to the big house. What I remember from my childhood is two wars and the second biggest economic depression in American history. All under a republican regime. To me, it feels like they crashed the car we spent the last almost decade fixing to be well enough on the road. Why are we letting them drive again?

But whatever, the election was rigged and corrupt. Until it wasn’t. Until the Electoral College, where only 29 states legally bind their electors to the popular vote, decided this election. It is more a shame to me that half of America didn’t even come out. Sure, Clinton won the popular vote, but half of America didn’t feel this was important enough to come out.

I guess it goes back to what I said in the beginning, how two people can see a situation so vastly different. I came out. As I went through the hoops to cast my ballot, I told the registrar I was doing my part to help avoid an American Apocalypse.

I count the bricks and matches, wondering what windows will be smashed in tonight. My children already know how to shout “FIGHT THE POWER” with fist in air. They will grow up understanding civil disobedience is as much a civic duty as voting. I wonder if they will someday pull bandana over face and laden pockets with matches.

Question everything. Except me, your omnipotent father. The God Complex of parenting. 

I will always be loud and critical. I will also take the time to listen. We learned what an echo chamber does this election. Deleting, unfriending, blocking- again, I fault you, Democratic Party. Actively ignoring things you don’t like doesn’t mean you are going high when they go low. It means you are being ignorant. I say that with love and bitter taste in my mouth.

Election recap time!

DNC cheats the young voter. 

White women betray the country. 

Donald Trump destroys the progressive state in a day. 

It isn’t the average Trump voter that bothers me. I had family members vote for him. I had friends vote for him. It’s the people who got all excited to finally put their nazi flags up outside instead of just hanging them in their bedrooms. Those people bother me.

Then again, watching the African American Defense League throw weight behind Clinton must not have sat well with some.

We can all agree the KKK and it’s black counterpart, the AADL, might not be good for America?

My hands are starting to tremble. I need a smoke. Or a brick. 

Peaceful protest is nice, but riots hit the evening news. 

My children shout “Fight the power!” in the background. I worry about what I share with them. If you believe in something enough, like religion or a love for Pepsi over Coke, you impress it on your children. I believe in raging against the machine.

I remember watching a child take a giant knife to a teddy bear. An ISIS flag hanging behind his curly, precious, head.

Radical anything should disgust and unsettle. If anything leans too far one way or the other it is bound to topple over.

“Fight the power!”

We shout it at Peppa and I wonder what they will laden their pockets with.

“Fight the power!”

And I wonder if my children, like me, will only know war time.

My generation was fed Ritalin and video games. When we became aware of the mess we were left with, we were labeled entitled whiners. The ones who handed us a shit economy, no, a shit country, called us entitled.

“What did you expect? We would give you something? You always want! WANT WANT WANT! God, take your ramen noodles and go sob elsewhere. ENTITLED PRICKS.

Like an abusive drunk. They crashed the car, yelled at us for it, then demanded we fix it. When we did, they took it for another spin. Them good ol’ boys.

“Fight the power!” 

My generation grew up on violence, watching planes fly into building and classmates ship overseas. They are demanding peaceful protests from the children they labeled whiny and entitled. They forgot to show us what peaceful looks like. 

“Fight the power.” They scream enthusiastically at the TV. I wonder if they will ever get the opportunity to learn what the word peace means.

What will we accuse them of when they come of age? Not graciously accepting a country that is a shell of what it used to be?

Pile your bricks by the door. Come and eat your porridge, kids. What did you entitled little pricks do today? 

“Fight the power!” We scream it at the TV.

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November 10

Nano Poblano: The Alien Hour Part Two

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Read part one, by AR Neal, HERE

 

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“What the F-“ A sharp jolt of electricity jumped through my body.

“Yes, we had heard of your people’s propensity to use those derogatory words.” It said.  Only a moment before, I had been stuck in middle-of-nowhere America with AR and another one of these things.  This one had a more feminine, slender frame about it, unlike my original captor. It’s purple skin shimmered, drawing my attention away from the inordinate amount of eyeballs staring at me. It pulled a laptop out, leaving tentacle marks across the top of it. The laptop! I recognized the Nerd Revolution stickers adorning it. I hoped these things didn’t check browser history.

Things. Before I knew it, I began to giggle over a joke AR made about bathrooms with our first captor. Were we captives? I certainly didn’t end up on this ship by free will. There wasn’t a whole lot of freedom going around these days and, as I remembered the past few months, it didn’t seem much normalcy had been going around either.

“Wha-what are you looking at? The stuff in the browser history is purely for scientific research. They have science where you come from, right?” I stumbled through the words apprehensively. Maybe I should shut my mouth, I thought.

“No need to shut your mouth. I am looking through blogs.”

BLOGS? I can’t even stand them and I have one. Well, two. Okay, three.I have three of them. But, who would look through blogs if they didn’t have to?

“If you must know, it is where we get most of our information on your peculiar species.” She…It continued. “You can call me She if it makes you feel more comfortable.”

Was that annoyance in It… Her voice? 

“According to the blogs, no one voted for Donald Trump. Yet, you Americans are calling him your next president? How does this work? Where is the fight to the death?”

I imagined Hillary in some chainmail with an axe. Maybe that would make America great again.

“The blogs had it wrong!” The words sounding as ridiculous as they could. The blogs got it wrong. That’s the best way I could explain it to this creature.

I hoped AR was providing a more thoughtful answer to their questions.

I’m fu-, I began to think a swear and felt the jolt of electricity.

“Stay out of my godd- *Jolt* F- *Jolt* Sh *JOLT*” Keeled over on the floor, I watched her slither towards me.

“Didn’t you read those words are easy way outs? I thought you were a writer.”

“No, I’m an As*jolt*shole” Grimacing, I forced the word past the pain. If this was to be my last day, there was gonna be some freedom of speech. And by freedom of speech, I meant swearing. Lot’s of it.

“You Americans are a peculiar bunch. If only you gripped one another as tight as your weapons, we wouldn’t have to be here.”

“You’ve read one too many blog posts.” I grimaced, still keeled over from forcing out that one swear. I contented myself to my fate. This was it. Death by aliens.

Meh, I could live with that.

But, why AR and I? They could have abducted anyone.

“You’re probably wondering why we chose you and your friend.” Clearly, she was in my head again.

“No, not I!” The sarcasm was flowing now, with no way to contain it.

“Odd, your brain said you were. Must be a malfunction. We have come from a future in hopes of understanding how it began.”

“How WHAT happened?” This was starting to get just plain confusing.

“The Intergalactic War. When Donald Trump began to deport all the illegal aliens.”

I had to laugh. The Don was ready to boot the aliens alright.

“We call people who are not from our country ‘aliens’. He is going to kick those ones out. Most of us aren’t even sure YOU exist. Well, we have the X-Files, but there is still healthy skepticism.” Jeez, I hope AR was giving better answers than I.

“Yes, it starts with closing your country up to others. But, what do you think happened when he discovered us?” Her tentacles began to flail. “Your people can’t even love one another if your pigmentation is different. When we were discovered, how do you think people reacted? I wish you gripped each other as much as you gripped your weapons. Now, we have to stop this from happening.”

Music begins to blare from my laptop. Rage Against the Machine.

“You are a fan of civil disobedience?” She asked, as I nodded along. Pistol Grip Pump blared through the room. In staring at It…Her, I hadn’t even noticed the room. It looked more like a Best Buy than what I imagined the inside of a space ship to be. Speakers, DVD’s, and electronics. The aliens apparently liked to Black Friday shop.

“It’s time for you and your friend to partake in some Intergalactic Civil Disobedience”

Did we just get abducted by Alien Activists? 

She nodded her head.

“Fu *JOLT* Yeah, I am in. But you are gonna have to ease up on the jolting.”

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WOO, THAT WAS FUN! Shout out to Bradley of Green Embers for putting so much time and effort into this wonderful November project and bringing together a diverse and wonderful group of talented writers artists. Thanks to Ra of Rarasaur for including me in her Cheer Peppers. It means the world to me. #71 and #75 of the awesome Cheer Pepper’s Promptosaur! Thanks so much for doing this with me AR. You knocked part one out of the park! Awesome to work together! Check out AR at One Starving Activist.

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October 25

A Case Of Mistaken Identity

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On a hot summer day when my twins were only a year and a half old, I decided to make them some cold lunches. Simple enough, right?

Three hours later we walked out of the hospital.

On that sunny day, I made my children peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into cute little squares. I sliced banana and put it on the side. It was the perfect meal for growing boys. Feeding them, I couldn’t help feel proud of myself for such a nice meal on such a hot day. As I was busy patting myself on the back, my son began to break out in splotchy red rashes. One trip to the hospital confirmed my worst suspicions. Peanut butter wasn’t a good choice for an afternoon meal ever again, because my child happened to be allergic to it.

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Flash forward two years. Armed with this knowledge and Epi-Pens, we have managed to keep both twins, and their little brother, alive. Peanut butter is barely, if ever, eaten in the home. As our son’s greatest protector, I look over packaging for ingredients to make sure everything he consumes is nut free. That is until a bag of cookies catches my attention at the grocery store.

The cookies were chocolate chip, with peanut butter cups baked into them. I don’t know who is in charge of coming up with crazy cookie ideas, but they need a raise because these were an amazing idea. I couldn’t resist buying a pack and bringing it home. Once you know your child has a peanut allergy, it is relatively easy to shield them from the dangerous little nut.

Let me tell you, for what it’s worth, these cookies were delicious. If they didn’t scar my family, we probably would keep them constantly in stock. Now, I knew there would come a point where my kids would catch me munching cookies and demand some. You don’t live in a house with toddlers without understanding they will always find the cookies.

When the kids came around demanding their fair share, I doled out a couple of cookies to the youngest and to his brother. The youngest we had checked when he turned one if he had an allergy by smearing peanut butter on some bread and putting 911 on speed dial. It wasn’t fair to me that one allergic kid keep his brother’s from missing out on peanut butter. So I gave some regular, non-laden with peanut butter cups, cookies to the son we took to the hospital and some peanut butter goodness cookies to his brothers.

Now, on that fateful day many years ago when we first found out about the allergy, when my son started to break out, I administered allergy meds to both children. They were twins, so I figured better safe than sorry to hit them both with the medicine on the chance they both might be going through an allergic reaction. Then, I ran to the other room to grab my phone so I could call people and get the situation under control. It should also be noted when my twins were babies, they had eczema and not the best skin. They also looked very, very, similar.

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I have always prided myself on being able to tell my sons apart. Even as babies, when they looked almost identical, I could still be counted on to differentiate who was who.

As I looked over at my now four-year old son, I first thought he was rubbing his eye because he was tired. This made me excited. Who doesn’t love an early bedtime?

“You sleepy, Buddy?” I asked, trying to contain my excitement. When he turned towards me, my stomach dropped.

This kid’s normally adorable face had transformed. He looked less like my son and more like Sloth from The Goonies.

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“Shit!”

I scooped him up and brought him to the kitchen.

“Shit. Shit. SHIT!”  I shouted as I grabbed the allergy medicine and motioned to my wife.

She looked at me confused.

“Remember when we found out Killian had the peanut allergy? Remember how it was weird how his allergy tests came back as barely any irritation to peanut butter? Well, I think I had taken the wrong kid to the hospital.” I said, turning our son in her direction.

“Shit!” she said, before grabbing him and coats. As she bundled them up for a hospital trip, I told her to hold on a moment. Pulling my phone out, I snapped a picture of my son’s splotchy mug.

“Seriously?!”

“We just gave him medication, I am sure the doctors will want to see how his reaction looked before that” I defensively said, as I uploaded the photo to social media. As my son went on his way to the hospital, I sat down next to my other two children and stared at my other twin. My phone beeped out an alert for a message. The message from my wife flashed across the screen.

“Don’t ever give me shit about mistaking the twins again.”

 

 

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September 20

Platforms

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It has always been my belief that if you have a platform, you use it. Time and time again, I have tried to use the social media presence I’ve gathered to do so. From Syrian Refugees to the inaction of the U.S. Government when it comes to protecting it’s people from gun violence. I feel compelled to try and take my little light from the internet and shine it as bright as possible on these issues.

I have talked about sadness.

About being a father.

About loss.

I highlight the rainy days and sunny ones. I highlight how we take up activism for a week before forgetting about it the next week. Hell, I even wrote about what being a mommy blogger is.

This platform I have built does not sit here to be admired. This isn’t a pedestal I have erected. I don’t invite people to stare at the hard work I put into the platform, because it wasn’t built to be something gazed at. I built this presence to highlight issues I believed important to my children’s future. I believe the things I talk about to be important to everyone’s children. So, I continue to stand upon this platform, stomping my feet while I shout, “THIS IS IMPORTANT. WE NEED TO DISCUSS IT.”

Not because I like reading my own words or having others read them. Not to gain some massive following and be recognized anywhere. Because we need dialogue. We need to talk. The far right. The far left. The highly opinionated and the unsure. We all need to come together and talk.

Why is it so hard to do for so many people? Why is the act of discussing our differing views of the world something we find so difficult?

In some cases, it seems we find it too difficult to do.

I’ve got a hunch as to why we choose not to openly engage in discussions. As much as we all purport to want to leave our children a better world, we also don’t enjoy being wrong. When voicing our opinions we open ourselves up to being really wrong sometimes.

Does this fear of being wrong override the growing sense that we aren’t leaving a better world for our children to live in?

Well, I am just fine with being wrong. Please, prove me wrong on this one issue, I would like to leave my children with something beautiful, not a flaming pile of shit.

We need to all collectively take accountability of our people. To accept things are different because we all walk different roads.

I will be the first to say I don’t fully grasp what checking my privilege means.

I will be the first to say feminism leaves me wary of the world. Not because I don’t believe in equality for women, but because I don’t quite know how to educate and raise my boys in a world that is finally shifting it’s mindset about gender views.

There are so many things changing in this world, some I don’t understand. But, I try to. I don’t scoff at them like they are common core math.

Common core math, haven’t a clue about it. I would like to try to learn it myself before calling it ridiculous.

There is a lot in this world I would prefer to learn before being stuck in my preconceived notions.

I think we need to advocate loudly from all our platforms. To shine our little lights on real issues. Today my newsfeed is divided. An unarmed black man with his hands up was shot dead. Brad and Angelina are getting divorced.

Guess which side had a more fiery comments section.

Nobody saw the divorce coming.

Another officer involved shooting is becoming redundant.

We continue to have the same arguments again and again. Whatever community you end up being affiliated with, whether it be comprised of similar views or skin color or job occupation. We have our lines drawn in the sand, with one side clamoring for accountability while the other digs their feet in for the defense.

We don’t like being attacked and we certainly don’t like being wrong.

I use a word up there I have used time and time again in my writing.

Accountability. 

I think we seriously lack accountability and maybe it is because we correlate it with being wrong.

We need good cops vocally distancing themselves from bad cops.

We need good black people vocally and vehemently taking down those who would try to undermine the message.

We need republicans willing to put country before party.

We need democrats willing to do the same.

We need gun advocates to be as outraged and upset over mass shootings as the rest of us.

We need to understand harassing good gun owners isn’t going to solve a growing problem. We also might need to figure out what the word AR stands for in AR-15.

We need men as vocal as women in their outrage of rape culture.

We need women who, well, we might just need women in general. For everything.

I believe in America. I believe in admitting faults. Not to show weakness but to acknowledge we can be better.

There is a middle ground there somewhere, where we can shed the pride and try to build an understanding. A place we can listen. Actually listen and understand. Without waiting for the chance at rebuttal.

I am talking, but are you actually listening? Did you get stuck somewhere and begin formulating your comment at that point?

This is my platform and I will continue to use it as a position to hold public dialogue over events that affect our children’s welfare. Whether you agree with anything I say or not, it doesn’t matter. Actually, it does matter. A lot. Whether you agree with anything I say or not, it matters that you use your voice. What matters is we look for that middle ground and try to find understanding.

What matters is we talk.

Because I believe in America. I believe in us. And I believe you want to leave the world a better place for your children, too. Regardless of whatever different things we believe in, I think we can find a way. We have to.

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September 4

Boys Don’t Cry, Son.

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Boys don’t cry, Son. You heard me. I said boys don’t cry. But, you know what? Men do. Men cry all the time.

I cried. I cried when you were born and I cried when you came home. I cry when a movie comes on that reminds me of how special a bond between parent and child is. I cry at a beautiful song and I cry at memories long gone. I cried when my mama died and I cried when I saw you cry, too.

Boys don’t cry, son. But men do.

You see, there are a lot of times where the world will tell you not to cry. That it isn’t something masculine. There will be people telling you all the time. They will say

“Boys don’t cry, Son.”

And they will be right. Because boys don’t cry. Grown men cry. Men who have grown from being boys to understand that if you keep it all bottled inside, if you keep living with that sadness, there is no way to get it out that benefits you.

I will say it again, men cry.

Men cry when they need to and there is nothing wrong with shedding tears when you need to.

One of the biggest lessons you will learn, is that sometimes it is okay to cry. You’ll cry and wipe the tears and pretend they were never there but there is no reason for that. Because sometimes the most manly thing you can do is show your vulnerability. It’s okay to break down and cry.

Boys don’t cry, Son. But men do.

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