Guest Post- “just be a man”

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Just be a man, man up, men are supposed to, let a man do it, find a good man. We all have heard these phrases used to challenge, encourage, or in some cases to antagonize a Man. Just be a man? I would even argue that it has become stereotypical to say “be a man”. I recall the day my 3 brothers and I were ridiculed by our dad. It was summer (school was out) the 3 tiered wooden steps that were connected to the front door of the house were loose, as were the railings. I believe at the time my youngest brother was 8 and my oldest brother 15. My father came home and was mad that we hadn’t fixed the steps. Our thought was, fix it with what, but neither of us said anything. He cursed and ranted while searching for a hammer and nails and lobbed the following; “you are a bunch of girls, not one man in the bunch”. Wow! Back in the day, I guess that was considered, being a man. I believe that behaviors are learned. That was a hell of a lesson.

 

As young men mature they pick up on a wide range of behaviors typically from the men they spend most of their time with or with those they have chosen to emulate. Some young men pick grandpa, a favorite uncle, cousin, perhaps their brother, a teacher, their buddy’s dad, the pastor, etc. Others are just who they are because of heredity. So you know what you get? Nothing different,someone that essentially has taken on another man’s traits. Men are not complicated we are incarnations of a previous man. The only thing that separates one from another are their fingerprints. Once a boy develops into a man, whether it was a learned or inherited behavior, he now takes on another aspect of life called, a relationship with the opposite sex. This is quite possibly the area of much angst for men and women.

 

Women are often overheard saying, “I just want to find a good man.” Someone like their dad, someone like their grandpa, hell someone like their sister’s husband (LOL), their friend’s husband, just a good man. Some men lack in romance, but are great with kids. (Good man?) Some men will romance the hell out of a lady, but don’t want to listen to anything she has to say.(Bad man?) Some men will work hard and bring home all the bacon and sit on the couch until it is time to head out and do it again. (Good man?) How about the guy that starts a relationship, tells a woman he loves her and then realizes that he has some things about himself that he needs to work on? (Bad man?) How about the man that marries a woman and stops doing all the things that he did for her to fall in love with him? (Bad man?) How about the guy that takes you on dates and hangs out with you but doesn’t want a commitment? (Bad guy?) There are truly some bad men in the world; the abusers, the pedophiles, the dead beat dads, and the users (take what you have but give nothing). It goes without saying, those are the guys to stay away from. However, the other guys aren’t bad, they are simply being a man.

 

Just be a man, is a stereotypical phrase that means absolutely nothing, because everyone’s definition of being a man is different. Even men have differing opinions of what it means to be a man. My dad at the time felt being a man was fixing something when it is broken. My definition at the time was being able to teach your boys how to fix something when it is broken.

 

It is not hard to be a man, it is hard being the man that one may think you should be.

 

Just be a man!

 

Guest Post

David Bowman

95503-david

hi ho hi ho off to work…

7dwarfs

 

Work, work, work, work, work, work; this is the hook to Rhianna’s hot new summer track entitled Work.  An uplifting song that invokes the twerk in some and the running man in others. For me it’s the latter, no twerking for this dude. I often find myself humming this tune as I am driving into work. It kind of reminds me of the Seven Dwarfs marching off to work, singing HI HO HI HO off to work we go….(insert your whistling now), a much livelier step with a Rhianna remix.  That happiness has me bouncing in to work, however somedays I think I am the only one happy. Because soon after entering the hallowed walls of work the day begins.   There are some cheerful good mornings on the way to the elevators and then there are some head down don’t speak to me walkers, and then there are those straight up “I’m not a morning person’” greeters.  So here we go work, work, work, work, work, work!!  One more door and you enter cubicle land. This is the land of no privacy and open conversations. Laughter is often heard, but that gets drowned out by the phone call on the other side of you (a wife ripping a husband to shreds for not taking out the trash), usually followed with a “hey honey, I’m at work”. Work, work, work, work, work, work!!  You may even hear a couple of dudes discussing how far they chased, followed, trapped, grabbed (hell I don’t know) a Pokemon last night. And  then someone yells the company stock skyrocketed. I’m wondering why they are at work, cause chasing that thing sounded like fun. Put your phones down and answer that multi-buttoned, digital screened contraption on your desk and get to work! That’s what we came here to do. Off to work we go just a whistling. NO complaints here though, it is that work that pays the mortgage, the rent , the car note, the cable bill, etc.,etc. All I can say is the Seven Dwarfs and Rhianna make work sound like fun, so I will continue jam on in to work…whistling as I go Hi HO Hi HO, off to work, work, work, work, work, work we go!

 

Guest Post

David Bowman

95503-david

guest post – who am i?

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Who Am I?

 

Who am I? Who are you? Often times I encounter individuals who seem to be caught up in a life that is not their own. It seems that we tend to sometimes get caught up in a false reality and sometimes we get stuck in that reality to the point where the truth can’t even set us free. The truth of reality.

I recently shared in conversation with a friend who in reality is such a beautiful person, inside and out but fails to see herself that way, I believe due to the false reality that a lot of us have come to know. Television and the internet along with lies, manipulation and deceit have plagued the core of so many individuals nowadays that it is scary. In our minds, I think that based off of the things that we expose ourselves to, we create these fantasy lives that seem to be better than our reality. Sometimes it is better because it is a safe place to be. Trapped in the confines our own thoughts. Not all that glitters is gold, even in our false reality. Even there, things will trigger you to be forced to deal with reality.

So my question is, why don’t we just deal with reality for what it is? Why do we accept everyone else’s opinion about who we are, but don’t accept us for ourselves? When I look in the mirror I see myself, I see a man who has been manipulated and caught up with the ways of the world for far too long but I also see and accept who I really am. I’m broken, I’m a father, I’m a friend etc… I am me.

As a photographer I encounter a lot of self-doubt, insecurities, self-hate, etc from people who I connect with and it saddens me because almost 95 percent of people who I encounter deal with the same issues and I can see the eerie similarities, the ones to where a false reality has stepped in and polluted the reality. Open your mind to the reality that is truth. Not the truth that deems everything to be of the devil, but the truth that is exactly that, the truth. A person living and being controlled by a false reality will never truly find themselves until they accept the truth. The truth is, you are beautiful just as you are.

 

Derrick Hudson

Unexpected Joys; Traveling with Senior Parents

This past weekend I had the opportunity and the good fortune to spend time with my parents on an out of town trip. In my 46 years this was the first time we have done this. The concept of family vacation had eluded us. Anyway, it’s me, my two brothers, mom and dad, and our niece rolling to California to celebrate my oldest brother’s 50th birthday. Again, this is our first trip together ever and boy it was an adventure.

Our parents haven’t reached the age of 70 yet, so getting around was no problem and they have full mental capacity. I say that so you the reader can fully understand what I’m about to talk about. I imagine that your parents are like mine in that they have established routines and habits. They eat and don’t eat certain things. Local dishes be damn. If they don’t eat it, they aren’t trying it. Bedtime is bedtime. They would like to hit that time regardless of where they are or who they are with. The problem is us kids, we want to be in the streets, on the go, sightseeing, taste testing, etc. Taking it slow and easy is just not what “kids” do. In fact our facial expressions indicated a bit of impatience, but what do you do? I’ll tell you, you stay in your place and make haste in the direction mom and pops want to go. Parents rule, no matter how old we get they are in control. A question was posed one more morning; Are we having breakfast together? It was quickly recognized as a riddled, deciphered as, we are having breakfast together, let’s go eat. Up we go without a word.

My parents presence at the party was as impactful as the birthday boy being there. They were received with an equal amount of hugs and compliments from the friends and family in attendance as the man of the hour. They prayed openly in the neo-soul decorated lounge as if it were a sanctuary. They didn’t care if you liked it or not this is what they do. They are themselves all the time. They don’t put on ears, no showmanship, and no guessing of who will show up today, they are simply themselves all the time.

I dare not suggest that the younger folks (their kids in particular) can’t be themselves, but I will say the younger generation can come with less conviction. We may find it ok to break from our norm to conform. Parents however, remain consistent. Never deviating, no waffling, they are steady and you know what’s coming. No guessing. Unless of course they can’t decide on which restaurant for dinner. When that happened the air filled with moans and groans of fully matured, adult children, lacking in patience, opting for the thought of being delayed from getting that refreshing post prohibition beverage. I know I heard a faint cry of are we there yet?

I am extremely grateful that we had this time together. I look forward to doing it again very soon, perhaps with a bit more patience!

Author- David Bowman

A Father’s Confession, Post by David Bowman

BLACK FAMILY

Almost 16 years ago I walked away from my marriage and my daughter, she was 2 years old. Once the divorce was final I instantly became the one day of the week, every other weekend, one week a month, and shared holidays father. A year and half later I was remarried and the stepfather of two young children. One would assume that I was doing fine with a new wife and kids. Yeah, but they didn’t know the pain and guilt building up inside of this part-time father. There were nights of laughter, followed by sleepless nights full of thoughts; what is my kid doing, what is she wearing, did she laugh today, did she cry today, was it a good day? I guess I can say that I wasn’t all there, because a part of me wasn’t there. Seven years later marriage number two was over, another divorce. Too much time spent building a family without a key part of me simply meant that this marriage wasn’t for me. It was then that I realized how empty I was without her.

We often hear of couples staying together for the sake of the children. I never even considered staying, choosing my happiness over all else. The funny thing is, happiness or lasting happiness has eluded me. The relationships and failed marriages haven’t broken me, but they have left me feeling empty.   Being a father has been the one constant in my life and is the reason I am still here.

Three months from now my daughter will graduate from high school. I am so proud of her and all of her accomplishments. I also admire her for the young lady she is; considerate, smart, and funny.  She plans to go to college out of the area. In fact she said to me today; “Daddy I am so ready to get out of Maryland.”   She has been ready to graduate since school began in September. All I can think about is my little girl crawling on the floor and how quickly time has gone by. Although I was here for her, I can’t help feeling like I missed so much and now my time is up. She is about to leave me and I am struggling with the loneliness that will follow.

I thank God for making me a Father. There has been no greater blessing for me.

 

Guest Post Monday – Sherry Morris



Sherry Morris
Mother of 5
Union University
 
Suddenly, I awoke to the sound of my 4 year old whistling and wheezing with every breath he took. Immediately, I jumped up grabbed the nebulizer, dispensed the albuterol and administered his treatment.  As his mother, I was frantic and worried with each step I took.  My little man sat there serenely, with his fish mask covering his mouth, breathing in his medication.  His demeanor was tranquil and reassuring, observing this alleviated my uneasiness. At that moment, I was inspired to become a nurse. Hence, my journey to become a registered nurse began.

The biggest decision would be to decide whether or not I could do this while working full time.  I love my family and did not want to rock what my family was used to. My husband is very supportive.  He encourages me with everything I aspire to do.  Going to nursing school was such an easy choice because my family backed me 100%.  After a thorough research of all my options, I decided to go away to nursing school.  I knew that the program would be tough but it was also of shorter duration.  I realized I needed to be focused while in school and my husband backed me with my decision.  Actually, we decided as a couple that it was the best move to make.  My focus would be on my studies while my husband would be both parents (on and off) for the next year.  It is scary but exciting to make such a bold move.  I have never been away from my children or without a job for a long period of time. 

The easiest part of this transition was being accepted to nursing school.  The hardest part is the time that I will spend away from my loved ones and leaving my job.  I know in the end it will be worth it.  I will miss birthdays, special project days, teeth falling out and report card days.  This next year, will truly be a testament of my passion to become a nurse, as I will live apart from my family for the next year.  However, I am not worried as my husband is a great father.  It also helps that we have plenty of family that surrounds us.  Happily, I will be able to focus so that I can graduate and put back that normalcy I interrupted. 

Guest Post Monday – Huntresslocs

This is a quick post for those (like me) that became disheartened at the beginning of their loc or natural hair journey. My newly installed sisterlocks weren’t like the beautiful locs I saw online. They where short, spacey and didn’t look like locs.

While long thick locs are gorgeous, it’s important to remember that everyone doesn’t have super thick hair and the pictures you see aren’t always achievable for everybody.

Most people like myself have thin patches, bits that don’t grow, bit that grow too much and sections of hair that randomly do their own thing. But you know what, its normal and its amazing. Just think, there is no one, absolutely no one in the world that has what you have. Your locs and your natural hair is beautiful because it is unique.

The picture above shows my locs a day after installation. You can see my hair is naturally thin on the sides. The picture on the right are my locs now, well September 2014. My hair is still thin, but as my locs have grown it’s less noticeable.  My thinner sides are part of my hair and there is nothing that can be done about them. No oils, creams or treatments will make it thicker. It has taken a while and lots of £££ spent on products that don’t work for me to learn this. But I have and and love my locs as they are.

Appreciating the beauty in others does not mean you should want their hair. I’ve recently seen a discussion on  a natural hair group where someone new to their natural hair journey wanted to quit as her locs where as thick as her loc crush’s. We need to love what we have and move on. Your hair is your hair. Loving it as it is will make you much happier. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

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H.

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