Today’s Word is… FORGIVE

 

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Adulting trash, B. Ain’t nobody ask to be grown with bills, in the working class no less. The working class?!? You know how damn brilliant I am?!?  I need to see a manager, someone get a sorting hat, reset the game.  I have to get up go to a job where I’m well aware that I’m underpaid just so I can pay other people for survival essentials like food, shelter, and Netflix.  It’s something you can’t possibly understand until you get *there*, especially not as a child. To work all day, come all the way home and the chicken isn’t thawed. To spend your hard earned money on clothes they gonna tear up playing. To pay for them to explore passions and interests and having to be just as supportive when they  end up quitting. Failing a marriage and feeling like they resent you for it. (okay, maybe I don’t want kids, not without like a 100% pay increase, or a wife that makes way more than me.  I’m walking in the spirit of a Stedman.)

So on my birthday last month, I took a vacation. My father called me to wish me a Happy Birthday and we chopped it up for a bit.  He reminisced about where he was when he was my age; Married, working 2 jobs and they just had me even after wanting to stop at 3. (he did have 3 more kids after, and I mean…yikes.). Now that the youngest is grown and he’s nearing retirement he’s finally at a place where he can live his best life and even better he’s happy to see that I am.  After that talk, I decided to go visit.  He usually flies up to see his grandkids but we rarely bother to go see him, especially me. Our dynamic has always been a little strained.  Still a little strained, really.  Not much unlike him and my grandfather.  Even while you “get it” as an adult, you still become indifferent.  Forgiving parents isn’t easy, but sometimes necessary.  They affect our entire lives even subconsciously, the adults we become.  Me and my father are a lot alike; intuitive, reticent, stubborn.   It’s perhaps why we butt heads so much as adults.  We both recognize there’s…something wrong here, while also feeling like it’s the others’ to fix.  He’s not getting any younger, I’m not the one who broke it and so, stalemate.

As I approach the steep hill that is my 30s, part of me worries I’ll be him.  From our eerily similar decor choices, to my approach in relationships.  He’s a lot more expressive and open in his later years but that wasn’t the man I grew up knowing.  His love was assumed, shown through a roof over my head and Jordans every first day of school.  I was too young to really remember my parents in love, but with my step mother it always felt like, service.  They were together for 10 years because they were together for 10 years, in hindsight it mirrored my longest relationship.  We been together this long, why not see this through.  More recently, I had someone I’m with ask me that if a complete stranger was watching us right now, would they think we were in love?  I couldn’t answer.   I did love her, but clearly I sucked at showing it.  It wasn’t being expressed, it was assumed. Damn, I am him.  He lived through the civil rights movement, the military and having a whole ass family in the Reaganomics era, I can’t possibly be this way already.  I won’t allow myself to be.

Maybe, it starts with forgiving in the first place.  That’s a journey in itself that I’m still working on.  Without going too deep, there’s a lot about my childhood that I’m still processing but as an adult I at least find myself at a place where I see and empathize with him as a man; imperfect but steadily trying to grow as he prepares to embark on the next phase of his life as just as I’m trying to do with mine.    I usually try to end posts with a pretty little bow but there isn’t one, at least not yet.  All I can do in the interim, is work on improving our relationship and myself to become a more open, vulnerable man that believes in accent colors.  Oh, and no babies til like, 33?  35?  40?  Yeah, maybe 40.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… PICK

Now, we all know the “pick me” girl aka “This generation” girl aka “Y’all females” aka “not me, tho” aka the princess of the patriarchy. Pick me’s place all their stock in being better than the alternative, instead of what they actually want. Pick me’s tend to boast about cooking, sex, and being low maintenance because that’s what they think men want, without much regard for their own identity. By and large, pick mes are typically harmless, their sirens are met with groans and eyerolls as the men they are bending over backwards to impress are a) usually dudes no one was even competing with you for. Or b) pick hes.

Now, we all at least know of the “pick he” dude aka “These girls want thugs” aka “employed, no BMs, no arrests” aka “Favorite artists are Drake and Bryson Tiller” aka “I live just outside of DC” aka “I learned rape culture in the last 2 years so I’m basically a feminist” aka “I make 75K and have a car how dare you swipe left on me, Ma”. Pick He’s are productive, functional members of society, but that’s not good enough… They are also entitled to a baddie. They lament being undervalued and unappreciated for simply not being that terrible.

So if pick mes have low expectations and pick hes have low output, why don’t these two people simply find each other and leave everyone else alone. But that’d be like Drake and Nicki Minaj finally getting together because they really are just vapid facsimiles of each other. The answer is because the pick he doesn’t want to pick, the pick he just wants to be wanted. Men being the traditional pursuers, the pick he can easily go get that good nerdy low maintenance girl he claims he wants. He could just stop seeing where things goes with the girl he’s been kinda dating for years. Maybe stop being the 145th “hey” in the same IG models inbox and maybe be the 5th in someone else’s. Pick me’s are sitting by the dock at the bay, hoping and wishing to be picked; pick he’s are just circling around being indecisive about something they swear they want.

I’ve had pick he moments. I think it’s natural to make a few shots and feel like you’ll never miss again. I’ve had what I said I wanted right in front of me only to be like…am I sure sure, I’ve been hurt before, I just need more time, you know all the Drakeisms. Instead of actually picking, you long for someone who just ain’t checking for you like that. No matter how much of a good man™ you are. So while pick hes think they’re being indecisive, ironically enough they are just waiting to be picked too.

For what it’s worth I don’t think there’s anything wrong with actually wanting to be picked, even if I roll my eyes and judge them. I just be judging and shit. However, the common thread between pick mes and pick hes is entitlement and entitled people can be insatiable. Pick mes get picked and now they need you to know that they have the best marriage, they are the happiest family and now they are just as annoying as their thirstier days because all they truly wanted was validation.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… CIVILITY

It was just about 2 years ago, when MY First Lady (had us all believing she was finna run in 2020) delivered the what I guess now is the “When they go low, we go high” speech. It was a display of grace and class as we’d come to know from the First Lady. While I didn’t care for the line that much (I’m petty), white people ate that shit up like it was kale flavored gluten free hummus. It was a precursor to their present favorite buzzword, civility. Fearful that the oppressed would stoop to their level, this idea of civility is largely just a fear of retribution as if we have the power to in the first place. We’re in different leagues, black people have a median net worth of $8 and being murdered by the police, white people get really bothered when you tell them to season their food or cast a minority in a Star Wars movie. Someone throws a water at Tammy Blahren, or refuses service to Sarah Huckabee and it’s being treated on the same level as Jim Crow. If I’m refused service at a restaurant, I maybe could start a hashtag on Twitter, meanwhile they have the President of the United States clapping back on their behalf. The caucasity it takes to even cry foul or to pretend these are equal sides is maddening.

Yet as these white liberals are wyling out, the onus turns to black people to go high, be better, turn the other cheek, be Martin… (who white people think died for their sins)

Fuck that.

I’ll quote their First Lady… I don’t really care, do you? Black people too busy trying to survive to worry about answering for the angry white liberals and definitely not worrying about placating conservative white feelings. It’s hard to muster a fuck to give about some bar banning MAGA hats when that bar probably had a whites only sign when it was founded. Stop asking me to have a dialogue, black issues have been well documented its not a matter of simply misunderstanding at this point. You try to compromise they’ll take what you gave and gaslight you, saying they never got anything. The Red Hen LGBTQ staff handled the matter privately and with civility, Huckabee runs to Twitter and now a bunch of conservatives are calling THEM the bigots. That’s what happens when you try to reason with the unreasonable. There’s no path to racial equality that doesn’t have white discomfort and it’s why I don’t believe this country will ever get there. When you have one side actually doing harm and the other dissenting but being treated as both sides need to come squash it in the name of civility; that’s not civility, that’s compliance.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… INDISTINGUISHABLE

I have a confession to make that may forever change how you look at me or SFW again. I can already sense the judgment, I can audibly hear the “yo, who’s mans is this?”. But it’s time I live my truth; I like turkey bacon. I might even prefer it to real bacon. I know it’s not really bacon, to even name it bacon is appropriation, but give me the choice, I’m possibly going turkey bacon. Bacon ain’t got no meat, especially at restaurants they gonna give you salty bacon shaped crackers. That being said, if someone ordered bacon and got turkey bacon, someone might be attacked and no one will say they were wrong for it. If you ordered bacon you want bacon. If you ordered turkey bacon you want… kinda bacon. It’s one of those cases where unlike New Amsterdam and Ciroc, most white actresses and all these new R&B singers who look like Denise Huxtable and do bad Amy Whinehouse impersonations, some things are truly indistinguishable.

Two things I also thought was indistinguishable, enter two people recently out of relationships but just enough time has passed where they’re supposed to start acting like they want to date again. Both of them probably a little too woke, both incredibly smart and fluent in sarcasm. They have great chemistry and make each other laugh. Both of them kinda hate dating, it’s trash. They like each other so they date, except one person is dating for companionship and the other is dating to be with someone. On the surface it would seem like it’s the same… but it isn’t. Bacon. Turkey bacon.

Dating to date vs dating for purpose; I’ve been on every side of these. Dating aimlessly to purposely, dater to datee. Of all, just dating to date is the simplest. Dating because there ain’t shit else to do, dating because I like you but I kinda suck at relationship stuff so let’s keep it right here in the safe zone, dating because a fly outfit is a terrible thing to waste. Dating is social, dating is networking, it’s troubleshooting. How do you know what you want if you don’t try some shit. other people and feelings involved so being open and honest about intentions or lack thereof is key. Then there’s the fact that people who date to date aren’t completely opposed to something more… Maybe something happens, maybe it doesn’t but ultimately they are in it more for themselves than anything.

Then there’s dating for purpose, where you have or think you have a good idea what you want and now it’s time to just find them. A trap I had fell into jumping from relationship to relationship because that was what I thought I was supposed to do. I look back at my college years and my early 20s and wonder about the people and friendships I’d still have in my life if I didn’t force the issue. “They just wasn’t ready”, I would tell the next one, looking at her with the same level of naiveté and ignorance. The reality was I didn’t even know if that was what I even wanted yet I was just following a recipe without any idea of what I was making.

Two date to date people can get along great, just enjoying each other’s company and most importantly managing expectations. Two date for purpose people will gladly pair off and get out of the wretched dating game. One of each? Well, its bacon and turkey bacon. You have one side ready to cuff up and delete their Tinder while the other just wanting them to enjoy what this is. Maybe one side concedes what they want for a moment, or two, or three but eventually they’ll come back to that fork in the road and someone will have to choose between what and who they want and it doesn’t end well. C’est la vie.

Whether you’re dating casually or really trying to be chose, it’s far easier to just find someone else who is also bout that life rather than trying to tell yourself that turkey bacon is just like the real thing and vice versa. You want what you want…as long as you own it. Like turkey bacon.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… PREDATE

We hold these truths to be self evident; dating is trash. No one knows what they want, everyone is in a rat race to get the most out of a person with the minimal amount of effort, and then getting to the money? Now, everybody mad. So, I was chilling out maxing relaxin all cool when I saw the Twitters were abuzz about this exchange

The reaction was split between “that’s real” to “that’s broke” (cuz everyone’s rich on Twitter). My reaction, is that’s dumb. For one, there’s already a way to see if you vibe with someone before a date, it’s called a phone call. Second, a date is entirely on the asker’s terms, you can find free shit to do, you can pick a spot in your price range, you can schedule the date until after the direct deposit hits. Hell, you can “pre date” without even calling it a pre date which I would advise because this is beyond stupid. (Also, don’t be trying to use homeboy anecdotes, articulate your point like an adult, Jalen.)

It’s what everyone loves and hates about millennials, a “won’t be me” generation. Trying to find new ways to do old things is definitely millennial shit. I almost get his sentiment, who wants to waste, money and energy on someone they don’t even know they like yet. Or more apropos, don’t even know likes you yet. They may have swiped right, gave you a number, always answer your texts but at the end of the day this is still a complete stranger. They could just be in this for free food and entertainment, they could be stuck on an ex, they could like chitlins. And you’re a complete stranger, precisely why she isn’t trying to sit in your car listening to ad supported Spotify to see if y’all “vibe”.

So while pre dating is stupid, the conundrum still exists, how do you date without getting played? Some will say and do all the right things and not even like you, others will sit back and let you waste your own damn time with no remorse. People are selfish and don’t owe you anything. And no one wants to hear men cry on Twitter, it’s just an entree and some drinks, you’ll live. Get your bread up. There’s also an emotional investment if you believe in that whole men have feelings thing but most don’t so it turns into I never heard a man with money complain. So to circle back, dating is trash.

Asking for a pre date is like going into a job interview and saying, let me work here for a few days and see we click. (Actually, there might be something here…*adds to list of ideas I never finish*). Hanging out without expectations sounds good in theory, except… That’s what first dates are already. You don’t know if they’ll like you or not, and that’s the risk. Pre dating is trying to watch half the game and then go back make a bet, it doesn’t work like that. If you find yourself being consistently played on first dates, perhaps it’s time for reflection. Are you actually holding conversations with this person? Do you really look like those pictures? Are you even interested in these people or just going through the motions? Maybe slide in less DMs and slide to more events where you can “vibe” the first time. Just don’t be like Jalen. No one likes Jalen.

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Today’s Word is… CHOICE

I remember the first time I saw Marvel’s Black Panther 3 whole months ago, my reaction to Killmonger’s last line. I was shocked that they went THERE with it, because at the end of the day this whole movie was still bankrolled by Mickey Mouse. Then there was the second time, it was a punch I knew was coming, and I scoffed. It was one of those things that sounds good until you think about it, like “Too Close” by Next. (That song actually went #1…Gen X is trash). Spoiler alert but not really because how did you not see a movie that outsold the Titanic, when Killmonger is dying, T’Challa makes one last appeal to him offering to save his life and he refuses saying to bury him in the ocean with his ancestors who jumped off the ship because they knew death was better than bondage. First of all, you just killed someone like 15 minutes ago. Second, what kinda stupid ass hotep logic is that?

Fast forward to now, Kanye West, former favorite rapper took that that stupid ass hotep logic, chopped it up like a soul sample and had the unmitigated gall to say, 400 years of slavery sounds like a choice. *record scratch*. As most of the internet collectively let out a “nigga what”, there was another subset that shared his sentiment. The subset that loved that Killmonger line, the subset that is tired of all these slave movies (there’s been 30 in the last 100 years), the pan African subset…the people who don’t want to be associated with slavery; because they are ashamed of slavery.

You know who should be ashamed of slavery? The white people, this fucking country, this world. The idea of a slave mentality or a victim mentality is bullshit. Slaves weren’t too mentally weak to fight back, many did, many died trying, some succeeded. Others placed their faith and God, persevered and because of them we are still here. And for their sacrifice, some drug addicted rapper and hoteps spit in their face because their fragile masculinity won’t allow them to have ever been oppressed. They would’ve been Nat Turner or Harriet Tubman, they say it like children in the playground playing Avengers and everyone wants to be Thor and Cap. These same “Nats and Harriets” probably won’t even defend themselves at work. The idea that 200 years from now, someone’s ignorant descendant is going to say how they would’ve just shot the cops back, staged a prison break, overthrew the government and whatever other hotep fan fiction comes to mind. Because that’s how it works. It’s just a choice.

This message is easier to sell to black men, we’re strong, we’re tough, ain’t no white man with a whip gonna keep ME down. But if you woke up on an island, unable to read or understand the language, no idea of which way is North, South, East and West, what would you do? Kanye and the like want to believe that slaves were just brainwashed, that racism is a dated concept, that they just have to pull their pants up, or achieve a level of wealth, any and every life hack there is to escape the reality of being a black life in America. But telling yourself it didn’t happen doesn’t change anything. Boycotting slave imagery doesn’t change anything. To simply ignore 400 years of documented history fit your fairy tale imagery of black masculinity is delusional, for Kanye to get his slack jawed ass on live television and say it was a choice, that goes beyond a fake deep quip in a movie, it’s blatant propaganda. Fuck him.

@Profblmkelley captured it perfectly, “Not only did my ancestors and Kanye’s ancestors survive, they managed to make a way to make a new culture, remake family and faith. And in the process, make a culture so formidable that it continues to change the world.” My ancestors were strong, my ancestors endured, my ancestors survived. They aren’t anyone to feel shame about or hide and it upsets me to see so many feel otherwise.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SEALIONING

The Road Runner is the most unbothered character in the history of cartoons. No matter how panini pressed Wile E Coyote is to get him for reasons no one understands, the Road Runner never gets revenge, never even asks what’s his deal, he just watches the plan backfire, laughs to himself and keeps it moving. The Road Runner is a mood, as the kids say. You’d think after all this time, energy, and resources the coyote would cut his losses and find something else to do, maybe find a slower bird or an Arby’s, but no he keeps trying and the Road Runner will remain unbothered. The lesson, be more like Road Runner, the Coyote never wins.

It’s never been more prevalent than in the past week, where it’s… been a week. Kanye West is a MAGAt, R Kelly got dropped by his publicist, Bill Cosby finally going to jail, and Nas is an abuser. As usual, everyone has their opinions, and “cancels” ready to go, as do their respective loyalists. It’s the best and worst thing about the internet, everyone has an opinion but doesn’t want to hear yours unless you agree. I mean, I’m no different… I don’t want to hear a Trump supporters side of the story, if you think the earth is flat and don’t at least play for the Celtics don’t speak to me ever. I’m right, you’re wrong, go away. But then there’s the people who bait you into a debate by asking for elucidation, proof, evidence and you, armed with receipts oblige thinking surely any rational person can see this and understand how and why they are wrong… But they don’t. They hit you back with a “Where’s the source to your source?”, change the subject entirely with a “What about black on black crime?” or they casually dismiss with a “It’s not that deep, I was just asking a question”. Now you’re enraged, you want to jump through the screen and choke them… You’ve been Wile E Coyoted.

Sealioning, as it’s more commonly referred to is just that. It’s intentional naiveté, they could easily Google these things but the point is to burden you with the questions. White people KNOW why they can’t say nigga, the purpose of asking is to annoy and aggravate. Argh argh argh why did Cosby’s victims take so long to come forward, they clap they hands and wait for you to toss them a fish. (or is that a seal? Black lives matter, fact don’t). People take the bait and hours later, nothing has changed, they’ve been played and now they need donations for self care after such tiring emotional labor.

Just the other day, I tweeted that while Kanye has been bitching, Rihanna is quietly doing everything he claims he’s being held back from and a swarm of sealions washed ashore demanding to know what I meant by that, and how much money has Rihanna made in the last 3 years… Nigga, fuck you. I’ll take time out to have a discussion with friends and family, maybe even a white coworker on a Friday, if I’m in a good mood.. But not a jackass on the internet who is just gonna disregard and move the goalposts. Sealions play on your need to be right. Its a trap I’ve fallen into before, but these days I’m all out of fucks to give and I don’t even care if you’re loud, wrong and dumb. I’m probably just gonna make fun of you with a quip and keep it moving. Google is free*.

-Stan-

*Well I’m sure we pay for it with our data #StayWoke

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