Today’s Word is… TRAVEL

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It was a little while back, I had just got my annual review, there was some stuff about how I need to network and communicate more and yeah yeah, where that bag at?  I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to do with this bonus, I was going to take a trip.  Take my entry level Spanish to Barcelona, maybe go to London and find my future ex wife, go post up in Santorini like Rick Ross (apparently everybody went to Greece this year because there’s so many pictures on social media now), Tokyo always seemed like a cool place to visit, or I can go back to the Motherland…well, I ain’t get THAT much.  (Seriously though, a $1000 flight to Accra is white supremacy).   At this moment, I’m determined to do this and I’m going to go solo, no time like the present and I don’t want to be held back by anyone else.  I look up vacation packages ($250 single surcharge is also white supremacy, because reasons).  I look up flights and tried not to be turned off by the flight times, I’m sure I can find half a xan somewhere.  Then trying to find a hotel and plan an itinerary…I need a vacation from planning a vacation already.  I just started a new project I can’t just leave for a week, and so I delay it a few months…and a few more…that turns into well, let’s see next year but then the reality hit me that, I just don’t really want to.

*Gasp*

When you’re young, single, childless and have a few extra pennies you’re supposed to travel, broaden your horizons, take in some culture, it’s what makes you a more well rounded individual and makes that “loves to travel” line in your Tinder bio not bullshit.  It’s not that I’m opposed to it completely, I just don’t care that much.  As someone who is very interested in art and history, there’s so much in the world I would love to see. Perhaps I just need a travel agent or about a 30% pay increase because I’m just not disciplined enough to save.  I don’t get up and work every day just to eventually have enough money to walk around Europe for a week.   Shrug life.  However, when you say that out loud it’s like when someone expresses a desire not to get married or have kids; you’re expected to aspire to travel even if you never do.  So even if you end up flying over 2 days, staying in a hostel and only get 27 likes on your picture so now you have to repost 3 more times with the “take me baaaaack” caption because how the hell did your banana bread get more likes than fucking Patong beach, it’s worth it because now you have an anecdote.  It’s become a status symbol; “I don’t spend money on material goods, I pay for experiences” meanwhile you barely left the resort.  Travel is a hobby, either you’re into it or you’re not but some people just need to feel superior.  People stress traveling in your 20s ironically implying that it’s something irresponsible and should be done before you start adulting adulting in your 30s even though you would be more stable and more comfortable then.  I’d much rather travel in the next few years, than have scratched and clawed my way years ago just to say I’ve been.

I have friends who love to travel, they come back and their stories and photos at best make me think about seeing for myself.  It’s hard not to log on social media see your peers “living their best life” all over and feel like you’re slacking.   But I live my best life in my apartment catching up on TV and buying shit I don’t need on Amazon Prime.  I can afford to travel, just not quite on my terms yet so what’s the rush?  (Well who knows with Toupee Fiasco…I might just hurry up and get to Cuba while I still can) Right now, international travel that just feels more trouble than it’s worth.   I’ve probably taken about a dozen smaller, domestic trips in the last year or so because ‘Merica still has plenty of offer. (Well, maybe like 3 more cities than I’m done).  That isn’t to dissuade others, if you have the travel bug by all means scratch it and go as far as your budget allows and make sure you’re doing it for yourself and not the ‘Gram.  We don’t care. I promise.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GHOSTING

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Gather round boys and girls, it’s storytime…

It was a typical February night.  I was talking to my boo about my day, the Celtics were on the TV on mute, I had suggested we go to a game together and started looking up tickets.  It had gotten late and I was headed to bed, and I ended the conversation like I had ended so many before, I ask for her to tell me something good, I share something good and tell her goodnight (written out, I sound headass).  However, this night was no ordinary night, little did I know I would never hear from her again.  Little did I know, I was about to be…    ghosted.  The next morning, I reached out like I usually did, a few times throughout the day.  No response, but I thought nothing of it.  The day after, more of the same.  I call her and there’s no answer.  Suddenly I’m Mr Biggs in the Contagious video (speaking of, it’s completely ridiculous HE came home late, didn’t hear her home, rode around calling her mama probably scaring her half to death only to find her in their damn room…Mr Biggs must’ve been lit).  I don’t even know what I did but I apologize anyway and again not even a word.  I decide to give her some space then (like I had a choice).  A week turns into a month.  I may or may not have had some Crown one night and wrote an email letting her know how I REALLY felt about her and still no response.  Word?  A few months go by, it’s my birthday, I mean she gotta reach out on my birthday, give a nigga an HBD at least?  Nope.  At this point, it’s safe to assume that she’s dead.  I know I can still see her on IG on my other account but still, she’s dead.  Got mauled by a bear. Sad.  I used to love H.E.R.

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(Spoiler Alert: She comes back a few months after that, she says that *redacted* and she just couldn’t *redacted* and she’s sorry.  I forgave her for a month and then ghosted her.  God’s working on all of us.)

Ghosting has been a discussion point lately, largely thanks to Insecure aka Black Twitter: Civil War.  Ghosting has always existed in dating; break ups are awkward, it’s easier to just fall off the face of the earth and wait for her to get the message.  Back in the day, a man will go out for a pack of smokes and just never be seen again.  (Meanwhile millennials and swipe apps shoulder the blame for this trend).  These days, you just block, delete and they no longer exist, unless you’re like me and tend to run into them after the fact.  Karma stay getting at ya boy.  (Not that I would ever do that anymore, I’m saved.)

The argument against ghosting; it’s inconsiderate, rude, immature and a shitty thing to do to someone you know at least likes you like a little bit.  It’s not easy to tell someone you’re done here but it’s also not that hard to do.  If ol girl had broke up with me that night, it would’ve sucked.  I would’ve been hurt, but not as hurt as I was all those months feeling like I was nothing more than words on a screen.  (Studio audience awwwws).  When she came back I was clearly still hurt by the ghosting more than I even thought I was.  Then I think about times where I did get that call, text, conversation and turns out, still sucked and maybe I was better off thinking they were mauled by a bear than knowing why they don’t want me anymore.  It’s a double edged sword and the point remains that they don’t want you and there’s no nice way to stomach that.  Ask Cavaliers fans.

The argument for ghosting; we’re adults, life sucks, and no one owes you an explanation why they don’t want to speak to you anymore.  You can post all the memes and tweets about how it’s emotional underdevelopment but that immature person still left you on read and you’re sick about it. Bloop bloop and shit.  Sometimes you just…can’t anymore.  You’re tired of not being heard, you’re tired of explaining yourself, maybe they just need to feel your absence.    I think in an era where connections are made through an app it’s easy to block, delete and forget.  These days people ghost because simply they can, they got bills, Trump is President, and y’all just been on a few dates they don’t even know you enough to like you, take those abandonment issues up with a therapist.  It’d be nice to have closure, but sometimes you just got to eat the L.

As someone who has ghosted and been ghosted, I would say my final verdict is…it depends.  You know who you’re dealing with, you know how serious or otherwise your relationship is.  You shouldn’t explain yourself to everybody but you shouldn’t explain to nobody either.  You also have to look at yourself, if you find yourself getting “ghosted” often you might be overvaluing your place in people’s lives or misreading signals.  Most “ghosts” aren’t from left field no matter what you try to tell friends in the group text.  If you are a serial ghoster…well, just stop being an asshole.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GASWHITERS

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So there’s a clip from The Daily Show going around, a Roy Wood Jr segment on Boston’s racist reputation.  In the video, Wood goes around asking white Bostonians if they feel Boston’s racist and of course they all responded no only for him to ask black Bostonians and get the real.  What also stood out in the clip, was this one black woman’s answer where she said black Bostonians know where to go and not go around the city, which is something I’ve articulated on this here blog.  The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference and to me that encapsulates the Boston experience.  Boston racism is not overt Confederate flag waving “you in the wrong town, boy” racism; it’s a downtown bar with little to no desire to diversify it’s happy hour crowd.  It’s me having to tell someone that “yes, I’m in line” or having to check some dudebro at the gym because he’s working out right in front of me like he didn’t see me in the mirror.  It’s a conversation I had with a friend about how uncomfortable she felt with a bunch of white people saying nigga at a Childish Gambino show.  Yes, white people aren’t beating minorities blind with a 2×4 like Mark Wahlberg (anymore), yes they tend to vote very liberal but they’ve also ran out of any fucks to be more inclusive and like that video showed, they are ready to argue the hell out of any black person who tries to point out any sort of racial inequality.  It’s a special brand of gaslighting, I shall call it “gaswhiting”.  Merriam Webster, holla at me.

How do you make someone fix something they don’t even think they’re doing wrong?  A few years ago we had a black Governor and a black President at the same damn time; you couldn’t tell a white person shit about racism.  Their acknowledgment of racism is blackface and n*gger and you still might get Bill who “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” complaining about how we say it and it’s just a Halloween costume.  Tell a gaswhiter that they have white privilege and they’ll tell you how they too grew up in a single parent home in the ghetto without recognizing that how easily they equate blackness to struggle. Challenge a gaswhiter too much and they’ll turn heel faster than a “nice guy” who gets turned down after a 3rd date.   Gaswhiters love to compare and contrast,  especially to extremes because that absolves them.  Trump, nazis, the south, slavery, those are easy things to point to and say Boston isn’t THAT.  Then you look at the numbers that say black families have a median net worth of $8 and it’s, well the whole economy is failing us, OCCUPY WALL STREET again pointing out an extreme and not what’s right in front of them.

I don’t necessarily feel unsafe in Boston, but I surely don’t feel welcome.  As I’ve alluded to in a recent post it feels more and more likely that if I want to own a home in a black middle class community it’s probably not going to be here.  I meet new people all the time who echo that same sentiment.  That harsh reality of you can’t grow here is as glaring as a whites only sign but to gaswhiters they don’t/won’t understand that.  It’s not like the mobs are bombing businesses (anymore).   Gaswhiters see Boston as a liberal utopia, far removed from it’s really racist past, at worst it’s no more racist than any other major city in America, and ain’t like it’s Mississippi.  To them, it’s not broke so why fix it?  To acknowledge racism is to be divisive, we need to come together at times like this.  Gaswhiters are tired of everything being about race, they just want to watch the game and the ensuing highlights on Sportscenter without being reminded of it all the time.  It must be nice to live in such a bubble.   Meanwhile, what’s actually more annoying than discussing racial inequality all the damn time?  Living it.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… COMMUNITY

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I remember way back in the day, me and my friends were walking home from school and the police roll up on us. They had said something about thefts in the area and needed our information. We were in like 4th grade none of us had IDs. So one of boys immediately lies about his name the officer picked up on it and then demanded we empty our book bags for something with our names on it. An older black woman pulls over and asks what’s going on, the officers explain they are investigating something and she’s like, well I don’t know what’s going on but I was just headed to get them from the bus stop and she tells us to grab our stuff and come on. We’ve seen her around but didn’t know this woman but in the moment we knew exactly what to do,

“Yes, Auntie”.

We grabbed our bags and got our asses in that car. She spoke with the officers a little longer and she drove us around the corner to my house. It’s what my mother would’ve done, what any of my friends mothers’ would’ve done. We all we got.

There’s plenty of things I don’t miss a out living in the “hood”, the aforementioned police harassment being one, but I do miss that particular sense of community that came with it.   The neighbors, the corner store that would let you pay them back on Friday, block parties, basketball tournaments, simply being able to go outside and all my friends were there.  For the reputation Boston had as a racist city, I lived in a bubble.  I didn’t see the 900% income difference in neighboring towns outside of Halloween.  As an adult, I read more about Mandela, Massachusetts; a proposal in the late 70s that would’ve had my neighborhood of Dorchester, as well as the predominantly black nearby areas of Roxbury and Mattapan simply secede from Boston altogether and form it’s own municipality.  The city never came into fruition but existed unofficially, as black people in Boston largely lived in our own bubble until one day, white people realized they were commuting 30+ minutes everyday and we lived 10 minutes from downtown with 2 subway lines.  Fast forward to now, I live 30 minutes away from my childhood home which would cost at least $650,000 if I was ever feeling so nostalgic.  Jesus be a GoFundMe.

I think about all this as I see more and more news stories of ________ while black and having the police called on them.  It’s what happens when there’s no community; Susan and Spencer just moved a few weeks ago and doesn’t get how and why people are just on the stoop all day kicking it, or why it’s 9pm and they’re still barbecuing, or they see me walking home in a hoodie and feel uneasy.  They don’t even attempt to ingratiate themselves into the community they’ve moved into, they try to force into it’s own likeness.   So Fernandez Grocery is turning into a Trader Joes (Full Disclosure, I love Trader Joe’s but that’s not the point).  That Jamaican spot that only has oxtail from 11-2:30 on Wednesdays but you love them anyway…now it’s a coffee shop.  Didn’t that used to be a dollar store? Well now it’s a froyo spot.  And those black people that were on the stoop, well they just keep getting harassed and arrested until they just stop coming around.  Now that 3 bedroom that had a family of 4, now is being rented to 3 rad professionals, that totally like the work hard, play hard.  One guy cycles a lot and another is in a band.  No worries, he doesn’t practice at home.  They come, Thanos snap, turn us to dust and brew cold brew with it.

Then there’s me, middle class? Eh, let’s just go with “mid” class black man who can’t afford to buy, can’t afford to rent but can make just enough to get the hell out of there.  There’s no soil to sow roots, Boston is becoming more and more the city you just spend your mid to late 20s then go.  Racial AND income inequality is a mighty strong cocktail, and so you have a major metropolitan city where the median net worth for a black family is $8.00.  Eight.  Yes, one digit.  Leave or struggle, such a far cry from the city my parents moved to and started a life in in the 80s.  I long for the Dorchester that once was, and the Mandela that could’ve been.  Where I’m not the only black person on my block, where the corner store at least has a cat.  Or maybe we should just all move to a city in Montana and don’t tell *them* about it.  What the weather hitting like over there anyway?

-Stan-

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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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