Monthly Archives: December 2017

Today’s Word is… AFFIRMATION

When I seen the homie Dara’s Facebook status:

I was taken aback by all the answers of we don’t. I can get the sentiment, trapped in the limbo that is being privileged and oppressed at the same time, feeling like no one loves you. And so they double down, go full Hotep lashing out at women, the LGBTQ and white people and in return its see, they trash or see, you’re the real racist. There’s a middle ground we need to get to but I won’t get into that today. Anyway doe, presently cishet black men approval ratings might only be slightly above “wyd” texts and their President*. Who can we run to? Where do we run to?

Then I thought about my answer. My initial thought was women. I’ve said before that a large chunk of my #selfofsteam comes from my relationships; the best version of me is in love. Being wanted, being appreciated it be the difference between waking up in a good mood and contemplating if you even need this job. I’ve also said how it can backfire… When you don’t have that person to laugh at your jokes, indulge your dramatics when you are dying from a common cold, lay up with during a snowy day… Then what? Where does that affirmation come from?

There’s family of course. When it all falls down, I know I can come home. My sisters are my rock. My little brothers, I’m theirs. All family dynamics are different but most black men I know? Mama’s boys. Hell, I was. Their best friend? Sibling or cousin. Blood is going to love you regardless.

There’s money. The most simplest of transactions, you do this I give you money. I definitely prided myself on being a provider (maybe I was a decade ahead of the curve but still). For people like my father and other black men of the same previous generation, the affirmation came in look at all I do for my family, I must be pretty great. It comes from I’m good at what I do and I know it. Especially people who get paid to do what they love, I’m great at my job I don’t love that heaux. (Also, working 40 hours and being able to afford food and rent for multiple must’ve been lit, we millennials don’t know this life) Coming home to a hot meal and honor roll students was all they asked for. But were they happy really? (The second family across town says maybe not). Maybe they needed more than a “job well done” and just didn’t know how to express it. Hell, some still don’t. I would say I still have some traditional values (take yo ass to work tho… This economy is trash) but I know that wouldn’t just cut it for me.

There’s friendships. There’s a reason we turn to gangs, BGLOs, church, hell even hotepery… There’s a need to belong and be around like minded folks. Or just being accepted period. When the news telling you you ain’t shit and a “Dr” is calling you a King, I see how one may just see what the “Dr” talking bout. It’s not something I ascribe to but I at least get the appeal. Then there’s the homies and something we and I could work on being better at… checking up on each other. “Likes” and Facebook comments aren’t the same as linking up. I run into old friends we exchange numbers and neither of us use it. Bonds that are beyond surface level like we hoop together or where the wave at guy. Healthy friendships may be a little harder to come by but well worth having in the end. They’ll be there giving the toast at your 3rd wedding ready to ride on a Dwayne Wayne. Because friends don’t let friends get Dwayne Wayned.

An affirmation of mine personally, music. Awkward ugly phase, breakups, unrequited love, lost a loved one, coworker CCd a boss on an email trying to be slick, Bursar office on my ass, this $4 gas may or may not get me home… No matter what I was going through there’s a song for it. Me and Man on the Moon 2 got through 2010 together. Kanye and Biggie gave me confidence I ain’t know I had. Even annoying ass Drake has given me perspective on things. Music lets you be vulnerable, be angry, be happy and emote in ways that black men generally do not. Hov did that so hopefully I ain’t have to go thru that.

Then there’s social media. Perhaps the lesser of affirmations but affirmations nonetheless. I write for free (this year) largely to express myself and to give others things to think about, laugh at and otherwise enjoy. There’s a certain satisfaction in seeing a tweet go viral, or getting an occasional thank you message from someone for making their day. We can pretend that Snapchat and Instagram aren’t narcissistic but I clearly posted this for attention. It’s why your uncle is in a a Facebook group taking care selfies trying to find his light. Run me my hearts.

So, TLDR…Black men get affirmation from love, family, money, friends, music & “likes”. A man with a solid balance of them all tends to be the happiest. The most secure. But when you’re single, estranged, broke, unpopular and got Spotify with ads… Well that’s how trolls are born.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… AMERICAN

“What’s your nationality?”

Just black. Black mixed with mo black. Maybe some Native American. Dab of ranch. My initial reaction is to say black as if that’s not the thing that’s already apparent. No racial dolezal needed over here. (I dated a lot of West Indian women, they family LOVE that question…now I think about it I think I’ve only been with 2 Americans #randomfacts). “Just black” serves as the default for African American but not really because you don’t really want to rock with being American, you know, cuz slavery. To be an “African”-American is to concede that you have no idea where you’re from…even if I were to do a genealogy test, it’s not like I can then just carry on this entire culture from a continent I never been. With each generation growing farther and farther apart from the land of which they were taken…eventually you just have to accept that you’re an American. Hoteps can keep deluding themselves into thinking they were pharaohs, we can just cherry pick from “African” cultures and claim as our own (I’m looking at you, Kwanzaa), but you still are viewing things as well, an American. Let’s say I’m Senegalese…does that mean I suddenly I’m going to eat maafe and speak Wolof? No, sadly I probably identify closer to white Americans; I barbecue on the 4th, drink beer and watch football, eat bacon, get obnoxiously patriotic during the Olympics, and know at least 3 Bruce Springsteen songs. Merica. (Although given the current state of affairs, I think I’m just going to identify as Wakandan… Hail King T’Challa, King of the Dead, Champion of Bast, my Black Panther.)

These days as I know more first generation African-Americans and immigrants the more prevalent it becomes that I’m “African”-American? an American of African descent? Or am I just a black American. To be Black/African-American gives credence to the idea that Africa is just one giant country.(Still looking at you, Kwanzaa). The reality is if I and a Nigerian-American both go to Nigeria. They are “home” and I’m just a tourist in kente and a medallion. But I’m dark-skinned so I won’t look like a 53%er on a Eat Pray Love trip.

That isn’t to distance myself from my ancestors, maybe I’m a descendant of a king, or maybe just a goat herder. I have no way of knowing for sure. Some use it as a way to cope; they long for the history that was stripped of them. It’s not my place to tell them whether or not they want to hold on to their African identity. (No matter how ridiculous I find their memes). Admittedly, I had an Afrocentric phase, never went full hotep thankfully, so I get the sentiment of wanting to connect. But I know and don’t know where I came from and while I appreciate African culture, it isn’t mine. Do you, tho. (You can at least buy African tho, you getting a Chinese screen printed Dashiki and now you are of the sun God, cut it out)

Perchance that’s ignorance on my part; who knows, when I eventually do go to the motherland I might feel a sense of home and belonging I never felt before… In the meantime, that feeling comes from a video of this gospel rendition of Bodak Yellow. It comes from the black history I read about, the black history I’ve witnessed, the black history that’s still to come. Black Americans have a culture. A great culture (with a fucked up beginning we’ll never forgive you for). One that doesn’t need to cling on to African or white American roots to thrive. (once again, sup Kwanzaa). But maybe everyone just have to make their own peace with it at their own pace.

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Today’s Word is… BENEFITS

So I was making my way downtown, faces pass and I’m home bound when I had happened upon this meme

getting tens of thousands of retweets and I was flummoxed. First, because since when was abuse a word to be used so flippantly (also is she wearing a wedding ring?). Furthermore, what is a relationship benefit exactly? And he can expect a lot of things what exactly happens if she doesn’t indulge, is he just gonna continue to not be with her? If he says he’s not ready for a relationship and you continue to act like that’s acceptable to you, who is really lying? What responsibility is it of the uninterested party to keep reminding them of that fact? (I’ve been that guy…when you do they hate it, “they know” they said, “we’re adults” they said). In reality, I’m not that damn serious, no one is that damn serious, and maybe just maybe “relationship benefits” is just something you wanted to do.

Relationships are nothing more than mutual agreements of responsibilities and expectations of one another. There’s no benefits package. You do things for (and to) people you like. Sometimes that happens to be your girlfriend, or maybe it’s just the girl you’re sleeping with, or have a crush on or a friend. You had sex with them because you wanted to. You were their date at the holiday party because you wanted to. You paid for dinner because you wanted to. You built that TV stand because you wanted to. You cooked for them because you wanted to. (I don’t know when cooking became a grander gesture than sex…or maybe we just too grown to be earning sex so I gotta love you before you have my short ribs). Entering relationships for said benefits is not how they should work and if you are doing that, expect to be solely disappointed. A committed, healthy relationship should never be something you leverage.

There’s a difference between leveraging and courting. A difference between men sold on the idea that if I pay for the date I expect sex and men who go on dates because they are genuinely trying to what she’s about. People who have casual sex because they just want to and those who are just acquiescing in the hopes it turns into something else. The way men lament about paying for dates on Twitter you would think they aren’t at the restaurant they probably chose themselves eating too. You aren’t “free food”, that’s another one of her followers who orders her UberEATS even though they’ve never met. If she agreed and went out with you, then you aren’t being used. (Unless it’s like date 3 or 4, she’s never asked to see you first nor has offered to pay. #knowyourworthKing). Going back to the meme, if he says he wasn’t looking for a relationship, you know that you are but continue to entertain him hoping to change his mind. You aren’t being manipulated; you’re manipulating. It’s just not working. Again, you aren’t doing things of your own free will, you’re leveraging. In both cases, rather than ask explicitly what you’re doing here, or state plainly what you’re looking for and get finality…but its easier to hide behind casual sex, fake friendship and cocktails and play a victim because your plan isn’t working. But they’re the misleading one. K.

-Stan-

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Filed under Dating, Love, Oh, Internet, Relationships, Uncategorized