Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free Your Mind

“… I might date another race or color,
It doesn’t mean I don’t like my strong black brothers”

- En Vogue (Free Your Mind: Funky Divas)

So during my last two semesters of school, I tried to stay focused on staying focused but as the weeks passed by, I became more restless and anxious. My world crumbled when The Voice and I parted ways and I found myself riding solo through the world.

(Cue Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”)

Now, I’m not the type of guy who likes being unattached so I channeled my breakup frustrations and angst into my studies and soon enough, I began considering something new. I soon discovered he was smart. He was talented. He had the same type of dry, sarcastic humor as me. He was attractive. He was sexy.

And he was white.

Yeah, in all my years of dating and failed relationships, I suddenly found myself checking out a white guy.

Now, let me straighten things out (no pun intended) before I continue: I am hardly a candidate for racism and bigotry. After all, I am African-American and SGL so I have absolutely no right to criticize another person for their religion, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Moreover, I’ve had friends from numerous backgrounds such that if they all gathered in one room, it’d look like a United Nations summit. Plus, it’s hard to be narrow-minded at UMass Boston considering the many students from all walks of life. I enjoy getting to know people from all cultures and backgrounds as it makes life interesting and fascinating.

Nevertheless, I felt some deep confliction then and even now, nearly a year since I admitted I was interested in this guy. However, I had never seriously considered dating a white guy before this “curiosity” began. My “black book” is filled with guys who are mostly from West Indian descent. And the few white guys I dated were flings at the most. Either they were too mature for me (I was exceptionally naïve when I first came out) or I wasn’t serious about them. Either way, it never lasted more than one or two dates. In a nutshell, I don’t have much experience seriously dating outside my race.

I’ve only had about four or five serious relationships, including my first girlfriend and I suppose it was easier to relate to each one because we shared the same racial experiences growing up. Everyone I dated had felt that sting of discrimination. We all knew what it was like to deal with “our people.” We all knew about the “black church” experience. We all heard the ghetto black rumors, knew the black handshakes and drilled every February on our black history. And we all went through the “please don’t let him be black” mantra when we saw a crime being reported on television. But how do you relate when your boyfriend doesn’t have a clue about any of these things?

While I’ve already established that I’m open to new encounters, I somehow have to reconcile with the “traitor to the race” mentality that’s been indoctrinated in our community since long before I was born. I have relatives on each end of the color spectrum but can’t help remembering those echoes of “oh they got them babies with the fine hair.” While most in the community have moved on from that mentality, there are many inside and out the black community that have not. And that’s not even touching upon the racism within the gay community.

Could I have dated too many black guys with issues that it’s turned me off? Does this make me self-hating? While my friends and family may be accepting, what types of ignorant things will we encounter in the real world aside from us being an SGL couple? These are just some of the thoughts swirling around in my head.

I suppose the first step will be to “adjust the vision of my future-self.” For example, when I acknowledged my sexual orientation, I was mostly devastated that my “future-self” would no longer have that all-American scenario: wife, kids, house with a picket fence. In time and as I began to really delve into the gay community, I realized that I just needed to shift that vision a little. The woman became a guy and the kids existed via adoption. Thus, that perfect African-American partner I visualized may become Asian, Latino or white. Or another ethnicity entirely.

Maybe I’m becoming more open-minded as I age. After all, I’m thinking about a long-term relationship and possibly a family the closer I get to 30 while the “me” from ten years ago was all about fun. Who knows where this is all coming from and how it will turn out.

In the end, the most important realization is that regardless of his skin color, I just want the love to be 100% real and honest.

And it doesn’t get any realer than that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reading Corner: Sweet Swagger

I know it’s been awhile since I posted a book review but I got caught up since A Private Affair and I’m now THREE books ahead. And each book has been juicier than the last so I’m going to try to go back to Sweet Swagger and give you my run down.

Sweet Swagger was the follow up novel to Mike Warren’s A Private Affair which introduced the reader to Sean Matthews and his wild lifestyle. In my last review, I stated that two elements set this novel apart from the riff-raff: setting and pacing. Well, you can throw that out of the window because this novel took the wildest and weirdest turn I’ve ever experienced in a book. While the military setting remained, it was placed on the back burner in place of more nightclub scenes and “home life".

Nevertheless, the pace remained consistent and I was swept up, anticipating each page like a huge spoonful of chocolate sundae!

At the conclusion of A Private Affair, we found Sean confessing his love before his friend Cameron who was at the altar about to marry *GASP* a woman. However, Sean's arrested on suspicion of murder before he can blink (Cameron too) and Sean finds himself in a race to discover the truth before it’s too late. As if that isn’t enough on his plate, his wife suddenly dies and he’s left a single dad with two small children. But oh no, Mike Warren doesn’t leave it at that – the cherry on top? Sean enters “complicated” relationship with men and women that ties back into the murder and delves into an underground world of sex, lust and power.

About two-thirds into the book, the novel took an unexpected turn regarding this underground lifestyle and while at times graphic and a bit disturbing, I enjoyed the diversion from the main plot. Initially, I thought it was a bit fantastical and whimsical (Sean should still be grieving) but after finishing the novel, it made me wonder what people are really hiding behind closed doors. In essence, your next door neighbors may not be the quiet, normal couple that one thinks.

I was disappointed with the development of some of the characters such as Cameron and Cat (she was introduced in the first book). While I hold no discrimination against effeminate men, I still find it difficult to believe that Cameron went from knock-down-drag-out-of-the-flaming-closet-queen to straight husband and father. Additionally, I was a little weirded out by the new characters Justin, Ty and Mike, mostly because the affairs with them moved quickly. And kudos to Warren for keeping the continuity flowing from the first novel (HINT: floors + paint).

Lastly, the subplot mystery turned out to be a disappointment (very rushed scene) but equally surprising (my detective skills need some tuning). Additionally, Warren utilized the same technique from his first book to end the novel: the cliffhanger. I’ve nothing against this however, it’s very frustrating and disappointing and hope he’s planning a third novel.

Overall, this was a very strong counterpart to his debut book. The pacing, storyline and characters were just as salacious and sensational. Mike Warren has proven himself a true master of storytelling.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Miguel f. J. Cole - All I Want Is You

I happened to be channel surfing the other day and came across Centric's Soul Sessions and saw this new artist, Miguel, doing his thing. Not only is he good looking but I like his sound, kind of a "forlorn" or longing vibe. The lyrics had me thinking about a certain somebody. Ironically, in a YouTube interview (click here), Miguel mentions that he's not so much "concerned with how the music sounds but how it feels" ... I guess he did his job because I was definitely feeling it.

Hope Miguel sticks around and doesn't just become a one-hit wonder. Oh yeah, I like the style of the video too (just my inner cinematographer!)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

... And A New Chapter Begins

I DID IT!!!!!!

Some video footage of me singing with the University of Massachusetts Boston Chamber Singers at Friday's Commencement Ceremony. The video is courtesy of my mom (who was cheering me on while simultaneously cussing out the people walking in front of the camera) and edited by me. So much to talk about, so little time (family is here from out of town) but once this weekend passes, I'll be sure to put up some more material this week! Stay blessed ...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jazz Time (Part 1)

Hey everyone,

I've got a few clips from our spring end-of-the-semester jazz concert! I'm on piano (my back is to the camera) and while the quality isn't that great, it gives you an idea of what we do ...

The first clip features excerpts from Unit Seven (Wes Montgomery) and the second clip is Phase Dance (Pat Metheny). I've some more clips on the way but ediiting takes a while, especially with commencement coming up so I'll post as soon as I can! Enjoy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The End Is Near ...

Hi everyone,

Just letting you know that I'm not going to update until commencement passes so I hope to be back sometime in mid-June (or earlier) if my schedule permits!

On a quick side note, my jazz band is having a concert this week as well as our chorus so I hope to get some video footage up.

In the meantime, family from out of town, dinner receptions, house-cleaning, final exams, concerts, jury preparation and other stuff has me pretty tied down. Nevertheless, I want to share this major experience with you, so just hang in there and I'll post something soon enough!

Peace & Blessings

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reading Corner: A Private Affair

As a fairly consistent reader (I’m hardly without a book), however, I am a bit picky when it comes to fictional novels. I tend to judge a book by it’s cover length so right away I was apprehensive but the cover illustration looked hot so I took a gamble!

And surprisingly, it paid off…

The author, Mike Warren, introduces the reader to A Private Affair, a world filled with lies, secrets, lust and just about all other manner of freaky erotic lifestyle that usually pepper a “typical urban novel.” However, two things immediately helped set it apart from the riff-raff: setting and pacing.

The plot is about a young Army private, Sean Matthews, who begins to explore his sexuality and gradually delves deeper and deeper into a world he is unfamiliar with. Chance encounter at nightclubs, undercover military sex, down-low lust and even some forbidden Lord-have-mercy religious rendezvous keep Sean’s world upside-down and turned out. But along this wild journey, he begins to discover himself and has to make some extremely important decisions. As the author states, will he get the best of both worlds or simply turned out?

Now before I zero in on my complaints (and those who read my past reviews know I will!), I must compliment this fresh author on his intrepid novel. There aren’t many novels in the African-American SGL genre that feature the military as a backdrop, especially considering how homophobic both communities can be at times. Knowing some family as well as a few friends in the military, I have never been interested in anything remotely army-related so bravo for capturing my interest.

Nevertheless, this novel suffers from the same affliction that many up-and-coming SGL novels do: TERRIBLE EDITING! There is nothing worse than reading a novel (I’ve read quite a few) and keeping the Rosetta Stone tablet nearby to decipher what in the world he or she is attempting to convey! While I don’t want to criticize this author, I believe all these authors should take more pride in their work and keep on their publisher/editor’s.

Lastly, my other issue with this novel was the overall structure (pacing, continuity, loose ends). The last two chapters raced by at break-neck speed leaving a massive cliffhanger (to be resolved in his next novel Sweet Swagger). Another example is Sean’s friend we are introduced to from the beginning and seems to simply disappear as well as the characterization of his roommate, Cameron, which I find hard to believe someone this effeminate actually made it through boot-camp.

Yet on a positive note I found many aspects of the story endearing and relevant. While I can’t relate physically to the super muscular, hyper-masculine personality of Sean, I easily connected with his struggles as he “came out.” His constant denials, his disconnect with his wife, the encounters were all expertly detailed and slowly drawn out through the course of the book. Additionally, many of the events toward the end of the novel really moved things along and begged for resolution (“who don it?” “could it be..?” “oh no he didn’t!”) and I’ve already got Sweet Swagger on order.

I recommend this as a great summer-style read. The “intimate” scenes are very hot and steamy with just enough raw detail to excite without drowning it in “poetry-esque” prose or making it crude and classless. While the scene changes really take the reader for a ride, don’t expect the novel of the century. Simply put, if you take A Private Affair at face value, you’ll be begging for more too!

Look for my review of Mike Warren’s follow-up novel Sweet Swagger by early summer.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Window Seat

Here's the music video to Erykah Badu's new single, Window Seat from New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh ... let's see you figure this one out!

I'm a huge fan yet somehow I didn't keep my ear to the ground and found out only a mere day ago that she has a new album coming out this Tuesday! Either way, I'm not mad at her but dang girl, what happened? I went to her concert back in May 2008 and she was talking about putting this album out sooner ... I'm just happy it's here!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Moving On

Closing the chapter on one part of my life ...

To The Voice:

Slowly, surely
I walk away from that old desperate and dazed love,
caught up in the maze of love,
the crazy craze of love

Thought it was good,
thought it was real,
thought it was
but it wasn't love

I just don't know
where I should go

Slowly, surely
I walk away from self-serving,
undeserving, constantly hurting me love
deserting me love
You said, I said, we said

But ...

Slowly, surely
I walk away from confusing love,
misusing love, abusing love
this can't be ...

Slowly, surely
I walk away from self-serving,
undeserving, constantly hurting me love

Slowly, surely
one step at a time
But surely I will pass the old love aside,
and love me ...

(Excerpts from Slowly, Surely - Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds, Vol. 1)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guilty Pleasure: Model City

So I don’t like blogging much about television (especially since I work nights and can't keep up with the latest stuff) but a new show has seized my attention.

I’ve been watching this show on Centric (BLASPHEMY!) called Model City. Now, before I go any further, let me just say that I completely abhor anything BET related and while they changed the name of the network, “a rose by any other name is still a rose” …

And secondly, I highly detest reality shows so this is a confession from deep within my soul!

That said, I must admit the show piqued my interest solely because of Zeric, the extremely bold and inspirational SGL model who brazenly kissed his boyfriend during the opening episode at a social mixer. However, as I continued to watch the subsequent episodes, I realized that this show was a bit more interesting than I realized. I’ve always poked fun at Java-Mama for watching America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway but in retrospect, those were educational shows for “normies” like me who know nothing about the modeling industry. Nevertheless, something has been missing …

Model City takes a fresh look at the modeling business via the perspective of several male models from Red Model Management, a modeling agency that promotes models of an “urban facade.” Translation: black and Latino models. While I don’t care much for good looking guys, parading around showing off their chiseled bodies and “look-how-hot-I-am” faces, it is a nice escape from the reality of full-time school and full-time work! Surprisingly, these models each have fascinating back stories and some are a bit more multifaceted and profound than I initially suspected.

Ibrahim, the veteran model and Mekhi Phifer's love child, is highly experienced and the most stable of the group. He is in a committed relationship with his girlfriend and has aspirations of being an artist following his career. What I like the most is his honesty when it comes to the issue of race in the modeling industry (we see this during a photo shoot with mostly white models and the photographer continually calls him ‘Abraham’). He’s incredibly straightforward and never holds back. Unfortunately, he loses points because of his sometimes subtle rivalry with Wendell.

When I saw the promo shots for the show, I was amazed at how attractive Wendell was but now after a few episodes, I think his arrogant attitude is (like Keri Hilson says) “turnin’ me off.” Wendell is just as experienced as Ibrahim and has risen up the ranks fast. Nevertheless, he admits to working best independently and displays his “holier-than-thou” manner every chance he gets. He is moving in with his model girlfriend but neglects to tell his mom. Is it me or does the mother/son relationship seemed severely strained?

The last two models featured on the opening credits are Zeric and Nelson. Zeric shows up toward the end of the first episode in response to an opening casting call at Red. Zeric oozes confidence, sexuality and masculinity and audaciously brings his boy to a mixer. While I’m pleased to see an SGL man represented on a BET network no less, I think after his scene-grabbing comment regarding Nelson’s private member, I’m about done with him.

Nelson, another semi-experienced model who has worked with K-Swiss and Sean John, represents the Latino portion of the show and though he’s in a solid relationship with his girl, he looks to Ibrahim for inspiration and guidance in the business as well as his relationship. However, I lumped Zeric and Nelson’s descriptions together because they ended up getting into a ridiculous argument at a promo party featuring top photographers, clients and models on 5th Ave which began over Zeric’s offhand comment regarding Nelson’s member. Seriously, people, how old are we?

There are other models such as Salieu, a West African model who doesn’t seem to get much screen time (so far), and Henry, a new recruit who has a fresh boy-next-door look. Unfortunately, Henry's desire to drop out of college to pursue modeling doesn’t sit well with me but makes for good television drama. On a side note, many promo photos for the show I found around the net feature additional models who have yet to make an appearance (not sure what's going on there).

I don't care much for shows about models and even less for the reality show concept (no thanks to the Flavor Flav series). I know that reality shows are just as staged as anything else on TV but this one has me captivated for a while and I think the topic (black male urban models) is exceptionally refreshing.

Nevertheless, I’ve a habit for ditching shows when they get too outrageous or don’t go the way I want (Crossing Jordan, Smallville, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck, The Real World). However, I also have been known to jump on the bandwagon after a few seasons (Desperate Housewives, True Blood, DS9, Law & Order SVU, Angel).

The verdict? I’m as fickle as the next TV viewer so I’m going to take this one episode at a time …

I think it’s on Thursdays at 8 PM but since I watch everything via my DVR, I’m not sure exactly when anything actually airs so check out for showtimes and tell me what you think of the show!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"To Thine Own Self Be True"

This be the realest thing I ever wrote for sure
After this a lot of folks wont like me no mo’
But after this I gotta go answer to you Lord
So I’ve made up my mind

I’m a go to church on Sunday
And sing a song that may hurt somebody’s feelings so that maybe
Thy will, will be done on earth as it is in heaven
And hopefully they will see how much they really be discouraging a little old sinner like me

- Lyfe Jennings (Made Up My Mind: Lyfe 268-192)

So can you help me right quick with a situation?

You see, I’m a music major (yeah, I know, heard it all before) and I’m pretty close to graduating (see my fantastic counter above). I’m hustling and grinding like never before, taking an overload (7 courses and an independent study) just so that I can graduate by June 4th and not have to return for any additional semesters.

The problem or situation I’m foreshadowing is a clash between my career and my sexuality. It’s no secret that I am SGL (gay, queer, whatever) and I’ve reached the point in my life where I am extremely comfortable with telling anyone who asks. I’ve been out for about 11 years now and while I don’t see my orientation as a huge deal, someone else may. Not that it defines me. I want those who enter into my life to see me for me and not some label. I want to be judged by the content of my personality and character, not my skin color and certainly not by who I sleep with.

Okay, enough idealism. Welcome back to the real world!

This past summer, I befriended an up-and-coming gospel musician who has released two albums and this connection was exceptionally beneficial in getting me to think about the direction of my own music career. Fortunately, everyone I’ve come out to has reacted positively. If anyone was upset or offended, I have yet to receive notice. Needless to say, I decided to come out to this young man as the topic of conversation had shifted to relationships and I was incredibly proud of The Voice at the time. This young musician reacted somewhat cool about it but gradually our friendship diminished upon his return to his home state. Subsequently, this has left me wondering if one’s sexuality and music career can go hand in hand.

Obviously, it’s not impossible to combine them, especially when one looks at artists such as Elton John, Meshell Ndegeocello, Boy George, Adam Lambert, and Tracy Chapman. However, not really knowing what path my life will take and not having many African-American SGL role models, I’m left wondering if I’ll have to be a pioneer or step back in the closet. Rumors have abounded about many black singers and artists throughout the years and subsequently, they remained trapped in the closet, even though certain signs existed.

Moreover, I’m considering a position at my church in the music ministry. Many congregants have watched me grow up there and while I have my issues, it’s the only spiritual home I’ve known. And despite it’s “dysfunctionality” at times, I continue to see the potential. However, I’ve never really had to face any opposition regarding my sexuality because I’ve never made it a significant issue. I’ve brought several of the X-Men to church (Kingston, Heart2Soul, The Voice) and even let BJ help direct my choir in the early years. I’m sure there was speculation but I’ve never been approached.

Taking this position would be a golden opportunity for my career and on a personal level, I’ve always enjoyed playing gospel and really want to see our music ministry grow. However, I cannot remain untrue to myself and live my life back in the closet. Sadly, this situation isn’t just confined to the church and will pop up time and time again as I move throughout my career.

Furthermore, I’ve composed and arranged several songs for my choir yet I have non-religious material that speaks about the trials and tribulations in my personal life. Is it hypocritical to be a secular artist as well as remain active in gospel?

So many questions running through my mind and I’m just not sure where to begin. I’ve delayed talking to my minister about the church position because of all these thoughts …

… what do you all think?

1. Take the position and play straight?
2. Become a trailblazer and be out?
3. Or just find my own path away from the church?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Reading Corner: Mama Dearest

I bought it, placed it on the shelf and looked at it.

I packed it in my suitcase and dragged it with me from St. Thomas to Barbados intending to spend time with it out on the lido deck. I re-packed it in my suitcase and brought it home. Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went and still I couldn’t bring myself to take the final step.

Yet finally, nearly a year after the death of E. Lynn Harris and several months since the release of his final novel, “Mama Dearest”, I took the plunge and decided to read it.

For those that are new to my blog, I have posted several book reviews on novels (click here for all posts on books) but none were as hard-hitting as those by E. Lynn. His series figures prominently into my life as a SGL man because he was the first black SGL author I had been introduced to. The Divo had given me a copy of “Invisible Life” for my birthday about a year after we met and from then on, I was hooked!

Fast forward several years and I have read his entire collection, including his memoir, “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted.” And I’ve been taken on an emotional rollercoaster every time. From the first scene involving Raymond Tyler in his college dorm room to the epilogue in his final novel involving Yancey H. Braxton, I have been on a poignant journey, defining my life and learning what it truly meant to be a SGL man in a world I was only beginning to (and still struggling to) understand. Simply put, no SGL man can say they have truly “come out” unless they have read the master of African-American SGL literature.

While only a select few authors have since captured my mind and heart, E. Lynn always kept me hooked and interested. I couldn’t bring myself to blog about his death last year and in many ways, I’m still in shock at his passing. It feels like a bizarre dream. While Harris claimed to be just an average guy simply following his dreams and passion, he touched thousands of lives along the way both directly and indirectly and I can say that I was one of those fortunate few.

Now I don’t like to give endings away (although it’s been several months since the release) as I’m sure that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE, SOMEHOW has NOT read this book. That said, I’ll rate it with 4 stars out of 5. I know that seems heartless and possibly disrespectful but I’m not going to be soft – and I don’t think E. Lynn would want any critics out there to go easy. Authors crave feedback and E. Lynn Harris was a true author to the very end. So …

I was extremely happy to see the return of Yancey but secretly yearned for more Basil or Raymond. A note to fans seeking our two favorite SGL hotties: they do make extensive cameos, but the story remains firmly centered on the true divas. The plot revolves around Yancey Braxton, last seen sabotaging Nicole Springer’s career, trashing John Basil Henderson at the altar and dealing with her very crazy and delusional “mother” Ava Middlebrooks who has finally been released from prison. Of course, no Harris book is complete without revenge, drama, schemes, plots and good old backstabbing and he definitely returned to what he knew best.

Unfortunately, it’s a song and dance all too familiar to his readers, especially throughout his past several novels (Basketball Jones, Too Good To Be True, I Say A Little Prayer) and I could already spot the snakes in the grass from the first few chapters. Additionally, I was not crazy about the lengthy sex scene between Yancey and her newest suitor, S. Marcus which has left me wondering why Harris chose the straight path (writing from a woman’s perspective) in “Too Good To Be True” and “Mama Dearest.”

Harris also reintroduced several characters, one of which is Madison B., Yancey’s daughter she gave up for adoption to pursue her own dreams of stardom. I wasn’t too pleased with her portrayal which was defined by a struggling combination of Nicole, Yancey and Ava’s personalities. For a teenage celebrity, she wasn’t youthful-acting enough for me and appeared as an old soul trapped in a young body.

The buildup towards the climax was executed perfectly however, as a reader I was left with many questions and felt some of the characters were out of character. While Ava returned to her conniving ways, characters such as Lyrical and Dalton seemed placed to serve as a moral foundation for the novel; I understood their purpose but felt it would have been a better read without them. Nevertheless, Harris’ attempt to melt the heart of Yancey succeeded and I must commend him on a job well done.

Still, that last star must be withheld due to a rushed ending and many unanswered questions. Overall, it was great to see closure for many of his beloved characters (Raymond, Basil, Nicole, Yancey, Ava) and while it has been a lengthy and complicated adventure from the first page of “Invisible Life”, it has never been dull. I know I’ve listed most of my criticisms in this post but I believe his best novels were behind him (“Invisible Life”, “Just As I Am”, “And This Too Shall Pass”) and most of his final novels were rushed and reflected more of an experimental phase in his writing.

Personally, I would have preferred at least one more novel to complete the series featuring Raymond and/or Basil (the primary characters from the start) and a positive depiction of a middle-class black SGL couple.

But one can still dream, right?

We will miss you dearly Mr. E. Lynn Harris and thank you for all the joy, laughter, tears and thrills you have brought into our lives. May you rest in peace.

E. Lynn Harris (1954-2009)

Invisible Life
Just As I Am
And This Too Shall Pass
If This World Were Mine
Abide With Me
Any Way The Wind Blows
Not A Day Goes By
A Love Of My Own
I Say A Little Prayer
Just Too Good To Be True
Basketball Jones
Mama Dearest
What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted (memoir)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bad Romance

Okay, so I suppose the first thing to clear up now that I’m back is to explain a little about what happened between me and The Voice.

Truthfully, I don’t think I want to get into all the gory details about who, what, when and why’d y’all break up. Nevertheless, I did say I needed to get some of this off my chest so I suppose I have to open up a little.

It’s a bit odd to be typing this especially since this time last year I was excited about having my first Valentine’s Day with my very first solid romance. And yet, who would’ve known a year later, I’m not just singing Bad Romance from Lady Gaga but living it.

A few posts back, I explained how The Voice asked for space (right around our one year anniversary no less) and while I was reluctant at first, I did as he requested. Unfortunately, my bad side came back out to play and I happened to traipse into someone else’s sandbox. Unfortunately, the sand isn’t any whiter on the other side of the fence. Right as we were about to reconcile, the truth came out and I’ve endured the consequences ever since.

So now to fill in the gaps: a week before our departure on our cruise, we got into a nasty argument. All kinds of things came out and sad to say, The Voice is the kind of guy that hangs on to a lot of things. But I’m not going to point blame because I narrow mindedly went on the cruise thinking that we would get back together and all would be forgiven.


The night after his birthday, we got into another argument on the ship and that left the entire trip extremely tense. I spent many nights down in the bars and clubs, drinking myself silly and this only led to continued difficulties on the cruise. I’ll have a post up about the cruise so I won’t get too detailed about that.

We returned from the cruise and most of November and December was chilly as The Voice was still upset with the cruise and how things turned out. It got so bad that he didn’t even attend any of my “end of semester” concerts and we talked even less. We tested the highway of friendship out but it was a bit slippery as many of the signs on the side of the road were misinterpreted. There were times when I assumed he wanted me back but when approached he stated he was only interested in friendship because of how badly I hurt him. But remember that neither party walks away uninjured: I was hurting badly too.

The days passed, the holidays came and went and we were cordial and cool with each other but I secretly suffered wishing I had him back and hadn’t messed up so bad. You see, when my past relationships ended, it was easy to become friends after awhile because I blamed them for the breakups and I learned to hate them, personify them as the villain. Sadly, I couldn’t hate The Voice and he’s said the same about me, despite all the arguments and problems we endured the last few months. Additionally, I understood that this was unlike any breakup I endured because he was not an online trick or casual encounter and it was also the longest and most involved relationship to date.

Most importantly, I also recognized that I wasn’t to blame for everything that went wrong (despite his desire to make me believe otherwise) and grew stronger.

Well, it’s January and the beginning of a new year. A friend of mine helped me comprehend that I will be just fine by myself. It’s okay to be single again and I’m starting to emerge from my “mourning” period. I miss him terribly and I’m sure he misses me but in some ways this might be the best thing for us. I can focus on my studies, graduation and career while he can concentrate on getting a job (a huge source of contention between us throughout the past year) and returning to graduate school. Besides, even our horoscopes warned against the coupling of a Libra and Virgo but we thought we could defy even the stars!

Yeah, how naïve …

Nevertheless, It hasn’t been easy. Consequently our convos are incredibly strained and barely a text or phone call is traded between us. And what diminutive friendship existed is breaking apart. There’s a small glimmer of hope (my Mariah Carey gene) that we could give it a “second time around” but then reality sets in harder than Whitney a crack addict going through withdrawal and I know the past can’t be erased. What’s been said and done is just that: done.

Still, I have to end on this very important note. I do NOT (let me repeat NOT) regret going through this relationship. You see, prior to meeting The Voice, I was getting my life together. I had gotten off my butt and returned to school, and even left my cushy job to pursue my degree! Then he entered my life. He pulled me out of my quiet, introverted world and showed me that it was okay to open my heart again. We attended social events, traveled together and I gained confidence. So many great memories subsist in my mind and it’s a year of my life I’ll never, ever forget.

I was cynical and cold towards the idea of love (you can view the thawing process in all my previous posts on The Voice) and finally, I tore the wall down. As did he. We both fell hard and fast and I felt with him something I hadn’t felt before: a future. But sadly, love is a gamble, a risk and though it’s a beautiful rose, it does have thorns and hurts like a mofo …

But I’ll never be sorry that I felt like that, held him like that, opened up like that, loved like that. I proved that I could love again and while it didn’t work out, I’m not ready to quit on love. I’m stronger, wiser and more mature.

And most importantly, I’m ready for the next time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

To Blessed To Be Stressed ...

Happy New Year and what a time it is to refresh – new page – I know I’ve been gone a long while and I’ll probably need to work hard to gain back readers and followers but I needed the break and now I’m ready to get back into therapy. Yeah, I think blogging is a sort of therapy that’s helped make me into a better person. I started this blog a few months prior to meeting The Voice and I spoke about so many issues (i.e. local politics, family, friends, personal dilemmas, social observations, etc.) and it really assisted in clarifying the turmoil and chaos in my life as I traversed from one episode into the next.

I’m fast approaching another “intersection of life” (graduation from college in June) and dealing with a recent breakup and I need to talk all this out. So I hope you guys don’t mind being my therapists for a few months …

Since it’s a new year, I created a new blog that I’m hoping to really get off the ground after graduation (it’s going to focus on my attempt at a music career). I set it up but haven’t really the time to juggle two blogs but it’ll be up and running soon!

A quick note: I’m returning to school next week in my hopefully last semester at UMB and unfortunately I’ll be managing an extremely packed schedule (SEVEN courses) so I’m going to try to make time and not let this blog slip like I did the last time. So have mercy on a brotha if you see typos and extremely messed up grammar!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting on my break up and unresolved feelings towards The Voice, post some photos and/or vids from my cruise back in October, vids from my jazz band concert last semester, discussing my thoughts about current events (Haiti, special Mass senatorial election result), update my workout regiments, book readings, posing a questions regarding sexuality, mental illness and the music industry as well as posting on developments at home! And of course, I’ll be trying to catch up on some of my favorite bloggers and see what you all have been up to!

So let’s get this thing started!