Being Aware of Breast Cancer

One is never fully aware of cancer until it affects someone they know personally. We all know someone who has been affected by it. However, it just doesn’t hit home until that one person you knew one way begins to slow down, goes bald from chemo, fingers get dark from neuropathy, has scars from surgery, and gradually become a shell of the person you once knew before the end in many cases.

July 2011: I am living in Buffalo taking care of my family as my wife Timile is undergoing chemotherapy treatments. She was diagnosed as stage four February 23, 2011; nine days after our daughter Cydney was born. It had been a rough time; but we were making it and Timile was actually beginning to do better. Her cancer which metastasized all over her body had been localized to just being the tumor in her lower esophagus. Things were starting to look up.

One evening I got a phone call. It was my father. I don’t remember his exact words because they don’t matter. He told me that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she didn’t want to tell me. In spite of what she had just heard she was still trying to be my mother by not giving me anymore bad news at a really hard time.


Within five months I became a father, the love of my life is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and so is my mother. That’s a lot for anyone to handle. At twenty-five years old I was barely a man myself and was virtually forced to become someone thirty years older than I really was. There was to time to process things of grieve. I had to keep it moving.

I remember being in the car driving somewhere with Timile and Cydney when my father called. I told Timile right away and I could see her feeling really bad and as much as possible trying to be there for me. She suggested that almost right away we should drive down to New York to see her.

Sometime in August I recall being on the phone with my mother. She was just venting to me about how she felt. She didn’t want to do surgery. The idea of possibly having a mastectomy was devastating. In theory, I understood because to her it meant losing part of what makes her a woman. We talked for a while; well she talked and I listened. By the end of the conversation I said to her something like “Look, I understand. Be thankful that surgery is an option. What I wouldn’t trade for surgery to be an option.” She was silent. It was one of those moments when I had really felt life was about to be different. Keeping it real with my mother based on my own experience was one of those moments that made me realize I was a grown-ass man.

Moving back to New York shortly before Timile died was hard. It was difficult to relive what I just went through immediately after Timile succumbed all while fighting to get my daughter back. The silver lining was that all that I had been through made things a little easier for her. If she needed to talk to someone I understood and could tell her about the process. When something new came up I was able to relate as much as humanly possible.

As I had said before, my mother was still trying to be my mom by looking out for my mental well-being. I may have driven her to surgeries; but she knew I couldn’t really visit her in the hospital. I just couldn’t do it.

My mother didn’t want me to take her to chemo, either. That was probably the most emotionally experience for me. It was May 3, 2013 and I had just met a girl about two weeks earlier. We were going out on our second date within three days and something inside of me felt like she was someone special. My mother knew that this was a big deal and offered to watch Cydney after she had chemo. She was adamant about me not taking her. Her plans had fallen through and I had to do it. Watching her get hooked up, her metaport being flushed, and sitting in that chair that I had done every two weeks for six months two years prior was hard.

While I was in the present moment with my mother I had flashbacks of sitting with Timile. I laughed and joked with her through it. The moment had felt like life was coming full-circle. Here I was sitting with my mother undergoing a process that reminded me of how I lost my partner…in order to begin the process of my own healing and moving on. It was as if God was giving me a mental and emotional cup-check before I got back in the game. By all means it was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually taxing. But through the whole experience I mostly thought about how excited I was to see the girl in a few hours thinking she must be some kinda special for me to go through this…

It is October 7, 2014 and my mother is cancer free and is celebrating another birthday. It’s her first birthday without her mother and I’m sure that is on her mind. But I know one of the reasons that her mother stayed around as long as she did was that she wasn’t leaving earth until her oldest daughter was out of the woods. That’s what mothers do.

Because my mother is going through her own personal struggles she can’t and isn’t always available; but I know in her own way she is doing the same for me. I may not be a mother but as a parent this experience may have been one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned from her. The other day my mother told me out of nowhere that God doesn’t give people what they can’t handle and that this road that He made for me was because I could handle it. My daughter by all means is a firecracker and handling her under such circumstances means God must think pretty highly of me.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Love is Not Patient…

“I don’t take any days off.”  Timile didn’t have any response to that statement.  I had finally shut her up.

It was the summer of 2009 and I was selling cars.  I worked seventy-five hours a week trying to convince affluent Atlanta suburbanites to buy Volkswagens for commissions.  I hated the job; but I loved the challenge of coaxing people into buying the product.  I would meet people who were just coming in simply kicking tires, have a conversation with them, talk in circles until I found what their needs were, and then make them think that it was their decision to buy the car.  I would get off of work at 8pm, travel forty-five minutes home, still give Timile an appropriate amount of time, be in bed by 1 just to do it all again at 6am with just Sundays off.

One day I was exceptionally tired.  It was a slow day and I felt like going home.  I left work early and called Timile.  I told her this was my plan and she was starting to get annoyed with me.  She was fixing to tell me about how as many times she didn’t feel like going to work and I would tell her to go.  For once I got stern and basically said to her “Look, you can say what you want about me but if there’s one thing I don’t do, I don’t take days off.”

She knew exactly what I meant.  I wasn’t just referring about work; I was talking about us.

“All night grindin’, I don’t take no breaks.  All day grindin’, I don’t take no breaks.”- Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom

Timile could say just about anything about me.  Even though I can be lazy at times the one thing that I never did was take a day off when it came to her and me.  Timile moved in with my roommates Devin, Walter and I shortly after we started dating.  She had severe depression and anxiety disorder.  She was seeing a psychologist and a psychiatrist.  Being in our spacious townhouse was much better for her than being cooped up in half of a dorm room with dull walls made of concrete.  Some days she would just lay in bed and I would write her papers for her and she would edit them after.  I was doing this all while taking eighteen credits and working at a record label.  In fact, part of the reason that I left my job was because she needed me at home.

Whenever times got tough I never faltered.  My love and work ethic was truly unconditional.  When Timile had decided to move to Virginia and I didn’t have a job I did what I had to do to make things happen.  I sold insulation at home expos, bussed down motorcycles, helped my cousin with multiple sclerosis take care of her ninety-five year old husband for anywhere between twenty to one hundred dollars a day, and just about whatever I could get my hands on to help her get her own place.  I even talked to a friend of ours which is how she got her job when she moved back.  There were plenty of days that she didn’t deserve that level of commitment.  However, it wasn’t my place to say whether or not she did; my sole purpose was to love her through her mess and make shit happen by any means.

Many people quote 1 Corinthians 13-the love chapter-but they don’t really live it.  

“If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” New International Version

I have probably written this somewhere else before; but I’ll say it again: the proper translation isn’t “Love is patient.”  It is “Love suffers long.”  Patience gives a connotation of resilience and long-suffering is about persevering.  Resilience means to be buoyant while adjusting one’s self then going back to one’s original state.  It is an adjective.  Like love, persevere is a verb.  It means to actively endure, work through, and wade in deep waters.  Patience is a return to form after periods of stress.  It is a guitar string that is plucked, vibrates, and eventually rests.   Long-suffering would be the energizer bunny that keeps going and going no matter how many walls it bumps into.  Patience is empowering and can take one’s capacity to long-suffer to another level.

The difference between Timile and I was that no matter what happened between us I kept going.  To this day I remember things that Timile has said and done that hurt me and even left scars.  However, it never stopped me from loving her.  My day-to-day output never changed or faltered.  

I recall sitting in our living room one time.  Timile was on Facebook and she was looking at pictures of someone she had begun to date a little before we started.  She looked at pictures of him and his new wife at President Obama’s first Inaugural Ball and I wasn’t appreciating the look on her face.  She looked jealous and said something about them attending while we were in out apartment in Georgia and I was unemployed at the time.  She showed me the picture and I couldn’t bear to hear it when I was trying the best that I could.  I left the room and went into my little home studio and began to listen to some music.  Shortly after, she followed me into the room because she had kinda worked herself into frustration.  She said to me that this was who she chose me over.  That was the life that she could have had.  

Now mind you, we were living in the apartment that I had bent over backwards to get.  The lights were on because of the job that I helped her get.  I paid half of the rent and bought groceries.  I had my own apartment; but my lights were off because we had moved into her place and I had let mine fall to the wayside.  That really hurt.  Timile had been on dates and dated other people while we were living together.  I never did.  None of this changed how hard I worked for us.  That’s why she had nothing back to say when I told her “I don’t take any days off.”

“A lot of n****s ain’t cut from that same cloth.  They might give em space.  Gotta play it safe.”- Ermias Asghedom

Nipsey Hussle’s “The Hussle Way” had become an anthem of mine ever since the first time I heard it.  While I wasn’t from Los Angeles, never was in a gang, or sold drugs I just felt where he was coming from.  I played it heavily during the spring of 2010.  By the fall, I had to give it a rest.  After not listening to it for months I found myself driving around New York running an errand for a pregnant Timile.  As soon as the beat dropped I rapped every word as if I had those same experiences.  Timile didn’t like when I fell asleep before her.  So I would stay awake until 4am, wake up around 7am to do what I could to find a new job or hustle up some money, by the time she woke up it was all about making her pregnancy as easy as possible.  My family and her weren’t getting along and I was feeling torn because everyone was putting me in a very compromising position.  Each time I recited the chorus had become a crescendo.   I got louder and louder as I rapped “All night grindin’.  I don’t take no breaks.  All day grindin’ I don’t take no breaks.”

I still live my life the Hussle Way.


Why I Still Haven’t Visited Timile’s Grave Site



I posted this picture on Instagram on Friday afternoon.  Virginia had been on my mind heavily and I decided to share some of my thoughts.  A couple of friends of mine told me I need to stop playing around and visit Timile’s grave site.


If one had been the places that I’ve been they would understand.  I found out on Twitter Timile died.  The family from Buffalo wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral because they were told thay took Timile away from them.  In actuality, it was them who pushed Timile away.  The day after Timile died I recieved a text message from her phone in which someone was sending off conversations that were between Timile and I.  I never got a chance to say a proper goodbye.  I spent five months regaining custody of my daughter because Timile’s parents said they didn’t know where I was and not only had been given a subpoena with my address on it.  From what I was told, Timile’s homegoing services had been changed to a separate venue because people heard where services were being held.  I had been called a drug addict, an unfit father, a deadbeat dad, treated like I was nothing to this girl but sperm and the one who took her away from the protective bubble they had created.  Fuck no, I don’t want to visit…It’s just a body.

If the tables were turned Timile wouldn’t want to and probably wouldn’t visit me.  She was way more stubborn than I am.  If it took me nearly three years to even consider visiting; it would take her a good decade before she did.

Like I’ve said it’s just a body.  Timile lives through memory.  The part of Timile that is living and my daily love letter to her is the little girl that I got ready for school this morning.

I have made my peace.  I have forgiven Timile’s parents for putting me through the ringer.  It made me into the man that I am.  Yes, I am cynical, guarded, trusting of no one, and strategic about almost every move I make.  But that gives me something to improve upon.

There’s a silver lining in everything.  I had to become someone else in order to adapt to life after Timile left earth.  If I hadn’t been put through the fire there would be no blog.  In these last two years I have entertained many; but most importantly I have helped a lot of people along the way.

When I took the picture above I was leaving court in Virginia for the third and final time.  I didn’t want to come back to Hampton, Virginia.  It had left a bad taste in my mouth because I had been there for fighting, supporting Timile’s best friend in which her parents had pressed trespassing charges and would have charged Timile as well; cops called on me twice-once with Timile-for the trespassing incident-because I was taking Cydney and leaving the state with her…

I’ve been through some shit.  There’s no other way to say it.  The places that I’ve been these last four years almost anyone who could or would tell me to visit Timile’s grave couldn’t handle where I’ve been.  If I actually told many of these stories that I type with ease and casualty would make many cry if I did so in person.  What would probably be the most disturbing part about it is that I can do so as if it were simply a story I heard.  Clearly I am affected by all that has happened; but I refuse to let my past be a part of my present or future.

I have been seriously considering taking that trip to Hampton.  With as much that has been going on in my life I have felt that even though it is just a body I should do so for me.  The truth is I could have the same conversation with Timile Brown ate her grave that I could as I’m typing this…She’s not going to say anything back.  It would be for me.  So if doing so is for me than I’ll do it on my terms.


I took the last month or so off because there has been a lot going on.  There has been lots to talk about and I will be sharing my adventures again starting today.

Heaven Is On The Moon

Everyone thinks their child is brilliant. My daughter really is. She has an extensive vocabulary and her ability to reason often astounds me.

I was braiding Cydney’s hair last night. She kept looking around at things in the room and asking what was hers and what belonged to me. As I finished she pointed to these Russian figurines-the kind in which you can open up one and a smaller version is inside of it-and asked if those were mine. I said “Yes. Nunu gave them to me.” Nunu is what Cydney used to call my grandmother who passed away about six months ago.

I asked “Do you remember who Nunu is?” Cydney replied “Yes. She died because she was sick. Did they put purple rocks in her skin?” I quipped “I’m not sure.”

“She’s in heaven, now” my little girl then said. We talked about this for a moment. I was curious to see how this was going to turn out. I told Cydney “She’s in heaven, like your mommy.” Cydney then asked me where is heaven. I told her that heaven is in the sky.

“My mommy is on the moon?” Taken aback I said “Sure.” The look on Cydney’s face changed as she told me “I want to visit the moon and see my mom. I want to take a plane and go see her soon.”

“You have to stay here and take care of me. Your mommy is watching over you from the moon. While I take care of you, you take care of me.” That was the best explanation I could think of without blatantly saying that she won’t see her mother for a very long time.

“No! I want to go to the moon to see my mommy. I miss her” Cydney said. I asked “You don’t want to stay here with me, Cydney?”

“No. My mommy died because she was sick and now she’s in heaven. Heaven is on the moon.” Cydney repeated heaven is on the moon as if she was taking this abstract concept and accepting it as logic.

The look on Cydney’s face had changed from when the conversation started. She began to look sad. She really is figuring this not having a mother thing out. I know she loves me to death; but there is something noticeably missing in her life and she is well aware of it.

Clearly this is something Cydney thinks about. When I came home from work last week my mother told me that out of nowhere Cydney told her and a friend “Timile’s my mommy. My mommy died. I want a new mommy.” During our conversation last night she said this to me again. There’s nothing I can say or do about it.

This is a hard pill to swallow. As a parent you want to be able to do something when your child is hurting. Her behavior has changed because of this. I’ve been told that she won’t say good morning in school to her teachers and sometimes refuses to call them by their name. She’ll give a little attitude and say something that’s humorous but I have to be a dad and reprimand her.

My mother explained to Cydney’s teacher that neither one of them can really comprehend what my daughter is going through. I spoke with her teacher at the beginning of the summer when I first noticed Cyd’s regression. I’d told her that she has women in her life, but she knows they’re not her mother. I referred to a friend of mine Cydney has attached herself to, but she’s been really busy. All in all, everyone is doing the best they can.

Until she figures some things out she now has an extra special reason to look at the moon.

Honest Thoughts About My Past

I pride myself in being an honest person. If I’m asked a question I will answer objectively. I call shots the way I see them and the process in how I come to conclusions means I’m usually right. Most people appreciate what I write because of this.

I’m going to be real: I don’t miss Timile. That may sound harsh but a long time ago I accepted that she’s gone and have moved on. At this point I am used to her not being around. I think what makes this easy for me is that Cydney is young and has no active memories of her. I can talk about her or any hurt that may be associated with her casually and candidly because there are no unanswered questions. No what ifs, nothing I’ve ever wish that I could have said to her, or regrets. When I look at pictures of her or hear stories I can smile but that feels like a lifetime ago. I hardly know who the kid with dreads is in them anymore. I have scars and they’ve healed; but they’re more or less because of what I have been through… Vietnam flashbacks.

The other night I was on Facebook. I saw a picture and it made me laugh out loud. It was the first time I wanted to tell Timile something that I couldn’t. It was about a friend of hers and I wanted to say “I knew it!”

It was a fleeing moment that provoked other thoughts. Nothing sad or taking any trips down memory lane, or anything. I had begun to ponder of there is anything else I would have wanted to tell her. I couldn’t think of one thing.

When I think about who we were it wasn’t bound to work out. We were very different. We didn’t have much in common. Our time together was a learning experience for me to learn, grow, hands on experience in loving unconditionally, and preparation for whoever God did make just for me. Our relationship required so much sacrifice of self. I couldn’t be my unfiltered self around her. I had to pretend or ignore likes and interests of mine. I say all of this in hindsight because from 2006-2011 I was happy.

I looked at a few pictures of Timile that night. I see a girl in her early twenties. She’s a kid (for the record: I look at most people in their twenties as kids) and she looks incredibly young. That’s where her story ends: twenty-five. I have a little over a year; but I’ll be turning thirty in 2015. I am 100% sure that the person that I am now would not be compatible with her. Truth be told, there are people I have dated in the last three years who were a better fit when Timile and I were together. That’s why our paths didn’t cross then.

I think whoever I’m going to marry is someone I already know. We may be friends, acquaintances, or something in between. Like I said, I’m just calling shots how I see them. They may or may not have known Timile personally. But on my end, it’s not the elephant in the room.

Right after Timile passed away I cut my locs, lost 75lbs, and literally became someone else. The person I was with her and who I am have some things in common, but not much other than history and experience. I am more concerned about my future than I am my past. This is probably the real reason I can’t say I miss her.

I say this to say to anyone who has had extreme circumstances and pain to understand that it’s up to you in how you let your past define you. If it still affects your present, do something about it. Today’s a new day.

Robin Williams and Depression

Peter Pan went back to Neverland. Mork has finally gone back to Ork. Mrs. Doubtfire has returned to England. Genie has been set free. That’s the way I’d like to think of the passing of Robin Williams.

The childlike smile that entertained us all for years was quietly battling depression. It’s a disease. We often treat it like it is a mood; however it is literally a chemical imbalance of seratonin, neuroeprinephrin, and dopamine (look at me remembering something from college!). Because on the surface it looks as if someone just has the blues people tend to treat those who have it incorrectly.

Robin Williams is no different than many comedians or entertainers for that matter. Often those who perform or use some creativity as a major outlet are depressed. It’s where their uncanny talent comes from. Altering one’s life experiences and observations into a palatable form is responsible for most of what amuses us. I can attest to this because almost everything I write about parenting and the music that I have created has come from a very dark place.

Nearly eight years ago I was a relationship with an aspiring writer.  Timile Brown was known for being the sweet quiet girl who always had a smile on her face. In twenty years I was the first person to see past it and recognize what she described her wretched companion. She had just left a physically abusive relationship, was battling some demons from traumatic childhood experiences, and had headaches everyday since she was ten years old when we first started dating.  However, these experiences made her a great writer.

Our first two years together-the first six months especially-were beyond hectic. Sometimes Timile and would be joking around while she was studying and out of nowhere she would black out and throw her laptop across the room. She had many days where she couldn’t get out of bed. She would not have graduated from college had I not been there. Many of her papers, notes for class, and presentations were written by me all while I was taking eighteen credits a semester.

It seems as if God was preparing me for what was to come. I was used to carrying both of our loads without missing a stride by the time Timile was pregnant and eventually battling cancer. It was overwhelming, yet defining. I learned how a writer sees the world during our time together. These experiences helped me find my own voice as a writer. By the time I created this blog I understood the channeling of one’s pain into words that were not accompanied with music.

I’ve recently experienced my own bout with depression. I may not have been clinically depressed; but I had the symptoms. Periods of withdrawal, chain smoking, just wanting to disappear, and all that is commonly associated with the disorder. It wasn’t until yesterday evening when I read about Robin Williams’ suspected suicide that I realized what drove me to that point. While I had been running nonstop the previous four years everyone around me treated me as if I hadn’t grieved over Timile’s passing. I did. Constantly being told that I didn’t made me think “maybe I didn’t.” There were times I did need to talk things out and loved ones felt they couldn’t handle it, needing unload after my grandmother died and shit got real, when I finally needed a hug and a soft place to momentarily lay my head sent me to the brink of a nervous breakdown. I wanted to curse everyone out who mentioned the words you need help and support group. People don’t realize how self-aware I am and I was insulted. I was even told by a family member I have mental issues.

I didn’t have it in me to take care of my daughter yet I still had to most of the day in a house by myself and almost all of my interactions with the outside world were via my cell phone. On the surface I was still Chad who laughed and joked through things. Most of it was a coping mechanism I used to get by. What I was desperately hoping for was for someone to look past the facade and notice that I finally needed to be vulnerable. Not to the same extent; but I needed what I gave Timile. When you’re strong for a very long time people don’t know how to react when you have weak moments. I needed to receive love in a manner that I understood and not have to translate what others could give. Yes, my daughter loves me with all of her heart. At the age of three, her capacity to give love is the equivalent to being given twenty dollars when you owe the IRS thousands; just to have to spend forty on that same person five minutes later.

I am feeling a lot more like myself these days. What helped me through this time was writing. The first project that saved me was an album I wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered in four weeks. It gave me something to look forward to outside of hustling to make due and it turned out to be my best work. I finally gave in and started documenting my story in book form. I still write how I talk; but dammit I can tell a story that evokes emotion. That is the other side of being creative.

I say all of this because this may be the most important lesson reinforced by Robin Williams dying yesterday morning. It will happen again. It happens often in Hollywood. We all know someone personally battling this and we often write it off. You never know. The person smiling in your face or even trying to just make your day a little brighter just might be the one who needs it the most.

The Adjustment Process

Last Friday I came home to Cydney pretending to be a cat and she laid in my lap.

My second week at my new job is coming to an end. My body is already used to twenty hour days with four hours of rest; however there’s an adjustment period anytime there’s a drastic change to one’s lifestyle.

The biggest adjustment in my life is Cydney. I wake up around 5:30 am, pretend I’m going to work out (read: lay in bed until 6:05), and I’m out the door by 6:45. Coming into Manhattan from Long Island I try to beat the morning rush. This means I’m out the door before Cydney wakes up. I get off of work at 6 pm and my train back home leaves at 6:45. I get home around 7:45 pm and my little girl is too happy to see me. Being that it’s summer she is awake for a few hours. By September when I get home it will be almost bedtime.

I’m super excited to see Cydney when I get home. She wants me to drop everything and just focus my attention on her. I’m tired. I help my mother out who has been watching grandkids all day and try to make sure she eats, do dishes, get her clothes ready for the next day, bathe her, and try to get her into bed.

Bedtime has almost always been stressful with Cydney. She fights sleep by crying up a storm in my ear. This has been multiplied by thirty since she’s been going through the “I don’t have a mom phase” and another twelve since I haven’t been home.  She passes out around midnight. I’ll still have writing to do and will get to sleep around 1:30 am.

I got home late last night because after work I had a meeting about putting together a book and then a work event to show my face at. I left early and got home by 11 pm hoping to see my baby for a minute before she fell asleep. In my travels I saw a man holding the hand of a little Spanish girl who was about five years old and I smiled thinking about how that would be us next year. That made me excited about getting home. When I got home Cydney jumped out of my mother’s bed and said she was staying with me. As we laid in the bed she said “You have to go to work to make a lot of money for me?” I replied “Yep!” She smiled, showed me her painting she made at school and fell asleep on my chest.

This morning I woke up and was getting dressed. Cydney woke up, looked at me, and asked me where was I going. I told her I was leaving for work. She began to cry. It was the heartbreak cry. Cydney began to say “No! Please don’t go!” I said “I have to.” I held her trying to get her to fall back asleep. She balled up in a fetal position, waved me off, and said “Go!” That hurt because she was hurting.

I continued getting dressed and she begged me to not go. I told her I would be back home this afternoon. As I got the rest of my things together to head out I heard her screaming as she ran into my mother’s room. I went in to give her a kiss on her forehead.

We’re both adjusting. I’ve known whenever I am no longer working from home that I would get very busy. This is part of the process, but it isn’t easy nonetheless. I’m going to make sure I spend some quality time with just the two of us this weekend.

Book Excerpt: Poetic Justice


To commemorate reaching the 40,000 views mark: Here’s one of the short stories from the book I’m working on…

Poetic Justice: Cydney My Wingman

“Nigga don’t approach her with that Atari, nigga, that ain’t good game, homie, sorry/ They say conversation rule a nation, I can tell/ But I could never right my wrongs ‘less I write it down for real/”-Kendrick Lamar

A few months ago I wrote a post based on this book/study called “Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others.”  My bachelor’s degree is in psychology after nearly three years of majoring in business management because I was seriously considering a career in marriage counseling.  What I love about music is how it makes people feel.  We hear certain songs and lyrics that triggers emotions related to the song.  My love of music and the most common theme and motivation of composers-love- inspired me to study how people interact with those they often feel the way that these songs often conjure.  Since then, I’ve always had an interest in articles like this.  I found this post to be an interesting read.  After interviewing over 3,000 subjects they had an empirical study and the results intrigued me.

In the last part of the article, John T. Molloy gave bullet points about single fathers and widowers.  What stood out the most to me was that he stated “Single fathers with young children have little or no energy for a social life.” (2014)  I laughed at this because it is beyond true.  I don’t have the time or the energy to waste on being social.  I’m not going to chase any woman around for months or spend every weekend I can be out and about—I have a daughter.  In the context of dating and relationships I know what works for me and what doesn’t.  It doesn’t take me long to see it will work out or not.  I will also not lead someone on for months just because I am lonely and sometimes need the company.  I’d rather be by myself or doing dad stuff with Cydney.

My friends know that they will not see me unless it is someone’s birthday or a special occasion.  No one holds that against me.  Everyone also knows that if I am dating someone and there is potential for taking them seriously that if I get one free night a month, it goes to her.

I take Cydney with me everywhere.  Cydney has come with me to happy hours, birthdays, barbeques where we’ve got home late, and she is my traveling buddy.  It’s to the point now that if I am out without her, people ask where she is.  She is a part of my crew of constituents and when she isn’t there to be part of the revelry her presence is missed.   Because Cydney comes with me almost every time I’m out, when I meet women she’s with me.  Cydney is in fact my wingman.  She’ll scout around and if she feels up to it, she will let her presence be known to said girl knowing that I have to follow behind her and in some capacity introduce myself.

One time, I was in Harlem with some of my college friends watching the Knicks game.  Towards the end of the third quarter, Cydney got tired of sitting on my lap and hanging with us.  She got up, walked over to the neighboring table where two pretty girls were sitting and started watching the game with them.  She introduced herself, and sat there as if she’d known them.  She started eating their food and they were talking to Cydney all while having a good time.  I apologized to the girls and they said it was alright.  I brought Cydney back to my table and she went right back over there.  Had I felt like it, I could have made that work for me.  But I wasn’t that interested.  Cydney has done this many times.

Not only is Cydney my wingman, she’s the gatekeeper.  She’s the boss who makes the approval on whom I hang around with and who I don’t.  I’ve taken Cydney out with me on dates and in a fairly passive way she will make her opinion on the person known.  Usually, she will pretend that she’s tired, lay her jacket or coat on the floor, and pretend to go to sleep.  That means she’s over it.  If we walk into a room and she’s never met anyone in there before, she knows who are the people I am close to, interested in, or dating.  I think it’s just her intuition being strong because she’s young and she just can pick up on a vibe.  Maybe she sees how I look at them, they look at me, or they say “Hi” to her very differently.

The same night Cydney introduced herself to the table of girls my friends and I walked across the street and went to another bar to watch the rest of the playoff games.  We sat at a table and throughout the evening many people-girls included-came and joined us.  Cydney gave everyone the same kind of attention. She let everyone hold her and take pictures with her as well.  Towards the end of the night when we were leaving this establishment another girl had come in there and joined us.  She definitely caught my eye because she was gorgeous.  Something about her looked familiar.  I asked her if she went to Spelman College, the historically black all girls college across the street from my alma mater.  She said that she did.  I asked her “What year did you graduate?”  She replied “2008.”  I told her that my girl graduated that same year.  She asked who was it and I said “Timile Brown,” knowing that as soon as I said that name to anyone at Spelman who graduated in 2008 they knew who she was—the girl who recently died from cancer.  She nodded her head and said she knew her.  She didn’t really hear me and I could tell from the body language.

As we all walked out I pulled up a picture and showed her.  She gasped and her jaw dropped.  She said “Oh my God!  I had classes with her.  The day she died I cried over the phone with a mutual friend of both of ours.  She realized that the little girl I had with me was the Cydney, Timile’s daughter.  She began to well up and said that she needed a moment with Cydney.  She picked Cydney up, walked off with her, and said something to her.  Maybe she didn’t say anything.  What I was paying attention to was how my daughter looked at her.  Cydney looked her dead in the eyes and they bonded.  It was as if she had imprinted on this girl she’d just met.  It was a look I hadn’t seen Cydney give anyone except Timile.  I was very taken aback and didn’t let it be known that I in fact was having my own moment watching this.

I offered to give her and one of my other friends a ride to their next location.  It was time for Cydney and me to go home.  I walked and talked with my friend the two or three block walk back to the car while the girl carried Cydney and their moment extended to minutes.  She and I talked in the car.  She said that if I ever needed someone to watch Cydney that she would be more than happy to do so.  I didn’t take that seriously because every girl I’ve met who has found out that I am a windowed father has offered that.  In fact, I almost write off anyone who says that the first time I’m out and they meet her.  I just said “okay,” we exchanged numbers, and became friends.  As we would go back and forth talking on the phone or through text message she would ask questions about Cydney.  I could tell that she was actually interested in my daughter and kept saying that she wanted to take her on a “girl date.”  I said “ok” halfway still writing it off.

After she and I had hung out a few times just the two of us I told her I would arrange for the two of them to meet so that she could get to know Cydney.  She lived in Manhattan, but coached children’s soccer not too far from where I live in Long Island.  The girl had suggested that Cydney and I meet here out there and I said that I couldn’t make it, or that I wouldn’t; one or the other.  I took the bus out there with Cydney in her stroller.  The girl said that she looked up at me and was thinking to herself “Who is this one black person out here?”  As we got closer she saw I had Cydney with me and she was too excited to meet her again.  This was how Cydney and Neighbour became friends.

Neighbour once said to me that we first became friends because of Cydney…Regardless of whether or not Cydney was there I was leaving that night with her number.

Going Off the Deep End


Over the past few months I’ve reconnected with a friend from college, Christina. Morgan-our mutual friend that I have written about on here a lot-informed me that Christina had moved back home to New York after separating from her husband. We hadn’t spoken in at least six or seven years, but we have become very good friends ever since. My new job was because she was leaving it.

Christina and I talked about everything. She’s seeing someone who is a single father, so I give her insight into what she had signed up for. She has listened through the frustratingly entertaining and ongoing drama that is my love life. We’ve had similar experiences in dreams of forever with someone and being wary of ultimately trying again.

Christina expresses her thoughts in the form of poetry via Instagram. I have reposted a few of them on my page because I thought they were pretty damn good. Last night she wrote the one at the top. Because I’m “that guy,” I teased her a little bit because I knew what she was really talking about.

I read the poem a few times. I thought about my own fears in relationships. For a very long time I stayed on the shallow end. I messed around with and dated people who were in relationships. I was committed to not being committed. We could have our fun and go on our merry ways. It was never about sex. I was playing a little more advanced game: Why have p***y for a short amount of time when you could have a piece of someone’s mind and heart forever? Yeah, there’s levels to this shit… But that was me protecting myself from giving someone the oppurtunity to hurt me. Also, even if I had feelings I couldn’t take them seriously because they already had someone for that. Not only was I wading in the shallow end, I mastered it.

Sometimes you’re swimming around in the shallow end and you realize you’ve actually hit the deep end. You position yourself upright and realize the floor isn’t under you anymore. You look around and see that not only are you in the deep end, you’re much closer to that end of the pool. It’s much more freeing being on this side and the liberation is exciting. This is what happened with the five years I spent with Timile.

You can’t wade in the deep end. Swimming for long periods of time requires endurance. That is the second fear: getting weak. That first time water gets in one’s nose the fear of drowning returns. So what? Risk means failure and extenuating circumstances you didn’t account for are bound to come up. But you’ve worked your way up to doing this; so you can handle-or swim through-it.

I can’t swim. I remember being five years old and while visiting Antigua my family was at the beach. The water got in my nose and ever since I’ve been deathly afraid of water. I’ve been to the beach maybe four times in the last twenty years and I almost never get in the water. There’s a part of me that always remembers that moment of being consumed by the waves and it has crippled me. I say this to say that too often one’s fear can be their setback. I don’t want to be that way anymore.

Since Timile passed away I’ve fallen in love again once. There was a part of Mr that was afraid to try again. My previous experience may have made me into the man I am today, but I still have fears. I’m a cynic who told Timile when we first started dating that i knew I was going to lose her one day. However, in the present I’m not afraid to try again. My past wasn’t a hindrance and I am not afraid to fail. Hell, I fail with said person like every other day. Nonetheless, I’ll try again like it didn’t happen.

I still would and do things that would be me protecting myself. We all do this. It’s human nature. I don’t know what this go-round has in store for me. The difference is that I didn’t wade testing the waters slowly. Well, that’s hard to say. Maybe I did at first. What happened was that I remembered how great it was being on the other end. So I dove in to prove the water in spite of its unpredictability is just fine.

God Has Been Blessing the Grinders


I started a new job yesterday. Shortly after I posted a picture of my employer’s logo on Instagram one of my best friends from college sent me a message on Facebook. My boy O and I both changed our majors to psychology at the same time, lived in the same apartment complex, his ex and Timile were really good friends. We were around each other a lot the last two years at Morehouse. He’s the father of two boys and he too has been working hard to make things happen while they live in Virginia and Georgia while he resides in Connecticut. We talk maybe once a year and I haven’t seen him in a good five. No matter what, he’s fam because we’ve been around through some hard times to say the least.

Anyways, O sent me a message on Facebook. He congratulated me on the new position and told me he got an offer as a counselor (he took the psychology thing seriously). Then he said something very real: God has been blessing the grinders. Always having a knack for saying something profound in jest I felt that. I have a few friends who have worked hard, were waiting for their break, and it has been their season to reap what they’ve sewn. That’s how I got where I am today.

I’d been hustling forever out seems. I never made over $30,000 a year with a college degree. While it sucked, I made things happen. I started writing. I turned it into income. I would produce music for a couple dollars.

The last two weeks have been the culmination of years of being relentless and sticking to a mission no one understood. But I knew ultimately my road would lead to success and happiness. My friend Christina told me she was leaving her job. I said “lemme hold that.” I sent her my resume on a Monday and by Wednesday I had an interview. Wednesday morning I took the train into Manhattan and by the time I got there they were canceling it saying the position changed and I wouldn’t qualify. I felt a little discouraged. Christina told me to just call and try anyway for any other possibilities. I did so knowing that I was going in there and getting this job.

The interview went from talking about my qualifications to explaining the job I initially was interviewing for. HR wanted me to meet the VP. It was around 12pm and they said the VP would be available by 3. I said I’d wait. They told me I come back another day. My logic was that if the job opened up Monday and it’s Wednesday they didn’t have the time to recruit anyone else. So the guy who pushed for a shot and waited all day was the one for the job.

I met with the VP at 3. By 3:30 they said he wanted to land me the job. The following Monday I had a third interview and by Wednesday I was given an offer.

It’s no coincidence that this worked out. What I thought about was the quote from The Alchemist: And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. That’s about right. I had another possible job lined up in White Plains, which would have been a 2.5 hour commute from home to work. I would’ve taken it had this oppurtunity not come up. The location of this job I pushed for fit my professional and personal life goals perfectly. I knew I needed to make this happen.

So here I am, on the train en route to day two. This seems like the beginning of making the rest of my dreams come true.

…Read It Because I Wrote It


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