You would think that based on my musical posts I listen to the same artists over and over again.  Actually, that isn’t true.  I just happened to be listening to these kind of posts (While Chinx Drugz’s “I’ma Coke Boy Remix does help me write some of these loving posts about being a parent it doesn’t really work when talking about parenting). Anywho, ‘Better’ is a song by The Foreign Exchange: former Little Brother emcee-turned-singer Phonte and Dutch producer Nickolay off of their fourth album ‘Love in Flying Colors.’ I liked the project quite a bit.  On this particular song, Phonte croons about how life and the woman that he is currently married to makes everything better.  The title sums it up quite nicely.  

After two verses and the chorus, Phonte says “Hol’ up” and begins his only rap verse at 2:10 into the song.  As I have mentioned I think that he is an incredible lyricist.  Dare I say the best to come out of the south in the last ten years.  Being reflective, he talks about his past with other women, and how he’d thought that a lasting love just wasn’t for him.  On the eighth bar he says something that when I first heard it made me freeze in thought: “Could you believe to be a man is to be a servant.”

Realest. Statement. Ever.

I can’t think of a better way to describe what manhood really is.  Sunday night I’d received a phone call that wasn’t necessarily the cherry on top to a great day.  My manhood was questioned by a family member.  I’m good for looking out for everyone the best that I can with little regard to myself and to be told that I don’t was insulting.  However, I knew what it was.  I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything.  I knew that they were upset, scared, and this was their way to vent.  I wound up being the one taking the heat for circumstances and people and things that I cannot control.  It happens a lot.  I’m usually the one that gets vented to like this.  Sometimes it’ll just be about the situation at hand and sometimes it won’t be.  Nonetheless, when this family member vents like this I sit there and take it; it’s the least I could do.  Obviously they need to get something off of their chest and in times like this where they need to be emotional; I’m the only person with the ability to be able to take it.  Swallowing my pride and being there: servitude just like that person has done all of my life.  The next day I explained what I thought when cooler heads prevailed and it was all good.

After that conversation, I needed to vent to someone.  I called a good friend of mine.  I told them that I was mad and in a very nonchalant tone explained how I felt.  I’m not one to open up; but I felt the urge to do so to this person.  We know each other pretty well but we’re still learning each other.  Some people become fast friends and some you ease into things.  I’ve told this person repeatedly I don’t get mad and that while having this conversation “This is my mad voice” which is actually quite stoic.  With that said I was explaining to this person that as a parent and with all I’d been through in the last few years I don’t really do much more than give to others and/or do much for myself.  

I had been dating someone for a few months that was more or less like a relationship than anything else.  When I’d be around her, her money was no good.  I’d constantly tell her to put that shit away whether she’s paying for plumbs from a vendor, dry cleaning, or whatever.  She’d resist me doing this as she’d want to do it herself.  If I felt like it, I’d treat her with something nice like a bag she wanted or if I saw something I thought she’d like or whatever.  Her response was always that she hated me in a jokingly tone because of said hesitance.  Because it our dynamic was that of a relationship I let her in on the secret about real men: it’s all about giving without expecting anything in return.  Whether she liked it or not, I was going to continue to act in this fashion because I wanted to.  I said that if I was going to be around I’m going to be this way so get used to it because I’m not faltering from this.  It wouldn’t just be through gifts and money, but time.  She and I were both pretty busy people, so since I couldn’t see her like that the best thing I could do is give time.  She’d be up working until 5 AM, I’ll be right there to help out until it gets done.  Don’t worry about whether I have to get up, work, write, take care of Cydney or whatever…I’ll handle my stuff.

Why am I like that?  Well, that’s how I was raised.  My father was and is the kind of person that breaks his neck in servitude no matter what it costs him.  He finds his ways of taking care of himself later.  I grew up in the church around men who would do the same thing.  I went to Morehouse College where the idea of servant leadership is literally ingrained into as what manhood is.  It’s how I live.  Sure I only slept 2.5 hours today and I have lots to do and come 6 PM every time I sit down to do something there will be a “Chad” or “Uncle Chad” or “Princess Man” or some variation of something or someone calling for me…But that’s my role.  I’ll take care of me later.

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