Funny Stories of A Bad Ass Kid In Church

In my next life I’d like to be a stand up comedian.  Not just because I think I’m funny with how I tell stories, but because I am observant and humor is how I deal with things.  I like to take my pain and laugh about it–usually with me being the target of my own jokes.  I wrote yesterday about how I read the wrong scripture at my grandmother’s funeral and how that was kind of our dynamic.  I figured I’d share a few of the stories with you guys.

When I was about nine years old I was in my prime of getting into trouble (Well, I’m gonna just lie and say that since trouble finds me a lot these days).  My grandmother was very active in the church that our whole family went to.  I was singing in the children’s choir Sunday and hers would sing the same services that we did.  One day during alter call I went up there to pray.  I must’ve had a rough night or something because I fell asleep at the altar.  I woke up because the song that was playing stopped.  I looked up and was the only one there.  My grandmother leaned over from her seat and gave me a look like “I’m gonna kill you!”

Another Sunday when I was either nine or ten my grandmother’s choir and mine was singing one Sunday.  The children’s choir used to sit in the front rows in these wooden pews with no cushion while the women’s chorus sat up in the stands.  Once again it was prayer time at Grace United Methodist Church.  Everyone’s head was bowed and Rev. Barton was giving thanks to God on behalf of the congregation and asking the Lord to meet our needs.  It was the end of the prayer and my stomach was beginning to hurt.  I tried to hold onto what felt like gas for as long as possible.  I knew that following the prayer was a song from the hymnal so everyone would be standing and singing and I could let this off with no one noticing.  Rev. Barton was closing his prayer.  He said “And let the church say…” in preparation for his flock to say “Amen.”

My stomach couldn’t take it anymore.  It let itself out.  It was loud and obnoxious.  The wooden pews didn’t help the cause at all and sanctuaries are known for having pretty good acoustics.  So it carried.  Once again my grandmother leaned over, looked at me, and I just knew I was about to die that Sunday afternoon.  

We got home to my mom’s apartment.  And my grandmother told her what happened.  I was so embarrassed and started crying.  She knew the whole time it really was an accident.  That’s why she didn’t turn up on me and turn me out in the bathroom at church.

By this summer when we talked about life in general she seemed to think that I was alright and she no longer really worried about me.  I was always the kid that somehow got into trouble.  She knew that I marched to the beat of my own drum and I always do.  As I told her my future plans for Cydney and I, who I’d been seeing, and just my overall outlook on life she was happy.  I told her I wrote a blog post about our conversation and I read it to her in July.  I asked if what I thought she was implying in our conversation was correct and she said yes.  She even told my sister that she talked to me and it finally sounds like I have some sense.  We recapped one more time almost three weeks ago right before she got really sick and that was that.  I knew it would never happen but I said “I think y’all should meet,” and she responded “I’m not going anywhere.”  That was Stine and I coming full circle.

…Well, me messing up the scripture was me coming full circle.

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Nunu’s Goodbye Party

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Nunu is what my grandmother called Cydney and that is what Cydney called her.  My grandmother used to say that Cydney reminded her of the cartoon Lil’ Lulu; but Cydney couldn’t pronounce that very well so she’d say Nunu.  Yesterday morning I woke Cydney up and told her that today was going to be a busy day because we had to go to Nunu’s goodbye party.  Like she does for everything these days she asked me why and I explained.  I’d told her once again that Nunu died and was in heaven with her mother and that we were going to church to throw her one last party to say goodbye.  Once I finished explaining this to her she gave me a big hug and was off to run around like any typical Monday.

Things have been hectic and beyond stressful around here.  Emotions are on high and that isn’t something that is synonymous with patience.  Sunday afternoon my father asked me if I wanted to sing “A Song For Mama” with him at my grandmother’s funeral.  I said “Ok.”  I don’t really sing that often and it’s one of those little known facts that people are surprised to find out I can carry a tune.  Practicing the song was not easy.  As soon as those piano chords start on the song it tugged at my emotions a little bit.  I listened to it twice and needed to turn it off.  Being the showman that I am, I thugged through it and listened to it all day yesterday because as it turned out I didn’t know the words at all.

Rehearsing the song over and over to myself was actually quite therapeutic.I needed that.  I got to my father’s house, we rehearsed a few times and somehow I realized I could actually sing the bridge to the song full voiced–high notes and all.  I had a drink to take the edge off of what was to come and then it was time to head to the church.

My mother asked me what did I drink and I replied “Yep!”  It was good seeing a lot of the people there that I hadn’t seen in a long time.  Many people hadn’t seen Cydney and they were excited to see her as well.  Many people said to me they feel like they know her because of the blog and the various pictures I put up.  People acted like they knew her but Cydney wasn’t having it.

Cydney sat through as much of the funeral as possible.  In reality that was a total of twenty minutes and then it was time to head into the hallway.  Cydney wore a princess tiara, bracelets, and her magical wand.  I knew it was time to go when Cydney started pointing her want and saying “Bibbity Bobbity Boo” at the casket.  I shot her a look one time that could have made my grandma proud right as she was about to cut up and she fell right in line.  Out of fright she even said “Don’t spank me!”  Outside of the sanctuary she was turning everyone green or blue with her wand.

When it was time to get up to read my sister took all of her royal regalia off.  I read the wrong passage.  I was supposed to read Proverbs 31:10-24 which is about a noble wife.  Instead I read Proverbs 30:10-24 which was about not slandering your master, women who act like vultures, and some stuff that wasn’t quite Godly.  I read it with confidence and kept it moving.  My grandmother would have been upset; but in the church that I ran wild in during my childhood where she would often have to shoot me a look I felt like that wound up being the perfect ending to what was our dynamic.  After everyone read Cydney wanted to get on the mic and say something too.  So we had to let her.  She said what she wanted to do over and over again.  I whispered in her ear to say Amen but she didn’t want to.  She knew that meant it was time to get off of the mic.

I missed the rest of the service dealing with Cydney until it was time to sing.  My father gave an anecdote about being around for thirty-nine years and then he started playing.  As it became my turn to sing I started to forget words.  I made up half of my part off the top of my head effortlessly.  Unless you knew the words to “A Song For Mama” word for word you would’ve thought I was doing my thing.  When it was time to sing high notes for the bridge I got a little nervous but I went for it.  I hit them too.  I was very impressed with myself.  Right after the song was over Cydney got out of my mother’s lap, ran to me, and gave me a big hug as I picked her up.  She was proud of me I think.  Screw all of that, I nailed it.

As it ended and we had the repass downstairs at the church I laughed and joked with family and loved ones.  We shared stories and there were lots of “I remember you growing up here getting into trouble” stories.  It was comforting.

After it was all said and done we went by my grandmother’s house before heading home.  The family was over and as we do we laughed through some things.  It felt different in the house.  That house on 203rd Street in St. Albans was the house my grandparents bought fifty years ago and now they were both gone.  It was just the children, their children, and their children’s children.  Right before I left to go home I walked upstairs and looked at my grandparents’ bedroom with the light off.  That light being off felt right.  The two people who occupied were resting.  I looked at it as if to give them one final nod and goodbye and began the rest of my life.

Why I Tell My Story

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Here I am once again writing on a Sunday.  I hardly posted anything on the site this week because I’ve been busy with a myriad of different things.  I was also inspired to write something so in the words of Calhoun Tubbs: Like to hear it? Here it go!

So last night while scouring social media outlets I came across two pictures above that friends had posted on Instagram.  They resonated with me.  Today being February 23, I thought today would be a great day to write about it.  For my new readers and followers February 23, 2011 was the day that Timile was diagnosed with cancer–nine days after Cydney was born.  I wrote about it last year so I’m not going to delve into detail because I don’t really like to be repetitive.  That morning was the ton of bricks that I knew was going to hit so when it did I wasn’t too surprised as much as I was disappointed that what I knew would happened came to fruition.

I bring all of this up in correlation to the two pictures in the context of my story.  I am able to write comfortably about the things that I have been through because I have healed from my past.  I have plenty of friends in which conversations about exes will come up and they will have to stop themselves mid-story saying that they can’t continue because it will make them mad all over again and in essence conjure up how they felt at the time that adverse circumstances happened.  People don’t do this intentionally but it happens.  

I’ve dated people who will refer to their past and not give details because even if something traumatic happened to them years ago the thought of it can potentially bring them to tears.  Maybe crying it out is a good thing.  We all have our own timetables for dealing with things.  However you could be missing out on an incredible future by making your past part of your present.  So many of us live in the fear of being hurt and can’t bear the possibility of feeling close to that way again.  You can’t have success without risk.  You can’t know how sweet victory really is without failure or experiencing defeat.  People bury themselves in their work, resist opportunity, or won’t stray too far from their comfort zone because of said fear.  When doing any of these you are making yourself a slave to something or someone that ultimately doesn’t give a shit about and/or isn’t thinking twice about you.  So why should we?

As the latter of the two pictures says “Dwell on the past and that’s where you’ll live.”  It’s very true.  I think about my daughter learning to walk, run, then eventually jump around everywhere.  She would fall over and over again.  But she’d keep trying.  Even now she’ll try to jump from couch to couch with very little regard to the fact that she fell before.  The thing about children is they are not afraid to fail.  If they do they kind of forget about it because trying again and achieving their goal is what is most important.  Once they have met that goal successfully their imagination opens up doors.  Cydney knows that she is just running and jumping around but in her mind she thinks that she can fly.  She keeps trying to test that limit because she really believes it.  Even if she actually never levitates that brief moment in the air makes her think that she can.  She didn’t get there until she fell a few times first.

In the realm of relationships I made an effort to find peace.  I didn’t then and I don’t know now who I will meet that may have an impact on my life.  Because of this it was in my best interest to force myself into accepting the cards I was dealt and continuing to be objective.  It wouldn’t be fair to someone if God had placed someone in my life and I was wary because of what I’d been through.  Yes I may have a moment or two of PTSD from them but even that is highly unlikely.

It’s okay to be broken.  Many times we feel that way.  The God I serve brings along people in our lives for restoration for those times.  When I met Timile she was smiling on the outside but in shambles inside.  Severe depression, high anxiety because of abusive relationships and a not so great family structure.  I didn’t know that at first, but once I did It was all about doing what I could to make her past not matter anymore.  At first yesterday was all that she’d talk about.  Eventually she wouldn’t utter a word about it at all.  One of the things that was amazing about her was that even when we began dating and deep down this was the state that she was in it didn’t stop her from trying.  I was the one who was hesitant.  Had I continued to do so where would I be?

 

My Grandmother

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Today it finally happened.  My grandmother passed away this morning at Jamaica Hospital in Queens, NY.  I’ve been pretty sleep deprived the last couple of weeks just dealing with things and trying to overall get things together.  I’ve been disrespecting my alarm clock’s 4 AM ringing and woke up late today: 6:30 AM.  My mother came into the room and told me that she was gone.  I was just over there last night and saw her.  I didn’t like going over there and felt like our last conversation was the right way to say goodbye.  It turned out she wasn’t gone just yet.  She still had a heartbeat and they’d put her on a respirator until my uncle got to the hospital.

I got the call at 10:33 AM that she had officially transitioned.  It wasn’t really a feeling of melancholy because I’d prepared for this.  I knew it was coming and honestly she lasted longer than I thought.  I had said last week that she wouldn’t make it past Wednesday and that I thought she’d go on Sunday.

Enough of the melancholy stuff.  I lived three blocks away from my grandmother.  We used to go over there all of the time for dinner.  Just about all family functions took place at her house.  She was the bomb cook.  Her ribs were my favorite food on earth.  When I was in high school she was the one who’d braid my hair.  We talked about some of everything as we watched Golden Girls or whatever she wanted to watch on Lifetime while she’d do my hair and always put her “signature” some kind of zig zag in the corner of the back somewhere.  As I’ve said a few times on here she was someone I could just about always talk to.

The way I feel right now?  On the surface it’s just another day.  I’m at home working on writing, looking for a larger full time paycheck and knowing that Cydney will be awake any day.  I took a look at my little girl who is asleep in the other room.  One day she’ll have to go through what my mother currently is for me.  She and I have both been through this already.

That last sentence says it all.  I’ve been here.  When I saw how my grandmother had looked yesterday and in the last couple of weeks is how Timile looked the last times I’d seen her.  I think about how during that span of September-December 2011 Timile didn’t feel like herself and questioned how I felt about her.  She was bald but her hair was slowly growing back.  She was under one hundred pounds.  While she wasn’t a new mother she didn’t feel like she was no longer the long haired beautiful girl I loved to show off anywhere I could.  She’d say that to me every once in a while and she’d look at me or her face would show that.  I’d reassure her all the time she’s still the twenty-one, two, three, four year old to me that I was in love with.  I meant it, but it was hard to look at.  I made sure she knew that until the end and if this is how she’d look for the rest of our lives I’d still think and feel that way about her.  More than anything that is what I am thinking about.  As proud as my grandmother was she wouldn’t have wanted anyone to see her like this and neither would have Timile.

I look at the place that I am at currently in my life.  I’m trying and I think succeeding given the circumstances and making the best for my little girl.  No matter how much I am and have moved past my past, this is still something that is a part of me.  It made me.  This summer my grandmother would tell me she wanted me to move on and try again and the fact that I’d begun to do so with someone else she was very happy to hear that.  She’d tell me she wants me to get married again while Cydney is young and can’t have much of a say because that would make things difficult.  I’m probably repeating something I’ve said before but it’s topical.  That was said in jest but I’m pretty sure she meant it.

As hard as things are right now, it could be worse.  There isn’t much to be sad about.  My grandmother is in a better place.  She lived a wonderful life and she was ready to move on.  I know my grandfather is happy to see her again and I’m pretty sure Timile is elated to see “Ma Stine” as well.

For other posts about my grandmother:

Valentine’s Day, Timile, and My Grandmother

Conversations With My Grandmother Pt. 2

How I Met Your Mother: Conversations With My Grandmother Pt. 3

Someone just woke up…She wants my iPad and ran off looking for it.

The Weekend In Pictures: Cydney Turns Three Edition

I want to thank everyone who participated, sent gifts, birthday wishes, and comments via social media,  text messages, calls, and emails to my little girl. The pictures racked up over 500 likes within the course of the weekend. So enjoy.

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Cydney told me to take this one and send it to her friend.

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Red Robin

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Cydney and her grandmother
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When they came to sing happy birthday...
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...This was Cydney's face

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New toys

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She had supervision
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Cake!
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The dot is the balloon we released for Timile
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As soon as Cydney opened this up she knew it came from her friend. This was her favorite.
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Playing with Elsa in her Frozen World

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is my favorite day of the year.  Why?  It’s my daughter’s birthday!  What a great way to celebrate love than being given the best gift of all?  My own personal kid.

I look back at the last three years and realize that I am very blessed.  God saw fit that my daughter whose original due date was March 7 to come three weeks early.  She made sure she came on Valentine’s Day because she was born at 11:25 PM.  What Timile and I thought was just a 37 week full term check up wound up being much more.  The doctor did a sonogram and said that out little girl was healthy.  Then they said that she was in the lower tenth percentile in birth weight so they were going to induce labor.  It could have taken up to three days before she came but as I’ve said before God and Cydney had other plans.  With the way that things have played out I’m glad it did this way.  My last Valentine’s Day with Timile ended in love manifested and I’ll have that with me for as long as I live.

I try to make the day very special.  We get up early and spend the day hanging out.  There will be cake, and going out to eat, and presents.  There will be plenty of pictures.

While the day is a commercialized holiday I do like to indulge in it if I have someone in my life.  Girls like that kind of stuff and they all want to feel like someone thinks that they’re amazing on that day.  So I do that and put a lot of thought into doing thoughtful things.  I’d like to think I made it special for someone.  Everyone needs that.  Since I was given an awesome gift of love on the day that I feel obligated to do the same and give it to others.

My First Love

To keep up with the theme of the week I have one more story to tell… Ugh to this one.

I was fourteen.  I remember seeing this girl before around school.  I thought she was cute but the opportunity to actually converse never came up.  We met outside of school like maybe the first week of February.  I was having a conversation with some mutual friends and she just happened to be around.  You know how groups of people are.  You could be talking and eventually people disperse into other small pockets of people talking.  That left just her and I and she said “So, what’s up?”  I said “Wha’s up?”  She asked what my name was and I showed her my chain that had my name on and when I asked her back she did the same thing showing off her name plate.  We kinda hit it off instantly.

We started talking on the phone quite a bit.  Word on the street was a couple of people were jealous.  All and all, many people didn’t know we were “talking” like that; but that all changed when one of us came up with the idea to switch chains for a few days.  Looking back that’s such a high school thing to do, but it is what it is.  I’d see her around school in my peripheral walking around with a peice of it in her mouth kind of chewing on it.  My ego was a little bit on swole after that.

It was kinda quick, but Valentine’s Day was around the corner.  So I had to kinda do something.  As I said the other day I thought I was Romeo in my head so I went with the old secret admirer thing.  I even convinced one of her teachers to get in on it.  We both lived around the corner from school, so I walked to her house and told her it was me.  She was a little relieved because she didn’t want it to be someone else.  I pulled out this bear for her.  I had this friend who hated her boyfriend and was so embarrassed by him because he was corny.  She gave me this bear that he’d given her.  It was the kind where you can record a message on it and when you squeeze the hand it plays.  So I had to think for a while what would be the best thing to put on there.  I went with the chorus of Blackstreet’s ‘Think About You’ where the chorus runs through the different times of day they “think about you” throughout the day.  It went over pretty well.  

Eventually things went south.  We were really good friends but it was one of those you hit it off too well and too quickly so things don’t work out.  I needed a break from being friends because I was a lil heartbroken.  But being the guy that I am…I started talking to her best friend.  For a while her best friend hated her behind her back.  My sister told me that it was so real that when I walked girl A home on my fifteenth birthday, her best friend was heated.  I laughed.  

Eventually we were friends again.  We hung out all the time.  We had Spanish together in which we’d pass notes and get into trouble for talking in class.  We shared a locker and had running jokes as nicknames.  The custom for the football team was to let the girlfriends wear our jersey the day before the game.  She asked to wear mine and I’d let her once or twice (I’d let one or two other people as well around that time…just for a reaction).  We were never really together, but that was my girl and everyone around us knew that.  Some days were really good and some other days hurt.  There were tears a time or two.  Man, writing about this is so embarrassing but we all have these stories.  When I released my first or second CD in high school I think or of the songs was about her.

By the end of the summer going to eleventh grade I was over it.  Over it and her and the romantic part of our story ended.  At one point I didn’t even have much to say to her.  I decided not to say anything for her for about two weeks over the summer and by the fall I was over it–she was out of my system.I was onto the next thing.  I was heavy into my music by then.  I spent a good part of high school holed up in my room recording music and being the guy who rapped around those Long Island hallways.  

We were still friends and had Spanish class together and things were cordial.  We were still pretty good friends but we’d never be as close as we were before.  Right before senior year started she came by my house once and I was playing some music for her.  I think I walked her halfway home for old time’s sake and she called me when she got home.  It was one of those times where you just kind of want to relive the old times with someone and you don’t want it to end so we kept talking.  Somehow the bear from ninth grade had come up.  She said “I still have it.”  I said “Bullshit. You’re lying.”  There was silence for about thirty seconds and on the phone I heard Blackstreet’s ‘Think About You’ play.  I smiled.  That was closure.

When it was time to sign yearbooks she wrote something about how there was a lot to say and something else.  But it was a good closing and humorous in a way that was very much our dynamic.  I wrote something back and I think I even told her that she was my first love.  I’ve seen her once or twice around the neighborhood in passing.  I saw her at a 7eleven a couple of years after high school and she said “I still have your first CD” with a smile on her face.  I’d been in Atlanta for like two years at that point so everything was killing my past, but it was nice to know.

So, that’s the really really abridged version.  I learned a lot about myself during my experiences with her.  I learned how to read people very well.  I learned how to manipulate and move indirectly to get a natural reaction out of people.  I learned how to completely disrespect the friend zone which at some point or another served me well and a place I haven’t really visited since unless it was on my own terms.  Me fourteen years ago had minimal confidence and while fairly shameless on the outside was pretty shy.  Deep down I’m still that shy fourteen year old with the teddy bear playing Blackstreet; I’m just more seasoned and I’m quite cocky (My friend answer to why I think most things work in my favor is “Because I’m me!” It’s worked out well).  I wasn’t going to post this story at all because I didn’t want to put myself out there.  I told my friend Kia about this in the context of my crushing it this year for someone’s Valentine’s Day and she said I should tell the story.

Maybe I should shoot her the link.  Eff it why not?  Because I’m me.

Valentine’s Day, Timile, and My Grandmother

To keep with my theme and motif of writing around Valentine’s Day I’m gonna share another story.  Tomorrow will probably be another story as well.  So here’s this one…

I used to hate Februarys.  I can only say that I don’t anymore because of Cydney.  It is the month in where Murphy and his dumb ass Law wreak havoc on my life and dare I say it the only month of the year I am emotional.  Actually, Last February was a break from this because everything was cool but I still hate the month as a whole.

In February of 2009 Timile and I had been broken up for a couple of months.  I was going through it at the time.  I was unemployed and hustling at whatever temp job I could get my hands on.  Bussing down motorcycles one day, selling Owens Corning isolation at another, helping my aunt with MS take care of her 95 year old husband by doing things around the house.  Anything to get money and keep my mind off of the fact that Timile was back in Virginia in another relationship before the dust could have even settled with us.

I had some good friends who held me down during that time.  My boys Kofi and J Rob would hang out at Rocky Mountain Pizza by Georgia Tech on a regular basis.  Valentine’s Day came up and Kofi called me up saying him and J Rob were coming through to get me and go get pizza.  My good friend Chase was in law school at the University of Georgia in Athens and drove down to come and kick it as well.  They knew it would be a pretty rough day so they kept me busy.  We drank pitchers of beer (that was normal) and just talked shit.  After we went out to a friend of Chase’s birthday party, drank some more and eventually called it a night.  

I didn’t think about whatever was going in Virginia at all until I got home.  For the first or second time ever in life I threw up after drinking (beer before liquor never been sicker).  I threw up as soon as I got home, and watched A Different World on DVD.  That show summed up my collegiate experience to a tee because 1) The show was based off of where I went to school and 2) Dwayne Wayne was from New York and Whitley Gilbert was from Virginia and in many ways our dynamic was just like theirs (I shouldd’ve done a post about this a long time ago but I got y’all next week maybe).  I wasn’t particularly sad at the time but then I got a phone call.  It was my grandmother on my mom’s side.  It was late and she said “I was just calling to say Happy Valentine’s Day.”  She knew that Timile and I had broken up but she didn’t say so.  She didn’t know Timile was seeing someone else.  SHe just intuitively called knowing that I needed that.  I went to sleep shortly after that and felt good.

I bring this story up because my grandmother that called me that night is dying.  Like it would be a miracle if she makes it to next Wednesday.  Honestly, I think she’s leaving us on Sunday.  That’s my guess.  My grandfather died the Sunday after Valentine’s Day in 2001 so I think that’s pretty right on.  I grew up three blocks away from my grandmother in Queens.  I was very close to her.  I have been having a little of a difficult time seeing her because how things have been looking now is reminding me a lot of Timile and how she looked in her final days or the last time I saw her.  Pretty much just skin and bones, heavily medicated, not much to say as if the spirit had already left the body and what was left was tired and just waiting to expire.  I could go on and on but I don’t want to make y’all cry.  

About a week and a half ago was the last time I saw my grandmother.  She was till somewhat herself and trying.  We had a conversation and she attempted to braid Cydney’s hair one last time because I think she knew that was going to be it.  I braided it to show off my skills to the woman that braided my hair all through high school so she could see how far I’ve come along.  We talked about everything.  I told her what I’m currently working on and what my plans are for the future.  She asked me how was it going with a friend of mine who lives in the smallest of the five boros, told me to be nice to her, be supportive, and that people who care like that about my daughter like that don’t come along too often so keep that in mind.  When I left I told her I’d see her later and while I knew it would never happen I said “It’d be nice if you got to meet her.”  

She said “Well, I ain’t going anywhere,” but we both knew that’s not true.  

So before she goes I’d like to give my grandmother one last rose while she is living.

For those who may feel a little saddened after reading this: I have something to cheer you up.  Yesterday I was reprimanding Cydney for not acting right.  She started crying.  She then took it upon herself to walk over to me, put her back up against me, farted on me, and laughed.  She knew that would make me not so mad at her….

A Funny Middle School Story about ‘Cupid’

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With Valentine’s Day coming up at the end of the week I thought I’d do posts themed around it for your entertainment.  I figured my first one should be a musical post.  This one will be about 112’s Cupid.

I remember the first time I heard 112.  My sister and I were in the car on our way to Alley Pond Park with our father to go rollerblading on Memorial Day in 1996.  I was in fifth grade.  We were listening to Hot 97 and the song that played right before it was Montell Jordan ‘I Like.’  Right after 112’s ‘Only You’ played.  Both songs were in the same key.  I was wondering why this song was so long and how did Montell Jordan go from sounding like Montell Jordan to a Spanish guy (that’s what they sounded like to me)?  Then I heard the Notorious B.I.G.’s verse on it too.  I thought the song was dope and it had Biggie on it.  Of course by the end of the summer the song was everywhere and the remix with Ma$e on it was flames.  I had the cassette single and everything.

112’s album dropped and I liked their second single ‘Come See Me’ as well.  But it was the third single that changed everything.  Cupid was the joint and it came out right around Valentine’s Day.  So all of us that thought we had little crushes on girls this was the song that had us thinking about them.  I was in sixth grade by this time.  I had a huge crush on this seventh grader ( I think that was the same year I had a crush on this Domincan girl in my class and I gave her a chocolate rose during class and no one saw it.  I really thought I was Romeo in my head).  I thought she was so fly.  Every once in a while she’d say something flirtatious to me but as shy as I was I was thinking what would this seventh grader want to do with me?  I had a friend or two in sixth grade who were able to pull off seventh grade girlfriends and of course that made you the shit back then.

The big Valentine’s Day dance at my middle school was coming up.  That meant from 6-9PM Louis Armstrong Middle School was on and popping as the cafeteria morphed into a meet market.  You’d grab a girl and dance with her in a way that’s not really too appropriate for being a tween while the nerdy dweebs played with gameboys along the wall.  It wasn’t like it is these days.  There was still a somewhat innocence to it because we were kids just realizing what hormones were and just wanted to touch a girl and they wanted to be touched back.  

The last song of the night was 112’s ‘Cupid.’  I was too nervous to dance with the girl I’d had a huge crush on; but by the time Cupid came on I had summoned up the courage to ask her to dance.  By the time I got to her, she was already dancing with this other guy.  They were all slow dancing closely and I think I even saw a kiss.  My heart dropped.  I had no one to dance with and just sat there for the whole 4:16 and watched them until the lights came on and it was time to go home.  During the bridge where Slim croons “Ahhh-hoooooooooo! No! No! No! No! No” was EXACTLY how I felt.  I’m still cool with most of my middle school friends and the guy she was with was part of the crew.  I won’t say no names but the next time I see them I’ll probably say who it was (because I know y’all are reading this and one of you are laughing hysterically).

I forgot all about this story until the other day.  As I’m writing this I’m laughing out loud.at myself but at the time it damn sure wasn’t funny.  But as of now, it is.  We all have heartbreaks around that time of year.  It happens to everyone.  When my daughter is that age and someone breaks her little heart I will try to refrain from killing them, tell her this story for her to laugh, and then we will celebrate her birthday and it’ll be awesome.  I have a sense of humor and not only can I take what I dish out, but I’m more than willing to laugh at myself when I get embarrassed.  So here’s a story to laugh at my expense.

Coming Full Circle

Cydney and her Spelman shirt.
Cydney and her Spelman shirt.

I don’t usually post on Sundays.  Other than The Weekend In Pictures I don’t think I’ve ever written on a Sunday.  There’s been a lot going on in my life these days and when the time is right I will divulge in great detail with hints of humor along the way.  I do have something to share, though.

Cydney’s third birthday is Friday.  Needless to to say that the beginning of the storm in my life started that day.  The days of happiness and the struggle that made me a man started the day after.  Whether I am actively thinking about it or not, it does affect me around this time of year.

I’ve had a lot on my mind and heart these last few days.  In the midst of my most feeling sad and hurt I received something in the mail from my friend from college Christian and her daughter Mchenzie.  It was a sweatshirt from her and Timile’s alma mater,  Spelman College.  I’m a Morehouse Man so Cydney has no choice in where she goes to college–she’s legacy now and I know that the day that I take her up to campus on that first day alumnae around the company will be happy to see her and have been looking forward to welcoming her there.  (Christian I’m about to put you all the way on blast so you’ll just have to be okay with this).  She also sent a letter along with it saying that she had been meaning to send this but consider it a Valentine’s Day/Birthday gift.  She said that she cherished by blog and watching my little princess grow up.  She ended it saying that I am an inspiration.  If I wasn’t such a thug I would’ve shed a tear.

I met Christian in 2003 during my freshman year in college.  It was my eighteenth birthday and my roommate Mensah and my friend Justin were having dinner at ESPN Zone on Peachtree St. when Buckhead was the place to be at night in Atlanta (Remember that?! I feel old now).  My best friend Brandon was at Johnny Rocket’s down the street having dinner with his Spelman sister and after we’d finished we met him up over there for a quick minute.  That’s where we met.  Christian was Brandon’s Spelman sister and I thought she was cute.  I like em tall and she’s like 5’11 so I paid attention even though I didn’t.  Brandon hit me up a day or two later and said “Happy Birthday, my sister Christian told me to give you her number.”  Win.

We became friends.  Most of us being friends consisted of me talking shit about her being from Oklahoma and it being in the middle of nowhere.  She once told me that I was a walking contradiction because things that I would say and do often conflicted but for some reason it always made sense.  I always remembered that because that was and is an accurate description of my personality.  I live outside the rules and confines of regular life and just because I’m me it works and it’s cool.  I think that’s the reason a lot of people who are in my inner circle are in my inner circle because most of us are like that.

Christian was an English major.  I was in advanced English but I’m not the greatest technical writer (One of my friends who is an editor reads my blog and always tells my we need to work on my punctuation).  I knew that and for my last paper had to write something and I wanted it to be amazing so that I didn’t have to write a final research paper.  I called Christian up and asked her to check it out.  She came all the way across campus and took a look at it.  She told me all of the grammatical errors that was in it and what I needed to improve.  I remember repeating a word over and over again.  I was informed not do do this and to be effective in the point that I may be trying to make to use different words and invest in a thesaurus.  It’s a lesson I never forgot.  She helped me learn about how to write more effectively.  To this day almost every time I write and I am trying  to convey something or I am thinking about writing a word over and over again I hear her telling me not to do that.

Looking at the letter that Christian wrote for herself and on behalf of her daughter it made me smile.  The truth is while it may not have seemed like a big thing I wouldn’t have been able to do this without her help ten years ago.  From being a not so great writer to a pretty damn good one and being acknowledged by someone who helped me was me coming full circle.  You’d be surprised how often the little things you do to help other can change someone’s life.  It may not be something that they ever think about but it could wind up unlocking something in them they had no idea they could do or use.  I’m sure Christian has never thought anything of this and may not even remember that but I did.  It’s the way that I try to live my life as well.

Christian thanks for the inspiration.