Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Vague Silence

I found myself in a position in which I have not written much. Well, that is not true. I have written, just not on here. It seems that I have taken an unofficial break from public writing. I have been dealing with a few things that I cannot yet speak about. This isn't a life or death situation, but something that I just need to do.

So at this point I will just be my normal vague self. What I can say is that I have come to realize that perhaps I have been taking my life and myself too seriously. One thing I have noticed in my multiple trips to New York City is that I have not had genuine fun in quite sometime. I use the word genuine because I think we can have fun in just about anything we do. But the "genuine" I am referring to is about letting go and just being.

I have been feeling a change within me. I do not know if it is more of sense of self or just a newfound confidence. However, I do feel that things are starting to go my way and it is different feeling for me. Something that is foreign that I am not quite used to. So, I tread cautiously with some of things I do. This is not due to fear, but more of a looking before I cross the street type of caution.

Maybe it is the feeling that I am getting older and that I have a right to expect certain things from life. In any case, I have chosen to hold back certain things from people and from this blog. This is not due to fear, but more that I need to see how life plays out. I also feel like I am surveyor. I am looking at the world around me in such a different lens. Perhaps this is what is like to be another year older but my experiences in my profession as well as my life in general has given me a sense of confidence.

This type of confidence seems to be shaping my purpose more and more. I have become more spiritual as the days pass as I forge a relationship with God. I am not particularly religious and I doubt I ever will be. But as I see the universe and how it is shaping up events in my favor, I am starting to think that perhaps I need to really start giving more to the world than I am currently.

Again, I am being vague and that is my sole purpose right now. It is sort of like when a poem is written and it is up to the reader to decipher it. I find myself at another precipice that will help me figure out what I need to do. This time I feel more confident in my future. I feel that I have put so much work in that the outcome can only be positive.

My silence is only temporary.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Game of Thrones

It turns out that movies are not the only thing that produces the inner nerd inside of me. The Game of Thrones is an amazing series on HBO that has driven my imagination crazy in ways that, lately, only Superhero movies have been able to do. The show is based on a set of books written by George R.R. Martin, the first called A Song in Fire and Ice that came out in 1996. While, I have yet to read the book (I am slated to in August), I am hearing that HBO's adaptation is very faithful to the book.

I am not going to give up much information on the series or book because it is that amazing. What I will say is that a show like this make me miss movies like Lord of the Rings. If you connect the dots you will know that Sean Bean (photographed above) played Boromir in the Fellowship of the Ring. I consider the The Lord of the Ring Trilogy to be one of the greatest trilogies every made. Sean Bean played a small, but pivotal role. To see him as the protagonist in Game of Thrones already had me hooked.

What has me amazed is the character development and the many twists and turns that consistently leave me guessing on what will happen next. Considering that I do not watch much television outside of sports, it is very refreshing to see something that can stimulate my mind. When that happens, then the nerd inside me comes out. I used to role play like nerds do now except without the Magic Cards. We would grab some dice and create characters with such games like Dungeons and Dragons and go at it for hours. This became much of an addiction in my early 20's after college. I would play just about every weekend until the time came when I realized that I liked women more (true story).

I laugh when I think about my early 20's, before I formulated who I am now, all my characters were people of color. They just had to be. While my friends would create the "traditional" characters, I wanted to make sure that my alter ego was dark skinned. I had trouble believing that there wasn't a knight or a ranger out there who did not look like me. My only choice was dark elves and there is no surprise that they are evil beings. So, in my own way, I always made sure that I remained true to myself whenever possible.

It is actually amazing that this game is something that I used (and still would) play during a time when video games were becoming so prevalent. The Game of Thrones reminds me of a world that only I can imagine and have created several times over. The best part is that this type of story telling does not fall within the conventional. You can almost come to expect the unexpected with this series and I am loving every minute of it.

So, my suggestion is that if you do not have HBO that you wait for this show to come on Netflix or you can pick up the book and read it. I mentioned that I am slated to read the book in August because I am in a book club and my pick come up in August, so naturally I picked this...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Maybe it is just me, but aren't gay jokes wrong?

Maybe it is just me, but when did it become ok to make jokes about homosexuals? I mean really? Really? Do I really have to go there and tell you that is not cool to do this? My people of color have yet to grasp the gravity of the situation. Is it that people like Tracy Morgan are really surprised that no one laughs at their gay bashing jokes? Perhaps I do not understand what the appeal is.

Maybe there is a feeling that the sanctity of masculinity is under attack. After all, most of us are brought up to believe that the color pink is strictly a feminine color. We are brought up to think that playing with dolls is not a good thing for little boys. We are taught that we need to be a real man, but can anyone really give a solid definition for what a real man is? Consider that many Black and Latinos are raised in single-family homes where the mother is the soul provider. Does mom provide that definition of what being a man is? Or does the absent father who is either in jail or god knows where else provide that example?

I just find it interesting that so many people are really worried about what goes on in the bedroom of other people. It is very disconcerting however, that there is a rise in bullying of homosexuals in schools. We all should know that kids are not born with hatred in their heart; it is something that is passed down and learned. It was not too long ago that Blacks and Latinos were singled out in schools as an object to be ridiculed because of what they looked like. So, does it become ok to now be the ones to pass along hate to a group of people who happen to identify as homosexual? What about the kids who we think that are gay but really aren't? Maybe there is a rule similar to the one-drop rule where if you seem gay then you must be gay.

Which brings me to my next point, who defines what gay is? Is there a general book that people look up where something is gay because it is proclaimed so? I think there is an insecurity in the collective subconscious of the male psyche. I would argue that the most insecure men are the most homophobic. What is the insecurity for? Are they afraid that they may like the touch of another man and thus the natural reaction to fear is to destroy that which makes them afraid? That explanation makes sense to me. Much like the slave master mentality of being afraid of the Negros because of the size of their...masculinity.

I am completely comfortable in my skin. I know what I am. I can wear bright colors as you see in my profile picture. You will not hear me say that I love purple and finish it with "no homo." Masculinity is not about sexual preference; it is about a man standing up for what he believes. It is about knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the balls to stand up to your peers. I had a friend tell me that he felt one of my shirts was gay. My response is that if you can define gay...then you must be gay.

It bothers me to see people make fun of Chris Bosh for crying after the Miami Heat lost in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. I mean really? How many athletes have we seen weep on the grandest of stage win or lose? Have we forgotten about Adam Morrison crying in 2006 when Gonzaga lost in the NCAA tournament? He was a complete mess and I sincerely do not remember anyone saying that he was homosexual. The "manliest" of men have all cried during times of heartbreak, but you know what? We are taught that emotional release such as crying is not good. Little boys should not cry because it does not look right, so we have to "man up".

Let me just say that I have been known to cry. I have been angry enough, I have been frustrated enough, and I have been sad enough to do that. The best way to describe all of this is that an emotional release is very liberating. Dropping those walls of being "a real man" lead me to be a "better man" by understanding my pain and accepting my faults. Most men cannot fathom this or comprehend what it means to be in touch with emotions until it is too late, such as a death of a loved one. We are taught to hold in that emotion and release it with violence if necessary.

For those keeping score, gender (much like race), is a social construct. We only act on what we perceive to be right or wrong based on society's ideals. Or perhaps we look at it as a faith based belief that homosexuality is wrong. If you think that is the case, then let me remind you who wrote the bible: Man. I just think people stopped thinking critically about themselves and their place in the world and started thinking about what society wants. It seems like gay bashing has become the popular thing in this decade in particular...but maybe it is just me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I have had the last few days off. Actually, I fancied myself a five-day weekend since I have way too many vacation days that I need to take before July 1. I spent much of this time just thinking about my birthday coming up on Sunday. I haven't really thought about my age much until recently. I am of the belief that age is just a number and you are only as young as you feel. Considering that I feel like I have never really grown up in many ways, I am feeling pretty young.

However, I was out the other night having a good time and it came to that part of the night where I have to eat food as a way to soak up the alcohol and I had a conversation with the pizza guy. I have no idea how this started but I do remember him saying that I look older than 37. I had to look at him and I wanted to tell him that he needed to take his ass way the fuck over there. I know that I do not look my age. I must admit that I didn't shave and I haven't had my normal hair cut, but these things together would ever make me look my age. But what it did do was make me start thinking about it.

The thing about 37 is that it is one of those in between numbers. Sure, It was cool to be 35 because that is a cool number. It just about solidifies the fact that I am an adult but yet young enough to still hang around the late 20's crowd. When you are 36, you are one year removed from 35 and still in good shape. Now 37 means that I am in the middle, I am certainly not as close to 35 but yet 3 years removed from 40. I will say that 40 looms overhead for all of us. Let’s be real, 40 means rectal exams. That is like the first thing my doctor tells me is when I hit that age, we are talking prostate exams and I am not sure I am ready to get a tube up my ass (but I have 3 years to prepare).

At the same time, I feel that 37 means that I have to be more careful with the age range of women that I may want to date. Chasing 24 year olds may not be the best thing. It has nothing to do with keeping up, but it has everything to do with where their level is. I feel like I have been learning the hard way that there are people who are not on my level. I am not saying this to be mean or stuck up. I have had many people tell me that certain women that I may have been involved with my not be on my level. Clearly, I have many things on my mind and everyday problems that not many young women will comprehend because they are not there.

Then there are the women who are older. I am not sure I should be chasing 50 year old women least no yet. I think that I can talk about certain people not being on my level, but I have to say that older women know the deal. I am not sure I am their level as well. So my age range should be no more than 10 years younger or older. I think anything beyond that may cause serious issues with general interests and maturity at both ends.

I also think about my goals and my on going struggle to complete them. I am not getting any younger and while I do feel that I am doing my part to carve out my place in this world, I feel like maybe I am not doing enough. I think I have been successful with students and my job because of my youth and energy. Of course, my energy remains, but now what? Perhaps I am over thinking, but I do think I may be on to something here. I think that this year marks a turning point in my life where I really have to consider age as a fact for just about everything. However, the best part is that I do not feel 37.

Regardless, I will just enjoy the days that come and take each day as they come. This will be an interesting year.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Birth of @BeingAfroLatino

There are times in which we all have to make our mark in whatever fashion we choose. I, for one, believe that we all find our passions in the things we love to do. I love to write and it is with that I know I can have my voice heard on a platform that I choose. Of course, I choose to use this blog as my platform for a range of things that I am passionate about. As we all know one of the things that I strive to do is to promote awareness of Afro Latinos.

So it may come to no surprise that I have recently created a Twitter account called: @beingafrolatino. This takes me beyond my normal twitter realm of @latinegro to something that is much larger than me. With this brand new twitter account I can help raise awareness better than with my very own handle. The reason for this is that I have help. In the past, I have teamed up with @BiancaLaureano to start the Latinegr@s Project. This only made sense to have her help and link my newly created twitter account with the Latinegr@s blog. This ensures that Afro Latinos have some voice on some corner of the Internet. Not to say they do not exist, but most of those voices are scattered.

Of course, the question to be raised by some is that other people may feel slighted by this new creation. Being Latino is movement that was started a few years ago by guy named Lance Rios who had a vision to unite Latinos over the Internet. I have seen this vision from the twitter account @beinglatino to the Facebook page and now the blog. There are numerous amounts of people who volunteer to make this movement a force and I think that that is awesome. I would say that there is no reason to feel slighted because @beingafrolatino has a different vision that will not interfere or compete with @beinglatino.

Afro Latinos seems to be the unknown factor these days. There are documentaries this year that will show how difficult is being a black person in a Latin country can be. Black in Latin America has given us all a glimpse of what that looks like, but the upcoming AFROLATINOS: The Untaught Story is rumored to give us unfiltered look we have never seen before. With that being said, we all have so much to learn since history books in the country fail to tell us all we need to know. I am concerned that Latinos in particular feel that denying their African ancestry is acceptable.

With that being said, last week there was an incident that sparked off this whole issue. I wrote about my disgust for Peru and its treat of their Black population. Often times, when I write something that I feel is important for other people to know, I will make the extra effort to promote. One of those things is to post my blog on the Being Latino Facebook page. This is something that I have done before so imagine my surprise when it was deleted. I check about 5 times to make sure that I was not legitimately buggin out.

So, I sat and thought about this. I was not happy about it and decided to take it to Twitter and Facebook and called out Being Latino. I wanted to know why they decided to delete my post. Now, before I continue, let me just say that issue is already resolved. The responses to this notion on Twitter alone were unexpected. I didn't expect people to tell me how they felt about @beinglatino. Apparently, there were many people who felt that this was not a surprise bases on the content of my blog. I got the same type of affirmation on Facebook. There was almost a universal feel that Afro Latinos were not represented.

I started to think that I needed to create a space that would funnel the type of information that would help spread awareness of Afro Latinos. I made it a point not to criticize Being Latino or Lance. But, he responded he told me that it was their policy to not have another blog besides their own on their Facebook page. That is a policy that I totally understand and will adhere to. My point was that this policy was not posted anywhere on their page (and as of this writing...still isn't). People are allowed to post articles and promotional stuff that has to do with Latinos, but not other blogs (even though I saw one when I was just on their page).

I know that I upset him for the controversy but as we all know that Latinos can be very emotional when it comes to things they are passionate about. At the end of the day, he offered me a contributing writer position for Being Latino, in which I accepted. However, I think that creating the @beingafrolatino account will create the type of awareness that I cannot do alone. I will need help as this may become bigger than me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” - Jim Rohn

It is the first day of June and although it is not quite summer yet, it is the season of change. This is the point in time where people start coming out of the their shells to enjoy such beautiful weather. This is a time where some students end a chapter of their lives to either enter the real world or move on to a higher level of education. This also becomes a point where people change their relationship statuses for something better or worse. This is the season of change and you can clearly see where I have started mine.

I needed something different for this blog. I liked the old web design but I just got tired of they way it looked and how it functioned for me. I will be making a series of adjustments that will make this page look better. I have also fixed the social media functionality that will allow people to share. I didn't realize how much of a crutch it was for this not to happen. It took some one on twitter (@MissVersatile) to show me that this needs to be fixed. Believe it or not, that became the catalyst for change. I think her very much for that.

I am also of the realization that I need to change my header. I will have to work on that. I do not want to compromise the logo, so we will see what happens...

This makes me think about a lot of things in my life currently. The only thing that seems to remain relatively the same for me is my family, my job, and my dog. It seems like all other things are in constant flux. In fact, there has been so much change in my life that I don't seem to give it the attention that it needs. As funny as this will sound, sometimes I feel like I am an agent of chaos. With all the constant change, I feel right at home and do my best work. A good example is me being able to write 21 poems in April during the busiest time of my life and yet manage 8 blogs last month when it is a relative ghost town around here.

I also think about the constant change with the relationships I choose to associate myself with. There seems to be a constant struggle to maintain something with those I have had some consistency with. But, at the same time I am always welcoming new friendship and different people into my life (no matter how long I choose to talk to them or not). I also sense a shift in myself as well when it comes to my social life. I know that I need to promote myself more and put myself out there when it come to my work, but more importantly, I have come to realize that I am more than just my work...I am also a brand. We live in a world that we all need to brand ourselves in order to be unique. I consider all this a product of my education and talent.

I have also decided to take on something that I feel needs more attention. I will not get into particulars on this post, but I created a brand new twitter account last week: @beingafrolatino. This is an undertaking that will require a great deal of change in my life and I am ok with that. I feel the need to change my game up a bit and really start to point out the conditions in which Afro Latinos live and deal with on a daily basis. I can say that I already know that I will start out small, but I plan to get a great deal of steam as the time goes. I plan on revealing the whole story of how all this unfolded in my next blog entry.

The biggest change of it all comes 12 days from now. This is indeed my birthday month once again. I feel like it was yesterday when I wrote about how I spent my birthday alone. I will say that will probably be not the case this year. I will be 37 and still fighting the good fight (which is leaving Syracuse). This puts me 3 years away from the big four-oh and I need to maintain my goal of remaining to look like I am still in my 20s.


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