Monthly Archives: December 2010

All in Love is Fair

I’ve learned over the years that love is the one subject that has no rules. Of course, people place restrictions on love, and other people choose either to abide by them or not.  But, intrinsically, there are no rules in love.

What?  because I love you, I can’t love nobody else?  Or maybe I can’t love someone else as much as I love you, or the way I love you.  But how do you tell love that?  “lookahere love,  you gotta reign it in.  can’t be lovin anybody if you love somebody already.”

Folks don’t know what to do with love.  They feel like they gotta bottle it.  make sure nobody else can see it or have it.  can’t accept that love is promiscuous in a sense.  and if you’re lucky enough for somebody to give it to you, you can cherish it.  But you don’t get to hoard it.  We think loving someone and having them love you back is a zero sum game. Once I give my love to you, then by this logic, I should have nothing left to give.  Zero love reserves left.

But I’m a human being — an Aquarius human being — blessed with uniquely large capacities for love and friendship, and relationship.  And reason.  I understand that your love for me doesn’t preclude your love for him, or her.  And I’m ok with that.  I know where I stand with you and as long as you honor me and nurture us in our relationship, I’m ok.

Love and faith are opposites of fear.  Fear operates on absolute terms — black or white, this or that, her or me.  Because if we recognize that life is shades of gray, and that love is the quintessential gray area, then we are terrified of what that means.  We think we can’t rest comfortably in knowing (and feeling) that the love really is there.  Or that the person we love will honor it the right way.  But that’s not love’s fault.  Check the cat you chose to give your love to.  Is she worth it?  Or are you selfish about it?  Or did you make a bad love choice in the first place?

We often expect that love will look like it does in Disney films.  We’re all princess so-and-so waiting for prince or princess so-and-so to sweep us off our feet and pledge fealty to us and our interests only.  For all time.  And there’s nothing wrong with that when it happens.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting that.  Except that life isn’t a Disney film.  And most folks aren’t Bella or Cinderella, or Prince Charming.  We want love and we want to keep it, but we’re conditioned not to trust it unless it’s all encompassing and effectively forsakes all others, save family.  And even that’s shaky sometimes.

So, with less than 48 hours separating us from a new year, and a fresh start, I’ll make my New Year’s resolution in the here and now:  I resolve to make no apologies for the way I love and my commitment to it.  In other words, if I love, then I love.  I love hard and I love well.  And I’m committed to nurturing what we have.  I won’t live in fear.  And I won’t entertain fear shrouded in the guise of love.  Some shit you just have to trust.  And you can’t be afraid of that either.

With Love,




 Generation-X is clearly greater than you.

In the middle of a discussion with one of my students last week, she exclaimed, “How old are you?!”  I told her and she exclaimed again, “you’re that old?!  I can’t believe you’re old.  At least you don’t look it.”

So there’s the solace in that.  I’m old, but at least I don’t look it.


The beauty of young adult-hood is the untempered arrogance of youth.  18-24 year-olds think the sun revolves around them, and that we’re all longing to be that age again.

I, however, am not.

The wisdom gained from living to be almost 30 is far more attractive to me than some mental masturbation of starring in my own personal Back to the Future.  There’s no Biff I need to make amends with; no woman I failed to snag — no life I need to re-live.  Besides, the bullshit folks try to pass off as knowledge, humor, truth, and logic is clearer now.  You have less patience for it, and bigger balls to call it out.  Or you should — if you livin’ life right.

Some of us are lucky enough to figure out what we will and won’t  stand for early in our 20s.  But that’s really just practice.  Often, the rigid stances we take at 21 aint worth the Facebook status update we claimed it in.   Please.  I wouldn’t trade the comfort I feel at this stage of the game for the angst of 23 any day.  Y’all can have that.  And for the record, I wouldn’t trade the early 20s social scene either.  You think Imma put in a linen pocket square, or pop tags on an outfit only to have some bamma sweatin to Waka Flocka brush up against me?  Nope.  Not at all.  Y’all can have that too.  I have no interest in early adult hormones scuffing my shoes or staining my jacket.  You see, I’m grown.  And more importantly, I’m very much aware that the lights will come up eventually.

One of the fine folks I follow said recently that cats born after 1985 are unreliable in their opinions on greatness.  It’s no strike against them personally.  Their generation simply failed them, as their contemporaries are shitty points of reference.   Entertainment that you don’t have to be ashamed of suffers with post-1985’ers at the helm.  I once thought Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, might be the saving grace, but then I learned that dude actually was est’d. in ’84.  Sooooo… womp-womp on that.

To be sure, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em can make a helluva radio hit that I will bump in the ride endlessly for a couple weeks or so.  But is Soulja Boy’s artistry the kind you’re really trying to pass on to your little ones?  “Listen here, little one, Soulja Boy was the man from 2007 to 2009ish.  We was supermannin hoes like shit.”  Somehow, I don’t foresee this.  However, I don’t mind you getting your pretty girl/boy swag on whilst contemplating this query.  Get out the waaaaaaay…

Ya know, I find that I’m definitely not sorry that very little of what I heard in 2006, I’m even remotely interested in hearing today.  Apart from the nostalgia of a dope memory associated with a mediocre song, I’m good on the likes of Teairra Marí, Justin Bieber, and Drake.  (Not that I have any dope memories associated with Bieber, but you understand my meaning.) Now, there is one exception:  Trey Songz’s yodeling ass was born in 1984.  So technically, he’s ours. But talent-wise, he’s all y’all’s. Don’t no neighbors know his raggedy ass name.

Aesthetics over substance.  That’s what American culture (and politics, for that matter) is.  In theory, innovation, revolution, freshness should be associated with youth.  In reality in 2010, youth has failed that cause miserably.  Cats think they can do it without knowing it, without living it, or experiencing it.  And so the honesty and earnestness, the sincerity and the love are curiously absent post-’85.  I’m absolutely convinced they’ve been replaced by preoccupations with skinny jeans and teaching elderly cats how to Dougie.

“F*ck yo couch, n*gga!”

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s uncomfortable seeing it in the public square. Deal with it though. Let me get there.

I’ve thought a lot about language lately — its evolution and fluidity, given the context of time and space. In 2010, in an interconnected universe where cats don’t speak English, but have mastered American pop culture swag, the term could become too mainstream, too commonplace, too “popular” to remain offensive. You have to grapple with the possibility that white folks might get the gumption to test out “post-racial America” theory, and take the term out for a spin. Now, I’m not saying such a decision might cause trouble for an adventurous, thrill-seeking lad. I’m merely acknowledging the risk — as should said adventurous, thrill-seeking lad.

Nevertheless, we say it don’t we? And not only in the streets either, but at home, in our elite, educated gatherings we let it slip. Or we don’t let it slip. We sometimes consciously, purposely, and with much emphasis prefer nigga(s) to friend, young man/woman, group of people. Around the spades table, cats don’t decry cats who renege. They decry niggas that renege! I’m not saying it’s right; I’m merely saying it is . I’m not even saying that “we” is all of us. Or even all us . Just that I hear it. Everywhere I go.

In recent years I’ve noticed that the folks I kick it with on a regular basis cuss like a pack-o-sailors. And God love em! You see, I appreciate and encourage colorfully conjugated “fucks” and strategically placed “hoes” in conversation. I bristle instantly at one’s usage of darn over damn, shoot instead of shit. Judgmental finger wagging and head shaking instead of a stern, “Muthafucka, what!?” No seriously, you gotta cuss a nigga out sometimes; Folk need to know they have to respect your anger.

Lame tongues have argued for years that a profanity-full vocabulary is a sure sign of some conversation/self-expression deficiency. I would counter that it’s quite the contrary; the successful cusser is intelligent enough to do so colorfully, allowing a carefully and cleverly constructed stream of expletives to bask in their own glory. In that regard, a profanophile* like myself seeks merely to add a certain flavor to the sitcheeation. I believe it’s embedded in my Blackness. Really, me and my “muhfukkas” don’t mean no harm.

Brother Bernie explains it better than me, tho.

I suspect that those of us who toss “nigga” around leisurely do so in earnest — without malice or disregard for its historical significance. Instead, they we recognize that language isn’t a national historic artifact, to be preserved as is for all time. It evolves just like we do. That other previously maligned ethnic groups haven’t re-defined their negative monikers should be of no concern to us. However, I recognize that that’s Black folks though…always tryna keep up with the Levy’s.

Finally, our linguistic freedoms notwithstanding, there are rules to this shit. No cussing around old folks and babies. And be sure to tell your white friends that: no. “nigga” liberties do. not. apply to them…And tell em not to get fucked up making the arguments that I have here. Some niggas ain’t get that post-racial memo. And some shit will just never be ok. And so it’s really best to leave that one be.

You ever watch a Quentin Tarantino film? This is what language looks and feels like sans the Puritan filter. I much, much prefer it.

The end, bitches.
Profanophile: So I made it up. I’m a fuckin PhD-to-be. I’m entitled to this shit.