Regret (a story/poem thing)

*Before the poem: it would be really awesome if this blog became a huge sensation and Ellen had us on her show and Oprah came to cohost just so she could interview my friends and I and we traveled the world doing interviews and speaking to crowds and offering inspiration, encouragement and laughter. But until that happens, I am supper thankful for a place to go when at 2:30 am when I can’t sleep, either from excitement about a mini vacation, or from the words you are about to read, and put my thoughts in writing. I’ve never been one for journaling as I didn’t understand the point of writing something no one would read. And while maybe only my fellow bloggers, two friends I’ve guilt tripped into reading, my family, and a handful of people who stumble across the page read it, it’s still helpful. I hope you enjoy my early morning/late night ramblings and those of my friends. And now a story/poem of my current thoughts. Not sure what it’ll end up being so we will find out together.*

I regret few things in life

Because every decision good or bad, right or wrong has played some role in who I am today.

A short list of things I regret:

1. Any time I have made a boy more important than spending time with family and friends.

And not in the like hey I’m getting to know you so I’ll be hanging out with you instead of sitting at home.

But more in the way of, I’m going to wait upstairs by the phone as my Nan lays dying downstairs. Because I’m too afraid to miss a call but I’m also afraid of death.

Other people’s and my own.

As in, spending every weekend not on call out of town for fear of argument to the point where my mother felt like I was divorcing her, I turned away from God and I’m too fearful to know how my daughter felt as words like neglected and forgotten come to mind.

As in best friends, who for a brief moment in time became infrequent acquaintances whom I feared I lost and the relationship that took its place was no where near as beautiful and amazing and important as the one being ignored.

2. Mentioned above. As my precious Nan (my maternal grandmother) lay dying down stairs, I stayed upstairs.

Watching Orange is the New Black on the worlds slowest WiFi

Pretending to work

Waiting for phone calls.

Wanting to spend the moments that I knew would be the last time I saw her, with her, but not knowing how.

People often ask where I’m from and I don’t have an answer.

But if anyone ever asked where I called Home I would quickly respond. Nan’s house.

A constant in an early childhood full of adventure and travel.

“We’re going home this summer” always meant Nan’s house.

Always felt like Home

Always felt safe

Always felt like love

Always had her

Until it didn’t anymore

I regret saying bye, having never fully said hello.

I once did a project on her in grad school but asked my mom all of the questions.

3. My father once encouraged me to spend some time at Grannie’s house and learn to cook like her.

I regret saying no

Fearful of a woman I barely knew

Memories of switches torn from branches meant for my cousins for crimes we both committed.

She was a strong, beautiful, black woman.

As a child, this scared me.

I regret not having any long, deep, intimate conversations with her.

I regret not knowing her story.

I regret, as a child, not wanting the black American girl doll that shared her.

I know I will never enjoy corn bread again.

I fear this recipe is now lost on earth but am certain it is enjoyed daily in heaven by all who are there.

I am not certain of much in life. But if this one thing I know.

God has gone to prepare a place for me. If it were not true he would not have said it.

Whether it be a mansion on streets of gold.

Or a wooden shack in a quiet wood.

In it is a table.

And at that table, maybe once or twice a week,

Nan and Granny meet.

Over a plate of corn bread and scalled buns.

And they look down.

And check in on their not so little mixed granddaughter

Who tonight, sits crying in bed for reasons she doesn’t quite understand

Over regrets, that have too, shaped who she is as a woman.

And they laugh, and they cry, and they facepalm themselves, and they high five, and talk to each other.

And occasional they whisper

“It’ll be okay.”

Y’all…

Let it be known that as of RIGHT NOW, the first week in January of 2018 will be forever know as “Malc got his music life” week!

First Justin Timberlake…

Now Bruno and Cardi B?!?!?!?

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Now, I already LOVED Bruno Mars’ Album 24K Magic. AND “Finesse” was like my freaking JAM just because it had 90s flare dripping ALL throughowt that joint! When I first heard it I was legit mad I didn’t have anybody to do the “Kid N Play” dance with.  I started Bell Biv DeVoe’n by my damn self at work!  I was hype AF when I heard that joint.

So to my wonderful surprise, I open up Spotify this morning and see that one of my ALL. TIME. FAVORITE. artist had a new song out.  A remix.  With Cardi B? On one of my beloved songs off of 24k? (And yes I’m a Cardi fan, even though I don’t know her mixtape shit, I recognized her talent with “Bodak” don’t try it. I’ve been looking out for her ever since. Yes I’m late to the party, whatever.)

I played the track and to make a long story short, I LOVED IT.  Cardi kept true to the feel of the song, and did pretty great on her verse.  Even though the flow was 90s, her lyrics were 2010, and you know what. I’m down with it.

BUT

Somebody informed me there was a Video…

Say wha nah? (Pulls up YouTube)

Y’all…

IF THIS WASN’T THE MOST 90S SHIT I’VE SEEN IN MY DAMN LIFE.  Nostalgia isn’t something I dwell into much, but 90s music nostalgia, I AM ALL ABOUT.  From the opening cut,  they literally were dripping of Fresh Price of Bel-Air swag.  Fucking awesome! The colors! The Clothes! The…Vibe was just right!

Then Cardi’s verse finishes and you see Bruno “dancing”. (Like, I know he has SOME moves, but Bruno’s dancing needs a little work, just saying). And I’m like “OK, what’s this”. Because all you see is Bruno, and two other dancers and just some colors in the back during the first verse.

Then they show the wide shot…

IS THIS…IS THIS THE MOTHER FUCKING “IN LIVING COLOR” SET?!??!?!

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Then I thought back to the beginning of the video and was like, “Wait, THAT WAS THE IN LIVING COLOR INTRO!”

(My mind gets away from me sometimes)

I was done at that moment…I don’t even need JT’s new single tomorrow. I could die today and feel the love.

This video was so simple, that it was brilliant.  Showing a few flashes of Black Greatness through entertainment in the 90s and just showing how we just liked to dance and have fun and just let loose back then.  I do hate that they didn’t portray some other great images of the 90s in the video, but I’ll take this for what it is.

Music was fun in the 90s…This video helped me live that again for 3 minutes out of my day…

Application for Diversity

A month ago, my daughter introduced me to a new app as she routinely does. What typically happens is I notice her playing something incessantly and download it to see what it is. I then obsess over it for a few days until I reach some awful level that I can’t beat and I give up. This time, however, has been different.

Sandbox

Quite possibly the best time wasting app I have ever come across. I have yet to figure out how the name relates to the app. It’s a color by number app. That’s it. No levels. No time limits. Only constraint is you have to pay for access to more detailed pictures, which I promptly did to color in order to color this lotus flower.

It also does this awesome time lapse video after you fill it in.

So there are all sorts of pictures you can color. Flowers, cars, cartoons, people, cartoon people in cars holding flowers. Okay maybe not that one but anything is possible.

The other day, however, I noticed something when a picture popped up. I had been coloring in very detailed and beautiful pictures of white women. Pictures like this.

And this

And I just want to throw out this picture of a tiger in here, because it’s awesome

There were also some really cool cartoon white people as well

But after playing for almost a month this was the first person of color that I colored

Do you see the problem?

If you don’t. That’s another post for another time. But for those who already get it let’s proceed. If you don’t, you can still proceed and maybe you’ll catch up.

I really didn’t want to believe this person was black but as I filled her in and the complexion was completed and that awkward butt thing finished I had to acknowledge it. This was their first and only black woman or even person of color all month. Unless you count this guy

And I don’t.

This one came later, but I wasn’t sure if they were black or a seriously tanned version of Gene Simmons

Even these clearly non white characters just looked like white people in costume

This initially started me writing a post in my head about white privilege. White privilege is seeing yourself represented in apps automatically and not having to question why there are no people of color.

But then I decided to try something. I never review apps or leave comments. This time I did. I left a comment for sandbox pointing out the lack of diversity and how it would be nice to see more detailed pictures of people of color and men (white men included). Diversity is an amazing thing.

I honestly didn’t expect much. Maybe a response about how they were working on it. Or no response at all.

But y’all…the most beautiful thing happened.

Every morning I wake up to 5 or 6 new pictures to color. THE VERY NEXT MORNING this is what I saw.

DO Y’ALL SEE THAT?!? Not the astronaut or the gems or the watermelon or that angry knight in the corner. No. Right there. That beautiful, detailed, obviously BLACK woman!!!

I can not describe how full my heart was when I saw that. I immediately got to work coloring her in to see how gorgeous she was. With every shade of brown that I applied my heart grew bigger. I ran to my daughter and her friend and told them what had happened. What I had done.

Yep. I’m taking full responsibility for this one. Maybe they were already working on it. But that’s a huge coincidence. THE NEXT DAY!! I’ve had guys take longer to respond to a text message than it did for this app developer to respond to my suggestion.

And then I got to thinking. Why isn’t it always that easy. That’s all it took. Correcting the issue. They didn’t have to respond. They didn’t have to apologize. All they had to do was correct the issue. No questioning. No trying to convince me I was making things up. No defending why they hadn’t had a diverse selection of skin tones up until this point. No blaming. No finger pointing. No all coloring lives matter crap. Just correction of the problem. Why can’t it always be this easy?

Maybe one day the rest of the world will learn from the Sandbox app and quickly acknowledge and correct racism when it is pointed out. Until then I will keep admiring this beautiful lady I colored in and count this as one itty bitty teeny tiny step to equality.

Here she is!

Here’s her video

And just a few days later I got to color in this possible Cardi B image that I love too

(Or is that Miley?!?)

Ps. My daughter says that if you want some good entertainment read the other reviews to the app.

Walking Thirst Trap

First off, you should know that I have very recently begun attempting to get my life together. Meaning eating right and hopefully losing weight. Today was my first day adding in the dreaded excercise to the combination which makes what I’m about to talk about even more entertaining to me. 
So today, on my very first walk in a very long time, I learned one valuable thing. Apparently I am causing men all over the world, or at least within my vicinity, to commit iniquities in their heart and mind because I wear…yoga pants. 
Confused yet? So was I. So let me fill you in. 
I’m walking. Minding my own business. Feeling healthy AF because I’ve been eating right for like three weeks. Today was, for some reason, a bad mental/emotion day so instead of eating my feelings I said “self” and self said “yea” and I said “let’s try this excercising for mental sanity thing and see what happens.” So myself and I put on some comfy clothes, my old sketchers, found my head phones and turned on Beyoncé Radio to get this walking party started. 
While still minding my own business, the first signs of an issue appear. Black car slows down, with black man in it giving me “the look.” If you are a woman you know exactly what look I’m talking about. If you are a man you know what look I’m talking about and have probably given it to someone. Car stops, rolls down window, and because my music isn’t loud enough I can hear him trying to get my attention. Against my better judgment, because I’m trying to work on being open to the universe and not coming across as a bitch, I take my head phones out and stop. I make sure to stay far away from the car so as not to get snatched. 
Here is the conversation that ensued:
Guy: excuse me. Are you an American? 
Me: ummm yea (mind you that’s a pretty loaded question right now so my mind is already on 100) 
Guy: what’s your nationality?
Me: I’m mixed. Black and white (oh lord here we go) 
Guy: ok. Let me make a statement 
Me: *to myself* ahh hell. 
Guy: you know you cause men to commit iniquity when you do this right. 
Me: *to myself* what the absolute heck is he talking about 
My face must have looked confused because he said 
Guy: iniquities. You know. Sin 
Me: yes I know what you meant
Guy: ok. Do you read the Bible?
Me: yes
Guy: a little
Me: I said yes
Guy: *holding up his bible* see I study the word. And when women (not saying you) walk around and men see you, it causes us to think lustful thoughts and your yoga pants (not saying yours) are….
Me: let me stop you right there. I’m just trying to go for a walk. Bye. 

First of all…I can’t. 
Second of all… sir don’t come for me today! 
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this encounter but here are just a few thoughts I have about it 
1. This is rape culture at its finest. Rape culture disguised as religious concern. If you can’t handle a woman wearing yoga pants because it might cause you to have lustful/sinful thoughts. That sir is your problem not mine. 
2. This is why women are afraid to go out in public alone. This is not normal, healthy or safe. Who does that?!?! It didn’t help that he looked like that man who shot the old man on social media and went missing for a few days. 
3. Clearly I am doing something right. When I said today was a bad emotional/mental day it was. I was getting stuck in my head and upset about no one wanting me. But apparently I was wrong. Apprently I am a literal walking thirst trap causing men to fall for me with every footstep. 
4. I wonder did he stop the two Older Latino women, or the white woman I crossed paths with a little down the road or was this just an attack on black women and an inability to appreciate and respect without oppressing. 

So the walk continued and the way it ended was such a beautifully ironic contrast I can’t help but think the blog gods created this moment specifically for me to write about it. 
I get back to my street (after checking multiple times to make sure I wasn’t being followed). My neighbor, who is also a black male, comes out of his house. I wave and say hello. This conversation ensues:
Neighbor: what about me?
Me: any time you want to come go right ahead
Neighbor: well I don’t like to just pop up. I was waiting on my invite. 
Me: any time!! 
Me to myself: must have been the pants. 

Moral of the story: Sir in the car…you don’t want these problems. Neighbor, you don’t want these problems either! 

Growing up an “Oreo” in America

time-100-influential-photos-john-dominis-black-power-salute-61Now this is a story all about how my life was flipped turned upside-down….

Wait…..

I’ve always lived this life. Nothing has changed, and the new normal, has always been for me, in a sense, just like every other african american in america. This is nothing new! That’s the first thing that america should understand.

All my life I have been known as the “good boy”. The one who you shouldn’t be “scared of” because of the way I carried myself (i.e. my mf’n personality). I’ve been called “white boy” more times that I could count growing up and at that time, I only took it as a playful gesture. I was called “white boy” though because of my skin. I was really really light skinned. Already being taught the importance of appearance in society before I even knew how important it would be. My family and friends used to call me this all the time, so when strangers decided to as well as I grew up and went to different schools, I didn’t think much of it. I just went with it. They were just playing, right? Unbeknownst to me, I was being called that because of how I acted.

An Oreo: “To be African-American in appearance, but to have interests that align with those of Caucasian people.”

Which brings up the question of “What is acting black/white” anyway? This is probably another story for another day.

Anywho, growing up I had minimal influence from others. Elementary school, I had two good white friends, and one indian (south asian) friend and the rest of the people I hung out with were family. All black. I’ve always loved hip hop and r&b growing up and literally had more rhythm that I could deal with (still do, but I’m just tall and awkward now), but just because I didn’t act a certain way growing up, I wasn’t considered african american by my peers. Funny thing is, I probably still am not considered “black”. Obviously my skin color states otherwise, but nope, stick me in a class with the AP and Honors kids (which weren’t even predominately white either so…wtf) and don’t hang around with a certain group and BAM. You’re caucasian.

One of those white guys was my great friend. All the way up until high school. But once we got to high school, he said one thing to me that I will never ever forget. He says “you know that we aren’t going to be friends when we get to high school, right?”. Me, being the ignorant son of a bitch I was at the time was like what? Why? What’s going to happen?

All of a sudden….Immediate disconnect of conversation. I lost my best friend from years 2 to 8 just like that. It was because he didn’t want to be associated with a black guy. I know most of you are thinking, “how do you know that?”.  Well you just don’t throw away 6 years of constant friendship, you know?

Moving on…

I will ALWAYS be a black man. I can’t change that. No matter how proper I talk, and what crowd I hang around. I could be the most non threatening man in America, but I will still be seen as a BLACK MAN. Unfortunately, this is something a lot of non black people can’t seem to understand. You know me, sure. You understand my personality, and how I carry myself, sure. But when I’m in a situation where someone who doesn’t know me, the first thing they see is a big black aggressive male. Essentially, a threat.

I remember my mom giving me “the talk”. No, not the birds and the bees one, but about how I should “act in public”.  My dad was a cop and sheriff, so I already had a grasp of the bullshit happening even back then.  Luckily, I was more worried about embarrassing my mom (who was a teacher) and my dad that I didn’t really get into too much trouble. But that doesn’t negate the fact that I had to hear about my blackness being a problem; Even though I was called “white boy” on multiple occasions.

“But Malc, how could someone like you be seen as someone like these other guys out in america who are breaking the law and that shouldn’t have been causing trouble in the first place.”  “You’re seriously the nicest black guy I know and you wouldn’t hurt a fly”. (Yes, I have heard these quotes VERBATIM on multiple occasions). All of these quotes from well-intentioned  Caucasians, of course, but because you don’t have to deal with this on a regular basis, there is no way that you could could imagine.

Don’t believe me….Here’s a small example;

Many of you who know me already probably already know this story, but I was down in the “dirty” Myrtle for a random friends trip, and me and my friend were on our way back to our hotel. Mind you we’ve been drinking, as all of america in Myrtle Beach that night. Ocean Blvd was literally backed up with cars full of drunk kids. Even kids riding on the back of pickup truck yelling out obscenities and who knows what else. The point I’m getting across is, me and my boy were not the only ones out and about at this moment.

I bump into one of those trees that these cities always think is good idea to place in the middle of the sidewalk walking back to the hotel, and a police officer decides to stop us. Mind you, my friend probably looks like he’s about 11 at this time, so the officer lady probably thought she was stopping an underage drinker. Whatever, that’s not the problem I have at the moment.

So she stops us. Asks us where we were going, asks us how old we were, and we tell her. She doesn’t believe us and asks for ID. We show her, and boom, legal. This should be the end of the conversation right? No. She decided to roll over to the fact that my boy was too drunk and he was bumping into trees (which she was wrong, that was me) so we need to chill out before we go anywhere. We were about 3 blocks from the hotel at this point. I tell her that, and she’s like no, you need to call a taxi. Me, being the slightly drunk irrational person I am, asked her why we couldn’t walk (since we were literally 3 blocks away). Woman told us that she would arrest us and take us in for public intoxication if we didn’t call a taxi. Again, ALL of ocean blvd was probably two times more drunk than myself and my friend at this point. We look at nearby taxis….TWO HOUR wait. We tell her and then she calls her little cop friend. Idk what she said, but she was like “as long as you go back to your hotel, you can go back”. Like bitch, I didn’t break the law, I can go back regardless.

I know this story isn’t a “bad” as other stories you’ve probably heard from other people, but to be stopped and almost arrested, even after proving your age AND being coherent enough to have AND remember a conversation. There was no reason for us to be stopped when there were clearly other people more drunk than us around.

This is how the average black male lives their life. You might not believe it, but things like this happen more often than you realize, and THIS is what needs to change in america. This is why we say BLACK LIVES MATTER.  It’s unfortunate that we have to “censor” ourselves.  It’s unfortunate that I have to review EVERY. SINGLE. EMAIL. I send because I don’t want to sound like the angry black man even though I’m asking a simple question. It’s unfortunate that we have to actively ensure we aren’t being a threat for fear that we may be arrested, or fired, or even KILLED.

And you have people caring more about how they feel like people kneeling is disrpecting a flag when Mike Brown, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and every other male or female who were taken from us, by someone who felt they were the Judge in each situation.  That could have been me, arrested because I’d rather walk and save money than call a lame ass myrtle beach taxi.