I Still Read Comic Books

When I was a kid, I used to read comic books and people told me that one day, I would grow out of it.  And I believed them.  I kept waiting for the day when I would wake up and stop caring about the stories, the art, the writers, the characters and whatever Betsy Braddock was wearing each season.

I’m still waiting.

No longer tarty undergrads at Xavier's School, Storm and Betsy Braddock choose battle gear that is stylish, protective, and show off ample bosom.

No longer tarty undergrads at Xavier’s School, Storm and Betsy Braddock choose battle gear that is stylish, protective, and show off ample bosom.

When I was a kid, I used to dance.  A lot.  People told me that one day, I would grow out of it.  They said that when I got older, I would stop paying attention to the music, and it wouldn’t move me as much.  Though it made me sad, I believed them.  There was always a part of me that kept wondering what it would feel like to not want to dance anymore.

I’m still wondering.

They be like, "Ooh.  He's servin' face".

They be like, “Ooh. He’s servin’ face”.

When I was a kid, I used to wear my pants really, really low.  My mother told me that one day, I would just pull them up.  She said that I would eventually learn to wear my pants “like an adult”, and I would find it inappropriate to have my pants sagging and dragging on the floor.

They’re still sagging.  They’re still dragging.  That’s the kinda guy I am.

Last month I met someone, and he told me that he was trying to create a graphic novel (just a fancy name for comic book).  He showed me some of his art, and while he had a basic idea in his head, he didn’t quite know how to create a cohesive and concise story.  After a few beers and some conversation about our favourite writers, he then asked for my help with the storyboard and I said, “Thank God you finally asked me, because I am really, really drunk right now and it’s about to get messy”.

For the past 8 years, I’ve been teaching a type of dance class and each one gives me life!  I’m still a life-long dance student and I make it a point to learn from all sorts of styles and choreographers. And in a hilarious twist of fate, some crazy people actually asked me to choreograph for them, and I said, “Thank God you finally asked me because I am really, really drunk right now and it’s about to get messy”.

Let me just say that I’m not a special little snowflake who has stumbled upon a massive secret of life.  We all know this!  When we were all younger, there were a few things that we absolutely loved to do.   Look a little closer, and you’ll find that you probably still love them now.  Back then, we had distinct personality traits, and there’s a good chance that you’re still the same person now.

At the risk of sounding preachy: instead of growing out of who you are, fall deeper into it.  People will dissuade you, they will be pessimistic, and they will keep on knocking you down.  But check it:  the things that I’m doing – the things I’m making a living out of  – right now are the same things that I was made fun of as a kid.  So let them talk.  Let them knock.  Because it’s not about them anyway.

And I STILL wear my pants down low.  #NoAssAtAll.

photo-3

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Meet me at the altar in your white dress.

His request could have been summed up in one sentence: “TJ, I need you to teach a group of personal trainers and bodybuilders how to dance to Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors“.

Uhm. Okay.

It was for my friend Dwayne, and he wanted to propose to his girlfriend of 8 years in a flash mob style. As daunting as the task was, I was totally up for it because Dwayne has helped me during a really rocky time in my life. So we met up frequently and put together some moves, taking inspiration from the dance classes I’ve been teaching/taking, and from the football victory dances that he loves watching.

Step-step-shuffle-pause-step-step.

Step-step-shuffle-pause-step-step.

And in true TJB fashion, there was a point in time when I hated everything about this. I cursed the song, the dance, the proposal and the whole bloody lot of it! I didn’t mean to be so hateful – I just didn’t want to disappoint anybody and I really wanted to get this right. It’s all a part of my creative process, and as Erykah Badu once said: “I’m an artist. And I’m sensitive about my shit”.

The night of the first rehearsal came and I still had some trepidation. I knew most of the guys as accomplished personal trainers and body builders, and I never knew them as dancers. I knew that some of them had the grace of martial artists, and I wasn’t sure how that would translate to a light hip-hop dance.

Coming together!

Coming together!

There was some nervous energy in the rehearsal space because we were all doing something for the first time. I’ll never forget when the music came on and I taught them the first set of moves because it was a hot fucking mess.

However, we were all patient with one another and slowly, it came together. It was pretty cool to see that they all had rhythm, and once the ball got rolling, they picked up the moves pretty quickly. I’ll always remember the moment when Norvic, the biggest and most muscular dude went up to me and said: “TJ, I’ll have to stand close to you. I’ve never danced before and I’ll have the most to learn out of anyone”. In that short instance when he admitted this supposed weakness, I got a glimpse of the amount of strength this guy has in him, which has no doubt helped him win so many bodybuilding competitions.

Norvic knows how to put the flash in flash mob.

Norvic knows how to put the flash in flash mob.

Rehearsals came and went, choreography changed, people popped in, and people dropped out. There were catfights, there were spotlights, and there were late night cheeseburger runs (PS: there were no actual catfights, I just like how that sentence sounds.  But the cheeseburgers were all too real and very delicious.  I wish I was eating one right now.  Where was I?). Everyone worked so hard, and everyone’s dedication to making this work was so impressive. For a solid 4 weeks, I felt like Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act or Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, where she helps a motley crew of people do something really cool.

The best part? One night, Dwayne gave us a pep talk to explain his motivation. To paraphrase, he said: “I know it’s late, we’re tired, and I know things are a bit crazy. But I want to thank you guys for being a part of this. This was never about me, and I’m doing this all for Kim. I’m doing it because I love Kim”. When we heard that, I think that we all just collectively cried on the inside and thought to ourselves: “Okay.. let’s get these bitches married!”

The big day finally arrived and it was a hit! The finished product can be found here:

It is a world of amazing! I want to thank Dwayne for keeping this all together and for allowing me to be a part of this awesome day. It was so much fun!  Congratulations, Dwayne and Kim!  May you always live a life full of fun surprises.

Wow.  That chick in the background is really, really happy for them.

Wow. That chick in the background is really, really happy for them.

Epilogue: because of this, I got hired to choreograph two more flash mobs, for a wedding and a bat mitzvah, so now I can put “Flashmob choreographer” on my Facebook job profile. Yeah!

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Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.

Live in the moment!  Live in the now!  Now is the time!

Everything and everyone seems to prescribe YOLO as a method to living your best life ever.  And whenever I hear it, I always picture all these vibrant people who are continually laughing.  They’re often in bathing suits running on the beach, or skydiving, or doing pilates, or doing skydiving pilates.  Their lives are so full of excitement, and colour, and Calvin Harris music and it makes me think, “Fuck me, that seems exhausting!”.  Who can keep up with all of that?

Now that I’m getting to be of a certain age, I’m inclined to think differently about taking advantage of life’s moments, and when I think back, it seems that I’ve been training myself to live like this.

As a kid, my family moved around a lot – from different places in Asia to different places in Canada.  If we were going by TV sitcoms, you would assume that this made me some lonely malcontent full of cynicism and vinegar.  I would never want to make any friends because I would just have to leave them a year later.  Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and I was actually pretty annoying: “Hi! Let’s be best friends and do everything together because I might have to move away next year”.  And as sad as I was to leave old friends, moving around also taught me that I would make new ones, if I just bothered to put the work in.

Twerking at two years old.

This was my sales pitch when making new friends.

A massve turning point in my past was when I got a job as a cruise ship entertainer.  It was quite the hedonistic life full of travel and romance and intrigue, and you sometimes worked your job in between all of that.  Everything was so intense – a passing fancy became true love in a heartbeat, and a mild annoyance became pure hatred in a nanosecond.  And since people were on different job contract lengths, and since they were from all over the world, we would traipse in and out of each other’s lives with the same ease as stepping on and off the bus.  Whenever we said goodbye to one another, we would look into each other’s eyes with a common understanding:  I can’t promise that I’ll see you again, and I just want to thank you for the amazing memories.  And if I do run into you as we go about the world, holy shit, we are getting WASTED!

A very good day.

A very good day.

At the risk of being defined by my career, these moments in my crappy little life have served me well in my current job.  I work in sales and it’s pretty fast paced.  You can’t really sit and dwell on the success you had last month because no one cares about last month.  You can’t really worry too much about your sales in the future because that would just drive you crazy.  Sounds like a tough world, and it’s actually very liberating.  Because everyday, in a completely pragmatic way, I can see that if you’re not hindered by your past and you’re not paralyzed by your future, you’re absolutely free to live and kick some serious ass at this very moment.  I guess you just have to make that choice.

Working hard?  Or ordering a pizza?

Working hard? Or ordering a pizza?

In closing, I just want to paint a picture of my moment now.  I’m on my balcony typing away, and it’s very quiet in the hood.  Quite typical.  Quite ordinary.  But when I look deeper and think about all that’s going on at this seemingly quiet morning:  the tiny electronics in my laptop that allow me to type, the atmospheric changes in the air that are turning this cloudy day into a sunny one, the funkiness going on in my digestive system because I ate ice cream for breakfast again, and most of all this stupid ladybug that keeps trying to crawl up my leg, and etc and etc……  With all of that going on as I sit here quietly, I can’t help but think:  Is there such a thing as an ordinary moment?

Just an ordinary moment, I suppose.

Just an ordinary moment, I suppose.

Sounds like a different blog topic.  Maybe I’ll write about it sometime.  For now, I gotta bounce so that I can jet ski naked across a pond full of piranhas.  YOLO, bitches!!! WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

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It’s a thin line.

People form such intense love/hate relationships with me that on some days, I feel like I’ll end up like slain Tejano singer, Selena.  Oh man, can I say that?  Anyway it’s true. I guess I have a polarizing personality, and combined with the fact that we all have a tendency to pigeonhole one another, I can see how it would upset others if I zigged when they were expecting a zag.  Or maybe I’m just a jerk.

And I don’t even know why I’m writing about this.  Maybe it’s a way to beat people to the punch line, maybe it’s a way to exorcise some deep-seated insecurity based on childhood trauma, or maybe I am just completely drunk and getting way too emotional to Underneath Your Clothes.  Whatever, here’s list of things people love to hate, and hate to love about me.

Use of social media – Imagine this for one second:  You spend the formative years of your life being told that you were so damn different.  Your ideas were weird and faggy, so you keep quiet and stop talking because you get sick of being called a fag.  And all of a sudden, there’s an open forum where people were allowed to express whatever they wanted to with different levels of anonymity.  After keeping silent for so long, wouldn’t you be all over that shit too?  It’s not about the reception of all my posts and tweets – I could care less about how many people see it – it’s about the ability to express yourself. And I’m not saying that my use of social media is healthy, nor detrimental.  I’m just saying that it’s mine.

While I’m on my soapbox, let me jut say this:  telling people how to use social media defeats the purpose of it.  So let her post about her workouts, let him take pictures of his food, and let them post about how much they hate their life.  If you don’t like it, quit yer grousin’ and just unfollow them.  Simple.

Being bald – Weird, right?  But it happens a lot and I guess people assume that it’s a sore spot with me.  I lost my hair at a young age and I think I know how it happened.  In 2002, I was going to the TLC concert with my friend Sharmila Lisa Dey, and I wanted to dye my hair bright red to look like T-Boz in the “No Scrubs” video (I know.. I’m rolling my eyes at 2002 TJ too).

A scrub is a guy who can't dye his hair properly.

A scrub is a guy who can’t dye his hair properly.

So I used some Manic Panic to bleach my hair and dye it an amazing bright red.  Unfortunately, it came out cotton candy pink.  I looked like Frenchie from Grease so I had to dye it black again and ever since that day, I just steadily kept losing hair.

Yep.  Reeeaaal original, Minaj.

Yep. Reeeaaal original, Minaj.

 

It took me a while to get used to it, and now I’m all good.  I like the shape of my head.  If you really want to make me cry, tell me I have crow’s feet.  Someone pass the Botox!

One night stands – I’m a red blooded male and once in a while I like to have sex.  I’m single and a responsible person and from time to time, I like to have sex.  Sex!

Hakuna Matata means doin' the nasty.

Hakuna Matata means doin’ the nasty.

Much like most of you, my debaucherous and horny friends, I’ve had a one-night stand or two, and I really don’t know why we vilify each other for participating in them.  If it’s respectful, and consensual, and caring, and safe, and legal, then what’s wrong with enjoying one another’s company in mind and body?

Sure, sex in any capacity can have physical and emotional repercussions, but if someone makes an informed decision to go through a one night romantic tryst with a tall and mysterious new companion who looks good in a pair of jeans and is bumpy in all the right places, then let them do it.  Don’t judge them.

I will say that one of the most ‘adult’ things I’ve done is having a one night stand and being honest and communicative enough so that it doesn’t leave anyone feeling damaged afterward.  And I’m open to the fact that one day, I may look back on this and realize that perhaps I wasn’t in the right head space.  But we’ve got tonight.  Who needs tomorrow?

Yeah, I'd sleep with Sheena Easton in a heartbeat.

Yeah, I’d sleep with Sheena Easton in a heartbeat.

Besides, I make a kick-ass breakfast the next day.

Narcissism – yes, I like to look good and take care of my body and I like looking my best at all times in order feel my best at all times.  I agree with Oprah when she says that “clothes should make you feel alive”.  I even have a blog where I can’t seem to shut up about myself.  Enough about me, what do YOU think about me?

A bonafide narcissist acts with only himself or herself in mind.  They lack compassion and empathy, and have the ability to hurt others around them without a care.  Simply put:  I ain’t ‘bout that life.  I love my close and personals with the intensity of a fiery sun, and the gentleness of a plastic bag floating in the wind.

Beautiful and full of beauty.

Beautiful and full of beauty.

So there you have it.  I’m not exactly sure what this has accomplished. But it’s late so I’ll just leave you with words from the great songstress/philosopher: “Love me.  Hate me.  Say what you want about me.  All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy”.

The only Amy I'm seeking.

The only Amy I’m seeking.

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Grandfather

Do you remember the very first time that you felt like you were cared for?

For me, the memory stems from when I was 5 years old, living in the Philippines with my grandparents.  At that time, I was the youngest of 9 grandchildren and was very much the baby.  One day, all my older male cousins were making slingshots and the four of us were sitting behind the farmhouse, while surrounded by branches, pieces of leather and random tools.  Being the eldest, Kuya Charles led the way and was showing Kuya Chito and Kuya Cocoy what to do.  I was a pretty sharp kid and when I noticed that there were four of us and only three slingshots being made, I said to them:

“Hey, make me one too!”

“No, TJ.  You’re too small and your mom won’t allow you to play with a slingshot.”

Hit me with your best shot!

Hit me with your best shot!

Everyone, including me, was a little bit scared of my mom, so I sat there quietly and watched them take Y-shaped branches, carve them down, and attach them to square pieces of leather with rubber straps.  I watched enviously, as they tested out the slingshots and laughed with them when the small toy actually worked.  Once they each had one, they ran ran off to a nearby field to shoot cans, or bottles, or whatever it is that boys do with slingshots.  They left me in the backyard, surrounded with residual pieces of the materials they were using just a few minutes before.

Not one to feel sorry for myself, I decided to make my own toy.  I did my best to remember what my older cousins were doing, and of course, my slingshot was turning out to be very, very crappy.

It was a few minutes into my little project when my grandfather walked out of the house and asked me what I was doing.

“Making a slingshot,” I said.

“Why do you want a slingshot?”

“Because everyone else has one”.

I don’t remember this part too clearly, but I like to remember that he chuckled under his breath at my matter-of-fact attitude, as he walked back into the house.  He re-appeared a few minutes later, holding a machete and a small knife.

“Come on.  Let’s go and make you a slingshot”.

Yes!  I smiled, dusted off my little hands and followed him into the backyard.  At that point in time, the backyard was a large expanse of farmland, full of banana and guava trees.  A small cement house, which served as the pigpen, stood nearby and I can distinctly remember the squealing of the pigs as my grandfather explained what we were doing.

“We need to find a strong branch, shaped like the letter Y.  It can’t be too big.  You need to be able to hold it properly”.

This was all the explanation I would get for a while as we walked from tree to tree, with my grandfather carefully examining each potential branch.  A few times, he took the machete and chopped one down and it was quickly discarded because he didn’t deem it right for me.

After what felt like hours, I started to feel bad that my grandfather was wasting so much of his time on me.  I was raised by a Tiger Mom, and efficient use of your time was something she instilled in me while I was still an embryo.  I began to feel very anxious. I was afraid that I would somehow get into trouble for this.  So I told him:

“Tatang, we can do this later.  Let’s go back to the house.”

“But we’re here now.  We can finish this now”

“But it’s taking so long..” I said as I looked back to the house worriedly.

“You need to learn to be patient, anak”.

Soon after, he found a branch that he liked and he started carving it down to a comfortable size for me.  The shrill voice of my grandmother was carried through the trees:

“Villano!  What are you doing out there?!  Come back to the house!”

I tugged at my grandpa’s shorts, “Let’s go”.

He winked at me, “Your grandma needs to learn patience too”.

So I waited, as he kept carving the branch, and soon he was attaching rubber straps and a piece of leather to it.  I thought that we were finished and he insisted on testing out the slingshot first.

“We have to be sure that you can take the perfect shot”.

So he picked up a pebble, placed it in the slingshot and aimed it at one of the pigs, and we listened to that little pig bitch squeal in pain with each stone.

No, I’m totally kidding.  He aimed it a banana tree and I laughed with joy with each pebble that got imbedded into the trunk.  My slingshot worked!  My grandpa tried it five or six more times, just to be sure that it was working properly, and I got more and more excited with each round.  Then he gave it to me and showed me how to use it.  After a few clumsy attempts, I finally fired off a good one and I howled with laughter when my pebble hit the trunk.

Those banana trees had no idea.  No idea!

Those banana trees had no idea. No idea!

My grandfather looked down at me:

“See?  The perfect shot”.

Years later, as my immediate family moved to Canada, the distance between my grandfather and I increased.  Even when he too, immigrated to Canada, the barriers between us remained.  I was busy being a spoiled, bratty North American and he was busy trying to understand subways, and coffee makers, and snowstorms, and everything else that came with his new life.

He passed away in 2006.

And to this day, when my cousins and I get together, we talk about him.  We share stories about his patience, his kindness, and the amazing way he managed to stay steadfast and strong within a family full of completely ridiculous and insane people.  I get a little sad when I think about those final years and I hope he knows I always loved him.

I have a healthy respect for the spirit world.  And whenever my dog barks at nothing in particular, whenever my kitchen door opens without anyone on the other side, or whenever I narrowly miss running over a pedestrian with my terrible driving, I know that it’s my grandfather.  Wherever he is – call it the heavens, call it the ether, call it the Land of the White Buffalo – I know he’s still watching me.  And he’s sitting silently, waiting patiently, for me to take the perfect shot.

Servillano Borile, with Susana Borile.  Hottie with the body.  Cutie with the booty.

Servillano Borile, with Susana Borile. Hottie with the body. Cutie with the booty.

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21st century lovin.

“If you were a Janet Jackson song, what song would you be?”, I Tweeted to him.

It was a supposed to be a fun question and from there the Twitter conversation flowed steadily.  It was a lot of charming and witty repartee about a common love for R&B music and horror movies.  Anything with zombies was mutually adored, and anything that had to do with a Kardashian was politely put by the wayside.

Soon it was on to books, cooking, our love for Aaliyah, and everything had a flirtatious undertone because we were attracted to one another.  And then:

“I sing in a band”.
“I write stories.  I dance too, sometimes”.

Ooh, an artistic spirit.  Lord knows that those bloody artists are my Achilles heel.  Even better was the fact that neither of us wanted to be particularly rich or famous for what we do.  We just do it because it’s in our hearts and we love the damn thing.

Soon, we discover that we both desire to live a simple life.  One with less possessions and a whole lot more gratitude. It’s one with more satisfaction, and less desire.

It’s at this point that I begin to feel like I’m going crazy.  I’ve always been a traditionalist when it comes to dating:  the bars, the dance floors, the dinners.  And soon after come the questions, the doubts, and the “rules”.  This then leads to the Facebook stalking, the sexting, and the crying into a piece of grocery store Turtles cheesecake while you watch “Set It Off”, when things inevitably go tits up.

I had never really done the online dating thing, but this is love in the 21st century.  Online relationships are more successful and a long distance Twitter romance was common.  Anything in social media was a vehicle for looking for love in a hopeless place.

All I wanted was to talk about Janet Jackson.  I wasn’t even looking for this and he just kept talking with confidence and honesty, and he looked so good in his pictures, and not once did we talk about work.  The chemistry with him was so much better than with the knuckleheads I met in the “real” world.  So I decided to jump with both feet in and since the geographic distance between us isn’t too great, a meeting was requested:

“We can dance to Janet, and eat tacos and street corn”.

It was kind of ignored, and I chose to be relentless and kept asking. He said:

“There’s something I have to tell you”

Oh crap.  Here’s the catch.

He’s married.
He’s actually 15 years old.
He hates Aaliyah.

With bated breath, I waited.  And then finally:

“I’m in a wheelchair”.

“Oh….”.

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How Not to Get Eaten by Lions

I was at work on the weekend and this conversation took place:

Him:  Hey can you explain Project X to me?
Me:  Sure.  What do you want to know?
Him:  Everything.
Me:  Well they sent an email about it…
Him:  Yeah, I didn’t read it.  It was so long.  Can you just tell me what I need to know?

Oh no, he did not just!

Studies show that in 100% of the cases where someone claims, "Oh no she didn't", she in fact, did.

Studies show that in 100% of the cases where someone claims, “Oh no she didn’t”, she in fact, did.

Here’s the thing:  I like helping people and I only make it a point to help those who help themselves.  There is a huge difference between “Hey I didn’t understand something in the email, please help” and “I didn’t bother reading the email, please help”.

Imagine if you will, that we were antelopes traipsing about the African savannah.  And the Antelope Leader is all, “Hey antelopes.  Some lions are about to attack and try to eat us, but not to worry!  I sent you an email with some steps on how NOT to get eaten.  Just read it and if you have any questions, let me know.  Good luck everyone!”.

Now if the object of the game is survival, you would think that everyone would put themselves in the best position to survive, but there are some crazy-ass antelopes out there who choose not to do this. Some of them say things like:

  • “Yeah, I like being an antelope but I just want to run and eat grass and laugh merrily, and I don’t want to do the email part”.
  • “Y’know, I’m an old antelope and you just can’t teach an old antelope new tricks”.
  • “I just have so many things on the go.  Not only am I an antelope, but I’m also a gazelle, and a hippo, and a pterodactyl, and on every second Saturday of the month, I’m a drag queen that lip syncs to Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me” onstage.  So you can see why I just can’t read emails.  I just can’t.
  • “I’m just miserable and therefore I’m gonna rock the status quo for no reason at all because I want everyone else to be as miserable as I am”.  (no one actually says this one out loud, but you can tell that it’s what they feel on the inside)

Let’s keep it real:  I am NOT the best antelope 100% of the time.  I’ve missed some emails and even if I read every single one, there’s no guarantee that I will survive.  But if I’ve missed an email, I would simply take ownership of that and would not bog down my fellow antelopes, seeking answers that can clearly be found if I just put half an ounce of effort in.  Like the rest of the herd, there are times when I feel like it’s simply too much and there are so many things that go on.  But I chose this.  I chose the  path of an antelope and these are simply the nature of things. You take the good, take the bad, etc.

And since this blog is (theoretically) about loving yourself, let me put it this way:  at some point in your life, you’ve probably felt like you were at your absolute best.  It’s an amazing and addictive feeling so why would you choose to let go of it, even for a minute?  Don’t you want to go to bed every night saying, “Today, I gave it my very best shot.  Today, I was on fire and I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow”?  Because I’m not talking about perfection by any means.  I’m talking about putting in a genuine effort and doing everything in your power to ensure that you’re at your absolute best.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me.  You can do what you want to and feel how you want to.  Just don’t come crying to me when a lion is chomping on your antelope ass.

This doesn't taste like chicken at all!

This doesn’t taste like chicken at all!

 

 

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My man cheated on me.

Maybe I’m late to the party, but is cheating on your significant other just a thing we do now?  In the past month, I’ve come across way too many close and casual friends who have been cheated on, that I’m led to believe that everyone has come to accept it and I somehow missed the viral video.

Before you call me a prude or old-fashioned, please know that I’m not throwing shade at any of my cheaters out there.  I know that life can unfold in unexpected ways and I can understand it if someone has a minor slip up during the early stages of a relationship, or maybe a vacation hook-up.  And if my partner sat down with me and asked me about having an open relationship, I would be apt to having the conversation (I won’t know how to feel about the concept until it actually happens to me, but I can definitely have that talk).  I get it and there’s no judgement from my end.

And as someone who has been cheated on and someone who has actually caught their partner in the act of cheating, I can say from the bottom of my heart that it just fucking sucks.  It’s hurtful.  Especially because I found out the way I did, and especially because I was busting my ass at a job that I didn’t even like anymore, and making sacrifices because I thought we were working toward a common future.  To this day, it still angers me that I wasn’t even given the respect to try to find a resolution to whatever problems we had.  Instead, I was cheated on – repeatedly – and even when I forgave all those indiscretions and tried to re-build, all I got was, “I still don’t know if you’re the person I want to be with”.

Uhm.  Peace out, homeboy.

The absolute worst part?  It made me feel like I was Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors and I can not stand Gwyneth Paltrow.

UGH!  I just can't with this bloody woman.

UGH! I just can’t with this bloody woman.

Anyway, hearing all my friends’ stories has just opened up a well of and emotion and I obviously have a lot more shit to sort through.  Not that anyone asked me, but for those who can relate to the chorus of this sad, sad song, here are a couple of things that have helped me:

  • Be Angry – I know that the PC thing to say is “No, do not be angry.. be forgiving.. surround yourself with love and remember the happy moments.. do yoga, and drink tea…”  FUCK.  THAT.  SHIT.  It’s so important to honour your emotions so if you’re sad, be sad and if you’re angry, be angry.  Just know this:  anger is stronger than sorrow.  While sadness can lead you to a downward spiral, anger can lead you to productive action.  Anger is not bad – it just depends on what you do with it.  Are you going to let it drive you forward?  Or drive you crazy?
  • Be Patient – everytime I see my mom, she asks me “Are you better yet?”.  (Gotta love that blunt Asian-style parenting). No, I’m not ready to jump into another long-term relationship, and yes, I’m getting better on a daily basis.  The healing process has no due date.  Ignore your parents, ignore your friends because it’s going to take however long it takes.
  • Be Loving – oh crap, now I sound like those PC self-help books.  But it’s true.  Let’s face it:  it takes two to tango and there were actions (or inactions) from both parties that led to this unfortunate event, and you probably made some mistakes too.  It’s okay.  Just let go.  Forgive yourself first.  Love yourself first.  And you’ll radiate with so much positivity that you’ll even find yourself beginning to forgive the bum-ass, trifling, ghetto motherfucker who cheated on you in the first place.

This terrible thing happened to you but it won’t feel bad forever.  I remember a story that my old friend Melanie once told me.

Her parents were dating and had broken up repeatedly.  After one of their longer time periods apart, her dad showed up at a party with a new girlfriend.  Upon arriving at the party, he saw that Melanie’s mom was also there with her new boyfriend.  He asked to speak with her privately and in the bedroom of a small apartment that belonged to a person that they barely even knew, he asked her to marry him and she said yes.  And as of today (well as of 1997 when I first heard this story), they’re still together.

Fucking love, eh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who deez betches, anyway?

I’m pretty sure that I’m a feminist.  Don’t get me wrong: I love my Y chromosome, I love my peen, and I’ll be a ride or die bitch for my homeboys for life.  But I always picked Chun Li when playing Streetfighter II, my favourite X-man will always be Storm, and to me, there’s nothing more inspiring than a strong, independent (black) woman doing her thing.  Or thang.

As you know, I was raised with a lot of music and my taste clearly reflects this.  Here’s a group of bad-ass women constantly blasting through my earbuds at the moment.  They don’t get that much radio airplay, and with this blog, I’m hoping to do my small part in helping their music get heard.

Solange Knowles – as much as she wants to fight it, it’s pretty impossible to mention her without big sister Beyonce.  And when listening to both ladies sing, it’s clear why Bey was always Destiny’s Favourite Child.  Solange just feels more unpolished. Her voice is almost good, her melodies are almost catchy, and her production is almost crisp.  And I think that’s why I like her.  Her songs are a little bit Motown, a little bit Bowie, and her strength is in her lyrics. They cut pretty deep and as much as I love Beyonce, Solange’s Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work feels more relatable than anything Mrs. Carter has ever put out.

Get out of my room, Beyonce!

Get out of my room, Beyonce!

Awkwafina – I love her long time!  She’s from New York, has the bravado to call out Jay-Z on some bullshit, and a self described “ratchet ho”.  And when she says, “Awkwafina’s a genius/ and a vagina is fifty times better than a penis” in her song My Vag, it’s a pretty damn clear proclamation of feminism in 2013.  I’m getting to be of a certain age so I can’t always relate to or appreciate her lyrics.  I just think she’s very talented and I’m excited to hear what she puts out as she gets older.

She'll steal your iPad and sell it so that she can buy more live chickens.

She’ll steal your iPad and sell it so that she can buy more live chickens.

Alabama Shakes – lead singer Brittany Howard is phenomenal.  I’m not a talented enough writer to clearly describe how emotive and amazing her voice is.  Just listen to I Ain’t the Same, Hang Loose, or Hold On, clutch your pearls in one hand, fan yourself with the other and faint in the pews because baby, you just saw Jesus.  Can I get an Amen?  Can I get a witness?!?

A whole lotta Shakin' goin' on.

A whole lotta Shakin’ goin’ on.

Janelle Monae – I can not say this clearly enough:  I LOVE THIS GIRL.  LOVE HER!  If I had a daughter I would make her listen to Janelle Monae (hell, my sons too) so that she learns to be an independent thinker, to be uncompromising in her belief system, to be intelligent, fearless, real, and beautiful.  In all honesty, she would sell so many more records if she showed some T & A, and I hope she never succumbs to the pressure of the record industry.  You can tell that her weirdness is authentic because she doesn’t need to wear pink wigs or to wear a fucking block of cheese on her head to prove how different, deep and artistic she is.  She’s just a quirky, down to earth homegirl with a sharp mind, wit, and fashion sense.

"Hey sister, am I good enough for your heaven?  And will your god accept me in my black and white?"

“Hey sister, am I good enough for your heaven? And will your god accept me in my black and white?”

Her song Q.U.E.E.N. is everything to me right now.  As someone who has been vilified for how he lives, and has been asked to change the way he behaves to something more appropriate, and who has been threatened that someone would “chop off [his] faggot balls”, there is an overwhelming sense of pride and empowerment when Janelle Monae finally sings “Even if it makes others feel uncomfortable/ I will love who I am”.

Wow.  That repressed memory came out of nowhere.

Anyway, I love these bitches.  As much as I can also appreciate the Rihannas of the world, I’m equally glad there are women who still see music as an art and a platform to spread a message of strength and beauty in equal parts.

 

 

 

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Dance Wiv Me

A snapshot of literally, the mating dance I’ve grooved to. It may take two to tango, but it only takes one to twerk. Nah mean?

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