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Showing posts from 2015

Racist comments never fail to offend me

So, yesterday I was a little upset by the comments many of the White readers were making about Portsmouth on PilotOnline.com. But this morning, I awoke to this message in my FB inbox. I won't give his name because he's a city employee, but this older White man took the time to send this and it's really made my morning. I just had to share:

"Mr. Edwards, i read your posts on pilot online. Your articulation is a threat to insecure people who are afraid of losing the vestiges of power. Your education is far more of a threat to those who attacked you than that of a criminal. I agree with you whole heartedly that many of the comments were overtly racist. The idea that generations of people "work the system" is insulting and not true. I would post but am a city employee, (social services) and do not want to put up with any grief that might occur from something I've written. I've lived here (Portsmouth) for 2.5 years now. I've never witnessed such acri…

It's Christmas Eve

I could be feeling a lot of negative emotions right now, but I'm not. Life doesn't have the same downward trajectory that I felt it had before. Yeah, I know it's only been a couple of months, but this is where I am right now in this moment. It's Christmas Eve, and even though I know there's no Santa Claus, and probably no Jesus even, I'm still allowing myself to get into the holiday spirit. I'm at home, comfortable and full. I just spent some good quality time with my family, and tomorrow I get to see my husband and spend a few days in Richmond with him. So things are good. They're not perfect, but I've yet to meet someone who's situation truly was. I got the new Adele from my Sister/Wife/Friend and it's really making me feel some type of way, but that's what I should have expected. I smoked in the backyard this evening when we got back from dinner, and it was almost too good to believe. It's like 60 degrees now, at night. It's d…

Today's Blues

This disability situation really has me confused. So, this $616 a month is supposed to do what exactly? Don't get me wrong, it's better than the nothing I had to my name before this month's check came. But, I really sit and wonder do they think that $616 is enough for a grown man to really support himself? I mean, if I didn't have Aunt Bert or DeWitt, I'd be fucked. There's no way I could afford rent, a cell phone, food, transportation, and incidentals all on my own. I'd literally be living.... I probably wouldn't be able to live anywhere. Maybe rent a room in a crack house for a couple hundred a month and try to make the rest of the month on what's left. But, I guess I just need to be thankful that I'm not alone in my struggle and I have people in my life who love me enough to still care for me when it's evident that I have trouble caring for myself.

It's still irritating though. Like, what did I go to college for? Does that count for …

I don't talk about sex...

I shy away from the sex conversation...with everyone. I kinda feel like nobody wants to hear about a man discussing sex with another man, or other men. Being gay is already taboo enough in my community, so what would these people think if they really knew what kind of kinky raunchy stuff I was into. What would they think about me if they knew what I jacked off to? This is the type of shit that runs through my head.

And being HIV positive makes it even harder because I have to overcome the thought that people are gonna assume that I got what I deserved, or that it was bound to happen because I was being a freak or a hoe, etc. But what I know is that there are a lot of HIV negative freaks and hoes and the only reason they are is from luck. Not because they are more well-behaved. Not because they were better at choosing a partner. Not for any reason other than pure luck.

Being married, that's been a challenge. You'd think as a gay man, married to another man, I'd be able to …

I hate hypocrisy!

Again, the Black Conscious community shows its hypocrisy. One moment they talk about the evils of Christianity and how our people were stripped of our beliefs and forced to adopt European beliefs. But then turn right around and use those very same Christian doctrines and teachings to put down gay people or trans people or people who have a gender identity conflict. This is sad that we as a people will cry out for unity but still find ways to separate ourselves for stupid and pointless reasons. And to address the quote from Bernice King, yes he took a billet for us all. I'm Black, and my sexual preference doesn't exempt me from being Black and being involved in the uplift of my people. Stop hating and start living, listen to your father!


The Good Witch of the South, A Beautiful Black Glinda!

I'm not trying to weigh in on the reviews about The Wiz Live. I really don't care about what folks thought about the adaptations to the story or the way it was produced, etc. Everyone in it was pretty damn good, the costumes were amazing, and once again Black people have shown the world that we can take things that might be old and outdated and bring them back to life. The idea that an entirely new generation of Black children now have something they will beg their parents to let them watch and re-watch, like I did with The Wiz of the 70's, makes my world a little bit better place. 





For ME, the most memorable moment was when Glinda, The Good Witch of the South, descended from the sky in a golden glowing gown. Accompanied by two acrobatic beauties, also gilded in gold on each side of her, my girl Uzoamaka Nwanneka "Uzo" Aduba looked more like an African queen than a witch at all. Her hair was black and braided, and her curves were obvious and featured without apolo…

The fight of my life!

Since I've been back home in Portsmouth I've been taking time to just relax and get back to being at peace with my life. I've been able to see old friends, hang out, eat well, and fill my days with lots of laughter, which is good for the soul I know. I've been able to visit familiar places and have been greeted my familiar loving faces as well. It's truly been a blessing that I've been able to take a break and come home to hit the reset button in my life, and even more blessed that I have a husband who supports me in that, even if he (like me) misses being together each and every day.

Well, there are two issues that I know I have to face head on, and I have not gotten any more at ease about dealing with them since I've been home than I was when I was living in Richmond. I've been HIV positive since 2005, and most of the past 10 years have gone by without complication or incident. I've been on a medication regimen of one pill a day, and more recently…

A Rainy Monday

Mondays typically suck for people who have to return to work after the weekend. For me, it's just another day in the unending series of days of my life. Not necessarily good or bad, just what it is. Today it's been raining all day, I guess it's been raining since last night actually. And it's a bit colder than it's been here over the last week or so. But it's that time for the temperature to drop and for people to get out their coats and hats and gloves.

Rainy days can be a bit depressing for me sometimes, but today hasn't been that bad at all. I took my usual walk to the store for a black and some blunts, just to get out the house. I smoked my black on the walk back to the crib, but I haven't rolled up or stepped outside to get high because who really wants to stand outside in the cold and rain to get high? Not me.

It's 5:00 and I know Mr. is getting off work right about now. I really miss seeing his smile when he walks through the door. But thank g…

In Limbo

I need to be here. At moms.
But I can't help but have this feeling of being stuck.
Of being someplace I'm too old to be.
I don't fit in my bed.
I'm a King and it's not sized for me
Not like the one where my King sleeps, waiting for me to return
I miss him, them.
I miss the comfort of our home, the luxury of it all
I miss holding thighs while falling asleep
I miss feeling his belly against my back
But this is needed. I need it.
I needed to find a place where I existed by myself
Not alone, but solitary
I needed to go back and fix some things
And I have to address some issues with the younger me
I need to see the same streets I remember
and houses
And I need to reminisce about lessons and losses I've experienced
I need to feel like I belong, and here I do
I need to be reminded why I am who I am
And what life gave me to make me the man I am
I'm revisiting my experience
Trying to understand where I went wrong with myself
And going back to fix that thing
Whatever…

No Place Like Home

So, I've been home for about two weeks now, and there's truly no place like it. Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect, but then again no place is. But it's giving me exactly what I need right now, love, support and familiarity. I've been able to breathe. I miss my husband dearly, but I'm also well aware that I made this choice to come home for myself, and not for him. To know that he still loves me really makes me feel good, and gives me some motivation when it comes to doing the things I need to do for my health and well-being. I would be lying if I said this was easy, but I am hopeful that this is going to be worth it. Honestly, I didn't really know what to expect from a separation. I didn't really understand how we could fix something while apart that we couldn't fix while together. But now I kinda see where time apart gives us both time to work on things and allows us to still be able to talk and be there for each other, without the stress an…

Borderline Personality Disorder

So, a few weeks ago I was told that I have symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Of course, it's taken a while for me to fully comprehend what that means for me, and honestly I'm still trying to get a good grasp of what it will mean for my life. After being diagnosed with Bipolar, I thought that was it. I thought that I would just deal with that and move on with life, continue counseling, get a job someplace, and just get back to being as normal as possible. But now, I'm not so sure being normal is going to be an option for me at all.

BPD is a very tricky disorder to diagnose, and even harder to handle for the person who is affected by it. It has similar mood swings to bipolar, but instead of taking two weeks to get out of one mood to another, often times BPD causes those same mood swings within one day, or even within the span of a couple of hours. On top of the moods, it causes a crisis of identity for the person who suffers from it, as well as difficulty in maint…

Thanks for all the birthday love!

Focus

I've thought a lot about what I should be using this platform for, or what cause I should be championing. Often times I have told myself that I should just write about me, my story, in the hopes that it might help someone like me. But I've shot that down numerous times because of my own ego, or insecurities, or whatever the moments' vice might happen to be. Now though, I think I'm ready to bare it all, even more than I'm typically known for doing.

Bipolar disorder has changed my life. Even though I've probably suffered from it long before my diagnosis, the fact of knowing it has me contemplating my life and trying to see things in a different way. Dealing with mood swings that last weeks at a time and balancing emotions and rational thinking at any given moment can be challenging. But this is my life. This is what I have to work with and nobody but me has the obligation to make my life worth living but myself.

Taking things day to day might seem a simple task t…

This guy...

I'm learning more and more everyday that my mental health story isn't just about recognizing when I am becoming depressed, but when I'm better than good, or manic. This picture is representative of me in mystic state. I think most people just attribute my quick and sarcastic comments to my personality, but it's a lot deeper than that.  In this pic I'm confident, something that I'm not typically because doubt enters in when I become depressed. In this pic I'm employed and in my uniform of all black, and typically I'm unemployed, bored and completely avoidant of any conforming type of clothing. This picture reminds me of just how quickly my moods change and how that can effect change in my life, both good and bad. I like this picture, mostly because I think I look pretty handsome in it. But it also gives me something to remember in terms of dealing with my mental health. I have to separate the things that come as part of the disease from the good things t…

Distractions

Bipolar

This shit is getting to be too much. I go to counseing. I take my medication. Yet, I still feel like there's no hope for me and like I'm powerless over my life to change it for any better. People love telling me that things will get better, but I can't help but hear them as just folk who are repeating to me what some fool told to them previously. I doubt they truly believe it themselves, so it's extra hard for me to just believe in it because they said so. There's no evidence to support their point, and plenty of evidence to support my assertion that I'm never going to amount to anything.

Maybe those who speak badly about me are right. I'm nothing more than a felon, with a bad attitude, and some other issues that will never be fixed or overcome. Maybe they are right to pay no attention to the few things I've done well in life, and instead focus more on the things I've done badly or not well at all. Maybe I'm just going to die the same sorry bast…

Working with White people...

I don't know why I keep going back to it. Well, actually I do. I gotta work to have a little something for myself. That's why. But, I always seem to find myself the only Black man in a work environment, especially at higher end restaurants. It used to make me laugh to see the great absence of Brothers in the food service industry, but now it makes me sick to my stomach.

I'm happy to have this job. The place is nice. The food is pretty impressive. But I've yet to see where the service is exemplary or unique. I know what I bring to the table when it comes to the type of service delivery I have. My one point of discomfort though... White people.

I should be used to them. I mean, after all, I've lived in America for all of my life, and there's no shortage of White folk in America...even in Portsmouth. I have simply never had a genuine level of interest when around White folk, and it lessens even more when they begin their conversations that are typically about noth…

Beyonce at the Met Gala 2015. #FLAWLESS

Marilyn Mosby

My new favorite lady, Mrs. Marilyn Mosby. Swift, and fair JUSTICE! Now the process begins...

Tristan gets some color!

Isn't he handsome fella! I'm so anxious to watch him grow into a brilliant little Black prince!

Dear White people... A little lesson in violence, rioting and looting.

Dear White people: Let me give you a little history lesson on violence, rioting and looting because some of you seem to have selectively forgotten that we learned this from YOU. It was YOU who looted Black churches and stores, burned down Black towns and rioted when You were unhappy with the passage of civil rights laws. It was YOU who beat us senseless at restaurants and lunch counters when we peacefully tried to break down "separate but equal". It was YOU who terrorized, spit on, and hit Black children in Little Rock when they were integrating public schools. It was YOU who murdered our leaders and even a President to silence them and derail the fight for our civil rights. It was YOU who lynched black men for so much as looking at a White woman. You see, violence is okay when YOU don't get what you want. Rioting is fine when YOU don't like the laws or rules. YOU kill and assassinate leaders who don't support your agenda. So, please miss me with all of your hyp…

Still me. Fuck you.

Baltimore

Why are we surprised? Why are we making the story once again about the protesters or rioters and not about the police brutality and insensitivity about Black lives that brought us to this point in the first place?

That's the problem with Black people in America. We are very quick to let others off the hook and then allow them to turn the stories on us. Oh, we're the bad ones because some kids burned some cars. BIG FUCKING DEAL. They have not KILLED anyone. They aren't sworn and paid to protect and serve. The kids are not professionals who are trained. THEY ARE CHILDREN.

So, if our reactions to destruction of property is so outrageous, where's the reaction to the loss of life from police officers again and again in America? Where is the outrage for something that can't be brought back? All those cars and buildings damaged or destroyed can be replaced through insurance. What can bring back Freddie or Trayvon or Michael or any of the countless others who have died at…

Mood Journaling...

So, the counselor asked me to keep a journal detailing my mood and the things that trigger them. Here we go:


Friday, April 24, 2015

- This morning my mood is calm, much more than I thought it would be since I stayed up late last night worrying about what to write about how I feel. I thought I would still be irritated about counseling, the politics involved in healthcare, and the fear I have about giving up weed. I'm not sure how, or even if, I'm going to continue on this way. I feel like I can't even make decisions about my own life because one moment I'm told I have a mental illness that needs treatment, but in the next moment I'm expected to be and behave normally and not have illogical or emotional thoughts. Right now, I'm over it (and not in a good way). I just got to focus on getting access to this medication and how to maintain that access without going broke or being driven further insane by stupid policies that can't even be followed by the folks tr…

Bipolar diagnosis...finally some answers!

For the past six days I've been in a behavioral health unit at a local hospital here in Richmond. Normally, I'd be writing about how pissed I was to be there or how I felt down about being labeled as mentally ill or "broken" in some way, shape or form. But that's not how I feel about it at all right now. At the moment, I'm actually happy to finally have an answer to what's been plaguing me for so many years. For over a decade I've struggled with my anger, my temper, my patience and even the way I felt about myself. I've struggled with rage, guilt, depression and even suicide. But now, I know that's all been due to me suffering from Bipolar Disorder.

In the African American community, mental health isn't something that is typically Sunday dinner discussion material. Sometimes, it may not even be appropriate or accepted to talk about among your closest of friends if one wants to have an honest and engaging conversation of substance. It'…

Business By Benn

The best quote I've heard in a while...

While listening to a lecture from Ray Hagins, I heard this:

"When you adopt a god who is not in your own image; When you embrace literature that teaches you to hate yourself and love your enemy; When your oppressor and Savior and your god and enslaver are one in the same; You become the principal agent in your own destruction. "

Defending Norcom

Someone who goes by the pseudonym "Giovanni Alexander" on Facebook wrote this article talking about Norcom and a recent riot that I find completely distasteful and biased. I offer my rebuttal below:


How dare you say there is nothing more "hood" than I. C. Norcom? Our popularity in recent years as a nominee and winner of a few "Hoodie Awards" only speaks to the most recent part of our legacy, which spans OVER 100 YEARS. (That's a century in case you didn't know) I appreciate you mentioning that our marching band is legendary, which they are. They are not called "The Pride of Portsmouth" for nothing. I hope you understand that band is much more than just music, it's discipline, it's creativity, it's precision. Those things are not only taught in the band room, they are constant themes in every classroom at Norcom. I know, because I went there, unlike you. Oh, and before you assume that everyone at Norcom grew up in poverty, don…

Tired...

I feel stupid. Like I am to blame for my own unhappiness because I have allowed someone to come into my home who doesn’t respect my way of life, or the fact that we come from different stations so we see the world entirely different. I am mad, not just at myself though, but at my husband for seemingly wanting money over me. I understand tho, because everyone should work and pay bills and do that all their life just to stay above broke. That’s what we’ve been told and anyone who doesn’t follow that design is a bad person, or stupid, or not worthy of respect or even listening to. That’s how I feel. I feel that because I’m not perfect, then I’m fair game for people to say mean things to me and discredit the good that I’ve done in my life, above and beyond anything they could have even imagined for themselves. I’m pissed.
I’ve considered suicide today, again. I’ve considered taking the dog and slitting his throat. I’ve considered burning the townhouse to the ground (in the snow). I’ve cons…

Selective cell phone responses.

So, we have a roommate. He was a friend of mine before we moved in together but as time has gone on I somewhat regret agreeing to the situation. It's nothing severe, but we have such different ways of dealing with life and people that sometimes it creates issues.

Today, my issue is him not responding to a text. Not that this is the first time it's happened, there have been dozens of instances. And it's not just about him not responding, but the fact that I know if someone else were to text him, namely one of those ballroom scene faggots, he'd be all on it. How are you telling me you were dead sleep, but woke up because some boy that obviously likes you and you don't like him back texted u in the middle of the night just to come over because he got off work? Really?

I see how this goes. I'm not gonna trip, but I will not be returning any of his texts...just to see if it makes him see his own wrongs. My guess is that it probably won't, and what I should do is…

Was doing a little reading... Thought I'd share.

In his book Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery (1997), Na’im Akbar explains the importance of understanding the magnitude of the African Slave trauma as follows:

“The objective is to identify the magnitude of the slave trauma and suggest the persistence of a post-slavery traumatic stress syndrome, which still affects the African-American personality. It is not a call to vindicate the cause of the condition, but to challenge Black people to recognize the symptom of the condition and master it as we have mastered the original trauma…. It is to call attention to an array of attitudes, habits and behaviors which clearly follow a direct lineage to slavery. It is the hope by shining the light of awareness on these recesses of our past, we can begin to conquer the ghosts which continue to haunt our personal and social lives.”