“What I enjoy the most about Tumblr is reading the posts of the people that follow me, like my posts and reblog my posts. They are the future. Their personalities shine through their blogs. Individual and unique. It’s amazing!”—M.E.
I probably would have preferred to title this post “Man an ‘oman cyaan be fren?!”, but I figured that the appeal of it to non-patois speakers/readers, would be diminished. This is how a Jamaican would say it. In this instance, a statement of question-exclamation, implying…Didn’t you know that? But at the same time quizzically unsure of whether this perception is really true. Is it true that men and women can’t be friends?
A few girlfriends and many female friends later, I was the guy that thought he knew all about women. A great relationship with my mother, friends with many of my exes and a myriad of female friends, if anyone would know about women, it would be me. My belief was clearly one of youth, and my wisdom has now taught me that I will never know or fully understand the beautifully mystical creature we call woman. I can share some of what I’ve learned along the way though.
MEN AND WOMEN CAN’T BE FRIENDS BECAUSE:
1. Someone is always interested - This is the fundamental theme of the blog, that man and woman were essentially made to be attracted to each other and complement each other. Men inherently simple, and women inherently complex (at least in my opinion; I’m sure the women think opposite). One person always wants more than friendship. They want a kiss, sex, to cuddle, just more attention than common conversation. With this desire, someone’s longing will lead to a confession or simply uncontrollable actions that dictate their desires, and ultimately the less interested party will pull away. A potential love interest…dead by imbalance.
LESSON: Friends and definitely lovers have to be on the same page, and if not then they can’t be friends.
MEN AND WOMEN CAN BE FRIENDS IF:
1. Something breaks the imbalance - ‘Breaking the imbalance’ occurs when someone’s heart is broken, or someone gets over the other person for some reason, and they choose to be friends after this event. This can happen in a myriad of ways, which include:
- One party point blank tells the other that they are not interested. This may or may not work because someone usually is convinced that they can mold the situation, or that determination will persevere, which is usually not the case.
- Bad intimate experience. This could be from as simple as a bad kiss to really bad sex, but this is basically where the fantasy crashes and burns. This can lead to friendship the very next day. Ha.
- One party gets into a new relationship - This is the worst way to break the imbalance, because one person usually gets hurt really bad, but it is often the best way for that person to realize that what they thought was a relationship was probably something else (like a frelationship ; Read my post on this).
- Miscellaneous Imbalance breakers - Bad culinary experience; Bad dance floor experience; Bad intoxication experience; Bad breath experience; Bad flatulence experience; Bad manners experience. I think you get the drift, but sometimes the deal breaker for a relationship is just lurking in the shadows, and once it happens, a friendship is really easy to obtain.
LESSON: Once the imbalance is broken you essentially become equal again, and usually by that point you have learned so much about the other person that you respect them enough to be their friend. So after storm, in this case, there is calm.
2. You get together - Of course if you both love each other, and are on the same page, then you can be friends. Hopefully you will both have a great friendship, then relationship, and may eventually get married, and nothing beats marrying your best friend.
3. You HAVE to be friends - This includes your friend’s husband or wife…You can’t be in a relationship with them. It’s not allowed, even if you think they are gorgeous, plus you’re married, so that’s just wrong. Your sibling or close friend’s boyfriend or girlfriend…Just cross that person off the list cuz it’s off limits, unless you are a bad sibling/friend. There are a few more in this category that elude me right now, but just know in these special cases, YOU HAVE TO BE FRIENDS.
CONCLUSION: In concluding I would say it’s all pretty simple. Men and women can’t be friends because they are inherently attracted, and one person will always want more than the other (imbalance). It will only work if they are on the same page as friends or lovers and want the same thing (balance). If they want everything together then they get married, and if the want some things or nothing together then they become friends.
Ain’t that grand! Now go figure out if you really are friends with that person you thought you were JUST friends with.
I’ve steered away from the soapbox. I have not preached about this in a while but it seems like an awful lot of women who belong to my race are ashamed, embarrassed and wishing away their melanin. *Loud dramatic sigh* I don’t know where to begin but it really does hurt another part of my heart…
On Learning What Love Is “I am truly amazed that I, who started out in rural Mississippi in 1954 when the vision for a black girl was limited to being either a maid or a teacher in a segregated school, could end up here. It is no coincidence that a lonely little girl who felt not a lot of…
Skin Bleaching, as we popularly call it in Jamaica, refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten skin tone or provide an even skin complexion by lessening the concentration of melanin.
The above link will take you to a Wiki page which explains all the different chemicals that have been used for this skin-altering process, but that is not my focus today. Without giving a history lesson, as a Jamaican I can speak on what I refer to as ‘Internal Racism’, which I describe as discrimination within a race based on complexion or skin tone. I’m sure it links strongly to a time of slavery, and to the association of lighter colour being more superior, and that perception has remained over the years. In this day and age it is always hard to really measure how significant these scars of slavery are, but the presence of skin bleaching in 2011 is a sign that all is not well.
White is better than brown is better than black, has been the driving force behind the cultural phenomenon of skin bleaching. Lighter skin means a better job, a cleaner finish, and probably even a ticket out of the ghetto. The exact psychology of a skin bleacher has never been completely clear to me, but there is a dislike for how one was originally created, and a need to at least externally be more like something else.
Here is a small lesson on terms commonly used in Jamaica to describe different complexions:
Browning - This is a lighter skinned black person. The actual term browning is more commonly used for females, but occasionally for males. Men tend to be called variations such as ‘brown man’ etc. The term has been popularized by dancehall songs such as ‘Browning’ by DJ, Buju Banton.
Black - In a population where about 90% or more are black, the use of the term black refers to a dark skinned black person, as oppose to the entire race of black people.
Red - Within the spectrum of brown comes certain hues, of which we have the ‘Red’ person e.g. ’ Red man’. Commonly associated with persons from a parish called St. Elizabeth, where many Germans once settled. This is a very light skinned person, but with a red hue. Some are often mistaken as white, but they are not.
Yellow - Another common hue of the browns, and as the name implies the skin tends to be of a more yellow hue than a red hue.
All of this may seem ridiculous to some, but this is what we live in JA on a day to day basis. They can be viewed as simple descriptive words, but many have tied great significance to each of these words and how it has affected their lives in good or bad ways, so no wonder some people may think it necessary to ‘make it better’ and make their skin lighter.
This phenomenon currently is being popularized by Jamaican DJ, Vybz Kartel, who has bleached his skin and speaks openly about it (not to mention his new hair extensions, which have been the rave in Jamaica these past few weeks). He has a significant amount of impact on the youth, and they look up to him, and they think it is ok to do the same…this bothers me.
In concluding I will say that I don’t believe in skin bleaching. I also have issues with persons of influence and intelligence inspiring the lesser educated youth to follow suit. And especially since I have a deeper knowledge of the side effects of these agents, I know this is not a natural or healthy process, and the damage is way worse than the cosmetic benefit.
"I am happy to be as I was born. This is how I was created. This is how I was meant to be." - M.E.
25 years is the life of a young adult, and it’s hard to believe I experienced all 25 of them. It isn’t easy to explain to someone under 25 why Oprah is who she is, because there are many under 25 who began to experience Oprah at a time when she would just seem like another talk show host. For me she is a humanitarian, a brave and bold leader, not ashamed to push boundaries and to bring to light many of the issues a lot of us are afraid to talk about. It has been 25 years of education.
In me, a small Jamaican boy with a satellite dish, taking this journey with this black girl from Mississippi, I would learn a lot of lessons unknowingly, and I’m definitely going to miss her classes tremendously. I could rant on and on about the many shows I loved, and the ones that had my mind in twists, but as she spent her last episode with her supporters, with no gimmicks, and no free cars, I will simply just recap a few things Oprah had to say in her last hour on daytime TV, that had a huge impact on M.E.
There is always confusion between FAME and SERVICE.
It was important for me to hear this as a recording artist, and essentially someone pursuing a career that can attract a lot of attention to self. I recently wrote a blog which sarcastically alluded to loving the idea of being popular, and this statement encompasses it. I don’t do music because of fame. I do it because of love, but more importantly because of service to God for a gift, and service to the people who enjoy what I do because I can heal them though music, through a feeling, or with a message. Fame and Service are very different.
Use your life to save the world, and do so on whatever platform you have, to whatever audience.
Oprah-level success is not necessary to inspire another. This is powerful because we often feel that world success and world domination is key to inspiring others, but if you teach five kids, those five kids will love you, respect you and learn from you like nothing you can imagine. One of those five kids will go on to be the next President or Prime Minister of a country. It’s really that simple.
A passion turns on a light inside of you that let’s you know you are WHERE you are supposed to be, doing WHAT you are supposed to be doing.
For all the people who whisper SAFE nothings in my ear about keeping my old career…I’m passionate about MUSIC. The end. Oprah alluded to being cautious of safety when you know there is something you could be doing that brings you complete joy, so I wish for all of you to think about whether you are pursuing happiness in your lives.
No one is responsible for your life but You/You are responsible for YOUR life.
Stop blaming your parents, your siblings, your friends, the person that raped you, the childhood bully. It’s time to pick up yourself, brush off, and face the music with a new vengeance. No more pity parties, just a brand new plan, a new approach. Just be responsible for yourself and just DO IT!
We are Life Energy - “Please be responsible for the energy that you bring into this space” (Dr. Taylor).
We are life energy and without speaking we exude it. Don’t feel that not saying it with words makes it non-apparent. You said it with your entire body, and we all felt it. Don’t deny your life energy. It is always coming off of you, and you reek of it, so be responsible for it, and ensuring it is a good energy.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion) - This speaks for it self, as does the next quote.
"Do onto others as you would have them do onto you"
Don’t wait for someone else to fix or complete you.
This comes back to taking personal responsibility for yourself. In relationships, 100% and 100% combine to form another 100%; 1+1 = 1, and not 50% + 50% = 100%. Two wholes make a whole.
Thinking you DESERVE TO BE HAPPY and knowing YOU ARE WORTHY OF HAPPINESS are different things. “We block our own blessings because we don’t think we are good enough or pretty enough or…”
You are worthy because you are BORN and you are HERE. - I love this, and I truly believe it :)
Everybody wants validation. Everyone wants to be seen and feel like what they say matters.
Some of us got degrees to be validated. Some of us made friendships to be validated, got tattoos or piercings or branded…to be validated. It is human nature. We need to be validated in all that we do. So take the time to validate someone. Let them know that you love what they do and why you love it. It will make a world of a difference in their life.
"I have felt the presence of God even when I didn’t know what to call it"
I’ll just say I believe this. I know some praise other higher powers and some don’t believe in any higher powers, but I will just say that my journey and my life as it is has been covered by God’s presence, and there are so many things that are beyond me, that it must be coming from somewhere else, somewhere greater, somewhere divine.
THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES ONLY DIVINE ORDER.
So I just want to say thank you to Oprah for molding my mind even when I didn’t know it was being molded. What a great 25 years, and once again, thank you, thank you and thank you.
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk. This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy. Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude. Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people. On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public. Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone. Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird. Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds. Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun. Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts. Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
1. I despise LEARNING LYRICS. I appreciate lyrics. They make clear to me many of the mysteries and joys of songwriting, and as a songwriter I love that. So I don’t mind reading them…LEARNING them is a real beyatch! Many non-singing instrumentalists have no idea.
2. I hate MESSING UP lyrics. Ironic that 1. and 2. would not go well together, or maybe they do. I’m a perfectionist, and I believe if I am delivering someone elses art, then I must do so respectfully and as accurately as possible. Not to mention that person who grew up on the damn song and can sing every word back to you…They are listening, and they don’t really appreciate when you butcher their favourite song.
3. I have a SET LIST, but I change it as I feel - I think most musicians who have been performing live for a while do this. It’s like life. Have a plan, but things come up, like an audience that doesn’t want to hear another ballad, or they are going to freak out…If this happens you skip that extra ballad and bring the tempo back up. Don’t torture them. They really want to like you. Trust me, rearrange the set list or even do something you hadn’t planned on doing.
4. I want CHOREOGRAPHY, and I want to work with Laurie Ann Gibson - Ever since I was a kid I’ve been watching Michael Jackson, Madonna, Janet Jackson. More recently Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Chris Brown, Beyonce. I want that. Lots of dancers and off the chain choreography, and no one really knows I’m capable, but I can actually dance, and if I write one more tweet about how I prefer dancing to singing then someone is gonna shoot me. The Laurie Ann addiction came from ‘Making the Band’. She is a monster at dancing and I feel she would just beat me into the best dancer ever. BOOM KACK!!!
5. I WARM UP - This really shouldn’t be a confession as much as it is a routine, but I will say it anyway, because apparently many singers don’t warm up, as if it’s uncool. That thing in your neck, it has muscles and they need to be warm before you throw them into the workout…don’t say I didn’t give you good advice.
6. Before a performance I ZONE OUT - I remove myself from the talkers, the question askers, the mood killers, or the overly hyped ones that can’t control their nerves. Took me a while to realize this was what I needed, but instead I think about the song lyrics and the emotions I want to convey, and what the song means to me. I pray. I ask that I make it through the performance accident free and give thanks for the ability to share my gift. I get a little nervous, but not that much anymore. I am amped to share, and it keeps me calm. I think of myself as a vessel, and not a dart board : )
7. I EAT LIGHT before performances - I again would like to think these things are standard, but each person has a different routine. The worse thing to have before a performance is GAS, lol, so no beans or Mexican food. Diarrhoea is pretty uncool too. I can deal with going to the bathroom 50 times before I perform to pee, because I usually drinking enough water for a small family. Otherwise I keep it light.
8. I like playing the PIANO because I’m most comfortable with it as an instrument, but I think I’d be a bad ass BASS player. GUITAR I don’t care too much for, but I’d like to be able to play it, and it’s crazy portable. I’d also like to be a DRUMMER just because it’s awesome, but there is no denying I’m a SINGER, and there is nothing more fun than singing background vocals, especially if your other harmony singers are off da chain, and you guys enjoy singing together.
9. Freaks me out when audience members CLAP OFF RHYTHM - This is hilarious because in one of my last performances I totally regret asking the audience to clap. Some members just couldn’t lock the tempo. It was rough on my ‘flight of ideas’ mind. I felt like I was on the verge of a seizure, but I kept it together. Off rhythm clapping is a no no!!
10. I ‘teared up’ the first time I heard a group of people SINGING THE LYRICS TO MY SONG - It was back home in Jamaica at the Christophers Jazz Bar that I heard at least 5 people singing the chorus to my song, "You Used 2 Love Me" (It’s available here as a free download too ;) Just find the hard to find down arrow somewhere). That was when I realized that someone else apart from my brother was paying attention to my music and knew the lyrics, and that maybe I was on to something, and should stick to it. Imagine what it feels like to have an arena singing your song? I plan on finding out, ha.
“If you want to be an artist be an artist. Keep in the process of remaining creative and inquisitive. And you have to find and work with people who are motivated by nothing more than your personal success.”—Lauren Flanigan (via jjlouis)
I have a really close friend who is a die hard Beyonce fan. When tackled with any serious issue, she pauses and says…"What would Beyonce do?". It is an ongoing joke with her and all her friends, because we find it so funny. As much as she is joking, it clearly reflects that she respects that Beyonce knows what she’s doing. I for sure know I respect it.
After she strategically teased us with the release of the “Run the World” video, she released it to mixed reactions, but I would say most people love it. Many hate the song, which baffles me because the Major Lazer, "Pon Di Floor" song was such a hit, and this is pretty much 80% of that song, I can’t see what exactly people hate about it. Is it the groove changes? Or are people just sexist? I’m not sure if it’s the idea of girls running the world. Well whatever it is, I think the song is dope. I think the choreography is off the chain. I think the music video is visually engaging. The use of the South African, Pantsula, dance style is clever, and the most clever of them all if sampling a internationally successful song and making it a woman’s empowerment song. In a world plagued with inequality where gender is concerned, there can never be enough songs about ‘GIRL POWER’.
So to really keep this one short, I think Beyonce is the epitomy of class, with a powerful singing voice and artistic voice. She can pop her booty at the White House and make it a class act. She gets it. As a performer I know so many who don’t get it, but she knows what makes the world tick, whether it is good or bad. The sheer ability to have so many share an opinion on your work (Good»Bad), means that you have made your mark. It was a long time coming, but "Who run da world?"…Bey!
A friend showed me an article titled, "Think it’s easy to be macho? Psychologists show how ‘precarious’ manhood is". The timing of the article couldn’t have been more perfect because I had come to some startling observations about how men behave to each other, and I wasn’t sure if I was just being hyper-observant or if in fact some of these things had deeper meaning. This particular article speaks about 'Gender Role Violation', and how men are the main offenders. You should definitely give it a thorough read, but it mentions that "people tend to feel manhood is defined by achievements, not biology", and can therefore be lost through social transgressions, whereas womanhood is biological and only lost by physical changes such as menopause. It also says that gender is social, and that men are concerned about how they are viewed in other people’s eyes, and the more concerned they are, the more they will suffer psychologically when their manhood feels violated.
Before writing this I had never ever thought about all that the article said. I really wanted to vent about the fact that things that never happened to me back home in Jamaica, occasionally happened to me here in the USA. After reading this article I can probably conclude that my gender role was being violated, and I clearly was affected by it at the time. Here are a few situations:
1. A Man opening a door for me: By the homophobic nature of Jamaican culture, this never really happens. We are brought up thinking men are to be hard and tough creatures of the jungle. Self-sufficient. Why would we hold a door for another man? Unless he is carrying a fridge or something. He has two strong hands to do it himself. So a few times while in a group of males and females, I’ve noticed that the biggest guy in the group (whether by height, weight or ego), somehow assumes the role of 'top dawg'. He seems to want the maybe smaller and meeker-looking guys to go through the door first just after the ladies, so he gets to the door first and holds it, never to let go, until it sees his back. This wasn’t a problem until I realized I wanted to be the guy that the door would see last, but instead I was being nudged up to 1st or 2nd man through the door. This then led me to question why ‘top dawg’ sized me up as the guy to be 1st or 2nd through the door after the ladies. In some cases I think ‘top dawg’ really just got to the door 1st. In other cases I definitely think a gender role violation took place.
2. The Man Hug: This for sure never happens in Jamaica, unless it’s that 'grab and pat hug', you know where you clasp your right hands, lean in and just pound your boy/yu bredrin/your friend on his back. It lasts all of under 3 seconds, and feels like it never happened.
While in the US I had a few different types of man hugs, that unfortunately I found hard to escape because they usually happened before I knew they were going to happen. So as to not look like the crazy homophobic Jamaican, screaming various ‘claaat’ curse words on contact, often times they would happen and end before I could process them, I let them go.
a. The Friendly Guy Man Hug - This basically is where people like you to the point where they feel you are the most open person ever, so they kinda just hug you because they feel “this guys doesn’t care about stuff like that anyway”. I liken it to pregnant women having their bellies touched by strangers. People think it’s ok…but its not. It is totally non-sexual, and is like a real hug between blood brothers. Feels weird for a millisecond, then ends. It’s a diagonal hug where right hand goes over shoulder and other hand under his arm. It’s a bit more contact than the traditional man hug but still safe, and is only for really close friends…usually. Must say as a Jamaican coming from a family of mild to moderate huggers, this one was a bit of a culture shock for me.
b. That other Man Hug - I’ve had a few other questionable hugs. Don’t worry no one grabbed me in any questionable places, but they definitely lasted just a millisecond too long, or were just a little too frail to be ok. It’s like that wretched 'limp handshake' (which is for another blog), but I’ve had nightmares about the limp handshake (throw up in my mouth…shake it off). This particular hug is gender role violation because I wonder what made you think it was ok to hug me like that. Not cool. You limp hugging me is an invasion of my personal space. This we nip in the bud. This hug happens only once with a particular person, then they get pounds from then on, which they usually welcome with surprise, but as the article said, “aggression is a manhood-restoring tactic”. So we restore the manhood.
3. The Artsy Guy: Interestingly enough I haven’t been victim of this despite my involvement in the arts, maybe cuz I like manny sports, but I’ve definitely witnessed it. That guys who is not really athletic, loves the arts, and doesn’t love sports, but very masculine in his own right. This dude gets the beers from the bottom of the barrel and can be totally excluded from that Man U v.s. Arsenal conversation in a group of sport-loving guys. This is gender violation.
4. Fruity Alcoholic Beverages: Don’t judge me cuz I like a frozen daiquiri…THE END. I think many men like ‘em, they just would never be caught dead ordering them. That said my staple drink is a rum and coke, accepted by men all over. Some beers are ok. Other unchased alcohols are just damn awful, and I couldn’t care if you are Johnny Walker himself offering me a drink…I drink what I want, from Smirnoff Ice to Johnny on the Rocks if I feel like. This dude I didn’t know once saw me drinking ‘Mike’s Hard Lemonade’ at a college party, and he asked if it was my drink. I didn’t answer him and kept drinking. Of course it’s my drink…I’m drinking it fool!! You can grow more testicular hair drinking your nasty ass concoction. I on the other hand will enjoy my sweet liquor as I like, and when I like…Daz all! This here is gender role violation by alcohol discrimination.
CONCLUSION: I have no more interesting gender role violations to share, but I definitely do know that men are the worst offenders, and they go about it in very subtle passive-aggressive ways. I also know that ladies are often unaware that it’s even happening, because you kinda just have to be a man to appreciate it. And finally, I am quite secure in my manhood, so there will be no significant psychological effects here. Now I play it by air or just go through the door after the last lady without fighting. I have nothing to prove if I’m secure, and guess who gets to pick the best seat beside the hottest lady of the night :D That said my bruthas, be on the lookout for another brother tryna violate your gender role. Some things aren’t allowable by the law of the jungle, at which point you fight back cleverly and with wit. Hood behaviour is never acceptable.
Next stop: The 300 workout plan to look like King of Sparta…no one will ever violate me then…ha! LONG LIVE SPARTAAAAAAAAA!! (Grrrrrr!)