I was asked to share closing words from a relationship panel I was on with my Solace Soul Poetry family in Chicago:
“1. Is your communication clear enough where there is no doubt what you desire in a relationship? – Your Actions, Your Behaviors, Your consistency.”
“2. What are you willing to give up?”
“3. What are you willing to tolerate?”
“4. Is your communication clear enough where you can understand what your significant other wants?”
“5. Are you happy, settled, or joyous?”
“6. Are you a situational or circumstantial partner?”
“7. What’s a deal breaker that puts you in the category of situational or circumstantial?”
“8. What type of ear do you listen to critical feedback? Defensive – Emotional – Clear”
“9. In every relationship, there is compromise and change. The 8 inches you love could be hit with a severe case of prostate cancer and become impotent. The big breast you love could be hit and stricken with a critical case of cancer, and you may have a wife with a full radical mastectomy.”
“10. If love covers a multitude of sin, how much love do you have for the one you want to spend the rest of your life with?”
A good friend, and blogging coach extraordinaire recommended that I take my post to my blog instead of my Facebook page. So, for this post, and yearly, I’ll open up with that post:
Some of the highlights of this year.
1. I got to witness two great friends transform their marriages.
2. My mentee finished college and we are going to light it up in 2017.
3. I pulled off a community photoshoot with the help of the greatest and most humble unknown mentor in Chicago, Vondale Singleton.
4. I made statements my place of business that were strong, bold, and fully self-expressed.
5. I apologized to a business colleague for being a butthole at times and she did the same and we’re still on the same team fighting, mean-mugging and doing great work for Black and Brown children in Chicago.
6. I sent my wife to Mexico and can’t tell you how it blessed my soul to see her so relaxed and joyous. It’s just the beginning and we’re still honeymooning.
7. For the 2nd year in-a-row I got to inspire over 600 Noble graduates before they took their journey to college.
8. For the 2nd year in-a-row I got to speak to the students at Hansberry College Prep before they took the ACT
9. I was able to give over $600 dollars to support my P.O.E.T family
10. Increased the time with my family, connected with some good friends, prayed with the brokenhearted, mentored marriages, failed miserably at somethings and wasn’t ashamed (well, getting their).
11. A board member and supported the creation of the Arthur and Isabelle Brazier Veteran’s Resource Center – Patti Caire is amazing.
12. I celebrated, photographed, and captured the night my mentor Juliana Stratton was elected as a state representative.
13. I witnessed a President love his enemies, work peacefully towards diplomacy, and tactfully deal with the worst racial treatment of a single black family since Jim Crow by those that call themselves patriots, countrymen, and Christian’s.
14. I witnessed a reality TV star and business tycoon channel evil, racism, hatred, homophobia, gender bias, xenophobia, and misogyny to win the highest political office in the United States of America.
15. Most of all, I was awakened to how great I am. I am just getting warm.
Blessings to those with whom I’ve had great conversation and debates in the social media world. Whether we agreed or disagreed, we didn’t let it tear apart our history, kinship, nor friendship. Keep it moving family!
I am no stranger to success or fear. I have experienced them equally and often simultaneously. There is a great text that states, “to whom much is given much is required”. There is a weight that I have been carrying for sometime when speaking with men. I have the blessed gift of being a people person and engaging the incarcerated drug-dealer to the non-degreed business professional over fifty that’s still looking for opportunities to show how great they are for an employer. Whether they are married or single, young our old, the common phrase I find between them is “I feel forgotten”.
What happens to the individual that didn’t succumb to the streets or found themselves on the higher end of education? What becomes of the individual that simply wasn’t dumb enough to waste their lives on negative associations or smart enough to hang in the circles of the academically successful and astute? Where do they fit in, where do we fit in, where do we belong and how do we overcome and be infused into as society that is more than willing to accept us if we push pass the fear that holds us hostage and show our worth?
There was a time in American society where it wasn’t necessary to have institutionalized training or profound academic success. We can say it was predominantly in the era where American flags were actually made in America. Manufacturing and the lingering effects of the Industrial Revolution across a century put processes in place that with an acute attention to detail you could carry out any task. Any individual that had a mind to work, The Forgotten Ones where there to fill the role unequivocally. My first consultant job in IT I had no degree, less than a year of exposure to technology and I had never heard of a certification course. Why was I hired? I’m glad you asked. I was told I had personality, something a true technologist often lacked. I was told, “I can teach you to be technical; I can’t teach you to have a personality”.
Then society shifted. The more people with college degrees, the more society changed how it acquired its workforce. Academic fervor began to overshadow individuals, like myself, where college wasn’t an option (at least no real introduction). A changing of the guard took place where experience became tertiary, networking became secondary, and scholarly success became primary. Academia became the ruling stamp of corporate America. In the shadows of this new (and necessary) paradigm a group of individuals lost their way. They began to feel inadequate and useless. They were replaced with younger, more educated, lightly qualified individuals that just happen to have the means, drive, financial and parental support to make it through college successfully (and hopefully without much debt). This older group fell into a shadow of success and started seeking jobs just to live. Places where their collegiate success, or lack thereof, would not be subjected to scrutiny. There is a society of secret lives being lived by men and women that fear has kept bound and as long as that fear lives potential success will always be a shadow of the past and a prosperous future will remain a figment of one’s imagination while dreams, goals, and hope dissipate.
In essence, I write all this to say that The Forgotten Ones are not forgotten. It is our error and strange relationship with fear that has caused us to believe society doesn’t care about what we can bring to the table. We have forgotten we live in an America that still allows individuals, regardless of academic achievement, to flourish. Less Brown, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Chicago’s Willie Wilson are just a few individuals that have attained great gain in life. Yes, money comes with it, but I know people that make considerably less money than me that go on vacations, take family trips and live thriving peaceful lives. It’s about the dream that never dies, the hope that never burns out, and the desire that is only satisfied when purpose and not money is the wealth of achievement. Simply put, we have forgotten that we have made it this far by God’s grace. We have forgotten that we have the support of friends and family to help us along the way. Forgotten Ones, we have simply forgotten to believe that we can achieve anything. It is not society that has cast us away; we failed to keep the dream alive and in doing so we forgot ourselves. Start to………remember.
Greetings Readers, Well, future readers. I’m starting this blog as a push to engage myself in the world of writing, information, purpose, and passion. Yep, that’s an overload but I’m still figuring me out at the ripe age of 43. There’s a distinction between what pays the bills and what “pays it forward”. I don’t work in my passion which is youth. For years I’ve been told that I have to make money, support a family and have a big title to be successful. But, what’s that void inside? A void shrouded with long hours, hidden agendas, bottled up emotions because at the end of the day you know there’s more to life and you’re simply taking the easy way out. A void contaminated with fear and complacency. It’s not a fear of failure, failure is an inevitable path to learning. It’s a fear of success, a fear that you are worth more than money. A fear that against all odds and you have survived the worst and best life could through at you. A fear that you don’t care about being accepted for who you are but what you were created to become. This is my journey, sharing my words, sharing our world, and finding my voice to reaching our youth.