Category Archives: Vivaciousness

My Silence is Louder Than My Voice

It’s kinda bittersweet, besides the shows and meet and greets y’all only see me on the street
And even then, that shit is rare—I just don’t go outside

I have been wanting to write for my blog for months. Months on months on months. They’ve peeled off the calendar like they were the Clementines so many of my Step Up students would eagerly eat throughout the school day. And through those times I have had so many things to write about: my work with helping high school students achieve their academic and personal goals, returning to school for a graduate certificate, what I learned as I took a year off from drinking alcohol, the overall racial tension in the country I live in, the racial double standards in professional sports, a trip to Baltimore, two trips to New York, how enamored with daily fantasy sports I am, sharing my graduate work… the list is about as long as the number of orange rinds Eric had peeled, which matched the length of time since my last post.

When I first started this blog over six years ago, I did it because a buddy of mine from high school was blogging. I felt it would be a good idea to have an outlet to express, emote, have a running journal, talk about things that interested me (regardless of how esoteric they sounded) after college… and plus, another friend told me, “[Y]ou have been writing notes on Facebook, why not expand man?” I also thought it would make me instantly cool because, well, who doesn’t love a writer? Except I had one issue: I had too much to write and say yet not enough discipline to keep it going consistently. At times I would be close to finishing a post and then micromanage my way out of the post. Those 10 drafts I mentioned back in January 2015 still sit wondering if I will ever return to them. I have said I will and they’ve been ever patient as I continue to fill my time with other endeavors or just ignore them. Too often do I not share what is on my mind with everyone and that is when I realized something about myself: the moment I don’t speak up, my silence speaks for me. Within the silence is the deafening sound of acquiescing and accepting something that does not truly align with my paradigm. In this moment, I discovered that my silence is more powerful than my voice.

Cause honestly I don’t fuck with this world, I’d rather hide

With the amount of turmoil, particularly racial turmoil, that is occurring in the United States… it is becoming increasingly difficult to read, sit and digest the heaps of literal garbage some people spew. It’s all too easy to hide, avoid, disconnect and acquiesce. To continue to sit by and say nothing is to allow paradigms that promote and increase ignorance to proliferate unfettered. For me, for you, for all of us, speaking up and speaking out is the quickest and most effective means to counter ignorant paradigms. If we can all model how to speak up, speak out and interrupt these dangerous pieces of rhetoric, the easier it becomes for all us to form effective counters to ignorance. Here is an example that I have to offer (Editor’s note: I also have an extensive piece on the racial double standards that I absolutely need to share as another example.)

Recently, Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem of a preseason football game. As a norm of the United States of America, we as citizens usually stand during the anthem and Kaepernick instead decided against joining in. Seemingly harmless, no? A person was exercising his autonomous right to do as he sees fit, he broke no laws or rules (NFL players are not required to stand during the anthem) and he explained that the reasoning behind his decision was because of the continued racial injustice to people of color in the United States. Everything checks out and is copacetic, yeah? Except for the fact that since he has decided to make that choice, to make that solemn decision, Kaepernick has been skewered for being spoiled, unpatriotic, and potentially called every curse word or pejorative term under the sun… all for not standing during a song that literally celebrates slavery? I finally caught up on some of this and came across this below tweet that was shared by someone I went to high school with:

I don’t know Cloyd. I don’t think this person I went to high school with knows Cloyd. One thing I do know about Cloyd and this particular person is that they share a common trait: ignorant-itis. The major issue I see in this situation is the conflation of Kaepernick acknowledging the reality of systemic oppression and how it affects a group of US citizens by declining to stand during the anthem and Kaepernick being unpatriotic because he decided not to stand. It made me sick to see this… so I scrolled down… until I remember this person also posted a video of someone burning a Kaepernick jersey. It was then I realized, “I cannot not say something… this is ludicrous.” Below is the post I made in response:

I of course do not want to engage in any type of Facebook conversation that will get as heated as one that involves race and patriotism… yet I can’t sit and read more of this junk. I have to disagree with this idea that Kaepernick’s decision is some form of massive disrespect to the country he lives in. There a multiple competing factors in this story and I think there is a bit too much shade being thrown his way. He is not wrong about anything he said regarding the oppressive nature of the USA flag toward persons of color. Using a lyric from the anthem that celebrates this country, “O’er the land of the free…” how many of us can truly say EVERY U.S. CITIZEN has been free? I’ll wait. There has been slavery, the Trail of Tears and Native American relocation, lynching, segregation, women’s suffrage, women still making less than men for the same amount of work, women not even having adequate maternity leave, redlining and racist real estate practices, and racially disproportionate use of excessive force and brutality by law enforcement. I mean, I could go on and on. It amazes me how convenient it is to forget how “unfree” many citizens have been, are and will be in this country because of systemic oppression. I’m not going to sit behind this keyboard and try to persuade you that I am right, despite knowing deep in my heart that what I am saying is true. What I am hoping is that I can open your mind to being more cognizant of the bigger societal impact of Kaepernick’s decision. I’ll leave you with this question: would you unequivocally respect something, someone or some place that didn’t respect you for who you were as a person? If the answer is yes, well bless your heart– you truly do not respect yourself or know your own worth. If the answer is no (which it ought to be), welcome to Colin Kaepernick’s world wandering the United States of America as a person of color, where his own country does not view him as free or worthy of living like his white counterparts.

Through that question, I imagine they both might finally understand the crux of why Colin Kaepernick is making a stand by sitting. I hope you join me in interrupting dangerous rhetoric and ignorant paradigms.

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The Only Plan is the Plane Ticket

Every good idea starts with someone taking notice of an opportunity, having a vision and saying, “I think there is something brewing here. I can’t say what– I just have a gut feeling.” Not only does it take a single person to notice the aforementioned triumvirate, it takes a few like-minded individuals to join, buy in and embody the model envisioned. This isn’t some pyramid scheme or Amway pitch, nah, nah, nah… this is something better, something more interesting and something more invigorating. I guess I need to provide background because of how vague I’m being at the moment. I’ve been on the road, I’m a traveling man, gallivanting the east coast over the past six days from Baltimore, Maryland to New York, New York. I didn’t bring a personal camera which doesn’t matter a ton because I have an iPhen to capture my travels, the sites I’m taking in and the places I think are interesting to me. Whenever I travel, I rarely build myself a large list of places to do or things to see when I am in a new city. I do this for two reasons: 1). it makes the trip more daunting than it should be and less of a vacation because it can feel like one is trying to cram everything in to a short period; 2). I want to organically discover the city, through walking the streets, taking public transit and the spur-of-the-moment-happenstance-stumble-upons. From this “do whatever comes to mind or what I know of the city” came an interesting thought: how about sharing where I go on my Instagram account with the hashtag #noagenda(insert city)tour? And so began the walking, snapping, no-filtering and hashtagging of a Baltimore tour and (an ongoing) New York tour.

Continue reading The Only Plan is the Plane Ticket

A Brooklyn Chapter: Red Eyes, Honduran Colombians and Directions

When I decided that I was going to make the expedition out to New York, not only was I looking for a cheapest and most direct flight. What kind of flight fits that description? You got it, a red eye! Off I was on JetBlue flying out of Portland Wednesday eve at 10 PM and arriving in New York Thursday morning around 6:10 AM. I hadn’t traveled on a red eye before and of course I wasn’t going to sleep on the plane: I was sitting on the aisle and any movement would brush up against my shoulder causing me to jostle awake. While sleep was a no-go, mashing on the free snacks was the move as I kept my energy level up as best I could with the healthiest selection of Fritos, cookies and these things called Popcorners (snag yourself some, they are delicious). When we finally got taxi’d and linked up with JFK’s terminal, I was running on about 6 hours sleep from the Tuesday to this point and I was getting hungrier by the step. Continue reading A Brooklyn Chapter: Red Eyes, Honduran Colombians and Directions

A.B.C. is Coming Soon

Acronyms are all the rage nowadays, mostly driven by Internet spek and a means to simplify and make communication more efficient. IIRC, IMO (usually emboldened with an H between the M and the O so that you know it’s real), FWIW, ICYMI, etc., etc. I try to stay away from these heavily used acronyms as much as possible when I frequent sports forums, Facebook (which I rarely use anymore, recent [read: the last 50-some hours] activity excluded), and Twitter (which is odd seeing as you only have 140 characters to work with). There are times though when I absolutely enjoy acronyms and many of these are done not as a means of shortening household cliches, but as an avenue of describing a type of person, an interaction that you have with a person where you ponder, “Oh, damn, this one of those ‘letter’.’letter’.’letter.’ moments,” and as way of communicating something to friend(s) that is on a plane of understanding only you and them know. And sometimes, acronyms are just what they are: a pneumonic device to help a person remember an important piece of information.

Continue reading A.B.C. is Coming Soon

Usher Confidential

Ball so hard, this shit crazy
Y’all don’t know that don’t shit phase me
The Nets could go 0-82 and I look at you like this shit gravy

Jay-Z, N****s in Paris

Must be nice (Lyfe Jennings voice) Jay-Z, regardless of the Nets’ futility or this impending lockout, you will (still) indeed be balling. Even as a minority owner, you’ll be cooling. Same goes for the other owners around the league. As for the players, you’ll be good too, as long as you manage your money better than Charles Barkley and Antoine Walker ever could. I am actually 100% certain that is the exact reason the NBA has a “Money Management” seminar shortly after players are drafted… but I digress. As for the rest of us… the rest of us that have some employment connection to the NBA as arena ushers, concessionaires, game-day operation staff, well, we will not be as fortunate for however long this lockout lasts and continues to cut games. The ENTIRE NBA business model has decimated the preseason slate and is slowly chopping regular season games at the knees in two week intervals. The employees (and jobs) that are integral to making sure that the “system” runs properly for all of these NBA teams are being put up on the Mayan sacrificial altar as alms to the idol of the dollar sign in a vain attempt to make a collective bargaining agreement. Just like in Apocalypto, I am Jaguar Paw and that is not about to fly… not while I have a voice that yearns to be heard amid the dross of “I NEED MORE MONEY,” from the owners and players.

Continue reading Usher Confidential

Add Another Moon

To quote another Cool Kids’ song: “looked at the time and the iPhone said it was your [read: my] birthday.” While Chuck and Mike are talking about the birthdays of the bevy of beauties they know, the fact I have an iPhone and since 12 am this Saturday morning, anytime I check the time it is in fact my birthday. Symmetry for the win people. I don’t know what I want to do with this post other than to commemorate the fact I have turned a year older. I’ve finally reached the Michael Jordan of age, and like Kanye, my next goal is to get that Kobe number (1 over Jordan). OK, enough with the musical intertwining…

I can’t wait to celebrate my great friends today, and it all starts with this kickball tournament that Channing Frye is putting on out at Lents Park. From there, there is no plan– exactly how I like it. Nothing makes for better fun than spontaneity. The less I know, the more I know. Plus, nothing is more infuriating than having set plans and then those set plans crumbling quicker than the second little pigs house of sticks. Long as I can relive the glory days of elementary school by playing kickball and being the MVP I was and am still capable of being, my birthday will be a complete success.

My birthday should be a party, and I’m going to be more than pretentious and say, if you were looking for a reason to get down with the get down: do it for my sake. If you got those two dollars, go two buck chuck in the name of Clement because someplace else in the city of Portland I’ll be going HAM (with Provolone on wheat) with a stiff drink and a gorgeous girl in mink. It’s a jubilant day and hopefully I’ll see you, my friends, as I trek parts of downtown, or Alberta, or wherever my two size 9.5 black Air MAX 90’s with the lightning yellow laces take me.

For now I must dream and wonder how good this sizzurp Babs is making me is gonna be. About to be all 3 6 in this piece tomorrow, but no poppin’ of the collar… damn bromosapiens ruining polos for your boy.

Escape

Southwest has a catchy saying that I absolutely love using in everyday conversation: “Wanna get away?” This saying is usually said after something disastrous, embarrassing or mind-numbingly stupid has occurred. For me though, at this stage in my young adulthood, that saying is more than just comedic relief. It is more of a piercing cry that fails to be heard, that falls short of comprehension and fully embodies my frustration since I graduated last May. The frustration of being underemployed, the frustration of not even receiving a single call back, the anger of being rejected constantly, the sheer confusion at watching lesser qualified (or seemingly inept) people filling a job I could do (how the hell do you not know that MD stands for Maryland? That’s third grade stuff!). The aggravation of real life bill paying, dealing with shiesty bank corporation dealings. The list is terribly long.

My wanting to get away is to escape the frustration associated with my current situation in Portland. My desire to just be done with everything and start anew. Pull some Jason Bourne-esque stuff and drop off the grid and go to India, except without the going to India bit. That is why my trip this Cinco de Mayo up to Seattle is my escape, my get-away. My chance to cut ties and go to a place to get where I can feel unshackled, untethered and enjoy myself. No insult to my city, but I’ve grown tired of you. Least I can enjoy myself tonight on this great escape.

The only problem is is that you’ll always be found. Somehow, some way, you will always be found and return to where you came.