Comedy For The Day
In a way, this will be comedic, but in a way, it’s kind of tragic…
I’m taking off the cold heart and rough outer shell for a few minutes today (have to put it right back on once I finish as I head downtown to brave the elements again). So at the risk of sounding like a nancy, I’m writing this. Like Foreigner said:
“I Wanna Know What Love Is… I want you to show me…”
I have no idea what it is. I know what it is SUPPOSED to be from a Biblical standpoint, as well as a practical one. What is “it”? It is “Love”. I’m not thirsty, I’m not pressed. I’m 31 years old, so honestly it hasn’t stopped me from living nor been the preeminent goal in my life. But as a man matures and realizes what is important (or in most of our cases, move AWAY from the things and women who AREN’T) you realize that stability, surety, healthy relationships (including friends, family, not just a romantic relationship) are more satisfying than, well, the alternative.
Again, I risk being labeled a nancy but what have you…
I listen to some cats who say they grew up with their eventual wives and likewise women who have said the same. Or they say they met them in high school or college and grew with them, so it was almost a natural progression and they were brought together by God at that time for a reason. I’m happy for them. But I never had that luxury.
Let me explain.
Most people who TRULY know me (not these fools who know my parents or sister and think by proxy that means they know me — when I haven’t breathed the same air as they have for more a day or two if AT ALL) know I have moved quite a bit over the last half of my life. Back and forth between New York/New Jersey and North Carolina.
High school was a mess for me. I wanted to go to high school here in New York, but it was not something my mother was kosher with. My father was fine with it, as he went to high school (partially) here. I never wanted to go to Smith, and didn’t want to be in North Carolina. New York is home to me. To compound matters, I developed a severe case of eczema my freshman year, which then developed into Erythrodermic Psoriasis.
I had it every single day for the rest of my time in high school. Needless to say (rather than posting a picture of someone with the disease, I’ll caution you by telling you to google it yourself, if you have the stomach for it), there wasn’t going to be any of that “high school sweetheart” stuff for me.
It spilled into college, but I didn’t really care as much then. I was consumed with sports and music more than at any other time in my life before or since then. Plus, upon return from a getaway to the Bahamas immediately following graduation, I followed my aunt back to New Jersey. I was to be done with the south completely, except to visit relatives.
While in college in Brooklyn, I never sat still, I would run out to Newark on weekends, was in Harlem when I wasn’t in class, and our teams traveled quite a bit — so I tagged along to Boston for the NEC championships in soccer in ’97/’98 and a few trips up to Connecticut to see the ESPN studios. This coincided with the year that the basketball team, which featured classmate and fellow Harlemite Rich Parker and the nation’s two-time leading scorer, Charles Jones were in the running for the NCAA tournament.
I was young and didn’t really care. Plus I had become so self-conscious due to my skin issue that I gave up even trying.
Then the Lord healed me in 2000 and my confidence came back. Never became arrogant (as unattractive women who I didn’t spend all my time chasing have claimed), but I was happy to be alive again. I came back every spring, all summer and in the fall until I moved back for good a couple of years ago. That didn’t really help matters, because I have been as transient as an undocumented worker with no papers nor student visa.
However, I was forced to withdraw from Long Island and get a job. I was surrounded by tons of women, sure, but they were mostly married, in relationships or what have you. And coming from a stable, healthy home, I was not the home-wrecker type. I could air out a lot of broads from that office — especially the married ones, who threw themselves at me relentlessly. I shall not do so, because it is a chump move.
But the thing is, I had COUGARS after me, and I’m 21, 22 years old. Chicks in their mid-late 30s (because there were rarely any women under 25 the entire time I was at this place, until the last few months before I left) and some with kids almost as old as me. Sure, that’s nice if you just want some top or just taking whatever you can get, but here I am, angry that I had to leave New York to begin with, not around women my age (as was the case when I was at LIU) and only left to immerse myself in sports, music and splurge with my money as a means of entertainment and relief of the boredom.
One thing I hated was people trying to give me all sorts of advice and “God has something important for you to do while you’re still single” blah blah blah. I was overworked, working 50-60 hours a week and started a non-profit organization (and the following year went back to school full-time, while serving over ministry). I was tired of it and while I was serving a great number of people, that rhetoric only made me wistful for what should’ve been.
I didn’t go to the high school that was best suited for me (LaGuardia, Julliard, Talent Unlimited, to name a few), didn’t learn a single thing, my gifts were not only NOT nurtured, but blatantly muffled — giving way to strict curriculum, which I had already exceeded before I even finished Junior High, because of the advanced learning program I had been in since 1st grade. It took me years to understand my purpose and find multiple outlets for my skills and deepest passions (sports, music, writing, AND LAST, BUT ACTUALLY FIRST — TEACHING). So yes, I hated that I wasted 4 years of my life, suffering with that disease, never fit in down there, then to not have my gifts and talents nurtured… it only undid the 10 years of advanced leg-up that I had attained before I go to high school. Not blaming my mother, because she always has, and continues to do what she believes is best for me. But even she admitted a couple of years back that she should’ve put me into one of the aforementioned schools and at the same time benefit by becoming closer with some of my other family in Harlem and the rest of uptown who I rarely saw until I was a teenager.
By the time I left the aforementioned job, I was 26, and returned to college for six consecutive 18 credit semesters. This was done purposely on my part. One of the main reasons people enjoy college so much and proclaim it to be the “best years of your life” are because you can feel free to make mistakes, be reckless (at times) and, as long as you don’t seriously put your life at risk — live to tell it. You enjoy those times with your PEERS. However, when you’re 26 and surrounded by 18 and 19 year olds doing those things, you not only (shouldn’t) enjoy them, you look FOOLISH trying to.
So I immersed myself in my studies, again, not around women my age — just this time they were much YOUNGER as they had been OLDER while I was working full-time. Naturally, this didn’t bode well for much of a social life. I made a nice group of friends who I mostly all keep in contact with daily. My roommate from UNCG is one of my good dudes that I can still say is a friend and has no reason to try to stab me in the back. A few of my other friends are some good people from around the way, or the origin (Henderson) and a good number from New York, including a couple of whom I had known in New York BEFORE we ended up at UNCG. Small world.
But yet, as time wore on there, I graduated at (at age 30?!?!) and looked up as if to ask “what in God’s name is going on with my life?” I sit back and watch some of those friends who were mere young heads when I met them — now they’re all grown up, married and starting families. Yet, I’m still in the same situation I was in when I originally left New York. As much as I have evolved, changed for the better, moved constantly and become more and more astute in academic and business arenas, the same problem persists — I’m never around women my age.
And now, the women my age are scarred, have 2-3 children, bitter, cynical and unable to maintain (or even enter into) a healthy relationship. I feel like there was a 15 year void that will never be filled because of circumstances beyond my control. It is just interesting to look back, though. My life has been a blur since 2000. I barely remember my 20s, but there was never a dull moment. They were filled with some pretty high highs (the apogee being 2003) and some pretty low lows (my absolute NADIR being 2007-present). But never dull, that’s for sure.
I’ve dated cougars, I’ve dated some freshies. I’ve dated women with children who were older than me. I’ve dated women with children who were younger than me. I’ve dated women with children who were my age. I’ve dated women across several racial categories and ethnicities (it should be noted that not one of them was White, contrary to what some may suggest). But never ONCE have I dated a woman my age (that is, within 2 years on either side). And never once still has even one that I have been interested in and within that 2 year window been childless. I love children, so I never hold that against a woman, but DEAR GOD. It’s just interesting to note how we are socialized from kindergarten, and how if you miss the “natural procession”, you will almost forever be lost if you have any desire to have a healthy relationship that will lead to marriage.
Think about it. People love New York’s nightlife, but that’s all good to a POINT. We are the most materialistic, shallow, megalomaniacs in the country. Status is everything here. You can have great demonstrated character, make $100K annually and still be nothing in the eyes of a great number of women here. I have friends who can attest to this. I’m not exaggerating. Imagine what it’s like for the great majority of us who DON’T live that way?
Then you think about where on earth you can meet a decent woman… everyone has their guard up in New York.
On the bus? HA.
On the subway? Most will scoff, or think you’re the crazy guy with a Starbuck’s cup asking for change only to have him spit game at the chick right afterward — if they don’t mace you because they think you’re a rapist.
At a bar? Sheeeeeit.
At the club? FOH, I wouldn’t be caught dead in one nowadays anyway. Those days ended before I was even 25.
At church? HA. Those have been the absolute worst in my experience. At least you know what you’re getting by a woman who isn’t in the INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH, and not everyone in church is saved, and not everyone who doesn’t go to church religiously is UNSAVED. Every so-called “christian” woman I have ever dated has been two or three different people. I’m not joking.
In class? Maybe, but once you get to graduate school, we are even busier than we ever were in undergrad or high school. And good luck here, because people come as far as Philadelphia, Middletown (upstate) or the far reaches of Long Island to go to school and…
At Work? BIG RISK. Chances are you are in for a big debacle if you go there, so it’s best not to.
So what say you, to me and the hundreds of others like me who had “unorthodox” Coming-Of-Age years and a whirlwind life? It’s tough out there. And to top it off, the ONE time I thought I had a good one, not only did I not fuck it up, she inexplicably did a Jekyll & Hyde on me unprovoked. That completely killed what little faith I had in women. Someone’s gonna have to do a YEOMAN’S job to undo that. I’m not an impossible case, I’m not malevolent or anything, I’m just Mike. But I don’t see any reason to believe different until given some hardcore evidence to the contrary of my reality.
What of this?