Wednesday, May 23, 2007
To say that I’ve been running at break-neck speeds is an understatement. My move on Saturday, 5/19, went without a hitch. Thank you to Clent, Slugger, Linda, Juanita, Adam and a special thank-you to Philippe aka Fluff, who flew from Chi-town to surprise me with his help on my move. It was a coordinated effort that had me out of my old place and into my new one in less than four hours. I’m really enjoying my new crib and Busta is slowly-but-surely making his new home his own. The NY AIDS Walk on Sunday, 5/20, was an enormous success. Thanks to your support, I was more than $800 over my goal donations. The weather held up beautifully and I completed the walk in a personal record time of less than two hours. I’m now in countdown mode…in just 24 hours I will be on a plane to decompress and celebrate on the beaches of Puerto Rico. Memorial Weekend is bound to be a hoot on the island, which is host to San Juan Brothas – a yearly mix of circuit parties and fun-in-the-sun events. I’m also looking forward to seeing the family.
I know you…I really know you. When you’re close with your friends, you know them. It can take a quick glance or a facial expression to convey a whole message. There are times when you realize that you’re not as close to folks as you thought when they step out and ask/say/do something that proves your perceived bond, nonexistent. I feel it boils down to a simple concept for me…Knowing my friends prevents me from having to ask certain things from them and grants me an understanding into their thinking, even before addressing them. I know my friends’ strengths, weaknesses, pluses and minuses.
Have you been shocked or disappointed by something a friend has said or done that made you recognize the true abyss that resides between you?
See ya’ Wednesday, May 29th! Have an amazing start to summer 2007!!
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Friday, May 18, 2007
Never too far away; I won’t let time erase one bit of yesterday. I’m quickly learning that the lows in my life have helped me to be sincerely grateful for the highs. As I look back on some of those bumps in the road, I recognize that each period served its purpose to polish me a bit more, grow a bit more and to have an open mind to new ideas and other perspectives.
Is there someone whom you didn’t get an opportunity to thank for polishing you on your journey? What would you say today?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Thursday, May 17, 2007
He’s been with me for over 22 years. When times were hard, he was there to comfort me. When I was happy and celebrating, he was there to make me feel higher in the moment. When I was 15, on the mean streets of NYC, he made me feel safe and strong. Through the death of my grandma he offered comfort and kept me together in the face of loss. As I suffered through a break-up for what felt like two years, he stood by me and helped me carry off that I-don’t-give-a-damn look. Whether I was fit or fat, he didn’t care; he didn’t mind my size. Strangely, I always knew he wasn’t always a good friend for me. There were times when his antics left me breathless. Not all my friends liked him. In fact, they specifically told me not to have him accompany me when visiting them. Still, he didn’t care; he would wait until I’d get out of whatever engagement I was attending and join me. We’d walk silently, sometimes amazed, at how it didn’t matter what other’s thought of us. Then, in the last year, I began to realize how I was embarrassed to be around him. I found myself sneaking around to see him and spend time with him. When I told him I was moving, he was elated. He figured we’d spend more private time together. After thinking long and hard, I told him we couldn’t see each other anymore. I told him that my move was the perfect time to severe our dysfunctional relationship. He’s a real charmer and used every bit of it to attempt to convince me that we could still hang. We’d just take it slow until I came to my senses, he said. When I asked him about how I discovered that he had purposely tried to poison me and that he had been spending my money hand-over-fist at the expense of things he knew were more important to me, he simply shrugged it off. I felt the hot tears in my eyes. They rolled down my cheeks slowly; a slight tickle as they dangled from my chin. “I’m going to miss you. I’m going to cry out for you some days, but you’re just not for me. We’re not really friends. For as long as you’ve been with me you’ve proven you’re not a friend; you’re simply my closest enemy.” We vowed to share our final moments together on Friday night. We promised to never look back once I board my moving van to meet my new life. “Goodbye Newport.” We had a good run.
Over 39.5 Million Times Thank You
From the over 39.5 million folks living with HIV/AIDS, I thank you. My call to you for the final $550.00 to meet my NY AIDS Walk goal was answered to the tune of $1,050.00 to date – bringing my new NY AIDS Walk total donations to $2,500. More amazing is that this total is BEFORE any employer match program contributions. When I asked all of you to help, I believed I would make my goal; I honestly had faith. However, I never imagined that my request would be doubled – all in less than 24 hours! I will be energized from any fatigue I may experience during my move on Saturday when I think of the incredible people in my corner and their show of support.
There are so many things in our lives that done in moderation are just fine. You can’t restrict everything from your daily life or soon you’ll realize you live a vanilla existence. However, if we’re in the don’t-talk-about-it-be-about-it mindset, we have to admit that there are poisons and risks that are just not worth taking. We can’t recapture the past and we can’t undo what is done, but we can change things for the better.
What negative behavior / habit / addiction are you struggling to unhinge from, but make excuses for keeping in your life?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I am so full right now. Don’t get me wrong, I am exhausted – so exhausted that I got home last night and put my grocery bags down, sat on the couch to take off my shoes and work clothes only to wake up three hours later to Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire singing Because of You on the country awards and wondering what the heck happened. The deal is I’m trying to do so much in such a small crunch of time. What is wonderful about all of this is that all the things happening right now are precisely what I’ve wanted for so long. So, I’m referring back to that great book, The Secret. Last night before leaving the office, I took a look at my NY AIDS Walk headquarters to see how my campaign was coming along. As of 4:30 p.m. I was $550 short of my $2,000 goal. I prepared a final e-mail shout-out to my friends and colleagues, re-read the e-mail twice, closed my eyes and said, “I am so grateful for having incredible people in my life who have made it possible for me to reach this ambitious goal.” I hit send. Within 30 minutes, I reached my goal! The beauty of it is that I still expect a few friends to chime in with their donations that will take me over the goal amount! Don’t get me wrong, I still get skeptical, I even have those moments of doubt, but I’m really going-in believing things will be so – and so far, God and the Universe are rewarding that faith. Thank you for being a part of fulfilling my goals. Thank you for being a part of the miracles that are gracing my life. I’m full…Because of you.
Star Track; The Next Generation
The babies of yesteryear are graduating from high schools around the country, tackling new adventures and making us do a double-take on how the years fly by. Case in point, Ashlei M., daughter of resident blogger Melissa M. attended her senior prom recently. When I saw the pictures and realized that the quiet little girl I met years ago was now a beautiful young woman about to enter the real world, it brought tears to my eyes. They’ve grown up so fast that the click in my hip and the knee brace I wear during my workout sessions are probably the only reminders I have of the passing years. We are now looking at our future leaders. Congratulations Ashlei. We’ll leave you with our theme for 2007…live by it…”Don’t talk about it; Be About it.”
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
Baby Daddy, the HOE and Diaper Jo have all called to say they’d like to connect before I leave for my Memorial Weekend vacation. I’ve mentioned that realistically, I have to concentrate on moving, getting settled and really taking-in my NY AIDS Walk. I do want to see each of them – they’ve all been very supportive and attentive of late, but I just don’t have the evening hours to dedicate to a date right now. Tentatively, I’ve scheduled to see the HOE on Monday night and he says he’d like to bring dinner over to celebrate – even if we eat picnic style. Truthfully, I’d like to have Baby Daddy as my first overnight guest, so may need to reschedule the HOE – can someone say, “Shields!”
Diaper Jo is my whenever kind-of guy…he’s been a real grown-up and is willing to roll with the punches until I’m available and I appreciate that right now.
What not to wear… Some of my vacation catalog items arrived last night and I tried them on to find that they don’t fit the way I’d like them to. Long story short, a 30” waist appears to be too large and the Greek-cut bikinis do nothing, but give me infant pee-pee. With a week to go until I’m actually laying-out in the sun, I’m going to drop the anxiety and simply wear what I ordered and combine it with last year’s get-ups – hey, it’ll be a déjà vu kind-of time. When picking out bathing suits, what do you accentuate and what do you find yourself carefully camouflaging? What are you favorite body part(s) / bathing suit attributes?
Keep passin’ the open windows...
Monday, May 14, 2007
It’s serious. Really serious. Presently, 39.5 million people are suffering with HIV/AIDS globally. In 2006, there were 4.3 million new HIV/AIDS cases. Still a more horrifying statistic is the 2.6 million adults and 38,000 children who reportedly died of HIV/AIDS in 2006 alone. All to say that talking about it isn’t getting us very far, but doing something about it is. Thank you to everyone who has donated to my NY AIDS Walk campaign. I am now $550 shy of my $2,000 goal. With less than one week to go – the walk takes place next Sunday, May 20 – your help is sorely needed. Please take a moment to make your donation to the cause. By simply clicking here or clicking at the NY AIDS Walk headquarters on the right side bar, you can change the lives of millions. The process takes a couple of short minutes. That’s right, each donation goes directly to the cause and no money touches the hands of the walk participants. This is certainly the year to not talk about it, but be about it. Join me in the effort to exterminate HIV/AIDS.
I’m Blessed and I Thank You
The last few weeks have been a peek into what happens when you believe. My new apartment came through, my vacation plans are on schedule and I’m overwhelmed by how lucky I am to have such incredible friends. In my heart, I can now see that they are my chosen family. As such, it warms my heart all the more because I was not born into this love, but grew into it. I want to extend a special thank-you to my HEART family…. Clent aka J’Moo for being my rock after my moving back to NYC. To Juanita and Linda – my sisters in the true name of love – who at the spur of the moment and without hesitation, stepped up and purchased a new pub table and high-back chair dining set as a housewarming gift. I can’t say enough how such a generous gift has impacted me. It is an expensive present that was only overshadowed by the love you two have shown me throughout the years. Finally, my fearless warrior sister Col aka Caspar. She is my eagle eye, my voice when I’m too shocked to speak, my heart when I have no love to give. Col has been my friend since I was 8-years old and we’ve managed to experience childhood, teens and now the treasure that are her children, my nephews and niece, Bryan, Derrick and Sophia together. My prayer is that we can sit in side-by-side rocking chairs in our golden years to continue laughing at the things we need never even open our mouths to speak – I hear you by simply looking in your eyes.
The Dates Update
With so much going on, it almost escapes me to talk about the cast of characters that comprise my dating circle. As I told a friend last night, I have a great crop of men in my corner and they all have such positive qualities that a date with any of them is a memorable night and a distinctly different experience. Diaper Jo (DJ) is still around. This July he turns 21 and although I’m very apprehensive about our dating, he continuously reassures me that our age shouldn’t matter. We’ll see. Right now he has mastered the art of attention-giving and staying relevant by being ever-present. The Head Of Education (the HOE) has returned from his trip through Asia. His visit included stops in Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Yesterday, his text read, “It may be Mother’s Day today, but Daddy’s home baby.” I blushed when I read it and I’m happy to have him back. I suspect I won’t have a moment to see him before my vacation, but as luck would have it, the HOE will also be at San Juan Brothas for Memorial Day weekend. Let’s see how that surprise announcement actually plays out when we’re surrounded by thousands of hot, tan men and several circuit parties. Then there’s Babby Daddy. He’s my red-bone cutie who is the package with the package. The hottie-in-the-know is a single dad of a 7-year old. Presently he is the front-runner for my sincere attention. He’s beautiful, funny, smart and passionate. I’m debating whether he will be my first house guest at my new crib. Stay tuned…
Knowing what you want is as important as believing that you will get it. This includes following the line of your wants to see if ultimately what you seek will make you happy. Recently I talked about holding the torch for a past love and recognizing that the window of opportunity was closing on anything ever rekindling in that relationship. What I didn’t realize was that the window of opportunity wasn’t closing; I am actively shutting it. You see, as I sat to consider what I want out of life and love, the perceived torch I held for this person was extinguished by the reality that what I really held was a life based on who I wished this person could be – and ultimately be with me.
What “want” can you admittedly think through to completion, that when analyzed, is not realistically something that will be good for you?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Friday, May 11, 2007
I’ll admit that I have the habit of adding more to my plate when I know I have plenty on there already. It’s almost a competitive feeling that I can pull off what needs to get done, overcome the difficult obstacles to emerge victorious on the other side. I am now one week and one day from my move and haven’t packed a single stitch of anything. So, what would you say is my weekend plan? I’m packing, cleaning, shopping for and installing blinds, cleaning the new place and packing a separate bag for my vacation; all while lining up my ducks for my day-after-the-move NY AIDS Walk. Yes, that nauseous feeling is hitting me hard, but I can do this – and with the help of my boi J’Moo and the Zen master Leona – not to forget to mention my workhorse Slugger – I will pull this off.
Oh am I ever good at telling everyone else what they should and shouldn’t wear. I can even pick stuff that looks great on me – when I shop that is. The thing is, I don’t’ care for shopping, could care less about a label and just like to be comfy when I’m not in my office monkey suit. With my vacation just over a week away, it was time to buckle down and buy the new bathing suits, a few lounge outfits and some who-took-sexy-anywhere outfits. I’ll admit it…I took the easy route. I jumped on to Undergear.com and Internationalmale.com and bought some fun, cute and yeah-you’ve-had-two-Iced-Teas-and-you-want-some-of-this get-ups. Let’s hope that when they’re delivered they fit right or I’ll have to resort to the old hooker-wear of yesteryear.
At Issue; If It’s Legal Is It Our Business?
A popular minority gay men’s adult website who was alleged to be acting irresponsibly in Chicago moved to a Miami residential neighborhood and continued filming and posting their adult entertainment for the masses before being discovered by their neighbors. The story has garnered some media attention – not massive, since most of you straight readers outside of the Miami area have probably never heard of the story. What appears to be at issue is that the employees of the adult website (young minority men) were found to be engaging in unsafe behavior and a correlation was found between the employees and a rash of HIV and STD infections in the Chicago area. All said, there are various issues at hand:
1. Many feel that the ethnicity of the man behind this operation (a White man) who is profiting from the exploitation of the minority young men is a key point. Personally, I feel Black, White, Latino or Asian – exploitation is exploitation.
2. The young men are still – MEN. We have a responsibility to educate them and inform them, but do we have the right to control their behavior? Can we demand that they engage in safer sex practices?
3. Shouldn’t this adult website be offered the same rights and processes as others have in similar jurisdictions? A Florida court in a similar case ruled that if the acts taking place in the residence and broadcast on the web did not promote activity in or around the residence and did not solicit activity in the residential area where they are filmed, then they may continue to operate, since their customers – those buying the web movies and pics – are strictly online.
To be clear, I don’t condone unsafe sex and the spread of disease. I do not believe young minority men should be exploited for cash. I am heartbroken to hear of more young men becoming infected because of their ignorance. I simply believe that we have the RIGHT to educate, to inform and to empower – not provide hypocritical censorship when many of those feigning rage are the very folks who are customers (or at least voyeurs) of the site.
Sometimes the hardest person to be honest with is you. Before buying the holier-than-thou ticket to join the bandwagon you have to review the facts in their entirety to see if you want to take the ride. Why isn’t the general population outraged by the multibillion dollar internet porn industry? Do you know of anyone (wink, wink) in your close circle who partakes in this form of entertainment?
Keep passin’ the open windows….
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
We mend…regardless of how badly broken we may feel a situation has left us, the human spirit has the ability to mend. It is a testament to surviving any event or happenstance…you’re here….you’ll mend. As with cuts, broken bones, etc, scars, marks and fine lines may remain as a reminder that you made it to the other side.
Looking back, what life encounter may have left its mark, but served to make you stronger for it?
Keep passin' the open windows...
Monday, May 07, 2007
Like the song in the Wiz says, “When I think of home I think of a resting place…” Today, I sign the lease on my new apartment and the anticipation has my nerves jittery and a new gleam in my eye. On Saturday, my girl Leona and I went by the new apartment and measured rooms and windows in preparation for the big day – May 19. My schedule the next few weeks is extremely tight. I’m packing this week, moving the weekend of the 19th and going on vacation on May 24. My trip will be the perfect decompress-and-celebrate adventure. An advance thank-you to J’Moo and Slugger for agreeing to be part of my moving team.
My groin injury four weeks ago has set me back a bit in the work-out department and it was only compounded by my new-found appetite. Last week I began a modified diet and increased my cardio portion of my workouts. Unfortunately, Friday we celebrated my boss’ birthday with burgers from Smith & Wollensky and followed it up with a chocolate swirl cheese cake from Juniors; need I say more?! Needless to say, today begins my back-on-track eating and exercise. I’m now 16 days from the big San Juan Brothas getaway.
On Saturday I talked about how everything MUST change. Sometimes it’s difficult to change some things or move forward because we’re holding on to something else. It can be said that we block change while we remain anchored on a specific person or emotion.
Are you (or have you) been in a situation where holding on to a particular situation or person has prevented you from enjoying the good fortune entering your life?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Everything Must Change
Ever notice how change becomes a more difficult process as we get older? Well, it’s that time in my life again; time for change. No one stays the same; the young become the old; mysteries do unfold; and I’m there. I stand at the doorway to another chapter in my life and I’m full. Full of excitement, anticipation and the bright light in my eyes after reaching the light I saw in the far distance of that long tunnel. I see myself differently today. I’m grabbing the reigns on my life and creating a new masterpiece of fun and fulfillment. Rain comes from the clouds; sun lights up the sky; hummingbirds do fly – I’m certain of these things. Yet, the uncertainty of what lies ahead is a catalyst for greatness. I accept that everything must change.
What changes are you in the midst of that are positioned to enhance your life?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Friday, May 04, 2007
I recently heard that a soul mate has nothing to do with sex and more to do with a heart-felt sense of connection and camaraderie. Marcia R., aka my soul wifey, has been the voice of reason in my life for over five years and her impact on my thought process and how I deal with life is irreplaceable. I’ve come to admire her beauty and worship her wisdom. Today, Marcia lives more than 400 miles away from me and yet she is closer to me than the days when we sat in the same office every day. Marcia is celebrating her birthday today and it brings tears of joy to my eyes to say, “I love you, I do.”
Cocoa Has Left the Building
Almost four years ago I returned to NYC and the comfort of my close friends and family. My living arrangements have been extremely cramped and the changes in the relationship with my siblings have made it clear that as Oleta Adams said in her enlightening tune, “Everything must change.” One thing that I’ve always known in my heart is that although we may be related, it does not necessarily make us friends. My sexual orientation was the first wedge between my family and me – ironically, now it seems that my sibling’s preferences are the wedge that has driven us apart. Since I’ve been back in the big apple, I have rented the basement in my sister’s three-family home. Now, I’m moving on up – to a first floor apartment actually - where I will continue my journey. I’m both excited and saddened to move, but realize that it is a healthy choice pregnant with possibilities. I’ll keep everyone posted on the details and will share pictures of the new pad with my blogger family. I continue to hope the best for my family and accept that it is their responsibility to do what is best for them. As a very wise friend said to me, “You’ve done what you can; you are not a conjoined twin.”
Then I Exhaled
It’s no secret that the first four months of 2007 have been very difficult for me. Strangely, I’ve found myself pushing through – dating, working, socializing and still finding a way to involve myself and be present in my daily life. Two days ago I received The Secret – a book that was always sold out in my neighborhood bookstores. Thankfully, Amazon had plenty of copies. I’m nearly half-way into the book and have found that not only is the book a God-send, but it has practical advice for why we sometimes get stuck on the negative and draw more negativity into our lives. Initially, I’ll admit that I was disturbed to think that I was drawing more and more negative situations to myself with my negative and downtrodden thinking. One of the major principles in the book is that what we put out to the universe – our wishes, wants, desires and thought processes – are what is returned to us; even amplified in our lives. I’m not done with the book and I’ve realized that I have a lot of work to do to turn my thinking and behavior around, but I accept that the concept of “reaping what you sow” is not a new idea and I’ve been magnifying helplessness and despair, when in fact there is so much to celebrate in my life. As I woke up this morning, I exhaled. It was a cleansing breath that was punctuated with a smile. It is well.
With my vacation fast approaching, the issue of bathing suits is a major point of discussion with me and my travel pals. Personally, I prefer either bikinis or square cut, fitted boxer swimsuits. My friends and I have been debating what bathing suits would make great new additions to our San Juan Brothas (gay-themed) festivities in Puerto Rico. Do you believe there is a cut-off age/size for different types of bathing suits? Is there such a thing as unacceptable bathing attire for specific body types? Your thoughts…
Keep passin the open windows…
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Love appears to get a bad rap. It’s supposed to be blind; endure all; it almost seems that many define love as the inability to make intelligent decisions; a virtual lack of all cognizant thought.
Could it be that love and other more depreciating emotions and issues are being confused (and made to appear interchangeable) when folks exercise poor judgment while alleging they’re in love?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I know how difficult it is to have that friend in crisis that insists on focusing on one subject until you feel that their every word is grating on your very last nerve. It’s not that you don’t care about them or their dilemma; it’s just hard to hear. I think we feel our friend needs to get it out and it’s our place to hear it, but damn if you don’t wish the process would be short-lived. It pains me to say, I am that friend right now. Those who really know me know that as extroverted as I am, I hate the feeling of vulnerability. I will often deal with enormous obstacles alone to avoid asking for help or sharing my plight when I’m at my most fragile. So, as I live through one of the toughest personal family dramas I’ve encountered since leaving my home at 15, I’ve become incensed with having my closest friends understand what I’m going through. I appreciate their listening to my plight. I know it’s been hard to deal with the more raw and exposed Cocoa, rather than the entertaining, invincible one that is usually there for everyone else. I guess we all have lessons to learn and mine is that I’m never comfortable sharing my vulnerability and a skipping record – regardless of how much we love the tune – will get annoying.
There are 24 days until my much needed San Juan Brothas Puerto Rico vacation. The last three weeks has been a bit of a betray-and-sabotage period. First, I suffered a groin pull, then I found myself with a bottomless-pit of an appetite. The combination of lighter workouts and heavier caloric intake has added a solid 6-8 pounds to my mid section and has undermined my winter workouts. In light of all that, it’s time to take control of the situation and make it better. My goal is to lose 10 in 24. That’s right; I intend to be 148 lbs. by the time I leave for my vacation on the 24th of this month. Beginning today, I’m cutting all carbs outside of breakfast and eliminating all the snacking that I’ve been happily partaking of. In addition, I’m returning to my 6-days-on-1-day-off gym schedule. I suspect with my current stress load, focusing on something I can fully control will help me meet my goal.
If you could pick up and successfully move to any city in the U.S., where would you go? Why?
Keep passin’ the open windows…