Earlier this week, I received an interesting study from a publicist at Chase Card Services called the Chase Blueprint Valentine’s Day Survey. The timing was ironic, considering my current focus on financial prosperity (or at least, peace), so unlike many press released I receive, I actually read over it carefully.
Here are some facts they shared and my thoughts on them.
The Back Story
Late last year, I reached out to my friend and fellow Howard University alum Brandon Carter. Besides being a dope MC and producer, he’s also a personal trainer who has developed his own exercise program for those who want to get in shape but without the hassle of joining a gym.
Jermaine originally hipped me to what Brandon was doing. I went on YouTube and noticed most of his videos featured himself doing the exercises. The people who commented were skeptical, accusing Brandon of doing extra things he wasn’t showing to stay in shape, so I approached him with an idea: If he trained me and got me into shape, I would embarrass myself by allowing it to be filmed. Hence the original reason for this post.
Needless to say, it worked like a charm. Brandon’s methods got me into shape, and I feel and look better than I ever have. I say not to brag, because really it was never about looking good so much as it was about feeling good. The two go hand-in-hand, but the way I feel about myself trumps any feelings other people have about my results.
And here is where the apology begins.
Ever since I turned 30, everyone wants to know how it feels and I tell them, so far, it’s the same as when I turned 29. But even I know 30 is one of those ages people think about long before we get to it. I don’t know exactly where I wanted to be when I turned 30, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t want it to be here, broke, still trying to make ends meet. But I’m a writer, I kind of signed up for this struggle, and I refuse to give up on it because I see too many successful writers who have made a career for themselves, bought houses and cars and supported families off the strength of their craft.
I wrote about this to some extent a couple of weeks ago, acquiring the skills to learn how to make this craft of mine a viable business. So I won’t dwell on it here. But rather, I want to talk about my next process I plan to undergo, it’s starting with a fast I was inspired to do after attending church yesterday, and it will carry on for about the next month.
At the church service I went to Wednesday evening, the preacher read from Genesis, Chapter 4, verses 1-10. Those in the know are aware the story in this portion of the chapter is about Caine and his brother Abel, who Caine murders. This, as a result of God choosing to accept Abel’s harvest over Caine’s.
From this scripture, the preacher spoke to the congregation about the importance of being honest with our emotions. As he took to the story to point out, had Caine been honest with God about the way he felt, and expressed his displeasure with what God chose, the resentment he felt towards his brother could have subsided, but instead, it resulted in a most unfortunate demise.
The preacher’s message resonated deeply. I can’t say his words were a revelation so much as they were a reminder of something I too once told people: Real honesty starts with ourselves. If we ever want to be honest with the facts, we must first be honest about our feelings. I have lost sight of that, and though I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I did, I don’t think it’s as important as knowing it now.
I’ve talked before about dating women who go to the gym almost obsessively and how though I appreciated their efforts, it gave me some sort of complex.
For a long time, I worked out from the comforts of my home, but I only did the type of exercises I thought everyone did. They were the typical push-ups and sit-ups, nothing more, nothing less. As it turned out, those workouts were effective, and I did start to see some results, but that was almost four years ago, and I only kept it up for probably eight months.
Then, when I was in a relationship with a gym rat, I joined the gym too, only to stop going two months after. Once the gym sessions stopped, working out from home altogether stopped, and for about two years, I let myself go.
But this year, since October, as anyone who reads my process updates knows, I’ve been on a new health and fitness kick. I’m eating differently, exercising six days a week, and it’s made a huge impact on not only the way I feel physically, but it’s also affected my thinking about a lot of other things, including the kind of women I would like to date.
My Pop was a construction worker, and one thing you learn very quickly being raised by a construction worker is there’s a tool to fix everything. From the time he moved in when I was in kindergarten to the time I was a freshman in high school when he and my mom separated, I never saw one repair man come to our place. But for reasons I won’t get into, I never fully grasped how important that concept was, no matter how much he tried to instill it into me.
It takes balls to be with a woman — huge, massive, obstructing-the-view-of-the-sun, balls.
I’m not talking about having the guts to be her boyfriend, or sleep with her, or ask her hand in marriage so he could be her husband. The fortitude I speak of is required no matter what scenario a man finds himself in with a woman. Whatever the status is between a man and a woman, even if they’re in the most casual of commitments, the requirement for all men, whenever in the company of women, is to never be afraid of anything.
I understand women understand, but I don’t know to what extent.
This was the sentiment I felt after reading the comments on last week’s post, “So She Wants To Get Married”. A lot of the women who commented said they could understand what some men mean when they say they want to establish themselves before they get married, especially after I listed the laundry list of issues I have that prevent me from doing so. So for some, I’m glad I could clear things up, and for the others who still felt a woman can help a man overcome all of the things I listed, it’s been duly noted. But it still doesn’t make me any more comfortable with the idea of being a woman’s husband. And when I thought more about what I wrote last week, I realized I’m not even really prepared to be a woman’s boyfriend.