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Archive for April, 2014

How To Talk About A Broken Family

April 24th, 2014 1 comment

I grew up in a family that could be termed many things: Non-traditional, blended, broken, or dysfunctional. Whatever you want to call it, for the past 50 years, Doyle was there. He was Doyle, he was Dad; throughout those years I referred to him either way depending on my mood or his. More so as dad in the later years and when speaking of him to others I always said, “My dad.”

Today, those words will be spoken by mother at my grandfather’s eulogy. Doyle died last Monday, April 14 at the age of 81 after a short battle with leukemia. The funeral will be in California. My mother and I talked briefly about whether or not I should fly out to attend, but times are lean these days, and we both quickly decided it would be best if I stay here, so I will not be attending. This was not an easy decision, but it also hasn’t been hard to accept.

Though I loved my grandfather (a man who I also referred to by first name and family title whenever it suited me), his death has not affected me deeply. I have cried, yes, but not over the loss so much as the toll it’s taken on my mother, on my grandmother. I was told my niece, who is three-and-a-half years old, and who did have a relationship with my grandfather, woke up in the middle of the night the night before he died and told my sister she doesn’t want “Grandpa to be an angel.”

That has been the only time I broke down.

Outside of that moment, even my closest friends are just finding out about my grandfather’s death as they read this post. I haven’t told my co-workers because there is no need for me to take off work nor has his death affected my performance. I am not “going through it,” as they say. Of course, Gina knows. I told her, and I’ve talked at length about things I feel during this ordeal, but opening up hasn’t been challenging, because as evidenced by this blog, expressing myself emotionally has never been an issue.

The biggest challenge for me, personally, is talking about the dynamics of my family in talking about my grandfather’s death.

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Why I’m Not Attending Church With My Girlfriend

April 15th, 2014 3 comments

On our very first date, Gina and I were already talking about our faith. She is Catholic and I am a former Catholic who now identifies as a practicing Baptist church goer. Even though we attend different churches of different faiths, I appreciated how both of us had a very similar outlook on the way we felt about our religious activities. Like me, Gina doesn’t evangelize to others nor sees a need to do so. Like me, she sees her faith as a personal thing that she keeps close to her chest. Like me, she doesn’t need to debate with other people who disagree with her faith, nor justify it to anyone, and she doesn’t need other people to attend church every Sunday with her.

Only two or three weeks had gone by before Gina started asking me if I wanted to go to church with her. This was right in the middle of the football season, and for years I have a tradition of going to my brother’s every Sunday to watch the games. It is he and I’s quality time, and I never have any qualms about choosing to be there instead of a service. Gina understood this, but to her credit, she never let it detour her from asking week in and week out. The one time I agreed was because the church she attends is literally around the corner from my brother’s and she was joining me to watch the Super Bowl at his place (and to meet him for the first time), so we went to a 5:30 mass that was so quick, Gina was convinced they ended it early because of the game.

I did not attend the mass kicking and screaming. There was no hesitation in my accepting her invitation, but if I’m being honest, I did feel like I was being put on the spot. I know that wasn’t Gina’s intent, that her timing was more a matter of circumstance than trickery, so I went, because if I declined, I knew it would send a message I was not entirely comfortable sending: Going to church is not important to me.

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Three Dating Tips For Guys I Gave on ‘Sway In The Morning’

April 11th, 2014 4 comments

Last week, I had the privilege of appearing on Sway In The Morning on SiriusXM Channel, Shade45 for a segment called First Aid with Kelly Kinkaid. I was brought in to discuss dating during the Spring/Summer season, but as with most live radio, things can unexpectedly go into a different direction.

I’ve gotten to the point now where most appearances don’t make me nervous, but admittedly, sitting down with Sway had me rubbing my hands on my jeans to get the sweat off. Personally, Sway has been one of my media heroes. His most remarkable trait is how straightforward he is with all his guests, no matter who it is. From the rapper we have never heard of to Barack Obama, Sway’s questions may change but the guy doesn’t. There is no code switching going on. He was sitting to my right, as you will see, and Kelly was on my left. Props to her as well for making me feel like I had the credibility to be given the platform to speak on this topic.

So I’m sitting in between both of them, and waiting for the questions come to me. I’m expecting us to talk about how to navigate the dating scene during the warmer months when folks start seeing more skin. This is a conversation I’ve prepared for in my head, but out of nowhere, Sway hits me with a question for which I was not prepared.

“What are three things, as men,we should be doing?”

I had no time to prepare for this question, but I have been asked a variation of this question so many times, I confidently listed the first rule I have. But no sooner do I say my first rule (more on that below) do I hear a bell. And all of a sudden, in my head, I’m thinking, “Oh, this is serious! I don’t even know if I have two more.”

Fortunately, I know how to think on my toes, and I was able to rattle off the other two. Admittedly, I liked these rules I came up with, so much so, I am now going to share and expound on them a little bit more here. You can watch my entire interview on Sway in The Morning with both he and Kelly Kinkaid at the bottom, but get these dating vegetables first!

Here are my three dating tips for guys:

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