Tag Archives: Sunday School

Sunday School: Back to Basics

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“The older you get, the less you have to say.”
In The Mix With Trent – Season 9, Show 21: Play

My new thing is when a guy says/does something stupid I recite lyrics of a song that encapsulates the moment. I give myself bonus points if they don’t realize what I’m doing (most don’t).

It’s a petty little game. Fun, but not productive. But I honestly don’t know what else to do at this point.

The last eight years dating gay-identified men have been very, very frustrating. Mentally, physically and emotionally draining to be honest with you.

I expect parity, reflexivity, and accountability in all my relationships (not just the romantic ones). But it always seems like I put more work into the relationship than I get out. It’s hard to see people you’ve always been there for pick and choose when they want to be a positive force in your life. So I’ve made adjustments and things got better…lonelier, but better.

I tried to figure out what my last “successful” relationship was and sadly it’s the one I’m least proud of. It probably worked because my expectations were much lower. He made it very clear what he wanted (in my experience, most straight-identitfed men do) which made it easier for me to conduct myself. Gay-identified men don’t know what they want. If I hear “going with the flow” one more time I’m going to vomit.

I’m actually really enjoying my solitude lately. I’m just trying to figure out my next move. One of the biggest differences turning thirty is I’m no longer making major decisions reacting to my enviornemnt. I set the tone, I determine the course the ships sails. Ironically, I now think I fully comprehend why men always want the control.

They say if you always do things the same way, you’ll get the same results. So when Trent reminded me of a time long ago, when things were much “easier” I realized I may need to seriously adjust my dating strategy.

It may be time to switch it up again.

You can’t change people. The only thing you can do is be yourself. Be authentic as possible to and with yourself and demand that from the people around you. It’s really interesting how you force other people to be responsible for their actions and interactions as it pertains to dealing with you and they can’t handle it. I walk alone for a reason.
In the Mix With Trent – Season 9, Show 9: Mic Check

Sunday School – Cooking With Crab Meat

I was in love with a Cancer once and that is exactly what he turned out to be. He’s in remission right now, but every now and then that nigga requires a high dose of radiation.
Trent Jackson – Calm

Visiting Trent in the summer of 2008 remains one of my favorite trips to Los Angeles. This was my first time meeting him in person and he happened to be in a relationship. Meeting someone while they’re in love is an honor and a privilege. You see them at their best; always trying, always putting their best foot forward. I was able to steal some of that energy and get some great hospitality over that holiday weekend.

Weeks after my trip I inquired about their volatile dynamic.

“You obviously care a lot about him, but you’re always really stressed. He’s seems like a handful.”

The Sex Master in me would say there were many red flags: the boyfriend was too young for Trent (in my opinion)…there was just a lot going on. Ultimately there was just a level of maturity that wasn’t being met. But it wasn’t my business to judge and I tried to be as supportive as I could.

It wouldn’t be until I was in a similar situation years later that I realized what the exact problem was: Trent was in love with a Cancer.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Cancer men (including Trent’s ex-boyfriend) you just have to know what you’re getting into. Three things you’ll never get from a Cancer man: compromise, communication and consideration.

For Gemini and other pragmatic signs, this will be a long term problem.
Oh yes, the sex will be amazing if you channel the fiery banter you have outside the bedroom into the physical. But is that enough to sustain a relationship?

In their defense, it’s not just Cancer men. I think this gem about Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Capricorn, Libra) sums it up pretty nicely:

Many projects get started, thanks to Cardinal initiative, although a good deal of them are never finished. That’s because Cardinal folks are much fonder of starting things than finishing them.

Yeah, about that.

I suppose all this wasn’t new information. When I was younger, my family would go to this all-you-can-eat seafood buffet with the church. I would watch my sister spend hours using various tools just to get a little bit of crab meat out of the shell (even when they’re dead inside Cancer men crabs put up a fight). I just didn’t get it.

Digressing to the boy at hand. I had one saving grace: his love sign was Gemini. But would that be enough? Would I finally get the boyfriend I desperately sought?

Gary Cancer.jpg

Oh my indeed

Sunday School – Fatal Attraction

Once you’re connected to a person you’re always connected to them and I really wish my ex-boyfriend would stay out of my body and out of my thoughts.
In the Mix With Trent – Season 7 Premier

While it’s important to know what kind of partner you want, it’s just as important to know what kind of people you tend to attract.

I always attract men in transition.
It’s a consequence of my mental swagger: I walk around appearing as if I know it all (I don’t, but don’t tell anyone) and they flock:

Often they are recently out of a relationship.
Many times someone important in their life has left and they’re trying to fill a void.
Sometimes they want to try something new.

But they all come seeking one thing: answers.

Some are in and out
Some stay for a while
But the movie always ends the same: they leave…usually abruptly.

My truth, the reason I sleep well at night: they always come running back. But ten years of dating later, I realize the joke is on me.

I’ve spent so much time studying romantic clichés, I’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy of my own (#1 to be specific):

A man is painfully, helplessly in love with the heroine, but for some contrived reason is unable or unwilling to express it. Because he feels unworthy of the heroine he tries to scare her away by being a giant asshole – insulting her, ignoring her, humiliating her, romantically sabotaging her, making out with slutty ex-mistresses in front of her, that sort of thing.
(my emphasis)

Here’s the problem with the “I Hurt You Because I Secretly Love You” guy: shit can be cute when you’re young, green and just getting into the game. But over time it just gets pathetic. It’s painful to see intelligent, capable individuals be their own worse enemy, especially when it comes to love.

They’re in sexual purgatory as I like to call it. Punishing themselves because they don’t feel they’re worthy of love.

I used to try and save them…until I realized one day you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.

So I’ll take the subtweets
The calls at 3am
The unnecessary nostalgia
And I’ll file them away in Pandora’s box.
Let me ride out on the white horse I came in on.

Cause we don’t need another hero.

Sunday School – Get Myself Together

“When you’ve been the victim for such a long time, that’s all you know how to be.”
Trent JacksonIn the Mix With Trent Season 9 Pre-show

Reflecting on the birthday incident it became clear what the problem was:

The problem was me.

My momma called me last night, she said when nothing else fits pick up the pieces and move on.
Robyn – Get Myself Together

As a Relator, I prefer to spend time with people I already know. Over time this made for a situation where people were taking advantage of me without many consequences. Also, as a Learner, I’m able to adapt to almost any situation.

“That’s just the way such and such is,” I would tell myself and move on. Then one day I woke up, looked at myself in the mirror and said,

“What the fuck are you doing Tony?”

Thirty was looming and the lack of major progress since I’ve been back in New York was troubling. I devised a plan to restart my life…to press F5 as Trent says.

That’s really where The Rules of Engagement came from this year. It was a experiment with a simple research question: If you gave people enough rope would they hang themselves or build a bridge?

The bad news is several people had to be demoted (or cut altogether), but the good news is I haven’t been this happy since senior year of high school. I went for the changes that would yield the biggest results:

1. New apartment – my first time living by myself. Best thing I have ever done, honestly!

2. Promotion at work – I have a few exciting projects that need to leave my brain and become reality so I needed to find a way to bankroll them. I can be pretty persuasive when I want to be.

3. Love? – No, not The J.Lo album.
I spent a good deal of time thinking about why I was single and it occurred to me I don’t spend enough time dating. I took the time I used to dedicate to certain friends and directed it towards romance. Preliminary results have been great so far. 🙂

Gay men are often master masochists. Operating from a deficit for so long, unhealthy situations not only become the norm, they become desirable in a weird twisted way.

Black gay men specifically: I wish we could build each other up rather than tear ourselves down. I wish we had better priorities: individually and as a community.

But life doesn’t have to be seeped in Stockholm syndrome. I’m living proof of that. And I think I’ve set myself up to live my best life thus far.

Happily Ever After.jpg

An Introduction to Sunday School

I have to be perfectly honest: I’m one of those gays who grew up in the New York City Tri-State area and thinks NYC is the capital of the world so if you weren’t part of the New York scene you didn’t exist.

When I moved to San Francisco in July 2007 I tried my best to keep up with the NYC black gays. So when I saw Trent Jackson on the Nathan Seven Scott Experience (and subsequently on the Doo Dirty Show) I was like, “Who is this queen with the crazy Jheri curl wearing sunglasses inside?!”

It became clear why I didn’t know him: he was an author (I don’t read fiction). Further research showed he had a radio show, and I love podcasts! Besides, I couldn’t get Wendy Williams in the Bay Area.

So I listened…

and listened…

Four years later not only can I call Trent a good friend, I can honestly say I wouldn’t be alive without him (emotionally). In the Mix With Trent was my lifeline during my breakdown in California. It was refreshing to see another black gay man be so reflective, so introspective and put it out there: raw and uncut.

There’s a lot going on: child molestation, unnecessary shade, depression, weight/self esteem issues, etc. (just to name a few). But the beauty of Trent is he’s still here, still working on himself, still striving to live his best life.

One thing Trent would always say is “Listen to the message and not the messenger.” As we countdown to thirty and the release of his third novel Pop Life I thought it would be fun to revisit lessons I’ve learned from Trent: lessons you may be struggling with.

My hope is to showcase the most important truth I’ve learned in the last few years: we don’t have to like everyone, but we can learn so much from one another; lessons that can take us to the next level.

I don’t go to church anymore, but growing up my favorite part was Sunday School. As a Learner, presenting biblical lore in an educational context was much more useful to me than preaching. It’s time again for the gospel.

Get ready for church.