Category Archives: Uncategorized

How’d I get h… Hold on.

What’s the hot new show that you’re into?

Oh? Me? Nothing! I haven’t been catching up on anything!

You know what I realized? I have a very short attention span. I can barely keep myself interested. Why am I even writing this? (you want people to read and connect with you, Justin. Duh).

Remember when Television shows were 24 episode mini-series style? I had the patience of a monk. I remember waiting with bated breath for each episode of How I Met Your Mother each week. Remember that show? If you do, I love, you! Let’s be friends. If not, you should check it out on Netflix Hulu. Twas my favorite and I feel like I grew up (into my 30s) with it! It also felt like forever before I would be able to get the next bit of joy from Barney and Co. That might have been largely because I could never figure out CBS and the mountain time zone (seriously! 8pm or 7pm?!).

Now we have the joy of being able to consume a whole season of some shows all at once. I have literally spent a whole summer watching Friends, just because I could. Before you judge me, it was a long summer before I could watch any new Marvel tv after I had finished Jessica Jones, let’s be real. So you know, I did what I had to do. That’s right! I stepped up!

Or was that Joey? Ahem. Anyways. You can just waste a weekend and get caught up (because 3 days after a premiere makes you behind on things). Even with that, I find it hard to get started with anything new, simply because I can’t find it in me to sit still for anything other than movies or sporting events.

Somehow, this even translates into being distracted when I’m with people.

“I’mma let you finish, but MKBHD just posted his crispiest video to date! It’s all about mini electric skateboards and I wish that I could afford one.” “Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your bad day. KLAY FOR THREE!!! Tell me more about what went wrong”. In the middle of this rousing (read: convicting) example, you probably got a text message that requires your attention. Go ahead. I’ll wait for you.

Hey, took you longer to get back than you thought, right? Good thing I’m just the writer. That break was about 3 return keys worth of pause for me. 😀

Everything that’s out there these days, is all about distraction. We’ve developed this need to be constantly engaged with something(s). I can’t tell you how many times I enter a pause in conversation, or become the impassive voice in a group, then jump on my phone for engagement. People get on the bus, or on BART and instantly jump into whatever entertainment is on the 4 inch screen in their hands (ugh, fine. 6+ inch screen, you size queens). There’s something to be said about how it’s kinda impossible to be focused on something and only that thing.

What does it look like to give something/someone see undivided attention? Not in that: “I’m-clingy-and-can’t-let-you-breathe” kinda way. I’m that: “I’m-into-what-you’re-saying” or “I’m-feeling-what-we’re-doing” type way. Is it really that uncool to not have like 12 options at once? Is it lame, because what I’m doing at the moment is really all that I have going on? I think I read somewhere that to many options available can make you unhappy (that sounded scientific enough to ease my lameness).

Of course, I write this because I’m intrigued. I’m terrible at focusing myself. I’m literally writing right now, on my phone, as I’m riding BART. I am secretly hoping that looking busy and having headphones on will be enough for this “Nosy Nellie” on my right, to keep her eyes focused on something else. Also, the trip is boring. I need to distract myself from other conversations happening, or these damn bone breaking dancers with their shenanigans. I really want to just pick up, fly somewhere, and settle for a week. Somewhere where I can practice this focus. Being with myself and dealing with the thoughts that will come up, allowing myself to not be distracted.

Sounds scary, right?

Sounds like a vacation to me.


| I’m alive |

For a long time, I wanted to get a tattoo. I actually remember thinking that it might be my first “adult” act once I turned 18. On my 18th birthday, I hadn’t come up with any good ideas and instead, I got a piercing. A shiny, gold plated cubic zirconia in the cartilage of my left ear. That was the expression of my adult self that I settled for.

It took me 11 years to finally settle upon something and pull the trigger on that tattoo. Crazy right?! Some people get a tattoo on every trip they go on. Some people keep an idea around for a year or so, then they go for it. I waited 11 years to get sold on the idea that I had. Took me that long to find a way to represent it. Once I saw it, it was so obvious.

I’ll get back to that tattoo. I actually will! This is not one of those stories that spirals out of control and loses itself. Just be patient.

So, faithful reader… You might be surprised to see that I’m writing anything. You might not every have read anything on this little blog thing. If you did at some point (umm yay!) Thank you.

2 years ago this very month (give or take), I was dumped! I know, what the WHAT?!? Who’d let me slip through their hands, right? You’re too kind, reader. Really too kind. Anyways, I won’t hash out the details (again). I thought that I had something figured out! I was dating, I was leaning about relationships, and I was going to make something of myself. Earlier that year, I had been downsized from a job that I should never have taken in the first place. It was the result of being unhappy in a previous job and seeing the wiring on the wall way too late. I snapped up the second offer I got and it was with a company that just didn’t know what to do with me. From the beginning, the fit was never quite right. However, I couldn’t think of quitting. I would never have the money to do that. That happened though. I wasn’t sad about losing the job, I was a little upset about potentially becoming another black man without a job.

Anyways. I was freshly back from a trip to Costa Rica and I was dumped. I thought that this was the end of all the good stuff. I had a job coming along, but now nothing with this person that I had been imagining a future with and back to the drawing board. Having to forget her friends and family and all of that good stuff. It was going to be back to nothing for me.

So you know what happened to me 2 years ago. What’s up between then and now you ask? Well. I did what I always used to do. I started living because of someone/something else that was not good old me. I think that the biggest shifts for me, within maybe the last 6 or 7 years, were the results of me feeling like I had something to prove to the world. I had a run-in with a girl from my history and decided to lose about 70 pounds (which are, of course back on me, dammit). I wanted to show that I was good enough to be cool to her. This time, I started doing all the things that normal Justin would never do. I got into dating (HARDCORE). My friends were shocked at how many girls I was dating at one time. It was weird to keep that all together. I started going places. I flew to different parts of the world. I thought that I should be making up for lost time with traveling. I never went anywhere due to hatred of flying, but now I was post-breakup. I could do all kinds of crap that I didn’t know I had in me. I started getting over my fear of planes. I started living the life that I thought someone my age should’ve been living.

The kicker though, the kicker was that I always had this idea that I was just looking for redemption through all of that. People could look at me and not see this broken person, they’d see the guy who was flying all over the place and having all of these experiences. He was in control of his life and making moves. I had no idea that I was just hiding through everything. Of course, I was having a good time with everything that I got into, but it wasn’t because it was actually anything that I wanted to do. It was being experienced to prove to myself that I was being different, or that I had grown in some significant way.

This absorbed me for the last 2 years. Under the guise of living my best life, I was able to do all of these great things, but they still felt like they were happening to me, not like I was DOING them. Not like I fully chose them. It wasn’t until recently, that I realized that I was trapping myself in this behavior. I didn’t really have to be in any kind of relationship with people, because I was always gone, or there was always another person to meet/get to know. In this way, I was executing the perfect hermitage. I would make random appearances here and there, but I had more reason to lay low, in between experiences, because I was always out and about and I just wanted time to myself. A perfectly reasonable alibi that wasn’t a lie, but was definitely a product of my own self-shielding.

I did all the therapy during this time and it helped me realize that what I thought was depression brought on by my current circumstances was really a culmination of how I was feeling all along. Just drifting along and going with what seemed good had gotten me there. As much as I wanted to blame my ex for all of it, I was unhappy before she came along. It took me 2 years of therapy to realize that I did have an importance. I did have a voice and my needs were important to pursue and aquire.

Back to this tattoo. It took me 11 years to find a tree. I’ve always liked trees because to me, they signify patience. You never plant a tree and get shade from it in the same season. They take their time and when they’re grown they’re strong. A theme for me is that I always take my time to things. Whether that’s understanding a situation, or getting clarity about who I am. It will never be instantaneous for me, but the reward is greater then the time it takes to get it.

Seemed like I feel of the face of the Earth for a couple years, or that I was all over it. I was taking time to get myself right and discover that I don’t have to just float through things.


Never thought that we would ever be more than friends, now I’m all confused, cause for you, I have deeper feelings…

This is where it starts.

One morning you wake up and everything seems to be completely normal. Sun’s out shining, the birds are chirping, but you’re completely bored. Don’t mistake it, there are SO many things that you could be doing. The adult life presents nothing less than 1 billion choices and responsibilities (nap time, am I right?).

You spend time with people innocuously, you share a little bit of yourself and get to know someone. You enjoy spending time with them and doing mundane things together and somewhere the creep sets in. Initially, (if you’re me), you fight it. Technically, I’m not interested in girls anymore. I’m all about that single life! No more thinking about any of that stuff. It’s been a good run so far, but I’m only like 8 months into the mission. I’m seriously shortchanging the rest of my life, guys. Something is wrong with my math, or my head (either is a viable choice, actually). You convince yourself that there is no reason to be concerned, you’re steady in your choices and that’s simply going to be that!

For a little while, you’re actually ok like this. You get about a month or so under your belt and you don’t have any outbursts or any feelings or anything. Maybe you’ve beaten this thing! You, have figured out a way to keep yourself on the outside of things and you’re flying high. You’re also quite ridiculous and running on the fumes of pride, you silly, silly fool. So unassuming. So recklessly hopeful. hehe.

One day, you reach that tipping point… One hangout too many. One interaction that throws everything off. Some interesting insight, some drawn out conversation. Something pushes you back over the edge and makes you sit up and take renewed notice. Next thing you know, you’re chillin’ on a Saturday, wishing that you were in this person’s company and holding off from any extraneous communication, for sanity’s sake. Even better yet, you want to hang out with them during the week, or whenever you’re not in the middle of a meeting or gathering of any sort. Interesting, no?

In the back of your head, however, there is something exciting about the idea of being excited about someone. It’s been a minute since that was a thing for you and finally, it’s just more of a happy situation than anything else. It’s like a breath of fresh air and honestly, it gives you the desire to be open and let something happen, which was completely off the table after the last year that you had. So, what happens? Do you play it cool and let something happen, do you make a move and push forward, or do you just keep that little joy to yourself, in hopes that when another situation presents itself, you’re fully ready to go all the way in on it?

Like our friend Usher Raymond said: “Situations… Will arise. In our lives, but you gotta be smart about it”.
Tagged , , , , , ,

| Self Medicating |

A 5 year old boy pushed his bicycle and kept thinking: “I’m going to fall. It’s going to hurt. I’m going to fall. I’m going to fall.” He was comfortable with the training wheels. Honestly, wasn’t it kinda early to move away from that? He was weeks away from his 6th birthday and just wanted things to stay as he knew them. This brand new year and no training wheels seemed like a lot to take on. Where was the fun in this? This just seemed like something scary. Something an 6 year old would be able to handle.


His mom and dad were right behind him. They gently put their hands on his back and encouraged him to make the step forward. They said things like: “don’t be afraid.” Or “It’ll be ok. Just give it a try.” More than anything, they didn’t want their son to fall and hurt himself, but they knew that the initial hardships were worth the effort. Once he could ride a bike, he’d have so much fun. They could picture the squeaks of laughter as he streaked up and down the sidewalk. Yet, they saw the fear in his eyes and wanted to fast forward through the painful beginnings for him.

Eventually, the boy got through the hard parts and his parents slyly removed their hands from his side and they all celebrated together, once he realized that he could ride the bike all by himself.

I recently read a book called: “How To Be Here” by Rob Bell. I have no idea who this guy is, but in general, he’s written a book about being fully in the present. His bigger picture concept is based on the fact that the past doest write the future. The future doesn’t happen all in one go. All the stops along the way are what make for great learning and great experiences. There’s no greater gift than the present (cue the old joke about it being called that for a reason… I’ll give you the side eye and a second).

Sometimes we don’t take the risk because of something that happened in the past. We tried something and it blew up in our face and so whenever there’s a new opportunity all we can think about is what happened back then.

If I’m to be real, I’m  in a space where this is totally true. I am also in a spot where I am definitely a little jealous of where some friends are in life. I am 33 years old. When my father was my age, he had a wife, a 6 year old me, and a 3 year old my sister. He was already pushing forward in the world. I have no wife, no kids, no house, nothing. I’m living with two housemates and I don’t have a car. I’m surrounded by friends who are all married and having kids. All I can think about is where I missed there boat. I want these things, but it seems far off.

There’s something though, about trying to self medicate/protect. I would say I live a pretty safe life. I use my intuition to keep me safe and not make take many mistakes. This has served me well until recently, where I am seeing that this muffler of the road life… It’s missing something… There’s flavor being missed. No growth is happening. Failure is a part of life, however it’s something that I’m running away from. What does it say about me, that I want a perfectly content life without challenge? It sounds like I want all the spoils and none of the adventures.

For the last few months, I was dating 3 women. No, not 3 women successively, 3 women simultaneously. No, I’m not exactly brushing my shoulder off (shout out to jigga). I really wanted to try this whole dating thing after some recent events. I was constantly questioning my motives with each young lady. I have zero experience with dating, in case you were wondering (I know, I am charming. You’re correct, but it was just never anything that I was super concerned with). Throughout this time, there was one girl who I really was excited about. Through the process of elimination ( I got eliminated by one, I eliminated the other), I found myself going on dates with just one woman. Yay! Cue the rom-com music and celebration!

The last woman standing is the one I was most excited about all along (big surprise, right)? The problem is that I’m currently sabotaging that situation. We’ve been on 7 dates. I have a mental block about her. Can’t read how these dates are going, haven’t even tried as much as holding her hand ( now what do you think about that silly shoulder brushing)?

I had a conversation with a friend last night. She was legitimately questioning my motives and desires. I walked away from that conversation with the conclusion that I am definitely getting in my way because I am not sure how things are going. It’s like I’m looking for signs or guarantees that something could happen. Classic middle road actions. The problem with that is simple. While I’m fumbling around and waiting for an in, some self-assured hottie with a fresh ( Man bun? Undercut? Insert trendy hairstyle here) is going to take a risk and win her over, right in front of me.

Instead of making a move, I’m already pushing her away and steeling  myself for rejection. The problem is that it doesn’t have to end that way, if I get over myself. I swear, I’ve been in this spot before and the outcome was exactly that. It’s hard to learn things, isn’t it Justin?

Why speak on this, you ask? Well, technically, It’s my blog and I can cry if I want to… Wait. That’s not right. I like to think that if I write something down, I’ll kinda carry it out correctly. I realize that I have to stop protecting myself. I’m depriving myself of the gifts of life. Mistakes/suffering/pain are around to let you know you’re alive. You learn from these things.

I’m definitely  couple of lessons short of real living. It’s worth a try, I think.

Tagged , , ,

| Don’t worry, you know that I’ve got me |

I may have mentioned this once or twice, but I have trust issues.

I started seeing a therapist a few months ago, because I recognized that I have developed a pattern of extending myself to others, then flipping the switch and isolating myself from people. There isn’t a regular time frame to this cycle. I know what it looks like, however.

I am currently in the throws of one such cycle. I am observing the choices that are presented to me and I see myself making the choices that alienate me. My therapist asked me to identify what it is that I get from being alone, that I can’t get from being around other people. Why would I choose to be alone. My answer came quickly…


I will never hurt myself. I know my triggers, I know the solutions. Unless you have ever seen me react to a musical. Then it would obvious that you know those things can soothe me like none other 😉. I can (and will) care for myself better than anyone else. A big reason for this is because I just won’t let anyone else. To be more accurate, I hadn’t until the last year.

If you know me, you’ve unfortunately been exposed to this cycle (I apologize). I’ll be around and active and all about spending time with you, then I’ll just drop off the face of the earth. Sooner or later, I’ll emerge as suddenly as I disappeared, almost as if I’d never been gone.

If we are friends, I apologize to you. I’m ashamed to admit that in most cases, I keep things superficial. I’ll let you share with me when you’re hurting or upset. I’ll give you advice (whether or not you want it, oops). I’ll encourage you if you need a little push. However, I will not let you do that for me.

I’m sorry that I haven’t trusted you enough to let you be an ally. I didn’t think highly enough of you that I could trust you to keep a secret for me. I didn’t believe you when you thought that something I said was interesting or entertaining. I sold you short and thought that the strength of our friendship was directly correlated to how much I could do for you, in hopes that you wouldn’t notice me keeping you at arm’s length.

When I ask myself what I’m looking for, I realize that I’m looking for someone (or some people) that will have my back. I’m looking for a ride or die, a group of friends that feel like family, a steady roster of folk that I can enlist for my audacious adventures whenever the mood strikes. People that won’t pass out when I wax poetic about the genius of Timbaland or geek out over Pokemon Go (Yes, I’m one of those people).

However, this does not happen by magic. I can’t expect to find depth of relationship if I don’t dig a little deeper myself. So, after my apologizing, I would like to ask for some help.

Don’t be afraid to ask me the hard questions. Ask me how I’m really doing, ask me about how I’m moving forward in life, how I’m challenging myself. Ask me what I want to accomplish within the next year. Don’t take my wishy-washy non-committal answers. Invite me to get vulnerable.

I need all the practice that I can get.

Tagged , , , ,

| What is it that you’re looking for? |

The Awakening

Around this time last year. I was on a break. I was on break from a girl who, at the time, was a really good friend that became a little bit more. The general idea was that we both had some feelings for each other, but we weren’t looking for a relationship. We started hanging out as “more than friends” in April. By the end of June, the elephant in the room was her upcoming venture to Costa Rica. She was going to spend a year there, to teach English and get exposure to teaching English as a second language.

The explanation for the break was that she didn’t want things to get to deep between us, when she was just going to leave. It would be much harder to walk away from things, if they were allowed to progress. She was set to leave in October, so four months of interaction world be quite significant to leave behind. I didn’t like the idea, but I had to respect it. This was what she wanted.

The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that this woman was special. For the first time in a while, I was positive that there was something unforgettable afoot. I had this unfamiliar feeling of being brave and fighting for the exploration of this. I reluctantly admitted that it was ok to feel what I was feeling and that it was worth the effort to pursue things. I recognized that there was something special being built here and I didn’t want to run from it.

The Realization

By the middle of July, we were back in regular contact and were hanging out. We concluded that things were worth getting into and decided that we’d be open to things. We grew super close and eventually decided that a relationship was something that we could both get behind (and wanted).

The tl;dw (too long, didn’t write it) version of this part of the story is that I fell in love. I spent time with this woman and realized that I could have lots of things in common with someone. I did not have to hide how I felt and my feelings were ok. I felt validated. Most of all (importantly to me), I felt valued and I felt backed up. I had met someone willing to partner with me. We knew things would be difficult, but we were worth it to each other. I learned that I was able to feel and show love. It was lovely.

The Post-Mortem

About 10 months later, I was told that the desires that we’d shared had changed. What she previously wanted in life had shifted. She loved being in Costa Rica and wanted to extend her time out there. She didn’t want to lead me on anymore, she didn’t feel like she could put the work towards keeping things up. This devastated me, of course. This was the first time I had fallen in love. That being said, I also always had an idea that she would do exactly this. She would get out there, she’d love it, she’d be held back by this person far away.

Even though this was not surprising, the severing of our connection did throw me for a loop. I thought that perhaps there would/should’ve been more of a fight for us. I could be encouraging of her getting to know a different part of herself. The truth was, I felt like part of loving this person, was allowing her the freedom to do what she felt was necessary for her. She was not my possession, but my partner (as long as she was willing). Once she stopped being willing, it was not my job to try to convince her, but to support the decision made and try to move along with the rest of life.

The New Rules

I learned that I was able to be vulnerable. I learned that I wanted to be vulnerable with someone. It was entirely possible for me to give myself freedom to invest in someone in unfamiliar and scary ways. I finally learned what it felt like to fall in love and what it meant to truly be selfless with it. However, I had these questions left over. I wanted to know what I was supposed to do with someone else. How did that look? What was it that I was looking for? The only real issue that I could see was that timing was incorrect. How do you move on while still kinda hoping that things are only finished for the time being?

For me, it included being comfortable enough to put myself out there for people. I decided to start seeing a therapist. I wanted to dedicate some time to myself. I also thought it might be a good idea to stop saying no so much. Saying no kept me from some potentially life changing and memorable experiences before. Had I just said no from the beginning, I would never have gotten to know the joys that make pursuing love worth it.

I also decided that I was worth making time for. That includes opening up space for the expression/development of ideas. I get to make big moves like actually talking about what I’ve been thinking/feeling. I deserve to give myself space to feel things and share those things, which will make me better at communicating and recognizing myself for the next time that I happen to take a chance on love. It’s a move that is necessary and inevitable (hopefully).

Here’s to fully committing to me, to figuring out what I want, to being open, and moving forward thoughtfully. What I’m looking for, is me.

| You should go and love yourself |


I’ve only heard this song twice (listening to it as I write this). I can never say that I’m promoting the Biebs (even though we share the same name, I can’t completely hate on a Justin…), however, this Lil’ ditty made me think of some things.

Personally, I am learning every day how much I am hampered by the societal ideology of men being strong and unemotional. There are so many times where I feel like I have to react to things stoically or more accurately, suck things up. No one wants to hear a man bitching about how he’s currently feeling (ironically, people don’t seem to want to hear a woman do the same thing, go figure). It’s not in vogue to give in to such feelings either. Men are supposed to process things immediately and correctly. If you do anything less than that, you are incapable or you have been maladjusted.

This mentality, in addition to being the eldest child, has given me the special ability to laser focus on myself with such a sharp edge. Behavior had to be exemplary because I had a younger sibling or well contained so that I was not disrupting things. All this produces,  is a cyclical tendency to stuff things down until they cannot be contained, followed by an explosion of emotion. Usually, I was able to hold on to these emotions until I was behind closed doors or until everyone else had gone to bed and I was free to feel the feels and process them.

My default behavior, when not feeling particularly ecstatic about things, is to jump into seclusion and lick my wounds until I feel as if I am ready to get back into the swing of things.

As of November, I have lost my car. As of January, I have lost my job. What does this mean constructively? This means that I spend a lot of my time these days, sitting in my room. I am less than optionally active and more than optionally secluded while the rest of the world does their thing. Now, thankfully, I have had the foresight to start a certification program through City College of San Francisco. Thanks to this, my days are not completely empty, but even studying and doing homework gets sad after a little while. Additionally, I am in a long distance relationship. Along with that comes all the normal concerns and issues that one might expect when a significant other is not in the picture traditionally.

What does one do about this? How is self-love accomplished? Well, the first thing is actually talking about my issues. Which is super difficult for me, because I am still hard wired to believe that people work out their own issues. While some of my friends can attest to my bitching, it’s not as bad as it really could be because I don’t want to burden people with a bunch of noise. Everyone has problems, who cares? The truth that I have to remember is that everyone has a need to be heard. I love helping people so much, but it’s so hard to give myself the grace to let people help me. It’s so difficult for me to believe that there are viable options for me to open up to and get my thoughts out. One way is this blog! A lot of people wonder why I can write some of the stuff I write here. It’s largely because I need some way to process and this is a judge free (to my face) way to get that done.

So. How can I love myself and get out of this funk that I’m in? I’m going to start by realizing that I’m not a robot. I have feelings, I need to express and explore those feelings. I have the right to do both of those things and pursue happiness. I also have friends. Friends are not mythical beings that I can swoop in and be there for, at any time, they are real people. They are real options for me to spend time with, to speak with, and to trust with my feelings as I process them. Friends are resources for the advice that I cannot give to myself, or refuse to acknowledge for myself. I’m also checking out some therapy options. Talking to someone and building trust is a challenge that I have to accept to push myself forward.

If you are my friend and you’re reading this, encourage me to chat with you. Open yourself up for conversation. The more that I do that, the more I’ll hear things that I need to hear that are not part of the lies/silliness that my head produces (in unfortunately mass quantities). If I’m doing a bad job of reaching out (I’m admittedly horrible at this recently), holla @ your boy. I should definitely get out of the house more often.

It’s time. I should go and love myself. Thanks, Justin B. (Never imagined getting any inspiration from HIM. Perhaps I should start crying right now…)



Tagged , , , ,

| To my ride or die… |


Hey, you…

I know you’ve been confused about things between us, so I wanted to just write you a little something to clear the air and give the definition that you’ve been looking for. I’ve got a few things to say, so here we go:

My earliest memories with you were always associated with some of the happiest times of my life. We were tight, right from the beginning. Our initial meeting was fraught with a little apprehension. I had never come across anything like you however, you had this warmth and pleasant nature that I was drawn to. I wanted to have you around all of the time, but you were so hard to keep up with. We wouldn’t get too much time together in the early days, but you were always the life of all the parties that I went to. I knew that I could look forward to some time with you when someone had a birthday party, or there was some kind of celebration (graduation, new job, field trips, etc). I could always count on being tricked twice a month at school by someone who looked like you, but never gave me the right feeling.

My teenage years were some of our hardest times. Our interests seemed to grow in different directions. You were still down with the party crew, getting mixed up with all the cool kids and making frequent appearances at large gatherings. I spent more time studying and keeping more to myself. Sometimes, we’d get together during busy weeks when I just needed to unwind and take it easier, but most of the time I was always giving time to other friends. My mom successfully got me introduced to this nice little chicken and rice dish that grew to have a special place in my heart. However, I never completely forgot about you.

My young adult years were where we really reconnected. It was great to be able to see you whenever I wanted. You were around for all of the best times! I could get down with you at any time of the day. If I was feeling particularly adult, I would set up breakfast dates with you (because I could)! Usually, you’d be around for social gatherings, but we definitely spent some time in front of the tv and got to know each other better. With the expansion of my world, I found that you were one of the best travel companions that anyone could have. Although you sometimes liked to dress up differently, depending on where I was, I could always rely on the fact that you were the same, deep down. We had so many deep conversations in Chicago and even though you tried to act like you didn’t recognize me, we kicked it hard in New York.

Fast forward to today. I’m still feeling you like no one else. I can’t imagine life without you. I know in recent years I went through a long term thing with hamburgers, but you gotta know that this was all about me, I wasn’t unhappy with you. I just wanted to try some new things and she was sizzling hot, can you blame me? Also, to be real honest about it, you’re a terrible vehicle for pickles (whoops, this is not that kind of letter).


I’m sorry that I try to sometimes cover up my love for you. I shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the fact that I secretly want to hang out with you all the time. I can’t lie and say that you don’t make random appearances in my dreams. As I get older, I do realize that I need to make our time together more special/memorable. We’re only going to be in the prime of our lives for a short while, but I have to make the best of things while I can. I just want to clearly state that I’m all about YOU, I’m not trying to mess around with these flavorless patties in the streets anymore. It’s me and you, boo. You’re the pie for me.

Pizza, if you’ll have me. I’m ready to make a commitment to you. I only have eyes for you. Burgers be damned. I have been in denial, but you’ve always been my ride or die. Time for me to make the same commitment to you.

❤ ,


| Cheers or McLaren’s? |


No, that’s morbid. Why would I not be? Let’s start this again.

Hi! I’m back (and almost a year older!). Remember how I used to blog on this thing? Maybe I should try that again.

I had a lovely evening with a pair of good friends and they let me know that they were on a “secret” search for a neighborhood bar where they could become regulars. Out of respect to their search/results, I will not give any names up.






I almost feel silly for posting a general idea like the location for a bar of choice. I can feel the rolling of eyes as this is being read (love my sassy friends!). Hear (read) me out, though! Some people think that it’s best for a bar to be local and within walking distance. I care more about the neighborhood the bar is in. I don’t mind having to drive a little bit to get to a good place. I’m of the opinion that you can walk to your bar, or you can get a reasonable uber ride to and from your watering hole of choice.  As long as either is manageable, that should be sufficient. The worst thing is being stuck out in the middle of nowhere when trying to get to bar number 2 or proceed to any post bar activities. If it’s centrally located for any of your other frequent exploits, then you’re set up pretty well for a quick drink and subsequent shenanigans.

Cocktail Choices

There are a couple of things that have to be on point if I am even going to consider checking out your bar. Before I settle down, I need to know whether or not I can get certain things. Sometimes, I feel fancy and I want a mojito. If you are lacking mint, I want nothing to do with ya’ll. Seriously though, I’m always more than a bit miffed when I find an establishment that does not have ginger beer. I need moscow mules and the occasional dark & stormy to make appearances during my outings. If the place can’t make your favorite drink, it takes things out of the running. The other thing that I like dealing with folk who are up for a drink challenge. Don’t be so against the formula. If you’re too “by the book” I can’t drink at your establishment. This leads me to the next important thing…


Bartenders are an important part of the bar going experience. I don’t need to be fooled into the idea that you want to both make my drinks and be my best friend (although, to be honest, I will probably want to be your bestie if you make me a good drink). I like places where the bartenders are up for a challenge. One of my favorite places to go, back in my Sacramento days, was the Elephant Bar. I know what you’re thinking: “it’s a chain restaurant, the drinks had to be formulaic and weak”. The Friday night bartenders were not only super knowledgeable about drinks, but they were willing to have me stump them. I could come in and name a drink and they’d try like hell to produce it. I hate the kinds of bartenders that roll their eyes if you ask for a cocktail that has more than 2 ingredients. Life can’t be all jacks and cokes! Friendly people, knowledgeable about drinks, and not afraid to suggest great ones. That’s the dream!


Loud bars, quiet bars, big bars, small bars. So many options, which one is the best?! Personally, I like bars that have an inside and outside environment. If  the weather is nice, what’s better than having a drink in the sunshine? If it gets cold later, move the party indoors. I like a good, even balance of available options. Recently, I went to a place called Mad Oak in downtown Oakland. I loved that there was a good indoor space, if you wanted to sit and chill, but more importantly, the entire roof is a lounge area out in the open for those spring/summer nights when the sun is still up after 5pm. Another place that I like with that mix is Southern Pacific Brewing Company in San Francisco. The indoor area is huge, has many levels, and the outdoor area is pretty accommodating. I like the idea of options. Nobody makes baby drink in a corner! Also, there need to be cool folks chillin in the spot. I don’t want to be in the presence of a bunch of douchbee’s (what up bologna barb?!), but there can’t be a bunch of people watchers (that’s boring/too much like me).


I don’t know about you, but when I drink, I get hungry. Unfortunately for me, I am also really picky about what I’m eating. The truth of the matter is that a lot of bar food sucks. Thankfully for me, I spend lots of time in a place that takes their food as seriously as I do. The Bay Area has lots of establishments that also cater to those with pickier preferences than just bar nuts or nachos (actually, shout out to well done nachos. I’m looking at you, Royal Exchange). There has to be some good eats if I’m going to sit and spend a good amount of time at your place. This heavily factors into things. As a backup, I can throw it right back to the location. If you are at a bar that doesn’t serve food, they should be close to a place that does and will allow you to bring that food into the bar so that you can eat and drink simultaneously.

Little Extras

Lastly, I have a certain fondness for places that have the small extras. One of my favorite places is the Hobnob in Alameda. Not only do they stock up on ginger beer, but they have many games that you can play. There is a bookshelf full of board games and you can rent decks of cards from behind the bar. Another place that I like is Albatross in Berkeley. This place has lots of tables for playing board games (which you can rent from behind the bar). It also has a full area for pool, a dedicated area to darts, and cheap popcorn! The drinks there are also pretty good. Depending on what time of the year it is, I would also love a place that had tvs that could be paid attention to for sports events.

If I had to try to create the perfect bar for me to become a regular of, it would have the tasty drinks of Mua (in Oakland), the nice extras of Hobnob, the space of either Mad Oak or Plank (without the bowling alley, arcade, and shenanigans), and the foot traffic/ambience of Dr. Teeth (in San Francisco). That’s my random assortment. What kind of stuff do you look for in a bar? Perhaps we can grab a drink together sometime, if I haven’t offended you with my list of demands. I promise I’m a pretty chill guy…

Tagged , , , ,

| Imagine Me… |

“Thank you, for allowing me to see myself the way you see me. Thank You.”

There was a period in my life when this was a theme song for me (I know I have a new one of those every few weeks, but we won’t worry about that right now). The topic of self-esteem is something that I periodically struggle with. I find myself using minimalization as a defense mechanism. I seek out ways that I can keep myself from standing out, not wanting unnecessary attention. A manifestation of this is the recurring thought pattern that I have a minimized place in the world at large. When I’m not feeling happy, I tend to shrink into myself and become reclusive. My internal reasoning works on a rotation of the following thoughts:

  1. It will not matter if I don’t show up for this event(s).
  2. I will just bring down the mood of <insert group or event>.
  3. I am too preachy.
  4. No one cares about <insert topic I am passionate about>

In a candid conversation with my friend Laura today, I realized that these are silly assumptions to make. We talked about my tendency to find inconsistencies with other people, but ignore them for myself (duh, classic cliché much?). I tried to think of what might encourage these thoughts recently and, of course, it’s because I’m in a “less than stellar” mood lately. However, in the way of a classic encourager, I sought some examples that spit in the face of these reasonings:

  1. People do care about my presence at certain events. My friend Beth thought that I was dodging her (how silly, yet easily misinterpreted) by skipping out on events. I also had friends reach out unexpectedly, to find out how I was doing and where I was.
  2. I sent an email to my small group, explaining to them that I had been struggling for a while and wanted to let them know why I’d been missing in action. I got many replies with kind words and offers to help by praying/talking.
  3. When I get out of my own head and try to be useful, it actually happens. I have great experiences to draw from and they can be useful to people. Also, my opinions on things are not always radically different from other people’s opinions.
  4. Even though I was preaching the magnificence of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for a little too long, people appreciate seeing my passions.They lead to  great conversations and help me relate to people.
Ironically, I like to think that I have a low level of impact on people. The truth is that I have a high level of influence (it’s kind of cocky sounding to write it down, but hear [read] me out). I often find myself in positions of leadership, or find myself being told about ideas that I’d brought up. It’s weird to imagine, but there is some truth to the old saying: “There is always someone watching you”. When it confronts me (and it does) I’m always thrown for a loop. Today’s conversation with Laura was one of those moments. She broke down my impact on her and it was heavy. I really appreciated hearing it and it reminded me that I can change things. I can re-imagine me and change the way I live my life.
Who would’ve thought?