I get it now, I think…

{Pointing a finger to my temple}

“Put as much up here as you possibly can because it’s the one place they can’t get to. It’s the one thing they can’t take away. They can take away your family, take away your money, take away your freedom but this is the one thing that can’t be taken away. So put as much up here as possible.” – Joseph Scott

My father and I had a complicated relationship, which I suppose is apropos because he was complicated.

His life journey was complicated and for the longest time, I grappled with the decisions that he made and why he made them. Now that I’m a father too, I get him more. I think I understand him more now because I understand the pressure of being a father in this society and being a Black man in this society. It’s complicated. 

I’ve been really judgmental of my father over the years. For those that know me through social media, you’d be hard-pressed to find posts about father. Why? I was taught if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. So I’ve been quiet. However, now that I have the advantage of perspective, I think I can speak objectively and maybe help someone along his or her journey. 

Being a man in this society is hard because it is very difficult to balance all of the messages society places on us. We have to show strength but also show vulnerability, depending on the situation. We have to be relaxed enough to play with our kids but have enough rage reserved to kill someone if need be to protect our family.  I think about how I struggle to maintain this balance and I’m a damn psychologist. So if as a trained professional, I’m struggling, then I can only imagine the difficulties my father was having. 

Let me start from the beginning:

“Broken Black homes is the modern slavery, You can’t raise a savage and deny the rabies.” – Pusha T – Cold Blooded

My father became the Man of the House at 12 years old. I only know one story of my paternal grandfather: how he died. From my understanding, my grandfather was hit by a train. He was a gambling man that liked to drink. Apparently, this one night he made a lot of money at the gambling spot and drank a lot at the gambling spot. To get back to his house, he had to cross some train tracks. Usually he makes it. This particular night, he did not. Either he was too drunk and stumbled or he won entirely too much money, people weren’t happy and he was pushed. 

It’s Sumter, South Carolina in the early 1960’s and a Black man is run over by a train. I doubt CSI was on the scene doing a lot of investigating.

So now my father is thrust into this role of being the Man of the House. At 12, with no guidance. I’m sure he felt the same responsibility I feel now, which is taking care of your family and providing for their needs, because that’s what men do. I can only imagine what emotions he may have been feeling that he had to shut off because he had to “be a man.” 

When we’d go to Sumter, he’d tell me stories about how he lied about his age so that he could work at Big Jim’s as a busboy and waiter, using those tips to provide for his family, because he was the Man of the House.

Being the Man of the House made my father an adult long before he should have been, so much so that he called my grandmother, his mother, by her first name. Not once in all my years while they both were alive, did I ever hear him call her Mom. I’m a married doctor in my late 30’s with a child of my own and I wouldn’t even think to form my lips to call Mom, Nancy. 

So we have this kid, with no father, essentially no mother and nowhere to truly vent or explore whatever emotions he may have been feeling, living in a Jim Crow South. Now we’re going to ship this same kid off to Vietnam. 

I recall sharing with one of my past supervisors that around my 18thbirthday, I got a scholarship from the NAACP to continue my studies at Morehouse. I had to give a speech at a gala, it was cool. What stood out to me was my father saying, “On your 18thbirthday, you just finished your first semester of college and gave a speech at a gala. On my 18thbirthday, I was in a foxhole in Vietnam with bullets whizzing past me.” As I told the story, her eyes welled up and she excused herself. At the time, I didn’t understand why it touched her so much.

When you get a chance, Google Black Vietnam Veterans. According to some of the articles I read, there was this dichotomy of being American and fighting for your country, the same country that treated young Black men as savages and second-class citizens. There also appeared to be the notion that Blacks would expect to be treated differently upon return from war, which isn’t unreasonable. If I’m a soldier and I just risked life and limb for my countrymen, then I think it’s a reasonable assumption that my country would not persecute me solely because of my race. Alas, this is America. 

If one is dealing with inequities on the literal battlefield and then dealing with inequities on the figurative battlefield called home, then where is one to find peace? A lot of young Black men returned from Vietnam to find that they could not get jobs, as there was a shift from blue collar to white collar. There was a generation of boys damaged mentally, physically and emotionally by the atrocities that they endured in Vietnam. These young men were unable to get work, which led to a large increase of the Black woman becoming the head of the household. 

Unfortunately for the Black Community, a lot of these damaged boys became fathers but never healed enough to be emotionally available for their spouses or their children. A lot of them self-medicated, my father included. 

True story: I remember being a kid and asking him “What’s this?”, holding a dime bag in my hand.

My father said “Oh, that’s just tea.”

Fast forward to junior high, I saw one of my friends with a dime bag and I asked, full of youth and innocence, “Oh, you’re about to go make some tea?”

My father, now in his twenties, two tours of Vietnam later, is expected to function normally, with everything he’s been through, everything he’s seen and everything going on in America at the time. 

The G.I. Bill was an act that guaranteed that veterans could get low interest mortgage loans for houses as well as paying tuition for college, to ease the transition back into society. Of course, Blacks had a much more difficult time accessing these resources, as banks would deny Black veterans mortgages despite having government backing. The shift from blue collar to white collar meant that a lot of these young men would need to pursue higher education. However colleges in the South would make the admissions process difficult for Black veterans. 

It’s enough to drive someone crazy. It’s gaslighting. You need education to get a better job but we won’t let you get the education. You have the money to buy a house but we won’t let you get it. 

My wife says that I am loyal to a fault sometimes. Maybe it’s something I got honest. My father persevered and was able to access his G.I. Bill. Instead of buying a house for he and his wife, my Mom, he instead used that mortgage to purchase his mother and two brothers a home. In fact, he even sent money every month from New York to South Carolina for them to use to pay the mortgage on that home.  If this arrangement was 2019, my father would have just hopped online and paid the bank directly. Instead he trusted that the people he literally sacrificed his life for would take care of the fruits of his labor. 

They lost that house. The money he was sending, money he really didn’t have, never made it to the bank but I’m fairly certain it made it to the Pusherman. 

It’s enough to drive someone crazy. 

My current supervisor has taught me about the importance of context, that actions seem random or unwise on the surface but it’s hard to understand those actions without first understanding the context.

So if I understand that my father came from poverty, had no male guidance, was forced to be a man before his time, had likely seen and done horrific things in two tours of Vietnam only to be rewarded with racism, underemployment and betrayal by his family, how could I expect him to be a father to me? How can I put these lofty expectations on him?

I didn’t have this context. All I had was the 17 years on this earth with him of wanting him to be more, expecting more, not knowing that he had nothing else to give. All I understood of him was the rage bubbling under the surface and the distance. 

Unfortunately the standard in my community was and still is low. 

“Well at least he was there.” That’s minimum. But what does it matter if someone is there physically but emotionally distant?

All I knew at the time was that my Mom was waking up first thing in the morning, going to work, taking the train from Queens to Brooklyn in the height of the Crack Epidemic, coming home, cooking and making sure that I was physically and emotionally taken care of. 

Without this context, it made the infidelity that much harder to accept. Six years after my father’s passing, I found out that instead of one sibling, I have three others. An older sister conceived before my parents were married and two younger siblings obviously conceived during their marriage. 

I was livid and as the years have gone on, I have become more and more disrespectful and indifferent towards my father. I see how my mother has yet to let another man close enough to her to even begin to have a relationship, which I have to attribute to my father’s infidelity. 

“The audacity of this work when he feels like it ass n*gga to not only cheat on MY Mom but have a whole ‘nother family? He had time to take his ass from Queens to Brooklyn but didn’t have time to work consistently?”

In retrospect, the infidelity brought into question my father’s motives regarding my choice of college. I was deciding between Morehouse College and Temple University. My father really pushed hard for me to go to Morehouse with the rationale that it is a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) and that being in Atlanta, on that campus would give me a strong sense of racial pride. My rationale for Temple was that the world is not all Black and likely my world would not be all Black so I need to learn how to manage within a diverse population. 

I ended up going to Morehouse, a decision I don’t regret and a decision my father was happy with.

But did my father push me to go to school in Atlanta, knowing that his paramour and his other two children were moving to Atlanta and that he could always use the excuse of coming to Atlanta to see me so that he could really see her? I told you my father and I didn’t have the best relationship, so at the time I found it odd that he drove down to Atlanta twice in one semester to see me…

Maybe two things can be true at the same time. 

Maybe he knew that Morehouse would be a better long-term choice for his son’s future AND that his secret lover was relocating to Atlanta so it kills two birds with one stone. 

Maybe he did want to see me AND he wanted to see his other kids without raising suspicion. 

I don’t pretend to know. It just doesn’t feel like coincidence. 

Looking at it now, with context, I wonder if having kids was his only way to have agency in this world, to have power, even if he wasn’t necessarily financially supporting these kids. It still doesn’t even begin to make it right but at least I can somewhat understand. 

So we fast forward and now I’m a father. I realized that I try really, really hard at it because I want to be better for Mikki than what I had.

So I’m at every doctor’s appointment, we play, I teach her things. We have our morning affirmations. I don’t want to just provide financially but emotionally as well. I know that pressure comes from a place of wanting to do this better so that she doesn’t have to wonder or question if her daddy was all in. I want her to see a man loving a woman and being faithful to his wife, so that she knows what to expect. 

#thegreatestscott

I have a feeling that I’m not alone, that there are other men, my nephew included, trying to operate at a higher level and be a better father because of that absence or that lack of presence. But it is hard. Parenthood is hard. Fatherhood is hard. The expectations of men in this society, it is hard. 

I wrote this because now I understand how my parenting style is impacted by how my father was and that with context, my father did the best that he could, which all things being even, wasn’t that bad. 

In 2019, I want to give myself the permission to let go of the weight of this anger towards my father so that I can raise my daughter without comparison. 

For people reading this, hopefully you can give yourself permission to let some things go too.

#morelife

Respect and Protect

“The way you walk, that’s me,

The way you talk, that’s me.”

– Drake – Shot For Me

I don’t get to be who I am without the Black women in my life that molded me. 

I love Black women. 

I really can’t think of any time in my life that a Black woman has not played an integral role in my life.

Mother – Black woman

Sister – Black woman

Lifelong friends – Black women

Most involved teacher in high school (shouts to Ms. Woods) – Black woman

People who run the You Can Go To College Committee and essentially got me into Morehouse (shouts to Sister Shirley and Ms. Clarke) – Black women

Person who paid for my grad school applications – Black woman

Person who has mentored me since I was 20 years old (shouts to Dr. Castle)– Black woman

Person who convinced me to start buying clothes that fit so I wouldn’t be seen in grad school as a hoodlum (thanks Pam) – Black woman

People that convinced me to stop waiting and get Reel Talk out there – Black women

Wife and best friend – Black woman

Daughter – Black woman

Current therapist – Black woman

Current supervisor – Black woman

People I talk the most to at work beside the clients – Black women

Literally, my entire existence is owed to Black women. 

That’s what’s made this past week so hard. 

Working in a youth prison the last four years has forced me to learn about the law and have an intellectual curiosity about what different felonies mean. I guess I’m a forensic psychologist low-key now. Granted, I only understand North Carolina felony classes but when I heard the circumstances surrounding the Breonna Taylor case, I was like “Oh, this is Second Degree Murder. At the very least Involuntary Manslaughter.” 

In North Carolina, Second Degree Murder is when someone is killed without premeditation but involves reckless disregard for someone’s life. Involuntary Manslaughter is basically the same thing but carries far less jail time. 

In Kentucky, Involuntary Manslaughter is an unintentional killing that results from criminal negligence. The legal definition of criminal negligence is “conduct that presents an unreasonably high degree of risk to others and by a failure to exercise even the slightest care in protecting them from it and that is sometimes associated with conscious and willful indifference to their rights.”

Seems like bursting into someone’s house unannounced, getting shot at and then shooting back excessively is conduct that presents an unreasonably high degree of risk to others. Also seems like willful indifference to their rights. 

So they came with a no knock warrant, claimed they knocked but eleven out of twelve neighbors did not hear them.  After they came with the battering ram and then subsequently killed this sister, they didn’t even execute the warrant. Didn’t find any drugs. In fact, the dude they was looking for was already in custody. 

It made me think about all the Black women in my life and how unprotected they must feel on a daily basis. It made me think about what am I doing to protect the Black women in my life, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too. 

I’m tired of the demonization of Black women and making excuses as to why they are not worthy of justice. 

“Well she was dating a drug dealer.”

So what? She wasn’t worthy of justice because of who she used to date? Man, if that’s the case, I ain’t worthy of justice either. You know how many Christians with loose morals I’ve spent nights with? 

It’s scary. It means that the police can bust in my house at any time, unannounced and if I blow at them, they can kill my wife and then say “My bad.” 

The only charge is for the officer whose bullets hit her neighbors’ walls but not for any bullets that hit Ms. Taylor. 

So then less than 24 hours later after this horrific verdict, Tory Lanez releases a song and an album trying to address what happened the night Meg Thee Stallion was shot in the foot, by him. 

As a psychologist, I’m trained to try to understand context. So I listened to most of his album because I’m like, “It’s an open case, so he can’t say much but he can somewhat explain.”

I was engaging in clown behavior. 

It dawned on me how stupid I look and how stupid I sound as a lover of Black women.  You don’t always need context. Context for what? What we know is that a Black woman says she was shot by a Black man and even in being shot by said Black man, still didn’t immediately give him up.

Black women still protecting us even though we very rarely deserve it. 

On the song Queen and Slim, Tory’s version of the events essentially is that he came to a party that Meg invited him to and started heavily flirting with Kylie Jenner, even saying that he had a crush on Kylie. He and Meg argued while in the car and Meg, inebriated, got out of the car, cursing him out. He then implies that he shot his gun, trying to defend Meg against some people trying to attack her and she got hit in the foot. 

WHAT!?!?!?

(Sho Nuff from The Last Dragon voice) N*GGA PLEASE!!!!

Let’s say I believe his version of events. So this means three things:

  1. All of this could have been avoided except you had a curiosity about Kylie Jenner, a woman who looked like Violet Parr from The Incredibles a few years ago until she got copious amounts of surgery.

And I’m still looking at you questionably because you worried about Kylie when you have Meg Thee Stallion, eating WAPsicles? 

(Deep Sigh)

2) She was mad at you because you messed up and instead of making sure she got to a safe place, you let this allegedly drunk woman get out of the car, in a dangerous situation.

3) You are a horrible shot because instead of shooting these alleged assailants, you shot your girlfriend in the foot. 

Not only does he not apologize, he compared himself to Michael Jackson and Prince, musicians that got ownership of their masters and then began to have struggles, almost as though this is a conspiracy theory to take him down. 

He also talks about how he misses Meg and that she at least owes him a conversation because that’s what their dead mothers would have wanted.

I’m not a Black woman but I’m going to go out on a limb and say both of these deceased women would have wanted him not to shoot her. 

I’m not going to lie.  Musically, the album sounds good. Then again, R. Kelly music sounded good too. 

So if I can’t listen to TP2.com and Aaliyah’s first album anymore, I can damn sure live without Tory Lanez in my music collection. 

I’ve had to acknowledge some clown behavior I was doing. See I’m about consistency, so if I’m on White people about what are they doing to be allies, then I can’t turn around and blast Tory Lanez in the Q5. 

Shameless excuse to show the Audi.

So what am I doing to help Black women?

For one, I’m using this platform, telling brothers to be accountable for how they move when it comes to Black women. 

In one of the Reel Talk sessions, I address misogyny and how media can influence how one views women. 

I straight up ask them, “Why do we hate Black women so much?”

The clients never even considered that their behavior is hateful but how you treat someone matters. Respect the sister, even if she doesn’t respect herself. 

Similarly to White allies on addressing racism when they see it, I need us as men to not co-sign on any bull when we see it/hear it when it comes to Black women. We can’t tolerate any more disrespect in our presence.

They deserve better. Breonna, Sandra Bland and slew of other sisters murdered at the hands of police, deserved better. 

So brothers, let’s do better because we legit can do better.

Don’t be a clown.

Peace.

For The Culture

My wife and I were in bed, watching Teddy Riley versus Babyface, with apparently 500,000 other viewers, so much so that Instagram would not allow it to continue.

Like I said in my previous post, Teddy got drug due to the technical difficulties that were being experienced last weekend. Initially, I thought it was going to be more of the same, as they were struggling with the technology.

However we have to keep in mind, that yes, they may be musical legends but Riley is in his 50’s and Babyface is in his 60’s. I’m in my 30’s and Instagram is far as I’ll go regarding social media (No Snapchat for me) and they’re almost twice my age so yeah, they’re going to struggle.

The battle did happen and even though Teddy Riley still had some issues with his sound, it was epic and needed.

I felt like this was too dope and too fun not to write about.

Some of these songs, my wife and I weren’t outside yet for so I had to reach out to my brother in law, the multi-talented W.R. Franklin to school us on how these rounds should be scored.

I can hear someone saying now, “You wrote the songs down?”

Yes, I wrote the songs down because I’m nerdy like that. I stopped trying to score at the time because I wanted to enjoy the moment. It was nice to laugh with my spouse and trade opinions in the GroupMe. Plus Twitter was super lively tonight.

Out of curiosity, I went over to DJ D-Nice’s page and he was playing records but he was hot, talking about “if 500,000 people can watch a battle, then 500,000 can go register to vote. We partying with a purpose out here.”

So these were our scores but definitely feel free to comment if you scored it differently.

Round One – Right Here Human Nature remix by SWV versus Love Shoulda Brought You Home by Toni Braxton

Winner – Babyface

While I love a good remix (apparently more than Babyface), Babyface wins this round by sheer gamesmanship. Not only did he use Riley flipping a Michael Jackson sample as an opening to tell a story about the time Mike tried to holler at Halle Berry on the humble , he then used it to lead into her dialogue in the iconic movie Boomerang.

My wife pointed out that Babyface did a good job throughout of just editing the songs to the bridges and the choruses, kind of cutting to the chase.

Round Two – Make It Last Forever by Keith Sweat versus Soon As I Get Home by Babyface

Winner – Teddy Riley

On GP (general principle), Riley has to win this round because low-key, Babyface is a sucker for love ass dude. This will be a recurring theme throughout the post but just listen to these lyrics:

“I’ll buy your clothes, I’ll cook your dinner too. Soon as I get home from work, I’ll pay your rent, Your faithful lover. Soon as I get home, soon as I get home from work.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a fair share of caking in my day. But this feels extreme.

Plus we can’t ignore how the original Keith Sweat song led to the remix by Mariah, Nas and Joe.

Round Three – Rock Steady by The Whispers versus Just Got Paid by Johnny Kemp

Winner: Tie

Even though my brother in law hated their mustaches, it’s hard to deny this song by The Whispers. Meanwhile, in the Scott Household, we’re impartial to Just Got Paid, because for years, Fancy sings it first thing in the morning on pay day.

I could be just waking up and I’ll hear my wife say, “WE JUST GOT PAID!!!” and then she’ll start humming the song while dancing.

Round Four – Every Time I Close My Eyes by Babyface versus Get Me Home by Foxy Brown

Winner – Teddy Riley

I was outside for this one!! This song is still dope.

Round Five – Ready or Not by After 7 versus Piece of My Love by Guy

Winner – Tie

Round Six – Every Little Step by Bobby Brown versus I Like The Way (The Kissing Game) by Hi-Five

Winner – Tie

My brother in law went with Bobby Brown but I think it’s era but I can’t argue with his sentiment that for better or worse, no Bobby Brown, no Chris Brown.

Round Seven – Can We Talk by Tevin Campbell versus I Want Her by Keith Sweat

Winner – Teddy Riley

Can We Talk is an iconic song and it’s super close but the edge has to go Keith on this one.

Round Eight – The Way You Love Me by Karyn White versus I Like by Guy

Winner – Teddy Riley

I Like is a more memorable song. Plus, Karyn White appeared to be a Janet knockoff.

Round Nine – I’m Ready by Tevin Campbell versus Is It Good To You by Heavy D

Winner – Babyface

Growing up in New York in the early 90’s, the Juice Soundtrack was everywhere so I’m impartial to the Heavy D song but it could have just been a regional thing versus this Tevin Campbell song.

I have not strayed from my original position that Babyface is a sucker for love ass dude. Listen to these lyrics:

Sometimes, when I’m alone, I feel sad
I know you’ll leave me once again
And take my pride
And maybe I am the fool you call me
‘Cause I’ll be here standing
Waiting to here you say to me

I’m ready, (you know I’m ready)
To love you (to love you)
Forever (forever)
Hey love now
Come and love me forever more

I know you’ll leave me once again AND take my pride?

I’m not rolling but I was overruled on this one.

Round Ten – Two Occasions by The Deele versus The Show by Doug E. Fresh

Winner – Tie

Both of these songs are timeless and almost apples and oranges. The way they used The Show in New Jack City was breathtaking.

I think half-time is when things went awry for Mr. Riley. He was probably feeling pretty good about himself at this point. Then this happened.

Round 11 – Rock Wit’Cha by Bobby Brown versus The City Is Mine by Jay-Z

Winner – Babyface

Even Jay was “Nah.” It is one of his worst songs off of one of his worst albums.

Round 12 – On Our Own by Bobby Brown versus In The Closet by Michael Jackson

Winner – Tie

I can’t get over how Bobby Brown was performing this song live on national tv when his coke came out of his pocket and he just scooped back up like nothing happened.

Meanwhile, the drums on In The Closet still knock.

Round 13 – When Can I See You Again (live) by Babyface versus Before I Let You Go by Blackstreet(not live)

Winner – Babyface

Out of nowhere, Babyface just gets his guitar and starts singing When Can I See You Again, live on Instagram, sounding exactly like the record, voice still in shape just a few weeks after healing from COVID-19.

Me to Fancy: Teddy better go get that vocoder!!

I love this Blackstreet song but it reminds me of a dream I had a few weeks ago:

I’m walking down the street and out of nowhere a kid throws a shoe at me. I look down and it’s a Starbury sneaker.

“B*tch, you don’t even respect me enough as a man to at least throw a Nike at me. You gonna throw a $15 dollar shoe at me!!”

Then guy says turns around angrily, asking what I said. When I look, it’s Stephon Marbury. We have words.

Next thing I know, I’m the age I am now and for some reason, my crew and I are back on the Q77 Bus and it’s like high school. We’re on there, cracking jokes and someone made a joke about how I got crossed up.

“I never got crossed up, I always had on my Pennys!”

“The only time I got crossed is when I was trying to be different and wore some different type ish, that joint with the hand on the side that zipped.”

Oh the Gary Payton’s?

“Yeah those.”

So we keep joking about sneakers and then one of my friends goes, Damn you not gonna say nothing to your best man?

I don’t see him and then I hear a voice say, It’s cool, he can act like he ain’t see me.

It’s my man Dre but he has on an oversized black leather jacket and a Kangol over his face.

“Man, how was I supposed to see you when you over here dressed like Dave Hollister!!”

“Look at this One Woman Man, Before I Let You Go looking ass n***!”

The next thing I know, an angry voice calls out to me, asking what I said. I turn around and Dave Hollister is with Blackstreet on the bus and we have words.

Random, I know.

Round 14 – Whip Appeal by Babyface versus Let’s Chill by Guy

Winner – Teddy Riley

Another close one but I couldn’t roll with a song with him openly singing about being whipped.

Round 15 – My My My by Johnny Gill versus Deep by Blackstreet

Winner – Babyface

This one was not remotely close, like at all. Even though I don’t like how Johnny ended up trademarking the name of a group he wasn’t even originally in, it doesn’t deter from the timeless nature of this song.

Round 16 – I Get Lonely remix by Janet Jackson versus Red Light Special by TLC

Winner – Babyface

After Teddy played the song, Babyface looked perplexed and asked if he wrote it. Teddy explained that he didn’t write the song but produced the remix.

“Oh..I didn’t know we were allowing that. It’s cool, it’s not like I do remixes anyway..”

I’ve never seen anyone get s******* on so politely.

Red Light Special video is wild, got a young Boris Kodjoe out here with a full head of hair and a feather boa on with no shirt, grinding on T-Boz, looking nuts.

Round 17 – Superwoman by Karyn White versus Jam by Michael Jackson

Winner – Babyface

I reluctantly gave this to Babyface but Mr. Franklin was vehemently against it. “It’s a good song but it was a club killer. A DJ would play this in a club and the whole vibe would change and the dance floor would dry up.”

I’m sure that’s not the only thing that dried up.

Round 18 – You’re Makin’ Me High by Toni Braxton versus Rump Shaker by Wreckx N Effect

Winner – Babyface

I grew up on The Box, so I used to see Rump Shaker all the time and the girl in the bikini, faking like she was playing the saxophone, who subsequently married Bobby Brown.

Still, the word has always been that not only did Pharrell write Teddy’s verse but that he and a young Chad Hugo handled production on the song.

Even we ignore the likelihood that Teddy kind of made the song, when those horns drop and we see Toni in that wig and white catsuit, it’s over.

Round 19 – I’ll Make Love To You by Boyz II Men versus Nothing.

Winner – Babyface

By this point in the proceedings, the battle had over 500,000 viewers and the Instagram Live feed crashed. And Teddy Riley forgot to plug up his phone.

So that means the battle is over right?

Well, between Teddy’s feed and Babyface’s feed, they played five more songs. They were saying Instagram wouldn’t let them join the other’s feed to finish so they played songs on their own individual feeds.

Round 20 – Dial My Heart by The Boys versus Blood On The Dance Floor by Michael Jackson

Winner – Babyface

Twenty songs in and the man hasn’t even touched the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack.

I’m yelling “Get em a bodybag!!”

Round 21 – Another Sad Love Song by Toni Braxton versus How Deep Is Your Love by Keith Sweat

Winner – Babyface

Round 22 – End Of The Road by Boyz II Men versus Dangerous by Michael Jackson

Winner – Babyface

Reluctantly, I had to give this round to Babyface. But just take a gander at these lyrics:

Girl, I’m here for you
All those times at night
When you just hurt me
And just ran out with that other fella
Baby I knew about it
I just didn’t care
You just don’t understand how much I love
Do you?
I’m here for youI’m not about to go out on cheat you
(Maybe I’ll forgive you)
Just like you did baby
But that’s alright
I love you anyway
(Maybe you will try)
And I’m still going to be here for you until my dying day
(We should be happy together forever)
Right now
I’m just in so much pain baby
‘Cause you just won’t come back to me (You and I)
Will you?
Just come back to me

Round 23 – Count On Me by Whitney Houston versus No Diggity by Blackstreet

Winner – Teddy Riley

The cool thing was Dr. Dre called Teddy while No Diggity was playing. When he asked Dre if it’s something he would do, Dre was hesitant and said probably not.

The kids were saying that maybe Kanye could give Dre some run but I think it would have to be Puffy, just based on body of work.

Round 24 – Remember The Time by Michael Jackson versus When You Believe by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston

Winner – Teddy Riley

I think this makes up for Teddy not getting a song in Round 19 because I think by this point, Babyface was trying to be inspirational to people.

I think if Babyface was really trying to compete, he could have went TLC with Baby Baby Baby or Seven Whole Days. He ain’t even touch Shoop.

I think all Teddy had left was Don’t Leave and Groove Me.

But even look at that sentence: All he had left were two more classic songs.

So I have it 12-7 Babyface with five ties, even though I don’t agree with his thirsty desperate lyrics all the time.

We’re open to hearing how other people would have scored it so please comment.

Really though, we are all winners for being able to get something this dope for free. Pay Homage to the legends.

And I think my man Chubbz said it best: Babyface is the wedding, Teddy Riley is the reception.

Wise words from a decent man.

The New Normal

So after I beat the Roni, I went back to life as normal. I don’t say this lightly because so many people in my city have become infected or passed away, so I make this statement as humbly as possible. I’ve been blessed.

After getting over the virus, I started back exercising but it was really hard. Whenever I took a deep breath, I would have to stop running due to having a coughing fit. This evidence furthers my wife’s theory that I did have COVID-19.

She definitely didn’t want me going to the gym but I was going so early (3:45am) that there wasn’t anyone there to get sick from. It was pretty much the same eight people at my gym at that hour so I wasn’t worried. Plus whenever I’m at Planet Fitness at that hour, someone is always cleaning.

The following week, things were different.

Every other treadmill was closed. This is when the term Social Distancing came into the lexicon. I still wasn’t effected because I work out so early that my treadmill was open. A few days after the social distancing kicked into high gear, all Planet Fitness locations shut down.

I don’t think I felt really impacted until the gym shut down, primarily because my life did not change that much.

As an essential employee, I’ve still been going to work this whole time. I’m thankful to be able to live my purpose. As I get older, I’m cognizant that it is a luxury to love my job, which is a luxury a lot of people can’t afford.

But to not have the regimen of waking up early and hitting the gym has really effected me.

Running outdoors is a lot different than treadmill running. It was easy to talk tough about getting up early and running when it was cold outside, knowing I was driving four minutes to the warm gym.

But when that cold crisp air hits them lungs, it’s nothing sweet.

According to my Nike+ App, I’m moving faster but I definitely feel more tired. The reality is that I can’t assume that the gym is going to open back up any time soon and I’m not trying to gain the COVID-19 pounds. Plus even when they do open back up, I don’t know how safe it’s really going to be.

Mikki is a trooper

My little girl has been adjusting as well as she can considering things.

It is serendipitous that Mikki goes to a preschool with the kids of other health professionals and essential personnel, which has forced the county to keep her particular preschool open as essential.

So she’s been going to school this whole time, which has been a blessing because at least she has some normalcy.

It’s been hard to not physically be there to have church on Sundays and no dance class on Saturdays. It’s getting warm so she’s been asking about the beach that we know is closed. She misses going to the park to slide but she’s improvising and trying to get through.

Another unexpected positive is that the population at her school has decreased substantially and she’s the only two year old there. By Mikki being around older kids, it has accelerated her potty training. Now she’s only in Pull-Ups at night and loves wearing her big girl panties.

Being around older kids has also accelerated her vocabulary, for better or for worse. There was one day where she said “Leave me alone!!” and folded her arms.

We immediately turned into our parents and put an end to that.

“Who are you talking to?” is what I said. What I thought was “You don’t pay no bills in this..”

Overall, she’s been sweet and she’s growing. She has a personality and opinions. She takes pride in the things she can do for herself and her teachers talk about how she’s assertive and curious, which is a good sign of things to come.

Creativity

The creativity of my people is amazing. I’ve loved all of the Don’t Rush Challenge Videos. I love how Club Quarantine is a thing and what D-Nice and others are doing for the culture. I’ve been loving these Producer and Songwriter battles (I think the Ne-Yo/Johnta Austin one has been the best so far). I still think it’s interesting that no rappers have decided to battle during this time but maybe I’m just old school that way…

And while I can live without the bedazzled/designed masks, it reminds me that my people are going to be stylish no matter what.

My issue with the designed masks was that it seemed to make light of a really serious situation, like the coronavirus song. However, in retrospect, I don’t think it’s a one to one correlation.

My wife is so dope

I can’t keep writing without saying that my wife is amazing!!

In the midst of this pandemic, the medication that she has been on since we returned to the States was denied out of the blue (cross) by our health insurance.

This medication gives her the energy necessary to get through day to day. We think in the midst of providing free testing for COVID and getting killed on having to pay on hospital stays for people who are ill, insurance companies are looking to trim anywhere they can.

Just by them denying the medication and us having to follow-up with her doctor, who is barely in the office between social distancing and dealing with a f*cking pandemic, it buys them a month or two on medication that they don’t have to pay for.

I think they are banking on people not being diligent and persistent on following up. They have never met my wife.

Mikki crashing a work call

Despite not having her medication, she has continued to push through, being a great mother, wife and psychologist.

Granted, she’s working from home but she’s like working working, doing teletherapy with people who have nothing but free time now.

I didn’t help. A week or two ago, I was out from work with pink eye.

As a precaution, especially working in a youth prison, my job told me to stay home until I was 100 percent with something so contagious.

So there was one night where Fancy had an evening client via tele-therapy. I’m watching Mikki and trying to fry fish at the same time.

Mikki is like “I have to potty!!” So I rush her to the bathroom and make sure she’s good. Meanwhile the fish went from frying to burning. Now the smoke alarm is just blaring off in the house. SimpliSafe done called to make sure we’re good.

All during her session.

Next time she has an evening session, I’ll bake, on low heat.

Even in having limited energy, my wife has been on an amazing creative streak.

Yoga – Mikki still does dance class virtually, when we remember. But it’s not the same. My wife came up with the amazing idea of doing yoga via YouTube with Cosmic Kids and Mikki loves it.

Making Play-Doh – Mikki loves playing with Play-Doh so Fancy thought it would be cool to make our own Play-Doh.

I must warn you, it gets messy with the food coloring and sticky but it comes out pretty good.

She loves the dough…

Spa Night – The world is different, which means date night is different. My wife loves going to Cheesecake Factory but like I said, the world is different. Plus Cheesecake ain’t even paying rent so, there’s that.

So my brilliant wife came up with the idea for a spa night.

Run a warm bath, drop a bath bomb, light some candles, have a libation of your choice, throw the terry cloth robes in the dryer so that they’re nice and toasty, put on some spa music and have some massage oil ready…

Use your imagination…

Cooking with Mikki

Mikki is at that age where she wants to help and Fancy has been super obliging with her.

Mikki’s favorite book to read right now is Baking Day at Grandma’s, so maybe that’s a part of it.

Front Steps Project

I think I’ve taken more family photos in the last four years than I have in my entire life and I’m grateful.

My wife found out about this cool photographer Quinn Alexander that is doing the Front Steps Project, where photographers are taking pictures of families on their front porches or in their driveways, practicing social distancing.

She did an amazing job capturing us.

Follow #TheFrontStepsProject or #TheFrontStepsProjectRDU if you live in Raleigh to see if there are photographers in your area doing something similar.

Personal Playlist Battles

Again, the creativity of my people is unparalleled and I was looking forward to the Teddy Riley-Babyface battle before Teddy had technical difficulties that we subsequently drug him for.

But it gave me the idea of Fancy and I just doing our own version of their discography. Just gives a chance to listen to some good music and songs/groups I hadn’t thought about in years, like Az Yet.

Hopefully, their match goes as planned but if not, I still think it’s a cool idea that you can do with your partner, without IG Live.

Podcast Recommendations

I have a long commute so I listen to a lot of podcasts. Here are some of the ones I’m currently listening to:

The Wire: Way Down In The Hole – Jemele Hill and Van Lathan are doing a breakdown of every episode of arguably the best TV show ever made. If you’re a fan of The Wire or always wanted to get into the show, this is a good entry point.

Chasing Cosby – This one is a little more heavy, as it talks to a lot of the survivors of sexual assault at the hands of Bill Cosby. The men that don’t smoke, drink or curse and try to stand on a moral high ground, I’m always leary of those who claim to have no vices. The dichotomy of him positively effecting millions of lives through The Cosby Show and A Different World and causing irreparable damage to hundreds of women is an interesting examination.

All The Smoke – Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson have the most honest sports podcast on right now, as it gives players a platform to just be themselves. I personally recommend the Kevin Garnett episode.

How I Built This – As budding entrepreneurs, I find it interesting how people built their successful businesses, which seems to be the combination of a good idea, hard work, luck and investment money.

How I built this with Guy Raz

TTPOASM – The Traveling Pants Of A Single Mom is a dope podcast by three Black women trying to navigate the dating scene while being parents. The ladies are hilarious and insightful.

Insecuritea – If you’re a fan of the show Insecure, this podcast is for you.

Book of Basketball 2.0 – We’re starving for sports content and Bill Simmons has delivered, going back and redrafting some good drafts like 1996 and some awful drafts, like 2000.

TV/Movie Recommendations

Ozark – After three seasons, I think it’s time to have the discussion of Ozark being in the pantheon with Breaking Bad, The Wire and Game of Thrones? (Not sure how people feel after that ending….)

How To Get Away With Murder – The show is low-key absurd at this point and they take entirely too many breaks but similar to Power, we’re at the end now so we have to see it through.

Insecure – Just two episodes into the new season and already it is creating think pieces.

The Last Dance – I was old enough to know that the Bulls were going for a three-peat but I didn’t have cable so I didn’t have Sportscenter, so I had no idea the level of egos and money involved that essentially forced Phil and MJ out. It sounds absurd in 2020 that the greatest player ever was forced to retire because the GM didn’t want to pay the coach and the second best player on the team. Can’t wait to watch the rest.

Hunters – This show on Amazon Prime, starring Al Pacino is about people hunting Nazis on U.S. soil based on a true story. I loved it but it’s a matter of taste.

Take care of yourself and the people you care about.

Undefeated SideEye

We will get through this, eventually.

#greatscottz

I May Have Had the Roni

I came into 2020 excited. After the New York Times article, I launched my website and started getting contacted by various organizations about Reel Talk. People wanted to pay for (and hopefully still do) webinars, implementation and other fees associated with the program. 

I had two different conferences I was presenting at and working on a third. My copyrights were moving through. I was looking at publishers. My Mom was coming down to see the house and her granddaughter this week while my wife and I were at a conference in New Orleans. My sister’s pinning for her completing nursing school was in May.

My daughter is turning three in June and my wife came up with a dope theme.

I had some things in the works for my wife’s birthday in September, figuring I was going to scoop up these bags over the first few months of 2020. 

Honestly, now I’m just happy to be alive.

My wife is convinced I had COVID-19. And per usual, I think she may be right. 

So in mid-January, my wife took me on a cruise to the Bahamas for my birthday.  

It was fun just being able to connect and be away from all the responsibilities of our careers and parenthood. 

I got back and hit the ground running. I had a business call about Reel Talk and then had to go away for a three-day conference for work. I got back from the conference and then I got interviewed about Reel Talk by my job for their newsletter.

Life was good. About two weeks after getting back from the trip, I’m feeling a bit run down, but I figure apart of that could be getting by on five hours of sleep. I’m still getting up at 3:30 am and exercising, living life. 

I notice on February 8th, Mikki starts feeling bad too and she has this rattling sound in her lungs when she breathes. 

By February 10th, I have a slight fever, I’m achy and I’m super-phlegmy, coughing up this brownish, yellowish, greenish phlegm.

Still, I wake up on February 11th feeling fine and go into work. I get to work at 7am. By 8am, I feel awful but I’m like “I’ma be like Mike. I guess this is my Flu Game.

So I proceed to see three clients for therapy and administer an IQ test. My supervisor finds me in the parking lot to ask me a question about a case and sees me cough up this brownish, yellowish, greenish phlegm and in disgust says “Go home!!”

So I schedule a doctor’s appointment for The Mick and I. 

Turns out I have a 102.9 fever, plus the aches, plus the cough, plus the phlegm and the difficulties breathing deep. They did a flu test and it came back negative. This where my wife would say “It came back negative because you had coronavirus!!”

I didn’t get a flu shot but they can’t give me one because my fever was too high. They gave me something for the cough and told me to keep taking Aleve to reduce the fever, which led to my Mom sounding like Soulja Boy as she said “Aleve!!!?!!?!?!?”.

Meanwhile they say Mikki had developed asthma and she had to do these breathing treatments for a week to clear up the rattling. We end up getting her flu shot. 

I felt awful all week. From Tuesday through Saturday afternoon, I’m home. From the first night I was ill, I ended up quarantining in the guest room. This was only God’s intervention because at this point, we don’t know anything about the ‘Roni or that it could even be a possibility. By Saturday evening on Valentine’s Day Weekend, I feel a bit better and we end up going to see The Photograph aka Love Jones Lite.

You may say, “Oh I haven’t seen that yet.”

My simple response is: Oh you’ve seen it.  It may have had Larenz Tate and Nia Long in it instead of Issa Rae but you’ve seen The Photograph. 

So now it’s Sunday night, fever is 101. I don’t know what else to do except call my Mom, a Lady of Distinction.

I tell my Mom my symptoms and she says, “Well, I’m not a doctor like you but you can’t get rid of your fever because you haven’t gotten rid of the phlegm. So you need to cut the phlegm.”

She tells me to go to the store and get four lemons, apple cider vinegar and honey. My privilege starts to show because I’m like “Raw organic honey? Pure clover?”

My mother, being patient says “Whatever you want to spend child!”

My cheap ass opted for Great Value.

She also tells me to get some Nyquil Severe with Vapocool. 

I didn’t even know Nyquil had a Severe. 

There is a difference between what she told me and what I heard.

What she told me was to cut and boil the four lemons, add a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and use the honey to sweeten. After drinking that, take some Nyquil and go to sleep. 

I boiled the lemons, added the honey but instead of a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, I added a half cup. There was not enough honey in the world to sweeten that. It tasted like how I was feeling.

But I kept watching the fourth quarter of the NBA All Star Game and sipping on this concoction, telling myself, “I’m a savage!!” I topped it off with some Nyquil Max. 

I woke up feeling fine Monday morning, no fever or phlegm and haven’t had any health issues since. Mikki’s breathing got back to normal but then Fancy went down for a week with the flu.  Another part of God’s engineering is that by getting so sick so early, it forced me to go out and by disinfectant spray and Lysol wipes before it was impossible to do. I was just trying to wipe and spray common things, like doorknobs, light switches and steering wheels, to help keep my family safe.

We know the rest: All the toilet paper, gloves, wipes and disinfectants are all gone. People worldwide are dying. People are quarantined, schools are shut down and 6.6 million people have filed for unemployment. There are no collegiate or professional sports, no parks, no beaches, no gyms, no sit down restaurants, no barbers or hair salons. 

Things on the sports side are bad, to the point that people are going to watch an NBA 2K Tournament on ESPN. 

It’s dark times. 

I got a check-up three weeks ago. I’m in perfect health. I told my doctor everything you’ve just read. My doctor doesn’t believe I had the Roni and that if I did, half a cup of warm Apple Cider Vinegar wouldn’t be what saved me. 

Still, this is the same woman that had me taking Aleve to reduce my fever so I’m dubious regarding her expertise. 

These are the facts:

-I was down bad (as the kids would say).

– I drank Mom’s Mixture

– Haven’t had any issues since.

But I’ll let you tell it. Let me know in the comments if you think I had the Roni.

Please take care of yourselves and each other. 

#greatscottz #ducktheroni

Live Now

I work in a youth prison and we are not allowed to have our cellphones in the building. Plus we work in a rural environment and T-Mobile combined with an iPhone 5 is not going to get the job done out there so I just leave it in the car.

I was working visitation this Sunday when one of the staff said “You heard about Kobe?”

Nah, what happened?

“Kobe is dead.”

F*ck outta here!! Oh like how Eddie Murphy was dead?

“No cap Scott, they stopped the Pro Bowl and everything.”

When I went to CNN and saw the headline, I got this uneasiness in my stomach that I haven’t been able to shake off ever since I heard the news. I haven’t had an appetite at all. I quickly got to the fourth stage of grief, which is depression.

I didn’t go to work today. I didn’t have the mental energy necessary to excel at my job. Apart of being a psychologist in a prison is being lied to by your clients on a regular basis. Now factor in working around antisocial teenagers who have learned how to survive by any means necessary. I can’t afford to not be focused in that environment because I have a family I have to get back to.

Ironically, being sad about Kobe showed that I did not have the Mamba Mentality today. 

Obviously, I didn’t know Kobe nor have I met Kobe. The closest I have been to Kobe was when my wife took me to see the Lakers play the Cavaliers for Valentine’s Day a few years ago. I think he had like 40 on Kyrie that night.

I think Kobe’s death has hit people of my generation so hard because we grew up with Kobe. 

I was going into my sophomore year of high school when Kobe came into the league as a teenager. I was fascinated. Here was a kid with a 1080 on his SAT so he could have gone to any college. It wasn’t like he was a jock that was academically struggling and couldn’t qualify. But instead he wanted the challenge of practicing his craft at the highest level.

My wife pointed out to me this morning that he was randomly featured in the Destiny’s Child video for Bug-A-Boo.

And his prom date was Brandy. 

If you weren’t there, it’s kind of hard to explain how huge of a star Brandy was in 1996. 

But my xennials know, Brandy was a really, really, really, big deal.

So this person that was essentially my age, was taking mega-stars to the prom and going straight to the NBA. Felt like anything was possible. 

FILE – In this July 12, 1996 file photo Kobe Bryant, 17, jokes with the media as he holds his Los Angeles Lakers jersey during a news conference at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. He was 41. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner, file)

And I was in the market for a new NBA team. Yes I’m a New Yorker AND I couldn’t be a Knicks fan anymore. Between what is known in the Scott Household as the Charles Smith Fiasco and Pat Riley letting John Starks go 0-11 from 3 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals with two great 3 point shooters rotting on the bench (Rolondo Blackman and Hubert Davis), I just couldn’t put myself through the torture anymore. 

That summer, the Lakers signed Shaq and traded for the draft rights to Kobe. I was all in. 

You know the rest…

“My original goal was to try to win eight. And you push for it, you push for it, you push for it and you do the best you can, but at the end of the day you can be comfortable with the results with where they landed, where they ended up. That’s the most important thing. I can be really comfortable with the career that I’ve had because I worked as f*cking hard as I possibly could.”  – Kobe Bryant, January 9, 2020 – All The Smoke podcast(I think this was his last interview).

One of the things my wife loves about me is that no one will outwork me. She knows that I don’t know how to half-ass anything. She also knows that if I fail, it won’t be because the effort was not there. It’s how I’m wired, especially in relationships. Unless I reasonably believe that I have done everything humanly possible to make something work, it is hard for me to walk away.  The caveat is that once I have done everything I possibly could, then I can walk away without looking back, because I know I gave it all I had. 

Kobe had no regrets or struggles about retiring from basketball because he knew he gave it all that he had and didn’t cheat the game. I know that when I’m ready to hang it up, I know that I can leave with a clear conscience. I think we all should aspire to this level.

“I can be an absolute teddy bear at home with my family, with my kids and enjoying that family time. I’m really psychotic about having that family time, to make sure we’re doing what we have to do as a family. I’m doing school drop-offs and pick-ups, giving my baby a shower, I’m making sure I’m there for them as much as possible. “ – Kobe Bryant, January 9, 2020 – All The Smoke podcast

Kobe’s death hits us hard because he died doing something he will never see an award for, or featured in a Hall of Fame about: he died being a dad.

He gave 20 years of his life to a sport that he loved and he achieved some of the highest levels of respect for it. And in his retirement he turned that same Mamba Mentality towards his wife and four daughters.  

As new parents who are often challenged to balance the demands of our careers with the desire to be active, present and nurturing parents, we have so much respect and understanding for the priority Kobe placed on coaching his daughter Gianna at this point in his life. You can only imagine the countless activities, school programs and bedtime routines Kobe missed out on over the span of his career – sacrifices all working parents have to make. He did so with the expectation that there would be time to make up for all that lost time. We can’t expect that time because it’s not promised.

Death is an ever-present truth for all of us but when a celebrity dies, especially one that has been growing and maturing along with us, it reminds us of how fleeting time really is. So the Scotts have made the decision to live with intention. Use that sick leave, take that vacation, start that business. Stop putting things off for a more convenient time that you assume will come. 

My job will replace me, quickly, if I die. Yours will too. I remember doing a debriefing when we were living in Guam and while I’m going through the debriefing, they were already talking about who is going to take over this person’s job responsibilities. I remember not long after I graduated from grad school, I was working with a professor on a separate grant and she died, at work. I went to her funeral and by that afternoon, her job was posted. Hadn’t even been a week. 

The finality of death puts things in perspective. I’ve lost a father and we’ve all lost countless friends and family members. We’ve even dealt with our fair share of celebrity deaths over the years, even though Biggie would still be around if 2pac hadn’t lied.

But I know after hearing about Kobe and his daughter’s tragic deaths, I held my little family a little tighter. My wife leaned into reading Llama Llama Red Pajama and Please Baby Please ONE MORE TIME even though she’d had enough.

So I try to keep some perspective and I try not to take moments with my family for granted. 

As a father, the hardest part has been thinking about how in the moments of the helicopter crashing, all you want to do is protect your daughter and there was nothing that he could do, except hold her and tell her it was going to be all right, knowing that it wasn’t. As a mother and a wife, Fancy couldn’t imagine that in the blink of an eye, she gets a phone call and has to bury the both of us.

This tragedy reminds us that nothing is promised and that nothing is more important than family. I think the way you honor someone’s life in death is to value yours while you’re still living. 

With that being said, I’m going to go pick my pick my daughter up from preschool early. It’s the least I can do. 

And I know that Kobe would trade anything to be in my shoes right now, getting ready to pick his daughter up from school.

#MambaForever #LiveNow

Humbled

I turned 38 a few days ago and because my birthday also tends to coincide with the end of the year, I become more reflective.

So many beautiful things happened in 2019, things that were important to me. I was hesitant to even write this blog because I don’t want to seem as though I’m bragging or boasting.

1999 me? Oh, I would have been definitely boasting.

2019 me? It’s not where my energy is.

I haven’t spoken to or texted my cousin Katrina in a long time but she reached out for my birthday. I texted her back saying “I feel like blogging but I don’t want to seem like I’m d*ck eating myself.”

She texted me back saying, “You’ve had a phenomenal year and there is nothing wrong with chronicling your accomplishments. To know your story from the beginning, it would only be right.”

So here we are.

This year, I was reminded that God sees the whole parade. And I believe God was waiting for me to get to a place of maturity and humility before I was able to receive the blessings that I have. If I would have gotten them any sooner than now, I would have squandered them and I wouldn’t fully appreciate them.

The New York Times?!?

So this happened. A kid from Queens with a dream getting interviewed and quoted in the New York Times. I was interviewed about media being used in a positive manner to assist with mental health. I got interviewed because of a program I developed back in grad school that uses movies in a group therapy setting with adolescent Black males. It was all God engineering because the writer of the article, Patrice Peck, really went out of her way to get a hold of me.

She went to Google Hangouts but I wasn’t hanging out there. She went to my LinkedIn page but I wasn’t really linking with anybody. She got a hold of me through the one person who can always get a hold of me, my wife.

Fancy: A reporter for The New York Times has been trying to reach you.

“Word? Why?”

For a story she’s writing.

“Ok cool.”

Call her back, now please!!

Ms. Peck and I finally do speak and the rest is history. So the end of the interview goes like this:

So do you have a landing page that I can put a link in for the article?

“Nah, I got an Instagram. Do you think I’ll need one?”

Yeah, this is The New York Times. People are going to want to know more information about the program.

“Are you sure? The newspaper is a dying medium.”

(sighs) Let me know when your website is up and running. You have about two weeks.

For years, the people in my life that knew about the program, like my wife, like my girl Shannon from Baltimore and my girl Natane, have been telling me for years to polish it, copyright it and monetize it. But it was never about the money for me as much as it was about the culture.

Again, God sees the whole parade and knew that something drastic was going to have to transpire for me to not waste this gift that I was blessed with. The New York Times was drastic. I’m grateful for Ms. Peck’s foresight and her patience because I have been getting contacted by organizations about Reel Talk since the article. I’m thankful for the people in my life that were genuinely happy for me and pushing me.

Again, the timing is perfect which lets me know it’s God’s timing. The stigma of Black people seeking therapy has dramatically decreased and people are more open to seeking that help. So, we’ll see where things go.

Peace

When I wrote my blog about my father, I believe I was measured, balanced and honest. Above all else, I found peace in knowing that he did the best that he could, based on the life he’d lived. Writing that blog set the tone for 2019 in that I wasn’t going to walk around with unnecessary baggage. I felt free, like all the anger and resentment turned into understanding. And I was finally able to let it go. I hope everyone gets to experience that level of peace.

Some family members from my father’s side felt a way about the blog but none of these people said a word or reached out to me, which is indicative of how they’ve handled things since my father’s funeral almost twenty years ago. To those that felt a way about what I wrote in the blog, I pose a simple and fair question:

If I’ve somehow mischaracterized my father, I would be open to having that dialogue. Otherwise…what are we talking about?

We Bought A House

Like the kids would say, we bought a house house, with a Tiffany Blue door. It’s the type of house my wife used to draw as a kid, with mad windows. My psychology friends are probably making a House Tree Person joke right now.

I did not think we were ready for such a large, permanent purchase but again God knew He had to do something drastic for me to move in the direction I was supposed to go. I’m grateful to Progress Residential for raising the rent $250 dollars. Year One to Year Two, rent increased $50 dollars. Wasn’t super-tripping on $50 dollars. I mean, no one wants to pay an extra $50 dollars for the exact same thing. Year Two to Year Three and you want $250 dollars on top of the extra $50 dollars you just squeezed out me?

It still felt like an inopportune time, with Mikki transitioning from Daycare to Preschool and us exploring rental options for the private practice but what would have been more inopportune is continuing to pay someone else’s mortgage. Once I saw what Progress bought the house for (thanks Zillow) versus what they were trying to charge us for rent, I guffawed.

After consulting with my friend and financial planning extraordinaire Malik on exactly how much house we can afford, we went to a mortgage lender and got approved. About two years ago when we were looking for a new place to live, I was connected with JP, which my Mom pointed out to me in retrospect are my first and middle initials.

He was so cool and so patient when were looking for somewhere to rent that I told him that when we were ready to buy, he would be the first call that I made. And he was. Literally everything happened within a two week span.

June 26th – Got Approved, July 3rd – Met with the realtor, July 7th – Saw this house, July 8th – Put in an offer, July 10th – Offer accepted.

So when we were signing the paperwork on closing day, I had a period when I just busted out laughing.

“2049?!? We ain’t paying this off until 2049?!? I’d be like 70 yo!!”

Also, no one explained to me that only like $40 dollars goes to the principal and the rest of your mortgage payment is just interest.

Other house stuff:

  1. In my 37-38 years on this earth, you know what I’ve never had to buy until like two months ago? A rake. Why did I buy a rake? Because I have a yard yard. It’s funny because now I have my outdoor work outfit, which consists of some Carhartts, a long sleeve t-shirt and an old pair of Penny’s. I’m out here raking mad long, like Tre in Boyz N Tha Hood.
  2. I’m from Farmers Boulevard but I am not a farmer. But here I am in Home Depot with my wife, looking for winterized seeds and fertilizer, worried about how my lawn is going to look come spring.

“Well, Kentucky-31 grows in heavily shaded areas.”

How did this happen? I’m out here pricing lawnmowers and my wife wants the $80 hose holder, because women don’t like visible wires of any kind.

3. I’ve never spent so much time/money in Lowes/Home Depot. Add ladder to the list other things I’ve never had to purchase in my whole life until three months ago.

4. We moved in on a Saturday and I had to work on Sunday. I was under the impression that we could just unpack through the week. I finally took the necessary time off because renting a house is vastly different than owning a house. Renting a house will give you the false impression that you can manage owning a house. Owning is just different, you take more pride in it because it is yours. But because it’s yours, you have time to get things the way you want it.

5. I’m a doctor but I’m still a bum. So we have a wood burning fireplace. When we bought the house, I’m looking for the light switch to turn on the fireplace, thinking it’s gas. So I’m talking to my friend Dre, who just got married, who grew up in Queens just like I did:

“So the house has a real fireplace but I ain’t never have no fireplace before. The previous owners left us mad firewood though.”

Oh, all you have to do is light some paper so you can prime the flue on the chimney.

“I’m sorry, what?”

Yeah man, you just prime the flue.

He said it like he just be priming flues everyday and sh*t!! You live in Atlanta!! Like, this is common knowledge.

I was more concerned about burning the house down so I figured I should get the chimney inspected. The reason I’m a bum? I went on Groupon for the chimney inspection and cleaning. The Groupon included the inspection and cleaning for the first ten feet but twenty dollars for each additional foot.

So me being a genius, I look at the top of the house, figuring, push come to shove, we may have to pay an extra $100, thinking our chimney is 15 feet, not understanding that a chimney is essentially a big hole in your house from the bottom to the top.

So the inspector comes in and I’m asking if the Groupon will cover the cleaning. He laughed at me and told me out the gate that just the first floor of our chimney is ten feet. He went outside and measured, turns out our chimney is 30 feet.

So then he pulls out his calculator and I told him, “Ain’t no need for that. It would cost an additional $400 dollars to clean the chimney. Guess there won’t be no chestnuts roasting on an open fire in here this Christmas.” So he went on his way.

About a week later, I was telling this story at work and the IT guy was like, “Man!! (shakes his head) City boys. I’ve owned my house for over 20 years and I ain’t never clean my chimney. All you need is the Creosote Sweeping Log. It’ll keep your chimney clean.”

Then the shift supervisor comes asking, “Well, what kind of wood did they leave you?”

Me: (shrugs) I’m not a woodologist, how the hell would I know?

“Well, birch burns cleaner than pine and it’s less smoky.”

I will keep that in mind.

So I go pick up the CSL log and some fire starter. And then I go online to remember what Dre said about starting the fire. I start priming the flue and I get the fire going. My wife is impressed. We start to get sleepy so we need to put the fire out so I can close the damper and go to sleep.

Figured out how to start the fire, didn’t know how to put it out. My wife says use baking soda. Nothing happens. So I just go traditional and use mad water to douse it. Now the house is smoky.

Fancy: “How can you sleep with the whole house smelling like smoke? What if it’s carbon monoxide and we all die in our sleep?”

Me (half asleep, with a hint of sarcasm): We just got this house. It has a carbon monoxide alarm so if it goes off, we’ll leave. Plus, you can’t even smell carbon monoxide, we would just die (dozes back off).

Unbeknownst to me, my wife stayed up all night because she was worried about two embers she saw in the fireplace.

I abruptly get awakened at 5:30am on a Saturday.

“We need to get the smoke smell out of the house.” So I go downstairs and open up all the windows, in December, just to get the smell out. I talk to my Mom a few days later and she’s like, “Why don’t you just let the fire die out naturally?”

Never even occurred to us. So now, I set the fire early enough so that it’ll die out just as we’re ready to call it a night.

6. Chris Rock has this stand-up were he says, “You know you’re in a safe neighborhood if you see white women jogging outside.” If that’s the case, my neighborhood is mad safe. The neighbors to our left are Black, from Brooklyn ironically enough and the neighbors to our right are White. We by far are the youngest couple on this block so our street is quiet. It’s peaceful and we’re grateful.

My kid is tough but she’s still a kid

Mikki is amazing. In the span of three weeks, her entire world changed. She transitioned from the daycare she has been at since she was five months old to preschool. She went from being around two other kids to eight. She transitioned from her crib to a toddler bed. On top of all of that, she moved from the only house she can remember to the one she’ll likely be in until she graduates high school.

Granted she got her own playroom out of the deal:

And what was supposed to be my chair, she’s immediately jugged me

But it was hard on her. She cried hard every morning for about two weeks when I dropped her off at preschool.

Pink J’s on my feet, make my cypher complete.

She adjusted and started to maintain her composure but she still runs to our arms whenever we go to pick her up.

Then she started hitting peers, which we thought was weird because we don’t hit her.

“I’m a trash parent, my kid is a goon.”

What we realized is that she was at school from 7am to 6pm. That is a long day for anyone but especially a two year old. She was sleepy, hungry and violent.

So now we’ve shortened her day to now I pick her up between 3:45-4:15, which works out better for everybody because she gets more time to chill at home or the park and we get more time with her. And she’s stopped hitting.

Plus we’ve banned her from watching The Incredibles 2, which has also helped.

I bought my dream house, but I was having nightmares in it

So to be able to pick Mikki up earlier than 5:45, I had to change my schedule from 9 to 5 to 7 to 3.

Anyone that has known me an extended period of time knows that I am not about this early morning life but you do what you have to for your kids. But I was still trying to kick it the same way, sneaking in a game of NBA 2K, as though I didn’t have to wake up much earlier.

I had to get up earlier to work out. My time felt limited at work, because I needed to be back on the road by 3, 3:15 so I can pick up my kid in a decent timeframe. It felt like we always were taking about what the house needed. Plus Mikki is up by 7am no matter what so there are really no days off.

My wife and I argued more in three months than we had in the ten years we’d been together. There were times where we weren’t sure if we were going to make it, partly because it was so new to us for us to argue. What I realized is that I was tired. I was beat. So things that wouldn’t bother me before were bothering me. My filter was less. My frustration tolerance was so much lower because I was exhausted.

Partly I was exhausted due to my own expectations. It’s like owning a home made everything real and as a man, I felt so much pressure because I couldn’t allow my family to be homeless. Before I wouldn’t worry about losing my job because we can always find another apartment or house rental. But a house that we own felt different. I guess the stakes have always been the same as far as our living situation. If the rent doesn’t get paid, eventually you’ll be evicted so paying a mortgage isn’t any different in literal terms.

Still, for me it felt more monumental. Plus my default settings are to make my wife happy. So when she would point out that the house needed this or needed that, I would feel more pressure to make things perfect. The reality is that she was just making observations, not indirectly telling me that I had to fix everything. As a man, I believed it was my job to fix everything, on my own.

But what has made us work all this time is that we are partners. We have our individual strengths and weaknesses so we balance each other out. Now I sleep next to my best friend peacefully.

Health is Wealth

This time last year, I went to the doctor and she said I was 269 pounds. But really, I wasn’t worried about my weight until I was making love to my wife and I caught a cramp in my hip. I was like “Nah, I’m too young for this.”

Plus I was thinking that I have a two year old and by the time she’s 13-14, I don’t want the young boys thinking they could get an easy victory on me.

Happy New Year

I’m proud to say I’m down to 237. Well, probably closer to 240 after the holidays.

I feel great. I just about eliminated carbs from my diet, but I let myself have fries on occasion. Also reduced my red meat and fried foods. Not eliminated but drastically cut out. I run about six miles a week on the treadmill and then lift weights. I drink post workout protein shakes and usually a protein shake for lunch or a late afternoon snack.

I have a lot more energy. On workout days, I get up about 3:15, get dressed and get to it. It’s like my adrenaline carries me through the day. I have a lot more energy too for other things..Let’s just say, the hips ain’t hurting…

Did a lot of traveling

Mikki Passport

It was a big travel year for us. We saw SWV and Toni Braxton in Durham. We saw The Dream in Charlotte.

We hit Fayetteville for my uncle’s surprise party. We went to Savannah for a Married Couples trip and then I flew to Queens to surprise my Mom. We headed to Miami after Mikki’s 2nd birthday party and would’ve hit Orlando for the family reunion if we didn’t have to buy a house.

Ended the year off in Turks and Caicos, where my phone got water damaged, which I was told sounds mad bougie.

Crystal Clear Water

So I had to go from an iPhone 8 back to my 5S. Hard not to be humble when you’re still on the 3G network. But it was a blessing in disguise because I have to be choosy with my 16 Gigs. So no work email on the phone, which is really freeing. I have no idea what happened at work until I get there, which works for me.

I have less apps so I’m a lot more present. I’m grateful. My two year old daughter has a stamped passport. I did nothing to deserve this.

Ironically, as much as I had fun traveling, the best part of this year was celebrating the holidays in our new home and having my daughter wake up Christmas morning from her bed, in her house.

I’m humbled by all of the blessings I have been given. I don’t know what 2020 holds but I’m going to walk into it with the comfort that God sees the entire parade and that the timing has always been impeccable.

Arrive at Five (years)

In one of my favorite books, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discusses the 10,000 Hour Rule, which basically stipulates that to be successful in a field, a person has to engage in deliberate practice for 20 hours a week for a 10 year period.

43,800 aka the number of hours we’ve been married.

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It got me thinking:

“What are the things that we deliberately practice to make our marriage work?”

  • Prayer – I pray for the health and safety of my wife and child everyday. I pray for the ability to guide and lead my family. My wife leads us in prayer as a part of  Mikki’s bedtime routine.

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And although I’ve had my own spiritual struggles (i.e. How can oppressed people and the oppressors be praying to the same higher power?), I can’t deny God’s presence and influence in my life. I lay next to proof of His existence every night.

  • Laughter – We laugh with each other, hard. I‘d say at least two to three times a day, my wife is going to say something to me or vice versa that is going to cause us to bust out laughing. We have inside jokes and because we’re the same age, we have similar cultural reference points so our jokes make sense.

 

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  • Communication – I know, it may be cliché for me to say because we’re psychologists but we talk. We know each other’s professional struggles (i.e. Who’s cool at work? What’s _______ on now?” etc.) as well as each others hopes and dreams for the future. We’re on the same page about how we want to raise our daughter and how we want to utilize our financial resources. We know each other, so if something is off, we can detect that. I think most importantly is the desire to do the reparative work. We argue, certainly, but we always go back, talk it through and make it right. Ultimately, the foundation of our romance is our friendship, so generally, people fix things with their friends.
  • Quality Time – Turns out, my wife and I have the same love languages of quality time and physical touch. But if the quality time isn’t there to build that closeness and build that emotional connection, then it reduces the desire for some nah mean. It doesn’t have to be some elaborate date, but just being connected and engaging in an activity that builds that connection really helps. No connection, no erection.
  • Physical Touch – Everyone needs some nah mean. One of people’s biggest fears about marriage is having sex with the same person forever. But these same people have sex with numerous partners and don’t feel anymore fulfilled because people need more. While sex is important, without these other elements, the bliss is fleeting. But I get to have all these other things AND weak legs? Sign me up forever.

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Marriage is hard work but it should never feel like a job. But we work hard as professionals and as parents, so it was only right that we celebrate five years of marriage by playing hard.

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So five years ago before we flew to Cozumel for our wedding, we were in the airport in Atlanta and go to Starbucks for coffee and barista wrote Bride & Groom on our cups.

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Being that we were feeling nostalgic, we went to Starbucks despite their recent issues with people of our hue. This was our exchange with our barista, Infiniti.

“It’s our five year wedding anniversary and we were wondering if you could..”

Infiniti: “Say no more, I got you!!!”

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Our life is average. I should have known that a woman named after a car was going to mess up our request. But her heart was in the right place.

We celebrated at Secrets Maroma Beach in Cancun, Mexico, which we highly, highly recommend. It’s an adults-only resort so there were a lot of couples there. Vacation makes people friendly. The couple to the right of us had been married for 20 years, wearing matching NRA hats. They were with three other couples and they yelled out to us from the swim-out bar, “Hey North Cakalacky!!! Come do some shots with us.” These are people that would likely not speak to us if they saw us out in the States but on a resort in Mexico? Bottoms Up.

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These were some of our favorite things:

  • The Swim Out – It was crazy to walk out to your patio and then boom, private pool. My wife absolutely loved the convenience of ordering room service and jumping into her pool.

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Plus if the water was too cold, we could just fire up the Jacuzzi. “Can’t lose in the jacuzz!!” Words to live by.

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Plus the seclusion of the pool left open the possibility for some nah mean on the late night. Not saying that two educated professionals would do such a thing…

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  • The Cabana – When we wanted some variety away from the swim-out, Maroma is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

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While it is a “public beach,” it is so hard to get on to the resort that I don’t think a person can just decide he/she is just going to chill at Maroma.

While there are beach chairs, nothing was as cool as laying on a bed in the middle of the beach, drinks constantly being brought out. We felt extra pampered out there by our concierge.

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Also, this ocean water was the closest we’ve gotten to as far as Guam-level warmth and clarity. You can see the fish zip past you.

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  • The Food and Drinks – We don’t drink nearly as much as we did when we first started dating. I don’t know if it was parenting or if we just spent so much money on champagne but our alcohol intake has drastically tapered down over the years. Not on this trip.

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We drank so much tequila but it was high quality so we were never sick.

Drunk but not sick.
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The seafood was really good. I even had another Heathcliff moment with the fish.

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  • Pre-responsibility us – We do a lot of adulting. The majority of my decisions are generally filtered through the lenses of “How is this going to effect my wife and my kid?” I think it is easy to become sharers of information as opposed to friends and partners, so it was nice to not have to get up to work out, or get Mikki ready or deal with carrying around people’s problems and innermost heartache. While we don’t get a cookie for being grown, it was nice to get that Wake Up When You Feel Like It Sleep. We had absolutely no obligations as my wife swiftly shut down all timeshare sales disguised as welcome breakfasts.

“Don’t you want to stay for breakfast?”

We already ate. Thanks.

That’s why she’s the brains of this outfit.

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  • Re-development of our Love Map – One of the foundational exercises that Dr. John Gottman developed for married couples is the Love Map. Basically, a love map is all the space a person has reserved in their mind specifically for their partner. It’s where all the important and not so important information is stored. It may not be important to anyone else but if it’s important to her than it’s important to me. How can you love someone but you don’t know them?

It was nice to go out to get dressed up for my wife, take her to dimly-lit dinners every night and take the time to hear her innermost workings.

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People change, even grass grows. So it’s important that you don’t take for granted that you “know” somebody. You might have known who they were then, but do you know who they are now?

Here are some examples of Love Map questions:

  • Name my two closest friends.
  • Name one of my hobbies.
  • What stresses am I facing right now?
  • What is my fondest unrealized dream?
  • What is one of my greatest fears?
  • What are some of the important events coming up in my life? How do I feel about them?
  • Name one of my major rivals or “enemies.”

He has more detailed questions in his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, which is a great read.

Like I said, marriage is hard work but it should never feel like a job. Don’t put more effort and energy into your career then you do your relationship.

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As my wife always tells me, “If you die, your job will miss you and they will be sad but your job will be posted within 24 hours. So you can be loyal to a job or loyal to you.”

Choose wisely…

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#greatscottz

All I Need Is One Mic(haela)

My Nas fans will get the play on words:

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We’ve done what felt like an impossible task but it’s over. Our adoption journey is complete. April 9, 2018 marks the day that the adoption is finalized.

Some people are probably reading this like “It’s just now getting final? Ain’t Mikki like two years old?” But yes, on this day the judge and the courts made it legally official, even though it’s been official to us and our family since Day One.

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You read these stories about people having celebrations and taking pictures with the judge and it being a huge deal. Our experience was low-key anticlimactic. So Fancy drove Mikki near my job and we met in a Walmart parking lot. My wife was nervous but also hungry. Luckily, I have the Chick-Fil-A app.

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So after we get our Chick-Fil-A brought out to us, we drive to a quiet parking space and I call Starr, Mikki’s godmother via Facebook Messenger. Our court time was 11:30 am Pacific Time (we think the judge in Nevada was trying to make lunch or a tee-time).

Just before we’re about to eat, our lawyer calls from court and then puts us on hold.

Starr: How do you feel?

Fancy: I’m super-nervous.

Attorney: You’re on speakerphone in the court. Please be quiet until the judge is ready for you.

Almost exactly on cue, Mikki starts babbling “Aahh, Aahh, Blahh Blahh, Ma Ma, Da Da.” But her parents are defiant too so I can’t blame her.

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The judge comes on, sounding like Mufasa, asking us each individually, why we want to Michaela’s parents.

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It’s an easy but complicated answer: We love her. Loved her before we even knew her. When I would pray at night during this process, all I prayed for was that our child would be physically and mentally healthy. I didn’t care about gender or looks. Health, that’s it.

What’s cool is that we were blessed with an inquisitive, curious, persistent, funny little girl who also happens to be cute.

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So then the judge says “Are you sure that you want Michaela Ellis-Jolie Scott to be legally seen as your child in the eyes of the law, to be seen as your rightful heir, with all rights and privileges associated moving forward?”

Yes.

“Raise your right hand.” And like dummies, we in the car with our right hands up, like it’s a video call.

“Do you vow to take care of Michaela, love her and take care of her as though she were biologically your own?”

Yes.

“So ordered.” (Gavel bangs)

(Dial Tone)

No good luck. No congrats. No goodbye. Just hung up on.

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We made it to the finish line. The stereotype is that to adopt, you have to be rich and White.

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Well, we’re neither but we’re here. There were so many doors opened. So many grants and donations were given to this cause. We are truly here today because of our village.

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The last thing we have to pay is a $1.51 to our attorney. You read that right: ONE DOLLAR and FIFTY-ONE CENTS.

In our grant to cover our legal fees, we had $250 dollars left to cover paperwork. Our paperwork ended up costing $251.51. So we received an invoice for $1.51. I’m tempted to pay it in pennies but luckily I’m married to someone so graceful.

April 9, 2018 is our Family Day. Some people still call it Gotcha Day but we are sensitive to those that see Gotcha as a negative connotation on something so positive. And it’s a reasonable stance. When was the last time someone said “Gotcha!!” after something and it was good?

So we’ve opted for Family Day. As she gets older, we’ll spend that day, telling her adoption story, telling her about the day she was born, trying to find ways to honor her Native American roots and do a fun family activity.

But we kicked it. She put on a brand new dress. Her best friend came over and they kicked it. Had some cookies and chilled. These are her favorite cookies. Low-Key, our favorite cookies too lol. They taste mad good.

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Maybe Mikki will be like Steve Jobs, Dave Thomas and other well-known people that were adopted. Maybe she’ll change the world.

For what it’s worth, she’s already changed ours.

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#adoptionislove

Love Actually

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I started and deleted this post at least five times. There are really no words that can capture the way I feel about being married to my best friend.

She’s the reason I have a passport.

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She’s the reason I was able to direct a program with no grant experience. She’s the reason that I’m a father. She’s the reason that I am who I am.

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She brings an element of balance to my life that steadies me. Anyone who has been around me while I haven’t been around her for a long period of time can see the difference. The people that were around me during that month of Basic Training can attest to this.

Life happens and you get focused on building your career and being a good parent. One thing about being with someone about nine years is that you get used to that person and after a while, you may take that person for granted. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be the husband that has a little money now so instead of being thoughtful, I just buy diamonds. (First World Problems). I don’t want to be the guy that only sends flowers on Valentine’s Day.

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I vowed in front of God and fifty of our closest friends and family that the caking would not end.

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(51 if you count the random girl my cousin brought that made the comment to us at our reception “Y’all wedding was cool and all but when I get married, it’s gonna be different.”)

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For the couples that are still going through the adoption process, it can be hard and consuming, almost all encompassing. Try to be there for each other through the process. Try to talk about something besides the process. One thing that really helped us was limiting the amount of time we talked about it. Spend today remembering who you were as a couple before you started this journey and who you still are now, together. I can’t think of a better day to take a day off.

I haven’t done a lot of writing but lately I’ve been inspired. I wanted to start off the holiday of love right. This is for you. I hope you like it and that my pen isn’t too rusty.

Lucky
She became mine
Just when I was losing my mind,
Which is ironic,
Her being a psychologist and all,
But her therapy not only healed my mind,
It healed my soul,
Her kisses were like oxygen,
Her touch like the electric paddles,
Shocking me back to life,
And even though her potion is potent,
And has left me comatose from her overdose,
Her strongest muscle is not between her legs,
But rather between her ears,
And under her left breast,
Lucky muscle….

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Astrology

I study her moles like they’re constellations,

I close my eyes and run my fingers across them,

So I can read her body like braille,

I try to memorize every syllable,

There is no language I want to be more fluent in,

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How?

People often ask me,

“How did you know?”

The story has never changed,

I thought about her in my life and I smiled ear to ear,

And then I thought about her not in my life,

And I became very sad,

Then I thought, “What if this bus flips over and I never get to let her know how I feel?”

One month’s salary well spent.

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Shelter

We’ve spent hours with her head on my chest,

Sleeping peacefully,

As though my heartbeat is her sweet serenade,

Whether we lived in luxury or squalor,

She has always found home in my arms,

I promise she’ll never be displaced,

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Forever Free

I wasted good parts of my 20’s,

Thinking I was in love,

But really I was in chains,

Her love set me free,

Her love was my liberation.

My inside voice became outspoken.

And her belief in me fixed whatever was broken.

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Oh yeah, we’re in the process of finalizing the adoption.

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But that’s another blog for another day about the princess.

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Today is about celebrating my empress. I love you.

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Happy Black Love Day. Oh yeah, Happy Valentine’s Day too.

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