I’ve decided to introduce a new segment, to the site. I have so many great conversations with so many great people. Some of them I know and some of them, I meet randomly. With their permission, I wanted to bring you all a bit of those great exchanges. The first episode of “Foreigner Exchange” features my guy, Milton. It’s so great to be able to unwind and have fun little convos in the presence of wonderful folks. These people push me to use my brain at a higher frequency, understand things that I may never have thought about and, ultimately, help me to become a better person. I have a love for everyone and I wanted to give a little bit of that love back to the folks that are interested in my blog.
Here is the very first offering, from “Foreigner Exchange”.
Not much. I’m sitting here wondering what you’re up to…How are you?
Oh, Okay. Cool. That’s good.
Me? Aww man, I’m okay. You know, just trying to navigate this world that we’re living in.
Haha, yea. That’s true.
The funny thing is that I just finished saying that I’m trying to navigate “this world that we’re living in”, but the premise of my statement is oxymoronic, by nature, since the world is unique to each and everyone living in it…Whatever, you know what I meant.
Haha, alright, alright. I get it. I’m a nerd. I guess that I deserved that.
Anyway, I know that I don’t normally call you, but I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I thought about, maybe, not acting on it but it had been on my mind, more and more, in the last few weeks so, you know…I just…did it.
Ah, you’re welcome. I’m happy that it could make you smile.
They’re all doing well. Everyone had a pretty eventful summer. You know how my mom is. Always out and about. How’s everyone on your end?
Ha ha. Of course he would do something like that. That man is too funny.
So, there was a bit more to this call than just wondering about you.
Yea, I figured that you would have been aware of that. Haha, not the most subtle guy in the world, I guess.
I mean…I miss you, a lil bit.
Nah, nah. I’m not trying to convince you of anything like that. We are who we are, now. I just know that I enjoy your company and that I would like to see you sometime.
Wow, really? I’m so glad that you feel that way. I was so nervous about saying that, to you. Hahaha. Oh man!
How come you never reached out, though?
Hmm. Okay. Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m just relieved that you feel that way.
Great. So when are you free? Maybe we can go for dinner.
Yea, as friends. Of cour…what?
Because, well, when I said that I missed you, you said that you…
Do you really like him? (Nervous laugh) Stupid question, I guess, but, I just…I dunno.
Yea…yea…maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s not a good time.
I, sometimes, think that we, as guys, need to chill. I won’t exclude myself from this. I have the opportunity to be in the vicinity of both sexes during my day-to-day and I will admit that Montreal has extremely beautiful women, but there needs to be some perspective acquired, and parameters established, here. I make it a habit to be aware of my surroundings, as much as I can be. In doing so, one of my favorite things to do is to spot an attractive person (Male or female) and observe the reactions of the people walking towards or driving past them. I do that because I find it interesting to see how little some folks can control themselves. I won’t speak too much on how women respond to seeing a handsome man, in this particular entry. I will talk about us. The men.
There is very rarely any acceptable reason for a man to ogle a woman as she enters his field of view, and then to maintain that unfortunate display until well after she exits it. I find that offensive and extremely unnecessary. No one has ever said that it is wrong to acknowledge the presence of someone that you believe is aesthetically pleasing, to you, but there have to be clear lines drawn. Too often, what I see us doing makes me just plain uncomfortable. And that’s just me, not even being really close to the situation. I simply couldn’t deal with that nonsense, if I were a woman. A friend of mine told me that, once, while she was in the train, a man pressed up against her from behind and refused to move, even though there was reasonably enough space for him to so. When I first heard that, I remembered being mortified. She continued on to say that she never yelled or screamed out because she was afraid of what might happen to her, at his hands. Very few men, again including myself, have ever had to think in that way which, I believe is a big part of why these types of behavioral patterns still exist. Some of us are truly hypocritical, in that sense. I hear, see, and generally experience men being overly protective of their sisters, mothers, and daughters, but as soon as the context has been modified, some of those morals, with regards to the “object of our infatuation”, are more loose and we, a lot of times, begin to objectify in ways that they would never condone. To be fair, a lot of these situations occur whilst the individual is completely unaware of his actions but, then again, other times, we’re in our right minds.Regardless, I still hold us accountable because I believe that it is imperative that we use our intellects at full capacity when these circumstances present themselves. These women are our friends, our co-workers, the people that, when interwoven within the fabric of our lives, make the tapestry that much richer. We need to remind ourselves of this. Always. My rule is this: If you see a beautiful person walking up to you, and you didn’t have to courage to say something to that person while they are in or around your milieu, forget it. Move on. Don’t stay there, gawking at them, as if you’re trying to undress them with your drool.
I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want any guy doing that to my mom. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want anyone doing that to my sister. So I make it a point not to do that to any woman. I am aware that there are bigger things happening in the world, but I believe that, in continuing to be respectful in that way, I am making it easier for someone. At the very least. I have made my fair share of mistakes, with women. Whether it was saying something that shouldn’t have been said, or otherwise, I believe that I have been, and will continue to be, genuine in my attempts at atonement. This entry was not written with the intent to bash all men, because “all men” don’t do what I have been writing about. But a lot of us do and I just felt that I should present my thoughts on the subject. To all the respectful men, out there, I salute you.
I met Madie around eight or nine years ago. I had gone to a little place called “Blue Dog”, with a few friends, because a friend was DJing, that night. I got in there and it was packed with people. It’s a very small venue, so it doesn’t take a large number of folks to make you start feeling a bit claustrophobic. I also remember that it was really hot, in there. As we made our way through a sea of people, in order to get to the front, I realized that I was gonna have to start looking for ways to get back towards the rear of the spot because I hate the feeling of being stuck, among dozens of people with little space to move. Eventually I made my way to the back and met this beautiful woman. I had seen her dancing, earlier in the night, and at this point, she was tired and decided to have a seat…while still gyrating, on the chair (still one of my funnier memories). We started talking and she let me know that she was in Montreal to visit a friend of hers. I have never forgotten that moment, because that was the last time I would ever see her. We talked for a bit and exchanged numbers, with the intention of hanging out when she got back into the city but we were never able to make it happen. I figured that our connection would eventually fade because it was based on a semi-drunken encounter, but we maintained contact and it slowly began to morph into something altogether different . Be it by text, or through messenger, whatever the medium was, we would periodically let each other know that we cared for, and supported, one another.
The reason that I took the time to write about Madeleine is because I truly love her. I really, really love her. Throughout our friendship, she has been a constant example of ingenuity. A sort of muse. She has always had my back and always encouraged me, no matter the situation, since that very first encounter. I would like to highlight a part of one of our recent back-and-forths:
“I love you! You are enough…”
That comment came at the right time…
I had been dealing with a malaise of, exactly, not feeling as though I was good enough and she just hit me with a large dose of affection, and empathy. Empathy that reminded me that I AM good enough. People sometimes misunderstand when I say that I love a person, because I don’t say it very often, in the context of individuals that are in my life, or maybe, when I DO decide to say it , I don’t contextualize it appropriately, but I don’t care to explain that, anymore. That last message, that she sent, gave me confidence at a time when I was severely lacking in that department. I have no doubt in my mind that I will see her again. It will be a joyous occasion. I just wanted to do something different , with this entry, and show appreciation to a person that inspires me to live life with my spirit. To demonstrate love and compassion, and, last but not least, to be happy. Hopefully, I reciprocate that sentiment. Take care of yourself, friend. We’ll reconnect soon. I love you.
We are all victims of revisionist history, to some extent. It could be a friend that remembers things a bit differently than the way you do, or a parent who refuses to admit to mistakes made. Regardless of the instance, being a part of something like that, that you believe to be incorrect, stings. It stings because, in your heart, you know that things played out differently. See, but then the certainty becomes supposition. “Are they right about what they are saying?”. “I couldn’t have really been like that, could I?” Admittedly, we can’t be aware of every little thing that we do, over the course of the day, or we would not be as productive but, with your certainty wavering, you start wanting to comb through the different situations in order to pinpoint the error of your ways or to challenge the assertion that has been made against you. Mind you, you only care about this because you care about the person stating their issue. Had this been any old nobody, a bit player in your grand overture, you would barely bat an eyelash. But it burns when it’s someone you care for. It hurts because you just want that person to be happy with you and since they clearly are not, there is a growing discomfort.
This is where it gets interesting. Because you assess the situation and you start remembering instances that were mentioned in the grievance(s). In the moment of hearing these issues, your mind races to situate yourself, within the turbulence. There are instinctive emotional pivots that you know that you can rely on, but that can also complicate the situation further. You’re very aware of this. So you reject the option to go in that direction. You start scanning for other alternatives. “It’s important that I handle this correctly”, you say to yourself. Not even realizing that you’re saying it. So you try to acknowledge the issues that the other person is having while attempting to clarify your side. It doesn’t work. There are more examples that start flying in your direction, like the rubber bands that your older brother used to shoot at you, as a kid. It stings. And it’s frustrating. And you’re powerless. Weakened by the gripe of an important person. Hurt by the inability to make it right. Damaged by the aftermath. You know that the truth is being skewed because the totality of the situation is not being addressed, merely small moments. Moments that, by themselves mean different things without the sum of all the parts but to make that thought known is going to cause another problem. There’s no way out, beyond resignation.
As you wake up, in the following days, you go about your business as usual, on the surface, all the while being frustrated with the outcome. Sad about the current state of affairs. You start to formulate arguments, in your mind, that make large amounts of sense which, when you think about the arguments of the opposition and how lopsided it all was, makes you annoyed. Part of that annoyance stems from the fact that you’ve finally realized things for yourself but you know that revisiting the issue will only lead to another confrontation. It’s too late. You also know that allowing things to remain the way they are is tantamount to admitting guilt. “I’m not guilty…not THAT guilty”. You come to realize that the situation is unresolvable and this is probably the most crushing part because you’ve grown to believe that you can fix anything if you have enough understanding. The problem, in this instance, is that you don’t really fully comprehend what is happening. No fix. It becomes apparent that space is needed but that kind of space scares you. “People don’t usually come back from that kind of space…not to me, they don’t…” That’s part of the reason that you isolate yourself. This is the reason you don’t let them in. It’s always hurt so much to see them go because you knew that you weren’t getting them back. “They will understand, someday”, you say. But will they, really? You don’t believe in poetic justice and, with that being said, you can’t convince yourself that things will smoothe out. There is so much going on in your life though. You can’t despair. You won’t. No. Not like last time. You’ve developed thicker skin. However, you do start to wonder if all of this “thick skin” is turning you into a person that you won’t recognize, before long. You understand that you have to deal with the hurt. Not push it aside. Because it will fester. Mutate. Become something worse than what it is. So you stand, looking out of the window as the sun rises anew. On the precipice of a new day. And you hurt…