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How I Successfully Eluded Florida Man For Seven Years

That’s right I did it, after just about seven years I have escaped Florida unscathed. No face eating, no alligator men, no stand your ground shooting, no headline. I made it back to the realest state without a hitch. Sure, I haven’t had a proper plate from Zaxby’s in who knows when and have no idea when to use “no cap,” but I’m here. I stepped away this past couple of months to properly close out the Florida chapter of my life. Florida was and always will be my second home. I’ve been up and down every part of Florida pretty much besides the sketchy panhandle, and although strange here and there I had some good times. I never really felt like I belonged in Florida. A degree, a job, and seven years later one could say I did belong for the time being. Which ultimately is what life is all about, we’re all meant to be exactly where we are in the present moment.

Wrapping things up in the sunshine state was easy for me. I went to the beach, ate at a couple of my favorite spots, and got drinks at some of the bars that I’ve grown up in over the past half decade. I’m a firm believer in knowing when it is time for me to pack my shit and leave. Always have been. I was always the first kid awake fifteen minutes before nap time ended with jacket and bookbag in hand. I’ve kept this mentality throughout life, you would think with how many times I’ve heard the phrase “The bell doesn’t dismiss you,” that I would be deterred but no. I always had my books packed up before the bell. This then translated to me almost never giving Corporate America a minute past five of my time. So, of course, the same could be said for leaving my apartment for the very last time. Don’t get me wrong I’m going to miss the shit out of my first place of my own, but when I tell you I was gone so quick. No sulking, no list of people that I had to say goodbye to, just me and my tightly packed car.

So what’s next? The dumbest question anyone could ever ask you. Cause what really is next? No one knows. And I for one refuse to stress about what is in store for future Joseph. I’m all for enjoying the present. Luckily, God blessed me with a good gig after college. It didn’t take much schmoozing to get my boss to be cool with the thought of me permanently working from home in Georgia. While I’m still exploring other avenues it is nice to still have a constant flow of revenue. So what’s next? Making money, enjoying my loved ones, and hopefully, some solo wins on FortNite.

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I can only chalk my successful evasion of “Florida Man” up to me just not being for a lot of bullshit. Somewhere around 23, I realized that being home was way more washed lit than being in everything. Many of the people I met in Florida I just disconnected from as the years went by. Realizing that chilling with myself was greater than keeping up temporary connections with temporary people. And with a good proportion of the “Florida Man” headlines being a case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time I kept myself out of that wrong place.

Well here I am, back with at least five Waffle House’s in a 10-mile radius. Look at me being the closest I’ve been to my support system since I was a teenager. So what’s next for me? Lots of Sunday dinners, a real fall season, and seeing my homies more.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

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Thoughts

What If This Is As Good As It Gets?

This blog is going to be a little bit of me just rambling with my thoughts so bear with me. Hear me out here, what if this is as good as it gets? What if all along we have been preparing for this future that doesn’t exist? What if in all the hustle and bustle striving towards a better tomorrow we forgot to fully embrace the now? That now that will be totally forgotten once we reach that future that we so desperately work towards. What if the best times are behind us? What if? Thoughts like this haven’t haunted me since white people elected Trump. I vaguely remember a tweet that basically said, “shoutout to the kids working towards a future that won’t exist”. A harsh mindset to have, but honestly, I know I am guilty and have been guilty of years of working hard for tomorrow. Working so hard that I rarely ever sit and take in the air of the current moment.

Damn that tweet. A future will exist. I just don’t know what it will hold. We don’t know what the future holds and we never have. I’m ashamed for not looking at the future with as much hope and joy that I have in the past, but maybe that comes with age? I’m going to continue to work towards the future because that’s all I can do. As long as we are alive and breathing we have to strive for a future, a better future for us all because if we don’t then who will?

Still, I ask, what if this is as good as it gets? Those times you barely made it home before the street lights came on, prom with all of your friends who you rarely get to see enough, those nights in college that turned into early mornings, or that job where you made good money but hated the location. I don’t live enough in the moment. I admire those that do. I wrote about my time at J. Cole’s concert last year and how energizing it was in the current climate. I promised myself that I would bask more in the beauty of living in the moment. That I would take everything good or bad and feel it to the max. A promise that I have not kept. If this truly is as good as it gets I want to feel all of this goodness to the max right now. No more half-ass feelings towards the now and catastrophically stressing over the future.

So again, I ask myself, what if this is as good as it gets? Well if it is I’m thankful I got to experience it all. I’m apologizing to myself for maybe not feeling everything as drastically as I could have. In accepting that apology I am fully prepared to feel everything, because who knows if I’ll ever get to feel it again? If this is as good as it gets then I’m going to be a light for others so that should our paths cross I can shine some light on them as well.

I’ll be okay.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

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Thoughts

How I Reclaimed My Time MLK Week

So this week started with a five day weekend that I treated myself to so that I could fully appreciate the GOATs that are Martin Luther King Jr. and Aaliyah Haughton. I loved every minute of it. Things at work haven’t been too crazy, but after reaching a couple big deadlines and minimal time off over the holidays I was ready to kick back. So that I did. After paying my respects on social media like the tons of others I was able to sit back and see what quotes and images people decided to share. I also paid attention to those who chose to share nothing at all when it came to Martin. I was particularly happy with people choosing to share more of the radical quotes from Dr. King. I think that in the recent years with all that is going on many people try to use Martin Luther King Jr. as a prop to shame the people of today and the ways that they carry out their activism. It is silly and just wrong because I can guarantee everyone who praises Dr. King’s ways in comparison to the ways of today would have definitely hated his ways back then. So I was elated to see many of my people reclaiming our hero and peeling back the shiny “I have a dream” wrapping.

My holiday was all about self-care. Which for me included several episodes of living single, too many plays of “It’s Whatever” from Aaliyah’s self-titled album, and attempting to catch up on my YouTube subscriptions. Failed at the last one, but if anyone has any interesting subs they want to share with me please feel free to sound off in the comments. Anyways back to reclaiming my time. I had found myself using my go-to office clap back, “per my last e-mail” way too much wrapping up 2017. As I rounded out this work week I can proudly say that I haven’t used it once. A small victory that I am cashing in because hey we all need them. Beyond that, in my last post, I discussed just how indifferent I was feeling about people to start the year. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I take things way too personally. Or really I just put too much stock in things and people that don’t really matter much. So this week I decided I was done doing that and I was able to reclaim all that energy. People can act crazy, not show up, go ghost, and I will not care because it is no energy 2018 after all. I’ve also just been thinking a lot lately about social media and its effects on communication. Me personally I know that I’m pretty comfortable with never hearing from or reaching out to a person if I can actively see what is going on in their everyday lives on social media. Which is a wild mindset to have, but I mean I feel like if I saw your ten Instagram posts while you were in Prague then we were in Prague, TF? I’m trying to change this mindset of thinking and just talk to more of the people I want to talk to on a daily regardless if I see their lives unfolding online or not. This one will be tough because I’m just such a backer of the if you aren’t speaking I’m not speaking mentality. I think I laid the foundation this week though to get out of that so I’m looking forward to those results. Another thing I did this week is block numbers. Now I am no stranger to this, my block list long af. I had been catching myself allowing people to live rent-free in my head for what reason I don’t know, but I know from past experience that once someone feels you mentally forgetting them they get the urge to hit you up. I don’t need to be hit up in 2018 so I’ve just been throwing people on the block list ahead of time so that when they get that urge it will fall on deaf ears. *insert black boy shrug emoji* Oh wait I actually think I can just type that I forgot I’m in this Apple ecosystem.🤷🏾‍♂️

And that is pretty much it for me it’s the third week of the year and I’m finally awake now. I read the syllabus, I know what this year has in store for me, so now I’m just ready to put the tools in place to keep flourishing. Here’s to taking better care of ourselves, deading old habits, and loving our friends more. Oh and also Drake showed up last night with the warm-up tracks which are always on time for the timeline of my life so this all feels right on point.

I only love my bed and my momma and I’m not sorry.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

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Thoughts

The Indifference That Comes With A New Year

God damn, what a time, what a year. As we close out syllabus week of 2018, how has everyone embraced the new car feeling that comes with a new year? Well, I for one rolled into this year feeling a bit differently than usual. I’ve never been the one for much hoorah on NYE, only really stepping out one year, but kicking it with the fam is often good enough for me. Things weren’t much different this year. But I didn’t even blink at midnight. Of course, I heard the weirdos shooting fireworks, guns, cannons, and whatever else they could get their hands on, but I didn’t even utter the words “Happy New Year”. I still haven’t actually outside of text messages. “Happy Year You Deserve” sounds a lot more appropriate.

I once read that days are long and years are short and 2017 helped me to realize that. I’m not sure if it is because I am getting older or what but I come into 2018 with no expectations. Sure, I have my goals like everyone else, but ultimately I’m not judging myself off of where I stand 360 days from now. I’m going to accept my good days and my long days for what they are on the road to where I want to be.

2018 feels new. But not as new as usual if that makes sense. 2018 feels like that first shot you take at the bar after you explicitly stated that you would be taking no shots that night. So sure, I’ll take 2018, but who knows how the rest of the night is going to go. This plays into the feeling of indifference that I’ve felt opening this year. Well, I have been feeling indifferent for quite some time actually. This is the first time in a while that I can remember where I don’t feel close to anyone or anything. I have my family and friends that I love, but I don’t know much about anyone anymore, and no one knows much about me. I like it this way, but part of me wants to be more open to knowing people like that. However, I don’t see this happening anytime soon as I’m just beginning to see that a lot more people are just coming and going. I’m realizing that people disappear. They become shells of their former selves, then they distance themselves from you, and then have the nerve to blame you for moving on without them. It’s all just very temporary. A lot of the times, or shit all the time really I just stay home and to myself because people to me seem off these days. Sometimes I try to tell myself to relax and that I’m crazy for thinking that, but I’m seeing it every day. Wildly into my thoughts here but ever since fall began I feel like if I haven’t heard from you in a long time that I don’t know you.

So yeah here’s to the new year and such. I’m hoping we all have the year that we deserve. But if you take anything from this post I just want you to embrace your days this year. Good and bad because those will be what you remember moving forward. I don’t remember much about 2017, but I do remember the day I first got hibachi delivered to my apartment. Trussssss mi.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

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advice

The Anxious Thoughts That Haunt The New Graduate

I want to open by firstly saying congratulations to the many new graduates that are preparing to or that have already walked across the stage. That moment is one that you will never forget that is accompanied by a feeling that is extremely hard to describe. You did it. The late nights of partying studying, sitting through countless lectures, and doing your best on your final exams have all paid off. This is your moment to enjoy and cherish. There are many responsibilities that loom over your head like dark clouds once the smoke from graduation clears. Things like loans, a job, and a place to live all haunt your thoughts at every innocent moment of relaxation. Some are lucky enough to have it all secured before graduation or shortly after, but for others, the search can lead to a sense of terror post-graduation. I’m here to offer a bit of advice and share some kind words that I think can help calm whatever nerves may be bothering you a few days removed from graduation.

Don’t panic. Very easy for me to say right? But honestly, I think panicking is what leads to most of our post-grad woes. Sure, there are a plethora of responsibilities that come with graduating college, but to panic only makes matters worse. Take a breath. Everything will fall into place as it should. Do have a sense of urgency, but panicking and stressing over what former classmates are doing after college and comparing that to your own situation is extremely fugazi.

Take a break from social media for awhile after graduation as you prepare for your next chapter. Instagram after graduation gets cliché af. It is like a revolving door of everyone trying to one-up everyone else. Oh, you got a new puppy? Well, I got a new car. Oh, you moved to NYC? Well, I’m homeless in Brooklyn. Oh, you’re an engineer at Microsoft? Well, I’m an entrepreneur and I don’t see how yall do that 9 to 5 shit. It gets crazy over there dawg trust me. But once you are back from your little break then you get your own turn to stunt on all your ex-classmates if you’re feeling petty.

Utilize your support system if you have one. I’m really not sure where this stigma came from of being horrified to move back home for awhile to figure things out. Sometimes I wish I would have gone home for a bit after wrapping up college. I think that black graduates especially feel they have to get shit popping as soon as they finish posing for that photo after grabbing their degree holder. Its understandable I mean that man is leading the country and you never know what’s going to happen next but I for one find it weird how a lot of our white counterparts are out here traveling and exploring new hobbies while we’re just out here trying to stay afloat. So I’m here to say if you’re able to go home and figure things out, do it. If you want to backpack through Europe and you’re able to do so, do it. Someone told me once how we have our whole lives after college to figure things out, and I’m finally starting to believe it. Don’t plan to have it all figured out a year removed from college, this universe is weird and you will be surprised how things work out.

I hope this blog finds all my new graduates in a good place. Your mental health is important always but especially after graduation. Life after graduation is fun but at times can be very shocking and depressing. This is a time of immense change and you’d be surprised how easy it is to become derailed. Stay focused and determined, but remember that you have time. Lastly, I hope you guys didn’t skip too many 8 AM classes, because life after college is really just waking up for an 8 AM class for the rest of your life. Too soon?

Yours Truly,

Joe.

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Weekend

The Astounding Task That Is Coming Back To The Blog

As I sit here graciously praying for a Bulldog victory it dawned on me that it had been awhile since I last updated my blog. It’s honestly hard to grasp that we are all getting ready to wrap up another year. Since it is my first post here since late September, I feel like there is a need for a bit of catching up. I almost can’t even really remember what I had going on in October. That month flew by so fast I can’t tell you whether I was coming or going. A very stagnant month for me as far as growth is concerned. I do think it’s important that we go through and grow through moments of self-doubt that rear their ugly head from time to time. I was just at a point where I was very uncertain with where things in my life were going, where I was going, and if the people in my life even truly meant anything to me. I didn’t create because I just didn’t have the passion. So I took a break and I’m glad I did because I come back to BlackGradLife refreshed.

At some point during Scorpio season, I started to feel like myself again. Oh yeah, my first blog post at 25 and shit. So I had a birthday at the beginning of November which pretty much kicked off a busy month. A bottle of Virginia Black, a trip to Atlanta, and four Thanksgiving plates later here we are. That sentence is a short and sweet way to define my favorite month of the year. November was definitely calm but heavy. I’m thankful because it is the only month this year that I can recall not ever having the thought, “Damn this month flew by”. And not to mention that the only moments from the past month that were cringeworthy deal with me passing out at 9 p.m. on my birthday and being Undergrad level drunk in a Waffle House. Very on brand if you ask me.

We’re also just about a week shy of my blog’s birthday. So really I’m just thankful that I was able to keep this shit up for a year. More years and writings and ideas and moments of self-doubt are sure to come but I am ready for it all. This is the moment where I say to everyone who is reading that is working towards something that it is already written and waiting for you to claim it.

There is still a lot to be done before I close out the year, but I really wanted to check in. Thank you for still rocking with me if you’re reading this. Happy Holidays if you celebrate and keep it locked with me for the remainder of the year and beyond every Saturday for all things music, the black experience, and life after college.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

 

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Thoughts

We Can’t Just Stick To Our Jobs With a White Supremacist In Office

“Just stick to sports” a phrase that I have seen mentioned on the news and social media a lot lately. It’s a phrase that is being used by uncomfortable people of Caucasian descent who hate seeing people of color stand up for what matters. Why does it make you so uncomfortable that we are seeking the justice that we deserve? Your own president ran on a slogan that says this country isn’t great. Anyways, I woke up this morning to a tweet from now a stranger, telling me that I can’t deny that the bum Donald is bringing back the America though. What the fuck is “the” America? When I think of “the” America my mind goes to the Jim Crow south, the white only water fountains, the water hoses, the slave ships; An America that doesn’t serve the brown and black people that built this joint for free. No, I’m sorry the bum isn’t bringing back anything. If anything he is uplifting and creating more hate than ever before. And there are people who years from now will have to explain to their children’s children how they were okay with his stances because of the first amendment. I want no parts.

Colin Kaepernick, Stephen Curry, Serena Williams, LeBron James, and a slew of other colored athletes who move the culture can’t afford to just stick to sports. The bum Donald is basically saying that black athletes should be “do good” boys and girls. Just do your job boy, run that ball boy, don’t disrespect master boy. Sounds familiar right? That’s cause it is. If these white owners can’t see the relevance and need for these superstars to utilize their platforms for so much more than maybe they should get off their old asses and play themselves. People don’t like these athletes just because they are good at their perspective sports, kids look up to them in hopes that they are good people. It’s about setting an example of what a kind and just human being is supposed to be. Sometimes I wish we would just have our own leagues and leave them with hockey, bowling, and baseball.

The fact of the matter is that we can’t just stick to our jobs with a white supremacist in office. None of us can. That goes for the athletes, the musicians, the engineers, the artists, the janitors, all of us. If keeping a job means that I can’t stand up for what’s important to me then it isn’t worth it. It’s us or else. It is so important right now that we look at ourselves and among ourselves. Extract yourself from those who don’t support causes that affect you. Leave behind racists who support racists. Extract your wisdom, don’t give them any explanation, because trust me the people who still need shit to be explained to them on what is wrong with this world today are apart of the problem. They aren’t allies. They never had intentions to be and never will be. If I leave you with anything just remember to always be cautious of people who are sick of the race problem in this country but have yet to see any perspectives from the other side. If Justin Bieber knows that Black Lives Matter the Starbucks super fans with daddy’s money should know as well.

Yours Truly,

Joe.

 

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