Nothing To Lose {Chest Naked In The Park Part 8} (Meet the Demigod)

He walked carefully.  All his belongings were in a black backpack, with the straps adjusted so he could feel the pressure of all his “monetary assets” up against him.  Inside were his running sneakers, his last packet of protein powder, his bible, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, 2 boxer briefs, and a white V-neck t-shirt.  He had a money clip with no money.  His sister bought it for him for his 21st birthday.  The engraving said “Take or be taken.” He had a pre-paid cell phone with about 14 minutes left on it.  He had Vaseline wrapped in aluminum foil just in case his lips got chapped. His keys were digging into his side so he reached into his fitted jeans and threw them in a gutter.  He had no need for them now.  He was never going back “home” again.  It wasn’t safe there.

He walked carefully.  Not by choice but by circumstance.  He walked corner to corner.  He looked both ways before he crossed the street. Left foot…hobble…cane.  Left foot…hobble…cane.  Left foot…hobble…cane.  He once was a quick, strong, sexy, confident, man with an unrivaled stature and an intimidating presence.  Now he was unemployed, homeless, single, scared, far from athletic, and semi-cripple.  What happened to him?  All he wanted to do was make enough money to do something big for a change.  He spent his whole life running both literally and figuratively. Fight or flight?  He was the biggest bird you’ve ever seen.  He was a big pigeon defecating on anyone who got in his way.  High school dropout, 2-3 dead-end jobs a year, hoopty after hoopty, and still women would flock towards him.  Tamara was no different at first.

He didn’t even have to say a word.  His significant others had been telling him for years, “just stand there and look good baby.”  He was always the trophy piece.  He knew how to stay in his lane and never ever speak unless he was confident that he could add something intelligent to the conversation.  His looks were his weapon.  His strong jaw, white bright smile with a subtle gap, flawless skin and full lips were comparable to a Mac-10.  His love-making was his suppressor.  So even if a woman had become displeased with his performance as a sound “life partner”, she would stay and shut the hell up.   Tamara was supposed to be no different.

His instructions were simple.  He was to seduce Tamara, divert her attention away from her husband, and make her fall in love.  Then she would divorce Travis and move in with her “chest naked demigod” (he heard her refer to him as a demigod when he was spying on one of her conversations one day.)  Yet, Tamara was different.

There were a few times when he tried to get her attention at the track but she was so emotionally committed to Travis.  Deep down he knew that she wanted things to work with her man.  She was attracted to him but she had self-control.  He wasn’t accustomed to that.  He approached her a few times but it seemed as though Tamara didn’t recognize him with his shirt on.  That wasn’t entirely Tamara’s fault.  Leon didn’t have much character with his clothes on.  Leon was far from a demigod.  Leon was Hades himself.

He had way too much fun with this assignment.  He slept with Tamara’s cousin, Courtney (he couldn’t resist.)  He slept with Travis’ girlfriend, Special (it was so easy.)  He even slept with Travis’ loud mouth bitter mother (she needed some loving.)  He couldn’t complete the task so he figured he would enjoy the perks.  When he and Travis had a falling out over payment, Leon decided to make things more interesting.  He stalked Tamara at her job and he shot out her back window.  He knew all signs would lead to Travis and he thought for sure that Courtney’s feisty ass would retaliate and remove Travis from his list of unhappy clients.  Instead, Travis disfigured Leon’s leg and threatened to do more harm unless Leon left New York.  Leon had one stop to make first.  One person had taken away his chance to do something big.  He had nothing left to lose.  He stopped, readjusted his backpack, and pulled out the only sentimental valuable thing he had left.  “Take or be taken”, he read aloud.  “Damn right,” he said.

To Be Continued…


Beating the bold and Black

What has fear prevented you from attempting? I look back at years of opportunities. If I had to illustrate my life, I would draw a bold black line. I would be on one side of the line with a hammer, a drill, an eraser, white out and virtually every tool imaginable that could potentially destroy the line. The other side of the line is a variable. It changes throughout my life. It was college graduation. It was buying a new car. When I was a child it was the status of being a great athlete. Fear is the tranquilizer that will prevent you from detonating that bold black line. I remember being in my senior year in college and discovering how many credits I actually had left to graduate. I was a transfer student and I lost a few credits when I changed schools. I had options. I could have stopped working, taken more classes, summer sessions, winter sessions, could have just sucked it up and stayed as long as I needed to in order to graduate. I was scared. My friends were graduating on time. Some of them had made those sacrifices but I didn’t take that into account. I was embarrassed and I gave up. I couldn’t get passed the bold black line. I told my family I would go back to school (which I eventually did in fragments) and I went to work for a fortune 500 company. In my mind, I was successful but I learned later that the black line reappears. It can stand between you and a promotion. You will have to compete with others. It can stand between you and love. Love takes just as much work as anything else. You have to overcome fear to be empowered by it. Every time you encounter that black line, you will have to bond yourself with commitment and subdue your fear. If you cannot become courageous and somehow turn fear into a personified villain in your own mind, you subconsciously turn yourself into a victim. Overcoming fear requires trust, faith, courage, discipline, and preparation. You must prepare yourself for the possibility that you could fail but at least you got a glimpse of what is on the other side of that black line. Maybe it won’t reappear as often. Make fear afraid of you! Who has fear prevented you from becoming? What’s on the other side of your bold black line?

By Shaun M Nickens

What’s In Your Wallet?

Sunday night I watched a movie called, “The Grey” with Liam Neeson on Netflix.  I watched the film with my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and my mother’s boyfriend.  We aren’t the stereotypical Black American family but we do try to make a habit out of Sunday dinner. Sunday dinner isn’t like the movie, “Soul Food.” We don’t eat artery clogging food and gossip. We’re too uppity for that. We eat whatever health conscious yummy meal my grandmother makes and then we watch a movie on Netflix. Most of the time we ad lib through the whole film so it’s necessary to put the subtitle feature on just so we don’t piss anyone off. We jumped and gasped through the whole film. While this is going on, the neighborhood hustle man is outside washing every car in the household inside and out for about $5 a pop.  Can’t beat that price! So whoever has seen this film knows there’s a part where the main character collects the wallets of the each man as he gets murdered. His intention is to bring them back to the deceased mens families. In one very dramatic scene he’s lookIng through the photos in the mens wallets. My mother interjected and said, ” That’s not realistic. No one keeps pictures in their wallets anymore! You would have to go through their cell phones. They’d probably have a lock on the phone. Or a password on the gallery. ” I ignored her but she persisted. She asked her gentle-spirited ultra-romantic boyfriend who must have given her some sweet reply. He’s so soft-spoken that no one heard him but her. He probably said something clever like,” Your face is painted on my soul so I don’t need your photograph.” Anyway, she asked me and I told her (while simultaneously trying to watch the movie) I have an infant photo of my 9 yr old god-daughter. I have a couple photo of a high school friend who’s now married that I don’t even speak to anymore. I have a group photo with some college buddies from queens day at Roy Wilkins park 3 summers ago. So my wallet is in no way a reflection of my immediate family. To support my mothers case…Wolf- killing hunter survivor sad man would have to find my cell phone!  Of course for some men…they’ll probably have a shot of Kim K as their cell phone wallpapers—->  The moment that touched me was when my mother asked my grandfather. My grandfather can be very serious due to his military background and Caribbean descent. Yet he is mostly known for telling some inappropriate joke at inopportune moments. This time, he reflected on the question. He looked away from the television. He stared at my grandmother intently and said ,”I think I only have a picture of Shaun.” I don’t know how everyone else in the room felt but that sure was special to me. His cell phone wallpaper is a picture of my sister and I. This would still leave my mother, grandmother, and uncle out. My whole life my grandfather has been diligently playing the lotto. Once an entrepreneur and now a retired sanitation worker, he’s always obsessed about money. I don’t expect anything to be in his wallet but cash and lotto tickets. But I’m in there.

If my grandfather was in that depressing dramatic and dreadful movie, the camera would scale over a shot of his wallet and I would be there. From a cinematic point of view, it would seem as though I mean a lot to him. Maybe it was time for us all to redecorate our wallets. Or buy new ones (because every man had a genuine leather  brown wallet).

The movie was also about fear and faith. It was about coming to terms with your accomplishments (or lack thereof). If you could replace your fear with faith and move forward, you’d either live or make peace with your death. Then those faces in those brown leather wallets would have fond memories and someone to be proud of.

What’s in your wallet?

Tell me whats in your wallet in my comments section.  Add us on twitter @shutyamouthnow.

“Insane in the Membrane (Insane in the Brain!)” {How to handle PMS without driving your man crazy}

” Who you tryin’ 

to get crazy with Ese?

Don’t you know I’m loco”

 ~Cypress Hill-Insane In The Membrane

It’s that time of the month.  You’re crying while watching the part in “Set It Off” when Cleo got shot (if you’re too young to know “Set It Off” just think of the part in “Training Day” when Alonzo got shot by the Russians…its essentially the same scene.) You are eating McDoubles like Skittles.  No one understands you. You’re having trouble concentrating.  Clothes aren’t fitting quite right. You’re tired of washing the same Tupperware so you throw it away.  You’re exhausted.  There’s a pimple on your face that you just named and printed a birth certificate for.  You have officially lost your mind!  The problem is, this happens every month!

Now these kinds of antics are acceptable when you are the only person who is expected to deal with yourself.  If you’re like me, you probably think you don’t suffer from PMS.  If that’s the case, do me a favor…ask your significant other if you suffer from PMS.

While he’s rolling on the floor laughing his behind off and simultaneously calling his friends, let’s discuss what PMS is WITHOUT GETTING TOO GRAPHIC  and losing my male readers!

  •             Your reproductive system will repeat a cycle controlled by hormones.
  •             This will happen every 28 days, on average.
  •              5-7 days before your menstruation begins, you will lose all logic and temperance.
  •              Scientists are still researching why this occurs but they are certain it is related to hormonal shifts. (Duh!)

I actually become a real life sweet and sour patch kid while I’m PMS’ing.  So being that this is something you don’t have a lot of control over, how can you keep your man happy during this time?

  1. Filter: Think before you speak.  Say something to yourself before you say it to him.
  2. Listen: Only answer questions if you’re asked.  Don’t build conversational construct to create what you want to hear.  Listen to what he is actually saying.
  3. Evaluate: Save “heavy” discussions (religion, future plans, whether he likes your momma) for another time.
  4. Appreciate:  Don’t be offended by the classic, “Is it that time of the month?” statement.  Appreciate the fact that he is trying to understand your feelings and emotions.  He’s just trying to prepare himself!

Being a woman is difficult.  From a contemporary standpoint, our roles and responsibilities have changed.  The last time I checked the statistics, we’ve made up approximately  57% of colleges since the year 2000.  We’re getting and holding jobs but still fighting for equal wages.  According to the last census, 84% of custodial parents are mothers.  We’ve got a lot to deal with so when we are particularly irritable, we may not want to have to excuse our hormonal imbalances.  The fact remains these imbalances are relevant and they can affect our loved ones.  In some cases, 3% to 8% of women suffer from PMDD which is a disorder even more severe (I’m sure my hypochondriac readers are searching on Google right now.)  If you’re feeling a little nutty, embrace it.  Acceptance is the first step to change!

I’M SURE I’ve pissed off a few feminists.  Feel free to comment or you can ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly 😉

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