Monday, 24 March 2014

My Mofos & Role Models

Image sourced from google

It's been said that people are like the seasons. They come and go, often they return but not always the same or with the intensity or warmth you grew to love. 

This blog isn't about conveying to you the individuals who I'm not in touch with or not speaking to. This blog is about my love and appreciation for the few people in my life outside of my family who have been fantastic role models and friends especially during the harder times between 2009 – late 2013. 

There's no order of importance to the fabulous souls I'm about to mention. Each one of these people is truly fantabalociosly-amazeballs!

My rock and inspiration to strive for my dreams is the one and only Christina C! I've known this woman since I was 17 and she's the most solid/stable individual you will ever meet. She never stops obtaining knowledge, being insightful, or reflecting on herself, others and the things around her. She recently moved out of London so she doesn't drop by on a whim anymore; but my door is eternally open whenever she feels the need to kick off her pumps for a chat!

Kaylan J, yeeeeup my son - I'm not even being biased when I say this young man is growing to be such a superstar. He's realising now how fragile and quick time is in general and tries to ensure each move he makes is positive and righteous. He's young, he will make mistakes and is still learning and yet reflective about so many things showing maturity of character. I love him, would dive in front of bullets and shrapnel for him and... watching his life unfold is a blessing...

My homie, Mo aka Mobbs who I'm sure will tear me a new one for writing about him and posting it via my website through Facebook, as well as teasing me for 'sharing my thoughts' like some ......... (word omitted for safety reasons), he totally deserves a virtual spud! This guy has been there through all of my hardest and joyous moments, births, deaths, injuries, near death experiences, achievements - you name it he's helped me through it all, and like a couple of guys who go way back, we don't highlight the obvious, or talk about how nuts it's all been. Instead the shit is unspoken, he knows and I know what time it is and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I've never met her in person but have a special place in my heart made out especially for Lisa M. We met online via a writing challenge and have been sharing fiction & fact ever since. I love her boldness and honesty in the words she puts on the screen. I love her fearless nature when it comes to reflecting on herself and critiquing her choices good or bad, but ultimately for being the beautiful woman I've come to respect immensely. I've learnt a lot about myself reading her work. And should we ever meet in person, I will hug her like a long lost relative!

Yo Yo Yo! That's usually the greeting I get when I call my girl Lianne Q's phone. We go waaaayyy back to college days in the 90s, when high-tops, side partings and gelled down hair was in fashion. She's been beautiful inside and out from the day we met, and years later nothing has changed! LeeLee has been there supporting me from when I decided to become a PT, she's been a confidant when I needed a shoulder and a kickass motivator when I've been low! She's given birth to a fantastic young man and still finds the time to be as great a friend as she's always been. People like her are hard to find and I don't intend on losing her at all. I will love and treasure her forever. 

One of the strongest women I've ever met is my 'cody' Dextene E. Another soldier I've known since my early teens, lost touch with for over 11yrs and found her being totally awesome with her life, as expected! I've got a galaxy of love and respect for this business woman/super entrepreneur. Not only is she an inspiration, she’s tough as titanium, independent... and a role model just like others who have been mentioned in this blog. I’ve missed her warmth and personality and plan on meeting up very soon to share war stories and catch waaaay too much jokes! We even started a basketball team because that's how ridiculously fabulous we are when we put our heads together! Our friendship took another brief hiatus recently because I felt like I needed to take myself away from everything due to a tough experience, and this girl didn't bat an eyelid, understood I needed time to mend and reassert myself and I love her for that. People like Dex are rare so I'm making sure she isn't going anywhere! 

I call her SoSo, Fia, Sis, WhatsReallyGood! All of those names are what you end up calling someone who's been around since your early teens. Sophia H, my partner in crime and all things cheeky is a solid gold homie! I can't remember not knowing her. She has the biggest heart ever and is always down to help out in any way she can, putting others first and herself last, sometimes to her own detriment, but she wouldn't be Soph if she didn't. You might as well say we've grown up together. My son calls her Aunty, and if I could have a choice of sister, she'd be that mofo at the top of the list. I can't even describe the shenanigans we've gotten into over the years but moments are never dull around Ms Hinds. I'll always love, fight for and laugh my ass off with this girl. She's managed to; against various odds start a successful and lucrative business and that takes determination, strength and depth... attributes she has in abundance.

HA! To the simply perfect Danielle O!... Yeah, left your butt off this blog for a hot minute. That’s what you get for swanning off to live in Scotland leaving me and Mo behind, breaking up the Three Muskateers! Oh, and the time I texted you and you didn't reply, then two months later called Mo whilst I was with him and tried to talk to me, YOU FOOL! 
Jokes aside though, and in all seriousness, Dee is more than worthy of any words I can write about her and even more so because I’m yet to meet a more, lovely, lively, honest and caring individual who at the drop of a hat can switch and get her ‘Sarf’ London on. I miss her voice, I miss her face and most of all, I miss those ridiculous head massages she gives that relax the hell out of me. Wish you were here!
I can't end this blog there though! There are two more people who have snuck in through the backdoor like a couple of ninjas on a mission. Both of these ladies I've only known a fraction of the time of any of the wonderful people above but, you know quality when it stares you in the face. 

Jenny L, my first ever client is probably the hardest working individual you're going to come across. She works, she studies and hits her training sessions like a frikkin' warrior! We've done a community development programme together which gave me the opportunity to see who empathetic and warm a person she is... mix that with her tenacity, charm and sense of humour and my Monday mornings (circa 7am) are always super fantastic! She was there for my first circuit class having travelled across London to be the first actual attendee and that's something I will never forget. She’s definitely a keeper.

And... ninja number 2; the fantabulocious Tawny C! We met on our Level 3 PT course back in June 2013 and d'you know when you meet someone and they are 'cool' no other words needed, just 'cool', well that's TawnyChops for ya. Throughout the months on the course we've supported, pushed, motivated and studied with each other, sometimes via Skype and I owe her my ridiculous grade on my Anatomy & Physiology exam because without her focus to detail I would be a mediocre PT today! She's way too precious not to hold on to, no matter how short out time has been, and with her I've inherited Ellis (yeeeeup), I won't go into masses of detail but, THE DUDE IS AWESOME! 

I'm not suggesting that we all put our thoughts about our friends on wax like this and post for the world to see, no not at all. The difference here is all of these people deserve the accolades and praise. They've all through one way or another (some without realising); helped me work through or make some of the toughest choices I've ever faced. I owe them more than they know...

And in the spirit of staying true to my blogs, here’s a tune (one I've used before) that sums up how I feel!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Doing it my way!

Image sourced from Google
The temptation to write several separate blogs has been pulling at me for nearly a week now. So much has happened that if I wrote it all down, I'd still be writing tomorrow afternoon. Instead I'll summarise as much as possible because; quite frankly I'm busy and have things to do...

An underlying theme, a very constant underlying theme is one of happiness. Even during the more stressful moments I have, there's still an undercurrent of 'happy' flowing beneath my feet - so when things aren't totally positive I just dip into the stream. 

Since going into business for myself, my whole outlook on everything has changed. I understand why anyone who is self-employed has an air of confidence about them. Making things happen and pushing yourself to bring about success takes a lot of energy and the process isn't an overnight experience, you never know when things will take off, and if they do, can you maintain the snowball effect?

As exciting as it is, it's scary but satisfying.

One thing I avoid is thinking I have any competition. I'm not interested in what anyone else in my field is doing, I focus totally on my own unique way of engaging, supporting, and training people - yet I'm humble enough to listen and learn from other trainers like myself, and humble enough to thank people for showing me new and interesting techniques. 

Confidence is definitely a byproduct of putting your self out into the world. It was that same confidence that helped me tick 'speed dating' off my bucket list last week. 
I attended on my own and had the most amazing and fun set of experiences all within the space of 4hrs. 

Armed with no more than 3 minutes to get to know someone, you quickly learn the most expedient questions to ask, and every so often spark an immediate rapport with someone partly due to the shared experience. I didn't go with the intention of meeting someone I could date, it'll sound strange but, I just wanted the experience, the practice. And I've found coming away from it all with a heightened ease of speaking to absolutely anyone. 

If I'm queuing for something, I'll talk to the person in front or behind me. I'm on the tube and see an interesting trinket or item of clothing, I'll enquire, and like that; another conversation begins... Naturally people like to ask what you do, and as if by magic I'm talking about personal training and contact details are exchanged. 

Lately, I've been quite a hard-ass when it's come to my son who's looking more and more like a man each day. It worries me sometimes that he isn't always mindful of his surroundings and thoughtful of others, so I've been 'serious dad' for a while now. 
That's come to an end! I tap into the 'happy' and get that smile from him that I haven't seen in a while by being the father he needs right now. And, what's great is that he's opening up to me more regarding what's on his mind and the things he wants to do with his life. 

Being a parent, helping another person navigate their life respectfully is the most rewarding thing anyone can hope to do, you just worry constantly that you're doing it right, or at the very least, a half decent job. 

My next trick will be to earn more doing less hours and thus expanding any time I can have with my man-cub...

So you see... This piece started out in my head as a random smattering of thoughts which I still haven't fully formed and written, but the blog feels like it's come to a natural end. And who would I be to drag it out any further except to commend anyone taking their lives to the next level and showing my love and adoration to all the parents out there. 

I couldn’t think of a more fitting song to complete this piece: 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

That First Kiss

Image sourced from Google
This blog is definitely inspired by a bunch of events and not least the video pasted at the bottom of this piece of text (feel free to scroll down right now, watch and hopefully scroll back and continue reading).

I’m finding my train rides home from work consumed with jotting down the shiniest thought I’ve had all day. I see love everywhere I go. I saw it in the clip below...

...That 'first kiss'...

We all want it to be our last and have an eternity of first kisses with that special person but it doesn't always pan out that way.
On the plus side, the opportunity to experience another first kiss has its merits. You're back to that nervous awkward moment that you'd dreaded, hoped you'd get right, and maybe succeeded in pulling off the best kiss, like... ever in the history of kisses – secretly in my head during a really good first kiss I’m thinking: HA YOU’RE MINE NOW, Mwuha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!

'New' is fantastic. Keeping things fresh and alive once that initial moment has past is what some of us tend to forget. Wanting that first kiss to be one of many with that other person is motivation enough to nurture a relationship in its early stages. After a while you get used to those lips, so every so often try to explore them. I’ve spent more than half of the time I’ve been on this planet working on my damn technique, and with every pair of lips you kiss, there’s subtle adjustments necessary to compensate for size, fullness, depth, duration – it’s a study and I’ve wrote a dissertation on the act in my head.

I've been given the opportunity to have another first kiss and I'm conscious that I don't squander it on a frivolous pair of lips.

I saw the video below that you've probably already taken a cheeky peek at and it made me think about how the planets population has the capacity to engage with each other and how 'perfect' strangers are able to develop something amazing out of literally nothing at all. Human beings are wonderful creatures minus all the jealousy, maliciousness and back-biting.

But am I confusing the power of a kiss with basic chemistry? I could very well be, or, how ridiculously (I love the word ridiculous - you've been warned) fantastic is it when you do connect with another person. Nothing beats ‘new lips’ – nah, that isn’t true at all... Two people with the desire to learn each other; inside and out trumps ‘new’ every time. 

Urgh and Relationships

Pic sampled from Google images
I've been writing this in my head for several days now and haven't found the time to jot down my thoughts. Seriously, I'm that busy!

Last week I got involved (sorry, more like dragged kicking and biting) into about four different conversations about race (a word I dislike) and relationships, ex's and sex. The word ‘race’ is often used as a way to separate and categorise and if we all bleed ‘red’ how are we apparently so alien to the person standing next to us?

My intention was to write two separate blogs, one about race (urgh) and another about relationships, but over the course of the week, the two blurred and smashed together like two shades of silly putty and as hard as I tried to pull it all apart into its separate elements, I kept finding traces of each still squished to the other.

Why do I avoid the 'race' conversation? 

Because it's usually goes round in circles and if handled badly someone is either labelled a racist or people go away thinking exactly that. If you're not eloquent enough in getting your points across you could end up photo-shopped into a picture standing next to a burning cross with a smile on your face. 

The 'dragged kicking and biting' part of this blog was when some bright spark asked me if I prefer to date white women based on my most recent relationship. I was just minding my own business eating some grilled chicken with a side of watermelon for dessert, some coconut water to wash it all down when the interrogation began.

My answer has and always will be, "I'm attracted to women."
So when I gave that response it confused the hell out of everyone in the room expecting me to dig in and take a side...

Why can't I just meet a woman, irrespective of how much or how little melanin she has and just get along with her. Apparently that's not acceptable because I'm an 'Intelligent black man with so much to offer!' 

What the shit?! I actually find that comment both insulting and patronising. So, based on the choice I previously made and the choices I might make, I'm too intelligent to date outside of my melanin count?
Okay... by now the room had my full attention. Chicken unfinished, watermelon untouched and coconut water getting warm, I'm surrounded by several individuals who believe (not think, believe) that I should definitely be dating a black woman the next time around. 

...Hold on, I can't type for a sec, I wrote that last sentence and burst out laughing...   

If aliens crash landed in London tomorrow, not far from Oxford Circus to be exact, I don't think if they had bad intentions for us they'd run around picking off specific people based on skin colour. 

They would more than likely see us as one 'race' (urgh) of people and kill everything that tried to scurry away. So, why do we think that we're all separate, unrelated 'races' (urgh) of people?
And at this juncture, this is where the blog I was going to write would have started but I'm going to avoid that for the time being.

Back to 'you-know-what’ and relationships... I shouldn't have to feel as though I need to defend my opinions on who I like to date, I don't mind if a woman is awesome and black/white or otherwise, and why would that decision (being totally mine) bother anyone else. 

Am I supposed to create chemistry with a white woman that isn't present just to have a relationships and do the same with a black woman. If I like you, I like you; if I don't like you, then you're probably not going to know because I won't be talking to you for very long especially if you instigated the conversation...

We put so much emphasis on what we see, making judgements before we speak or listen, and use the information given (not discovered) to make various life choices with potential partners and it all seems a bit nuts to me. 

If the woman has patchy coloured skin and one arm slightly shorter than the other, that doesn't mean she's not ridiculously beautiful. No one other than you should have any say or opinion on who you date, and if they do, please, please - do not take a break from eating your chicken and watermelon, you deserve it, the coconut water too!

This song felt totally appropriate... I don't care either: