Archive for July, 2011

07/31/2011

Access, Opulence and Tiger’s Wood

So I’m re reading an old article about Tiger’s new “girlfriend” on Friday in light of his announcement to play in the upcoming PGA tournament and of course the comment section of any NY Daily News article is where all the real highlights are (http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2011/03/22/2011-03-22_tiger_woods_girlfriend_golfer_dating_alyse_lahti_johnston_his_22yearold_neighbor.html). Some of the comments there are just too outlandish and useless at times. But in sloshing through the slop, one can always find a nugget – the source of today’s post. Below are parts of what someone posted:

R: “Black women do have higher demands, but sometimes those demands are materialistic. Sometimes those demands can be like reading a manual for your device but it’s in french, too difficult and time wasting. I always remember black women saying “you date white women because they are easy”, well yes, easy to get to know, understand, talk to, just plain non difficult. I always wanted to know why would any woman want to be difficult. Life is too short to understand the complex mind of women, so I would just rather choose a woman who is not some demanding. A child is demanding, it seems like black women never left that stage in their lives, I see it everyday. I always said “I rather be a father than a husband because many grown women today still act like children”.

Now, after having a WTF moment and nearly spewing the water out my mouth at my screen, it had me thinking seriously that evening. What’s really at work here? Is it stereotyping? Is being ethnocentric? Is it looking for someone safe and comfortable? Or is it simply Tiger liking the vanilla waifs more than the dark meat?

It’s funny how our own experiences shape our perceptions of what we want in a partner. The beauty of life is that there is really someone out there for everyone. But the trick is finding that person. So how do you find what you want if you don’t know what you’re looking for and why in the first place?

I like Tiger. As a golfer, he was kicking ass and talking no prisoners. I liked his will to win and ultra competitive spirit. I hadn’t seen a guy bring personality to a sport in the manner in which Tiger did on the course. He just looked like a guy who loved a challenge and thrived on the art of rising to the occasion. He also looked like a guy was a bit of an adrenaline junkie too. With the cash pouring in, he was able to use some of his coin to pursue the women that he did.

So why was he after those women anyhow? Maybe being an adrenaline junkie it was about finding the best at their craft or the ones that can match his energy. Especially with the cash he was able to supply, I’m sure he could easily ask for the best available, and if one wasn’t giving him the rush, then 2-3 at a time might do the trick. Maybe he started to confuse what he needed (the security of home life) with the high of getting whatever desires satisfied that his opulence allowed. He probably was never gonna marry or be anything more with those women than what he was doing. Maybe one of those women on the side realized they were going to be only a bucket and spazzed out, leading to Elin grabbing iron and the rest we have become all too familiar with.

For me, it’s not about the nuts and bolts of Tiger’s situation, which I always thought that was him and Elin to figure out anyhow. However, the deeper questions invoked by the comment above are: how can we tell if we are being demanding? How can we determine who is still stuck in a “children state”?

Freud might say that we’ve got IDs running amok in our current society. Having access to excess wealth and being force fed the idea of using wealth excessively to fulfill all imagined desires when it is obtained can be quite compelling case. One solid way to keep the rampant ID in check is to not only know what one wants, but be able to attain those things in a realistic manner. People’s lives are so fast paced that it is a matter of them not making the time to figure out and then be what they want. Happiness often starts within the person and its pursuit, while difficult, can be extremely rewarding.

Because we are so used to going at the speed of light, being unaware of the issues just below the surface may cause us to invest time and effort in chasing priorities that are completely out of sorts. Maybe we think we need a partner to look and act a certain way that doesn’t rock our boat. Maybe we want certain people in our lives to help pull us out of a malaise but they must come fully equipped to rescue us without little help on our end. Perhaps that person is our way of fitting into a space where we want to belong in because we have no space for our own.

I cannot say what ethnic group is “easy to talk to” or “child like” when searching for a partner. Having dated from different backgrounds it really boils down to the personality type. Yes, ethnicity cannot be ignored, but that is ultimately only one level or dimension to a person. If one knows what their wants and needs are, and are going after things that way, then no one has the right to dictate to that individual. But if it’s merely going about things to fill a void in the manner of “eating to feel full”, then perhaps one is being worse than child like – operating with a “childish indulgence” instead.

07/31/2011

Wants, Needs, and Outcomes

 “Being able to tell the difference between wants, needs, and what you think you want will put you closer to where you ought to be.”

07/30/2011

A Little Humility Breeds Great Success

“It is better to swallow pride and advocate for what you need, but be just in how you pursue your wants. Sometimes we confuse wants with needs and our advocacy makes us asinine.”

07/29/2011

Pride of a Transplant

The one thing I can say is having moved here to New York, you can clearly see a strong sense of “national pride” on display. It is a beautiful thing to be able to identify with where one is from, especially if you miss your homeland. Here in NYC, there are parades to go see, along with different neighborhoods coexisting side by side in certain areas. It really does make you feel like you can go from one country to the next in some spots by merely crossing the street. Some cultures can be a bit more accepting than others of course here, but many people have a firm grasp on what their roots are, and are pretty proud of it.

 All this pride on display has me thinking: why does it take going to another place to really see national pride on full display? Doing an “unscientific comparison”, I thought of how my college experience and my time here in NYC are vastly different. For those not in the know, here in NYC we are viewed as “Caribbean folk” or “from the islands”. I had a friend from Japan come and visit and since she’s lived in the Caribbean before, I had to take her to a “Caribbean” part of NYC for lunch, because there’s no place really you can say it is solely “Trini”, “St Lucian” or “Jamaican” (although Mt Vernon here last a large Caribbean populous with many Jamaicans in its ranks). In many ways, here it doesn’t matter what island as much you are from, but you’re Caribbean first. It’s usually done so in a warm manner, even between people from different islands. Up here, someone knows somebody from your island anyways. In contrast, at UWI you seemingly had to battle the stereotypes of Trinis not getting along with Jamaicans, etc. I can say with some degree of certainty it’s probably no different at the UWI main campuses in St Augustine (Trinidad) and Cave Hill (Barbados) or the satellite schools. Is it historical? Some of it is, especially with how the whole Federation thing went down (http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community/caricom_history.jsp?menu=community or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Indies_Federation).  But one could go out on a limb and say I big part of it are old stereotypes at work that are now changing for the better.

 Now, I’m not glossing over things in NY either. I am also sure that there is just as much bickering amongst island folk on both an intra and inter island levels. But the feeling of camaraderie fostered here based on that is just a positive thing overall. Some of that might be due to relating to the same set of struggles easily. Still, it begs the question: why do I have to go someplace else to see as high a level of national pride as what I see here? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Jamaicans aren’t proud or anything like that in their own land, but many a conversation with good intentions has been started here with “where in Jamaica you’re from?” Perhaps when one is home in their own land, they may be more caught up in the daily grind to appreciate what is around them and to feel or foster that sense of pride.

 In many ways that sense of “home” an “national pride” is what allows many transplants, particularly first generation ones, to survive, adjust and ultimately thrive in America. Make no mistake, it is such a grind here that is hard to explain to others how haven’t lived much less visited here. I’m a firm believer in the old adage that it takes about 18 months for someone to adjust to life in another country. But it does help to see those bits of culture that reminds one of home in a positive ways as one tries to make a life in another land.

07/28/2011

Being Right and Being Correct

“Getting ahead in life depends on knowing when to be right and when to be correct.”

07/27/2011

“If I Don’t Tell You Everything, You Can’t Get it Right”

There was a news article that recently caught my eye that I just couldn’t ignore: (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/07/20/2011-07-20_are_you_home_mum_suicidal_swiss_man_flies_plane_into_moms_home_kamikaze_called_f.html), especially since it talks about a man who flew a plane into his mom’s house. Now, we may never know what really happened between this mom and her son to drive him to take such drastic actions, but it was one of the comments that stood out and led to today’s entry.

 Ever had those people in your life who you’re doing stuff and they always off that “constructive criticism” that is no more that raining on your parade? What about the parent or boss that no matter what you do, it’s not enough or not done correctly, even if you follow their instructions to the letter? People like this are often the most difficult to deal with, especially if they are parents.

 One of the hardest things in life is to please one’s parents. The fact that parents and kids have had differences in opinion of what the child should do with their lives is as old as time. Those who have been able to successfully do so seemingly didn’t go the full “pleasing their folks solely” route – they managed to make them proud and be productive by becoming their own adults, which is ultimately what most parents want for their children.

 Sometimes people will butt heads with their folks – that’s just how the life is. But that demanding parent image is one of the stronger personas or situations many us have to overcome. Even though parents will often want what’s best for their kids, one can question how really effective or even helpful they are being when they go the “demanding route”.

 It’s always about trying to prove something. Whether someone is good enough to get that promotion, win that scholarship or the heart of a love interest, it seems like there is always some doubt to kick or an obstacle to overcome. We’ve so inundated with images of triumph in the face of adversity or getting past the “haters” that it’s almost

 I’m all for making those who doubt you eat crow by rising up to the challenge. Life’s always about growth and overcoming challenges. But as one gets on the grind to prove the doubters wrong, you gotta ask yourself though: is this healthy? Is this even attainable? Sometimes we get so hung up on the “I’m gonna prove them wrong” that when you do, the thrill of achievement has a strong pyrrhic taste to it. Honestly, if the source of your angst to overcome is what we call in the trade a “hater” or a “disbelieving parent” then you’ve got to keep in mind that they will always find something to nitpick at. They will never acknowledge it and always focus on the other stuff you’re either not good – whether real or imagined. So do you want to spend your time proving a hater wrong, investing all that added angst?

 It’s really about using the motivation that they prove in a healthy way. There is nothing wrong in having that extra edge, that slick comment or look person doubting your capabilities to add fuel to your fire. But just like everything else in life, you get what you put in. So if you put in too much negative fuel in your fire, those same flames may eventually consume you or scar things that you hold dear.

07/26/2011

Worry: The Enemy of Action

“If one spends their time worrying about what they don’t have, they will end up adding what they once had to the list of things they worrying about .”

07/25/2011

The Value of Silence

“If you don’t have anything good to say, its best to keep your negative thoughts to yourself before your words cause you to put your foot in your mouth.”