Free Time.

Or why it seems I only have time to update this thing when I’m on vacation.

  • “So what brings you to Denver?” my Lyft driver asked, trying to make conversation on the drive from the airport.

    ”I’ve never been here before, and I don’t know anyone here, which is perfect.”

    I enjoy the freedom of traveling solo. I come and go as I please. If I want to spend all day in the hotel ordering room service and watching TV5Monde, I can do that without judgment. And in this case, I can explore a totally new city without feeling burdened by having to have “plans” with people who “know” me.

    It’s my vacation. My plan is to vacate.

  • It’s been three and a half months since I last posted something here. I’d like to tell you that so much has happened, but in reality, about 95% of that is work-related and super boring and I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about what I do while I’m on vacation. (I’ve just been telling people I’ve met here that I work in the entertainment industry…which isn’t too far from the truth.)

    The other 5% of life lately has been fairly mundane. I finished redecorating my apartment. I finally bought a new couch. I started talking to two guys, and then those two guys did what guys who I like generally do — got distant and expected me to pick up the slack. These occurrences are not terribly interesting, in hindsight, but I would have liked to write about these things in the moment. Instead, I’m recalling these incidents as just distant memories. It doesn’t quite have the same punch.

    To be honest, I’ve been really struggling with this whole semi writing-in-public thing. It’s not that I don’t have anything to share — quite the contrary. It’s the ever-nagging issue of someone I “know” finding my writing, and taking it upon themselves to share it with others who “know” me…including my current employer. This has already happened twice since the last newsletter, which not only forced me into taking a break from here, but also meant taking my Twitter account private. Hell, I had to block my boss on Twitter, and someone we both “know” told him about this newsletter, and then he brought it up in our regular 1:1 meeting. (If he’s reading this…hi.)

  • Before I left for Denver, I caught a showing of a new documentary titled Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. It chronicled her rise from a young girl in Lorain, Ohio to her current status as the fierce, bad-ass novelist that she is today. It’s inspiring and uplifting and affirming in all the ways that I needed to hear with respect to my own writing. Granted, Toni writes fiction and I don’t, but I still aspire to reach that level of depth and understanding and clarity in my own writing about my life. I know that’s something which comes with practice, and the less I write, the more I feel it slipping away. I’m also reading a galley of Saeed Jones’ “How We Fight For Our Lives”, which is so damn good. I met Saeed via Twitter, so I’ve heard his backstory in bits and bobs. Seeing it all laid out on the page like that in such vivid description is another experience altogether. This too, makes me want to keep writing. However, the public consequence of writing about my life is something that has already burned me several times in the past, so I’m still a little gun shy about really putting it all out on the page like that.

    Still wanna write a book tho. *sigh*

  • I like Substack as a platform, but I wouldn’t mind something a bit more “blog-like” that’s not a WordPress installation. I read this post on Lifehacker a while ago about folks who blog into a Google document and share it with select people. That sounds like a good idea in theory, but then I’d have to set up a separate Google account that doesn’t have my real name attached to it, and I’m already way too deep into the Google ecosystem to think I can successfully manage that type of split. Not to mention I would need to keep track of people’s email addresses too. No thanks. I’ve even thought about making this a paid newsletter, but I mean…if I did that, would y’all really pay? I’d only charge like a dollar or two— nothing crazy. Plus it would force me into a regular habit of writing since people are paying into it, which might curb the few looky-loos out there I don’t know who are reading (including the one I’ve had to continually unsubscribe from this list because I’m sure they are the mole. 👀

    If that sounds like something you’d support, let me know.

  • I’ve still got a few more days in Denver before I head back to Atlanta. I’ve been to three dispensaries, went day drinking, saw Spider-Man: Far From Home, and gotten a marijuana-laced massage and mani/pedi. I also plan on taking a train ride through the mountains, getting my hair washed and trimmed at a natural hair salon, and just relax and play some Nintendo Switch. I already know the rest of the world is waiting for me when I get back to work next week, but I’ll deal with that when it comes.

    Happy Independence Day, y’all.

Ego

he talk like this 'cuz he can back it up

When I was in my 20s, going to New York City was a pleasure trip. I knew so many people there from my old blogging days, exploring the city via subway was fun, and I even tried to move there before I turned 30. Eight years later, and it’s a totally different experience now. New York City is cramped, dirty, smelly, and rude. Most of my old friends from those blogging days have either moved away, moved on from me, or sadly have passed away.

Now, New York City is just work. I need to find a new city for pleasure trips.

Speaking of work, two new members just joined my team last week and I spent time getting them up to speed before promptly going on vacation for a week and leaving them to fend for themselves. That wasn’t the plan, but I had this time off on the books before they even signed their offers. Coupled with few hard weeks of management decisions and general chaos at work bringing on more new employees, your boy was burned out. The good thing is that this is honestly the first time I have taken a vacation from work and not had to check back in about something, and I plan on using every precious hard-earned minute treating myself to whatever I want.

When I was up in NYC for work last week, the COO and I had a little chat. He was giving me his version of a pep talk for making a recent tough recruiting decision, and was congratulating me on handling it with grace.

“You know, you are a fantastic individual. You really are. But I think the best thing about you is that you have no ego about it. You just do the work and show up and help out. And that’s the trait of a good leader.”

I zeroed in on that “no ego” part because I’ve never gotten that as a compliment before. I’ll admit that I have mellowed in some ways over the years, but I’ve also never really been one to be all that bombastic about my accomplishments. The work should speak for itself, right? And I’m fortunate that it has, especially since it’s gotten me this far. “No ego,” though? I don’t know. That phrase is still sticking with me.

Today is my birthday. 38 years old. I have a great job, I’m making more money than I’ve ever made before, and life is good right now. I’m able to fund my creative projects, give back to the community, and make an impact.

Ego or not, I think I’m in a pretty good spot.

Get your hand out of my pocket!

7 rings, 6 figures

2018 was a good year for me at work. I took on big problems. I stepped up and volunteered for new projects. And at the end of it all, I was promoted several times, got recognized for my accomplishments, and got a substantial raise that pushed me into an entirely new tax bracket.

And yet, it’s still not sitting right with me for some reason. What’s that about?

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t feel bad about the fact that I make more money. I work hard as fuck. I put in long hours and I get results. And I’m doing things which are helping make my employer money and increase our profile in the marketplace. So there’s no guilt around that. I deserve this, for sure. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I don’t really know if I’m managing it right.

Look…I can manage being broke. $20 to stretch throughout the week? I’m a gold champ in that shit. But now, $20 is just a cheap lunch on Tuesday. That’s a big leap, y’all. Usually when you’re broke, you just do what you have to do to solve certain problems, like getting rid of junk and old furniture because you decided to KonMari your apartment over the weekend and you’re tired of stepping over the heavy trash bags. Now I can throw money at the problem and hire a junk delivery service. And a regular house cleaner. And new furniture to fill my apartment now that I junked most of old furniture. Like, I just bought a new couch on my lunch break on a whim! I’ve been looking for a couch and sitting on couches in stores for months now, and *poof* — I snapped one up randomly that fell within my price range and measurements with zero research about it. WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Furniture purchases aside, I haven’t been balling out of control with the new salary. I’ve set up my bills on autopay, added more onto my student loan payments, and soon I’ll start putting more into my 401k. One of my friends even wants me to start looking for a house to buy. (I do not want a house, but that’s a whole other story.) I haven’t even told my mom about the raise yet because I already know what’s going to happen when I do. She’ll start throwing it in my face, trying to use it as a reason for why I don’t come home more or call more or stuff like that. She already holds resentment against her older brother because he made a ton more money than her and never visited or anything. He would help her out with money when she needed it, but she’d always say something like “your money doesn’t make you better than me” before begrudgingly taking it to get her out of a financial bind.

Right now, I make three times more than my mom made at the peak of her career, and I haven’t told her about the raise because I don’t need that to be another reason that she doesn’t treat me with any respect. Maybe I’m repealing the black tax by withholding that information, but I don’t see any outcome where she would respond positively. She already turned her nose up at me when she knew my starting salary at this job.

Now I make double that.

My birthday is coming up in a few days, and initially I thought about flying out to Puerto Rico for a week and spending it at a beach resort. But work crept up on me, so I just got a suite at a nice hotel here in town. I’ll treat myself to all the stuff I’ve wanted to do in Atlanta, enjoy a nice view of the city, and unwind and relax.

I see it, I like it, I want, I got it.

Bad At This

But like...who's good at it?

It's Sunday, and I'm tired.

I'm typing this to you on my phone from my bed — actually, I'm not even doing that; I'm dictating this to an app called Otter which will transcribe it into text which I then copied and pasted here so I could make light edits. After a week of meetings and interviews, that's about as much “work” as I really plan on doing today.

The concept of adulting has been on my mind a lot lately. I turn 38 in March, and I think about how when my mom was my age, she had two kids, a trifling husband, and a job that ran her ragged. I don't know how she managed it all because I only have one of those things and I feel like I'm still barely taking care of myself. I mean, I'm doing the things that adults should do — you know, pay bills, go to work, file taxes…shit like that. But I also feel like I'm failing in some ways. I eat out way too much and don't cook nearly enough. It takes me too long to respond to emails and texts. I might check my mailbox once a week. Hell, I said I would start these newsletters to y'all in January and it's damn near Valentine's Day!

*sigh*

I'm trying to will myself to take a vacation for my birthday. I'd love to visit Puerto Rico for a week, but then it's like, “oh, I have to schedule the time off,” which is not a bad thing — I've earned the time — but I'm also in the middle of interviewing and trying to build my team at work and my mind is saying “do you really need to go on a vacation now?” Because then I'll have to book a hotel and plane tickets…which reminds me I have to book plane tickets for two trips to NYC soon — one at the end of the month and for our annual gathering in May. That means I've got to make sure my mail gets held, the plants get watered, and that I don't have any other appointments scheduled during those times.

It's a good thing I'm already lying down, because thinking about all that just gave me a headache.

When did you feel like you were good at being an adult? Is this something that any of us ever really get good at being? Because I feel like I'm just winging it these days and I need a break.

Don't Call it a Comeback

Or do. I don't care. It's a free country.

Welcome to my newsletter! Again!

Since TinyLetter kicked me off their platform, I’ve taken a bit of a break and have decided to relaunch the newsletter here on Substack.

Substack is a platform for email newsletters similar to TinyLetter, but it’s better designed, the format is easier on the eyes for writers, and you can respond online or via email. I can even charge a subscription for the newsletter but…I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m happy if you just check it out and leave your thoughts.

(Or thots. I’m not picky.)

Like my earlier newsletter, I plan on writing about whatever’s on my mind at the time. I’m really inspired by the blogging spirit of the early aughts, and I want to keep that going in my own writing. Special shout-out to the one and only Melissa Beck; her writing on Patreon is so fucking good that it made me want to get off my ass and start back blogging like I used to in my early days.

To that end, some of the writing here will be NSFW, but most of it is perfectly fine for reading out loud to your boss (if you’re so inclined.) I’ll also keep doing the “Asides” posts, which are just lists where I just dump out whatever’s in my head.

Subscribe now, and new updates will come starting January 2019. See you then. ✌🏾

Loading more posts…