Signs You’re too Young Minded for a Commitment

Today was the day that the term marriage was redefined. Whether you agree with the decision or not, the institution of marriage is on an examination table. A whole collection of people will finally get to experience the challenges & heartaches of marriage. On some level.

Ironically, there is an entire generation that will simultaneously rally behind marriage equality but are wrestling with commitment. The term “prolonged adolescence” means that young adults are waiting longer than ever to finish college, move out of their parents’ homes, and get married. Perpetual bachelorhood is romanticized over romance itself. It seems to me that there is more warring against traditional marriage besides the recent declaration.

But I’ve been thinking….current culture reveals so much evidence that not only are most 20 somethings not choosing to get married, but they aren’t even prepared for the commitment. And not only that, but they aren’t attempting to prepare themselves. I can’t speak on this without having the experience to back it up. I wasn’t married at 22. I made a ton of mistakes.

…so, I’m not at all pointing any fingers here…

Anywho. Here’s the list I came up with of signs that you are too young minded to handle a long term commitment. Feel free to comment/add/minus any of these….

1. You cannot take constructive criticism with humility.

2. You haven’t the foggiest idea of where you’d like to be in 5 years.

3. Your ideals/beliefs change depending on who you’re around.

4. You have multiple personal electronics which their cost add up into the $1000s but you can’t seem to save for a car.

5. You cannot make a full meal on your own (including a starch, a meat, a vegetable, and maybe dessert).

6. You stink at having roommates or always choose to live alone.

7. When out with friends, you can’t (at least once) pick out the restaurant.

8. Your FB timeline is filled with passive aggressive/attention seeking posts.

9. Your previous relationships ended due to the same, exact reason. Doesn’t matter which one, but they are all identical.

10. You believe its the opposite sex’s fault you aren’t in a relationship.

11. You spend most of your time looking for someone, rather than becoming someone.

12. If you’re female, you still say the following: “I have more guy friends than girls. I just don’t get along with girls.”

12b. If you’re a male, you still use derogatory terms for women (e.g. thot, etc.).

13. You either feel like marriage is a) a prison sentence or b) your salvation.

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The Race Card (My One Post about Race)

With regards to race, I have come to rest on two main truths:

1. There is both an individual manner and a collective manner to experience race.

and

2. If you have a heartbeat, you have the potential to be a racist. And there are many ways to be racist.

Let me break each one down, as candidly as possible…

1. There is both an individual manner and a collective manner to experience race.

Each race in America has both individual, day-to-day experiences as their race, as well as experiences shared with the remaining people of the same race. Those shared experiences can be at a community level, a state level, class level, political lean level, national level, etc. Both manners are necessary for statistical purposes. Some people make the mistake of assuming that their personal experience is the same for others of the same race, but that may or may not be true. This is why it is dangerous for people to use generalizations when discussing race, without the correct stats to back it up. Even our modern media can use “race baiting” tactics to make people conclude that a small collection of experiences is the majority. Whatever the race, you should be examining your community (the smallest collective you have easy access to), to see what the racial climate is like.

Having said that, it is easy for some to hide racist agendas on the institutional level (e.g. Job discrimination). Plus, people who have no local awareness of racism, will assume that racism does not exist, or that it isn’t a “big deal”. Many will assume that “the race card” is being used unfairly, and will experience frustration towards the “victimized” people group.

I have seen people compare their individual racial experience with an entire people group of another race. Example: “I don’t know why they need welfare, I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve owned my whole life and never got a single hand out. Those people are just entitled.”

Here’s the problem with that reasoning:

a. This person is making both racist and classist generalizations about that particular people group who are on welfare. This person isn’t just assuming that people on welfare are lazy and entitled, but that the people of that race (who are on welfare) are lazy and entitled.

b. This person is also assuming that just because his individual experience was favorable (He worked hard and received the just due for his hard work), that EVERYONE’S experience will be the same. This is ideal, but naive. If we have learned anything from America’s history is that even though Lady Liberty welcomed many demographics onto her land, whom all had the same hopes and aspirations, not everyone has been able to achieve a piece of her coveted American dream. While it is honorable to teach others that individual hard work gets you success, it should also be taught that often times, the SYSTEM has uneven playing fields. Certain races teach each other to look out for those uneven places, not so we can sit and complain, but so that we can know how to survive and thrive IN SPITE of those places. The person who claims they do not exist are actually doing certain people groups a disservice.

If our nation is truly based on a free market and open, fair competition, I would rather win my place over the next man HONORABLY.

Okay. I hope you’re keeping up. On to #2.

2. If you have a heartbeat, you have the potential to be a racist. And there are many ways to be racist.

Inside, we are all the same. Historically, we were taught that blacks were born inferior due to the shape of the skull (re: Phrenology). Thankfully, we now know race to be both a sociological construct and a way to classify and experience shared culture. Some people promote a “racially blind” society, where they believe that if we would simply erase the racial lines, we would all see our similarities clearly and racism would thus be eradicated. Others feel that ridge separatism is the answer; that we should just stick to our own kind.

I’m of the school of thought that a balance should be achieved. That celebrating our differences, and seeing the beauty in each curl pattern and skin tone, will accomplish two things:

a. We will be amazed that we are all capable of great things that are carried out in different ways. It’s the same as with the Biblical analogy of the Body of Christ. Some are feet, some are hands. Their differences in role and gifting are all needed for the Body. Unity does not have to equal uniformity.

b. We will recognize that we are all identical in our ability to commit the worst atrocities. We create a shared humanity by seeing that we are all human. I am amazed by how some people groups fight for equality, but will only fight for the best and brightest claims to being human. Here are a couple of examples: White Privilege exists because some Whites accept the benefits of their race but little of the responsibility that comes with it. And Blacks are infamous for being quick to distribute blame on a collective front, but take no responsibility back to their communities. We all hurt. And we are all responsible.

Going back to the two manners of experiencing race: we share responsibility on both individual and shared levels. If you never examine both manners, then you are only taking half of your responsibility. And you may feel that racism isn’t a huge deal, but it may be because you are only looking as far as your front yard. Look deeper. Look farther.

There is still so much to be done.

A Way with Words

“You have such a way with words.”
“Hey, when’s the book coming out?”

Before I even thought seriously about becoming a writer, many of my friends and loved ones recognized my talent. Not that I don’t appreciate a compliment, but I had to ignore the acclaim to see if I loved writing as much as I appeared. So, I busied myself. Filled my life with other good, important tasks so that I didn’t have time to write. No one else knew that I was doing this. In a way, even I wasn’t sure of what I was doing.

And I realized that I was implementing only 40% of my insides to the world around me. I wasn’t able to articulate my creativity as fluidly in my other responsibilities/jobs. I consistently felt less than competent most of the time. There I was, surrounded by opportunities to create new projects and bring change to organizations that I work for, but I was clogged mentally. What’s more frustrating is that I knew I held a unique gift for words that could be useful in some way, but no steam or confidence to show it. For example, a particularly favorite task of mine is to help students with resumes/cover letters. Only because I get the awesome privilege to mold words. Every resume appointment that I had or anything remotely close revealed me as steady and focused.

Reluctantly, I admit that I whined in the beginning.

“in the end, the effectiveness of our creative process comes down to whether or not were going to whine or do the work.” — Blaine Hogan

Eventually, I realized that it was my own fault for crowding out my love for words with other, slightly less, but very important pursuits. Furthermore, these pursuits cannot keep me from writing unless I allow it. For me, the work involved holding writing as a priority for work, and not just as a needed hobby to decompress or maintain my sanity. I owed writing more of my efforts.

I have always wanted to explain an inexplicable feeling. My very first poem was written to express grief over losing my brother. I didn’t know any other way to help satisfy the pressure I felt on my shoulders. I had cried, prayed, and spent time with people I knew loved me. But the weight was too significant. Even though I didn’t receive full release (there is still a portion to the void left), I cannot duplicate the feeling I experienced when I place words to page.

In that moment, I knew exactly how I felt. I was able to explain my grief. And I felt at peace with God. That momentary clarity showed me that everything was going to be alright. If I had the strength to scribe my pain, it meant that I had lived through it. Life was still livable. No amount of pain could conquer my soul as long as I had this ability to communicate to God via pad/pen.

Not only did I vividly understand why David scribed most of the Psalms, but I felt why it was included in the canonical book we know as the Bible.

I had reached into my core and pulled out whatever I could get my hands on. Calm or tumultuous. Brimming with kindness or hatred. Purpose followed. Because I knew God had/would surround me with people who held unexplainable emotions/circumstances in their feeble hands. Would I be the one He would use to bring clarity to minds burdened by turmoil?

If this was so, then I would be need to be moved in amazing measures before I would use words to move others.

Which brings me to one of my purposes in life: Using words to help maneuver hearts through life; sparking lights of passion in those who simply seek to exist.

“You have such a way with words!”

Again, I appreciate the compliment, but this is more than a talent.