When The Darkness Comes

Like a storm rolling in from across the sea, the darkness comes. Some days we see the storm approaching like a hurricane and can prepare as best we know how. Other days it comes as suddenly as a lightning bolt pierces the once peaceful sky over The Great Plains.

Either way, it’s intimidating and oftentimes paralyzing. You know it’s coming but what can you do? You feel helpless. Very rarely is it a false alarm and even then the anxiety alone does enough damage.

The usual questions begin.

-How long do I have before it hits?

-How bad does it get?

-What and who will I lose on this cycle?

-How long will it be dark this time?

-WHAT will help pull me through this time?

-How much of me will get left this time around?

-What will be the physical effects this time?

You never can really tell at the onset, huh?

If you or anyone you know has dealt with mood or mental disorders, you know the dread. You’ve known these questions. You may have even helped to answer these questions.

As the world becomes more connected, we are exposed to more people. This has also brought experiences with the mental differences of others.

We now know and recognize mental health as more than an abstract idea. We see it as a scientific phenomenon that can be observed and explained. At times, even directed and controlled.

Many are even trained to recognize many of the signs of more common disorders. These include depression, anxiety, and eating disorders among others.

Recognize these signs or at least the mental health professionals that can recognize these signs. Go boldly in the direction of understanding the unique workings of your mental/ psychosocial faculties.

This is the path to owning and controlling your mental health.

Some days Life has a way of offering you a hug and cake then kicking you in the crotch and spitting on you. (not always in that order) It happens to us all and you don’t have to be ashamed that life has gotten you down.

I’m not okay and that’s okay. I know it so I will be. I will seek the guidance and do the work in order to be. — This has to be your mantra

For those at or nearing the end of your rope, hold on and cry out or reach out. There is someone that can do something.

If you may need help:

Ask your physician or local clinic staff for a mental health professional

Most college campuses have licensed mental health counselors and it’s covered in your fees.

Many community centers provide various support groups.

National SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline – 18777264727

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 18002738255 or chat line

FOR ALL EMERGENCIES PLEASE CALL 911

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I’ll Fly Away

We’d sit in the wide open window for hours every night and watch the planes come in. Mom was at work and dad was a thousand miles away in Florida. Who was going to make us stop dreaming and go to bed? Why would they?  We were caged birds singing our songs and it was beautiful.

Getwell Gardens was a public housing development situated about three blocks from Memphis International (MEM) and the FedEx Hub. Living on the landing side of the airport, we were so close I never saw a plane that didn’t have landing gear down. It took an encyclopedia (WorldBook) for me to learn that the gear wasn’t always down.

In short, we were addicted to planes. When you’re living in those conditions, you need an outlet. You need hope. If you don’t have hope, you’ll root down into your circumstances and get stuck. Your soul will wither and you’ll think this is all you should ever know. You’ll die long before your death. We had our planes and encyclopedias.

We would sit up and imagine all of the amazing places the rich people from the other side of town were returning from. We went over all of the fun and wild things they had done on their travels. We even discussed all of the wild and zany things that were passing through the FedEx Hub that Mom worked at during the night.

Then we planned all of the places we would go someday and the things we would do when we got there. It was all imagination but, it was enough to keep us going when the circumstances would have stopped us.

The only one of us that had ever been on a plane was Brandon. We were born in the port city, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Shortly after birth, the doctors knew something was different about Brandon. He got sick very easily and very often. After a barrage of tests, they delivered a hard message to my 22yo mother of three. Brandon was diagnosed with congenital neutropenia. If she did not get Brandon to St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in Memphis, he would not live to see age one. My mom had never even left south Florida.

There was no time to waste feeling sorry and dejected. Moves had to be made immediately.

St. Jude… Everything you’ve heard is real! I’m actually fighting tears as I type this. We all know I don’t have the money to replace this Surface right now.

When St. Jude got the call, they immediately moved into action. They told my mom not to worry about a thing beyond keeping a smile on Brandon’s face. They have a system in place with their partners. EVERYTHING is covered. From the flight to lodging and everything between, it’s covered.

St. Jude stepped in to save my brother and their partner Northwest Airlines (now Delta) made certain my mom and brother were there every time St. Jude called. They called OFTEN.

Brandon would often tell us about the flights and how friendly the staff was. He loved the flight attendants and how they would give him as many snacks as he liked. I can only imagine the comforting support those flight attendants gave to so many families

From his first flight, Brandon was infatuated with travel. It didn’t take long for the wanderlust to spread. My first trip was the move from Miami to Memphis. Mom had decided it would be better to relocate in order to be closer to St. Jude as there were times Brandon needed to be rushed to the hospital.

Our first trip for leisure would come later, much later. Our first trip would be a church bus trip to Chicago to sing and it was a BLAST! Our first flight came a couple of years after that when we drove to Nashville (BNA) to fly to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) for the summer. Unaccompanied minors, you’d think we would be terrified. NOPE! My little brother had already told us what to expect and flight attendants take special care of unaccompanied minors.

Nashville (BNA) to Tampa (TPA) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) was may first flight. It’s true what they say. Some of us have something buried deep in us and once it’s tapped the wanderlust takes us. Planes, trains, or automobiles… Whether it was across town or across country, I needed to get out and see the world.

Here it is, years later and I’ve been on more trips than Mrs. Frizzle and crew. First road trip (car): Miami to Memphis. First flight: Nashville to Fort Lauderdale. First bus trip: Memphis to Chicago.

Years (and many trips) later, I’m still that kid looking out into the night sky and wondering where wandering will take me. Wondering what amazing people I’ll be able to take on the journey with me.

Who knows what’s next… Let me reach up my sleeves and see what’s in store. I hope the world is ready. 😉

Let’s Run It!

I owe a special debt of gratitude to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Delta Airlines. I could never repay you for teaming up to save my little brother. Thank you!

I Wanna See The World

Like most kids from Anyghetto, USA, I wasn’t supposed to travel. I wasn’t supposed to see the world beyond my tv screen. The confines of my little ghetto were all that I was supposed to know and want in life.

It’s funny how life happens. Especially when you have the audacity of hope…

When we were living in the last housing project we would be residents of in Memphis, Shynelle started catching the church bus to Olivet Baptist Church across town. Eventually it became a family thing. We joined the youth choir and all. We were the poor kids but most kids didn’t know or care. We were more kids to play with. It was lit!

Shortly after a major violent event in the housing project, the church gave my mom keys to a duplex on the property and a part time job that covered the rent. Our closest family of friends had already moved to a house across the street. We were OUT of the projects!

Life wasn’t perfect but Mom was working three jobs to make things happen for us. She made sure we had life experiences through the school and church. We didn’t have everything we wanted but our needs were met and many of our wants were provided. “We was eating name brand!”

Through school, church, and community programs I sang, stepped, acted, played sports, did photography/journalism, ran a printing press, opened a business, and danced. Then in 1999 I started to travel. It was a wrap from there.

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t even expected. The youth choir at church was traveling to Chicago to sing with a sister church. I wanted to go. I never really expected to be able to go as we didn’t have the money for things like travel.

Money was actually so tight that I can remember very distinct and disparaging events around money as if they happened this morning. The one that always stands out is a reward field trip.

I had made straight A’s for the academic period and the school’s reward was a field trip across town to the movies. It didn’t cost much but, we didn’t have a lot then and everything counted. I can remember my mom in the room of that apartment in the projects rolling pennies to make sure I could go on the trip. Her baby had achieved something and she was adamant that I would not miss the trip. For her, it was a lesson in celebration of achievement.

Seeing that changed me. Remembering that moment still changes me from time to time. From there, I decided that I would see the world. I would work hard for opportunities and when they arrived, I would see the world. It took a few years but, Chicago happened.

Chicago was an orchestrated effort between Mom, the ladies over the youth choir, and Mrs. Eddie Mae Williams. She was an older woman that was known in the church for her fashion, her big heart, and a unique signature. She had a grey patch in the front of her head, slightly off to the right. Each and every Sunday that patch had the lightest rinse to match perfectly to the color dress she was wearing that day. I always thought it was so cool to be able to do whatever you want when you want and that was how I actually met her. I would find her after church to see what she had on and if her hair was colored to match. It always was.

When I found out that she had sponsored my trip, I was amazed. Although I was considered a rough kid from the other side of town, she saw something in me. She said that I needed to see the world outside of that which I had known so long. This would change me forever. She would go on to sponsor trips to St. Louis and Washington D.C. as well. She was adamant about exposing me to more than what I had known. From there I wanted to see, feel, hear, smell, and RUN THE WORLD.

Thus far, I’ve done just that. Countless domestic trips for business, leisure, running, and everything in between plus a few internationals later and I’m still going.

I want kids (and adults) from the same circumstances to see the world through my eyes until they can get out and see it for themselves.

In that last housing project (Getwell Gardens) we were three blocks from Memphis International and the FedEx hub. I’d watch plane after plane come and go. I’d make up stories about where they were coming from or going. For the FedEx planes I even made up tales of the cargo they were carrying. Wanderlust found me early.

I had a kid tell me that my trip to The Bahamas “don’t count” since I’m from Florida and it’s so close. Travel snobbery will have you ashamed to even leave the house if it isn’t a GRAND experience. LOL! Let that go! Anytime you come off the porch, whether it’s across town or the globe, it exposes and changes you. It matters.

You can’t run the world if you won’t go see the world.

Run the World!

Aight, so

If you’ve met me or even read a post on any of my social media, you know I like to travel and I like to run. I was running from the time I learned to stand upright and I have been traveling since I went to Chicago to sing  (yeah, to sing) when I was about 12 years old. *unless you count moving from Miami to Memphis*

I don’t sit still and even when I get to a new place I want to run it. Many people travel with the intentions of trying new foods and seeing new clubs or bodies. I travel with the intention of running it when I arrive. Many times I’ll actually plan the hotel or map out the location in advance to get an idea of where I’ll be in relation to bodies of water and major landmarks.

Whether it’s a landmark/monument or just nature being nature, I’ve never gone on a run where I didn’t see something interesting

Be it the Crystal City zone outside of D.C., the beaches of Bavaro, Dominican Republic, or the heat and dust of Norman Oklahoma, I want to run it!

I want to run the world!

After the incident in 2015, I told myself I would travel more to see what I almost missed and I would appreciate my body more by tuning and training. I’ve done both! lol

Let’s see…

Fort Lauderdale– That’s Bae… That’s home!

Miami– more than sand and palm trees… From Liberty to Carol Mart and back to Gould’s, the run is always lit

Memphis- Gosh! I spent the bulk of my childhood here. It wasn’t always easy but I learned a lot! Yes, the city really does smell like bbq when you land and the history is richer than our new presidential cabinet. Orange Mound raised me! Golden Wildcat for life!

Tallahassee– do these count?

Tampa

Orlando-

Jacksonville– before I worked at the Silver Fox lol

Savannah

Atlanta- FILA

Nashville- LOL!!! A lil boy from the ghettos of Memphis ran Opryland. I danced on the steps of the Grand Ole Opry too 

Charleston- running to the capitol and seeing that flag…

Orangeburg- The Legend of The Fire Breathing Dragon LOL

Norfolk…. my first trip with FAMU Football and it was lit. My brothers’ keeper…

Virginia Beach

Myrtle Beach

Baltimore– I actually got lost for 7 miles listening to Mystikal lol

Dover Delaware– flew into Wilmington but did NOT have donuts and coffee or see the Wretched LOL

Norman OK– random desert storms are a real and dangerous thing! lol

Jackson MS

Solidaridad Mexico- my first international trip… I can’t even explain to you. I was still on med restrictions and barely allowed to run but it was beautiful. Family is everything to me

Bavaro Dominican Republic– MAMA JUANA!!! Beautiful place with a rich history. Gotta get back to Hispaniola

Manaus Brazil- I didn’t get to run at all as an agreement with my family and friends. None of us had ever even heard of the city and safety was a major concern but next time the city is mine

Washington DC- This city always has something for me. Not just the Potbelly’s oatmeal chocolate chip or Dream Bar either! LOL! The last time I ran my first half marathon in sub-30 temperatures! 

Basically, all this is to say GO SEE THE WORLD! Across town or across the planet…

Take care of your body and go see the world! I just happened to fall in love with a way to do both at once. I’m a runner baby and I want to run the world!

Where to next? 

Come run with me on social media:

Instagram: SkyyOrRocky

Facebook: Randy Skyy Henley

Twitter: SkyyOrRocky

Youtube: Randy Henley

#RandyRuns #RunTheWorld #LetsRunIt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fight to Get Fit

The road to fitness is not one for the faint of heart. There are times where you just want to say FCUK THIS over a spread of Southern fried chicken, stuffed crust pizza, and an endless supply of ice cream and soda. Oh! FRIES!!!! LOTS and lots of FRIES!

Then you realize why you started and (hopefully) you pull yourself back on the proper course to a healthier you. A you that doesn’t get winded on the daily flight of stairs… Maybe a you that can go the extra round or three in the uhhh…Yeah

Kicking tires

Whatever your impetus for getting healthier, you are here and the work is real. So are the rewards. The only nagging problem? You have to get beyond those pesky miles, stupid squats, and evil burpees to get to the healthier you. This can be a daunting task if done alone or without a plan. Hell… Even with a plan, it can be a struggle.

That’s where good and realistic support groups come in. I can’t be the only one that’s sick of seeing people proclaim how easy it is to get and maintain the body of your dreams when they don’t have to account for the other responsibilities of adulting.

It’s hard as hell to work 50+ hours each week on a clock, build your brand off the clock, and get in good, solid workouts. I catch myself juggling and hitting the “inny minny” on a regular basis. We won’t even get into eating healthy and filling meals on a poor budget with outrageous time constraints! Talk about a balancing act! HOWEVER, it is possible and there are people around you figuring this thing out and we are willing to help you in this fight.

It won’t ever be easy but it doesn’t have to stay this hard forever. We set small goals and monitor those goals while pushing one another for greater. We even give tips and pointers for ways to understand your numbers and how they feed your goals.

For about a year now I’ve been an avid member of the Fitbit community and the connections have been very useful and even pulled me through some episodes where I didn’t care about my goals and body. In short, it’s dope! I have the Charge HR and I’m loving it. Maybe you should get one.

WRITE!!!

I don’t feel like it. I haven’t felt like it in some time. I’m always at work and so dang busy.

WRITE!

I can’t. My mind is too clouded and I am hurting.

WRITE!

What will I write about? No one wants to hear about the hell I’ve been through. No one needs to know about the struggles I’m facing.

WRITE!

For what?!? Who cares? NOBODY! No one wants to see the dark and ugly side of the journey I’m on right now. I’d be writing to the wind. Better if I wrote the Easter Bunny…

WRITE!

This has been my personal and daily struggle for months now. I feel like Precious in that class when she had SO MUCH she needed to let out but it seems so much more socially acceptable to just hold it all in and hope I don’t choke on it.

Many times we curl up and hide pieces of us from the public spaces that we occupy in an effort to be respectable. An effort to minimize the shame… A shame that we all share.

I have a total of 11 drafts sitting undone and waiting for me to close them out. There’s also a book on one of my iDevices that should have been at least half done and…. NOTHING!

This is my first post since September and even that one was a slight. I just haven’t felt the motivation to write. Life was coming at me from a million angles and throwing a billion blows. I even picked up 15lbs in the melee. Life has a way of taking the things you love (in your mind anyhow) and beating the hell out of you. I don’t even mean the pretty Greco-Roman hell with the river and the stillness. I’m talking the Christian, seven circles hell that we often get dragged into and all up and through. I wasn’t hardly about to write about that! Hell… I was embarrassed that I even let myself get back in that space.

I’m back!ontrack

It’s like a storm. A darkness that approaches and envelopes everything you even think about… You often feel helpless as you know this darkness has a power that many can’t help you with as most still don’t believe it exists. “It’s all in your head” is the most common thing you hear. MOTHERFUCKER! I know it’s in my head! That’s why I can’t outrun it! Have you seen me? I’m a runner! If it were anywhere else I could escape it but here we are and here is the darkness. [There’ll be another post on The Darkness later]

I can’t promise the darkness won’t return. It has a way of coming back around. I can promise to keep fighting. I can also promise to WRITE.

Hell… I have enough drafts and material to write a year. LOL

Sidenote: How has your workout and eating plan been? Mine went to hell but it’s back too #LetsRunIt

FCUK Yo Bodega

Okay. Let me start by saying this post may be deemed as offensive by some due to language used by me or the butt-hurt feelings experienced in realizing you can relate on either end of the subject matter. I apologize for neither. Get the fuck over it!

Furthermore, some people ain’t shit BUT we LOVE to keep an ain’t shit motherfucker in our presence, don’t we?

That said… Roll with me.

A bodega is the northeastern United States jargon term commonly used to refer to a small convenience store. Nothing special or fancy, just a term. In the South it would be a “corner store” and in South Florida (NOT the South) it may be called an Arab due to the melding of ignorance and the common idea that these shops are usually owned and operated by persons of Middle-Eastern origin.

These little stores are EVERYWHERE and have one thing in common. They all have WAY more shit than is necessary or sensible for the owner to carve out a niche. The design is to have as many items and be as convenient as possible.

bodega-department-target-sign-closeup

You never travel to these stores.  You only stop in because they are the convenient option. They are close and probably open. They are there to serve your whims.

Lottery, milk, beer, quick tee, or shitty booty? They’ve  got you covered and are praying that proximity will be their selling point. They just want you to want and need them so they go out of their fucking way to offer EVERYTHING and even miss their own lives in hopes of being convenient enough for you to stop by. Even on the holidays.

A lot of you motherfuckers are a living, breathing bodega. A regular fucking 7/11 of sorts… The convenient option for someone that will never go out of their way for you.

Pause right here and evaluate your dealings with the people around you. Now, admit to yourself what people treat you as in their life. Are you always the reliable one they can go to when they need a fix or favor but never anything else for real?

It’s not even limited to romantic dealings. Look at so-called friendships, kin ships, and whatever other ties there are in your life.

Those people that know they can call on you for whatever whim they may have and it’ll be handled… THEM! That’s your bodega customer. —- WELL, customer implies an exchange of equitable expectations and this is rarely that— You’re convenient and not much more. Think sideline booty call. Your silly ass better know better than to call them when you want or need anything and if there is ever a time where you can’t or simply won’t deliver… THE UNMITIGATED BACKLASH… They don’t respect you or your life and never will. Accept the facts for what they are.

Shit hurts now that you think about it, huh? I know. I’ve been the bodega so many times I could write about… Wait! That’s what this is!

Bottle them shitty feelings right quick and get up off of your ass. It hurts but you’ll be better after this. Ride with me.

Me, as a bodega, I’ve been many things.  Shit! Let’s see…

I was the one-way bank. I’ve been the free rental car service. I played the rent-free landlord. Even did my own free ass meals on MY wheels among other things… There were a few workout plans I never got that cash for too.Then there has been the luxury taxi service. All lessons learned…

The common factor in all of these situations was the fact that I was there and convenient. Whatever these beaters needed, they came to me and my silly ass gave it. It’s okay to admit that you were or are silly BUT that’s when you have to change the direction of the story.

Changing Direction,,,

In order to change any situation we must first face and examine the situation to see it in  its entirety. We must see reality for what it truly is at that very moment. Like planning a trip, you can’t figure out how to get somewhere if you don’t know (won’t admit) where you are currently. Face the full reality of your situation and then we can move on.

Now that you’ve realized and accepted that you’re the resident bodega, we can work. It’s up to you to decide if you want to make the changes or keep things static.I say fuck keeping things static! That’s just a weak ass attempt at “keeping the peace” and ain’t no damned peace if you’re being used like a public toilet at a Taco Hell fest.

It’s been long enough that you’ve served as their personal genie. I know there are those times when they “act right” and give a little glimpse of reciprocity. DUH! You ever seen a skilled predator NOT give the prey just a little to reel them in for their desires? That’s how it works. When you get ready to quit they give you just enough to make you think they truly appreciate you and will be something more than a user in your life. They won’t! Let them and that feeble dream go back to the west end of whatever hell they emerged from.

How did we even get here?

The longing for belonging and the desire to have a purpose in life are natural and very human things. They even appear on Maslow’s Hierarchy. The sad thing is the fact that people we know and trust know this too and will exploit this to get what they need from us. They play on humanity to manipulate people into giving them what they want and need even if it is less than moral or ethical to do such. Why the hell would they care?

We all have an innate desire to be needed. We want to be wanted. The costs for fulfilling this desire can look crazy to bystanders but you may not know you’re out here looking crazy when it has become the norm to be used. Toilet tissue doesn’t know it’s not normal to be in such a shitty situation. How could it?

The same is true of people. We get so used to being the reliable one and the problem dump that we forget we are meant to  be more in life. We may even forget to live our own lives for our own purposes.

We look up and we are broke and broken. Goals are still miles away while the bastards we thought we were being good to, we thought gave half a damn or two quarters of a fuck about us, are gone on to the next convenient thing. On to the next poor bodega with there goals in tote…

If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself looking for the next twisted motherfucker to serve.

You deserve better. You’re not some genie trapped in a lamp waiting for the next asshole to serve. You’re a whole person with your very own list of goals and aspirations and it’s likely situated next to a list of bills and responsibilities. Handle these things.

You owe no one more allegiance than yourself. Hell… The first law of nature is preservation of the self! Learn to handle yourself first and foremost. Then, if and only if it is realistic, equitable, and not too taxing, you can help others.

If you cannot continue to help someone while preserving your self, do not feel bad. If there is no appreciation or reciprocity, cut them off! They will either sink or swim and neither will be your fault.

I’ll never tell you not to help others. There are some that genuinely need your help. There are genuinely good people that would help you in any manner they could if circumstances permitted. Help those if you choose. Even then, don’t expect it to be a 50/50 deal.  This will keep you from a lot of head and heart aches.

Just remember to keep your personal aspirations and wellness at the forefront. These are yours to handle and if you put them down to take care of someone else, I can guarantee it’ll sit and rot until you get wiser and handle your own.

Do not let people treat you like some ordinary, run-of-the-mill, convenience store. You’re more. Much more…

To the beaters… Yes, you! Fuck you, fuck what you stand for, and fuck them that stand for you. FCUK Yo Bodega! We’re closed for business! FOREVER!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cautious vs Afraid

Oftentimes we find ourselves in a rather strange place. A place where the lines between sensibly cautious and irrationally afraid begin to blur… This place is usually reached as we strive for something new or renewed in our lives.

Change is almost always uneasy and coupled with fears that may range from legitimate to completely outrageous. You’d think there was a process to this by now. There isn’t. We just have to push until we can’t push anymore and hope that it’s enough to reach the goal without the punishing realization of our fears.

January 1st, 2015 I walked out of Broward Medical Center after an extended visit. I was given rather strict but simple instructions. I was not to work out for four months. At that time I would go to a doctor for another follow-up to be certain that my kidneys and liver were functioning optimally for release to go beast.

Yeahhhhhhh… About that….

It’s been eight months and I’ve only lost 18 of the nearly 30 pounds that I’d packed on from start to medical release. It has been HELL!

I remember very well how “normal” I felt after that workout and the lack of noticeable symptoms that may have kept me from the extended visit.  Nothing beyond muscle soreness and fatigue… The norm for a decent workout. By the time things got weird, it was too late. I was already pissing blood and protein with locked arms.

EVERY workout since then has been marked with the fear that I may be headed down the same road and not have symptoms because there are no noticeable symptoms outside of doctor’s tests.

I get pumped (no supplements) for a workout and go for it. Then the anxiety hits and I scale all the way back. Like, “I’m not trying to die” back and cheat myself out of a good workout session.  This is all based on a fear that has been shown (via medical testing) to be groundless. AS long as I’m sensible in my approach, I’ll be fine. My brain knows but doesn’t acknowledge this when it’s time to fight or fly.

The same seems to happen in many other aspects of life where there may be risks involved. This is especially true where there is also the possibility that any move may land us back where we started or just embarrassed.

Be it educational, personal, or career goals, we all have areas of our lives where we stall, panic, or concede defeat due to fear of The Great Maybe.

Ok. Okay. OK! Let me explain. LOL!

The Great Maybe is what I have recently learned to call that nagging anxiety that would kill all ambitions, hopes, and dreams. The thing in the shadows that keeps us from pushing past to the greatness that we truly deserve. It’s like butterflies or stage fright but on some Frankenstein meets Hyde bull. The more you listen, the more it comes alive and grows until you’ve allowed it to kill off any desires that your heart might have held.

You look up and your summer body never arrived or you’ll look up and the life you dreamed of and even planned for is still as far away as the day you dreamed it.

Treat your entire life, every aspect, like your summer body. It’s a constant work of gains and sacrifices to get closer and closer to that dream. There is no difference in this and any other goal. Time may vary and of course the costs will be different but the general concept is the same. Pay for it in work and sacrifices.

There will be times where you cannot go because… life and you need to take a recovery break. Don’t let your break be your breaking point. Whatever you do, NEVER give in to The Great Maybe. That fucktard will eat your dreams right out of your brain at the first chance. He’ll come in the moment you seem tired or nervous and you had better push his ass right back into the shadows where he belongs.

Exercise due caution and plan ahead BUT do not let fear confuse you into thinking you’re stalling is an extended planning period. HELL! You can only stay in the blocks so long before you have to get running. I know I’m about to take the heck off. I’ve planned, practiced, and stalled long enough.

761031-london-olympics-athletics-menLet’s Run It!!!

No Atlas

I, Randy Henley Jr., am no Atlas. I am a very talented, capable, and skilled individual with a passion for the development, growth, and advancement of my fellow man. I, however, am not Atlas and I can no longer pretend to be that which I am not. It has nearly killed me and has completely stifled my own personal and professional development. I quit. There is no two week notice and this is effective immediately.

I grew up in a couple of very loving and tightly knit communities where the idea was to cultivate and protect everyone as best we all could. Granny was a cafeteria manager at Charles R. Drew in Liberty City, Miami Florida. She also helped manage the shelter there among many other things. Watching her care for people set the foundation for selfless service in me.

Watching her and countless others in the family and churches hold the community together while the crack epidemic and the AIDS pandemic ravished our communities turned me into a sentient being that wanted nothing but to see his fellow man succeed. That shit got me nowhere but the foot of the front door. This generation is not interested in reciprocity and will not care if you are depleted and dead as long as they’ve gotten what they need or a new source.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve met some rather nice people along the way and even had some great times. I learned how to connect and source pretty much anything people needed to succeed.

BUT…

I was neglecting myself and not fulfilling my duties to self. I am currently in debt and at an impasse on my educational tract due to negligence. I’d learned to put others before myself so well and so often that I completely forgot to check that back burner to check on myself. I looked up and had ushered countless people toward their greater goals in life at whatever costs and had no tokens or favors left to pull in any effort to get myself ahead or even back on the path.

I had put my entire self down to carry the weight of the world and none of those that gave me their luggage to hold gave half a damn or two quarters of a fuck to even ask how life was for me. None knew or cared that the pack mule was struggling.

I guess that’s the norm. Use them for everything you can and then move on.

It reached a point where my every possession right down to space was used for the gain of others and if I even asked them to maintain my lent resources, I was greeted with severe backlash and even ridicule from the borrowers and the peanut gallery that had gathered to see the pack mule go go go.

I don’t give a damn!

Simply put, I no longer care if I am seen as selfish and inconsiderate. I have ALL of my very own things to attend to and I can no longer be foolish enough to stop my process in an effort to help those that could but will not give a damn about the things I have going on in my life. Enough is enough and I’m done.

If I were Atlas, I guess I just shrugged. Better get your shit off the ground because I’m done.Atlas-Shrugged-Walking

To anyone out there that finds themselves neglecting their personal or professional lives to hold the weight of someone else, SHRUG! Let it fall and pick up all of your very own things and ease on down the road of life.

I guess this rant is coming to a close and I’ll leave you with two bits of wisdom I got from a few fairy godmothers along the way.

  1. Save the lifeguard!: In training to save lives you are taught to ensure the safety of self first. The lifeguard is useless to any person if dead or grievously injured.
  2. Learn to let people go!: Every person has their trials in life and by coddling them you are stopping their growth. When they go on their own, they’ll fly or fall. Even when they fall, they can splat or bounce. None of this will be your fault and you can’t carry any fabricated guilt for the results.

Rant done! Until the next post, be good and do good BUT remember to take care of self in that process.

Come run with me or come run some topics.

-Rocky

Go home Lil Red!

Lil Red. That’s me. Well… It was for a while growing up. They called my mom Red and because I looked like a skinny, miniature of her I was Lil Red by default. At any rate, whenever one of the dope boys in our housing project saw me, they stopped what they were doing to check on me. Many times they’d offer me a few dollars to go to the candy lady for them. It was really just their way of saying “get the hell from ’round here.” They never wanted me to see what they were doing but that never stopped me from knowing. I ran all errands too fast and was crazy observant. I knew stuff no kid should simply because I watched EVERYTHING around me.

It is important to note that most men, around that time, that were involved in illicit activities bent like Beckham to make certain the kids in the neighborhood maintained their innocence for as long as possible. They did what they had to do so we would never have to do or even see those things. They wanted better for us. Yeah… Even dope boys, cast out to the fringes of society, are human and protect the innocence of youth. At least they did… this new age is full of shit! At any rate…

I was also bad as a Taco Bell shit! That keptLil Red me getting yelled at. LOL

One evening my mom was gone to work (she ALWAYS worked) and I was running around trying to collect my candy and intel. What I saw that night was seared into my memory like a million tattoos on the rods and cones of my eyes.

I ran (literally) to see one of my favorite dope boys. He was smart and always making sure I learned just enough to know the streets weren’t a place for me. They called him Bayboo. At some recent point he had been an athlete and always worked out. I wanted to be like him and he wanted me to be much different. He always asked about school and made sure I knew how to fight. He was like a big cousin that wanted to help but didn’t want me to be around too long. This night I saw why…

By my mom being away, I was allowed (by me of course) to be out after the streetlights came on. I ran to the front of our housing project, Getwell Gardens in Memphis. A one way in and out trap that the Memphis PD HATED dealing with, this was home. I saw, on this night, why they all pushed me indoors so often.

I was talking to some other kids thru their window and Bayboo was nearby so I started talking to him. He saw someone coming in and told me to go home. I was a badass but not that bold. I ran behind the building. From there I watched as Bayboo approached a black GMC pickup truck with a white arm hanging out the window. It was a drug deal and I needed to know how these things go, you know? With Bayboo’s back turned I eased out so I could just barely hear.

He handed the man a little white packet as the man handed him something. I assumed it was money. This looked too easy! All I had to do was hand a package and get money?!? Hell!!! I was doing that already, right? WRONG!

I’m not sure what happened in that transaction. I just heard Bayboo yell at the man asking if he thought he was “fucking stupid.” The man said something back and started fumbling with the gearshift and gas. He was going nowhere. He was too nervous to remember he was in park when he tried to floor the gas. Bayboo was ANGRY! He grabbed a shovel that was on the flatbed and went for it. He beat the guy thru the window with his own shovel. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen someone beaten and bloody but it was the first time I’d seen someone as calm as Bayboo be the reason. The guy was disoriented and leaking blood just that fast.

I must have made some sorta noise because, mid-swing, I heard Duke (a barely older guy with more clout) yell to go home and Bayboo turned and yelled “Lil Red, go home!” I ran like hell!

I think that allowed the guy to get away because I heard tires screeching in the opposite direction of where I was running.

I ran home AND upstairs AND locked the door! That wasn’t the Bayboo I knew. That wasn’t my friend and he was going to kill me after he killed that white man! He had a demon in him and it wouldn’t be long before it came to claim me for fucking up business.

I didn’t see him again until I was walking to the front for the school bus the next morning. Oh god… Why the FCUK was he even awake?!?

Act normal Randy. Act normal! The bus… WHY is it late THIS morning?!?

I felt his arm around my shoulder. I knew he was killing me in broad daylight and in front of the other kids. I was a martyr for for all the nosey ass kids that should be minding their own damned business.

He started laughing awkwardly. He leaned in and slid me five dollars. Then made me shake and promise not to tell Red.

I was still his bro and he had accidentally taught me a major lesson in rage control. That day I saw why we got along so well. We were the same person with a few years between us and he was hellbent on making sure I chose a different path.

We moved out of Getwell Gardens shortly after that and I never heard about Bayboo again. I never forgot him and I never will. He showed me that there are always paths in life and each fork in the road is due to the last few you took.

SN: Do NOT ever call me Red! No good can come from that and there are no exceptions.