Archive | April 2014

The Marriage Tax

To this date, I’ve been married for 6.5 years, and I can tell you one thing above all us. Marriage is not easy. My wife and I have had some really good times, and we’ve had some times that haven’t been so good. When I say that, I’m not at all saying that marriage isn’t a good thing. I’m not even saying that I wish I never did it. It’s just me saying that it isn’t for everybody. I really, truly, and honestly believe that statement. It can’t be for everybody, because this world is changing so much everyday that marriage to some is almost irrelevant. For some, the $40 dollar piece of paper that legally bonds one person to another, is merely about benefits. And with domestic partnership benefits, who really needs to get married? I would tell people that being married definitely means something. And $40 is a bargain to get married in all honesty.

The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 7:32-35 (Message Bible)
32-35 I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.

I used this particular scripture because, I won’t lie: there are times when I do in fact miss the single life (which I truly believe every married person has felt). I’m not saying I completely like being alone, but I do miss certain things about it. Coming and going as you please. Going out and staying out (yes, even me). Especially, the part about meeting people and hanging out with whomever you want to. I don’t want you to take that last part out of context. It’s that hanging out with the opposite sex is fun, and a strong marriage is not always conducive to meeting NEW people of the opposite sex. In other works, the process of getting to know people is actually kind of fun. I guess I tend to think about things like that from a psychological point of view. The Bible also speaks about marriage as not a sin, but something that is perfectly okay in the eyes of God, and single-hood, being just as okay by Him.

In this scripture Paul is basically saying that marriage comes with demands. It demands that you stop being all about you, and recognize that there is someone else present as well. It demands that you pay attention to the finer details. Not just the broader things that don’t always matter. Marriage demands that you be present…ALL THE TIME. And not just on weekends like you were when you were dating. That’s what makes it so hard. It’s giving yourself up for someone else, and not always getting a return. That’s it right there. The marriage tax. I mean since getting married, I can’t even get credit for my student loan interest paid anymore. Renter’s applications want 25 more dollars just to apply for a place to live. If the bill collector’s can’t find Mrs. Austin, then they wanna talk to Mr. Austin. It’s crazy. They want so much from me. It’s the tax of life I guess, and not everyone will be able to handle that. Not everyone can deal with sharing literally everything they have with someone else. People who aren’t married often say that living together is the same thing. But I would ask someone this: If you leave your relationship now, does it cost anything except for the amount of breaking your lease? Nope. Sure doesn’t. Divorce is very expensive. Oh, and that’s a tax all it’s own.

There are so many women and men out there that feel like they have to find someone in order to be complete. I would say to them, if that’s your reason for looking, then stop looking. There’s so much more to being married than you think, and not all of it is glamorous. In fact, marriage is probably anything but…When you get married, that’s the time when the make-up actually comes off. That’s the time when the gloves come off as well. You stop worrying about what the other person feels and start just telling them about what you like/dislike about them. Yeah, it’s kinda the ugly truth. Nevertheless, it is the truth, though. You also have to worry about what someone wants for dinner. What they are wearing to bed, wash both your clothes and hers/his, plus clean up after one another. Any decision you make directly affects the other person, because you now belong to each other. I’m not trying to talk you out of this marriage thing. I’m just trying to give you some real life perspective.

More to come…

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My Man Donald Sterling…Check the Tape!!

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I can’t front…this subject is too hot not to talk about.  As you all know the past few days have been crazy in the NBA.  There’s been an owner named Donald Sterling that had a tape come out.  And this wasn’t a sex tape (thank God), but it was a tape of a man having a heated discussion with his mistress, and ultimately saying some things he probably had no business saying.  When I say probably, I mean, NO business.  Donald Sterling and his “girl-friend” or as I like to call her, “high priced ho” had a debate over whether or not she should be hanging out with other people in public.  Unfortunately for him, these people were minorities.  “So what?”, you say.  Agreed.  So what?  The thing is, somehow, mysteriously this conversation was recorded and then TMZ miraculously got their hands on it.  Apparently no one jumps on a story faster or has more sources than TMZ.  Anyway…the tape caught this “insightful” 10 minute conversation with this girl who isn’t exactly Jeopardy material herself.  Donald Sterling’s a racist, yada yada yah.  I’m sure you can figure out the rest.  Man says something stupid, loses his endorsements, and is promptly banned from the league and fined 2.5 million dollars.  Sounds just right?  Hold up, wait a minute…

So I’ve just been told, that this fool was court-side when the infamous talk happened.  Ouch…that hurts him.  Oh well.  But either way, we’re still talking about this…

The thing we really need to think about in this situation with Donald Sterling, is this man’s privacy.  Shouldn’t we all be able to talk to our mistresses without being in fear of our conversations being recorded for the world to hear?  I’d like to think so.  Now yes, Sterling is an idiot, and an @$$ to a large degree, but why is anyone even surprised that this has happened given this man’s history.  We really need to check the tape on this man.  He’s been here before.  This is the same man that faced a law-suit for discriminating against Blacks and Hispanics from renting his property.  This is the same man, whose had other run-ins with racism before.  He has a history of being stupid, and has always been stupid.  Now, should a man lose his team over stupidity?  Some would say yes, and at this point it appears that it may in fact turn out that way.  

The reason I’m not surprised is because I know that racism is still out there.  It might be undercover, but it is still there.  We see it everyday, despite what most might think.  Do you think DS is the first owner to be racist?  To think of blacks as just the help?  Do you think that he will be the last owner to dislike minorities?  People ask, how can you own a team with blacks and still be racist.  The answer is EASY…why?  Because it’s just like owning slaves.  Difference is, I only have to give them a little bit of what I earn yearly.  They make money for me, and in-turn, I give them a small taste what they think is wealth.  This plan has worked brilliantly for over 60 years.  What makes this day and age so different?  He even got the NAACP to give him an award for his life’s work.  Go figure. 

Now, let’s take a minute to talk about this chick he’s with.  If you’ve heard the whole conversation, it didn’t sound like at the end of the conversation she was leaving him.  I think I have more of an issue with her than I do him.  I say that because, if she knows this about him, being of African American/Mexican descent, why would she be with such a man.  Maybe it’s the fact that she can go to games, or hang out with athletes.  Maybe she didn’t wanna give up her lifestyle.  Is anyone asking that question?  Oh yeah…it’s none of our business.  And I guess you can’t turn a ho into a housewife either.  I wouldn’t normally trash her, but again, let’s check the tape.  1. This man is married.  2.  He’s like 80.  3.  He doesn’t like black people.  4.  You’re half black  5.  HE’S LIKE 80!!!  I mean, you can date whomever you want, but let’s be real for a second:  She’s probably not dating him for his personality or his striking good looks.  The fact of the matter is, the team is worth close to over 600 million.  He’s a balla…straight balla…

Overall, it’s not our business to know DS’s opinion on black folks either.  Who cares.  I made a comment on Facebook today that said, “What if every racist was fined 2.5 million dollars and banned for their ignorance? Would that fix things in this country? In this world?”  I truly wanna know the answer to that. Because I’m inclined to believe it doesn’t change anything.  A friend of mine said, you can’t change a man’s ideology, but you can change his habits.  That’s true, I’m sure DS will probably not be speaking out like that in public again, nor will his so-called friends who all have seemed to distance themselves from him.  Well…at least not anytime soon.  We’ll see what happens from here.  Until then. To My Man Donald Sterling…(in my worst singing voice..) “Happy Trails to you…Until We Meet again!!!!!!

 

More to come…

Weight Loss Journey Part II: Changes

So it’s been a while since I’ve written or talked about anything, but I just wanted to talk for a second about this weight loss thing. Here’s my honest assessment about weight loss: IT SUCKS!!!. Yep there it is.

Now that I’m past that I would say that in doing this I’ve had to be quite realistic with myself and my expectations. The cliche thing to say is that the weight didn’t pile up overnight and it won’t come off overnight. Okay now the truth. I personally expected this to only take a month. It’s almost as if I was under the impression if I went to the gym faithfully without fail for a month, that I would look and be and feel like a new man. Well, I’m here to say that it just didn’t happen that way. I mean, yes, I did lose weight. Yes, I did find a groove exercising. But I look in the mirror and to me, I am exactly the same. Maybe that’s the way it is supposed to happen, maybe not. My motivation felt like it was weaning because I didn’t see anything. And that’s wrong. Is this what other people go through?

So I’m here to say that after I had my moment, I was able to have some more truth hit me.  So here’s my advice for all those starting a weight-loss journey of their own:  The first month of it all is not necessarily about the physical, but mostly about the mental. It’s about making changes to the way you think about things.  About finding something and a routine that works for you.  I had to really evaluate self to figure that out.  I wanted to share with you some of the things that I personally changed.  And before I list them, this is what worked for me personally.  The first I did was let go of soda(well at least for a little while). I know I like soda and I will drink it again, but when I do, it won’t be like I did before. It will be in moderation. They say that soda is bad for you, and so is juice because it has sugar in it, but truth of the matter is, I like sugar and I don’t have an issue with it. So I will drink a soda again, just not right now.
The second change I made, in my belief was the biggest and had the most impact was to changed my portion sizes. That’s the biggest change I could make since I didn’t want to stop eating all of the things I liked. Now granted there are in fact some things that I haven’t and won’t eat as much of now. Such as pastas (all the time), burgers, and potatoes. Again, not that I won’t eat those things again but for now I can chill a bit. As far as the portion sizes. If I eat fries, I get a small now. I changed from eating off of a full plate to eating off of a saucer. I will say that does help, because it changes your mind to seeing something smaller, and being okay with the size of your meal.  That also comes with not going back for seconds (again tough, but possible).  You still have to be mindful of what’s on the saucer plate. It limits the amount you can eat because it will never be as much as a full plate.

After that I started going to the gym weekday mornings at 5 am. I’m a morning person and it kind of helps me get the day started, so that’s what works for me. It also helps me to clear my mind and assess and process the day before and what’s ahead of me for the current day. I’m not saying 5 am will work for everyone, but I know for me, the gym doesn’t work for me after work, because I just wanna be lazy.

So now, the initial results of this. As of today I’ve lost close to 12 lbs in the first month. Now while I don’t think that number is great and I expected more, for the changes I’ve made its pretty good. That’s an average of 3lbs a week for the first 4 weeks. I’m on week 5 now and hopefully I can get another 10, but we shall see. My goal ultimately is to lose 25 to 35 lbs total by August. Not sure if it can be done but I am going to believe it can be.  Like I said earlier. Even though i’m not where I wanna be, I’m not where I was. I now think about the gym like it’s something I gotta do. Today, I had a tough time getting up and didn’t make it. I tried to work out but just was too tired. And I felt guilty probably because it is starting to become a habit for me. That’s kinda cool, I guess. While I expected things to happen overnight, I realized that not every transformation is instantaneous.  It also takes faith and believing in yourself.  Just make sure that whatever you’re doing this for, the main reasons starts with you.  I personally couldn’t have gone this far without my faith. I believe that I will be able to do this, but it means nothing to have that faith if I don’t walk in the direction of the goals I’m trying to accomplish.

More to come