So, just to keep you in the know, I have packed my stuff up and transitioned over to wordpress. Still not sure why, just needed a little change in scenery. The site name is the same, but the url is:


Check me out. I'm still doing the dang thing.

Summer Wants/Needs 2011 (So far...)

  • Move into my apartment
  • Go on a Missions Trip
  • Jump into a Waterfall
  • Climb a Mountain
  • Take some pictures
  • Continue loving my love
  • To spread the word of the Word
  • Move into my apartment
  • Go on a Missions Trip
  • Jump into a Waterfall
  • Climb a Mountain
  • Take some pictures
  • Continue living my life
  • To travel more, read more, learn more, be more

I've Got Nothing, Part Two

Continuing from my last post...

So, like I said before, I have a history of being a people pleaser.

Not only am I cool with people, but I want them to LIKE being around me. I want to have stuff around me to keep folks engaged when they find themselves around me. Playstation 3, Michael Jackson Posters, you name it, I probably seriously thought about dropping my whole paycheck to fund it. I even have two Boondocks comic collections in my bathroom, JUST IN CASE someone finds themselves with the urge to read some Negro satire on the ceramic throne.

Back to Nicaragua.

We had been in this place for only a few days, but had already been exposed to some life-changing instances from La Chureca to Delirious. The truth of the need of missions and overseas support was made flesh and blood for me, no longer an irrelevant segment in a Sunday Morning service. And the effect it had on me?

...I was starting to shatter.

Now, I'm no emotional titan. I've shed a few tears in my day. Heck, even that one scene in that one movie had my eyeballs feeling a little liquid love (No, you won't know what movie it is, lest you all decide to join in one big innanet mocking party). But I was literally feeling my heart soften for these people.

So I wanted to do something. I wanted to help. I wanted to do......something.

I didn't even know what I wanted to do. If someone gave me a paperclip, a Tootsie Roll, and a copy of N'Sync's "Celebrity" and told me that it would change that village for the better, I would have done it. If only I had some stuff with me. A biodegradable shopping bag. My fifth grade Social Studies paper on the Oregon Trail. Something. Anything. But...

I had nothing. I had even left my camera back in the host house we were staying in.

There I was, a dread-headed kid from Brick City in a torn GAP t-shirt, worn denim shorts and sandals. Nothing more. Well, I had my poetry notebook, but it was in English, and Nicaragua is a Spanish-speaking country. I had dropped -39% in my appeal factor.

I won't say that my mood dropped significantly. I just wished that I had something to offer. I mean, I didn't even have anything interesting or humorous to say to them - not in Spanish anyway. I felt helpless, like there was no way I could help.

Then, one kid pointed at me. I got excited, because I hoped this meant something good. He started talking to our translator in a rapid pace, and I caught words like 'que' and 'pelo'.

Pablo, our translator, smiled and looked at me. He said, "They have never seen any one with hair like your's before. They think it's weird."

Praise hispanic baby Jesus.

The whole time, I was looking for my 'in', my angle to become some how relevant to these kids. I felt that without possessions and doodads, I wasn't worth their interest, and therefore purposeless. But the one thing that I had overlooked was actually...me.

My hair. My hair? My hair!

Funny, a simple demonstration of fashion and personal inquiry turns into an avenue to communicate with these kids. It was me, a part of me, with no sales tax, no price tag. They wanted to know about me. How did your hair come like that? Is it real? Are you sure it's not a mop?

God provides us with all we need in this life to be relevant. Sure, we may learn how to cute it, curve it, trim it, shape it, but we were born with all we need. In our mothers' wombs, we were created to serve his purpose, and no amount of televisions or designer brands or degrees will change or augment it. He is sufficient, and has designed us to be just the way he wants us.

Now, this is not a rant against any kind of modification. If you want a new haircut, who am I to stop you? If Jesus had access to Ray's Barber Shop, he may have stopped by for a shape-up; who knows. But those are optional. As a child of God, I am reborn, and that new birth has offered me an endless pool of relevance. Because when you have access to living water, what else do you really need?


I've Got Nothing, Part One

I'll be honest here.

I'm a people pleaser, chronically so. I've got a couple of hypotheses on why I am this way, but it's a real part of me, one that I've had to struggle with for a while. Maybe in my youth, after being picked on one too many times, I decided that I'd learn how to get people to like me.

When you're in elementary school, learning how to get people to like you, want you, want to spend time with you was relatively easy. As long as you had something shiny and new, it was cake. Moving on to middle and high school, the game changed a bit. I had to switch from "having" something new to "being" something new. It wasn't about having the newest Power Ranger or wearing the newest sneakers with the pumps on them. Now, I had to have hair on my face. Instead of having coming books, I had to have the gall to listen to Black Rob and quote half of Biggie's "Ready To Die" album. Remember when cell phones first came out, and everyone engaged in this contest to see who had the coolest ringtone, or who was the nicest with 'Snake'? Yeah. I was on the sidelines, phone-less.

Fortunately, I learned a better way, and I observed how to attract people with a few things and still hold on to a few shards of my self.

Enter T.O.M. 2011.

I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I really didn't. A group of men from all over the Eastern Seaboard were going to the country of Nicaragua for a week together for, to put it simply, God's work. Whatever that may be. 'Being fluid' is what the team leader called it.

I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and leave it all behind. (#teamFE)

At this point, I had amassed a few objects that would entertain (read: trap) friends at my apartment, should they ever show interest. Wanna play Uno? I got that. Feel up to some Madden? I'm not good, but you're welcome to a free win. How's about laughing collectively at my spiffy Chuck Norris poster? Sounds like a plan. I wasn't in my prepubescent mind state, which thought that my stuff defined me, by any means. I had come a long way, but I still knew how to turn around, feel me?

I couldn't take any of this stuff with me. Not to Nicaragua, at least. I told myself, what would be the point? I doubt they have WiFi anyway.

So, off I went into the Central American country, the most expensive, look at me now-esque object being my cell phone. We ventured into a community by the name of San Antonio. Ruggedly developed, this village of people barely had the bare essentials. As a matter of fact, our first day in the San Antonio was part-introductory, part-inventory. We need to know what they needed, and one of those things were doors for their bathrooms - if you can call them bathrooms. They were more like concrete vases melded into the ground with a D.I.Y. infrastructure. Missionaries had come before and gotten the ball rolling on assisting this community on further development; we were basically doing a check-up.

This was not the tourist friendly side of Nicaragua. You won't see this photograph on any greeting cards.

They did not have. Not 'they didn't have much' or 'they didn't have a lot'. No.

They. Did. Not. Have.

The basics, maybe. A few crops of corn and coffee, probably. But the towers of blahblah that I complain about not having enough of? That was a joke, and I instantly felt ashamed.

Ashamed, because just a few days ago, I was in central Virginia, driving in my air conditioned car, anxiously awaiting for Batman: Arkham City to come out. I was trying to decide if it'd be worth it to buy it the minute it came out, or if I should pre-order it.

Ashamed, because after I leave...that's just it. I can leave. I can take my plane ticket and fly right back to security. Sure, I'm poor like church rat, but I still have SO MUCH. Health, health insurance (which are obviously two different things, but worthy of mentioning, given the context), transportation, relative reliability, et cetera.

I built my life around a security of stuff. Even now, I'm starting to feel the effects of the reverse culture-shock. An internal torment; do I want something just because it's available to me? Or do I really need it?

San Antonians, Delirians, the street kids of Matagalpa were surviving off of the bare minimum.

Did I need...anything?

to be continued...


Rings, Rainbows & Mosquitoes

(re-posted from Facebook on June 9th, 2011)
…and as I lay me down to sleep, one of the thoughts going through my head is the rainbow that seemed to have been following us the entire day.

Today, June 9th, 2011 is the day that I decided to make a few changes in my life. Like most changes, this one had been a long time coming. I can’t really pinpoint the exact date, but trust me when I say, it’s been stewing in my brain for quite a while. Thoughts of uncertainty danced with notions of self-doubt. All that jazz.

As it goes, it started out rather normally. I’ve been at the point where I wanted to  just pop the questions already. I went through a number of opportunities too! Man, my thoughts were touching the sky and stretching the walls. In the five days that we have been here in Trinidad, I’ve thought about proposing on maybe seven different occasions. Mountaintops, hilltops, wake-up surprises and radio station shout-outs were a few of the ideas that raced through my mind.

My original plan was to do…something.

Yeah. I didn’t really have much of a plan. I had a whole playlist/mixtape set up, but I didn’t even know when I was going to use it. I was going into this thing with my finger on the safety, waiting for the right moment.

By the way, if you don’t know me, know that I LOVE surprises. Even moreso, I love surprises that are  executed well. So this was rather important for me.

Waking up from a night at the Cara Suites in St. Margaret’s, I had a chat with my dad on the balcony of our room. He had been asking me for the past few days what my plan was. After revealing to him the enjoyable fact that I didn’t really have a plan, he asked me the question that seems to encourage many delayed adolescents into action.

“What are you waiting for?”


Of course I had to ask myself that questions a few different times. What I waiting for, really? Here we were, in a beautiful hotel, in beautiful weather, with a beautiful view, with a beautiful Woman of God, with a beautiful ring…what was I waiting for? Regis Philbin?

(Enter Grown Man Moment #571 of the year)

So. I decided, after praying with my father that I would do it today. Still not sure how, but I knew that we wouldn’t be leaving the hotel as boyfriend and girlfriend again.

After retrieving Brittney from her room down the hall, we went to breakfast (after a quick little prank from my dad), feasting on scrambled eggs, fresh coconut bake, corned beef hash with hot tea and orange juice. We made some small talk at the table, but my mind was racing at a speed that made the Indy 500 look like a neighborhood relay race. And the same question kept popping up, the one that had been echoing for a while now.

God, is this what you want me to do? Father, is this Your plan?

It would seem that he answered, because after we ate, we relocated to the outside pool/patio for a video recap on our vacation thus far. This was the part that I orchestrated with my dad. Then I seized my moment.

And there was a .948594 second window where I conversed with myself. Like, a serious conversation. 

“Nick! Doitnowdoitnowdoitnow…!”

“Wait…should I? This may not be the moment…I don’t want to mess it up!”

“Fair enough. Is she beautiful?”


“Does she love you?”


“Does she love God more?”


“Are you ready to keep this thing moving?”

“Yeah, I think so…”


“But what if…?”

“DO. IT. NOW.”

And I did.

There was no selection from the band. Skittles didn’t spill from the sky, and Bob Barker didn’t escort us out of the hotel, although the wonderful (Trini) staff did treat us to some cake.

However, as we continued traveling through the land of my heritage, visiting family and friends from the pages of my family’s past, I felt a comfort. Maybe it was the sapodilla we had yesterday, or the cool breeze that soothed the mosquito bites I had been dealing with since day 1…

Brittney called my attention to the rainbow that cascaded over the Caribbean sky.

Something about everlasting promises, covenants and reminders comes to mind.

…my God is pretty awesome.

Hi. I'm Back.

I guess it would take a near death experience to get me back in the groove of writing again*.

2011 has been a truly interesting year for me so far. A lot has taken place since the last time that I wrote on this blog, something that I’ve told myself time and time again that I wouldn’t allow to happen. I always thought that, as a writer, I would be able to keep up with my life’s pace. I assumed that my real like-writing ratio would always be even. In typical fashion, God totally broke that mentality. He’s funny that way; whenever I try to manipulate what he has granted me with to fit my schedule of inspiration, He hits the button to throw it all in disarray (read: His will).

Note that I haven’t really written anything, like REALLY written anything since November. And a lot has gone down.

Let’s see, where to start?

  • I got the chance to meet and hear a living legend, the graceful Nikki Giovanni. She spoke at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA. After she spoke and I had the opportunity to say something to her…I asked for a hug. DJM.
  • I’ve learned a lot about manhood. Now, this doesn’t mean that I know what it’s all about. But I’ve learned a lot. I noticed that there are a lot of boys calling themselves men. There are a lot of hurt women who want to love boys into being men. I’ve learned that boys and men cannot live under the same roof if no one will be honest with themselves and know which they are.
  • Music is beyond important to me. It’s vital to my existence. So much so, that I’ve become something like a pseudo-elitist. Everyone may be listening to song/style of the month, an artist may win Grammys and awards and get kudos from self-acclaimed professionals and legends, and I would generally shrug them off. No joke, I cannot for the life of me figure out why Jerimih is more known than Darien Brockington, or what is so appealing about planking (#random). With that being said, here are some artists that I've discovered/grown in appreciation of in the past few months:
    • Propaganda and the Humble Beast camp.
    • The Foreign Exchange
    • Jeanne Jolly
    • Zo!
  • Phonte was speaking gospel when he said that love is hard. It truly is. I used to want it to be easy, and a part of me still does. And it will get there one day. But as for now, it’s going to take work. A lot of work. And a lot of sacrifice. Note that I put sacrifice in bold letters. More on that later (maybe. I hope). But because love takes work…
  • I decided that I want to put in the work. God created so many beautiful things, and I believe that Love is at the top of that list. Because of that, I decided that I want to pursue that. I want to experience a growth in love, an ascension to the heights that it was created for. And I want to experience this with HER. So…as of June 9th, 2011, I proposed to my love and future wife. Fear – 0, Love – 1.
  • I probably should have thrown this further up the list, but I love my culture. My entire family is from the beautiful isle of Trinidad; I am the first of my bloodline to be born in the United States, a fact that I am slightly ashamed of. Slightly. I love where I’m from, and I was fortunate enough to spend two weeks there this year. Man. I ended up with a pretty bad allergic reaction to some fruit down there, but I also ended up with a fiancĂ© (or is that fiancĂ©e? I can’t remember.).
  • In the past three years, I’ve lived in three different situations, all with roommates. Each situation was different from the last, but this past year has shown me many things about myself, and not many of them were positive. With that being said, I shall be finally moving into my own apartment in a few days. MY OWN apartment. As in Mine. As in no one else living there but me. As in my own dishes, my own drawls, my own stank, MINE. Praise baby Jesus.
  • A few weeks ago, I stood a few feet away from my best friend as he crossed the Great Divide from boy to man and got married. Disclosure: I almost cried. I really did. Between the two of us, I believe that I am probably the more emotional one, but it was incredibly significant to me. I’ve pretty much grown up with this man, and we have shared a lot together. From our church’s VBS to the discovery of Terry Tate and Chappelle’s Show, he’s been around for a lot of it. I couldn’t deny a feeling of a bittersweet joy. As we (him, his new wife, the bridal party and friends and family) danced to Rob Base’s classic party jam, I realized that things would never be the same. He was her husband, a role that was righteously more important than our friendship. I wasn’t sad; changes may come, but he was and is my man, one hunnid grand. But it cemented a fact that I wanted to run from for a few years now; we were growing up, miles away from where we were. And in a few months, I’ll be making that same move.
  • I am almost 24-hours fresh off the plane from Nicaragua. My very first missions trip to the Central American country with Third Option Men, Beautiful Feet and Adventures in Missions has taken me into places that I never would have imagined I would have been. From literal mountain tops to literalvalleys to literal waterfalls to literal near-death experiences, this has made the Summer of 2011 one of, if not the best summer of my life. A post to truly talk about it in depth shall come very soon, because it’s that serious.
  • My master’s degree cannot come soon enough. Ironically, it also cannot come without any stress. Be that as it may, I’m ready to be done with sitting behind desk and putting the past few years to work in a relevant way.

So here’s to hoping that I don’t lose my steam. I need to write. Like I told a fellow writer in Nicaragua, the feeling I have now is similar to when you have to use the bathroom really, really, really bad, and finally being able to find a restroom.

Ah, sweet release.

*I was serious about that near-death experience thing. I'll write more about that later.