So I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, reflecting on my life and the @FallingBlackInLove Magazine coming out next week. I told a friend a few days ago that I was building my own Flava Magazine. I laughed it off but…
Then I got to thinking long and hard about what I was doing and where the seed to do it came from.
Latifah, that is.
I am actually in the mist of what I guess you can call it my latest bout with what I like to call the “Getting’ Grown Blues” (GGB). My first bout with the GGB came sometime around the age of 23; I was getting closer and closer to completing my undergrad studies and had made up my mind that I had to leave FAMU, Tallahassee, and the state of Florida behind. Without doing any real thinking about the subject, I made up my mind that I was moving to College Station, TX to attend Texas A&M. I had no family in the city, no connection whatsoever. I knew I needed to go. In retrospect, there were some other things I was trying not to deal with (I’ll discuss that much later on down the line). So, in the middle of the night, I packed up my Saturn, my clothes, and my Ray Charles portrait, and I trucked it 15 hours across 5 states (It should be noted that the trip was only supposed to be 11 hours….but shit got real).
Anyway, LONG STORY made even shorter, my stint in Texas was a fail. I moved to Texas on August 25th, 2010; I visited home on September 24th. Went home again on October 20th and stayed til November 1. Then I packed up my Saturn, clothes, and Ray Charles, and pushed it all the way back to Mississippi to be with my family for the holidays – knowing I would never return. The next few years, I was constantly in and out of depression. I went back to FAMU, obtained my masters in history, and rotted in my own self-loathing. The GGB’s had a hold on me. I had gotten into this habit of working myself ragged for this part-time job on campus. I was working 40-60 hours a week, only getting paid for 20 of them with absolutely no opportunity to advance. I guess you could say I was “moving that dope” I begin applying for any and everything that came my way: museum curator, public education coordinator, resident hall director, student activities coordinator. I even applied for over 50 teaching positions in “high needs” areas.
Surely, a Black man with a masters from an HBCU could get a TEACHING job in a high needs areas, right?
50 cover letters.
0 call backs.
It was June by this time, and my part-time job had turned into full-time hell. The energy in my workspace had become so toxic, that coming to work was painful. I’m not going to lie, I am sure GGB’s impacted my work performance; I’d be a lie if it hadn’t. Due to some clerical error, I didn’t receive a paycheck from May until mid-July; further complicating things. Then, two weeks before I would start my doctoral program at FSU, my boss informed me that my contract would not be renewed.
I was let go.
That was in August of 2012.
For two years, I wandered around aimlessly trying to find my purpose in life. I was knee deep into a doctoral program that I wanted no parts of; I still could not find a job; I had applied for several scholarships and at least half a dozen graduate assistantships; nothing. I was paying for graduate school one hundred percent on loans by this time. The Gettin’ Grown Blues had me by the throat. I’d stopped writing, and working out. My eating habits did more harm than good. My weight had ballooned to over 200lbs. Then, from stress, I’d shrunk to 140lbs. I stropped grooming regularly and became anti-social like a mother fucker. Don’t look at me. Don’t talk to me. I am a failure and I do not deserve to be in the same space as anybody who has their shit together. And then it happened. (You can read about “it” here).
Part II: Coming soon! Well