Knowledge

For years I believed that knowledge was the safeguard against people getting the wrong impression about my Cerebral Palsy. I believed that if I learned enough, read enough, studied enough, and contributed enough, people would give me a break. I kept coaching myself through the mental abuse.

I told myself like a mantra: Read, write. Show everyone that you can think with the best of them. But denial does not die so easily. I was born in the 80s, at a time when Cerebral Palsy was new. I grew up in the 90s and became an adult after the millennium.

So, when I came upon an episode of Law and Order involving autistic, bright, and disabled people, my heart paused. The story focused on a mentally-handicapped person sent away by his family. The father of the family told his wife and investigators why sending his son away was “the best thing”. Even for a noticeably mentally-challenged person, the pain of denial is not easily remedied. Even after having two college degrees, I have to forgive the denial of those around me.

It’s as though knowledge cannot save or fix the gap that human connection should fill. So I devour books and I am honored to work in a learning institution, the public library.

My mother taught me. My father taught me. Several women gave me tough love.

But sometimes even these disciplined few had knowledge make them arrogant, deceptive people.

I often read Martin Luther’s King’s “The Purpose of Education.” And I reflect upon that essay accepting that people have gotten more ignorant as more information circulates.

Cutting through the crud of data thrown at every one of us, is getting harder. King says “it’s hard to think for yourself and guard against the swamp of propaganda.” (The Purpose of Education, 1947)

It difficult now because knowledge can be manufactured to suit the biases of others.

All it takes is a small seed of dis-content to spoil a progressive idea that might save a small group of humans from a confused world.

And if people are not judging me for my major (ENGLISH), a knowledge that few care to understand the science behind… they malign me for continuing to read and write.

But my education isn’t about exploiting people. Because the mind is limited, I’ve realized that no matter how much I learn, so people are just permanently lost.

Knowledge can inflame hostility to change. And this is how we got to where we are in my nation. Some of us want to change or progress, but only when the change cannot threaten our security. Humans are creatures of habit and when habits get too comfortable, people get scared. And fear paralyzes options that can be new opportunities.

My grandfather said: You never stop learning. All my kids graduated and I still don’t know everything. I lost him in 2009. I can be arrogant. I can be stubborn but my education hasn’t taken my focus away from building good character.

I am continually mournful when I see businesspersons, layman, educators, and academics using their knowledge to justify poor character decisions. I had to understand personally the consequences of knowledge without character, degrees without commitments, consistency without compassion.

I think knowledge loses value if we cannot point to growing better people as a product of it.

I’m still healing myself from learning that even knowledge can make one sick. If my personal gain is just for the sake a lampooning those that I think are better than me, I should have never gone to school.

Humanity is limited on accomplishment and potential. Education is important, but education with balanced perspective is knowledge’s true path. I’ll never stop missing my grandfather because he had peace, understanding that EDUCATION shouldn’t be a license to attack and disparage.

With the skills I have, I care about people. I’ll never let a love for information stop me from deliver respect to all people. Education isn’t everything. And there are different kinds of education. They all have some value. But we all are motivated by good and evil. Information and education can never blight the toxicity of factions. Even educated, disabled, people like me face prejudice. Were it not for my education, it would not be half as focused on what voices to edit out of my mental computer. And that is a skill education teaches us. We’ve got to survive, and it’s easier to survive with a healthy, working thought process.

Trauma

Right now, I’m considering brewing some coffee while taking in LANY’s “Malibu Nights”. I’ve often said to myself that although I live in Louisiana, my soul exists somewhere within a hybrid universe consisting equal parts California and New York.

The Kavanaugh controversy touches me in the worst way. I’m scared to digest news because my mind keeps going back to Donald Trump mocking a disabled reporter.

Because I’m a Jesus-respecting Christian, I’m waiting for the day I can be completely cleansed of my anger.

It’s been over 24 months and it’s almost totally gone. I think it’s gone because I refused to let my faith become some tool of idol worship.

I’m imperfect and I know that there are errors–seen and unseen— I’ll make in life, love, and influence. I am as human as Donald Trump is, but humans struggle imperfectly when trauma rips them in several pieces.

The pieces we become after traumatic experience usually require some miracle from God. We usually need some Holy Spirit, and some kind of therapy which takes other helpful humans to eventually re-assemble ourselves into something like victory.
Trauma is pain, mental or physical with long-term effect. I’ve been traumatized about the President ever since he made fun of that reporter. And he seems to keep making fun of people. That’s just his way.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve accepted that he is our President.

I have placed his office on a shelf labeled “bizarre” because I have to live in the world with people who are determined to be kind, compassionate, and humane no matter what party they belong to.

If I allow the pain surrounding the chaos he causes to destroy me, I might as well just stop writing, stop reading, stop learning, stop dreaming, and leave America.

But then I would be letting an utterly misguided and slightly disturbed white man run my life, and there’s only so much he can do. He’s only one person, and the nation’s kindness product does not begin and end on his actions or in-actions.

The argument was made by many people, perhaps even Senators that what one does in high school should be overlooked when considering the character of a person.

Apparently, when you’re about to be a Supreme Court justice your high school or college faux-pas cannot haunt you. I’ve seen collegiate people lose valuable positions over their pasts.

I’ve seen people lose employment opportunities because they falsified academic records.
My own high school errors prevented me from starting college until at least 2007. And every action after that point almost prevented my transition to 4 year institution.

So excuse me, if I’m not joining the bandwagon of hurt social pariahs. Maybe, if there are enough public opinions that say you didn’t do something, you didn’t do it.

My point is this: When you have enough money and power to silence people because you “need” your position for a hair-brained scheme, you will bow to the trauma. You’ll lie to accomplish a goal because smart people like a person that they can manipulate, who is emotional and easily played. They like someone who they can exploit using “feelings”.

So why does it bother me that a disabled reporter from the New York Times was ridiculed by the current President?, it’s because I am disabled, and I realize that if a journalist at age 57, could be mocked openly by someone who represents my country, then so could I.

More prescient, I cannot shake the sense that some people are obviously using “white privilege” to craft a narrative that says that white Supreme Court Justices do not make character defining mistakes in college or high school that determine their overall trajectory in life.

Shame to these people I’d say.

As if Christina Ford’s problem were enough to concern me, It’s more idiotic that the House and Senate Republicans are not vocal about his behavior on television as much as he’s vocal about what everyone else does to him.

That should have been enough. I’m confidently certain Obama would never have been able to openly mock people with such voracity, and Clinton’s just a nasty woman.

But Trump invigorates people who are afraid that non-white people would run the country. I don’t discriminate against anyone. Because I’m a Creole man, I’ve never willingly treated anyone with discrimination that I was aware of.

But it’s hard to visualize Trump world without a black box. That black box is: White lawmakers are making all the pronouncements. The optics suggest that there are no other immigrants people smart enough to make rules in a country chock full of immigrants. But I have to stop myself from thinking that this is an actual reality.

The black box—whether with carbon-copy African-Americans, Latinos, is never reality. And the more we feed stereotypes, the dumber we get.

College taught me that black box thinking—that notion that just because this group more likely does A, then everyone like them does A, too—was toxic. That is the problem that separates humanity from its greatest potential. Don Lemon taught me that black gay men could be successful, smart, and not destructive and vindictive.

Reggie Watts taught me that black nerds who improvise constantly can be hilarious. And he shatters the black box because he’s French, German, and black.

The trauma, for me, is others forcing me to believe that a liar like our President can actually benefit traumatized people who seem set on this weird reclamation of a past that was never really there to begin with. I’m wondering how many more books have to be published before the traumatized people wake up. Maybe they don’t want to wake up. My American Government professor was right. Politics is important enough that remaining neutral seems to reflect that of a person that is clinging to life support.

I’m a writer and I have to write my truth. As a disabled person whose days are different based on the condition of aches and pains. I remain traumatized by American chaos. How do you heal trauma. THERAPY. This is my therapy. Characters on the page from a guy who studied a language and observes factions in the fabric of an American vision that is built on the backs of the guy that struggles to pay for food, books, utilities, and a rough while the image of a “inherited wealth” runs the nations goodwill into the ground.

Forgive them because they think they know what they are doing. And after you forgive them, educate yourself about what’s going on… and VOTE.

Cerebral Palsy – More About Shame

Recently, I joined a Cerebral Palsy support group. It felt great to share a disability with a wide range of people from different communities across the United States. I’m aware that I don’t always look I have Cerebral Palsy. But years of medical records don’t lie. I had far more painful times in my youth, than I have right now. When you’re treated for Cerebral Palsy, you don’t erase terms like “quality of life”, “range of motion”, or “physical or occupational therapy” from your memory.

My orthopedic surgeon, medical doctor, and handicap center were staples. I could not get rid of them if I tried. And often I’d have to forgo school to attend many appointments. I talk about shame so much, because in the midst of the information age, we not owning shame. Shame is a emotional response brought on by guilt or confusion over someone’s bad behavior.

We are doing everything to cover shame up. We use Instagram filters, we erase or fictionalize facts. We’re so prideful about our faults. It is insanity.

I never truly had the opportunity to cover Cerebral Palsy up. I can’t stay in shame over something that’s always been part of my life. I used to blame myself for my physical limitations, and shame other people into helping me because they were more physically able.

Recently, I reread Hebrew chapter 12. We often focus overtly on verse 1 and 2, which tell us about Jesus’s primacy as the beginning and ending of what we hope, as Christians. Romantic, ain’t it? He is the beginning and the end, we say. But that’s where we stop reading. Did you know you can hear something so often… that you don’t stop to notice when the words change significance?

Christ did not like being treated with such mocking shame. He endured the “contradiction of sinners”(Authorized King James Version, Heb 12.2).

He endured a confusing and damaged group of people to secure life for people who might never know him at all.

With my Cerebral Palsy, it can be a similar plight. I had to learn that entitlement in the sense that CP gives me a get out of jail free card, thereby absolving me of failure, is a dead-end.

I endure shame all the time, and I think that enduring shame is the mark of someone truly working toward Christian life. Christian hearts are made of more than Jesus bumper stickers, powerful ministerial work, or prideful declarative idols.

The human with Cerebral Palsy is distracted in believing that in shame is a path to”success”. They portray us as paralyzed by condition.

He or she must be helpless and in helplessness is visibility. But the autistic and disabled men and women cannot lurk in shame forever.

It took years for me to understand that I couldn’t vindicate a spiritual disease by using physical force. I can’t ask people to stop claiming that I’m misguided, ignorant, and blissfully unaware, if American media is programming them to believe that I must be “ASHAMED” for having CEREBRAL PALSY, a condition I never asked anyone for.

Like Jesus, I have to encourage myself to endure, even when there are countless swipes against my humanity.

College education in English language does not wipe away years of guilt and shame. Especially, when the very President of my own nation, cam unashamedly mock a disabled journalist. True Christianity is not about mocking those people who didn’t bring their “A” game to church. For in the process of contests and competitions, we forget that the grace of Jesus is free. Humanity can never pay for the grace of God. We can never do enough or be enough.

Evil comes to people with great character and people with merciless intentions. How do you mediate the unattainable? I used to believe that if I gained enough status, the very people who betrayed and used me as their meal-ticket would understand my spirit. But that’s what I get for trusting people more than I trust in the Lord.

Many have quoted Proverbs 3:5 as a statement of faith. It sounds good as the greatest illusion built to absolve us of any shred of penance. We all, in our idolatry have said: I’ll trust in God to vindicate me, and then we’ve gone and vindicated ourselves, thinking foolishly that God had something to do with that.

I find more hope in being a literature major everyday. Lately, the Bible shows me just how knowing of God and trusting in God are remarkably different.

In Cerebral Palsy, a malady that became synonymous with my year of birth, sufferers are afflicted with involuntary spasms, muscle deficiency that comes with the territory. I still have those deficiencies.

Being a literature student didn’t take Cerebral Palsy away. It simply gave me even more courage, to exemplify what I can about living beyond the shame, beyond the spiritual silence I’m often asked to act out.

People continue shaming me because I love things that aren’t inside their hermetic sealed comfort zone. I continue to challenge and despise the shame with my dedication to stories and story-telling, my willingness to rise above the gossip and silliness that threatens to weigh me down. Only Jesus helps me do that. I do still stumble tightly, as tight as the hamstrings near my thighs. I am imperfect. That’s why I need Jesus.

In the Greatest Showman, Loren Allred sang about when you feel that a goal you’ve attained is enough for you.

When something threatens to weigh you down, and all you can think is, I am more than what this is!

I have a few friends that have “set of a dream in me”, and I can’t help but share it. What happens when the moment of attainment is not enough, when no one around understand what you’ve experienced to DO something that wasn’t your will, but the spirit of God coursing through you.

All the shame I’ve disliked in 30-something years, won’t be enough for me to let go of the faith that God brought me back from a near-death experience to build me in something uniquely my own, an instrument “more than a thousand sunsets.”

So I mourn. I mourn for a mountain of shameful moments, but I remain ever so encouraged, understanding that I can’t show mercy to my exploiters without realizing that Christ already won the battle I’ll go through. Just as Jesus died in shame, not appreciating it one little bit, he became the comfort that people are looking for in the strife of worldly pleasures. I am ashamed of people, but I am never ashamed of faith, hope, love, and the power of Christ.

Football

To my football friends:

I know that football season is here. I’m still writing. I will still read. I tolerate sports. Think about it like this. I could never rely on sports to connect with other men. It never happened. When I did make it to these games, I had hell getting up and down those idiotic and hot bleachers.

My body hurt just sitting on the things. I can watch band stuff all day. That is a true performance art. I admire anyone who wants to brave the heat to play music and do formations. Better you than me. I have arthritis. Standing that long isn’t good for me.

Don’t bring me there and plan to not at least talk to me about the team, the players, or something else. Don’t stick me in a corner and abandon me. I am not luggage. I’m a person. Don’t make excuses and don’t get scared.

I can stay at home if that’s the case. Talk to me. You people get so click-ish when you bring me to these “communal” sports events.

I’m not lost. I know the basics about the “downs”. If you don’t talk with me about why you like football, what excuse have I got to waste hours of my life?

Football connects many people. That’s all well and good. But I should not have to hate myself if I feel like it gets a tad repetitive.

I know how I sound. But I’m an artist. There isn’t much for me to analyze when I watch a football game. This is why halftime shows exist. All there is, is you. You’re yelling and screaming and knocking over people because a flag was thrown. It all so weird. Is every game just me watching you have convulsions? I know I have CP, but it’s not that theatrical.

I love to watch people make excuses for themselves when it’s obvious that I’m not a sportsman. I have to really try not to laugh.

I’m a writer, and I know that with the right attitude, people can make watching paint dry interesting if they wanted to. So don’t give me that story that I’m weird because you can’t find the words to say.

I’m not mad. I wanted you to know what I know. Hopefully, you will drop the act. It is an act. And let me explain how I know. Millions of us are burning Nike apparel because they gave a African-American football player an ad campaign. How is that for symbolism?

If football is supposed to unite American people, why is what Nike does so important? Nike does not pay a single bill in my house. I cannot even afford to spend money on most of what Nike sells and aside from the fact that I got gifted a set of Nike socks years ago, I don’t see why social media is so butt-hurt over a man whose last name I can’t spell. Football is a sport. And although team sports are designed to make people find common ground, people are re-appropriating it for social division. I’m not divided over sports. I’m divided about the irony that what happens with professional people in a sport does not mirror completely what happens to the common-man. Common men do not have a publicist. Common people cannot pay legal fees. Common people might watch football on network television. But common people don’t always get organizations like the ACLU or the NAACP to take their cases. We have reached a point in our media immersion where if there isn’t enough pathos surrounding an issue, it gets tabled or flat-out abandoned.

The reason football is so synonymous with American imagery is all about some non-progressive ideology that says just because we are using the American flag as am object of flagrant display, we lose our American-ness. Many of us only needed to learn the first stanza of the National Anthem. Ask most citizens why we sing it at sporting events, and you might be surprised at the bland, non-descript, vapid, shallow answers we’ll get.

To be fair, I understand the need to want to place American sports into this never-dying idol worship place, but everyone deserves a right to disagree with whether football should be that important.

While I have mercy on those players and coaches that make it their life’s journey to coach and participate in this sport. I also balk at the idea that everyone has to be into it with the same intensity and rigor that some others are. You have your sports, I have my books, lit, and art. If I can praise a book, you can have your football. But even I know how to balance my love of literature with the notion that not everyone is gonna be thrilled about the last book I read. And while reading is not as headline worthy as the next superbowl. Shouldn’t we all use this Nike disagreement as a teaching moment to show some of us how we have let a business like football take precedence over basic human character. Are we building people up to educate them? Or are we still building people up to exploit them?

Untitled – About my Mother

I didn’t have to work Friday. This omission left time for finishing books, writing sentences, paying bills, and posting videos. My online blog at WordPress and social media footprint does not manage themselves. Anyone upset by the mounds of text I assembled in the last ten days should blame my mother. She has been the chief architect of my word journey since 1993.

During an impromptu conversation with one of my closest college buddies, I realized it was my mother’s birthday. Mom is the only woman who loved me beyond mere toleration. I’m sure if I took a survey of the American electorate, we all have relatives that do tasks in exchange for likability. They con us out of a few smiles, expressions The ones that comes from that impromptu trip to the store, that unplanned surprise novel bought, that card with three words and a scribbled signature, proclaiming devotion. That niece, nephew, or son-in-law won’t forget us, they saw. We’ve been being a goody-goody for ages now. It’s fine, they’ll never know the difference. This is what it looks like when someone tolerates you. With all I have been through in life, my mother has never just tolerated me.

When I spoke too loud, she was always warning me to keep it down. When I spoke incorrectly, she did not lie to me believing my feelings would shatter like some rare glass vase falling from a high shelf. She never took away my ability to ask questions, never tried intentionally to deceive my heart.

When I called to wish her happy birthday, we laughed about the relentless cycle of bills that come from the reality of “adulting.” Adulting is the stretch of time when one cannot curl up into a ball and say: “I don’t wanna.” Adulting is that time in everyone’s life when doing what you need to do cannot be pawned off on your kids, your relative, or the collections department of a major company. Either you get it done, or the consequences are dire. I’m the most like mother. I’m strong, witty, prideful, and a bit arrogant. But I’ve never not tried to love people.

Were it not for my mother, I would have not participated in drama during junior high, joined choral groups in church and high school, wrote poetry in college, or applied for work at the library. Mom and I have a connection worth more than the few times that we’ve been photographed. Mom was my cheerleader yesterday. She had a storied history of always being like my own version of Dear Abby whenever I’d get into a contentious match with any authority figure that was not her. I’d threaten to abandon homes, mount legal campaigns, expose salacious secrets, and reject inauthentic gifts. All this my mother could end in just one simple phrase.

“Don’t let me come over there!”

When mom stated this, all my plans went up in smoke and I withered like a potted plant facing a brutal Louisiana sun. When she spoke, even the anger and strife that yet raged in me became a deflated balloon. My yesterdays with my mother were full of worried, nervous calls. I’d complain about almost everything to her: how I hated school, how grandma moved my book, how dad did not buy some product. And she would say in her own way: Harold, you cannot always get what you want.” Mom taught me how to have patience. When it seemed that those around me always got what they wanted, she taught me to watch and listen. I wrote this for my mom. The one person that taught me to keep a smile on my face even in the face of tragedy, ridicule and rejection. I’ll always loved you mom. And I’ll never stop! My mom is my constant inspiration and she’s the reason I am who I am!

Enter Name Here: Press Start to Begin

I finished Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One in 8 days. I opted for large print because some publishers use ridiculously small type when publishing those New York Times best sellers. I could not entertain the chance I’d strain my eyes while experiencing an epic narrative packed with 1980s folklore. Cline’s novel attracted me due to my early affair with Super Mario Brothers. I struggled in front of my NES shrinking because goombas and koopas seemed to love my playing style. I still recall my mother yelling from across our apartment. She’d say: “Turn that game off and go to bed!”

I’d lower the television completely only to have her come into the room and make me turn the game off. Those first levels are forever etched into my memory because I could never make it past the first “world” without finding the “warp zone”.  The enemies sent me into the black void of “Game Over” within the first hour of play.

But video-games for what they offered drove me to the rawest form of hatred. This is why it’s not surprising that a man known for winning Madden game-play tournaments for money would shoot and kill someone.

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/28/642551276/madden-tournaments-cancelled-after-deadly-shooting-in-jacksonville

It’s true. I hated my jerk-face cousins. They and their Techmo Bowl, Madden, and Blitz-induced hysteria were the purest form of rejection. They connected with one another while I sat there feeling hopeless, being the badly drawn boy in some alternate “Revenge of the Nerds” reject movie.

I suppose that’s why I could identify with Wade Watts, the underdog main character in Cline’s narrative, that lived in the ghetto and felt at home in a virtual universe.  When you feel disconnected from everyone and everything, you relish the day when you find “the game” that is all yours. To my cousins, I was the runt of the litter, the curious misguided geek they could blame things on.

I remembered. And then Sonic came into my life. When Sonic the Hedgehog wagged his fingers in the face of Robotnik in 1991, I gave my cousins a taste of what I had been given. I wanted to humiliate those arrogant knuckleheads.  When they asked me about my Sega Genesis, I denied them access.

No, you cannot play my game. Of course, this choice was only temporary. But it felt marvelous to deny the teenagers who had given me so much hell, something that they wanted. They could not have any of the cartridges in my 16-bit playground. The Sega Genesis and Sonic were my new obsession. I was terrible at playing the first Sonic game but by the time Sonic the Hedgehog 2 released in 1992. I was good enough to conquer all the levels and I poured all my anger into playing every Sonic game that my parents could buy.

The truth was: I didn’t care for football, because football was the enemy. What was the attraction to players repeatedly running into each other and going “HUT, BLUE 22! ARRRRGH!”

You had your I-formation, your punt, that  2-point conversion and the field goal position.  The saddest thing is: I learned to mimic the Fox Sports jingle over and over again.

I was so in love with Sonic the Hedgehog that I used to imagine that I was him. I beatboxed the game soundtrack when I needed motivation to get to class on time.

Sonic was fast and strong. Mario was slow and weak. Having Sonic all to myself meant I was less of a jerk to my cousins and my elders. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone. Sonic gave me the courage to attempt to have an outgoing nature when I felt scared and alone.

It is easy for anyone to believe that videogames are pointless, but it really depends on where you’re stationed at on the road to discipline and maturity. Ready Player One reminded me why videogames exist. For lonely disconnected people, videogames offer some oasis, a temporary sanctuary away from a demanding, anxious existence.

It gets complex when the safe haven of video-gaming supersedes human connection and interaction. It can and does ruin the likelihood of human contact. We never tire of needing human touch, human conversation, human sensing. The world of social networking and sensory entertainment cannot be a complete replacement for us.

I don’t play Sonic as much as I once did. But like Wade Watts, I eventually understood that love from a person that you can reach out and hold is always more connected than the phony reward-centered praise the internet gives us. Life is to be lived offline in the presence of real people. And it’s easier to run to retreat of internet dreams, when one is not sure that the dreams one has are meaningful enough.

I remember how retro games like Pole-Position, Galaga, and Pac-Man allowed you to add your name to a pantheon of over-achievers that reached a high score. It stays there as long as people play that game. When the game is retired, the score are reset. You must enter your name here; it would say. The only way we truly retire from human life is through death, the unplugging of the life support. If you want your life to have lasting meaning, you’d better stop retiring from life too early. People are waiting to see your name. You have a light that must shine outside the arcade. Get out of the covered area, and get bravely attached to other people. We cannot go around covering our mental, emotional, scars forever. People are waiting to write your name in their hearts, where you’ll be remember long after some dusty old arcade game is unplugged.

I’m Still The Guy Who Walks Funny

Grief. That’s an experience I don’t talk about often because I’m only supposed to show people the happier sides of who I am. God forbid that I experience any real emotion that isn’t joyous lest others around me conclude I am weak-minded. These people are not me. To the “normals”, people without Cerebral Palsy or any disability, fixated on representing said patients under the guise of proposed child-like naivety, I am still the guy who walks funny.

The “normals” do not perform mental gymnastics to say each day before rising, what I say. It’s something like: You’re not the shy, depressed, crater you were in high school. You’re not the escapist club kid… the Michael Alig wanna-be, you were in junior college.Just look in the mirror and say openly: “I’m not deformed. I will not embarrass myself on Instagram like all my followers, who market their outward extremities like pieces of Filet Mignon in a land of fried chicken and collards.

Ask them and they will say their “beach body syndrome” is the new “body positive”. Yes, I’m just following these beach brothers and sisters that pose like “each day is a beach day” because I want to feel good about my body. Could it be that I’m recovering from the shame of being sexy to the right person, and I just want to find a person that adequately shares my frustrating brilliance?

Jussie doesn’t represent me. That guy from Fox’s “Empire” isn’t exactly my kind of poster actor. The dude cannot even acknowledge my network visit. I was just trying to get him to say something like: Hello, (insert username here). I suppose this is why I freaked out hard when Reggie Watts totally invited me—-RANDOMLY—-to an IG conversation, told me he was proud that I graduated in English, and then thoughtfully went on his merry way. Talk about your down-to-earth Instagram people.

Am I the only one who notices that Instagram is the cheapest soft-core porn site ever? Just sign up and like every glistening photo of ab-worthy, chesty, geeky, big-bodied piece of flesh you can “heart” and magically, you’ll get a constant stream of it. And “it’s tasty, too…just like candy”. Lucy Ricardo would be proud. You’ll be sure to not poop out at the marijuana-like, sensory party.

I find myself tricking the algorithm often because I have to fight hard not to turn into those others, the ones who own reams and yards of model-perfect photographs to sustain their greedy followers. Yes, I am still that guy who walks funny: The guy who loves his mother enough not to fall so deep into my feelings, because I don’t want to get boo’d up with anyone who floods my pleasure center with glee.

The guy that walks funny is sort of concerned about being objectified inappropriately. I’ve noticed how I get far fewer likes when I authentic my CP to my followers. But CP shouldn’t make anyone uncomfortable. I constantly remind myself about that party guest who shows up right as I’m about to showcase just regular, normal old stuff.

Things like driving a car, making some coffee, using advanced English grammar.
I suppose that’s why I love writing. In order for the process to succeed, I have to stop being the guy who walks funny, and put on my new man. A man brave enough to see the world, this American slice of the world, as more than just a place that glorifies whiteness as the standard form of beauty, love, sexuality, and progress.

The bravery I get from writing cannot be quantified unless it’s experienced. Judging from the mounds of trashy fiction I happen across because I’m a voracious reader, it is “EASY” to write.

The easy notion blooms from the fact that easy writing is crappy writing. And crappy writing ends up in the checkout line at your neighborhood Wal-Mart or in your internet email box priced at 1.99 plus tax, complete with grammatical errors and stream-of-consciousness plot lines.

That’s not a jab at romance novels writers, it’s a metaphor that I’m using to drive the point that: There are some books that you’ll never want to read again, and often people read romances to pass time not to relearn some hidden truth about their own identity long forgotten.

And still, I’m that guy who walks funny, and believe it or not… I intimidate the “normals”.

My writer’s self is the most authentic version of me. When you’re arthritic and connected to your Kindle, smart-phone, and oratory more than the people outside your door, you cannot be the man who walks funny.

I remember when I first watched Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. There was something satiric and priceless about that “twink” calling that old queen, Ralph. He had been warned earlier in the film not to cross that line. And he did it anyway.
That’s how having Cerebral Palsy feels in the land of “normals”; one never totally escapes the image connected to that first persona: the crippled, bowlegged guy who walks funny.

Today, the present iteration of myself attacks any possibility that I am still that shame-faced knucklehead who got sham-ed, ridiculed, punched, kicked, and dehumanized because my mind was never bowlegged.

And my image continued to be. I was the “Bojack Horseman” of my story, the lonesome dove addicted to acting like my life in Cerebral Palsy was suspended in futile competition with computer scientists, nutrition aides, blues singers, correction officers, civil engineers, ornery accountants, drag queens, ghetto citizens, and fraternity miscreants, whose method of shading was always a semiotic device enveloping the hypocrisy of their own self-loathing.

I am a Creole, being Creole means that sometimes I can perform the “rite” behavior that might make me good enough to survive the competition of being more than just the guy who walks funny.

How is that for learned behavior? Maybe my walking funny, is the perfect literary image for a person as lively and deep as a gorge, whose writer’s self will never buy the idea that rooting for every person who plays and performs some ignorant trope of black identity somehow saves our group.

I have never assumed that all black people aspire to the same values. So please don’t assume that I’m rooting for everyone black just because I saw it on a meme. Sometimes the “normals” can be a bit short-sighted in their tribalism. I won’t start that rooting now; even in this ambiguous American politick.

Some black people don’t consider the questions that their respective tastes are trying to answer. Like say for example: our collective obsession with Love & Hip Hop or #HAHN.

Perhaps, this is why I’m getting more versed in satiric voices that mock the crazy parts of learned behavior.

My “social security” doesn’t come from monetary investments bequeathed by American people who hold forth my not deserving to have every right non-disabled people have.

My social security is ever evolving into the promise that when I get older, God-willing, I’ll be the guy who walks funny, who beat the odds and resisted the programming that I’d only be some ancient forgotten relic that believed in a lucid dream that made no money and locked me in a ball-bursting competition with real-life siblings that resemble my own musical adaptation of Langston Hughes’s “Not Without Laughter”.

If being made for now—-thank you, Janet—-means accepting that I’m shadow-boxing for regularity…I won’t stop being the guy who walks funny, because arthritis is more than just frozen, tepid, muscles daring to move against life’s current.

Arthritis needs movement, and movement means despising the thought that I’ll remain stationary and ever-content as the guy who walks funny. The funniest thing ever is watching how a people ever so arrogant for status and safety contend for some sexualized, scandalized, idea of power that is not healthy for the upkeep of a nation.

There’s a scripture that says knowledge will become invaluable and charity will be all there is. I hope that after you give, you’ll have something left that isn’t caught in some future with some person you never stopped competing with. I started with grief… not that’s empathy… because with empathy I can feel sorry for the motor skills that block “these perfect black people” who believe that because I’m doing my own thing, I didn’t deserve to be accepted. Tell that to next carbon-copy black or white racial image American media asks you to like. Empathy is a window to growth beyond the weeds and happily, I ain’t talking about marijuana.