Giving Roses Before Its Too Late

There was a time in my life where I did not think I’d be able to make friends and sustain these friendships as I moved often when I was younger. And when you’re younger, you quickly believe that you’d be forgotten or you’d come back to find your replacements. One moment you’re performing wrestling moves on your best friend’s brother in the snow (shout out to ‘Rell) and a few months later, you’re moving down south. As I’ve gotten older, I started to understand the value of these friendships and the level of difficulty it takes to sustain them while life continues to plow forward, especially while living across the country.

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to celebrate one of my brother’s successful transition into his dream work (we gon’ to DC, Doc!) as well as party with someone I have the utmost respect and admiration for, AND went to brunch with one of my closest friends who came in on a 16 hour flight. Needless to say, this weekend was “litty” as my students say all the time. While driving home, a spirit of gratitude enveloped me and I thought about all the people that I’ve connected with over the years that I truly consider friends. Not those, “hey, I like your photo” friends (these folks are important too), but those “look my g, get your ish together so we can keep progressing” folks. Those people that support you, challenge you, fall out with you, and genuinely loves you. I don’t get to thank them enough. We are living in strange times where one minute you’re talking to someone over the phone and the next, they’ve suddenly passed away. I want to take a moment just to say thank you to SOME people in my life that I appreciate and have a lot of love for. Mind you, this isn’t an all-encompassing list and if you’re not on here, there’s no hard feelings. It just means my fingers got tired 🙂

  1. First and foremost, thank you to my future wife for just putting up with my foolishness and craziness after all these years. I’m excited to see what life has in store for us.
  2. Although we’re the same age, Ju, you taught me how to navigate being a Black man during my teenage years and protected me from falling into some tough situations. You continue to show me what being a man is all about and never wavered during our friendship. You call me out when I’m wrong and celebrate me when I’m right. Love you bro!
  3. Torrell- The love you showed me in Jersey made me feel like I never left. It’s not often that we get to speak or see one another in person, but you always stayed true over the years. It’s funny that you’re rapping now, but I’ll never forget that kid that I used to play Pokemon cards with back in the day.
  4. Janderlyn- Always been a positive person in my life over the years and I can never say a bad word about you. I go back to that road trip with me, you, and Rufat and crack up every now and then. Keep pursuing that passion because you’re going so far and I’m cheering you on from afar.
  5. Rufat- One of my first roommates ever. We had a lot of fun just being goofy and I appreciated your passion for your music. I don’t know if you’re still pursuing it, but one of my favorite moments in undergrad was actually selling your CD in the union.
  6. Antonio- Words cannot explain bro. I consider you family and although we had our miscommunication before I moved out to Cali, you’ve been a blessing in disguise. You’ve been an encouraging factor for me and are wise beyond your years. You’ve helped me regain that first year smile.
  7. Sheldon-One of the few Black men that I knew to move forward in getting advanced degrees. You pushed me beyond my self imposed limits and always willing to provide a listening ear (when you actually answer your phone).
  8. Mary- Your daughter is really out here winning. I’ve been able to watch you from hanging out in Reynolds Hall to being a strong Black mother who is constantly giving her all to your child. #BlackMothersRock
  9. Teresa- The big homie! I appreciate you and your family so much. You have crossed the line of just being a coworker and I consider you family. You’ve been an awesome light in my life and I appreciate your kindness.
  10. Hannah- O.C.= Original Co. We’ve been through a lot together both personally and professionally, yet we are still here. You’ve held me accountable and made sure I always felt supported throughout my time in student affairs. Thank you for showing me that possibly owning a dog isn’t all THAT bad.
  11. Paisley- “M.o.P.i.” I appreciate your passion for all things Bachelor-related and all things funny. Because of you, #usedtoit is a staple in my everyday vocabulary and I know that no matter what happens, you always have my back.
  12. Rasheed- My man! You’ve been an excellent example of a family man, entrepreneur, and friend. Ever since you picked me up in a white Monte Carlo with tinted windows, I knew that we were going to click.
  13. Grace, Jacarra, and Shakeema-Awesome women and cooler friends. Thank you for all of the support over the years and by proxy, dealing with my zany personality.
  14. Ray- One of the few Black coworkers I’ve had in my life to ever work with on a consistent basis. I appreciate your support and  ability to serve as a listening ear. I also appreciate the way that you navigate the foolishness on an everyday basis. Thank you for your authenticity. You’re cared about out here. #BWS4L
  15. Isaiah-I’ll never forget when I first moved to DC and one of the first things you told me was move to the right as the left side is for people walking.
  16. Bankhead- One of the first friends I made in the field back in 2013. I love your passion for students and appreciate that you’re the coolest person I ever met from Mississippi.
  17. Graham- My brother from another mother! Thank you for being the thinker you are and holding me accountable in the field. The number of authentic cats in the field is few and I appreciate you good brother.
  18. Khorey- Words cannot describe how much I love you sir! I believe God made it possible for us to connect so long ago.
  19. Christina- From doing 1:1 in trees to being one of the few people  that created a space for me to vent during the Trayvon Martin situation. Thank you for being a prime example of an awesome supervisor and an even better friend.
  20. Mr. Thomas- I’ve expressed multiple times the level of concern and attention you provided our class way back in the day. I’ve learned to take the same care for my students to watch them succeed in life. Thank you.
  21. Postell- Are there even enough words?
  22. AJ- One of the coolest #SAPros I know and a good friend. Although you cheat often in pool, you’re still cooler than a polar bear toe nail.
  23. Dr. Beaumont-You are the example of a true professional in this field. What you’ve done for me in undergrad is nothing but grace from the Most High. I appreciate you to this day and hope to one day surpass your level of greatness in this field.
  24. JD-We’ve been through it all and still here. Happiness is key young cub.
  25. Dr.Jones Jolivet- Honestly, one of the best people I’ve ever met in this journey of life. Your passion for justice is infectious and I’ve never been in a classroom where I had the opportunity to be taught by a strong, Black woman wearing a dashiki. Thank you for your presence and light.
  26. Starlett- One day your name will be in lights. I believed it then and I believe it now. Go get it! You’re no longer in that white van now!
  27. Aaron H.- One of the first people to strike my interest in justice work and expose me to Alabama Shakes at the same time. I consider you family because you always showed love and empathized with my triumphs and hurts. I hope you continue to change lives as you only know how.
  28. Rosie (or Rose)- One of the earlier fans of Scandal before it became the cool thing to do on Thursdays. Your encouragement and challenge to me as a professional in the field helped me immensely.
  29. Courtney- Bruh. Who would’ve thunk that we’d be cool when I first got to New Orleans? One birthday celebration later and we become brothers. Thank you for your guidance and strong work ethic.
  30. Rob (or Bob)-Roommate! Best Man! Thank you for your wittiness and sarcasm. You’re the fire starter in our group and you’ve always been down for whatever. I appreciate you big bro more than you know.
  31. #PBM- The first organization I joined in undergrad and the organization that quickly taught me the meaning of true brotherhood. #PBM provided experiences that I believe only happened because of the bond in the org and the people in it. Despite any falling outs or issues, I have much love for those in Progressive Black Men. Shout out to Israel,Boss, Shevy, Cadillac, Wheeler, Hooks, Steph, Ant, and the rest of 8th Class!

One thought on “Giving Roses Before Its Too Late

  1. I read and felt the honesty and genuine appreciation you feel for the individuals who have made a positive impact in your life. It is important that we not forget or overlook the contributions such interactions have in shaping who we are today. Well said!


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