Go Read, Big N*gga

You know, I thought to change the title of this post to something more politically correct. Like, “I Almost Had To Punch A Teenager In The Throat At The Library.” It didn’t have the same ring to it, though, and it’s not all that politically correct anyway. So I changed it back. Well, I added an asterisk. That’s as respectful as I am willing to be.

Now gather ’round, children, Michael’s got a story to share.

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On Identity and Gender and Sexuality and All That

 

My struggle in penning this essay is rooted in me trying to write it from the perspective of a man who resides in a place too many outside factors won’t let me rest in contently.

Initially, I wanted to kick things off with recalling how I was once told by a dear friend and lesbian friend of mine, “You dance like a f*ggot.” It was said as a compliment, but it struck a nerve because it was a realization I long held myself, which is why I used to not dance publicly. I didn’t want to be pegged so easily, you know? These days, as noted by other friends, you can find me twerkin’ with no shame at a tourist attraction or sidewalk near you.

I wanted to use that transition as some larger metaphor to explain how I’ve become at peace with some of the feminine traits attributed to gay men that apply to me in the midst of all the ones that don’t, and as a result, get me called things like “fauxmo,” “non gay-gay,” and the like (which make me laugh). The goal was to show I’ve meshed aspects of myself that are considered “manly” and “womanly” and became a better person overall – regardless of what anyone thinks.

It sounded so nice when I envisioned this piece and that sense of relief I wanted to convey. But I just couldn’t and finally it hit me: my anger lingers. Hauntingly so.

Read the rest here. ‘Twas hard to write so you should.

And then you should email it around. And tweet about it. And share on Facebook. And print and mail by pigeon — preferably to people who can give a boost. All that.

Thanks.

Edit: The link was changed apparently. Fixed.

I Forgot

In the midst of doing 9000 things at once, I forgot to actually note the honor this site got on the actual site itself. Yeah, I know. That said, was recently named one of The Best Black Bloggers to Know in 2012 by The Root. I used to actually be a blogger there in 2009, for “The Recession Diaries.”

Anyway, the write up went:

Michael Arceneaux of the Cynical Ones

There aren’t many pop-culture moments to which Arceneaux hasn’t lent his two sarcastic cents on his aptly named blog, the Cynical Ones. Confused by Brian McKnight’s dubious comeback? Curious about Beyoncé – whom he affectionately calls his lord and gyrator — and her new vocation as a journalist? Head to this blog for a perfectly mixed concoction of scathing humor, solid analysis and just good common sense.

Here he writes about his struggle with being a Rihanna fan. Follow him on Twitter.

You can check it out here. I’m the last slide.

The Stars, Evaders, and Perpetrators

So I’m updating the site, but I have to share a few of the recent essays I’ve been elsewhere this week.

For Ebony.com, I wrote about the lingering criticism about President Obama being the “celebrity-in-chief.” It is one of the few instances where I’m not bemoaning celebrity culture so cherish the day, I probably won’t go astray again. You can click here to read it.

I also wrote something in response to that letter Evelyn Lozada wrote to her seven-year-old self. It’s a little note to all of the cast members of Basketball Wives – okay, really mainly Eve, Tami, and Shaunie – at age whatever they are. You can read that one here.

As for Ms. Lauryn Hill’s complaints of “social cannibalism” in defense of not paying her taxes, penned a lil’ something for News One you can check out here.

And if you missed it the first time on this site, do read about Lauryn Hill Denial Disorder. Still relevant.

Oh yeah, I finally put my BlackBerry out of its misery. Some would call me a loyalist, others would call me cheap, but I held onto that phone for way too long. I have since converted to the iPhone. Like an old man, I complained about not liking touch screens. Fine, it’s not so bad.

Now I say all of that to say I joined Instagram. Oh my, y’all. It’s like where amateur photography and porn, gluttony, self-indulgence and randomness goes to have an orgy. Yes, late boots. Shut up. Anyway, I’m on there as @youngsinick. Find me and add and shit, mu’fuckas. That was said with love, of course.

Okay, back to updating.

Fears Realized

So today is my birthday and as mentioned in a previous post entitled “Birthday Fears,” I am now my scary age: 28. I’m sitting here typing this while sipping on Peach Ciroc. Let’s call it a birthday treat and a much needed stress reducer, no addict. Then I’ll sip an energy drink: a dubios follow-up if there ever were one.

I’m super busy this week, which I suppose offers a hint as to how I should judge my life and my career at present moment. If you missed it, basically years ago I decided that at the age of 28 I needed to stop, see, and surmise my life at 28 and decide how to move forward as I inch closer to 30. Now that I’m here, I have to say things are definitely in need of an adjustment. I feel good that I’m writing for new places and that I’ve finally found more work to supplement what I lost from a lay off months ago very recently, though I still have the same frustrations I had even before then.

I want more, feel like I deserve more, and won’t be satisfied until I get it. In the meantime, you know, I’m trying to cope with disappointment. If it helps, despite wanting to cry this morning I did manage to do a drop after enough sips.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled along an old post based I did after Esquire’s lovely “What I’ve Learned” series. I was reading along and a few of the items listed made me think, “Damn, what I was talking about? So I wanted to update briefly. Here’s to hoping I have a similar feeling when I look at this again in the future.

When the nightmare happens all you can do is suck it up and deal with it. Begrudgingly if you have to, but you deal with it as best you can. I am a dreamer and even at my worst, I’m still doing all that I can to make my vision for my life happened. It gets hard – depressingly so even – but what else can you do when you have nothing else to fall back on?

I don’t want to pretend things are good if they aren’t. I wish people would allow you to feel however you choose to. If I don’t feel happy, let me be in my feelings. Not talking self-pity, but self-realization. How else will I conquer my doubts and fears if I don’t acknowledge them honestly? At the same time, one needs to learn when to see that things are getting better…just not at their schedule. Such is life.

I have no idea what to believe when it comes to my faith. I know there’s something there and I’d like to think of it as God, but Christianity, well, what used to comfort me ultimately became something that caused my great harm. Or maybe it always did and I’m only now realizing it. Jesus is the homeboy, but his people have been a nightmare. How to straddle the line between not believing in fables and needing to believe in something greater than yourself has left me at a crossroads. And I already know that the poor way I’ve reacted to bad times is undoubtedly connected to a lack of faith.

I feel humiliated about where I am in my life at present moment. All I can do is hope I don’t feel this way in the near future.

I love him so much, but it will never be what I want it to be. That hurts me more than he or anyone else realizes. It also spurs my resentment towards religion, as I look to that as the root of the problem, and harkens on a lingering issue I’ve felt maybe since childhood: The idea of being unloved by the people closet to you. Or at least, feeling that way. My family loves me and I them, but damn, it took a long while to see that. For good reason.

I am increasingly oversharing, but people seem to dig it. It simultaneously is kind of cathartic. I spent most of my life keeping people’s secrets. It ate me up inside. There has to be a reward for this kind of honesty, right? C’mon nah, encourage the cynic, why don’t you?

Being prideful is stupid. Any day now I’ll not only realize that, but behave accordingly.

I’m a great fucking writer. It’s about time time I said it. Humility is grand, but if you’re giving people the impression that you don’t think you’re great, they’ll react accordingly. That has missed up a few opportunities and it’s a habit that’s gotta end.

One needs to stretch. You never know when you might have to toot that thang, daddy, might it roll for the rent. I’m going to finesse my fitness regimen. It’d probably do wonders for the psyche. Not to mention, down times remind you that it’s always best to stay in stripper shape. I gotta get there. In the meantime, I’ve found the song I plan to Diamond myself to on stage if need be: The Yes Ma’ams’ “What Girls Are Made Of.” I am a son of irony. I can’t help it.

Meanwhile, get into them and that damn song. They are my new obsession.

Alright, I’m done with this. Happy birthday to me. And again, thank you to everyone who reads or has even ever read this site. I know it’s not as updated as often as it used to be, but you know, I write elsewhere to cover the bills. Look to your right for proof.

As a matter of fact, now look below.

Here.

See that? It’s a link to my PayPal account called “Help A Skinny Black Man” fund. Go on and help. You can drop couch change, bus far, cab fair, car note money, or one night stand with a reality star rates. Shit, whatever.

Hey There, Oversharer

I’m not surprised by the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health survey’s findings that doctors are far less likely to prescribe antidepressants to Black and Latino patients afflicted with major depressive disorder than their white counterparts.

In their findings, race, payment source, physician ownership status and geographical region were all listed as factors that play into whether physicians decide to prescribe antidepressants to patients. Moreover, age and payment source influence which types of antidepressants patients receive. As a result, Caucasians are 1.52 times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than Black and Latino patients being treated for major depressive disorders.

The disparity in antidepressant usage between Whites and minorities often centers on stigmas within minority communities. It’s about time the focus shifted towards how the role the attitudes of others factor into the gap.

Though I was never treated for a specific major depressive disorder, I have had painful bouts with depression and anxiety through the years – and encounters with careless doctors who bypassed obvious symptoms due to their own silly biases. Less than a year ago there was a period where I feared standing up would invite the kind of pain sure to knock me down. During one week in particular, each new day brought on an even more excruciating headache than the one before. When I did finally manage to stand up, I noticed that I had broken out in several different rashes across various parts of my body.  As freaked out as I was about the exterior, I was more worried that I could barely function without needing to lay down every other hour. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

Thankfully, I’d made a point to invest in an insurance plan and so I was able to see two separate doctors to help me understand what ailed me. A dermatologist suggested a skin disease. That is, before she mentioned something about the sun and syphilis. To which I said, “Unless my pillow has been sleeping around, I think I’m cool judging by the last time I was tested.” The results agreed with me. I should’ve known to exit her office the second she stopped me in the middle of talking to say I looked like Chris Rock.

Worse was the general practitioner I saw around the same time. He must have mistaken me scratching my scalp with a crack itch given his sudden questions about whether or not I was using drugs. He seemed obsessed with the fact that I “seemed a little thin,” but in hindsight maybe it was more about me being a little gay and a whole lot of Black. Or perhaps it all boils down to him being utterly clueless as to what my actual problem was.

Read more here.

Feel However You Choose To

Since late last week I’ve had an idea for a post entitled “Fuck Your Happy Face.” I decided to go against that title, but be certain that it wasn’t so much about being too on the nose as it was the realization that such a title wouldn’t be appreciated in certain circles — namely work related ones where my Twitter feed might show up. To that end, I’ve been stewing on how to best tackle a subject that’s annoyed me for quite some time. Now that it’s directly faced me in a number of directions simultaneously, there’s no time like the present to finally touch on it.

Last week was probably one of the hardest, most humiliating weeks of my life. I touched on certain problems in my post “Birthday Fears” and without going into specifics, let’s just say it’s related. In one respect, last week also presented opportunities that will rectify some of the previous problems mentioned. However, it didn’t come without a humiliating step back first.

Like I’ve tried all of my life to be happy and have been dealing with factors that’s worked against that goal. When you’ve been dealing with things beyond your control way too early, you burn out. For me that’s been an on and off issue as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong. I am down, but I will be fine. I always tend to be and am already actively working towards fixing what ails me. Yet, I won’t act like I don’t feel exhausted all the same.

Am I miserable? No. Do I feel as if I’m in a rough space?  Yes. Does that wear on me? Clearly. Will I overcome it? I will. Should I just put on a happy face and smile until it’s better? Not if I don’t feel like it.

Therein lies the problem.

Now more than ever do I hear people stress how important it is to remain positive, not to focus on “the negative” and a bunch of other cliche-ridden bullshit they got from Oprah, struggling cable network programs, and pseudo self-help musings found on entertainment blogs on social media.

I understand the power of positive thinking, but I also respect the idea of allowing a person to feel however they choose to. If I am down, let me deal with things my own way. It’s very frustrating for me to feel the way that I do and have people in my life give me some speech about how things can always be worse. Yes, things can always be worse, though one can be grateful and still realize something is fucked up in your life and it needs to be fixed.

And it’s flat out insulting to be told that if you just think of “the positive” everything will magically change. Your opinion is your own to have, but forcing a mantra onto someone – let alone one whose story you might not completely know or understand – is disrespectful.

I grew up often times helping fight off a drunk who I feared was going to murder my entire family. A horrific scenario that haunted me in my dreams  well into adulthood. Do not tell me that if you just imagine a better outcome it will magically appear in due time. In fact, fuck you, and save that fairy tale for a five-year-old with a much more pleasant home life. Motherfucker.

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Birthday Fears

For a while now, I considered 28 to be my scary age. Part of that stems on how close it is to 30. The other is rooted in some Laz Alonso interview I read years ago in which he declared that up until 25 your life is about potential, and every year after, results. I was on the verge of turning 25 when I read it so it spooked the hell out of me. I decided that when I came to Los Angeles that I would give myself three years to see where I was and to evaluate my life and career accordingly.

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Getting Laid

There’s a good an explanation for this lacefront, I swear. Before you dare even think it, no, it’s not mine, and please, I do not cross-dress. I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that if you elect to make that one of your favorite pastimes. See what had happened was: I was kind of drinking a lot and doing hoodrat shit with my friends. After we gathered ’round the table to talk 2012 resolutions before a bountiful plate of some bomb ass nachos. Then while we made our way to the host, Mimi’s, bedroom to see its glorious transformation, I spotted the wig. Mimi, being the quintessential bad influence, told me, “Wanna try it on?” I was ambivalent and then she said, “Do it!” So I did.

I immediately thought of Funky Dineva and said, “My hair is layed” like Michael Jackson’s last years.” As soon as I threw that wig on I felt like I had been hit by a smooth criminal, ready to check on Annie’s little young pasty self and see if she was okay. I was named after the King of Pop, after all (my mama since claims that she named me after Saints Michael and Joseph, but my sister broke it down) so there’s nothing wrong with a delayed tribute. Well, besides dancing in the heat to “In The Closet” (for the record, Naomi snatched MJ’s thunder a whole bunch in the clip) on a public sidewalk.

Fresh says I look like Venus and Serena. I imagine if my mama saw this she’d say I looked more like a mortal sin. Or are those terms mutually exclusive? Kidding. Don’t wanna beef with Canada Dry or  Chicago’s Deepest Dish. I might as well be able to make fun of myself. The student loan corporations sure are doing it. Anyway, so feel free to point and laugh…now ’cause this shit will never happen again. Never. That is, unless someone offers me $20 million to do it. Or get me drunk enough. Then again, the economy might force me to go snatch Mimi’s wig from her place and make it do what it do.

I will never put on a bra, though. If I didn’t wear one when I actually needed it, I won’t be doing it now.

Now as I go debate whether or not I’m out of my mind for posting this, get into Funky Dineva, he who rocks that shit much, much better. My favorite clip is below the hood.

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I Love You, Omar Lopez

Say hello to my first quasi-celebrity crush. Actually, that’s probably Will Smith, but Omar is the first person I saw on TV that I recall really doing his part to lend credence to the theory that girls are icky. That makes it more special, right? Why yes, yes it does.

Some of you might remember this image still from his appearance in TLC’s “Creep” video. Others might recognize him as one of Janet Jackson’s dancers. The one Damita Jo was fortunate enough to crotch grab in the “If” video, to be exact. If none of this rings a bell to you, that means you were born in the 1990s and are trying to make me feel like an old man versus the young-ish one that I am. Gon’ somewhere . Ye ain’t ’bout to make me feel bad, pimpin’.

Anyway, during that time both my sister and I had a crush on Omar. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know I was coveting him more than she was, but oh well.  This would be the perfect time to throw out the lyric “I may be young, but I’m ready,” but unfortunately since I was barely alive at the time of my first Omar sighting it would be inappropriate to do so. I guess. Shucks. I’m free to talk about it now, though.

Look at him. Meet my prototype. Is he not the perfect introduction to sin?

Mark my words: One day when I’m a regular on TV and promoting my projects I’m gonna show up in a t-shirt with an image of Omar Lopez from the janet. tour book on it. Don’t tell my mama that. I left that tour book back home and she’d probably drown it in holy water or old bacon grease to spite me. I’m kidding! Maybe. No matter because I’ll also pay tribute to him in the acknowledgements of my very first book: “I love you, Omar Lopez! Thank you  for sending me on my first mental field trip to gayland.” Or something to that effect.

Apparently, these days Omar is a yoga instructor in West Hollywood. Yes, I have thought about grabbing a yoga mat and stretching for serenity in his presence. Sadly, I have yet to go through with it due to fears that such a move would have me teetering on Courtney Love levels of crazy.

That’s too bad as I’ve seen recent pictures of him and he’s still fine. Damn fine, to be specific. Is there no one in this city that can’t push me directly in front of him? Heaven, I need a hug.

Oh well. I suppose I’ll always have “Throb.” And the “Creep” video (although it’s a shame T-Boz is standing in his light so much).

Now do not leave me hanging, readers. Instead of trying to email this post to the police, share some of your childhood crushes with me. Or, turn that video on, bow in the presence of greatness, and proceed to get your ass up and butterflying. For love.