Pop Culture, Theory & Essay

Grainy Pictures: Me, My Dad, and Measuring Up To “Maturity”

Last weekend, a few relatives and I gathered at my great aunt’s house to eat dinner and spend seven hours telling the exact same stories we told the last time we saw each other. As the youngest person in the room, my job was to do what any youngest person in a room full of loved and respected elders is usually supposed to do: listen, fetch cans of Pepsi, fact check in the most non-condescending way possible, and get teased for my reliance on my phone.

Anyway, midway through one of my dad’s inappropriately (but intentionally) hilarious recollections about New Castle, Pa (where most of my dad’s side of the family is from), something dawned on me:

“I’ve finally been here more than half as long as he has.”

You see, my last birthday officially made me more than half of my dad’s current age. Why is this important? Well, this means that I’m now officially older than he was when he had me, and this realization was quite jarring. Now, when I look at those grainy photo albums where my afro-clad dad is holding a three-day-old me in his arms, I’m looking at a man a few months younger than me. The man who looked so big, so proud, and so, well, so how a man is supposed to look hadn’t been on the planet as long as I have now, but I don’t think I measure up.

This particular brand of age-related angst is far from unique, though. In the last two weeks, both the Wall Street Journal — Kay S. Hymowitz’s “Where Have The Good Men Gone?” — and Slate — Mark Regnerus’s “Sex Is Cheap: Why young men have the upper hand in bed, even when they’re failing in life” — published widely read and discussed pieces that each contained the same latent premise: Men just aren’t growing up the way they used to.

From “The Extended Adolescence of (Some) American Men” –  Sister Toldja’s examination of “Where Have The Good Men Gone”:

…I think Hymowitz’s examples of the boyish cultural tastes of pre-adult males, the “Animal House”, extended college lifestyle and dating behaviors (using women as “estrogen play things”) make a stronger statement. The longer these young men extend their boyhoods, the less prepared they will be when they do choose to enter adult romances, marriages and when they become parents.

Although I don’t possess most of the characteristics each of these articles cite as synonymous with “extended adolescence,” I do believe my singleness (“singleness” in the census sense, at least) and childlessness contributes to my feeling, well, less manly than I think I’m supposed to, and there’s no remedy waiting for me over the horizon. I still consider marriage and fatherhood to be the most prominent markers of adulthood, but “professional and creative success” remains at the top of my personal needs hierarchy.

I know this isn’t an “either or” proposition. It’s quite possible to have both the traditional “grown” marker and the contemporary ideal at the same time. But while I’d like to eventually have a family, it just isn’t a deep-rooted need for me in the same way it was for my father, my grandfather, and other men like them.

Actually, let me rephrase that. I don’t know what was going through my dad’s head the day before he found out my mom was pregnant with me. In fact, I don’t even know what was in his head the day he took those grainy pictures. While I’ve assigned a certain nobility, a certain maturity to him, this is a presumptuous act. For all I know, he could have been experiencing the same age-related angst; wondering if he was ready to be an adult and doubting whether he’ll ever be able to be grown in the same way his father was. Who knows?

I do know, though, that I’ve been more places on Earth at this point in my life than my dad had when he took those grainy pictures. I have more experiences. More memories. More embarrassments. More anecdotes. More stories. More pains. More time. And, while I’m not taller (My dad and I are the exact same height), when you add weight to the equation, I’m definitely bigger than he was.

But, I just don’t feel as grown as he looked, and I’m beginning to wonder if I ever will.

—The Champ

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gnc

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • Femster

    RAWR!

    I will die a happy person. Peace, love and chicken grease.

  • D’Lady

    After reading this post, the first thing that popped into my head was Amanda Diva’s “ManChild” video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSczhRdsHZs

  • Honey

    society is changing…

    …and i’m high. this was beautiful for some reason

    • DG

      Have you been smoking that Charlie Sheen? Y’know that ish is deadly, right??

      • Tes

        *iDied

      • DQ

        Smoking that Charlie Sheen? Yo, I’m not even gonna lie, I’m gonna steal that. LOL.

      • Honey

        i’m honestly clueless as to what you’re talking about, but i don’t really know many drug jokes or lingo. i just do what my trusted friends say is ok lol

        • Honey

          not that i do any drugs besides the herbals…not into that extra wild ish

          • Deeds

            Charlie Sheen said he was on Charlie Sheen and it would make your face fall off.

            • Honey

              LOL word?

          • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

            Girl you gotta be bi-winning. Charlie don’t want his goddess’ smoking. Only he can have that tiger blood. lol

        • DG

          I’m just teasing you a lil’ bit…if you were to watch his interview from last night, you’d understand…whatever dude is on, trust me…you want to stay as far away from that narcotic(s) as possible. lol

          • Honey

            got it. that sounds entertaining, might have to look that interview up

    • TheAnti-Cool

      I’m not high and I thought it was beautiful too.

      • Honey

        ok cool, good to know lol. great writing, champ :)

    • ulysses

      I wish I was high and it’s beautiful
      in that Happy Feet, August Rush sort of way

  • DC1913

    For Some reason I read this with the voice over from wonder years voice in my head lol. Nice post. I feel the same way when I think of my age, technically im “grown”. But when I look at what my mom or aunt etc were doing at my age, 27 (married with kids) I coukd not even fathom that for my life right now.

    • KBBN

      “the voice over from wonder years” …there will never be better vocals for storytelling to me

      • TheAnti-Cool

        Morgan Freeman. At least for me.

        • WestPointProper

          Dennis Haysbert.

          • WIP

            Oprah Winfrey.

            • http://www.pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

              Gilbert Godfrey.

              Oh, wait… o_O

              • Yeah…So

                Lol… Whaa no James Earl Jones?

                • Yonnie 3000

                  Nah. Paul Winfield. City Confidential will never be the same.

                • DQ

                  You can never go wrong with James Earl

                • Sea Jay Bee

                  Charlie Murphy.

        • Tes

          You can’t top Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman has been God…twice.

          • http://uphereoncloud9.com/ Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

            And if you disagree with him, he’ll slap you and call you a swamp runnin’ n*****.

          • tgtaggie

            I always imagined God’s voice sounded like Morgan Freeman

            • Tes

              He’s old enough to have that credibility.
              Plus we all know he was Jesus’ geography teacher. Check the yearbook.

    • http://www.twitter.com/Alana_Shantell Alana

      YES! Me too!

    • DC1913

      As far as coming of age stories go, yea the voice from Wonder Years wins for me.

      • Jay

        Did you guys know that the guy who did the voiceovers for Wonder Years played the goofy burglar from Home Alone… You know, the tall curly haired one that WASN’T Joe Pesci. #truestory.

        • DC1913

          yea, daniel stern

    • ThisIshRightHereNinja

      My parents were at the cusp of that college-premium thing. They too finished grad school before they got married and created the joy that is me. I’m grown, got a coupla degrees on the wall, a mortgage, a fancy car and a 401k to show for it, but it seems perfectly normaly (within the space of MY family) that I should still be single and childless.

  • http://www.teamhellaswag.com/2011/02/chappelle-in-sf.html dubs @ teamhellaswag

    I just had a visit from my parents last week, and while they marveled at how I was a fully-functioning, completely self sufficient “adult” at the age of 22, I began to come to a similar revelation as the champ. When I was younger (keep your jokes to yourself) I always thought that by the magic wand of time alone, I would be transformed into an adult that somehow mimicked what I saw in my parents everyday. Now I’m realizing that they are more impressive than I ever gave them credit for, and that nothing but having to care for another life will give me that “Grown Up” feeling.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Now I’m realizing that they are more impressive than I ever gave them credit for, and that nothing but having to care for another life will give me that “Grown Up” feeling.”

      i didnt address this in the post, but i wonder if that’s the “right way” to feel? i mean, maybe past generations were rushed/pressured into situations they werent ready for, and maybe the way things are now are the way they’re supposed to be

      • Sula

        i didnt address this in the post, but i wonder if that’s the “right way” to feel?

        I personally don’t think it’s the “right way” to feel… We can be impressed by what our parents accomplished without having to use the same markers to define our adulthood. I have a big problem with the “where are the good men gone” article because it associates a definition of “grown-ups” with certain markers that should be universal… and adulthood just doesn’t lend itself to be thought in “universal” terms…

      • http://www.teamhellaswag.com/2011/02/chappelle-in-sf.html dubs @ teamhellaswag

        Well when I talk about knowledge, it goes beyond child rearing acumen (I have six years or so before I’m behind on that count); I’m talking about the fact that no matter what problem I encounter in my life -taxes, love, bickering friends, applying to schools, etc. I don’t get the feeling that they *felt* rushed in gaining that knowledge, but that may be the case.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that this feeling of adulthood is really the feeling you get after having blazed your own path in life. I think many of us had parents who did that for us (overcoming obstacles so that later, we wouldn’t have to), so the challenge becomes making your mark on the world in a way that seems somehow, original.

  • Tes

    I feel like I have the exact opposite problem; I’ve been too grown up for far too long. I was that kid in the glasses reading two books in class while answering all the questions. I was that kid who the adults would come to for sound and unbiased advice. I’ve been that kid since I was seven years old. Now, I feel like a 30 year old in a 20 year old’s body and I’m not so sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
    I feel that, given my maturity and intellect and all those other things that make me sound conceited instead of honest I have a harder time connecting with people my own age, especially the men and especially romantically. It’s not that I don’t try (because trust me I do) and it’s not that I’m not willing to go out of my comfort zone (ditto), it’s that there’s too little stability and confidence in men my age and that’s ironically what I ideally look for.
    Am I doomed? o.O lol

    • Anastasia!!!

      No Tesssy, you just date based on maturity and not age group – And if that means you date an older man, do that.

      • Tes

        What I’m sayin is though Ana, everybody’s telling me I’m missing out on things (clubs, sex, road trips, yada yada) because I think too far ahead, or think too practically and it just gets me down sometimes :\ . I mean I can’t really change that, right?

        As for the older men…I haven’t met any that are completely comfortable with me being 20 and a VSV at the same time. If I were a very smart virgin, that’s cool, and if I were 20 that’s cool, but both at the same time is just like putting a big red X on my face lol

        • CurlyTop

          I’m a practical thinker and have realized that you do miss out on a lot when you can’t get your head out of the future and live in the moment. I’m not saying go balls to the wall crazy but let go of some inhibitions and LIVE. An old ass biddy I worked with told me I was too wise and serious when I was 16 and needed to live a little; it shocked the hell out of me cuz she was on the brink of death. But I’m taking her advice now (at 21, yay!) and trying to steer away from being Lil Ms. Serious.

          You aren’t doomed but if you find that your thoughts are bringing you down then you have to change something. We can change anything [except bad credt] no matter what. As a VSV, I don’t think you are missing out on sex because there is so much more to life than just that. But you will appreciate life more by letting yourself go. Clubs, eh. I go because someone always buys me drinks and dancing is freaking fun (I can’t dance but as an island girl I can’t stop myself). Just try balancing your life out and having one day a week where you do things that are “typical” of young folks.

          • Tes

            “We can change anything [except bad credit]…”
            *snicker*

            I think it’s more of two pressures of idealism (my peers vs. my predecesors) putting pressure on me to pick a side when I feel like I shouldn’t have to. I see what you mean though and I do find time to do things like color and roller skate (don’t judge me lol) and it relieves some of the pressure but not all. I think it’s hard being happy now adays when there’s so many subjective definitions of what happiness is. Am I rambling? o.O I’ll stop now >.<

            • http://hotbiscuitsandgravy.blogspot.com Bengemin Grehe

              I don’t think it’s hard being happy, you jus need to be able to define your own happiness. I know that sounds simple, but happiness is very subjective and I think you have it right.

              “I think it’s more of two pressures of idealism (my peers vs. my predecesors) putting pressure on me to pick a side when I feel like I shouldn’t have to.”

              Then don’t. Do you. As for the 30 year old trapped in a 20 year old’s body, thas all a myth. Anastasia’s got it right when she says “date based on maturity and not age group,” but you can use that same logic to define your social life. There are plenty of 30 year old men and women who still get it in like they’re 20, so it’s all subjective.

              How somebody else “lives a little” may not be how you live a little. As for the Red X on your face, well, can’t help you there.

              • Tes

                The red X has been washed off with the morning light. I suppose it’s just my idealism that makes me think happiness should be easy to find…and it should…right? Gah, my age is showing >.<.

                I just feel so socio-romantically stunted :\

                • Kimmy

                  Maybe you’re overthinking things. I’m an overthinker myself and as I’ve gotten older I realize that it can be very limiting.

                • Tes

                  I am an overthinker actually. Since I was little my Nana calls me the Little Socrates :\ lol
                  I’m working on it, I promise.

              • Sula

                I don’t think it’s hard being happy, you just need to be able to define your own happiness

                Totally agree. And I will add that being happy is actually a conscious decision one makes.

                • PerceptionIsYourReality

                  Amen to that! I am working on that as well!

            • Yeah…So

              Tes,

              Tough love in 5… 4… 3… 2…

              You’re smart (VSB, duh) so I know you know there is a healthy medium that works for you… but, you won’t find it if you spend time thinking about how to find it… you gotta just do sh*t. You know what makes you happy and what makes you smile. You know when you feel empowered and what you still what to experience. You know what pushes you further and what your passions are. Stop apologizing to yourself and everyone else for being who YOU ARE… if you like to skate, skate dammit… the club is overrated… and honestly YOU KNOW everything isn’t for everyone so stop looking at the measures other place on you to determine your happyness… just.be.happy… F*ck em and read your books (if that’s what you’re into)… don’t let ANYBODY tell you what your life is supposed to be like and if there’s something you’re missing or don’t like about your life then change it.

              Sorry… I’m the youngest so I didn’t have a lot of practice sugar-coating advice… I only know the way without a chaser… but it’s all love I promise.

              • Yeah…So

                Ewwww and don’t date older men yet cause they WILL turn your @ss OUT!!!… trust me. #Iknow

                • V Renee

                  Tooooo funny.

                  But they will. ROTFLMAO~!

                • Meekoz

                  And they will give you worms…

                • Yeah…So

                  MIGHT give you worms!!! MIGHT!!!

                • Tes

                  Now all that? Yeah, that just made me feel better…except for the older men part. That’s not true…is it? o.O

                • Yeah…So

                  yes it is… so I’ve heard.

                • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

                  “MIGHT give you worms!!! MIGHT!!!”

                  hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!…and irritable bowel syndrome. lol

                • Mr SoBo

                  Pardon my ‘Yeah…So’, but what is this ‘older men give yall worms’ joke?
                  It sounds funny, but I dont want to laugh at something I do not understand.

                • Yeah…So

                  How cute? You’re like the lil brother sneaking into the bedroom all nosy and sh*t… Come on in SoBo… Since it’s you I’ll share… So, it is FACT that men have lil worms who lay dormant in their peens until they meet what is consider to be poon that is too young for them. The hormones in the young poon awaken these worms and the worms then latch onto the wombs of these young girls making their pee stink and sometimes giving them irritable bowel syndrome (as SFG mentioned)… hence, the giving of worms. All women have this drilled into their minds by their mothers/grandmothers/greatgrandmothers from the day they are born so they know not to chex older men… and yes, it’s true… and yes Tyler Perry is making a movie about it #RunNTellDat

                • CNotes

                  @Yeah…So

                  “All women have this drilled into their minds by their mothers/grandmothers/greatgrandmothers from the day they are born so they know not to chex older men”

                  Although I cannot attest to your explanation of men actually having worms (that part was never explained to me). I can cosign (at least from a southern perspective) that we were told as young girls that older men have worms/will give you worms. (which sounds so funny to me right now!)

                  So when I was a teenager and an older man would flirt with me, I would give them the screw face and get the hell out of dodge!

                • Mr SoBo

                  @Yeah…So
                  That sounds like pure foolishness to me. Hormones in young poon awaken worms in the peen…” yadda, yadda?? Cho! A eediat ting dat.
                  Nuttn’ no guh so.

                • Yeah…So

                  @CNotes, Ok… I kinda made that part up =/

                • Yeah…So

                  @SoBo… Whoa-lon… Uh who in dee ELLL yuh callin idiot? Yuh too fasty!

                • Yeah…So

                  Can I not speak patios anymore? In real life I’m not very good and on the interwebs… *tear*

                • Yeah…So

                  Oooh… Did I just type “patios”?… :( … don’t tell my fam y’all.

                • Mr SoBo

                  @Yeah…So
                  Wow. Clearly language(English or otherwsie, written or orally) is just not your strong suit.
                  Perhaps you should just stick to blinking once for ‘yes’, and twice for ‘no’. ;-)

                • Yeah…So

                  How many blinks for kiss mi botty? lol… :P

                • Mr SoBo

                  I believe the term you are looking for is “batty”.
                  And since you can’t even get that right, we should probably skip blinking all together.
                  How bout you just drool when your hungry so that someone knows when its time to feed you.

                • Yeah…So

                  If you what I MEAN why are you being such a jerk?!!! :(

                • Yeah…So

                  I meant *know what I mean… :( *hangs head and walks away*

                • Mr SoBo

                  Cool down hot pocket. I was just funnin’ witchya. Don’t take it personal. Monica.
                  Admittedly, I like teasing you at times. You have a youthful spunk to you that I fancy.
                  I’m playful like that. I know very well that you are very intelligent young sistah, so don’t read too much into my humor with you. :-)

                • Yeah…So

                  Hot Pocket… hmm… if I had a dollar…
                  Anyway… oh hush, I know you’re playin. smh.

                • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

                  I’m sorry but the two of you just kilt me with laughter!!!!

                  Especially this: “How many blinks for kiss mi batty? lol…DEAD!!

                  Hush Yeah_So, yuh alredy kno seh yuh caan chat di patois. Nuh badda wid it yeeer daahlin? Dont let dry foot Sobo ramp wid yuh. lolol

                • Yeah…So

                  Awww SFG… mi amor, thanks… you always got yuh sistren back. <— See SoBo dats like 3 different dialects right der!

                • Mr SoBo

                  @Yeah…So – “Hot Pocket… hmm… if I had a dollar…”
                  But you don’t.

                  @SFG
                  Dry foot like yuh puppa! But is who tell yuh fi come push up you two long finga dem inna mi argument? Eeh? Why yuh nuh go dead a bush gal. Gweh!

                • Yeah…So

                  See, now I woulda went with “poopuh”… but dats wrong huh? iTry
                  *sidenote* Leave SFG alone! *kissing teeth*

                • Yeah…So

                  *side-side note* everytime I read “dry foot” I snort a lil… heehee.

                • Mr SoBo

                  @Yeah…So
                  To my knowledge(unless things have changed in recent years) there is no text book formal way to write in patois. Just go with it phonetically. Although there does seem to be some generally accepted rules, I dont think anything is written in stone on that.

                • Yeah…So

                  You look at you… tryin to be somebody friend lol… too cute.

        • Anastasia!!!

          My sugafoot,

          I’m 23 and I got that a lot too – I apparently was/am missing out on many things but I’ve learned everything comes in its own tiime. Someone’s season may be now, while yours may be waaay later. I feel like I won’t be partying and being super free until around age 27 or 28, haha, and thats ok with me.

          Maybe you need to let go of some control???

          The VSB’s gave us much insight yesterday, and as far as men go, like Cabelleroso(sp) said if a dude is not feeling you for who you are in this moment, move on to the next one that will appreciate who you are NOW. And that ish will get lonely sometimes, but to do something just because aint the biz.

          I feel u, Tes!!

          Stasia

          • CurlyTop

            I luvs your comment. While reading it I kept hearing that Leona Lewis song “Better in Time”

          • Tes

            Big Sugafoot :) ,

            I keep wondering about my season, as everybody around me seems to think I’m perfect for this or that and this is my season and I think that I don’t have the experience to say if I am or aren’t or if it is or isn’t lol.

            Men I don’t necessarily worry about but it gets disheartening more often than not when I realize the guy I’ve been talking to is either a) a creeper b) interested only in one aspect of me c) all of the above or d) already in love (with himself, his gf, his car, w/e). I’m patient and hopeful however, not sure if that’s naievety or romanticism but either way I’m rolling with it.

            I feel you back Stasia! lol

          • http://hotbiscuitsandgravy.blogspot.com Bengemin Grehe

            “Someone’s season may be now, while yours may be waaay later.”

            Cosign.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “As for the older men…I haven’t met any that are completely comfortable with me being 20 and a VSV at the same time.”

          what exactly constitutes “older?”

          • Tes

            Older as in 24 and up.

            • Sea Jay Bee

              Dang…older I am.

        • afrolista

          omg!! kindred spirits. everything you just stated about yourself is everything that is ME. Im not the only one yay. *back to lurkerland*

          • Tes

            Kindred! Don’t feel bad, more people than just you and me are going through it, I just seem to be the one asking all the questions o.O

        • ThisIshRightHereNinja

          I don’t agree with the whole “I’m missing out out something” school of thought. So long as you are enjoying life–whatever that means for who YOU are, you aren’t missing anything at all. Perhaps people with different mindsets needed things like roadtrips and casual sex to make them feel like they were getting the most out of their youth. You, apparently do not, and I applaud it.

          The older men thing, the young jawn thing, the VSV thing…yeah, pimp. IDK what to tell ya. It’s a reality, but it doesn’t have to spell doom either. There are some 20-something VSVs with action-packed love lives. Believe it. In sum, you’ll live. Hang in there.

          • Tes

            I’m hanging in there, mostly because I know that’s not all there is. :) And thanks for the encouragement.

          • Sula

            I don’t agree with the whole “I’m missing out out something” school of thought. So long as you are enjoying life–whatever that means for who YOU are, you aren’t missing anything at all.

            Totally agree. As the great John Lennon said: “Time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted”… and I completely adhere to that tidbitway to justify my procrastination!! :D

    • Betamale

      “I feel that, given my maturity and intellect and all those other things that make me sound conceited instead of honest I have a harder time connecting with people my own age”

      It hasn’t gotten any better with age for me. It’s a gift and a curse. Don’t let it make you dislike mankind like it has for me. You once commented on here that you “get me”. You really do.

      • Tes

        Of course I get you, Beta :) , I’ve been saying that for the longest lol

        I thought about disliking the world and humanity but as a hippie/humanist/liberal/neo-classic type chick, I think once you understand the ideal that imperfect is normal and perfect truly isn’t it makes it that much easier to decipher the world as a whole for yourself and find the niches that you fit in.

        I know it doesn’t get easier, but it’s all about embracing the gift. Embracing you for you always opens the door for others to do the same.

        • Betamale

          My true feelings about mankind have never been uttered outside of the internet. I keep that to myself. I used to spend a lot of time trying to change other peoples consciousness. I have since learned to lower my expectations.

          Ironic sidenote: Charlie Sheen is not crazy. His synapses(like yours and mine) just fire faster than most and he self-medicates so that he can stay here(alive). The so-called experts on tv that say he is crazy have no clue what he is and has been going through his whole life. And most of them have Ph.D’s.

          • Tes

            And that is where you and I differ, as anybody who knows me in passing or otherwise knows exactly how I view the world. I maintain high expectations of people, because I have high expectations of myself; people rarely rise to low expectations.

            Addendum to your sidenote: He’s not crazy, he’s just severely overfunded and thus so is his drug habit. Self-help and self-medication are two different things; as one becomes acclimated to medication over time and ups the ante until there’s nowhere to go but down. He needs help, not more money and sympathy, not scorn.

            • Betamale

              Good points but lets take it further about Charlie. I think he feels he NEEDS to be forced back to the bottom and is doing this media blitz to test and manipulate the masses as well as the media. I think it is his swan song. We all deserve to go out in whatever fashion we choose. Everyone will say he was crazy and keep it moving.

              Dave Chappelle shares our condition and that is why he did the things that he did. Everyone thought he was crazy too.

              • Tes

                So you callin me crazy? o.O I prefer the term “creative thinker”

                Would a traditionally sane person feel the need to revert themselves to the lowest denominator to become relevant again? I don’t think so. Charlie and his show (which I find as funny as a trip to the dentist) are on a downturn, despite what the media says and as such, needs controversy to make it big again. In essence, the producers and the like are, if anything exploiting his illness after years of encouraging it.
                I’m not even touching Dave Chappelle. (that’s what she said)

                And how at all does this relate to maturity and the subject at hand? :) lol

                • Betamale

                  “And how at all does this relate to maturity and the subject at hand?”

                  I was just pleasantly surprised that you weren’t talking out of the side of your neck when you said that you get me. I mentioned Charlie and Dave because they are our kindred spirits.

                • Tes

                  “Charlie and Dave because they are our kindred spirits.”

                  Speak for yourself! lol I understand them and am compassionate in general, but I don’t agree with their choices, values (or lack thereof), or way of life. Hiding is noway to live life, and by running and using such obvious escapisms they’re just hindering any further happiness they could have.

                  “I was just pleasantly surprised that you weren’t talking out of the side of your neck when you said that you get me. ”

                  I told you so ;)

              • niksmit

                Charlie Sheen is bipolar and riding a manic high (aka he really is high on Charlie Sheen). So yeah, he crazy. He likes mania so much that when he comes down off Sheen he gets high on coca. Either way, he’s not working with all the parts. Why you gotta lump Chapelle in with that?

                • Betamale

                  I am lumping Dave in with the “too smart” crowd. He has never reached Charlies death wish level of despair with mankind and I hope he never does.

          • Ivy St.

            Crazy isn’t the term that they should use, but typically taking stimulants over an extended period of time can result in a Psychosis like state. His synapses may or may not be firing the same, but that isn’t the issue. The dysfunction of his dopaminergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic system is what is messing him up. And when these things get messed they affect the function of the frontal cortex which is necessary for executive function (attention, working memory, decision making). One who does not have a Phd can interpret this as being crazy/losing his mind (literally) or for the higher educated going through some sort of Psychosis. Yes life experiences do affect one’s mental state but no study has shown they can over power the effects of a stimulants such as cocaine, meth and AMPH.

            • V Renee

              The dysfunction of his dopaminergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic system is what is messing him up. .

              That’s it, I’m about to find a male doctor so I can hear him talk like this. I imagine it would be all kinds of sexiness. LOL

              • Tes

                I’m so glad I’m not the only one who was thinking that. So what if I had to google those words?

            • Betamale

              @Ivy,

              Well said. I agree with all of it. Do you agree with my opinion about why he chooses to self-medicate? That there is such a thing as “too smart”?

    • LSQ

      Tes,
      to me, people like you are leaders, that means you’ll be bringin the rest of us along… it may seem lonely at times, but remember our quest is not to find others like ourselves but to find those that need us. that is the path of a leader. [warning sexist comment:] for men, we are taught that it is normal to be a leader – to be better than our mates/friends, to be the head of household, etc. for women, society hasn’t allowed you the space to feel comfortable in those roles yet.
      I suspect you are already there tho.
      peace

      • Tes

        LSQ,
        First of all, thanks :) . Secondly though, leading and healing is such a thankless thing to do with people, because even when you’re doing it right, you always feel you’ve done something wrong and you always seem neglect yourself in the process. Plus, what do you do when you’re a leader with no one to lead? And, for the record, selflessness and kindness? Foreign to most people in my age bracket; so how do you teach or lead people to that, especially when they don’t want to come?

        • Caballeroso

          Self acceptance is a powerful tool. It was not one that I was born with and it actually took me 29 years to get there, but since I arrived, I’ve been a much happier person.

          It starts with having the courage to be different. My courage to be different started in the third grade when I was ridiculed by classmates for giving an answer in class that was much different than the answers given by them. At this point I don’t even recall what the question was, but I remember that my answer was 27. When they finished laughing at my response, the teacher informed them that I was correct. That one experience laid the ground work for me being able to accept that sometimes I’m going to understand things differently than the masses and that that does not make me wrong. I cite that particular experience for me now being able to accept myself as an agnostic in a world of Christians, but I’m a happier person because of it.

          There are pros and cons to this type of self acceptance as you are already discovering. Many will accept and respect you because you stand for what you stand for. Others will ostracize you because you are different and don’t fit the preconceived mold or notion of how they would define you. While it may suck azz sometimes to have people shun you for standing your ground on your terms and for you being true to you (in whichever way you choose to define you on that particular day I might add), you’ll ultimately be happier because in the end, you are you and you defined you in spite of them…and they can’t steal that from you. In other words, F’em! Be you and make no apologizes for it.

          • Tes

            @ Cab
            You are my official e-crush of the day for all of that.
            Its easy I think to get caught up in being different and trying to change and be like everyone else for the sake of not being seen, but you’re right; I’m learning being seen for who I really am and not who people want me to be, though sometimes difficult, is what makes life easier for me. :) Woot for that

          • Beremore

            “There are pros and cons to this type of self acceptance as you are already discovering. Many will accept and respect you because you stand for what you stand for. Others will ostracize you because you are different and don’t fit the preconceived mold or notion of how they would define you. While it may suck azz sometimes to have people shun you for standing your ground on your terms and for you being true to you (in whichever way you choose to define you on that particular day I might add), you’ll ultimately be happier because in the end, you are you and you defined you in spite of them…and they can’t steal that from you. In other words, F’em! Be you and make no apologizes for it.”

            ^^^ THIS^^^ Says it all and then some!

          • Sula

            Completely off topic (but I promised myself to advertise as much as possible) and related to this sentence of yours I cite that particular experience for me now being able to accept myself as an agnostic in a world of Christian

            Please people go see Moo-zlem, it’s currently out in theaters. It is a really cool independent movie. While it may lack a bit on the subtlety side, it is a great story being told from a voice that we don’t often hear or even know exist. It showcases brilliant performances by Nia Long and Evan Ross. So if you get the chance, go out and catch it.

            *end public service announcement* :)

        • PerceptionIsYourReality

          Amen Sista Girl!!

        • LSQ

          yea,
          being a leader can suck -> you are out front. and yea, its about as thankless that it gets. Leaders do it cause it needs to be done – for the sake of everyone.

          As far as no one to lead, this place (earth) is filled with followers – take them (choose who wisely) along on your journey, the real tough job is getting them to listen. this is why managers/directors/etc get paid so much more than ‘skilled’ labor. The ability to see above the fray, and exist in it at the same time.

          but there is prolly a bazillion books on leadership that could tell you better than I could.

          ;)

    • PerceptionIsYourReality

      Tes… This right here…. is me to the T!!. I have always had the feeling that I’ve been here before. At 25, I am usually more mature than the rest of my peers and that can be hard. Because I love having fun and being spontaneous. But on the other hand I don’t understand the flightiness/ and iffyness of my friends. I tend to be a very deep thinker and I over think almost everything.( Working on it!!)
      So I am glad to know that I am not alone in this regard! It mos def makes me feel better!! But like you I am working on this because as I have found I tend to miss out on the HERE and NOW ( I miss Luther) of Life because I am constantly over thinkin.

      Well two Cheers to “Carpe Diem”!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/Stank_0 Stank_0

    You know Champ, I have to say in the depths of my mind I have thought the exact same thing. I allow those thoughts to linger as I attempt to find a solution. My father big ups me in the fact that I have done things at my age that he wouldn’t be “mature” enough to do. Considering my father was the oldest of 17 and more or less raised them, I tend not to believe me.

    I think part of the reason is b/c of the shift in the economy from manufacturing to information and the skills required to be proficient in this new economy mean extended schooling (which isn’t on the same level of responsibility). In college you’re only real work is going to class and learning. Beforehand, you grabbed a blue collar job and went out to make your place in the world.

    Maybe I’m just reaching.

    • DQ

      Naw you’re making sense. I said the same thing (or along those lines).

    • Tes

      I actually think you’re right. Having a job and a family to feed will make an adult out of a person, and given that so many of us are focusing on furthering our education first (maybe with a part time job on the side) makes it look like we are adults but it doesn’t make us feel like adults.

    • UptownPradaG

      Stank_0….I believe you are right also. While Champ and many of us budding men make what we consider the transition, I look at my father who is now 60 (I am 32) and I think he can still beat me up. Physically, he is an ox, 5’8″ but an ox nonetheless. While I stand 6’1″ and I too am physically fit, he seems to have that “man factor” that will edge me out every time. I say that to say the blue collar industry of yesteryear made you or killed you, period. In our current “Information Technology” era, if you mess up you can hit the backspace button and fix it, there was no backspace back then so you had to be accountable for everything you said AND did which is my definition of a man is FIRST AND FOREMOST.

      As I look at how many times I pressed delete to ensure I was saying exactly what I wanted, I bet my father would have knocked out this same message in 30 seconds flat typing with his two index fingers or basically grunting for me to do it for him. While I stand on my own two feet, own a home, a car, a business, I still feel like a kid when I am signing my name on my employees checks and every single one of them is at least 5 years older than me which doesnt help any.

      Now all I can think about is….. I really need to stop pressing backspace so much. Damn!

      • WIP

        “Physically, he is an ox, 5’8? but an ox nonetheless. While I stand 6’1? and I too am physically fit, he seems to have that “man factor” that will edge me out every time.”

        LOL, I enjoyed this comment.

      • Thereluctantsocialite

        Wow… this really makes a lot of sense.

      • TheAnti-Cool

        I like this.

      • whykendra

        you had to be accountable for everything you said AND did which is my definition of a man is FIRST AND FOREMOST.

        • whykendra

          i meant to leave a response to that. smh.

          i agree wholeheartedly for men and for women. and yes accountability has significantly decreased over the years. but why? its not just the internet. what are the other factors that are making that aspect of adulthood (accountability) so hard for people to get?

          my thought is that there is no growing into it. like someone said higher up in the comments, there is a thought that ‘one day’ ill be this or that. but ive noticed around me that people who dont have accountability are lacking it because they have a history of not having to be. they are spoiled (in some regard, not necessarily money or attention though those certainly do not help). and that continues on in their life as they will continue to find away to get by with out actually having to stand on their own two feet or even harder; stand by their word.

          what do yall think? im pretty young so i could just be dead wrong.

          also, i bet your parents (i cant speak on mine because something went astray with them) still have feelings somewhat similar to you. is there a really a breakthrough point of adulthood? i would think not, i would think people are somewhat confused about what their expectations of themselves until the day they die. again im young but in this (short) life of mine ive come to the (possibly false) conclusion that everybody is asking: “what the hell is my life? what am i supposed to be doing? what do i want to be doing? am i the person i thought id be? am i the person i should be? how exactly did i get here?” and by everybody i mean 10 yrs old, 50 yrs old, 100 yrs old, etc.

          your parents may have found more peace with life choices theyve made/ have to make, but this is the first March 2, 2011 for everyone. not one of us has done this sh*t before.

      • DQ

        This was a great post. I think I kind of idealize and deify my father the same way. I am much bigger and stronger than my Dad now, but I still wouldn’t challenge him, and in a scrap I fully well expect him to whoop wholesale a$$. It’s like our parents are those old cars made out of iron and steel, terrible gas mileage, almost no electronics, but could drive through a brick wall and keep going. Our generation are the cars made out of polymers and fiberglass, and composite metals, that can log into facebook and connect your blue tooth, to a satellite feed in Russia, but one good solar flare and the whole thing shuts down.

        We’re just made in a different era and a different time – but one could argue we’re the right people for this time and space, just like our parents were the right people for the time and space they occupied as youth.

      • Kimmy

        Very well said.

    • Honey

      you aren’t reaching at all. this is what i meant by my comment, but i didn’t have the…energy (yeah, that sounds good) to type it out

    • V Renee

      I agree with both Stank so Good and Uptown.

      My mama once told me, they don’t make men like they used to. All of these short, scrawny dudes running around with soft hands not knowing how to *insert anything from working on cars to unclogging pipes (both types of pipes ;)*

      I laughed so hard, but it’s true. Look at an older man’s hand, they show signs of work. While guys now a days have hands softer than mine. LOL

      • Mimi

        @ V Renee

        Co-sign.
        I think this might be the reason why I find men, who know how to ‘fix things’ (a computer, shelves on a wall, a car. etc.), extremely s exy.

      • WIP

        Girl yes. I love some rough, calloused hands with chipped nails. They just make me wanna take care of them. I know that man ain’t afraid to work.

        @Mimi- Cosign the cosign I love to see a man fix something or do some yard work, LOL

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I think part of the reason is b/c of the shift in the economy from manufacturing to information and the skills required to be proficient in this new economy mean extended schooling (which isn’t on the same level of responsibility).”

      yeah, this point was made in the WSJ article.

    • http://www.twitter.com/Stank_0 Stank_0

      After thinkin about it, my Mama provides some historical perspective. My Dad was kinda bouncin aimlessly from jobs until they found out in 1974 that a girl was on the way (my oldest sister). That was the kick in the pants for him to get a job at the local natural gas plant (that he kept until he retired a few years back). Maybe he and I aren’t that different after all. He was two years older than I when my sister was born so I guess I have a little time to keep listing aimlessly although I know what I want to do #runonsentencestruggle

  • DQ

    I had my moment when I turned 32. Why 32? Because that’s how old my parents were when I first recall being cognizant of their age. Turning that age was a paradigm shift for your a$$.

    I have since concluded that life circumstances now are just different than what they were back “then” and thus we are afforded more time before we are forced to “grow up”.

    • Yeah…So

      this is true.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I had my moment when I turned 32. Why 32? Because that’s how old my parents were when I first recall being cognizant of their age. Turning that age was a paradigm shift for your a$$.”

      seeing that this is the age where i had my same realization, it seems like 32 is just a bitch

      • WIP

        The Terrible Thirty-twos?

        • Sula

          Glorious!

  • DC1913

    Also, I dont think it’s just men. it’s our generation in general.we didnt have to live as hard as our parents and grow up as fast. We were able to be selfish and be students and “find ourselves” they didn’t have that luxury back in the day as much.

    • WIP

      “We were able to be selfish and be students and “find ourselves” they didn’t have that luxury back in the day as much.”

      I agree. I bet our parents wanted us to have that luxury though. They didn’t want us to have to work in a factory the day after we graduated or mow lawns 8 hours a day to feed our kids even though they did it.

      • http://www.twitter.com/Stank_0 Stank_0

        That’s the honest to God truth. My parents have said they don’t want me to do physical labor. That’s why they were so hard on me in school.

        I overcompensated by doing manual labor work study in graduate school. I figured out I like to be active and sitting in the office blows [II] and I can be alone. I spoke when it is required otherwise it was me, my thoughts, and the task at hand.

    • V Renee

      On a blog I used to read, one guy made the argument that our generation didn’t have defining moments like our parent’s generation. No marching for equal rights, burning bras, Vietnam, etc.

      • DC1913

        I think we had definining moments. However I think they caused us to shrink rather than rise. Events like school shootings and 9/11. I think our moments caused fear so maybe that adds to us not wanting to grow up and have to be out in this crazy ass world we live in…

  • http://naturallyalise.com/blog/2011/03/01/spelling-gone-wild/ Naturally Alise

    You made me think that when my mom was my age she had a 6 year old, a failed marriage, and was a year away from purchasing her own home. However, I don’t feel “some kinda way” about it. In fact I couldn’t imagine the Alise I am/was having a baby with no support at age 25. It just doesn’t fit who I am/was. I think a marriage at 25 would have ended in the same unfortunate divorce that she fond herself in because personality wise we are very similar. I am glad of the weird twisted path my life has taken at times and I feel just as grown-up as I want to feel. I think sometimes we try to compare or lives to our parents or other folks that we forget our journey is OURS and we get to define it how we choose. (and shyt)

    • http://hotbiscuitsandgravy.blogspot.com Bengemin Grehe

      Cosign.

    • Ms. My2Cents

      Agreed! I’m 33 now and – if I were holding myself to my parents pace – I’d have an 11 year old and be married for 11 years! That idea is completely unfathomable to me. Then again, I was the 1st person in my family to go to college and hold a doctorate degree now. #notbragging Certainly a departure from my folks’ path. I have a hard time handling my dog some days…let alone a kid! :)

      That being said, I think it’s in our nature to compare ourselves to other – whether it be our parents, other respected elders, or our peers. Every now and then I hafta snap myself out of that comparison mode and remember that my life is mine to live and make of it what I choose!

      • Thereluctantsocialite

        “That being said, I think it’s in our nature to compare ourselves to other – whether it be our parents, other respected elders, or our peers. Every now and then I hafta snap myself out of that comparison mode and remember that my life is mine to live and make of it what I choose!”

        Love this! So true…

        My mother had a lot of responsibility at a young age and by my age (I’ll be 29 in the summer) she had already been married, divorced and married again. My mom has always been the person that other people could rely on (she raised my cousins in addition to myself and my brother), so sometimes when I compare myself to her and where she was at at my age, I do feel like I’m coming up a little short.

        However, its been interesting, because now that I’m getting older, my mother opens up to me a lot more about her regrets and mistakes. One thing my mother always tells me is that she feels like I’m a lot stronger than her. My mother was always that person that you could depend on, but she also let a lot of people walk all over her and take advantage of her. She tells me that she admires me because I’m stronger than her in that sense. She also recently told me that she actually felt/feels a little jealous of me from time to time because I was/am enjoying life and having fun and getting the opportunity to do a lot of things that she never got to experience because she had taken on so much responsibility at an early age. I was suprised that she was so candid with me, but I appreciated it because it helped me to better understand certain aspects of our relationship.

        All this to say that I think everyone compares their lives to others… which is normal, I guess… just as long as you learn to really appreciate your own experiences. You never know who would love to be in your shoes…

        • Ms. My2Cents

          “my mother opens up to me a lot more about her regrets and mistakes.”

          Yeah, I got a glimpse into my mothers feelings of this when she asked me if her and my dad somehow “messed me up” as a child. SMH! I had to remind HER of all of my accomplishments…none of which I would have achieved had it not been for the love and support of my parents.

          It’s very interesting to befriend your parents as you get older! It’s like meeting a whole new person!!!

      • V Renee

        That being said, I think it’s in our nature to compare ourselves to other – whether it be our parents, other respected elders, or our peers…..my life is mine to live and make of it what I choose .

        Truth.com

    • whykendra

      but you would have been fine. im sure your mother didnt think it would happen that way either. it just happened and she did what she had to do in order to get herself (and little you) to a comfortable place. my point is in general, our parents did the same things we are doing now. hit the ground, pretend our ankles dont hurt, do a slow jog… and then runwalk to the finish line.