introvert

Introvert I AM

Recently, and all too often, I’ve being called aggressive, impolite, and mean.  I am neither these adjectives nor any other misguided labels (i.e., aloof, unapproachable, and misanthropic).  In the past, I have rebuked such attempts of my character with disdain and bewilderment.  Recently, I have discovered as I always recognized, my personality is not the problem, but the misinterpretation thereof by the misinformed.  NEWFLASH! I am an introvert, not a monster.

WARNING!  An introverted personality is not synonymous with shyness, fear of crowds, or one that shrinks in the spotlight.   As an introvert, it simply means, I have little patient for small talk, or extended time in social settings.  On the contrary, I can operate quite well in large settings; I can speak to large groups with ease.  Nevertheless, and this is important, I need isolation to recoup my energy.  So, I prefer to be alone than in a crowd to regain my inner power.  Again, social events are not deal breakers. But I will need time between engagements to maximise optimal energy levels.

In the last few days, I’ve watched a TED video and read some literature on being an introvert in an extroverted society.  I found the video ok, but I would recommend all to give it a go, so we could drop with the negative labels.

Just my 60 seconds…

The Invisible Dragon

My Mind is Not a Playground, It’s a Junkyard.

insane mind

I do not feel completely alone, but I’m just waiting.  I’m not sure for what.  This street lamp shines on me each night: It does not say much, or can it?  The sky also stares at me as if I possess a language.  Often for hours, we look at each other.  I don’t like it sometimes because it’s so patient, it boils me with solace.  I normally don’t use big words, but some people think it’s ok.  The water soothes my hot feet; I run but not long, my breath has numerous outside appointments.  I wonder when I think/write like this, has my mind broken or retired.   I think both at times; nevertheless, rarely do such thoughts make the pages.  Hold a second my mind is back.  I see its shadow.  Hmm, it’s dirty, “wash yourself, we’ll eat soon.”  My mind runs like an undiscovered stream outside Madison, that’s in Wisconsin.

Mrs. Jones tend to her garden; the stiff spring breeze shoves her physique about.   Once, a vibrant vixen, now she listens to Beethoven and her garden.  From my second floor, I scream!  Mrs. Jones!  She pretends not to hear me.  Mrs. Jones!  I only want her attention to corroborate my presence.  It is sad to live in your mind.  You’re not sure, if you’re alive or, I hate to say this…dead.   In your mind, you run constantly frightened and unaware of reality.  Mrs. Jones!  She can hear me, I know she can, she just ignores me.  My tomato soup is about ready.  I cook it each day at the same time.  The neighbors complain but this is a ruse, they want some.   No!  You had your chance; they scatter from my mind deep inside my consciousness.  They’ll be back for my soup, they always come back.

My dog stares at me as I dodge the cracks in my mind.  A motorbike’s rumble angrily snaps me back to life or fantasy.  I wonder about a woman who rides a motorbike without a partner.  Where is she going?  Does she have an appointment? I’m not sure.  What woman rides a motorbike alone?  Is this reality?  Hmm…the motorbike seems to be turning around, did she hear me thinking.  Hi, why do you ride a motorbike without a partner?  Her stare punches me in the abdomen; I stumble, but regain my balance to see her coming towards me. I run as fast as I can.  A woman who rides a motorbike without a partner seems nice but they scare me.  My dog barks out a melody that says she’ll catch me one day, I don’t normally understand dog talk.  Also, I don’t understand why a woman rides a motorbike alone.

I’ll take one mister, thanks for the ice cream.  It’s hot outside…I run to stay fit.

My mind is exhausted, Mrs. Jones continues to ignore me, my neighbors pretend not to like tomato soup, and a motorbike ejected a woman onto me.  The street light dims the alley lights up, and I look at it from the second floor.  I’m as lonely as it appears, but I make things up.  I create stories when I’m uncertain, afraid.   I write like this when I’m not sure about reality.  I see a man walking toward the tavern, why does he not have a tie about his shirt and suit.  If it’s one thing I think about is why do a man not have a tie about his shirt and suit.  He turns…and stares at me.  I run.

The Invisible Dragon

(unedited and unsupervised)

Set my Brothers Free: Young Black Men & Depression

By The Invisible Dragon

Young Black males, as suicide victims, were unheard of growing up in 1970’s.  However, presently, according to the American Association of Suicidology, suicide rates for African-American males ages (15-24) increased 83% in the early 80’s and 90’s.  More importantly, most suicide victims suffered from depression at their end.  Suicide has become a statistical reality for many young brothers.   The sad fact that young males are killing themselves is startling, but the communities’ silence is worse, even tragic. As a result, Black communities face stinging charges of being callous, insensitive, and more importantly, mis-educated. It is my belief; the silent epidemic on Black men and depression must be shattered.

Black men rarely speak about their mistrust of organized healthcare.  One reason for the silence is the mistrust they possess toward the health care profession.  The Tuskegee Experiment is just one example of gross malpractice levied against Black males throughout American history.  I, personally, refused to use White male doctors in the past and frankly all male physicians.  Often, they gave me a sense that my health issues were not as serious and that intestinal fortitude was in order.  In the hood, reputation and the cool pose is everything Black males risk isolation and marginalization if they have a mental illness label.  Despite, whys and wherefores, we must face ourselves and shed the current fear to face depression.  Young Black males suffer from mental illness; we better admit this and speak up.

Unfortunately and fortunately, Black males do not attend church in large numbers.  One reality they face is Black Churches dis-empower them by suggesting only the blood of Christ heals.  Young Black males are inundated constantly with this message from female relatives, girlfriends, and wives.  Usually those loaded theme suggestions fall on deaf ears. Nevertheless, I sympathize with anyone who attempts to sound the bell about males and mental illness. However, in contrast, depression is not a headache that’s erased through pray and aspirin.  It is important Black Christians not marginalize depression anymore; it’s real, get over it.  In addition, we must refuse to endorse the religious-based mythology, “Only the blood of Jesus heals”.  We need the Black church to become a responsible partner in healing our young men.    

If one would solve a problem, the study of the problem is a prerequisite.  In urban communities, often, Black males lead a life of isolation and sequestration.  My own view, education on mental illness is a valid step to our miscarriage concerning mental illnesses.  More directly, to break the silence we must seek education as the only solution.  Although, a controversial issue has been whether depression is real, this by the way is crazy.  The collective illiteracy about affective disorders is the result of such careless thinking.  The mis-education of mental health is important because half-truths may disable the men and communities, rendering them impotent in life endeavors.  Thus only, data driven information will pardon communities and free young brothers.

It is no secret, in urban communities; countless Black males inflicted with mental illness, live in virtual darkness. Sad and disheartened, they routinely live emotionally disengaged existences.   And, we do know, if depression deepens without medical intervention hopelessness may become a reality.  Haeffel, Abramson, Brazy, & Shah (2007) define hopelessness as being convinced the future holds bad results and all efforts are futile.  Our refusal to seriously engage men about their mental health ultimately hurts Black families, children, and communities.  As well, to continue endorsing cultural mental illness mythologies are an even more egregious assault.  We have a responsibility, and duty, to educate ourselves and communities on mental illness:

Shall we not set ourselves free?

Strangers Live Inside

Well, hello, long time no see. I would say so,

Where have you been spending your time? Here and there, working at the school…

(The Tao is an inescapable torch that does not burn.)

The early morning possess supernatural powers. I absorbed the darkness in the winter and spread the sunlight in spring. How does one find himself in himself? How do you begin a journey on a road that has ended? I love being in a transit state of nothingness…where I walk in silence and stillness. I struggle to explain the concept and thus I mumble incomprehensible with text.

I love text in many forms written, verbal, or imagination. However, mostly; I love text alone deep within the bottomless pit of reflection. I do not want to argue or develop discourse where it’s rejected nor considered. No, my superpowers are not great at all, in fact; one would not even notice my presence without a shout. I live and die daily within a formless world as I assess my evolution to my originality. Does this make sense? I think it does, surly a kindergartener understand the quest for eternal play.

What type of musing is this? I don’t know. I discovered it while asleep as I was awake. By the way, I think a quest is not about discovery as much as, wait a second…I had a thought. “Anyhows”, (Yes, a phrase used in many cultures) damnit…, I lost my thought again. Hmm, I was going somewhere but without failure I’ve arrived. How does one find what is not missing? I’ve tried several times to leave the Tao behind.

Will life be defined? No, I think not, only the individuals who need form to explain the unexplainable remains searching.

Hey where have you been, long time no see.  I would say so,

(All grammatical errors are purposeful)

The Invisible Dragon

Should We Fight the Power?

I am concluding my masters’ degree requirements this summer and I thought to include some conversations from our online sections.

Rebecca and I are classmates in a final course for my Ms.Ed., this summer.  I thought it would be cool to blog some of our discussions.  I respect Rebecca’s intuitiveness and her willingness to challenge status quo.  She has been involved with marginalized groups (e.g., Blacks, women, Latinos) learning education for some time in her professional career.  In fact, we are both reading instructors in the College Learning Enhancement Program (CLEP) at Northern Illinois University. The class is Nature of Adult and Higher Education and is guided by Dr. Karen Haley,

(Robert) The assumptions of postmodernism (e.g., Multicultural, learning-centered, informal experiences) considering gender and racial statuses are attractive as teaching modules.  While I do not see learners as agents for social change, I do however value collaborative learning for the non-majority members, specifically African-American males.  The tenet of ‘Caring’ is extremely important to marginalized groups in higher education.  I find this principle in line with my belief in Humanism and culturally responsive teaching curriculum.  Thus, each component together along with other variables (e.g., self-directed learning, self-actualization, and resiliency) provides a more Holistic learning experience for college-aged Black males.

(Rebecca) Hi Rob. Do you really not see learners as agents for change? You’ve spoken often about changing the landscape of education for African-American males, surely your approach is empowering and does have the potential to bring about change. I think all students are agents for change. Every life we touch brings about change!

(Robert) Dr. Vaughn (To Be) I knew this would stir your hornet’s nest.

I believe students should choose their paths and not follow a pre-package societal bucket list.  In other words, if one chooses to help create social change through teaching that’s fine, I am on such a path.  Nevertheless, I am not leading or suggesting every adult should follow my journey.  The philosophy that “All” students should aspire___________ (Fill in the blank) creates followers not leaders.  New Flash!!! You Should Be Who You Are!!!

Social change is just that social.  If a movement arises and one feels the urge to make a different I commend them.  However, African-American males are responsible for their conscious transformation first and foremost.  If they decide to involve themselves in a mass incarceration anti-movement for example that’s great, if not, that’s great also.  No person has the right to judge one by their civic, gender, or racial advocacies or non-involvement thereof.  (Although I find myself during this more than I would admit)  My teaching philosophy encourages self-actualization not a ‘Drum Beat’ of my definition of a life worth living.  In fact: No one shall submit an outline of life’s activities as a precursor to cultural and social standards.

If you sit alone upon a rock…you are there

If you rail for social justice…you are there

You are who you could have become thus

potentials aren’t worth a damn

Life Exist With or Without You

Be Yourself….

cheers,