Keep Your Enemies Close? Nope, Off With the Heads

Off With

There are times in your life when you seriously question the motives of those around you. Sometimes their actions are out of character, or their decision-maling is askew juuuuuuust a bit. When this happens, naturally you as an upright walking and higher capacity thinking individual then begin to wonder, “why the hell did they just do or say that?” Nearly 90% of the time you will NEVER figure it out because you don’t think in the same manner as the other. But then there are those 10% of the times that you can read the coming action before it even happens. It is a bit scary. For me I have seen the actions coming for quite some time with a particular individual.

Many times when you are abroad in a new setting and you sort of feel like the dangers that may affect you will more than likely come from those that are strangers to you. When in reality, it is those most closest to you that will get to you first. Why individuals have the need to feel superior to another is beyond me when their is so much wealth in the world, by means of status and/or academia at the very least; which ever is your pleasure. But once and a while you run into that individual that is believed to be in your corner and they are steadily fighting you like lobsters in a cage to get above you. But what to do when it happens?

A wise man (Michael Corleone in the Godfather Part II) once said, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” When I first heard it, those were words of wisdom that I figured I could utilize in life to my advantage to make things run smother because if you know what those that don’t particularly care for you are doing then you have the market cornered on any harm that they can bring you.


You are like your own Trojan Horse in the interaction. But then I wondered, what could make this crime boss (son) think so outside of the box? WOW! Research time. As I went into the 21st century stacks (the internet) I would soon find out that Corleone borrowed and built upon the phrase, adding his own spin to it. Originally spoken by Italian Machiavelli in “The Prince,” in his treatise on how to be a great ruler,


his words are as follows; “Know your enemy and know yourself and you will always be victorious.” Again, DOUBLE WOW! That sounds even BETTER than what Corleone spit out. So then I began to analyze the words as they stared at me off the screen. It had nothing to do with keeping an enemy closer, but all to do with using your mentality to understand them, as well as continuing to know your true self. Understanding someone that intends to bring you harm (enemy) prepares you for what may present itself in the future. You already know that an enemy/opponent does not appear before you with the best aspirations for you or your future, so you are already mentally prepared to accept them. It’s the not-being-prepared part that gets in the way and makes you feel like shit when they say or do something to you that you didn’t expect. And that’s where I run into issues because overall, I generally like people. It’s when they say/do something that isn’t positive that causes me to feel like “grumpy cat” with wishes of them to go along their way and fuck thyself better than it has ever been done and never to return. I don’t hate and that draws me in to them.

I place a lot of stock in people because I believe in them, regardless of what others say. I’m the first person to accept the one that others say is hard to get along with, an asshole, out for themselves, etc. I am the one scenic, when it comes to the gossip of people, to think opposite about them because I think it has to be a communication problem, so I can get along with those that others say is impossible to be able to. But once in a while there comes that one individual who jut has and keeps an attitude that you just cant overlook.

I recently have encountered an individual that clearly has to be the center of EVERYTHING (conversation, meetings, online activities, get-togethers around town). They are the Kristen Wiig character from SNL, Penelope the One-Upper, to the extreme. If I say I have a new pair of Nikes, they have a new pair of Prada….if I had a great nights sleep, they slept FABULOUSSSSSS, spock-leornard-nimoy-star-trek-tosif I say I am hungry, they are famished.


Get the drift. So as this one-uppance has continued, so has the level of how it has been constructed. It has recently gone from the aforementioned to mentioning me in conversation when I am not around. As the information has began to get back to me I have nothing to really say about. I figure if they feel the need to speak about me or compete with me, then they must be in awe of how FUCKING AWESOME I AM!! Which brings me to the Machiavelli quote.

I totally understand it and respect it’s usage when needed, but I disagree with the act of keeping up with one that does not have your best interests at heart close to you. I think it’s best to feed them with kid gloves. Put as much space as you can between yourself and them and you will be a more well rounded individual. It only causes heartache, disgust, and the occasional self-doubt of oneself. I will be the first one to defend the actions of another as I continually play devils advocate because I know how it feels to be an outsider, whether because of a financial situation or because of a mental or personal positioning. But when those actions become so terse that they make you feel less than who you know you are, then it is time to cut the cord and move on. Your own sanity is not worth allowing another to beat you up mentally and destroy your well-being.


In the words of another great “illogical thinker,” Miser Spock,  “Live long and prosperous,” and fuck the haters. They come a dime a dozen and exist only because they are unhappy with who they are and where they are in life.


22 Signs You Went To A Small Liberal Arts College In The Middle Of Nowhere

As if it came out of my own mind…

Thought Catalog

1. Everyone was over-involved to the point of not being able to effectively get anything done and really proud of that for some reason.

2. There was a subculture of people lurking around the hallowed gates of your campus and you called them the townies. Sometimes, when you wanted to look like one, you wouldn’t shower for two days and wear sweatpants that were tight around your ankles and to go the diner.

3. Speaking of, there was basically one diner that everybody ended up at around 2-4 am, and about two bars to choose from before that. But always a really hip coffee shop nearby, because liberal arts.

4. The joke was entirely on you at the end of the day, because when you chose to attend this school, you thought you were entering a community of open-minded people who were also there to sit in small classes and thoroughly…

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Language and Italian Conversations


Buon pomeriggio,

 So today we have begun to get deep, deep, deep into the Italian language and let me tell you, it has been kicking my ass. Attempting to conjugate the verbs and adverbs is just insane to me. The good thing is that I have been able to chat with my house mother and her daughter a bit more. The words that are taught in class have definitely been more helpful to me and I am grateful as hell for that. I left class yesterday and was in a “language-fog” because I was soooo overwhelmed with the language that we learned. Let me tell, we have this class first thing in the morning (9am) until midday at 12:15 and to have to learn language when I am not a morning person has been the hardest for me. While at Guilford I have always made it a point to NOT have any classes that began before 11am, just because I know how long it takes me to wake up and get my brain going. But here….Naw Son

Image such luck. You wake up at the crack of dawn, normally about 6:30, have breakfast and then hit the bricks en route to The Scuola.

    I have enjoyed the class as a whole though because it allows me to understand the host family and the people that pass me on a regular or those that ask me about Lil Wayne (why I am the authority on Lil Wayne I will never know; lmao) I’m not gonna lie I do get a chuckle inside when I’m approached by Italians and they begin to question me about the state of hip hop back in the States. I told a group of them yesterday after class, when approached while walking through the Campo, that I felt that hip-hop was placed on life-support in 1996 after Tupac was shot and finally died along with Biggie in 1997.


   Of course they took it hard and looked at me like I had said something derogatory about the Pope, but I broke it down for them and they finally got it, and seemed to agree to an extent. The problem is that they are not feed the minutia of what Americans call “hip-hop” here so they don’t understand how “watered down” the industry has become. Anyway it was a great chance to have a conversation with them about one of my many passions and also to see how they relate or have the lack thereof of the music that we listen daily. As I told, “right now, somewhere in the United States, there is a man cleaning out his garage and starting his own new label named No Cars Allowed Records, it is that plentiful when it comes to rap in the States.


They laughed. I laughed. So we all then laughed together. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Finding more things in common to laugh about than not? I think so. Anyway, I shall return soon….same Black Channel….same Black time

Glad to help, young Italians,



Siena, Italy sunrise

Siena, Italy sunrise

So, I have not been able to blog for the past ten to eleven days because I have been getting my act together to study abroad. YAYYYYYYY!!  At the moment I am in Siena, Italy. I have been here with a group of 15 other students from Guilford College and if i must say so myself, it’s not going bad.

I thought when I arrived that I was going to be an outcast (not the cool Big Boi or Andre 3000 type) and not have any interaction with the locals and would stick out like a sore thumb. I did something that I normally don’t do when I haven’t experienced something prior to “making the trip across the pond,” and that is going online and reading blogs and other spontaneous posts in reference to being a person of color abroad amongst Italians. The information I read ran the gamut from Blacks being hated and thrust to the curb to only Black women being accepted. Not true at all. I have not had any issues with being outcast, although I may be too busy loving the scenery and exploring the city at my leisure to notice and then give two fucks about what others around me are thinking. I have always been one to be able to be a loner and still have fun (thanks to my solo upbringing) so this has been a total gas, Bro. Maybe if I was the type of person to worry about what others thought about me I would agree with the posts I read previously and believe that I should just become a hermit inside the luxurious apartment that we have been so graciously afforded, keeping my blackness to myself hidden between four walls with no opportunity to enjoy my surroundings. BUT NO! That’s not me.

I am enjoying the stay thus far and will share the experiences of The Clarified Blackman (TCBM) abroad as I have the time.

Buon giorno,


I Yam What I Yam


Many people often tell me how much of an extrovert I am and they couldn’t be more wrong. lol While surfing HuffPost this morning I ran across what best describes me and what I attempt to relay to them every time the conversation arises. Maybe some of the signs apply to you as we’ll……..

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

Introverts are notoriously small talk-phobic, as they find idle chatter to be a source of anxiety, or at least annoyance, for many quiet types, who may find that it feels disingenuous.

“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people,” Laurie Helgoe writes in “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength.” “We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”

2. You go to parties -– but not to meet people.

If you’re an introvert, you may sometimes enjoy going to parties, but chances are, you’re not going because you’re excited to meet new people. At a party, most introverts would rather spend time with people they already know and feel comfortable around. If you happen to meet a new person that you connect with, great — but meeting people is rarely the goal.

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.

Ever feel like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings and group activities, even with people you know?

“If you tend to find yourself feeling alone in a crowd, you might be an introvert,” says Dembling. “We might let friends or activities pick us, rather than extending our own invitations.”

4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.

Networking (read: small-talk with the end goal of advancing your career) can feel particularly disingenuous for introverts, who crave authenticity in their interactions.

“Networking is stressful if we do it in the ways that are stressful to us,” Dembling says, advising introverts to network in small, intimate groups rather than at large mixers.

5. You’ve been called “too intense.”

Do you have a penchant for philosophical conversations and a love of thought-provoking books and movies? If so, you’re a textbook introvert.

“Introverts like to jump into the deep end,” says Dembling.

6. You’re easily distracted.

While extroverts tend to get bored easily when they don’t have enough to do, introverts have the opposite problem — they get easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation.

“Extroverts are commonly found to be more easily bored than introverts on monotonous tasks, probably because they require and thrive on high levels of stimulation,” Clark University researchers wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “In contrast, introverts are more easily distracted than extroverts and, hence, prefer relatively unstimulating environments.”

7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

One of the most fundamental characteristics of introverts is that they need time alone to recharge their batteries. Whereas an extrovert might get bored or antsy spending a day at home alone with tea and a stack of magazines, this sort of down time feels necessary and satisfying to an introvert.

8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

Introverts can be excellent leaders and public speakers — and although they’re stereotyped as being the shrinking violet, they don’t necessarily shy away from the spotlight. Performers like Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera and Emma Watson all identify as introverts, and an estimated 40 percent of CEOs have introverted personalities. Instead, an introvert might struggle more with meeting and greeting large groups of people on an individual basis.

9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench -– not in the middle.

Whenever possible, introverts tend to avoid being surrounded by people on all sides.

“We’re likely to sit in places where we can get away when we’re ready to — easily,” says Dembling. “When I go to the theatre, I want the aisle seat or the back seat.”

10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

Do you start to get tired and unresponsive after you’ve been out and about for too long? It’s likely because you’re trying to conserve energy. Everything introverts do in the outside world causes them to expend energy, after which they’ll need to go back and replenish their stores in a quiet environment, says Dembling. Short of a quiet place to go, many introverts will resort to zoning out.

11. You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.

It’s true that opposites attract, and introverts frequently gravitate towards outgoing extroverts who encourage them to have fun and not take themselves too seriously.

“Introverts are sometimes drawn to extroverts because they like being able to ride their ‘fun bubble,'” Dembling says.

12. You’d rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.

The dominant brain pathways introverts use is one that allows you to focus and think about things for a while, so they’re geared toward intense study and developing expertise, according to Olsen Laney.

13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.

Because really, is anything more terrifying?

14. You screen all your calls — even from friends.

You may not pick up your phone even from people you like, but you’ll call them back as soon as you’re mentally prepared and have gathered the energy for the conversation.

“To me, a ringing phone is like having somebody jump out of a closet and go ‘BOO!,'” says Dembling. “I do like having a long, nice phone call with a friend — as long as it’s not jumping out of the sky at me.”

15. You notice details that others don’t.

The upside of being overwhelmed by too much stimuli is that introverts often have a keen eye for detail, noticing things that may escape others around them. Research has found that introverts exhibit increased brain activity when processing visual information, as compared to extroverts.

16. You have a constantly running interior monologue.

“Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do,” says Olsen Laney. “Most introverts need to think first and talk later.”

17. You have low blood pressure.

A 2006 Japanese study found that introverts tend to have lower blood pressure than their extroverted counterparts.

18. You’ve been called an “old soul” -– since your 20s.

Introverts observe and take in a lot of information, and they think before they speak, leading them to appear wise to others.

“Introverts tend to think hard and be analytical,” says Dembling. “That can make them seem wise.”

19. You don’t feel “high” from your surroundings

Neurochemically speaking, things like huge parties just aren’t your thing. Extroverts and introverts differ significantly in how their brains process experiences through “reward” centers.

Researchers demonstrated this phenomenon by giving Ritalin — the ADHD drug that stimulates dopamine production in the brain — to introverted and extroverted college students. They found that extroverts were more likely to associate the feeling of euphoria achieved by the rush of dopamine with the environment they were in. Introverts, by contrast, did not connect the feeling of reward to their surroundings. The study “suggests that introverts have a fundamental difference in how strongly they process rewards from their environment, with the brains of introverts weighing internal cues more strongly than external motivational and reward cues,” explained LiveScience’s Tia Ghose.

20. You look at the big picture.

When describing the way that introverts think, Jung explained that they’re more interested in ideas and the big picture rather than facts and details. Of course, many introverts excel in detail-oriented tasks — but they often have a mind for more abstract concepts as well.

“Introverts do really enjoy abstract discussion,” says Dembling.

21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”

Many introverted children come to believe that there’s something “wrong” with them if they’re naturally less outspoken and assertive than their peers. Introverted adults often say that as children, they were told to come out of their shells or participate more in class.

22. You’re a writer.

Introverts are often better at communicating in writing than in person, and many are drawn to the solitary, creative profession of writing. Most introverts — like “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling — say that they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.

23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.

Introverts can move around their introverted “set point” which determines how they need to balance solitude with social activity. But when they move too much — possibly by over-exerting themselves with too much socializing and busyness — they get stressed and need to come back to themselves, according Olsen Laney. This may manifest as going through periods of heightened social activity, and then balancing it out with a period of inwardness and solitude.

“There’s a recovery point that seems to be correlated with how much interaction you’ve done,” says Dembling. “We all have our own private cycles.”

Provided courtesy of HUFFPOST