Be strong… Be VERY strong…

             For the past couple weeks I have been on my “Tiggalo ish”, for those who may not understand what that means, Tiggalo is the alias/alter-ego for Hip Hop Renaissance Entertainer Phonte (1/3 of the rap group Little Brother and crooner for R&B super-group Foreign Exchange), who happens to be one of my new favorite musical entertainers. After finally getting a chance to download his recent release, a solo album dubbed “Charity Starts at Home,” I gave the album a quick listen but there was a song that I had to go back to “Sendin my Love.” On this track, he really gets personal in the struggles that many men and matter of fact people in general struggle with daily “Life Choices.” For him the choice battle surfaced when he allowed a woman from his past to conjure up feelings of lust and temptation, hence my initially mentioning the men. We all have vices
that lure us and tempt us but in the end we have the ultimate choice to make, to do right or do wrong. There are guys out there that will argue that it’s not in them to be with one woman or be faithful but I call BS on that, just like you choose to get up every day and go to work, or choose not to rob/steal/kill,
the choice of doing right by your significant other carries the same weight. We ALL get faced with the option of falling for the“furry temptress” but it boils down to what really matters to you… I can hear some of my guy readers saying that “I have drama at home” or “I’m not appreciated” and that may be so but at the end of the day you still have a choice. Part of what made the temptation so much greater in the Phonte song was because he was having issues with his significant other, but as with most things in life the Devil looks for entrance ways to cause strife and mess in even the happiest circumstance.

Here are some ways you can avoid falling:

Surround yourself with positive men who will keep it 100 with you:

There is nothing worse than you battling a  temptation issue and your boys are encouraging you to cheat or giving you  avenues to do so. At this stage of life your boys/friends/frat brothers should  be doing things to build you up no break you down. If all you have around you  are people who encourage that negative behavior then it may be time to change your circle. And if you are one of these guys who are encouraging your boy to act up GTHOH, time to grow up and leave the juvenile games of “chase the cat” back in the bachelor days, your friendship should mean enough to the point where you don’t want to see him jack up his life.

See beyond the “moment”:

You can’t give in simply because you got a hard on, wifey tripping and a blast from the past is pushing up on you. As science says the blood the fuels the erection comes from your brain, thus reducing your ability to think logically. You have to ask yourself is that momentary “release” with this fling worth jeopardizing all you  claim you love and worked so hard to build. Whether you are married or single,  you being in a relationship took some investing in and are you really willing  to lose that for a chick that you won’t want to deal with the next day.

Communicate with your significant other:

A lot of men say that they look elsewhere  because there is a disconnect with their significant other. But how often have  you tried to bring things back together is the key question. In my own  experience I’ve learned that things have fallen off simply because the guy saw  it one way and his significant other saw it differently. But keep this theory  in mind in the conversation “when she’s wrong she’s RIGHT and even when you’re right you’re wrong”

Avoid tempting situations when having relationship issues:

We all will have relationship disagreements  but there is nothing worse than having one and then putting yourself in a  situation to be tempted. More often you will let your anger/frustration in the  relationship diminish your common sense and allow yourself to be put in  compromising situations that you then try to justify. So calling your boys up and running to the club (strip or dance) may not be the best idea if you just go into it with your girl. Even if you dont necessarily want to be around your girl, go somewhere that you know is a safe haven like the driving range, a cigar bar or the gym… on second thought maybe not the gym considering what some of these ladies wear to work out nowadays.

Walk away:

If you are constantly fighting temptation and even giving in to it, it may be time to call that relationship a wrap. Yes we know that can be easier said than done but I guarantee that your girl will  appreciate you a lot more if you end it that way than her having to find out  via Facebook, email, text or in person. If you are married with kids and in this situation you have to look at whats best for the kids because once you had them it no longer became about you, their welfare/safety/protection SHOULD have become priority #1 but considering you thinking about doing a selfish act of cheating, I may have to reconsider if you are thinking of anyone but yourself at this point.

Shoot you may even have to do like Phonte and  talk yourself out of it. There is a point in the “story” of the song  where he has a decision to make; either go with his ex or go home to his wife and we find him repeating to  himself “Tiggalo be strong, be VERY strong…” While it may seem silly to have to  mentally talk your way through the situation, you are distracting yourself from the temptation, allowing the lust to subside and perhaps even laughing at
yourself because you feel silly for having to talk to yourself but by that time the moment has passed and you are back to thinking clearly.

So the next time you are  faced with that tempting moment talk it out, even if it is to yourself, and  long as you don’t answer yourself you won’t seem crazy and by the time the one-sided conversation ends,  you will have built  up some confidence in knowing you can fight off this temptation and take it on home…

I was able to find the audio on YouTube, so take a listen for yourself and while you are at it just  go out and buy this man CD… #QUALITYMUSIC

Did you go to school for that…

I tend to hear that question asked a lot when it comes to a couple of my giftings…

First it’s usually when people see me out with my camera… They are normally shocked when I tell them I havent had any formal training in photography. In 2007 I bought a camera off eBay and decided to become a photographer…I just feel it is a gift that in a lot of ways has been nurtured enough for me to be somewhat good at it… Through a series of divine relationships I met people who were willing to let me shoot their events (mostly for free) and through MAJOR trial and error I was able to improve. I look back at some of the events I have covered and have met, it was nothing but God that placed me in those RELATIONSHIPS (more on that word in a minute) because there were probably better photographers, but I was chosen. So the more I worked the better I got and the better I got the more I worked…I now look back at some of my beginning works with disdain because it’s so technically bad that its laughable. And in recognizing that there were some aspects that I needed to tight up, there are aspects of photography that I have taken the time to do some reading. Most of this occurs in the post-shot editing. When i first got my camera I was so Photoshop phobic that it was pretty sad actually. But after taking a class through my job and doing some trial and error I began to see how vitally important helpful it can be. I never would want to become so dependant on editing software that I become a lazy photographer. That perhaps is my biggest pet peeve in the industry now. You have plenty of people who have the money to afford high-end cameras, really don’t know how to use them but because they are graphic artist are able to manipulate their work to appear better than what it actually is… One thing that did help me through my growing pains of shooting on automatic was asking questions… I was blessed to know a couple of guys (my business partners) who went through their own trial and errors prior to me but was still willing to aid me in any way possible… I And just like with life, Photography is an ever-growing and changing art form, and it is ESSENTIAL to be able to adapt your craft to be successful (because you can never shoot one venue/person the way you shot something else)

The next thing I usually get asked that question for is when it comes down to conversations about relationships… Interesting enough during a conversation I had during my chapter’s monthly networking event, a couple of women within this group I was conversing, with after had taken their picture (multi-tasking is pretty cool), asked me was I a psychologist or did I goto school to be a therapist. I was truly flattered and honored to have my point of view during the conversation be that highly thought of. But no I don’t have a psychology degree or nor do I claim to be “Love Dr.” shout out to those who do it legit or as a game… I just simply consider myself a conversationalist and I tend to speak on things I am passionate about and one of those things just happens to be the topic of male/female relational interactions (the other being sports). Pieces of my knowledge comes from books/articles i read but the majority of it comes from experience, as they say “life is your best teacher sometimes”. I guess because for so long I didn’t have success in interactions with the opposite sex I made it a point of one bettering myself in it, then helping others navigate through their testimonial opportunities. (Ironically that is how i met my fiance; I used to write notes on Myspace, yeah I know it was that long ago, and she stumbled upon one of my rants on the opposite sex. She left a comment, I responded to hers and there ensued an internet friendship which led to a chance meeting at the airport which led to me finding the GREATEST woman in life) I call them that because everything we endure in life, good or bad, allows for you to be able to help someone else later on in life. Now we often times dont see it that way and miss out on our blessings and cause others to miss out on knowledge that would offer revelation for what binds them. As you can see I am using many spiritual keywords because I wholeheartedly believe my gift of gab in this arena comes from God and I refuse to dishonor him by not speaking of things He has processed me in.
The one thing I have had to learn to overcome is the frustration of people not being receptive of things given within my conversations/tweets/blogs. Initially I would be frustrated if someone misunderstood my point or got defensive about me trying to help; but I have learned being a vessel in this capacity isn’t about receiving accolades or pats on the back it’s simply about making sure that they now have the information. God will work out the judgement in how they handle His word, I just had to be sure to do my part in passing the word on.
Last night conversation was also a lot easier to have because half of the group was dating or married to someone, so I didn’t have to worry about my information didn’t have to be misinterpreted as “game” Ironically one of you women happened to have a conversation with her Beau while there and then ran up to me and let me know she told him about our conversation and how it made her feel that much more confident/secure/happy in their interaction; and at the end of the day that’s all I strive for… helping people be able to help themselves.

So the next time you feel a desire to do something healthy like draw, write, take a picture; TRY IT OUT, you never know that may be your predetermined giftings that while you don’t have the technical schooling for God has given you the provision to do it well.
-God Love