“ Happiness is a function of realistic expectation. “
Depression in my early years was more of an idea. More of this entity of delusion that people talked about but id never have the pleasure of interacting with. It didn’t seem like a tangible concept that could truly affect me. Over the last few months I’ve done a lot of soul searching. Coming to the realization that its real and no matter how mentally strong you perceive yourself to be, the world truly does affect you in ways you can’t foreshadow. The hardest part for me was just admitting, “ hey Ron, this isn’t healthy! Something has to change. “ More so than not, i found myself finding solitude in silence. Finding a comfort in being swallowed by shadows. In a career that's constantly fluctuating, i got to a point where my personal happiness was a reflection of the value others deemed me to be worth. That compounded with the overbearing racial undertones & stigmas that are always a constant. Ive always prided myself on independence & having the ability to create a mental barricade that separated myself from the opinions of the masses. So to be here, in an emotional strangle hold was every bit suffocating.
The beauty of this personal struggle is that I’ve garnered a better connection and understanding of myself. Ive learned more about myself over the last 6 months than at any period of my life. Everyday is a battle for self growth. Everyday is a battle for understanding that happiness should be an outwardly expression of inner stability. My interaction with failure should strength my drive and not deflate it. Understanding that highlighting my shortcomings doesn't equate to weakness. We are all works in progress and we can either be defined by our failures or use them as a catalyst for self growth.
Sunday Walks: North Hollywood
Dawg if the restaurant has square plates, it’s over with for your pockets. Unfortunately, the restaurants worthy of exploring with a romantic counterpart have some form of neo-geometric shape to their dining ware. With that said, it’s time that we talk about the import of communal financial awareness, otherwise known as “going dutch.”
There’s a scene in Donald Glover’s show, Atlanta, that is triggering for me: his character, Earn Marks, takes the mother of his child on a date to a swanky restaurant in downtown Atlanta because the spot was supposed to have the ill happy-hour specials. As they begin to order, he realizes the salvation of reduced food and drink prices is a thing of the past, and immediately braces for the impending devastation to his checking account.
Unbeknownst to Earn’s trepidation, his date, Van, launches into a salvo, indiscriminately ordering overpriced drinks and appetizers, which, by Earn’s facial expression, is savagely laying waste to his bottom line. Through the entire evening, Earn couldn’t truly enjoy any intimacy with Van because, well, he was down bad. But in one last, feeble attempt to save his savings, he attempts to assess the damage with the bartender, who in a moment of brutal honesty, reiterates what we and Earn knew the entire time: “Man, you are broke.”
Listen to me: Thou shall never let overindulgence or overcompensation lead to an overdraft. I’m pretty sure that was amended to the Ten Commandments (check back of tablet), but don’t quote me on that.
That means we ask people out on dates, or, vague yet noncommittal invitations to “kick it.” At some point, because of the whole human anatomy-biology thing, food is typically involved (see scientists for details). Sure, dive bar burgers, food truck fajitas, and the transcendent “2 for 20” at your local diner can get the job done; but sometimes, you and your date (and your IG feed) deserve to see those square plates. That’s real living right there (I’m sorry I laughed when I wrote that).
But alas, since the bag has not been fully secured, the Earn Marks dilemma arises: how do you enjoy an evening out with someone without breaking the bank? The answer lies within, grasshopper. Now I’m going to conveniently gloss over patriarchy and gender politics as I break this down for you. But in my experience, there is an expectation that the inviter is expected to front the restaurant bill, whereas the invitee, apparently, brings equal (or more) value to the table (cause that individual certainly didn’t bring a wallet) simply by existing and accepting the invitation. Note how I never mentioned anyone’s sex. If you did, that’s on you pimp.
But in this modern world of ingenuity and innovation, archaic conventions and institutions must make way for new ideas. For progress. For evolution. For these shoes sitting in my shopping cart. So, in the spirit of social engineering, new expectations must be set where we not only share an evening together, but we also share this bill. No child shall be left behind.
Set the expectations early because gesturing to the waitress your intent to split the bill by tearing up a phantom check will get you negative reviews on Yelp. Trust. Remember, this restaurant is merely an ornate stage to perform the age-old ritual of “21 Questions.” But since we’re all young hustlers, even your counterpart could appreciate your foresight and frugality, maybe (warranties not guaranteed). Ultimately, your personality should be richer than the bill. And if it isn’t, perhaps you should front that bill.
Don’t misrepresent yourself and keep it honest. After riding the struggle bus all week, its nice to meet with nice people in nice places. But never take on an obligation you didn’t expressly agree on in the first place. Cause dawg, that 4:00 am email from your bank informing you of an overdraft, is a cold one. It’s like one of them dementors just ran through your body.
Here’s to the team splitting the bill on these cheddar biscuits.
" THE PURVEYOR OF EVERYTHING PLAYER "
Meri in Beverly Hills
WELCOME TO ATLANTA
“Greetings, Atlien” this is a tour through the sounds of Atlanta Hip-Hop and R&B in the 1990s and early aughts. Folks come to the city because they want to indulge in our culture. They come here to catch the wave then catch a flight. They want to see pink trap houses and the blue flame with no real appreciation for the history of this red clay. Consider this playlist a cultural entry point for anyone interested in delving deeper than their social media feed.
Commissioned to shoot Film of The Reformation clothing facility
Echo Park, Ca
35mm Disposable Camera
( a series of random text threads )
“ hey, lets take shots as the girls get ready. “ At this moment, the night started and ended. Let me set the scene. The year is 2012 and we were back in town from college on summer break. Me, Breezy and group of his cousins were going bar hopping. We were dressed and ready but the girls were still preparing. Thats when we got the bright idea to see how many shots we could take until it was time to go. The final tally mark is irrelevant but lets just say i won & the bottle of Hennesy was gone. This is a thread of us reflecting back on that night that ultimately ended with us asleep at the bar.
35mm Film x Yashica t4
(Art curation of works that inspire me)
(anonymous stories from models)
Agency- NEXT Models
So i met this guy during a pilates workout. He had amazing eyes and his body wasn’t bad at all (lol). Honestly what i liked the most about him was he didn’t try hard. We made eye contact alot over a few weeks but he didn’t shoot his shot. He finally approached me about after about a month. “ Yassssssssss thank you “ was literally my only thoughts. We exchanged #’s and texted a little that same day. Then we agreed to go on a date that night. Full disclosure, he was hot & i was just looking for a bomb damn time!
Fast forward…… we agreed to meet at Surly Goat . My fav bar in West Hollywood. After about 20 min is when things went far lefttt! That night i was wearing sneakers. He made a joke about girls having bad feet & how it was a turn off. Then transitioned to asking if i could show him my feet. Honestly i thought it was weird but it all seemed in good fun so i didn’t think to much on it.
From there and the rest of the night he kept alluding to my feet. Making compliments and saying how he “ loves a solid foot. “ Like i honestly didn’t even know what that meant. It got to a point where i asked if we could sway from that topic for the rest of the night. Midway into the night after a few drinks, i went to the restroom. While there i got a text from him of pics of girls feet. The last message said “ your in my top 5 list now and i cant wait to see them again. “ Completely creeped out, i went out the back and deleted his number. Worst part was i had to change pilates classes because i never wanted to run into him again. Literally one of the worst dates ive ever been on.