The Texas Tiger Chronicles

Monday, May 22, 2006

An evening with the Taurus from Texas

A TAURIfic EVENING


The Taurus is symbolized by the bull and ruled by the planet Venus. Taureans are considered to be practical, patient, and good-natured; they also can be jealous and stubborn. They appreciate beauty and are attuned to the physical world.

Notable births on MAY 16

Janet Jackson (world-famous Diva)


Texas Tiger (local celebrity)

Notable deaths on MAY 16

Jim Henson (creator of the Muppets)
Sammy Davis Jr. (my style icon)



I celebrated my birthday last Friday in New York City at Fashion Forty Lounge. Dj Whoo Kid (formerly of the G-Unit) manned the wheels of steel for my joint. The party invitation listed a start time of 10pm, so imagine my surprise and dismay when I made my tastefully late arrival at 11pm to find that I was the first person at my own party. Well, technically the fourth. The party was a joint celebration for my friend Donya who also celebrated a birthday this past week. As we approached Forty Forty, I ran into a college alum who has just stepped out of the lounge. I thanked him for his prompt arrival. But as for those others…

I started off my evening uptown with a chocolate martini toast. I was awaiting the arrival of my friend Tina, but she never arrived (She did however make it to my party at about 1:30am. Did I mention it started at 10pm?).

As I walked over to my computer and keyed up Whitesnake’s “Here I go Again On My Own”, I toasted myself and slipped into my fitted attire for the evening.


I wanted to feel fun fresh and festive. And nothing says festive like a skin-tight leather corset. And that’s how I was feeling.

I wore black leather loafers, grey fitted slacks, a white-tuxedo shirt with ruffles and a black corset. My roommate Claudia laced me up in the bathroom. We had a very intimate moment. As I held onto the sink for dear life, she pulled and pulled and pulled until my 27-inch waist got down to a 24. I was like Calista Flockhart the year Ally McBeal got cancelled. Stylishly stressed.

Donya was a lot more low-key. She wore a black blouse paired with black boots and some dressy army fatigues. Think Destiny’s Child Soldier video. Or Survivor during the bridge, right before Michelle’s gospel breakdown. In the middle of the storm with the weave flailing in the wind machine.

We had 85 RSVPs and a few people came through who did not RSVP (which totally ignores the Evite I created). The party promoter Jay Wright, a Hampton alum, was very nice and generous. And so were our friends. Every time I looked towards the table there was a fresh bottle of Moet and we kept popping bottles all night. My only regret is that the DJ did not play my Beyonce “Check on it” theme song but he did give me “Crazy in Love” and Shawna’s new song “Getting Some.” I did special routines for both.

You know its been a great year for me here in New York. But this has also been a year of accomplishment for some very special people in my life.

I am happy for my lovely and beautiful friend Daisy who just got a HUGE job as an editor at Essence Magazine.

And how excited am I for my friend Jackie who just accepted BOTH the 2006 Fulbright Scholarship AND the Yale-Clinton Fellowship. She will be moving to Ethiopia to work on behalf of former President Bill Clinton where she will run a hospital for children living with HIV/AIDS and then she will be off to Indonesia to study healthcare reform. She’s the Black Angelina.

Plus, my friend Carla just completed her dissertation defense and will be receiving her PhD from my alma mater, Northwestern University, this June. And she is all of 25 years old. She’s my own Little Woman Tate.

Daniel, one of the most prolific painters I know, was commissioned to design and create the Logo for the National Black Aids Institute of Los Angeles.

Three friends, Bobby, Cuttina and Camilla are all getting married, not to each other.

My friend Sheeba is down to Lindsay Lohan’s size (Pilates of course). My friend Samantha is on her way to becoming a great tv director and Teena Marie released a new album. I am beside myself with enthusiasm. I haven’t felt this happy since I discovered the perfect shirt at Bergdorf Goodman.

BUT WHERE THERE’S PAIN, THERE’S GOT TO BE HURT

The only bad thing that happened last week was my sister, Nicole, broke up with DJ AM again. I really hope this does not make her spiral out of control. We usually run neck-and-neck in the waistlines and I can’t afford another three inches from the middle. The dramatizations of my remaining ample portions may have me mistaken for the male Buffy the Body.

COCKTAILS IN THE CITY

UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT, my friend Colin had a very nice cocktail party. And in typical new fashion, everyone was gorgeous, interesting and well-conversed. Except for the occasionally “boy-toy” or “trophy-girl” who only added eye candy (devoid of substance) it was a perfect evening.

I enjoyed several conversations. For me it was an evening of style and sophistication. I was channeling my idol Gordon Parks in a fitted mustard brown shirt and green and orange plaid pants. Coming off the heels of my birthday party I could have given my body a rest from the fitted wear. But I didn’t.


I had to give my cell phone to my friend Shawn because my pants were so fitted I didn’t have room left for anything besides ambition.

And you know I have never been the type of man you can pick up at a club. Not because I am snotty. I mean, I’m just like anyone else. Give me three shots of Patron and start talking.


But it is very awkward to have a nice conversation with the new Chris Brown blasting over a booming speaker system. And usually by that time I am on the floor throwing down Texas-style. And who would appreciate my thoughts on the Charlie Sheen/Denise Richards breakup at a hip-hop club in Brooklyn? Anyone?

I am a fan of the NY cocktail party. A stiff martini. Some neo-soul. Add an eloquent conversation partner and I’m pleased. And I was. Over and over again. Some moreso than others. Though I am not certain the “moreso” knew they were my “moreso.” But I left having a crush on one of my eloquent conversation partners. And it’s the summertime. So why not? Its always nice to have ice cream in Central Park with someone. Here’s to a great summer in New York…..


Posted by Texas Tiger in NYC :: 6:10 AM :: 2 Comments:

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Desperately Seeking Britney Spears, Tyra Scared Straight!

Mood: Wild and Peaceful. Reflective and Present. Vulnerable and Strong.

Mode: I’m keep it very simple and causal for a summer’s day of rain. A black pin-striped Ben Sherman shirt with an eagle stitched on the back. Some bleached jeans ripped at the cuffs. And a white Banana Republic light-weight jacket.

Musical Moment: “Yes” by Liza Minnelli. “Life starts happening everyday. Say yes.”
This was my birthday song. I got up the morning of my birthday and the first CD I popped in the deck was the audio component to my favorite DVD of the moment Liza with a Z! This song is a great way to start a show. And a new year of life. It’s about living life to the fullest. Taking risks. Being bold. And courageous. Saying yes to opportunity. To love. To hope. To the prospect of a better life.


Moment to Ponder: Could you live your life under the scrutiny of a judgmental public?

For the past two weeks or so, I have been desperately seeking Britney Spears. From nearly drop Sean Preston while stumbling down the avenue in New York to strapping him face-forward in the backseat of her mini-cooper, we have watched her grow and learn and stumble as a first time mother. But I imagine any first-time parent makes mistakes and has moments of indecision. It’s a role you grow into. There are some innate nurturing skills that we can naturally call forth, but from sharing your emotions and loving and giving, those are actions and expressions we learn to feel and learn to give both as people and as parents.


And I wonder what would life look like for me and for you if we were constantly under the watch of a scornful public. Never too far from the flicker of some paparazzo’s money shot. All your errors and mistakes captioned and etched in print. Naked and exposed in your flaws. Who would be able to emerge from that type of experience unscathed? Without smears. Untarnished.

We are all growing and learning and creating new possibilities. And Britney should be allowed to grow into the possibility of what being a good mother looks like for her and for the life she is creating for her child. And without our judgment. Not for nothing, Sean Preston does not seem neglected. And a few of us have probably been dropped on our heads. Ask your mother. Ask Cynthia McKinney’s mother. What else could explain that hair?

But I understand the public’s frustration and fascination with Mrs. Federline. From marrying Kevin to remaking Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” I have to admit I’m also nervous about her decision making skills. Especially in light of her options. Her money and fame have taken her around the world. She’s been exposed to different cultures and ways of life. Or at least to some of the best hotel mini-bars the world has to offer.

It’s an ode to the glamorous life. Sheila E. wanted. Kimora Lee has it. But one can’t help but wonder why Mrs. Federline prefers her glamorous life with a hint of trailer park. Perhaps it’s familiar. Dr. Robin says we love the familiar. It’s comfortable.

I guess nothing says home like a lazy weed-smoking freeloader running through your
money.

Without love, it ain’t much.

THE SORID SEX LIVES OF THE RICH AND TALENTED

R. Kelly isn’t our only musical genius with a seedy sex life. Apparently kinky sex makes the songs come quicker. The music more forceful. The production more satisfying. Legendary group The Eagles may have passed themselves off as sensitive and caring musicians but a new tome by Barney Hoskyns tells-all about their stoned-out, bed-hopping on the '70s L.A. rock scene. Hoskyns also shares Mama Cass Elliot used her fame for sex. "There were a couple of good-looking guys that were schtupping Cass," drummer Denny Bruce tells Hoskyns. "They were basically there for her drugs. She got her little taste of sex, and they got their dope." And Joni Mitchell would sleep with fellow rockers, then blast them in her songs. "[She] used all of them, from Graham Nash to [Jackson] Browne. And then she could write about it and say, '[Bleep] you,' "a veteran of the era says.

BEYONCE: GIVING UP POPEYES UNTIL IT HURTS

Beyoncé Knowles shocked fans at a Cannes Film Festival preview of her movie "Dreamgirls" by admitting she and co-star Jennifer Hudson had to dramatically slim down for their roles. Knowles, 24, said she lost 20 pounds to play Deena Jones, according to wire reports. Jones is loosely modeled on Diana Ross and The Supremes. "I actually gained a little bit, but then I lost 20 pounds when I went from young Deena to old Deena," she said. "I wanted it to be something more than just makeup and hair." O’ Beyonce. So very Charlize Theron you.

TYRA SPENDS TIME IN A WOMEN’S CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

But even more so than Beyonce, Tyra Banks is a woman who keeps on giving to her
craft. She gave us face. She gave us body. She gave us Top Model. Now Tyra gives
us fear. Her nsecurities. Her hurt. Her demons. I still remember the day she
packed on 300 lbs of pain to show all the attractive people of the world just how difficult it
is to be overweight and unpretty. And the emotional torment she experienced as
she swapped stories in the back of the club with formerly abused female
strippers. A private dancer for money she was.

And just last week, she went to a women’s correctional facility. And got fingerprinted. And stripped search. And photographed. Without makeup.
tyra.JPG
It wasn’t until that moment that I began to think about how I could contribute. And make this world just a bit better for someone other than myself. Tyra is such a prolific woman. When she puts her manicured finger on a story, she touches the core. The pulse. I am anxiously awaiting her to spend an hour undercover as a former model turned talk-show host who comes across as believable and authentic.

A SPIRITUAL WEEK IN NEW YORK

There are going to be some powerful things happening in New York this week. On Tuesday, psychic John Cohan will hold a candlelight vigil for Nicole Brown Simpson at Lucky Cheng's in the East Village. Cohan claims he brought Nicole to the lounge, which is famous for its drag-queen waitresses, shortly before her 1994 slaughter. "She got a kick out of the place, and it brought her happy times," said Cohan, who has arranged to have Nicole's favorite song, "If (a Picture Paints a Thousand Words, Then Why Can't I Paint You?)," performed.


BONDS’ 714th Shot THE DOME

Hate it or love it, Barry Bonds has THE GAME. He hit homerun #714, which ties Babe Ruth’s all-time record. He still has a long way to go to catch Hank Aaron’s all-time record of 755, but don’t tell that to hardcore baseball fans. It amazes me that so much time has been spent covering Bonds “breaking” of a record that has already been broken.

Who cares that Bonds surpassed Babe Ruth? It ain’t about Babe Ruth. How can you have this conversation and use Babe Ruth as a reference point? He isn’t. And hasn’t been for some time now. I am offended but this obvious dismissal of Hank Aaron’s talent. Now I understand why Whitney Houston always felt the need to remind us that Bobby Brown was the true King of R&B. Him and Al B. Sure! So forgotten. Yet, so important to our cultural landscape.


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Saturday, May 13, 2006

A view without a Star

Mood: Young and carefree. Yet slightly perturbed that I am indoors (at work) and not out enjoy a beautifully sunny day in NYC.

Mojo: It was a stress-free vintage day. One of the days where I put on some comfortable, very professionally versatile shoes and a nice shirt that does not need to be ironed (because its wrinkle-free or because it's fresh from my dry cleaners).

Musical Moment: Abba "Gimme Gimme Gimme (a man after Midnight). Besides knowing that Abba produces more money that the entire gross domestic product of their native Sweden, I knew very little about Abba. Then Madonna sampled them in her song "Hung Up" which encouraged me to seek them out and find out who these people were. I did not get so wrapped up in the drama that I considered buying a ticket to go see Mamma Mia! on Broadway, but I did download the some "Gimme Gimme Gimme". Very catchy. Light. Bouncy. Free. Perfect for the summer.


A view without a Star?

I am sure you have heard the grumblings about The View. And what of it without Star? As soon as I heard about Rosie signing her deal with ABC, I feared for Star. I know she is a strong black woman. But the thought or her sitting between Rosie and Joy Behar gave me the chills. The number of daggers that woman would have to endure five hours a week on air and numerous hours behind the scenes could only be compared to the torture Jane Pauley must have felt the day Deborah Norville showed up on Today. What's my role?




Where will they send our shooting Star? Will she gain back all the weight she lost from dieting and pilates?
SIDEBAR: Check me out in the pink and green! Shout out to Star and her sorors.

When I met Star I found her to be warm and inviting. In that "tv personality" sort of way. I met her one day during her book tour. And later she come by my job and I talked with her in her dressing room. I shared with her my views on her book and some of my own struggles with weight. Me and Nicole "I know I'm too thin" Richie have it so hard. No one understands us.

Star talked to me about my weight and about some questions I should ask my doctor about weight gain. I have to say that getting tips on weight gain from Star have really helped me. In the past few months I have gone from 130 to 135lbs. Cutting those trips to the restroom have worked wonders. Thanks Star!

The other Star gone BUCK wild!


For people outside of New York and the Clear Channel family, you may be unfamiliar with the Star and Buc Wild Morning Show. It is nationally-syndicated, but I do not know what other markets he airs in as I have lived in several cities and did not discover him until I moved to New York. Now, if anything, I listen to NPR in the morning. But for the most part, I choose morning television over morning radio.
I think Tom Joyner serves a great purpose with raising awareness about single mothers and black colleges. And I think the family-style show he does is great...in small doses. But again, nothing I could stomach long term. And that tired-tv show he does late nights which is like Def Comedy Jam for out-of-touch geriatrics. But back to Star....

He has a beef (and why not? What is a black man with a microphone without a beef?) with a local NYC DJ name DJ Envy. So perhaps in his envy of DJ Envy, Star got on the radio one day and got a little bit carried away while making threats against DJ Envy's wife and his 4-year-old daughter. He threatened to do an "R. Kelly" on DJ Envy' seed (i.e. his daughter). And...knowing who his audience is...Star "broke-it-down" and explained what he meant...knowing some people would miss that reference.

He's recently been arrested and fired. And replaced by Big Tigger from Bet.

There is a line between what is offensive and what is humerous. There are comedians and musicians and family members and colleagues in all of our lives who do push the boundaries of taste and class. But it is all about intention and perception. Richard Pryor's use of the "N" word, Dave Chapelle take on racial politics, Jerry Falwell take on ANYTHING, Bill O'Reilly's take on anyone who disagrees with him, and Vivica Fox's take on breast implants all serve to stir up emotions and feeling in us.

But there is a line between what is sarcastic and what is nasty. And what is funny and what is crass. And sometimes our own filters do not depict how other people will receive our take on humor. Star does not think he did anything wrong. And that is not for me to decide. I did think his comments were tasteless and disgusting but I think that about his entire show. And it has worked for Clear Channel in the past....which makes me wonder why they are coming down on him so hard now?

All about the benjamins. I think if DJ Envy's wife had not called a press conference Star would still be on the air. This is not about decency, it's about money. You can push the envelope and long as it is financially profitable.

Who knew that freedom of speech was so closely linked to the free market.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Sapphires and Risks

Mood: Open and exposed. Snappy and snarky.
Mojo: Diesel Jeans. Kenneth Cole black loafers (which I think are the perfect causal Friday accessory for men). A tight-fitted vintage shirt from “le château.” It’s purple/beige with a floral print. For the summer.
Melodic Moment: Lady T. La Dona. The Queen of Funk. My poet. My inspiration. My vocalized outlet. From the first night I heard her croon “If I were a bell” I knew we had a connection. As years passed and experiences unfolded and hearts were broken and mended, I realized you gave voice to my every emotion. Every feeling. Every touch. Every quiver. From wherever you are. Wherever you were. And everywhere you have been. Venice Harlem. New Orleans. Los Angeles. You tap into my soul. And with Sapphire you continue to speak to me and inspire me creatively.

So vintage. Yet so fresh. God has created you for me to love. Your voice and your song. Your poetry and your prose. If I were bell I would ring from the mountains of California and the green waters of Venice and underneath the lights of Paris and on the sidewalks of Harlem. For you.
Theatrical Moment: My friend wrote a haiku that best expresses the ebb and flow or what is racing through my soul right now.

“How can you know me
When my words you never hear
Listen and find love”


STEPPING OUT AND EMBRACING THE RISK

“Nothing would be done at all, if a man waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault with it.”- Cardinal Newman

I am taking risks in my friendships and my career. Being authentic and bold and powerful. Sharing and giving. Loving and trusting. It’s all new for me.
But you can only be arrogant and selfish for so long before you realize it ain’t that cute. For a grown man to think of the world only as it revolves around him.

What would the world be like if we each saw it world as a forum for contribution. What more can I give. What can I do. And what can I add and bring to the value of others. What I have come to see is that by giving to others and loving and trusting, you are already included. How selfish is it to only think about yourself and create a world in which that behavior is justified.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Grace and Intimacy

Mood: Open and loving.

Mojo: HOT PINK! I am wearing a hot hot hot pink shirt. Very “Check Up On It.” With pin-striped pants, black-on-brown loafers, and a suede jacket. Kinda summery, yet professional enough to walk around the office and sell style.


Musical Moment: “Slave to the Rhythm” by Grace Jones. She was performance art at its finest. Challenging gender stereotypes and European conceptions of beauty, all the while deconstructing the sexualization of the black female body. And she looked flawless.


What I remember about Grace Jones, growing up in Texas, what a shot of a stark naked chocolate woman with a boxed-frame haircut, taking a milk bath in the video for “I’m not Perfect (but I’m Perfect for You).” At this point I did not know or understand the importance of what she was doing, what it meant or what it could possibly stand for. I knew she dressed like a man and was known to be glamorous, outrageous AND linked to several rich and famous Caucasian men. Very Diana Ross.

Her style, her visualizations, her antics, her vocalizations – all unique for her time. Having carved out a niche for herself in the 70s as a sought-after model in Paris (and paling around town as Jerry Hall’s best gal pal) Jones was one of the late 70s-early 80s first triple threats as a model, singer and actress. Strong-bodied and blessed with absolutely stunning features, the personality was intriguing and the face was beat…all creating a Jamaican brew that said “Look At me.” Very Jackie Washington.

Never a chart-topping diva like latter day triple threats (J.Lo, Janet, Madonna) Jones does lay claim to several disco-anthems that are continuously sampled by producers who lack the creativity to assemble their own uniqueness. Very James Frey.

In the here and now, I wonder if a black woman or any woman of color might be able to rise to the occasion and challenge the blond-haired, blue-eyed standard of beauty embodied by Paris Hilton? Not likely. Mass media and marketing leave no place for the outlier on this statistical pointboard. As close as we will ever get to an off-the-chart black girl is Kelis…and even she has gotten naked on the cover of KING and lost her luster. Or was it the Source? Or does it even matter? Now every black girl who grew up wanting to sing has to lighten her skin, add honey-blonde extensions and don hazel-colored contacts. Who knew that one day Beyonce would become the STANDARD by which every black woman in the country was judged? Chrisina Milian, Letoya, Ciara, Kelis, even Brandy (so very sad) seem to channel the looks and crossover appeal of the Texas diva and manage to come off as bad drag impersonations. Can any black girl make a video without rocking a weave?

Give me the 80s. When a woman like Grace Jones put on a pin-striped suit with no bra, cut her hair like Kid-N-Play and dared you not to see the lioness inside of her. And while doing this, she STILL made the pages of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. And still partied with the upper-crust of New York society. And still trotted around the globe looking fabulous and giving two-cheeked air kisses to all the glamorous people.

I obviously missed out on the focus group that determined all women of color should look like Beyonce. If I were there, I might have shared my feelings about Grace Jones. About Whoppi Goldberg. About Jody Watley. About women of the 80s who rocked their own styles and still found success. And crossed over.

It takes very little by way of talent and creativity to be a caricature. A good stylist. Great publicist. Creative marketing.

But what of the women who paved the way. Who created roads that did not exist. Walked into magazines that had previously ignored their beauty. Demanded to be seen as more than an eroticized objects of taboo. Much more than big-boned palates for great choreography.
Give me a woman who is devoid or botox, and implants, the need to get undressed or dumbed down to feel validated. Exposed, vulnerable and strong. She might not be perfect for mass marketing, but she’d be perfect for me.

Musings and Ponderations:
Will my friends shun my need for intimacy?

Last night I was listening to Atlantic Star’s “Send for Me.” In a deep tone that infused both urgency and passion, a male voice called out “…put a message in a bottle baby…send for me.” How intimate must it have been to receive a handwritten note from a distant lover. To consider what thoughts must have raced through the mind while selecting a pen, a writing canvas, a perfect bottle. The perfect perch from whence the bottle would be tossed into the ocean. And found by a familiar hand. Every choice, every selection, ever motion more intimate than the first.

I long for that communication. And not just from a lover. From a friend. But the advent of text messaging, email, and myspace.com have only produced barriers to true intimacy…not created stronger bonds. I could of course log onto friendster.com and come across the profile of someone who sat behind me in third grade. And perhaps we may have some catching up-to-do. And even establish a new possibility. But what about the people who are within arms reach? Or ears reach? A walk away? A short train ride? A stroll across the hall?

Why do I have friends who will send me “Happy Easter” text messages without calling me to say “hello.” Mind you, none of these people know I am a Christian since I don’t wear it on my sleeve. It is a truly a personal relationship for me. And not in that Star Jones kinda way. And then there are people who email me (along with one hundred other people) to tell you how they are doing, or promote their interests, without ever delving into my world or asking how I am doing. And there are the “personal” emails, which are actually mass emails in disguise that are self-absorbed attempts to brag about one’s life. And the people who join your myspace.page, or yahoo360 page to add you as a friend hoping to create the illusion that 300 people actually “like” them. And the bloggers who feel the need to “alert” me about page updates when I have NEVER given the illusion that I am remotely interested in any of your world views or musings which I find voiceless and numbing. I’ve also never given you my email address.

But what bothers me about communication is that I have “friends” in my life who I really do not know. Who I really have no authentic communication with. Outside of the b.s.


I had a great conversation with my friend Danya, whom will be throwing a joint birthday party with me, and we talked about communication and barriers. And she made a great point. There are some people we only want to email and text. Because they are not really our friends. They are co-workers, colleagues, business associates, or just “cool” people we know. And I get that. There are some people I like to email to find out if they are still alive…or single…or still thin…but outside of that I’m really not interested. So I get it.

But what of the inner circle? The people who call your boss and lie for you? Pull your hair back while you are perched over the porcelain god? The friends who slide you a mirror and a razor under the stall? The one’s that will give you a urine sample?

Why are they the ones sending texts and vague emails?

Lately, I have been confronting the people in my life (in my inner circle) who are blocking our intimacy. Real talks. Real communication.

Now when I get a text I ask myself, does he not want to be friends with me? Does she not like me? Cause those are the people I text and email. I only call all the people I like.
And if you are reading this and I have not called you in a few months BUT I sent you a Happy Easter text message, I can assure you this is not about you. At All.

But as my birthday approaches, I have just decided that I am reaching out to the people I love and demanding more. But also giving more. Just to let them know I am there. And I care. And you can’t get that from a text. Or an email. At least I can’t. So lately I have been making some phone calls and opening up and sharing with people my feelings about this. And if you are one of my texting friends, rest assured I will be contacting your shortly. Because I do want you in my life. Closely.

It is hard to open up to people, but that is want friends are for. After all, I can be distant with strangers.

Posted by Texas Tiger in NYC :: 5:07 PM :: 4 Comments:

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