Photo by Black

I keep thinking about Black's explanation in a recent Ask R&B about exercise that her motivation's "selfish and shallow" and due to the fact she's invested a small fortune accumulating size 2 clothing for decades. What she neglected to mention was that she wasn't always a size 2. And there was no apology just, in typical Black fashion, a statement of fact and an acknowledgment of her reality.

So, yes, on the surface, Black's motivation may seem, even to her, selfish and shallow. But the more I think about it, the more I think it reveals a side of Black that's not about her collection of designer clothing or even the financial investment.

First, there's commitment. A promise or decision to do something and stick with it. Yes, we all make commitments, but let's be honest, the ones we make, let alone keep, tend to be for short-term or one-off things. Like calling a friend or making sure we spend less time on our gizmo and more time with our kids or partner. We always start with good intentions, but how often does it truly become a lifelong habit? How often do we "commit" to something that will require a fundamental change in our behavior that will be difficult to make and even harder to maintain?

Which takes me to perseverance. Let's be real. How many of us could truly maintain a rigorous exercise schedule for years, let alone decades? Forget the motivation. That's a lot of years of keeping to something that at times is difficult and sometimes even painful. (Black hurt her back in high school doing gymnastics, has bad knees because of running on concrete for too many years, and I'm sure has the typical aches and pains that come naturally with aging.)

Finally, we have overcoming obstacles. I've already listed several, but this may be the biggest one of all. I know that Black loves pasta! (Occasionally, I've seen her indulge, but usually see her exerting extreme willpower.) In fact, she loves carbs. Full stop. And if that isn't a big enough obstacle to overcome, then I don't know what else to say to you. Except, keeping with the carb theme …

Cake may not be one of her temptations, but the proverbial icing on the cake regarding Black's "selfish and shallow" motivation is that because of her commitment, perseverance, and ability to overcome obstacles, she's also svelte.
Rendering by porcorex on iStock

Red's Head

Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.

Black's Head Black

Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.

Red's Head

I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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