So I think I’m going to call this week pretty remarkable. Since Tuesday, I’ve been fielding emails, calls, texts and Facebook comments about this week’s ‘remarkable writer’, Justin Sullivan. The range of emotions has had me in a state of reflection but also keen to share our recent conversation about why he wanted to write and what he saw in the women in his life.
I grew up in a world where there were limited channels for storytelling. CBS, ABC, and NBC influenced my view of world events. We now live in a world larger and wider. Social media is driving a social revolution. Facebook, Twitter, blogs…we have so many ways now where we can tell our stories. So… remarkable is defined by us, not someone else. (But it always WAS ours to define. We just needed to be reminded.)
When I sat down with Justin to have a quick chat earlier this week, here’s what we had a chance to talk about. Thanks for reading this week and joining in on the remarkable conversation.
Justin: “I don’t know. People always thought i was gay, this just seemed like the next logical step.”
What have your life experiences taught you?
Justin: “They’ve taught me a few things, to never call what I’m wearing an “outfit”, to never say that my car is “broke”, to never talk with a fake Southern accent and to never act like my family was a joke. They taught me to have fun, but stay clear of needles, to call home on my brother’s birthday, to never think I’m better than any of God’s children and, if I ever get another life, don’t throw it away.”
Who were your female role models and what did you learn from them?
Justin: “My mother and grandmother. They’re the reason I’m so empathic and sensitive, towards all people, not just to those who look and sound like me. You got a lot of folks walking around thinking they’re superior because they live in a 400 thousand dollar home. They don’t live in a trailer or a rundown home off the highway or in the projects. They have a job that pays well. They aren’t unemployed or underemployed. They aren’t on welfare or government assistance. Their mind functions at a higher level than the majority of persons in this world. They don’t always even do this consciously.”
He continues, “But a lot of those people don’t seem to understand, that doesn’t make them more righteous. It just means they have cleaner clothes that fit them better, they have transportation, they have fees for gymnastic classes, they can pay to watch their daughters perform at some dance recital abomination, they can go to Sandestin, not Biloxi, they can buy organic soy milk from Whole Foods, not the last half-gallon of expired milk from Dollar General. But the people who think that way are leaving this world with the same amount of money and crap in their hands as the homeless drug addict underneath the overpass. If Jesus came back today, the first people he would reach for are the poor, the homosexuals, the drug addicts, the lepers, the single mothers, the dirt farmers, the Muslims and the Jews. And probably the last place he’s going to get around to visiting is Church of the King on Highway 59 or any of these 3 thousand seat Sunday arenas and auditoriums. People go to find Jesus in those places, but Jesus doesn’t require a record of your last W2 statement, but I digress.”
Women take on many roles today. What advice do you have for them?
Justin: “Just don’t forget about the cleaning, the cooking, the folding of the clothes, the baby making. Don’t forget about the things that got y’all to where you’re at to begin with.”
What remarkable things have you learned from your wife?
Justin: “Watching my wife has taught me how inadequate of a father I am. She’s taught me that 10 hour work days are usually way easier than being at home with a 4-year-old daughter and an infant, in particular, one specific 4-year-old daughter. My wife is a granddaughter, daughter, mother, sister and wife and yet she treats each and every one of them like they are the only person that matters. No one ever feels cheated with her. She is the only woman I know who has 4 “only” children.”
He continues, “She’s an amazing, amazing woman, but then again, so am I. Wait, my wife isn’t being profiled, I am, why are we even talking about her? Because if we are going to “go there”, she isn’t perfect. When I tell her she and her 6 kids need to leave me alone from noon on Sunday to midnight on Monday, that means just that. The NFL doesn’t stop at 6pm so we can get the kids dinner. It doesn’t stop at 8:30 to tuck them in. I understand that two of them are saying they don’t want to go to sleep until i kiss them goodnight. That’s their decision, not mine. They shouldn’t be putting that on me. Nor does the NFL stop so Jus Jus can answer the question, “do you like the curtains like this or how they were before?” Geno Smith has 3 minutes and no timeouts to go 85 yards to pull the Jets to within 13 points and a miraculous backdoor cover. So whatever you think without verbalizing, baby, is fine with me. That said, my wife is an amazing woman, a little mouthy, but amazing.”
What are some of the things women are doing to make the world a better place?
Justin: “I mentioned the cleaning and cooking right? I guess besides those, their compassion and nurturing is the essence of the human existence. There is no love equal to that of woman to her children. Women are the reasons we have to sit around and watch a bunch of ass clowns run Washington D.C., because there are not enough women in positions of power there.”
He continues, “Women don’t obsess over who’s going to get credit, who was right, they don’t fantasize about settling old scores, they just get shit done. They aren’t afraid to compromise and work with others, they’re not afraid to admit when they are wrong or acknowledge better ideas than theirs. Men have run this country into the ground. Men caused our economy to go on the brink of total collapse in 2008. The reasons for the demise of all our institutions, financial and government, can be traced directly back to the common defects of men. Arrogance, greed, entitlement, narcissism, unwillingness to compromise. I apologize for all of us.”
And just as I’m wrapping up the interview, Justin has to have the last word and says …
“But now y’all have to apologize for giving us the WNBA, that woman from Maroon 5 and Maya Angelou. Honestly, just apologize for the last one and we’re good.”
Didn’t read this week’s series? Read them in order. Start here.