Anthony Carter

My Best Trait

Filed By Anthony Carter | June 08, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: boyfriends, civil rights movement, freedom riders, gay relationships, Japan, life coaches, Nelson Mandela, NYC, oprah winfrey, personal strengths, relationships, self-esteem, Tina Turner

Recently, my guy told me some shocking news.

I was informed that I am stubborn. This came as a complete shock because normally I like to think that I am the embodiment of perfection. 1531255317_ebfc3d1453.jpgI love to believe that I am all the things good and decent and thoughtful and kind and delightful on the planet.

While this may be true - in my mind - it is apparently not everything that makes up the me that is me.

We often hear about weaknesses or working on things that we either don't like or that stop us from being all that we can be.

More often than not we visit a high priced life coach or talk with a cherished friend who can easily, readily, and repeatedly point out the things that trip us up, cause drama, and allow us to stay stuck.

Armed with this insight, brutal honesty, and of course a healthy dollop of commitment to truth telling regardless of the consequences, we tear into the beast that is our "shortcoming" and begin an assault which hopefully ends in much bloodshed.

We cry.

We cajole.

We bargain and cut deals.

Nothing seems to work - or it only works temporarily. Much like myself agreeing to be far more flexible (which I thought I was), it seems like a perfectly good idea and I can agree to get started straight away. The agreement lasts until there is something I fell very strongly about - and then it is back to familiar ways.

After being labeled "stubborn," I thought I better get some insight or at the very least prove the new boyfriend wrong. My rationale was that we have been together a short period of time so naturally he has misjudged me and must be confused.

My solution was to call in some folk who know and love me and certainly they would be able to provide some insight and soul clearing clarity.

My first attempt to right this most heinous of crimes was met with uneasy mumbling and an apologetic 'I like both of you' and then a sudden and unabiding interest in staring at my shoes.

That was a big help.

The following day, still unsatisfied with the results from the day before and needing a firmer grasp on the situation (I needed to be right), I enlisted the help of another dear sweet friend.

Let me quickly point out that although this friend is dear and sweet, he is brutally honest.

We agreed some time ago that after a discussion if somebody has to limp away bloody but better off, then oh well. After stating my case in the most simple and straightforward terms, I got another nail in the coffin regarding my ability to stand strong in my convictions.

For the third time in two days, I was being told the same thing in the same language by three different sources.

So it is official, I am stubborn.

However, there is a major plus side to this most eye opening and personality revealing truth. After some thought and reading, I realized that this doesn't have to be negative. I also realized that the big bad that we, myself included, spend hours trying to keep at bay doesn't have to destroy any and everything if unleashed .

My stubborness, much like Meg in a Wrinkle in Time, has kept me alive and creating.

Anything wonderful and challenging to the culture at large has been because someone was too stubborn to give in and do things in a 'business as usual' manner. Being stubborn and driven has its perks. In fact, when there has been any colossal social movement that ultimately gave way to social change it was because there was a stubborn fucker at its core driving home a point that either people didn't like or weren't ready to hear.

We all need this type of individual around.

After years of trying to do away with my "bad" parts the things that caused me the most grief, I had a revelation. Perhaps these alleged weaknesses were anything but. Perhaps these are gifts to cherish and use in my favor .

Maybe these seemingly troublesome issues are helpful at best and innocuous at the very least. Maybe if I used them instead of them using me, I could have a glorious life.

What I came up with is this: this "gift" is what got me into the high school of my choice when they said "no, not you, you are not smart enough or rich enough" or whatever the hell reason they gave.

This gift is what got me into colleges and full scholarships when people reminded me I had no study habits and shouldn't aim so high.

This gift is what allowed me to survive the assholes who wanted to destroy me because I was different (gay, creative, brilliant and remarkable); this gift is what gave me the balls to go to a foreign country to live and work. I lived and worked in Japan. When a trusted friend tried to dissuade me from moving to NYC because of the drugs and fast pace, I refused to listen and instead packed my bags and headed East. This gift is what gave me the courage to say what the hell let's leave one foreign environment, Japan, for another, NYC.

This is also the gift that gave me the impetus to develop as an artist when no one believed in me but me.

Did I mention that I forged a thirteen year career because of this rare and most important of gifts?

Last week, there was a great special on about the Civil Right Movement in the 60's.

There was some serious attention paid to a particular group of individuals who led the way by risking life and limb to create social change.

Fearless Idealism.

This term describes what they used to fight injustice.

What if Oprah had stopped talking as a kid because folks said you talk too much ?

What if Tina had agreed to sing in lounges instead of going after rock star status and attaining it?

What if Nelson had said "yeah why don't we continue to do things the way they have been done."

Fearless Idealism doesn't allow for things to remain the same.

My stubborness (oops, fearless idealism) has allowed me to save and create the life I truly deserve and desire. I am not done. My unwillingness to simply give in and or up has provided me with some very fantabulous experiences. When a boyfriend informed me that I had no business talking about going to Asia because that is not what niggas do, I was shocked and determined to prove him wrong.

It took seven long winding years but I made it.

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And your worst trait is?

Dear, Dear, Anthony, there is a difference, so I explain to my friends, between being stubborn and being right. And , of course, when I am right, I must be tenacious. No? Simple semantic clarity from a stubborn old lady,
Cheers and a bray of the burro,


"Fearless Idealist." I like it! My dad insists he's "determined," while I opt to describe myself as "tenacious." Stubborn is as stubborn does!