Hi, my name is Norris Dion Hudnall, but please, call me Dion.
This is a short and possibly fictional story about me.
For those of you who haven’t done the math, my first name is Norris. My parents were going to name me Ronald Anthony Hudnall after my dad’s two best friends.
When I was born and my mom held me for the first time, the doctor asked what my name would be. She looked at me, looked at my dad, then back at me, then at the doctor.
"Aye fam, let’s name homie after you."
"Deadass?" Dad asked with a grin on his face.
Mom retorted, “But his middle name gon’ be Dion tho.”
“I mean... that rhymes with my middle name, lets run it!” Dad was getting excited now.
“Yeah, I just thought of it,” She replied. My dad was so ecstatic he cried tears of joy.
And that's how I have my name. Upon further reflection, Ronald Anthony wasn’t a fly name, I don't think they would have hyphenated it but it sounds like it should be. But Ronald-Anthony? I wouldn’t have made anybody’s Myspace top friends. I think my mom sensed that and made a necessary audible, I commend her for her efforts.
I imagine I looked like Benjamin Button because Norris is an old man’s name. According to my parents, I told them to start calling me Dion around the age of two. I won't accuse them of dropping me in those first two years, but something happened for me to make that pivot and start using my middle name as a toddler. Maybe I realized that Dion sounded younger than Norris. Maybe I grew tired of being confused since there was always another Norris around. My parents never filled in that blank. I also imagine my pops putting me in that “Baby Boy” headlock. Frustrated that I chose to go by Norris, he might have grunted, he might have cried, you’ll have to ask him for clarity. But thinking about it, they didn't call me junior, because I'm not a junior, so every time somebody called out Norris, it could be either one of us.
At the beginning of each school year, I went through the same routine of correcting my teacher. “No... no… Norris?” I’d raise my hand and ask them to call me Dion. It got to the point where some people would know me for years and never realize that Dion was my middle name. It felt like the ones that did know, kept that knowledge in their back pocket like a blackmail photo. Hype to throw it out like it was the big joker. Even professionally, everyone calls me Dion. Most of my past and present coworkers will only figure it out with this blog.
People often ask me if I dislike the name Norris (they'll also call it my “real” name as if I pulled Dion out of thin air). Truth is, I’ve been going by Dion for so long, I can't imagine being called Norris regularly. At this point, the only person that’s calling me Norris is my wife, and that's usually when I get on her nerves.
So that’s the past and the present about my first name. My parents would likely tell a completely different story about how they agreed on my name. What is the story behind your name? Drop a comment below, on FB or IG.
There will be times where you will be tested in ways you never considered. You will consider running. Do not run, stand in the confusion, sort through the mess, and resolve your issues. If you start running from your problems now, you will be chasing answers for years to come.
You will make a lot of friends over the years. Some of those friends come with expiration dates. You won't be able to read a label to know when they indeed expire, but you will see the signs, react accordingly. Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to cry over spilled milk. Do not cry too long, and remember to clean up the mess so the next will have a clean seat at the table. Forgive, forgive, forgive, and seek healing, healing, healing.
You will meet a lot of girls, even like some of them. Treat them all nicely. You will meet one that you will make your wife. Always be honest and never be afraid to be vulnerable. She won’t ask for much but give her the world anyway. Whatever you give her, she will multiply. Sidebar: have a 3 drink limit at the reception. The stories I heard were amazing and hilarious. Unfortunately, I can't remember when they happened.
Rome was not built in a day. Nothing you want will be either. Learn to fall in love with the process of becoming great and even the most challenging days will be enjoyable. Be thankful for the valleys, because they will help you cherish the peaks. Pour love into everything you care about; family, friends, work, your passions, and having fun.
You don't have them yet, but you will get mentors that will treat you like their own son. Listen to them because they have been through similar situations. Remember, "Hov did that so hopefully you won't have to go through that".
Thank God and stay humble,
- 30 y/o Me
They say we are fighting for the soul of America. It sounds so black and white, so right and wrong. A vote for Biden is a vote for moral righteousness, a vote for Trump is a vote for moral degradation. We have seen trump sully the integrity of the title POTUS and use a myriad of racial epitaphs on national television to describe Black and Brown people. I look at the election results map and I see so many red states, including my home state, Ohio. This tells me that the “soul of America” is still stained from the blood of those who were sacrificed to build this country. So, what is the soul of America?
I sat up until about 2 am going into November 4th. I had to work the next day, but I wanted to hear the bullshit Trump was about to spew from his mouth. I fell asleep, but I woke up to CNN replaying Trump stating that he already won the election and they can stop counting. 45 consistently finds a new way to sound stupid, it’s honestly pretty impressive. To be this asinine daily, it takes a level of stamina and vigor that I can’t comprehend. Unfortunately, it seems millions seem to keep up with him. Look at the election map, footage from any rally, or some specific black celebrities, you will see that so many people still support Trump’s racist and divisive rhetoric (by vote or by presence). I can’t say much about America’s soul here, but I will say many people are too far gone. Trump has shown his hand for decades, voting him president in 2016 only invigorated him and people like him. Voting him in again would likely be a fatal decision.
America will have to be baptized by Bishop T.D. Jakes in the River of Jordan and have a funeral for racism eulogized The Honorable Louis Farrakhan before I could begin to claim that racism is gone. The level of reform and defunding that is necessary to uproot the racist systems is likened to scorching a farm, laying fresh soil, and planting new seeds. I will not say that democrats are the ones that can do it, but I will say that Black people, more specifically, Black women are at the forefront of this vision. I shine this light on Black women because they largely have been more progressive and forward-thinking than Black men. Black men quietly reap some of the benefits of patriarchy and we still tend to lean to the right (roughly 20% of Black men still voted for Trump, while less than 10% of Black women voted for trump). Black people are the soul of the nation and we carry that weight like Jordan carried the Bulls in the Flu Game. One day America will support us back, but that’s for another day.
The soul of America is Black, the soul of America is Black, the soul of America is Black. It is about damn time to do some soul searching and listen to Black people, not Lil Wayne, or Ice Cube, or Terry Crews, but the ones who accurately and appropriately voice their concerns and their ideas for the nation and Black lives specifically.
Not So Mad Black Dad
Parenting is an absolute rollercoaster. One day, you’re sitting and waiting in the delivery room for the culminating event of a nine month pregnancy. The next thing you know, you’re chasing a toddler around the house stumbling over toys. Dad-life has been a blessing like no other. Being able to see the life you helped create, grow and mature right in front of your eyes is special. Fatherhood has come with its fair share of highs and lows, but I can confidently say, that highs have far outweighed the lows. Here are some things i’ve picked up from being a dad:
Being a dad is everything I thought it would be and so much more. I remember listening to other parents, both young and seasoned, many had comments that made parenting seem like a daunting task that came with more stress and pressure than joy and laughter. There is so much pressure, I can’t fake like there isn't, but I feel more jubilance than anything. Each day comes with a different challenge, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.