Thirty

 

Life has taught me that’s its completely possible to love, and not be loved, or to offer truth, only to have it withheld from you.

A Guest Writers’ Week post by Austin Weatherington

Even on my best days I’m teetering on the verge of hypocrisy, which makes me wonder why I bother taking a stance on anything at all. As each hour ticks off the clock, the personal tie which so dependently binds action to truth becomes less and less secure. That’s why I knew I had to write this in the morning when I knew I’d be inspired, clear, and prepared. I don’t know much, but there are two things which cause little confusion: I know what I am, and I certainly know what I’m not.

My responsibility to love? To truth? That’s the shit which is really beginning to fuck with me nowadays. Undoubtedly those two realities are the most fulfilling experiences this life has to offer, however it’s the painful, sacrificial mystery which surround them that is the source of my torment. Life has taught me that it’s completely possible to love, and not be loved, or to offer truth, only to have it withheld from you. The stakes get raised even higher when you realize your incumbency to love is boundless, and veers far beyond the equitable participation of others. The fundamental pursuit of both love and truth is like being asked to box your own shadow.

Just last night I established a pillow-top deal with the devil, we shook on it and everything. In exchange for my truth, I was given ponderous guilt. The type of guilt you feel when the information needed to triangulate the truth, gets manipulated into a binary understanding. This was far from my first rodeo, much like a savvy businessman I deliberated the terms; pokerfaced and stern, my involvement signaling my agreement.

An endearing kiss on the neck, and an amorous squeeze of the thigh started things off. Stares, words, and the white noise of the moment began to fill the room—and others. We eagerly begin to transition our bodies from one position to the next. I was amazed by how such harmony stemmed from something so selfish. I begin to thrust deeper and deeper as if I was looking for something, and the truth is, I was. As beautiful as she was, I knew what I was looking for could not be found inside of her. Yet I wanted my search to be remembered.

**

Late nights alone leave me reflecting on life as I thumb through scripture. I have loose thoughts of getting married and buying acres of land with a Jim Crow dollar. My mind can’t seem to escape a recent conversation I had with a wise black man who challenged by understanding of my condition given the most recent homicides of unarmed black men by the hands of law enforcement. As we watched little black and brown children innocently play on the basketball court, with a thick Boston accent he stated “It’s true that we’re all crazy (human beings), but the better question is who’s winning the race?” He later explained “Let me ask you a question. Who’s crazier, the killer? Or the one who witnessed the killing and believes things may somehow be different for them?
My 30 years of life have seem to go by in all of 30 minutes, leaving in their wake an honest and sensitive disposition. Things that once didn’t seem to matter now rattle the truest parts of me. I blame the countless conversations on intersectionality and afro-pessimism, or the exhausted facial expression held by the tattered black woman in handcuffs outside of the grocery store who was being detained by police for attempting to quiet her hunger.

I’m maturing into a place where decisions–and not settlements–are the defining parameters of my life, yet I know that process will require some time which I’m still walking myself through. However, what I do know is that I want to write beautifully; with confidence and command. What I do know is that I want to love, and be loved to life, not death. What I do know is that I’ve never felt more human, or more alive.

Austin Weatherington
Austin Weatherington

Austin Weatherington is a writer and multi-media communications professional with a true passion for content creation and story development. He’s always, always, always looking to collaborate with people on things. Whenever, whatever, however; as long as its positive. 

Connect with Austin on IG and Twitter: @A4aus

Feature: Austin Weatherington of IntellectuCOOL

Austin Weatherington
Austin Weatherington

Editor’s note: Tucked off Kennedy Street in DC is one of my favorite places in the city–Culture Coffee. It’s a tiny gem, easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it. It isn’t one of those pretentious and overcrowded coffee shops. Instead it’s a space that serves as a coffee shop, art gallery and performance venue. Yes, yes and yes.

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to link up with Austin Weatherington, co-founder and curator of IntellectuCOOL, at my favorite spot. Finding other people just doing dope things in DC is sometimes a difficult task. It’s not like NYC where the city is buzzing with different events that are well-known and easy to find. So, I appreciated when Austin reached out after seeing “See. Speak. Feel.” posted on Eventbrite. We had the chance to talk about all things writing, creative and even what it meant to reach (or get ready to reach) some milestone birthdays. In this Q&A, Austin discusses his own creative journey, how IntellectuCOOL got started and who his biggest influence is (among other things). Meet Austin.

Name: Austin Jamal- Depree Weatherington

Age: 29

Location: Washington, DC

Tell us more about your creative journey. 

My creative journey, ehh? I assume what I now understand as my creative journey started sometime back in 06’. I was a hooper in college and around that time I knew that dribbling a basketball wasn’t in my post-graduate plans. It’s funny because at that time the creative landscape was much different than it is now. The word “creative” had far less cache attached to it.  Back then, when I thought of art or being a “creative” I thought of neutral color mock-neck sweaters with a matching slouchy beret. I was very naive, perhaps even adversarial to creative labels. I knew I enjoyed words, and at that time I was really getting into Facebook and spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to impress my 123 friends with quasi-clever social observations and mildly humorous “notes” (remember those on Facebook?). So I coupled my  love for the written word, with my lifelong addiction to talking, and majored in communications. In many ways I’m still trying to figure out what to do with that degree. I walked across the stage and into this trap we call an economy, and truthfully I’ve been journeying ever since… writing, procrastinating, writing, blogging, self-preserving, in-and-out of relationships. I think this past year more than any other time I began “creating”- and really bringing concepts to life.

How did IntellectuCOOL get started? How does the brand reflect your creative roots?
So IntellectuCOOL began under the umbrella of The Smugger, which I am still very much a part of. The Smugger is an online minority men’s lifestyle platform, and collective of people. It was 2013 and The Smugger was thinking of ways to galvanize our base and bring to life some of the topics and things that were taking place on the site. I was tired of the going out options here in DC and thought we could present a cool alternative for others who felt the same. I wanted an experience where people could get together, share good energy and good music, yet still have an intellectual appeal. I had the concept half-way down but didn’t have the name. One night while eating yogurt the name came to me, and I sent the email the same night, and the rest has been history. IntellectuCOOL no longer exists under The Smugger umbrella; it stands alone as it’s own business. Moral of the story: eat more yogurt.

In terms of the creative roots question, I believe that IntellectuCOOL is the perfect platform to serve my creativity. I’d like to think that most of my creativity has purpose attached to it, so the brand is versatile enough to engage people with meaningful topics, yet pliable enough to accommodate the spontaneity that stems from artistic expression. In many ways my mind doesn’t always associate serious topics and questions with traditional solutions. In a past life, I was that cool liberal history teacher that never used the book, yet fully engaged and educated his students, changing the way they looked at history forever. My name would be Mr. Radcliffe, don’t ask me why.

IntellectuCOOL is a platform that fosters conversation through creativity. What does that mean and how is it reflected in the work you do?
So we like to think of IntellectuCOOL as more of an experience that folks can benefit from versus a product looking for a market. Our aim is to make conversation cool. It’s a platform where creatives/artists, intellectuals and the ideas that inspire them can be better understood. We focus a lot on concepts, understanding that based off experience and perspective people are going to draw their own conclusions about many of our topics and scenarios. However, the diverse mix of people and perspectives, coupled with the overall great energy and communal vibe, serve as the perfect atmosphere to explore your experiences and views on certain topic.

IntellectuCOOL is a partnership between you and co-founder Vic. How do you all work together? What is it like to advance a vision alongside someone else?
Vic and I work really well together. We both have our strong points but have done a great job of trusting one another to this point and that’s cool. We don’t step on each others toes, yet we get things accomplished. I think a lot of that has to do with both of us having vision. We both see great things for the brand and that fuels our work. We’re at a place where our brand is only going to go as far as our vision can take us. I’m really open to exploring his ideas, as is he of mine.

So this is where it gets a little weird; Vic when you read this, please forgive me. I don’t have any children so IntellectuCOOL is the one thing at this level of maturity I can say I’ve birthed and am now watching develop. I see Vic and I as “Partents” (partners-parents). Needless to say we’re very protective,  and are just now entertaining the idea of playdates. Although we understand it takes a village to raise a child, we are seeing great progress with us being the sole source of guidance. That said, our child is growing, and continues to amaze us daily. I can say that Vic has been an amazing partent who has more than carried his weight. Too much?

IntellectuCOOL recently teamed up with the Mousai House to host The Grey Area, an event exploring life’s undefined spaces through poetry, art, dance and discussion. Looking back on the event, what was your favorite part and what is one thing you would have changed?
Yes. shout out to the cool people over there at Mousai. They were great throughout the process and serve as an awesome space and resource for local artists. Looking back I think the turnout, the energy, and performances were all amazing. The one thing I would’ve changed was the way we set-up the space.

What can we expect from the next IntellectuCOOL event?
Being more interactive. We will have an atmosphere where participants can engage and interact with each other more.

What’s your artistic mantra?
See the end at the beginning. That way you’ll know what to do in the middle.

Who are some of your greatest influences?
Only one–my mother.

What are you currently reading?
A play actually, The Piano Lesson, by August Wilson.

Austin Weatherington is a writer and multi-media communications professional with a true passion for content creation and story development. He’s always, always, always looking to collaborate with people on things. Whenever, whatever, however; as long as its positive. 

IntellectuCOOL on social media | IG and Twitter: @intellectuCOOL | Facebook: IntellectuCOOL

Connect with Austin on IG and Twitter: @A4aus