Author: Dennis R. Upkins

Where There’s a Will

A visionary by the name of David Bowie once shared a most profound truth: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.” This is the story of the most incredible man I’ve ever met. In a chance encounter, my life was forever changed by meeting this extraordinary gentleman. My best friend and brother, William. It was 14 years ago. I had just moved to Atlanta for art school and was getting acclimated to a new city and a new life. This was also an opportunity for me to redefine myself and possibly have...

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Comfort and Joy: An Alternative Guide To Surviving the Holiday Season

It’s the holiday season. While this time of year should be a time of joy and fellowship with family, for many, it’s a time of anxiety, stress, depression, and even ptsd. For those of you who fall into the latter category, fret not. I have a holiday gift for you. Yes you, the fine individual reading this piece. Ready for it? My gift to you fine reader is this fundamental truth: You are under no obligation to spend your time with people who don’t respect you, are problematic, abusive, or even toxic. As I’m fond of informing others when...

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Negative Emotions, You Are Doing Them Wrong

Emotions are tricky creatures. Some of us allow ourselves to be governed by them. If you were like me, emotions were abominations meant to be suppressed and denied. And if you were like me, “Vulcan” and “Android” have been frequent nicknames throughout your lifetime. However throughout my journey I’ve come to learn that virtually everything we’ve been taught about emotions are wrong. So wrong in fact that even legendary Jedi Masters have been erroneous. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” Master Yoda. Little heart, oh...

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Success and Jealousy: Beware The Iagos

Confession time. I’m not a William Shakespeare fan. I’ve always found  the man and his works to be immensely overrated. I know, I know. There’s some unwritten commandment that all authors are supposed to swear eternal devotion to the poet and playwright. To do otherwise is utter sacrilege. What can I say, I’m a rebel like that. Ironically I’m forever indebted to Shakespeare as he taught me one of the most profound life lessons I would ever learn as a person of color  with his tragedy, Othello. Based on the story, Un Capitano Moro by Cinthio, Othello revolves around...

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Denying Racism And Other Forms Of Gaslighting

“If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven’t even pulled the knife out much less heal the wound. They won’t even admit the knife is there.”  —The Original X-Man First Class, Brother Malcolm. So for the past few years, I’ve conducted a little social experiment. Much like Jigsaw from the horror films Saw, I’ve played a little game with whites. I would share my firsthand...

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