A couple weeks into 2010, the last film I wrote and directed was being introduced to a national audience by a movie star.  With a couple of weeks to go in 2010, I got to host a show where I gave an up and coming rapper/producer his first television experience.  I love the harmony of that; it’s symbolic of the type of year this has been – harmonious.

Internally, I don’t feel like I’ve changed much in the past 12 months to be perfectly honest.  Maybe it was the film, maybe it was the personal life, maybe it was all of us just being a year older.  The saying is, you get back from the world what you put into it, so maybe it was me just being set in my ways.  Whatever it is, it feels like this was the year that people seemed to take me as I am.  The people who dig me take my imperfections as part of the package, the people who don’t like me seem to get that my insecurities have nothing to do with whether they like me or not. At this point, I am who I am, flaws and all as Beyonce would say.

Along those lines, I want to say it was Jay who said that no matter what he’s done since, in his mind he’s still the crack dealer from Marcy.  My mentality has a similar vibe: I will always be this quiet, black Muslim kid from Wyandotte County.  The Hollywood stuff and the European girlfriend, to my friends it’s like, ‘Who ELSE but Malik would be doing that?’ (and to those friends I say, ‘You’re absolutely right!  Nobody but me!’)  In all seriousness though, it’s all part of the natural direction of me following My Calling and my life’s journey. To me, there is no ‘either/or’, it’s all inclusive.  I’ve come to realize one of my pet peeves is when people try to erase their past.  There is no reset button in this game; things happen, you deal with them, you move forward.  Everything that happens is important, even when we don’t understand the reason at the time.

Part of being a student of the game of life is knowing at some point you will be pushed to your limits.  I’ve certainly gone through the emotional ringer the past 12 months. On a superficial level this has been a fantastic year, but those who know me best will tell you I’ve spent the greater part of 2010 severely depressed. (I’m good now though.)  Keeping things in perspective was something I had to remind myself often.  I’m a romantic, I’m an eternal optimist, I believe for the most part the good and the bad balance each other out.  When I look at my own life, I see love, I see loyal friends, I have a supportive family.  I’m in my early 30s and I can focus on being a capitalist for the rest of my days.  This year was brutal, but I have inner peace and I sadly know way too many people who don’t have it and don’t know how to get it.

So what one thing will I take with me from 2010?  Well, after half of a lifetime with a relationship best described as ‘standoffish’, fate has decided it was time for me to start reconnecting with my bloodline.  You can’t repair a decade and a half of distance in a few months of course, but as in all things, the intention to change things is the first (and most important) step.

For us Batman fanatics, the big thing in 2010 was the comics storyline, ‘The Return of Bruce Wayne.’  Bruce was shot back in time by Superman foe Darkseid, and had to fight his way back to the present day (which he did of course).  The major lesson learned in that arc (SPOILER ALERT) is that while the mythology of the Batman is a boy left alone after the murder of his parents and his childhood, the reality of Batman is that he’s never been ‘alone’.  He’s had allies every step of the way.  I was reminded in 2010 that while I certainly enjoy being ‘the Prince of Gotham’, I’ve never really been alone either.  This year more than all the others combined I think, I’ve been held up, encouraged, cheered for and supported by those I’ve always known I could count on, some who have genuinely surprised me, and some of you who I will probably never meet in this life.  I have been taking notes so I’ll try to name as many of you as I can (since this is already absurdly long…)

Katy – you stuck with me through my personal hell, and I’ve tried to reciprocate; thank you for holding down the BB team when it was sorely needed; ART – a lot of people told me to be ‘Michael’ when everything in my heart said it was time for a ‘Sonny’ move, but your voice stood out the most.  Thanks for being such a great friend. Marie – I love doing the show – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  Hope to get a chance to do it again next year. Nathan – in a parallel universe, I would be living your life, but My Calling has evolved in an exciting direction, and I’m excited to ‘play my part’.  Looking forward to hearing about Jordan.  DaFellas – I’d call you my Jackson 5, but even if I was being sarcastic that would be WAY too condescending.  I think of us now as the Beatles after they broke up – everyone is following their ‘solo’ interests and we get together when we can and talk about how much fun we had.  You’ll always be my guys.

If you’re still reading a few more folks but I promise this is it: the Fradieus, the Franks, the Harrises, the Sheffields, the Thomases, Conway and Jabari for your advice (invaluable), BeatSmith (great show), Michael Zanuck, Daphne Kirby, Amanda Max, Doug Miro (best blogpost of the year), Through a Glass, Black Entertainment Television, Pasadena Community Network, Ralph Scott, the Black Hollywood Education & Resource Center, the Pigskin League, the Jayhawk friends, the Trojan friends, the Sumner friends, the Frat, everyone who has helped the past 12 months in the Return of Bruce Wayne.

The Dark Knight is rising in 2011.  Happy New Year!

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