Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 13: Band Or Artist That Has Gotten You Through Some Tough Days (Write A Letter)

"It's real now." - Tupac Shakur


Well you're dead, now. 

Finally murdered.

Although somehow I don't think you're too upset with the fact, seeing as how nearly everyone who followed your music understood that you were damn near obsessed with dying. You wished death. But why? You had much to live for. To the day, I wonder the true significance of your existence had you recognized the power of your tongue, being. It's a shame. And hard to believe you - someone who possessed the talent to awaken the spirits of so many of our people, struggled so hard with yours. But I guess that's how it is when you're young, black, not giving a fuck, and never really understanding society nor your place within society. Like we were, it seems. Which is probably the reason why we identified with your music the way we did. The way we still do. I recall the day I heard Soulja's Story and how completely blown away it left me. 

You had the gift. 

But what really did you expect?

Day 14: Hero That Let You Down

"It's time to fight back, that's what Huey said. Two shots in the dark, now Huey's dead." - Tupac Shakur

Huey P. Newton.

Dr. Huey P. Newton.

Activist, radical theorist, co-founder and charismatic leader of the Black Panther Party, founded in response to political brutality and economic strife in the black community. One of the most important political thinkers in the struggle for civil rights. Largely responsible for Oakland-based programs in the 60s and 70s that fed the hungry, taught the youth and discouraged drug abuse. Overcame repression, survived gunshots, imprisonment, and other highly-publicized confrontations with police, government officials...

Only to be murdered on a drug-ridden street corner, by a black man nonetheless, after apparently stealing some fucking crack cocaine. 

You have to be kidding me.

Days 11, 12: Something People Always Seem to Compliment You On and Something You Never Get Compliments On

"It's almost night out, so turn your lights on." - Lupe Fiasco

In the song I'm Beamin', rap artist Lupe Fiasco says, "You see I hood a lot and yeah I nerd some. Hood's where the heart is. Nerd's where the words from. Don't represent either, because I merge 'em." 

I merged them.

This sentiment and all it entails perfectly describes my spirit, energy. In fact, I'm often complimented on how I possess both book and street smarts. I received the former from my educated mom and the latter from my inner-city dad. Add this to the fact that I learned "Old Earth" or that which is referred as common sense from my dad's mom, and it's clear to all that I am The Gray Area. And when I'm on my square: I mean, really and truly positioned at an angle where I fathom the entire 360 degrees - I hardly miss a thing. If stationed too far left or right, I'd probably develop contempt for the other like so many in our black and white society.

The gray area is an intermediate one of the -nth degree, and therefore not clearly one thing or the other. It teaches me to view life differently or more differently. Viewing life differently forces me to think differently which, for whatever reasons, offends many as I'm known to speak my mind the majority of time. Come to think of it, speaking my mind isn't necessarily the problem. We all do this. But telling it like it is - is. While I'm sure there are plenty who honestly don't mind such revolved thought, there are just as many who cannot accept opinions threatening to their own apparently self-righteous indignation. 

Too fearful to allow themselves to color outside of the lines? Too afraid to inner scope? As it turns out, I've told it like it is for so long that I don't even remember like it was.

So it's like I do get compliments on my sonic view, but then again, not hardly. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Days Nine & Ten: Someone You Didn't Want To Let Go But Just Drifted and Someone You Need To Let Go Or Wish You Didn't Know

"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced." - Soren Kierkegaard

Someone I didn't want to let go, but just drifted?

Oh that's easy - Jenny, a white girl I became involved during my first year in the Army. She was from Ohio and quickly became one of the sweetest things I'd known in life. Sweet, like the bite of a cherry as its refreshing juices titillate the taste buds. She owned the cutest smile and walk. I hardly remember how we met - at a movie theater on base, I think. If I'm not mistaken, I had cracked a joke about how the person at the counter blundered in pouring popcorn into Jenny's drink cup and vice versa.

The rest is history.

Our interactions, friendship, and dates added another element to our respective lives. She and I had the most fun. We laughed and laughed. So much in fact that not once did we pay attention to the long, hard, close-minded stares occasionally received. Interesting how those things go hand in hand - happiness and ignoring that which threatens as much.

After military orders placed us in different states, we managed to keep in touch via long letters and even longer phone calls. And it worked for awhile. Then, I suppose, everyday life and new love interests eventually rolled our final credits. My one true experience with interracial dating, she left a different kind of taste in my mouth.

As for someone I needed to let go or wished I hadn't known? Well, that's simple, too. No one. 

Bitter or sweet, or bittersweet even, I'm able to take something from each experience that might possibly benefit me in the future. I imagine looking back and wishing you could get back or take back someone from the past can be mentally crippling in the long run. But then, so are war, racism, poverty, and pro football. Yet these things continue to exist, so what do I know?

In a perfect world, each experience resembles serenity. In this world, however, such admirable state of existence can be as elusive as trying to pry a popcorn kernel stuck between your teeth. While I'd like to pursue the company of those who possess tranquility in great supply, let's be realistic here - not everyone is slow to anger and quick to laugh. So, despite whatever circumstances, I'm under the belief that life is like this really good movie filled with amazing scenes and a cast of unpredictable characters whom make it come together.

I'm basically here for the entertainment value. 

Being older, I understand there is no such thing as a perfect script. Everyone arrives with their fair share of good, bad, and sometimes ugly. For the most part, we do. Some, to a greater or lesser extent than others. In the end, maybe what it all boils down to is how long we choose to keep a certain person's name in our mouth?

What do you think?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Days Seven & Eight: Someone Who Has Made Your Life Worth Living and Someone Who Has Made Your Life Hell

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can't hit what the eyes can't see." - Muhammad Ali

Something is changing. 

Nowadays I deal with others largely on my own terms, steadily nurturing positives and deflecting negativity. Afterall, how someone treats you says more about that person than it does you anyway. 

I had suspected as much. 

Nowadays, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone capable of stealing my joy. Reason being: my joy is my joy, and no one else. To have once upon a time had joy stolen, and eventually regained, only proved as much. Not to mention I've learned how those who steal or attempt to do so, do so, because they have no feeling of great pleasure or happiness in their respective lives.

You have my deepest condolences. 

To quote Tony DeLiso: "Happiness is part of who we are. Joy is the feeling." Me, personally, I likened the emotion to the plight of one of my cultural heroes Muhammad Ali, whose title belt was stripped at the height of his boxing career and triumphantly regained via the heart of a champion. 

If you've been there, then you thoroughly understand the amount of conviction it took and the inspiration ultimately provided. Can you imagine how good the feeling in your heart when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are exactly who you say you are? 

I can. 

And this, to me at least, makes life all the more worth living regardless of who tries to drag you into their living hell. 

In other words, it ain't gon' happen.