Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good times, Bad times, Halfway Times

Sometimes you have to let go of expectations in some situations.  Let things come as they may, and concentrate on being prepared for any and everything.  It can make you skittish and apprehensive, curious and paranoid.  It's a feat to be graceful under the pressure of imposed patience.  But if anything, I've learned that, at times when we think the timing was off, compatibility was askew, the reality is, attitudes determine our capacity for tolerance.  If we want to believe, then we will.  If we don't, any skeptical assertion will undermine our efforts.  So for me right now, in this interesting arc of my existence, I'm content to be a witness and a participant, going with the flow, but not letting it take me under.  For once being slightly detached serves my best interest, at least for now.  The songs linked above is from a time when I needed a breath of fresh air, a way to adjust my attitude and not get down about the happenings of my life, and it made me feel at ease, blessed to see that "It's still gonna be a great day in the morning."  And it is, no matter how things play out in the curious nights of spring renewal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Que Sera Sera

Another gem I came across during my time at Rinehart's that took a common phrase and gave it something special, courtesy of Sly and the Family Stone.  It came into my life during a resigned Melancholy rut revolving around a dream come true that freaked me out, about a longshot that would fall short in the romantic department. She wasn't the one that got away, she was never there to begin with, but this young woman intrigued and inspired me, whether I was romantically interested in her or not. I just LIKED her as a person, in they way you wish someone was your twin, you just like being around them, what they have to offer.  I'm not sure I ever liked someone so much.  I have definitely loved more, but I really enjoyed her presence in my world.  I felt like there was someone out there who got it, who eased the burden of being upright I felt hampered by when my spirits were down, my sails without a whisper of lift.

The previous year, when I was in the throws of the international incident I made the acquaintance of another "cool" young woman.  She seemed to have her head on straight, her heart in the right place, and it was so easy to get along with her, just relate.  This was the kind of woman you crossed the world to pursue if she had an interest in you. Getting to know her made the affair I was engaged in seem all the more a mockery of  what I tried to convince myself it could be to justify the indiscretion and sin.

Neither of these young women were in my life very long, but for the moments they were friends with me, and shared a bit of their perspective and spark, I was a happy dude. Such are the luxuries of youthful ambivalence and unsettled lives.  It was a valuable lesson though, in not viewing people for how much you can get from them, but for what they are kind enough to share.  They don't have to be anything more than sweet people to know, and that's good enough for me. It also helps if they don't have any needs they want you to meet, or unmet needs they want to complain about either.  For me, Emma and Anna were people who primed me for being Ok with myself, by myself, and recognizing that as easily as friends may materialize, they may also vanish.

Of course not everyone you'll come to know will be a joy or "cool", and in those cases, Que Sera Sera is less comforting.  It might be resignation masking discontent.  In that case, invoke the serenity prayer, and exercise your freedom to vanish if need be. It's ok, there are 6 billion people on Earth, being alone is a choice.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

it's probably me

the difference in how much a lover gets hurt depends on how well intended they are pursuing the relationship and how committed and invested they are. the more you give of yourself, the harder it is to recovery what you lost.  even if you agree to the terms of a relationship, if you want more than you have bargained for and give what you want without reciprocity, it is going to hit you a lot harder than the party that is less invested. but that is because of your own feelings. you could always decline an offer with questionable or unspecified terms. if you accept and come out on the short side of nothing, it is your cross to bear.  if you got mislead, that is another thing altogether. that is cruelty plain and simple. then again, insincere people probably assume everyone else is also insincere, so there's that. but that is not a justification for heart crimes. love and honesty are part and parcel.  we have to be honest with ourselves and then we can be honest with each other.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Castles Made of Sand, Fall Into the Sea, Eventually.

People deal in emotions, and divvy them out to each other unequally most of the time.  It's a constant effort to break even, or at least break away from the Casino, cause you'll go bankrupt trying to win back what you lost.  You'll appreciate the drinks, and the camaraderie of your fellow gamblers, but you'll resent the ones who took you for the most when they're on top and you're on the outs.  You'll have mixed emotions about the folks you bailed out with a loan who hit jackpot down the line, and you never do.  Such is the nature of vulnerability, emotional jeopardy, and holding on to hope when you're unfulfilled.  You reach for things that seem real, but they aren't made to last, and as the saying goes, easy come, easy go.

Our emotional states come in waves, and leave with them, whether we are ready for them or not.  It's a euphoric and horrifying thing to feel, depending on where you are emotionally, the size of the wave, and the strength of the riptide.

Welcome to the real world...

Epic Moody Jam from 95' during an Epic Moody Time of mourning in my life.  Still love this song when I'm in moods I just can't shake, like now.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Twitter Rant about Trayvon Martin & The Perception of Young Black Men

No song, just reality.

Every time I see a picture of Trayvon Martin, he looks so familiar, like I saw him before, like he favors someone I know.

When conceal/carry came up in 92-93' I opposed it cause I felt someone like me would get killed because someone else felt threatened.

I was a 17 year old black kid. I was way more vocal then. They wanted to interview me for the post dispatch, & I declined, had 0 media trust

so for some reason the rest of my tweets didn't come to FB, I wonder why? Here they are, Fire, Brimstone, & heart:

So this whole thing really hits close to home, & then I have my issues w/ the promotion of 1 stereotype of young blacks that's stuck & sells

We got sold Thug-Life and took some pride in it, that Alpha-male role, & no doubt, that image intimidates/scares folks. They sold us a trap.

Who are they? They is every person who's profited of the idea that an opportunistic, callous Black person is the most common variety.

We got sold "That N*gga You Love to Hate", to want to be The Outlaw Immortal, the N.W.A. The C.R.E.A.M. Mentality, Denzel's Oscar was 4 being Scary

GTA San Andreas makes Millions, it's just entertainment right, but along the way, what does the world know about being a Young Black man?

So when you notice so many songs, so many movies, so much TV, most people's first line of contact, featuring Blacks casts us as threatening..

this idiotic Murderer who Instigated the confrontation by stalking this Kid, in his head, was living out Grand Torino or American History X

And don't get me started on these inflammatory Talk Show personalities full of vitriol and Hot Air that profit from alienating & polarizing

There are Snakes serving up Apples/Pomegranates everyday, and we all take a bite each time we accept a piss-poor depiction of our humanity

When you embrace a half truth out of indignity or rebellion in the face of offense or abuse you're losing twice over, catharsis for a loss.

That said, I really hope everyone rocks a hoodie in honor of Trayvon in solidarity at some point, or thinks of him incidentally when they do

And I will also remember that the Klan rocks hoods too, & the Klan "rocked" the "hood" w/ this, cause it's Birth of a Nation playing out IRL

I Don't Even Care Anymore, Because I Care So Much...

That line, from that song, Yinin' & Yangin' by Victor Wooten, got me through some incredible pains a decade ago, a helpless situation of emotional entanglement I was powerless to change.  This song really helped me embrace letting go and finding peace in my own self-determination, and allowing other people the same freedom, and realizing that if I focused on doing my best and seeking righteousness, that it's up to others to recognize it when they view me.  Hearing this song, and embracing it's sentiment changed the tone of my personality, of my life experience.  And it's got a nice beat and you can dance to it.

That said, the desire to throw people under the bus has subsided, there's a little more peace and love to be had in whatever form it has taken, and the air has been cleared a little. Sometimes it feels like such a struggle to be heard.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Funk Dat

Sometimes you just can't tolerate shenanigans and insincere gestures. People try and make things seem okay that aren't okay so they can get what they feel they want/ need, but eventually the pressure builds and the levee breaks.  When it does, sometimes you just have to say what you feel.  I did.  This song, yeah, it cuts to the chase too.  We are vertebrates, we are supposed to have spines.  So, simply put, get yourself together people.  Don't come at me with that old mumbo jumbo.

Sleep Come Free Me

I really liked Early James Taylor, with that sharp band, minimal keys, just guitars, bass, and Russ Kunkel or Jim Keltner laying down those fatback, in the pocket beats, so I was always leery of his work for Columbia records in the late 70s.  But the man is a master of expressing sentimental resignation, solemn grief, somber remorse. At times when I was really broken down, humbled, and defeated, I would find solace in his voice, his gift for nuance in expressing melancholy and resolve.  This song was a gem I discovered on Flag, one of two albums he released on Columbia in, I want to say 1978?  Maybe not.  But this one spoke to me at times when I felt so downtrodden and at a loss, powerless, that I wanted to drink, understood the power of drug and why people seek them out, or any other passive means of self annihilation.  For me just going to sleep was enough.  Just let go of consciousness and sleep, escape it all, as much as possible.  I feel like a nap now, and a change, one I already had that I lost.  But in a perfect world, it would be a new change, an improvement of relations and relationships, but it feels like that's out of my hands, and all I can do is be who I am and let what came into my life, depart from it, if what I am, where I am, does nothing for them.  So for now, my only real escape is to sleep.  So I will.

Ugly on the Inside (in more ways than one)

The title of that song, the song itself is an indictment of a person's superficial character.  It comes from an indignant place, of resignation and frustration.  The first time I heard it, I wasn't exactly in that place emotionally, but I wasn't far from it so that song hit like a ton of bricks.  Now I'm flipping the title's meaning, because I can't sleep and I feel sick to my stomach, uneasy because of aspects of a reality I have been given to digest, that up till currently I could have only assumed and imagined from a distance.  A lot of what goes on in the world makes me feel ill in that way, but in this case it's deeply personal.  I recognize these feelings I'm experiencing as ugly feelings, in response to what I will always consider ugly actions.  In dualistic terms, we know beauty courtesy of contrast. I am feeling that contrast right now, a somber resignation of having chosen a path to avoid ugliness, but knowing that others choose differently.  I'd rather be righteous than right.  I'd rather see someone redeemed than have my reservations vindicated, but you can't make choices for people, and the choices this world promotes are Destructive and Empty.  That is why I reject it, and it's masked ugliness and its toxic nature.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Sloganeer: Paradise (How People Justify Inhumanity)

First, the song choice, Meshell Ndegecello's Sloganeer-Paradise.  It's an assault on so many things, but the most obvious is religious extremism.  It's a challenging piece of music lyrically for someone with conservative social values, which I for the most part identify with, in my utilitarian moralistic tendencies.  Anyway, the emotion of the song is something I relate to, the confrontational inquisition.  Your faith, your perspective ought to be able to weather challenges with some measure of reason.  It should be up to the task, and I feel mine is, so if anything, her challenges to think, are conversation starters- food for thought.  In then end, she has no desire to see a world populated with killers who justify their actions with fervor for one belief system/ world view or another fueling their inhumanity.  That very subject came up recently.  When addressing it, someone thought this was nifty when I posted it elsewhere online, so I'm reposting:

As far as how we turn people into "the other" it's a process for sure. Here's a pseudo-academic view on that I worked up when I was an undergrad, and I'm sure a Pro has done better:

1. polarize (an issue between people)

2. ostracize (the people on opposing sides of the issue)

3. dehumanize ( the people on the opposing side with stereotyping, or literally via mortification of self when people are institutionalized for example, be it a mental hospital, the penal system, the military... )
4. Civilize/ re-civilize (the people on the opposing side when possible, via indoctrination, rehabilitation, or more radical interventions via medication and surgical procedures etc. )

and if and when continuing those efforts are seen as untenable

5. Rationalize why it makes sense to Colonize/ Penalize/Sterilize/Lobotomize/ Euthanize/ the opposition/ offensive party.

So... be it the left or the right, the net result of argument that forgoes the dialectic process is negation of the opposition. When you are dealing with lifeforms, to do that, is to become inhumane. Given the correct circumstances, most people have it in them, in the form of fight or flight response, particularly when flight isn't an option.

* I want to add Criminalize to the continuum as relates to behaviors of, or interaction with the opposing the party, but it feels a little myopic and is covered in step 5.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Okay

Pretty sure I heard this song at the Blue Note in Columbia Missouri 3 & 1/4 years ago, when everything was okay.  I also remember this guy who bumped into my then girlfriend when walking past us.  He hit her pretty hard, seemingly on purpose, but since I didn't live in town, didn't know the majority of her friends and acquaintances and she didn't say anything, I just let it go cause I never saw the guy again that night.  It was an odd moment in a night about pleasant surprises (Land of Talk opening for for Broken Social Scene, who were they, why are they so good???), obsessions (I surfed blogs for hours finding as many songs as possible by Land of Talk and Apostle of Hustle because National Anthem of Nowhere spoke to my heart), and Catharsis (My ex really got a kick out of the Primal Scream at the end of the show, and later got into Jung, though I would think the two were unrelated).

We talked Sunday for a good long while, as far as I can tell, we were ourselves to one another, but better than we had been.  Relatively friendly, not really too awkward, I think.  It was OK, and that's all it needs to be.  This song on the other hand, is AWESOME.  I obsessed about it that night.  Actually, I got on her nerves because I was so possessed by those songs, that music, how it made me feel.  Melancholy is my business, and I'm on vacation.

Why Don't You Leave Me Standing Alone

This is exactly how I feel right now.  Great song, honest sentiment. Lizz Wright is the truth.  God bless her.


the condition or relation of being a fellow: the fellowship of humankind.
friendly relationship; companionship: the fellowship of father and son.
community of interest, feeling, etc.
communion, as between members of the same church.
This is what we should come to one another in the spirit of, it's the essence of the Greatest Command, the Golden Mean but so many fall short.  I fall short, but I keep trying, and stop when I'm implored to do so.
It is also that incredible song penned by Meshell Ndegeocello and reinterpreted by Lizz Wright on her album of the same name.  Fellowship is a challenge that we are asked to live up to.  I refuse to reject it, but I also choose to recognize when it's not being accepted and operate accordingly.  We gotta keep on movin'.

Long Gone - Dedicated to all the Ex-Girlfriends & Let Downs

I prefer the Album Version of the song, but I can't find a version that doesn't have the Ryan Seacrest Station ID over the chorus on youtube, but you can stream it here by clicking the title.  Save for the bridge of the song where he mentions needing to be saved by the subject of the song, the lyrics are pretty much dead on with how I've felt about Katie for years, and had the luxury of keeping that feeling to myself because life moved on one way or another by the grace of being in separate cities, then states, and definitely different places in our lives.

Sometimes you stand in the divide when you see people you care about trying decide between one way of living, one set of values, and another.  I was that guy 10 years ago, and I have expressed my regret about it ad nauseum, so I know it's old.  Sort of makes me believe in "the Secret" because the inevitable always seems to happen, and I hear from her.  It always come off contrived, and maybe that's because I'm biased to see it a certain way because of our baggage from when we were involved.  I don't think so though.  I think it has more to do with the reality that she only reaches out when she wants, when she isn't preoccupied with someone else or herself.  That sounds judgmental, but it seems her communication is always couched in her being dissatisfied with the relationships she's found herself in since she realized she was no longer attracted to me and unhappy in our relationship, and something else she said she didn't want to tell me because she didn't want to hurt me.  Oh well, I accepted it then, and flaked later, but eventually moved on in my weird way, bridge effectively burned, and dealt with the spiritual implications of that on my own terms.

I've come to expect the periodic reflection, acknowledgment that my sincere affection and devotion to her registered on some level, and that she still has a myopic view of my humanity since that is the only version of me she acknowledges with palpable empathy when circumstances don't provide her with a better option, at least as far as I can tell.  That is pretty much how our Love Affair started anyway back in 2003.  It was the one constant during our break-ups and make-ups.  I don't know if she realizes this though.  Each time she apologizes and extends an olive branch, feeling it's some new gesture of sincere regret, it's just the past repeating itself, her repeating herself, after having learned and grown.  This learning and growth is giving her new perspective perhaps, allowing her to see things differently, adding significance to our circumstances, so she can empathize with me more, and her feeling as such inspires the desire for another apology?

I don't know for certain, and I doubt she'll answer my questions, because I imagine she will always feel defensive and slightly betrayed by my inquisitions.  I respond and she shuts down, confronted with the reality that there is a person here on the other end that she rejected and ignored so she could move on to greener pastures, who warned her that they aren't any greener in reality (and shame to High Fidelity for making people think it was ok to selfishly go back to people they spurned to satisfy their own egos and sense of failure in life, I have always disliked that movie for that reason).  So I'll just cast them into the ether-net. I'll try to be a genuinely honest and kind person, but man this is just the pits.  Same sh*t different day is what it feels like.

The truth is: I wouldn't hear from her if she was satisfied with how she was involved, and I get no satisfaction in knowing she is not, because it has lead her back to me with nothing good to offer, far too many times, other than retroactive appreciation for things I did in the past, and further rejection for how I feel about that now.  She thinks she's grown, and dictates to me as if I haven't, or am not allowed to.  That stems from a lack of mutual conflict resolution.  It's hard to forgive someone who you always feel you never got to share your disappointment and anger with. By conviction we chose to try and do that in a healthy way when we were together, but we didn't, and it turned out to be a garbage relationship with so much distrust and dysfunction.  It really was horrible in the end, and I feel entirely justified saying that it was traumatic and damaging, and there is no justifying it.

I am trying to take the righteous path, praying on it, but not really sure how to best address what at this point is a sad sad thing to endure.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"The Easiest and Hardest Word to Say is No.  It's only got two letters, only takes a second to say it." - Chuck D 1996

No is the answer to so many questions for me, the solution to so many problems.  You have to reject things in life if you want to spare yourself certain indignities and failures.  I know that decreases opportunities, but we don't need every opportunity available us to be successful.  Some paths are just diversions that we massage into learning experiences, of lessons we already knew.

Usually I knew better at times and didn't follow through with my better judgment. 1996-1997 was a year of No, but also a year of weak-willed failure to follow through. 2002-2008 were the great big years of Nos gone ignored.  I regret it; regret not having better ideas than the ones I executed relating to that No.  The No should have started with me, and extended outward to others.

This debate about birth control is another example of a situation where people saying No, and following through would be just as viable a solution to the majority of the perceived problems with funding contraception.  If it's too expensive, have less sex.  Conservation works for people too, not just the wilderness.  If we reduce our consumption, we reduce costs.  All those socially awkward, romantically inept, celibate by circumstance rather than choice, college students don't need to spend their summer earnings on $3000 worth of contraception, or deal with seedy bullies like Rush Limbaugh.  Neither do the sexually active college students who manage to keep the costs low by engaging in it to the extent they can afford it.

This age of credit, indulgence prior to earnings, and a general sense of entitlement has created an "I want everything, as soon as possible" mentality.  Everyone feels they should have access to everything, when they want it, but this is a world that prospers from inequality, and having varying levels of means suggests there should be varying levels of indulgences.  My mom sent me a letter my freshmen year, a few weeks into school, saying something along the lines of "remember that sometimes you have to do without now in order to prosper later".  I googled the phrase to find the quote it was based on, and was confronted with results promoting "Why put off tomorrow what you can do today?" and other statements to that effect.  There were a number of entries that were focused on undermining my mother's advice calling it Martyrism, which I see as an attitude that lines up well with the mentality of an entitled person wrestling with being denied their immediate gratification.  The problem to me is the attitude of entitlement.  If you don't expect to be immediately gratified, you won't feel like a Martyr when you are faced with deferment or rejection. Que sera sera is how it should go, once you've given it a fair go, and reaped zero gain for your efforts.  Think of the serenity prayer.

So much stress and regret/ indignity can be spared if you just nip it in the bud, cut em' off at the pass, and just say No.  Years ago I wrote about things/ habits that are self-perpetuating being traps, parasitic in nature.  These are the things I think of when I think of rejecting things in my life, embracing my need to self-actualize like an infant by learning to say No and then saying it when in my gut I know the end result of something is only an end in itself, and is going to undermine things that are means to an end in my life.  In this case Denial is the first sign of a problem, but the problem isn't what you're in denial of, it's something that ought to be denied (if you are using sound judgment).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Revealing Science of God

I could take that title and go anywhere with it, sort of like the Tree of Life movie.  But I won't.  I have a quick thought.  Last night, I thought in a flash of a thought that I am aging, and from aging comes death, and with it the possibility that I will cease to be.  I don't want to cease to be.  That thought isn't new, it gives me terrors from time to time. I do not want the people I love to cease to be.

If I spin my feelings positively, then my terror is a reflection of how much I value existing.  18 years ago I wrote about how our consciousness is changed by each accumulated thought and experience and we cease to be who we were prior to a moment of learning or a memorable experience.  I still believe this, and that complicates ceasing to be if you don't operate from the viewpoint that there is something intrinsic and eternal (at least in the span of our lifetimes) that makes us who we are.  If there isn't, I am not who I was, and if I forget key things, I will not be who I am anymore.  But will I notice?  I won't be me anymore will I?

Alzheimer's came up on PBS and in conversation with my father this weekend, and memory loss.  This was especially poignant when I found myself thinking about how a person could reverse the emotional damage they suffer via trauma.  People "block it out", selective memory, they forget.  In this way, memory loss is like relief, sort of like the Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.  In some accounts of Heaven that are written about in various faiths, the elect lose all memory of their past selves and lives, are made new and perfect, free to bask in the glory of God.  In that scenario we are stripped of worldly attachments which free our souls to embrace the divine blissfully, with equal appreciation of all souls, not just the exclusivity we apply to the few souls we come to know in our life.  It's an interesting take on things, one that cuts against the grain of our steadfast promotion of individuality and self-actualization in contemporary western culture.

Anyways, thinking of my own mortality, the computational nature of my intelligence and self-awareness, and the threats posed by memory loss or reduction, fell to the wayside when I took a moment to consider the emotional impact of losing those closest to me; my elders, my parents, people I love dearly, and who, by the least of measures, mean more to me simply because they've been in my life longest of all.  I don't ever want to lose them. I just don't.  The thought of losing them has always trumped the thought of my own mortality because this world isn't the world I know and love without them, and that means so much more when I know I didn't understand how and why I should love them through the valley that was my adolescence. As I learned and came around to softening my heart, their health began to falter one by one, threatening their mortality, and magnifying my desire to properly  quantify their significance to my being, what facets of my soul they had touched and shaped.

We are built to remember, and our capacity to transcend the basic biology of our person to record and communicate memory has made humanity progress as we have, above all other factors.  We are not the elite physical specimen on this planet, but we communicate the best, which supplements our intelligence, which reinforces our memory.  If we all forget everything mankind has learned in the last few thousand(s) of years we would be a different race of creature. Sharing knowledge and committing it to memory is essential to how we are made and our designed function.  We were built to learn, remember, and grow.  To undue that process is to destroy ourselves. To lose the agents of those changes in our being is to feel taken apart, destroyed.  Existence is humbling, as it was apparently meant to be.