Sips from My Lemonade: NOMAD

What a time to be alive. . .

When I started the Sips from My Lemonade series, I had no idea how it would eventually end. I just knew it was a “living series” and eventually, it would be no more. Is this the end of it? I can’t really say. . . But if it is, this is the best possible way to end it !

I always wondered what this would look or feel like. How would it taste on the back of my tongue? What types of emotions would be associated with it and if every one of them would be good or if the release would actually trigger something internal that I didn’t want to confront? I’ve never really been able to put my finger on how I thought this would look. I guess some things you have to go through in order to get to what you feel.

I’ve always hoped I would arrive at this time of my life with a full band of theme music musicians following me, a lover on my arm and a hop in my step. Nothing about that daydream came true; there is no live band or lover. I wasn’t the girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I’ve talked about that before in the blog. I was the girl who dreamed of days like this although, I never could quite SEE it.

The last three years of my life have come and gone with a passion for speed and melancholy. I went from the height of planes to underneath the bottoms of shoes in what felt like a split second. Looking back on all of it with my good ole hindsight, it’s so easy to see what it all was. The best part: I always knew it in the back of my head but I love convincing myself that bullshit smells like Jadore so there’s that. I sometimes wonder if I will ever retire some of the feelings that are attached to me in regards to it but then I also wonder if I just have gotten lost on the pathway to forgiveness, therefore stalling the removal of those feelings. I go to therapy twice a month but still, I find myself at times wondering if love was ever present when I wasn’t giving it. And I don’t mean this just for my last relationship, I mean it for all of them. I’ve offered tons of ‘benefits of the doubts’, as well excuses and understanding in the areas I could provide it. I’ve caped and championed for those who have hurt me and have tried to confront every single detail about me that might affect how they treat/respond to me, whether in this blog or in my bedroom talking to myself. But the fact remains that I will never “understand” the minds of those who have trespassed against me and there is no need in attempting it. I give love as authentically as possible and I am always hopeful for its boomerang effect to hit me and knock me over. That hopeful girl with flowers in her two strands and sunshine in her heart has gotten this adult woman in a lot of unnecessary bullshit and it doesn’t smell good.

Things I have been over time:

  • Too trusting.
  • Too hopeful.
  • Too yearning.
  • Too needy.
  • Too damn thirsty for love.

You can’t be these things. You can only appreciate the love that does exist in your life, no matter what the type is (companionship, family, friendships, animals, etc). It’s ok to be intentional about why you allow yourself to love someone else or what you desire in your future and how you will arrive there, but behaving toward love the way I have in these years of my life will leave you with this face:

5.4.17

No one wants that face. I remember sitting up in my bed snapping these pictures because I wanted to remember how he made me look. #ThousandEntendre

This was on May 4, 2017; I began that year with sky-expectations but was relegated to the dirt floors of the basement instead. My ex and I had a bad arguement on New Year’s Day. I remember thinking if that’s how we were starting the year off, that wasn’t a good sign. Within four months, reality would prove me right. And there I was, laying in this bed with this purple shirt that I haven’t worn or seen since my eyes were swollen from an overnight stay at Mourning Inn. But as much grief and hurt as a few people have extended to me in exchange for love, they have always brought me something else. Something more priceless and positive. And this time was no different.

5.4.17

Actually, this time was different while yet being the same. In this space, with this presence of darkness hanging over me like a new halo, I found something that will be part of my legacy forever:

This time, internal hurt brought me to the next level and I didn’t even see it coming. In Robert Kennedy’s Indianapolis speech on the eve of MLK’s assassination, he quoted a poem by a man named Aeschylus. I may have never heard it but after learning this speech for a project this past March, it became part of my memory.

“Even in our sleep/Pain which we cannot forget/Falls drop by drop upon thy heart,

Until, in our own despair,

Against our will

Comes wisdom

Through the awful grace of God” (Aeschylus)

I feel this poem accurately described what took place at the end of April into May 2017 and throughout the rest of the year. It was totally against my will. I did not ‘permit’ or allow this to happen. I only obliged its presence. I wasn’t seeking it as I have in the past. It just showed up with a relentless hold on my waist, at times pressing down on my shoulders, alternating between massaging and lightly caressing. Though at times, breathing seemed like such a chore in the grand scheme of all of the negative thoughts I was having, I still had this ‘wisdom’ approaching me like a mile marker sign, and pouring out of my soul as if all the windows were down as I traveled at 90 MPH.

I realized it early.

So I paused at the first stop light and turned onto a private drive and kept going.

I admit. . . I checked my rearview. OFTEN. I would check it, turn around and go back and abandon the wisdom that was dripping from my fingers as if my fingernail polish had melted. I tried doing both at once and it was impossible so I made a choice: the rearview. I got out the vehicle and went walking back toward the beginning with a stickbag of my belongings.

All Rights Reserved to Getty Images

When I arrived back in the arms of the one who loved me, Xscape wasn’t there singing and the love wasn’t enough to sustain the month-long changes I had undergone. I had to revert back to my car and find both me and that wisdom that had fallen on me despite my repeated attempts at rejecting it. I had to go back for what I abandoned in an effort to have love.

Everything was right where I had left it. The car was still running. The new knowledge sat on the passenger seat as if it had waited on my return. I got behind the wheel. I began driving and playing in wisdom’s hair. And nothing has been the same since. What a journey. What a fucking journey. This was a wander around the married-go-round. A slip down the slide you didn’t mean to climb. A toss into the abyss of hope that landed on the needlepoint of a mountain tall enough to reach the end of a sun ray. Adventures of nomadicy – that’s not a real word but I like it and am will be leaving it there.

So what am I talking about? What’s the big announcement I’ve been hinting at? What have all my ex’s from Texas (well, I just had to say it like that…no one’s from TX) brought me?

Well,

Photo by JusFam Photography

if you follow me on IG, you probably have it figured out already as I have not really been secretive about what’s happening as much as I have just not been outright sharing it. That’s for a multitude of reasons that I won’t go into but basically, I have some incredible news to share and I hope you, the reader, will be permanently excited with me.

This October, I am releasing my first book, a collection of poetry, prose and shorts, entitled NOMAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photo by JusFam Photography

That’s right. Maybe you guessed that already? I mean, what else could it have been right? So, the thing about this book and the story I told just now is that I began writing this book a few days into my breakup last year. They started out as Facebook freewrites until, after reading back over a couple of them, it hit me: I have a book on my hands!! I knew it. I felt it in my soul. Poems were pouring out of me too rapidly to keep up with but every time I felt one coming, I was in front of the laptop. I began being intentional about what I was writing. I posted on FB that I had an upcoming book. I had made flyers alluding to something involving the word NOMAD. Then, I tried to get back w/my ex and in those months we were on/off again, I had abandoned the book, fearing it would cause more issues in an already testy environment. When we broke it off for the final time in December, I b-lined back to my project.

It was March when I bit the bullet and decided that the year had gone too well financially and artistically for me not to begin this process and make this ‘talk’ a reality that I could hold in my hand. So I linked up with a local publisher and got it started. And in the time that I have had to work on this book, I must say I am too proud and even more excited! Is it a book of poetry? Yes, it is. Is that all? NOPE!

I believe this book to be a first-hand look at the onset of a breakup and the year that follows. 90% of the poems were written between 4/27.17 – 4.27.18, which wasn’t planned but ended up being perfect. The name comes from the fact that I have FB posts that date back to 2011 where I called on myself to become a NOMAD. Then, there’s the other part. If you can figure that out, congratulations.

You is kind.

You is smart.

You is important.

Is this book about my last relationship? Yes and no. I’m like the black taylor swift (you will notice I don’t capitalize ypeepoo names I don’t like); when someone breaks my heart, I make art out of them. It’s good for coping!

BUT –

this book isn’t ‘about’ me and my ex. It’s about me. It’s about love. It’s about life. It’s about every ex I’ve ever had. The funny thing about the poems that were coming out after the breakup is how they fit so perfectly with all the men of my past; not just the most recent. But I  give credit where it is due and I may not have gotten the ring I expected from my ex, but I got something better: a book. A novel in sense. A playbook. A guide. Something I hope will speak for, save, change, help/assist, inspire another [black] woman. I really do. I always wondered what it would be like when I prepared to release my first book. While I did release a chapbook, this is actually a book. A real book with so much intentional love packed inside that my chapbook, as proud as I am of it as well, fails to compare to what this is and will be. These poems aren’t meant to highlight me as a great writer but when I looked at what I was writing in the beginning, I just knew it deserved more than to be stored away in a laptop folder.

I have great expectations and high hopes for this project. 

It’s a literal nomadic wander through one year of healing and lessons learned in the process (which will be taken from my blogs). I can’t tell you all about it just yet because it’s simply not the time right now but – trust me when I say you will want to stay on notice for this book. It’s the greatest things I will have ever produced.

And, it has a ONE WOMAN SHOW that is accompanying it entitled “The Stand”. You have no idea how phenomenal this show is going to be. The book is finished. It’s not a process of choosing and writing anymore – we are heading into someone reading my draft and then into the process of production!!!! So it’s not a game. It’s not a joke. It’s more real than even I can believe!

I am currently seeking a choreographer (dance).

If you know any, please send them my way. I also need two dancers. I will compensate for what I am looking for – not seeking handouts. Just a bit of assistance on some things. October seems so far away right now, but time moves so fast these days and what I need them for, we need to get started on asap.

Photo by JusFam Photography

Finally, there is a book soundtrack to go with it! It’s on Spotify under my name and it’s called NOMAD!  It’s all songs that I have listened to during this process and it’s a mixture of people and music styles. It’s anything but predictable. Like the book. Like me. I guess I DO have a band !!!!

My old friend used to tell me that my life would make a great book. While I agreed with her, I could never see how it would happen. I knew how to write but how would I get people interested in MY life? Well, if there’s one thing that life has taught me, it’s that if you kick back and let things happen naturally, you will be amazed how stuff folds together for the greater good of the intentions you’ve set.”

God is incredible.

I can’t wait to share this moment with all of you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course, I’m nervous (AF) and wondering can my stuff hold up to the works of those that I love and admire so much, but hey, it’s not even about that. What’s for me cannot be challenged. I am not an average writer. I’m a dope ass writer. I believe in that. I believe that about myself. And with this book that is coming soon, I offer myself an opportunity to show people what happens when literary poetry marries spoken word and together they birth a blog baby.

Found on IG (via @erickaps)

Welcome to nomaD. Where the theme music is in my head, love lives on my sleeve and I don’t have a hop in my step because there’s too much wind under my wings for me to be on the ground walking!

It’s one helluva a journey, I’ll tell you that much now <3

~J

 

****Oh yeah, I took a picture of me on today so that picture up top won’t be the last photographic look I have #OnThisDay. 

First the Fat Boys Break Up, Now This

I begin this blog with a heavy sigh.

It’s been a hard month in the land of celebrities we love. Several of the people who spit the verses we kick back to and have given us the television we’ve enjoyed have shown their natural asses and proved that it is an unhealthy trait to put celebrities on a pedestal because they are absolute human beings. They do some of the illest human-being shit but often shit that only surprises us because we put them in this ‘light’ or position where we expect (or at the bare minimal hope) them to behave in the most angelic of ways.

But that’s not what reality presents us with now, is it?

First, there was Jay Z and Beyonce, which actually started a few years back with the release of Lemonade. As all of us Jay fans tried to relax and wait for what he would artistically do to redeem his proverbial fall from monogamy’s grace, he hit us with 4:44; a dedication of self-reflection, family, honesty, and empowerment. When he rapped “I’ll fuck up a good thing if you let me/Let me alone Becky” (Family Feud), along with the songs Many Have Faced God and the title track, he gave us the confirmation we’d waited over a year for: that he cheated on Beyonce and Lemonade was a musical biopic of Beyonce’s pain, resilience, and triumph. Jay’s album was so well received by the masses, myself included, that even though we all sent a collective side-eye his way for cheating (like seriously…WHO is she???), we forgave him, as Beyonce clearly has done, and rocked his newest work on vol-max with little trepidation. Were we disappointed? Yeahhhhh, but hey, we survived.

But let’s come closer to today. It’s May 2, 2018, and it’s approximately 4:14 PM as I type. So.Much.Has.Happened!!!!! And I’ m not blogging to talk about it as much as I am to question this insane amount of picked and chosen silence. Let’s take a look shall we:

Kanye West 

I don’t have to regurgitate the bullshit he has strewn all over the press floors that allow him to shuffle his punk ass into their building and begin using his voice but . …. btw, where exactly did this voice derive from? Whatever good his interview w/Charlamagne did him was immediately erased and replaced by his spontaneous trip to the TMZ offices. I can’t even begin to outline the extent of my disappointment at his disparaging remarks that left many of us scratching our heads and hitting rewind just to see if what we think he said was true. Yes, it is true. He said slavery was a choice. He said black folks don’t care about black on black crime. He said he loves trump and that’s his brother…BRO! And I again want to point out this new slaves voice he’s using. I can’t sit through an entire interview while he uses it.

It’s not about his right to ‘free thought’.It’s his approach, his tactics, his voice (whose voice IS this????!!!!)….it’s who he’s aligning himself with and how he even got to that point to begin with. I could care less why he’s mad at Jay Z; I want to know what happened to the Ye that “Never Let Me Down.”

“Racism still alive, they just be concealing it”

~Kanye, College Dropout

Something I felt particularly disturbing about the TMZ interview was when he suggested being afraid that the young black man that read his ass to filth was going to try to fight him.

“So if I come over there, you’re not gonna fight me?”

If this ain’t fresh out of a cigarette pack of white tears, I’m unsure what is. This disturbed me on a level that let me know, not only is Ye not really trolling us (he is a little but not to this extent), but he really has gotten lost in the sauce of rich, white influences, Hollywood and seemingly an unnamed cult of trump supporters. It’s disturbing. It was disheartening to see our Ye treat another black man like he’s fearful of him while conveniently aligning himself with donald trump who happens to believe that police should do more in the realm of “roughing up” the suspects [who, when black, they fear].

That small clip worked my spirit. But what I noticed, that conflicted me emotionally, is a massive amount of celebrity support for Ye. John Legend called him to check on him and offer him a new perspective. T.I. stepped in and even recorded a song with him. Charlamagne interviewed him. Thousands of fans are still lining up for support of his free thought and of course, his wife supports him. In a sense, I love it. I love that people didn’t just jump at throwing him away; that folks like John Legend and T.I. (his friends) stepped in to talk to him – that’s the society I want to live. A place where we don’t just toss people to the side even when they need to be. It’s funny how folks are swearing he has a mental illness but in the same breathe want to throw him away. To me, that’s contradictory. But I digress with a question:

Where was this love, support, and respect for Chrisette Michele,

who not only issued a public apology but spent time at The Breakfast Club explaining her ”bad decision”, the aftermath, her suicidal thoughts, and where she stands with it all today.

There was no love offered her way or even a public display of apology acceptance. The so-called black delegates traded her and there’s nothing we can do about it huh? I posted the video from her Breakfast Club interview and stated that we need to stop throwing people away. I felt for her as I listened to her speak about experiencing a miscarriage then reading the comments to see how many people said she deserved it or offered her no empathy whatsoever. I had four likes. Meanwhile, the capes for Kanye are selling off the shelves.

But there’s something else. There’s an apparent media blackout on Nas & Fabulous. Two more of our beloved hip-hop celebrities who have fallen from grace, both due to domestic violence allegations. Kelis accuses Nas of being a heavy drinker and abusive to her over the course of their marriage. Emily B. accused Fabulous of punching out her front teeth. Then, of course, there’s the video of him threatening her father, holding some type of knife-looking weapon and slow-charging toward Emily. You know what people say when they see that video?

“We don’t know the full story.”

“They were together at Coachella.”

It’s disheartening AF. What does it take to make the voices of black women a priority worth listening to? I listen to Joe Budden and a ton of other podcasts and have heard plenty of excuses as to why these two aren’t being reported on. Charlamagne even went so far as to suggest that women come out with some sort of statement because Fab and Emily were seen together in Cali. THE FUCK? He suggested an apology until he realized how stupid it sounded. Few, if any, have mentioned Nas. Is it because it’s old? Or because it’s Kelis, someone the industry hasn’t always taken very kindly to? What’s the reasoning behind the silence on the abuse allegations against some of our hip-hop favorites while simultaneously flying across the air in a pair of Yeezy sneakers, YeCape blazing in the wind?

I know.

It’s been a hard month. We can’t lose everyone at once, right?

Some of our favorites have disappointed us with actions that don’t reflect the head bobs we enjoy at the expense of their music. It’s hard to put a thought to our beloved Nas, the mastermind behind “If I Ruled the World” and Illmatic in general, being drunk out of his mind and abusing Kelis in halls of a Calabasas home. I get it. The same for Fabulous. We’ve watched him grow from a crooked tooth young cat to a reserved elder in the game and it’s not easy watching him look like the accusations made against him might be true. Still, they both get a pass of silent non-judgment. If Emily stayed with him, it must not be true. He must not be so wild and uncontrollable that he would dare knock her front teeth out and threaten her father (without a valid reason…lol). And Kelis is a wild-card that was releasing ‘crazy’ music until she got with Nas so she must have hit him first right? It’s been nine years so what difference does it make now? She stayed so it must not be true…right?

Kanye West is trending across all social media platforms as well as YouTube, meanwhile, Fabulous and Nas don’t even have to publicly address their situations and none of their industry friends are talking about it. Its likely that if these things did happen, the very people that aren’t talking also aren’t surprised. No interventions are being staged and there are no stand-up guys that are trying to talk some sense in them. It’s just silent.

Who would these people be if they were not famous? Fame doesn’t change the soul of their personality. So if they weren’t in the public eye, who would they be? What was their environment growing up and how did they see women treated? How were they taught to show love? Celebrity status doesn’t erase any of these things, it only magnifies the mistakes of them, so I ask again, who would they be if we didn’t know their names? I ask this because I wonder why it’s so impossible to believe that they would do the things they are accused of? Because we love One Mic and still think Breathin’ goes hard? According to https://ncadv.org/statistics, 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of domestic violence while 1 in 4 has been a victim of severe domestic abuse. With stats like these, I ask one final time, why is it so hard to believe they did it? Listen to that video of Kelis and convince me that she’s making all of that up. Why isn’t there more outrage? How does it not rank as dangerous and important to address as Kanye? Finally, why aren’t the men of hip-hop flocking to the phone lines, twitter pages and studios of these brothers to talk to them and help them heal their demons (so as to protect other women from experiencing such harm), as is the situation with Kanye? If the Nicki Minaj is dating Nas, why ain’t Drake asking him “what’s good?!”

BTW, Russell Simmons stands with pulling Kanye to the side and trying to save him.

R. Kelly. Nelly. Too Short.

I’m not saying these men are guilty at all. Well, we know R. Kelly is guilty as fuck but the rape allegations against Too Short & Nelly have either been dropped or stalled so I will stress these are alleged accusations. However, I can’t help but notice that when it comes to harmful acts against black women, there is collective silence and/or the assumption that she is lying until she proves she’s not. Anything she does that seemingly condones the harm done to her invalidates her claims so Emily B. showing up to Coachella with Fabulous makes him not guilty in the eyes of the same public court that is outraged about Kanye’s slavery comments.

I’m outraged by his comments…and by this weird all-white college frat-kid voice he’s talking in. But his explanation of why he said that didn’t change what he said or how it made people feel. So why does Emily B. showing up with Fabolous or Kelis staying with Nas make their claims invalid?

I love being black. It’s no secret and we all know that much. But who would we be without women? Why is it when acts of brutality are committed against us it spawns no outrage? No memes calling for boycotts. No suggestions of removing support of the accused; nothing more than a brief appearance on theshaderoom.

Interesting concept.

It’s been a heavy few months. Quite frankly, it’s been a heavy few years. We’ve either lost some of the greatest performers that ever lived or we have been let down by their private antics in epic proportions. It’s hard. I still love Your Body’s Calling Me by R. Kelly but I refuse to listen to it. REFUSE. My ears can handle the loss and there is a world of music out here to replace it. The same with Kanye. No, I won’t find another Kanye, but I don’t have to listen to this one. I may still reminisce over old Spaceships and walks with Jesus, but this new Ye, new voice and all, can kiss my black ass. The same with Nas. The same with Fabolous. I may be one of few, but I’m paying attention to more than the moment. And some of what I see really makes me sad. But I will tell you what:

The black race can’t be more important than the black women that populate it.

And saving Kanye, who has clearly abandoned his black pride, shouldn’t be greater than saving someone’s life.

Man it’s been rough.

As Bony T said in Boomerang: “First the Fat Boys break up, now this. Nothing to believe in . . . “

~J

Doves, Love & A Glove Made of Silver Sequins

Doves.

1983: It was the Motown 25th Anniversary special and Michael Jackson had set the world on fire with his moonwalk. It was the talk everywhere from television to radio to random conversations in households full of fans. His music had long been playing in the house I grew up in so he was no stranger to me. But at four years old, I wasn’t able to fully grasp the importance of music or Michael Jackson. Thriller was released the year prior and the yearly Halloween repeats of the movie-video was starting to make its way into my tangible memory file. It took a bit of time and conscious aging but before long, I was in love with and heavily crushing on Michael Jackson.

1985. Prince was coming to Market Square Arena, the same place that I would graduate at 12 years later. I was too young to attend a concert of any kind, much less a Prince concert, but I was just old enough to know that I would be missing out. Instead, I was taken to LS Ayres where my disappointment was covered with a pair of purple rain galoshes, a latex purple raincoat and a purple umbrella that I carried until it stopped protecting me from the rain, no matter the color. These items certainly didn’t take the place of me missing Prince, the cute guy with the weightless curls that I had my second major kiddie crush on, but they helped in some space-age like way to bring me closer to him.

That same year (and beyond), my best friend and I could be found in my bedroom in front of my silver boombox recording ourselves singing. We would sing at the top of our lungs with confidence and fearlessness of each other and anyone who may have been listening. Whitney Houston’s The Greatest Love of All was our favorite song to play and record. If I recall right, we would alternate verses and it seemed like only one of us knew the second one verbatim. We’d come together for chorus, but it was that last set of 16s that Whitney belted over the music:

“…And if by chance that special place/That you’ve been dreaming of/Leads you to a lonely place/Find your strength in love.”

Man. If she was reading this blog right now, Shakira (friend) would probably start cracking up because she too can vividly recall us fighting our lungs to hold that last note, on key, in front of the silver boombox. Did we listen to ourselves when we were done? OF COURSE, WE DID!!!! We didn’t sound anything like Whitney, but we sang The Greatest Love of all at every opportunity we got. I wonder if my mom still has those tapes secretly stashed in a home edition of a time capsule. We were absolutely too young to fully grasp the thick molasses that poured slowly from those lyrics, but what a hell of a song for two young black girls to grow up singing!  

I’m not sure what age music made its way into my life. It was always playing as I can recall and if I were a singer, I would probably have one of those stories that goes something like, “well my mom used to play records all day….”  I’ve always had a strong affinity for the sounds that instruments make and the vocals that exist inside of the throats of people we turn into celebrities. Prince, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson all played vital roles in my love of music. They defined the 80s for me musically. They gave me the soundtracks that I wanted to sing along to, dance to, lip sync to or put on when I had no idea what I felt. I was 10 years old at the end of the 80s and by then, I had indulged in crushes on Michael Jackson (and considered the Billie Jean video one of my favorites because of the how the ground lit up when he walked), as well as Prince, who I couldn’t see anyone being more FIONE than.

His ruffled shirts, excessive love of purple and tiers of black curly hair aroused my youthful crushosity (crush + curiosity) and simply put, I adored him. Also, by 1989, I had come to love Whitney Houston with similar devotion. I’d sing ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go’ to myself as if I knew a thing about broken heart but over time, I would come to find that song as a legit question in my life. I had danced all over somebody and played in wigs with long, golden curly hair because of the I Wanna Dance With Somebody video. What can I say; I guess I just had a thing for Jheri curls or anything that looked like one!

This trio of black excellence, Prince, Whitney & Michael, were the Doves of entertainment. They flew in and gave us songs unlike anything we’d ever witnessed or heard before; they built an Era of Music that is still unprecedented. Each of them has been heavily sampled over the years and it doesn’t matter whether one is a rapper or a country singer – they created music that transcended race, gender, and genre. They were geniuses; three African American musical geniuses, each who chiseled their own unique lane to prevail in yet unafraid to coexist together. Whenever you saw them together it was like halos were hanging over their heads and glitter speckles christened the television. It made you joyful because you wanted to believe that these three incredible musicians might actually break bread together sometimes.

Or maybe that was just me.

Maybe they were just my doves. Three frequent flyers that soared above expectations, dreams and reality and as a result became the most entertaining, talented musicians on the face of the Earth. Yeah.I.Said.It. Adore was one of the first love songs that I fell in love with and MJ’s Bad album stayed in heavy rotation well into the 90s. Whitney had a voice that was unheard of. The notes she touched transitioned with ease and tranquility.

I put them over the Beatles and Elton John and Eric Clapton and Elvis Presley and whatever other white musical counterparts that were called into question as possibly being better artists than Prince, Whitney or Michael. The arguments are out there and there is always someone being touted as “the next Whitney/Prince/MJ” and I’m not here for them. As an unofficial trio, they each gave us something different: Prince was the composer of music, Michael Jackson could defy gravity with his dancing and Whitney was the voice of all voices. Separately, they were still Doves of feather, representing three different styles of black music (that transitioned into universal music of course but I’m black so I’m laying claim to them, their music and this blog. Blackity black black, if you don’t like it, leave because you’re too wack).

They had three different attitudes and styles yet collectively, they gave something everyone wanted: outstanding music. There is a silence over stereos now. Sure we can always replay and rewatch videos and interviews, but the eerie calm doesn’t change; they are gone forever and the silence of the future is arresting. We’d rather they be here NOT creating and touring rather than be physically gone for good. Maybe THIS is what it sounds like when Doves fly. And now that I think about it, it is. The last time I watched Doves fly was at a funeral and not a word was spoken or a song sang. It was part sadness, part awe.

Prince, Whitney & Michael left us in the same type of awe you have when watching the cage door open and out ascends the doves. We watch until we no longer see their flight. We trust that they are safe wherever they have flown and we hope that if by chance a feather falls, we are there to catch it and save it. ”

Love. 

As I type this blog, I realize that although I love Prince, Whitney and Michael with an intense music fueled passion, I am by far not their biggest fan. I know some huge fans of all three of these people and I do not quite qualify for that position. I know folks who have visited Paisley Park in the flesh and people who have rooms adorned with Michael Jackson memorabilia. There are fans of Whitney who would damn near fight you if you dared speaketh ill of the Queens and folks who can name every Prince album ever released along with the track-listing. And I’m not mad at them for it! But that’s certainly not me. I couldn’t even be found watching old videos of them after their passing for MONTHS. There are people who have seen every show, folks who have ticket stubs still and then there is me: you hardly ‘heard’ about my adoration of these individuals but mannnnn was it in full effect (and still is). My love for all three of these incredibly talented artists is weightless. It is bound to nothing human and it holds no limits. I didn’t love them in towels full of sweat thrown during live concerts or on the pages of the National Enquirer. My love didn’t take into account what their chart number was or how many singles were considered hits. I loved them with pride and ease. I would have likely cried without control had I met them in real life, but my love wasn’t contingent upon their knowledge of my existence. I loved them as if I knew they loved me. Like they were the muse of that old saying we’ve all heard a thousand times:

“IF you love something let it go. If it comes back to you, it was yours to keep, if not…”

Yeah man. I loved them freely. I stayed away from ‘fanning’ them and just appreciated and adored who they were from my viewpoint. I accepted what THEY (not to be confused with tabloids, ‘sources’, etc) gave me and I tried not to take more than their wishes. A robotically signed autograph handed to me in a crowd of faces would have never sufficed for me. It would have lessened the symbolic, subconscious relationship that I shared with them through their music.

Prince let me love music. He gave me a distinct voice with a steadily driven falsetto along with an undefeated array of lyrical content. He showed me a man and a lover. A husband and father. A socially aware seeker of justice. A composer. He taught me how to appreciate length in a great song. How not to cut something off that you know is good because that’s what anyone else would do. He went against the status quo and won. And I loved him the way he allowed me to. Whitney gave me a persona. A ‘what I’m supposed to be’ first meeting but I came to know that she longed for personal space. She left notes that were unparalleled to my ears. Songs that could never be remade (although they will and have been). She represented herself well, even when others thought she didn’t. She showed me that sometimes, you smile when everything is breaking. I loved her. The real her and the faux one. These sentences are fragmented, as was our love. It took a while to get to know her, but who she was, was still stunning to me. And MJ. He gave the art of performance. Michael broke the internet before it was a thing. He broke into our televisions at 8pm, on specific channels and interrupted programming with video movies before they were a thing. He represented invention. Fearlessness. And pain behind the mask. He made me dance and try my failure at moonwalking. That’s all he wanted me to have and I never needed more from him. I’ve seen none of these greats in concert and interestingly enough, never really wanted to although I really wish I had have gone and seen Prince the last time he came. I didn’t have posters on the wall and StanFan books full of facts about their life. I didn’t need to know who they were dating, where they were seen grocery shopping or what type of clothes they wore to rehearsal. I loved them through the speakers on the radio and TV. There is not a single year of my life that has gone by that did not include listening to and often times dancing to their songs. Let’s think on that for a second. I’m in my higher 30s. (lol) I don’t know what age I started making memorable memories, but we can start from 1985. I was six years old and I still remember shopping for those galoshes, raincoat, and umbrella. So from at least 1985 (and possibly longer by proxy), an entire year has not gone by that did not include me listening to Prince, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. There have been years that I didn’t hear a single song by Brandy. The same can be said with Maxwell, Outkast, and Kings of Leon, all people I love listening to. But I grew up listening to them; I didn’t grow up ON them. Prince, Whitney, and Michael were all getting mad rotation in the house before I was born. They are icons, not just in music history, but in my life. They were iconic representations of my people and through their music I was able to hear them cry and laugh, scream and chant and for those reasons, I began to fall in love.

I became vulnerable for them. I christened them immortal beings although no one is. I set it in my mind that they would always be here to make me love them in the physical. Never a day came when I thought my love would take on the daunting task of mourning of three people whom I never met. This is a hard blog to write. There is much to say and much that goes without saying. This love that I possess that even still today is just as rich in its river flow and thick in its African roots deserves to be verbalized. Not just for myself but for Curt, who was one of the biggest Prince fans I’ve ever met along with Rhonda. This is for Felicia who never let go of her MJ crush and Damon who is one of the few people I know that owns Whitney’s Welcome Home Heroes concert DVD. This is for Lianne La Havas, LIV Warfield who were brought to us by the likes of Prince. This is for the Ushers & Chris Browns, who will never share the stage with these icons again. This is for Bobbie Kristina (RIP) and the person who discovered each one of these mortal beings in their final rest. And for the locals all over the country who seek Hollywood fame and fortune. This blog is for Love. And for the loss of our greats, and the silence of a musical era.

This is for Prince Rogers Nelson. Whitney Elizabeth Houston. And Michael Joseph Jackson.

“Everybody’s searching for a hero

People need someone to look up to

I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs

 

A lonely place to be

And so I learned to depend on me”

 

 

~WH, The Greatest Love of All

A Glove Made of Silver Sequins:

It was finally released that our beloved Prince died as a result of an opiate overdose. The collection of broken hearts around the world that had waited on these results with stalled breath can be heard crashing like kitchen dishes hitting the floor in unison. Mine was included. We had high hopes although the truth is we probably knew the answer more than we had hoped a different outcome. We’ve been told this story before. We’ve watched it play out over the news stations with hundreds of other famous entertainers, but the fact that a ‘drug overdose’ has now swallowed Prince, after swallowing both Whitney and Michael, is just as disturbing as the results. It’s a tiring scenario that won’t end with our precious trio, but most definitely put the nail in the coffin of an illustrious generation of music.

Do we work them too hard? Ask too much of them? Once they artists have made their way into our hearts and lives, do we put too much expectation of them to deliver us solid performances, albums, and singles, as well as dish the latest details of their personal lives to us so that we may know them better? Is that fair? I’m not asking for Prince. He found his way into turning it all off. He forced it upon his fans. He made you love him from afar and only gave what he wanted to. I respected him greatly for that and have never understood how being an entertainer somehow means you right to privacy. I’m not asking for Michael or for Whitney. They both struggled with the limelight and we all knew it. We saw it! If we ever had doubts that their fame was at times too intrusive and too untrustworthy, all one needs to do is Google a picture of MJ and his kids, covered head to toe like gypsies. Or pull up a YouTube clip of Whitney on Being Bobby Brown. They voluntarily give us what we need in the form of music and in turn, too often, we take from them until there is nothing left but a casket and a memorial clip during the Grammys.

The silver glove eventually came off. Michael stopped wearing it. The gimmick of it had died down to HIM. He’d survived his father, being in a group-turned-solo, a fire, allegations abundant, tabloid harrassment, relationship speculations, sexuality questions….the list goes on. When he passed, he was about to embark on this comeback This Is It tour. Whitney turned away from the microphone and stopped performing and when she returned, her voice was a bit different; perhaps from years of drug use. She was met with harsh criticism because the Whitney folks remembered was different. No one sought to help but everyone had an opinion on what and why. She had just sung with Kelly Price two days before her demise. Prince was also on tour.

Drugs. Some prescription, some street, some prescription but not prescribed; each one took something from us that we’ll never get back. They plucked our doves right out of the nest and sent them away. In his 50s, Prince danced and hopped around stages like it was 1985 and we were still debating on what the 99’ party would actually look like. I can’t begin to imagine the pain OR the push to deliver excellence. Whitney had to know her voice had changed…she knew what the cause was. But her passion was never dead. And her last note was a song to her Savior. We all know her happiness was waning. Michael looked frail and sick. His body looked tired, but much like Prince, he was a stickler for perfection and had a devastatinglyDOPE tour planned show-wise. Were they searching for a hero by way of entertaining? Had they experienced the greatest love of all in their time as Earthlings? 

Goodness…..were they lonely?????

And then there was silence.

When I found out that Prince passed, I was standing at a food truck waiting on my food. I had tears in my eyes as I grabbed my food and when I made it back to my truck, I broke down crying like never before. I cried all the way back to work. I cried in the parking lot of my job so hard that one the employees walked over to my truck to see if I was ok. I waved him off and wondered how he wasn’t ravaged with grief like me. I grieved Prince, the immortal as I put him. I grieved the 80s. The music, the party songs and dance tracks and the love ballads and social justice grooves. Honestly, as crazy as it may sound, a part of me died too. Music and I have a long history of having each other’s back. When Prince died, I felt like music left me hanging. Oddly enough, a part of me feels free. I’ll never receive the news that the iconic three that ushered me through the 80s and the rest of my life have passed away. That ship has sailed. It will never be a shock again. Of course, more celebrities that I like will move on up yonder’, but they won’t be Prince, Whitney or Michael.

They won’t give us 20-minute music that we will still want more of and they won’t question the sound of the dove’s cry. 

They won’t promise to always love us and they won’t tell us to shut up when necessary. 

They won’t ever question the Man in the Mirror like Michael and they won’t don a single glove made of silver sequins.

It’s done and over with. The 80s. This particular cycle of song and dance. The discovery and the funerals; the toxicology reports, and faux-fan sadness.

But I wonder….will it ever be believable?

An era of music has gone silent. The doves have been seen flying.

Turn your radios up.

 

WOMAN: Wild Cookie Inspired: BFDs

hqdefaultThe first track on WOMAN is a poem spoken by Jill Scott over a kickback melody about the Wild Cookie AKA the vagina.
The coochie.
The monkey.
Snatch.
Pussy.
Down Below.
Down there.
Cheetah Surprise (I just made that up).

It’s got a lot of names but rarely do we ever hear a song (or poem) talking directly to and about that horny little creature of nature that will control your relationships if you don’t control it first. When I started listening to Wild Cookie after returning from Ohio, that’s where the embarrassement came in. Imagine if I heard (or LISTENED to) it before I arrived in Cincinnati to end a great beginning. I mean, if everything happens for a reason, then technically I needed to see him and subsequently fuck up in order to appreciate Wild Cookie for the lyrics it possesses.

Wild Cookie.
Smh. …..It’s not like I’ve been out here passing out the wild cookie because I haven’t. But this time, this pass, this End Deal really did me in. The dick was good. It was. I won’t act like I ain’t want it because I totally 100% DID. But I wanted my cake and eat it too. I wanted the man and the dick. The start and not the finisher. And all I ended up with was a fist full of broken rocks. I can’t ever do that again.

I don’t have it in me.
I don’t have anything left to dish out except the woman I am. I don’t have anything left in ME to hurt myself with, yet I know that if given a chance to, I will hurt myself again through another person. It’s like being a cutter.

My Wild Cookie is the cutter and I keep slicing lines across my skin, trying to break it open and relieve the fear of all things with a temporary feel good fix that won’t last long enough for me to remember I was pain free. Wild Cookie.

This is what the song Wild Cookie is about. Not letting your pussy get the best of you and control your life. Not being strung out on dick. Or thinking that a dick is the key to the heart. I admit, I don’t know the quickest way to a man’s heart (it’s not his stomach), but I do know the easiest way to take it off the table is letting him get that Wild Cookie before it’s time.

Yesterday,
to the thoughts of Wild Cookie, I write my newest poem. I hardly write poetry as often as I used to and definitely not as effortlessly. But yesterday, in the new sitting area of my bedroom, I penned my version of Wild Cookie, as seen by my eyes but felt by Jill Scott’s words first:

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BFDs

Fucking you would be a disservice to us both
And we both know better
Or at least, we SHOULD know better
Fucking you,
Would lead to unexpected expectations
Call …waiting
Waiting to call
To text
To see what’s next, what’s left after the smoke of moan signals and soul mixing disintegrates into the air,
I would lose control
I admit to that
Fucking you ain’t gonna be no kick back, I might start to over think some shit and come up with sudden questions,
See I’m safe guarded and fucking you is gonna rattle my alarm system
I need to know where your head’s at and I don’t mean the flick of you tongue, I need to get head sprung off the genuine in you like an LL Cool J for januarie song
Us
I need to know about what us, what is us, what are we doing, these shouldn’t even be questions because I need a man old enough to know how to act in his confessions to the truth about everything,
Fucking you is just going to confuse these,
End these things
Chase is over our flames like water pouring rain on our campfire … dammit I learned from the last time,
I said, dammit I learned from the last time,
Fucked up some good shit for the last time by fucking a nigga the last time, turning a man into a dick, bruised his scorpion ego a lil bit,
A miles apart Richard
And now I keep picturing how a beautiful start turned into a Jekyll and Hyde ending
Because he’s still jekyling around in me, hiding
He deposited petty cash of his memory on my stomach
Hashtag Soul ties
It will be another six months before I’ve finished excreting our physical compensation for the work we put in
And I’ve already been forgotten by him, brushed off by him and flushed off by him…
I’ve started praying anytime my mind can’t refrain from replaying the top ten mistakes I made,
I can’t lay in another bed like this, because I made this shit and now I must cuddle up with this King and love it…
A solo mattress affair
Party of one, a mere three weeks ago I was laid up in arms I thought tasted like protection
The irony of his black out curtains and the fact that all I remember is his orgasm and not mine
Damn you Ciroc and bad decisions … .BFDs. Bad Fucking Decisions.
Fucking you would be a BFD to us both,
An insult to our potential and an assault on our time clocks,
We are dying with each breath we take and I’d rather not take big heaping ones from the entry of your penis before your penetrated my life
In general…no more wasted time….make me know I’m not an option on a cross contaminated plate,
Rather I am the muse of every slow song on the radio during our car rides, it is my face, riding the tip of your erected anticipations,
I am the liaison, the reason you take selfies in the mirror at the gym,
I’m the like, the love, the one, the right, the up, the guide, the blind in your sight and the sight in your blind,
Fucking you would be a disservice to every place our minds could go to complete each other’s unstructured sentences,
I can be your subject
And you can be my predicate
And we can plant kisses on paper as if we the ink in words
Like we the definition in words
Like we words….the creation of words, the calling out of random words,
Do rae me fa so la ti do jahraymecofasola, jill scott,
When we can make love like we complimentary words of each other, neo soul song loving, love jones ending – new beginning, learning and loving each other like we sinning with perfect strikes
Adverbs and actions and shit,
Matter a fact, you don’t even have to want that shit,
Just step out of the way of the man who does ….
Cause that’s the one I want to keep close
I don’t want your ignored calls
Or my confused feelings

And that’s why fucking you would be a disservice to us both.

wild cookie 2

~januarie York

WOMAN: Expect(ed)Growth Serum

Jill Scott
WOMAN
Starting 8.23.2015

woman jill scott

I started listening to this album in lyric form (meaning no longer just ‘jamming to the groove of the infectious JS and anything she sings) while cleaning up over the weekend. The irony of this album is how little I played it, but played it nonetheless, on the way to Cincinnati to meet a special someone. The songs and lyrics resonate unexpectedly well. As I took in different lyrics, I found myself wondering about the wonderfilled world of Ms. Jill Scott. She is only a handful of years older than me; is it possible that these feelings she is singing about were recent emotions? I haven’t read the full liner notes, so I am not currently aware of which songs she wrote, but I think I will research this information. Could Jill Scott REALLY have found herself experiencing some of the same shit that spawns from foolish actions while in pursuit of love…just like me? The lyrics stacked on top of each other and began telling her story in my eyes and my life. I started listening more intently.
From the beginning of the album until the end of the second bonus track, I have let this CD repeat and play and strum my pain with the delicate fingers of the soulful JS. I had a thought. Maybe I shouldn’t just let this be a good cd! Light of the Sun (Scott’s last release in 2011) was a good CD. There were several songs I LOVED from that release, but the album didn’t ‘resonate’ with me in nearly the same manner as the predecessor ‘The Real Thing: Words & Sounds’. For me, it was one of those ‘it’s got some good stuff but I love it more because I am a fan’ albums. This new body of work, WOMAN, is not that. WOMAN eats me alive and spits me back out in the mirror to look at my digested self. In listening to and learning the words that I am singing along with, I can’t help but face these lyrics on myself. It’s too close to home. It lessened the sting I’ve been feeling; like along came a bumble bee and stung me in my eyes. I’ve been embarrassed with myself. My most recent blog almost became a ‘draft’ and disappeared. The oldest readers know I will deactivate any blog at any moment that I feel like I’ve gone too far and too vulnerable. But I left it up because it was my truth. It was a PMS-laced emotional rant but it was MY rant and MY truth in that moment. So I left it to be. But I’ve been embarrassed at many aspects of this last scary-go-clown ride.
I mean….i’m too old. I should know better. I DO know better and this blog is proof of what I know…..but i looooooove me some La Douleur Exquise to the fullest extent I guess…….

Actually, embarrassed is a simple word for a multitude of conflicting emotions from ‘dammit kendria’ to ‘fuck that nigga’ to ‘I can’t trust myself’. Of course I’ve thought of a 101 different things to have done differently and even more things to have said. But hindsight is for after thoughts. I’m so much better when I have time to think.

It’s the same with music…..
I take in lyrics differently when I have time to absorb them. As I listened and cleaned and danced around, I felt Jill’s voice take me into orbit with the ghost of love’s past plus the woman of the present. I started reflecting and evaluating myself with some of the songs and noticed my parallels and missteps; not with just the last encounter, but in general.

INCOMING EPIPHANY: I dumb myself down when in an affect mood. I am a confident woman when I am single; when I am being pursued (or when I have foolishly pursued), that confidence goes out the window. Some of the songs on this album brought that to light for me. I”m sure I’ve said this in so many words in previous blogs, but it never presented itself to me as lack of confidence. I don’t know what I’ve ever thought it to be other than lack of confidence. I mean, I always feel confident. I AM confident….until I become involved in ‘like’.

Something happens then. Idk why but suddenly, I don’t feel as confident (but this is a subconscious thought). I don’t trust my questions (I will think they are stupid), I don’t carry the conversations well (I don’t like my voice), I put my passions in the mouse hole and quiet them because why would he need to know anything beyond the facts. Yes, I write. The end. Yes, I model sometimes. The End. Yes, I am a blogger for the oldest running black newspaper in the country. So what. I accept that men aren’t interested in that part of me when in reality, if a man is NOT interested in these amazing accomplishments, then he isn’t interested in ME. This IS me. I AM a writer, an artist, a model, a blogger, an events planner. I literally call my life into existence and so it becomes….I have an amazing amount of power in my hands yet when I start dating around, I subconsciously think and behave as if none of this is my truth. As if I can’t read and am strung out on meth, therefore I should be GLAD to get anyone’s attention. I can honestly say, I’ve met no one interested in my artistic side unless I was kicking it with another artist, who if I recall right, the artist(s) that I have spent time with were still uninterested in ME as an artist or writer; they love talking about themselves. #YeahISaidIt But for what I can recall, no one I have met, dated, fucked, kicked it with, talked to or otherwise communicated with was interested in januarie York. And so, I pretend that this is ok. A great deal of my confidence comes from januarie tho. SHE knows. SHE is the smart one. The QUEEN. The Royal. The empress. I’m still trying to catch up with her or so it seems. Idk how this could be when we are one in the same body and mind. o.O But it’s her that gives me such life and reminders of all the great possibilities of me, my goals and my hopes for the future. But when she fails to generate an interest, I seemingly ask her to step aside and let the insecure me take over. And then, nothing happens except a bomb blowing up in my face like a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

30mrd6u

I can’t believe that I’ve never really paid attention to how my confidence in myself as an interesting woman capable of holding a King’s attention makes a mad dash towards the Get Behind Me Satan line. It virtually disappears. This disappearance creates a rift within me that communicates to my brain that I NEED to do something ‘impressive’. I need to say something impressive or dance a jig. Something about me says “I AM NOT enough” once I get involved with someone.

So I’ve decided to use this album to elevate me. Recently, I’ve been trying to think of ways to help elevate me as a black woman overall. I’ve tried to think of powerful black women with relatable testimonies to research and read. I’ve wondered how could I get closer to God, FOR REAL. Who could I listen to? What am I doing actively that is preventing my elevation? How can I get to the next step? With as few mistakes as possible?

As I was listening to WOMAN, some of these questions were answered. At least as ONE option. One of my instant favorite songs on the album is this track called ‘Say Thank You’. The beat is SICK. Just SICK!!!!! When I started taking in the lyrics, I realized it’s actually a spiritual song. I was sweeping the floors when the thought of ‘secular’ music came to mind and whether or not I can hear, see or find God in places that it is suggested I stay away from. How dare I spiritually jam and connect with God on a song by Jill Scott? But I did. The lyrics opened up some type of awareness in me. Am I on my knees? Are my hands together? Is my head to the clouds? Do I say thank you more than I say help me? So many questions from sweeping the hardwood floors and listening to Jill Scott. But this helped solidify this blog series. This reaction happened every time I listened to it after I started taking in the lyrics.
I want to go listen now.

So I will wrap this introduction up. I would like to welcome you to a series within #AMuseD….WOMAN is an album about being a woman (duh), growth, love, self respect, God and faith. In order to meet this alleged person that is somewhere out there in the world waiting to meet me I need these things in abundance and this last experience proves that point. I still have growing to do. And realizing that I become a complete opposite of myself security-wise when I date is a big fucking deal. It has to stop. Stopping that means opening myself up to exactly what I want vs. accepting what is given. So using this album, I am going to challenge the importance of music. By now you have noticed that most blogs are accompanied by a ‘Blogtrack’ with lyrics that go with it. For the next couple of weeks, I will be blogging using each one of the songs on Jill Scott’s WOMAN album. It will be one part song-interpretation, one part life growth and interpretation. If I happen to meet someone, it should be interesting to see if this album can help to remind me of who I am through the process. Isn’t that what we love about music? It’s ability to create a story or tell our lives and current situations with a head bobbing melody?

Welp….this is where I am with it. I don’t even know if it makes sense, but just tag along. I’m gonna keep a low profile otherwise. I need to hear. I need to listen. I think that was a question Jill Scott even asked on one of the songs. It’s like she was a neo-soul preacher for my artistic in-need-of-God heart. I’ve been talking too much. I’ve been talking over my own voice. I have the expertise and the experience yet I get out here in the wild and become a novice in the belly of the beast. It’s no wonder I get eaten alive. The loneliness subsided. The disappointment about Afropunk will fade. I’ve got a new show coming up and a possibility of something else on October 3rd (tba).

And love. I will always want love. But God. I need more God. And more listening ears. I am committed to no longer making the same mistakes with men again. I will probably never forget TheGuy for the simple fact that …..that I just won’t. He was what I wanted and I ran so fast that I tripped all over both of us. Like vomit. I hurt myself in the process of trying to keep from getting hurt by someone who wasn’t necessarily out for that. I changed us as quickly as I connected us. My lack of confidence changed our direction. I definitely bruised his Scorpio ego by suggesting he was full of shit. He couldn’t handle that and his interest in me wasn’t enough to recover. He tried. But I had already pushed our ball in a new direction and that was the end. I don’t want to do that again. I still feel like it’s his loss…..but it’s mine too. Sometimes you lose to win, right Fantasia?

Or better yet, sometimes you Muse to Win.

And I never want to see myself as my own #muse again.

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Since this blog is long, I will start a song tomorrow. There is no blog track today.
Unless you count the one playing in my head.
“I just want to be prepared”
~Jill Scott, Prepared #WOMAN

#MuseJanuarie

WOMAN: Open.Close.Kneel.Stand.

“I used to be stuck”

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I am stuck. Not a permanent thing, but have gotten my feet caught in the quicksand in a time when I thought I was ice skating through these mean streets.
I’m not ice skating at all. In fact, I might be just getting by some times. * shrug*
This morning, I woke up with Cruising in my head. I really can’t wait to see what blog happens against the beat of that song. It was one of the other main motivating forces for me doing this series. I caught myself engulfed in the lyrics and realized that it was so similar to my last experience, word wise. Hearing the lyrics made me think that I wasn’t necessarily in the wrong for how I felt (maybe the way I played it out). Once again I caught up in the thought that my way of thinking and feeling is abnormal when in reality it’s not. Cruising’s lyrical content seemed ‘refreshing’ in the sense of bringing me back to the Light of truth. But that’s not the song for today.
The song is Say Thank You.
It’s one of the other main motivators.

“You keep ignoring the signs
Listening to it happened to me again songs
And putting your alarm on
SLEEP
Inviting new dumb shit”

…..OH!
Let’s back up a few lines and then add to it:
“I used to be stuck, how about you
Inside a lie
That you know ain’t near the absolute truth
Feel it all in your membranes and deep in your tissue
But you keep ignoring the signs
Listening to it happened me again songs
And putting your alarm on
SLEEP
Inviting new dumb shit
And more loss of peacefulness
Everybody, everybody can use a little help sometimes
Come on, you know things ain’t moving right
Ask for correction
Ask for direction
Ask for protection
Since you want to feel like you’re you inside-
Say thank you.

There that is.
This is what it looks like to be called out in a song with a ridiculously drunken melody that begs your attention before the lyrics do. I was driving, on my way home from work when the lyrics caught me at my neck and strangled me until my eyes bulged into my telephone, searching Google for the lyrics to fact check what I thought I heard. Did she really just sing those damned lyrics or nah? I know sometimes you will think you’ve heard one set of lyrics and it turns out they are saying something completely different.

“You keep ignoring the signs/
Listening to it happened to me again songs/And putting your alarm on/SLEEP/Inviting new dumb shit”
I heard correctly….the more I listened the more I saw every photoshoot I’ve done creep past my eyes like I’m the woman before the mask. How the same person in the pictures is the woman who either allows to much, jumps too soon or runs too fast is fascinating to me.This part of the song jolted me straight forward in my truckie seat!! It was me. I poured out of my speakers in a liquefied melody that filled up my ears in an absolute refusal to be ignored. I rewound the song and matched the lyrics with it as soon as I found a red light to stop at. I admitted to myself in a blank stare at a red light that Jill Scott was indeed very vividly and directly talking to me. In this solo excursion to my home, I think my face turned red.

Oh vey, this embarrassment. I’m so fucking tired of typing that word. Or am I? Why do I keep embarrassing myself? Who am I embarrassed to? For? Why? Did I think Jill Scott saw me naked, standing in a pool of poetry breaks and blog tracks? It surely felt like she did. It felt like a passive aggressive close friend that sang my life in a show and tell performance. “You keep ignoring the signs/
Listening to it happened to me again songs/And putting your alarm on/SLEEP/Inviting new dumb shit/and more loss of peacefulness”: I don’t know how long I can do this. This collection of lines strung me up like wet laundry because it’s so me. It’s so exactly what I’ve been ‘embarrassed’ about. It is the sorcery I have continuously allowed to control my actions in relation to men. In one of the previous blogs, I talked about losing my confidence when I start talking to a new person. I’d like to liken that to “putting your alarm on’. That’s when I go to sleep and all the ‘new dumb shit’ enters the room. If only it were ‘new’ most of the time. It’s the same dumb shit that I’ve pointed out in the past. It’s the same dumb shit that I promise myself in poems, blogs and pep talks in front of private mirrors will never happen again. It’s the same dumb shit that I feel safe from when I’m in the company of friends and family, dogs and selfie sticks. It’s the same dumb shit….just a new name. To the spoils go the non-victor.

They say love is blind but desire is a darkroom where pictures get developed without sight. When the lights come back on and you see what you’ve created, the double exposure is the stuff ‘loss of peacefulness’ is cut from. Oh how I have lost all sense of peace after wrongfully canoodling with someone too soon. Gun jumping too close to the start line. The first thing I do is change my music. Run either to the arms of hardcore rap that doesn’t make me think too hard or the total opposite; melancholy ‘shit is fucked up’ type songs that make me exorcise the tears away. “Listening to it happened to me again songs”. I do that shit well!!! And I will sit there and let the lyrics take me to the face I am trying to block out of my memory and in his face, I will cry because….songs. Because…..it happened to me again. ….because, I AM MY OWN MUSE.

This is why there really haven’t been any new blog entries of past relationships. Currently, I am my own muse. I am my own park, my own ride. I am the controller and the player and right now, I’m playing to lose. I play to win in every other aspect of my life. I compete with myself with every poetry show I participate in. I try to make the next as good as the last. I continue to confront the blistering fear that comes over me when I know folks are intently watching me walk in heels to show off a dress and serve face at the same time. I strive to keep my home afloat and full of two happy, spoiled dogs. I am selective on my friendship energy and who gets it, why and how. I mean, everywhere else I am a beast master of my own destiny. But men…..when men enter the game, I become the muse of these lyrics falling out of Jill Scott’s singing voice. I am the guitar solo in the song. I checked and it turns out she wrote this song with only one other person and although his name is credited on the liner notes, I can’t help but wonder am I the mental doppelganger that helped write such a brutally honest, self-awareness checking song. Its crazy how close this song is to my current state of things and how I’ve operated in the past, as seen in this blog.

“I used to be stuck”

And apparently, still am. In a ravine, rafting around on a boat that doesn’t fit me AND my luggage, plus two dogs and a bunch of shoes. I stopped buying shoes so I can move. I digress tho as that was unrelated information.

“Inviting new dumb shit”…… actually it wasn’t unrelated…I started to see how dumb it was for me to keep buying shoes….some of which fit perfect, others not so much, some too tall for everyday and others just too artistic. I want to leave. MOVE. Get out of the Midwest. Every pair of shoes is another day in Indianapolis beyond the deadline I set. Not to say I won’t buy another pair at some point…I’m sure I will. But I will also be conscious as to what I am sacrificing to put something on my feet for a short amount of time. I love heels a lot, but I’m in flats most times these days. I need to be closer to the ground that I’m trying to get off of. It seemed as though continuing to buy shoes would be me ‘inviting new dumb shit’ into my life. So how come this concept doesn’t leap over into my love life or what’s left of it ? Why can’t I identify ‘dumb shit’ when it comes into my presence? Or better yet, why don’t I?

“Everybody could use a little help sometimes
Come on
You know things ain’t moving right
Ask for correction
Ask for direction
Ask for protection”

I need to write that down somewhere. “because you know your request is filled/you will see/so act accordingly/live like you believe/and say thank you” <<<along with that too….I need to remember that in my prayers, I want to ask God to correct, direct and protect me. I NEED those things and I need them from no one but God. I want to be ok. It’s to the point of tears because other than not enough God, I can’t understand why I am NOT ok yet. And as long as I am NOT ok, I can’t date anyone because I will do the same shit. Again. “Stuck/inside a lie/that you know ain’t nearly absolute truth/”. I can’t understand this part of my life and as much as I don’t want to try anymore, I have to do something. I have to make it right with myself. I have to not neglect myself and treat these low budget ass niggas like they are some suicide door Bentley that’s coming to take me to California. (Cali …could you imagine me in Cali?). They some suicide doors alright, but definitely not a Bentley. I want this period of being ‘stuck’ to be a thing of the past. I want out of the ‘lie that ain’t nearly absolute truth’. I want to stop ignoring myself, the signs and I want to cut out the song switches. I want my alarm to not be what keeps me sleep; I’d rather be sleep from sleeping with a King. Instead, I’m napping on a king and suffering random bouts of insomnia. I know right from wrong. Good from bad. Poor choices from rich ones.
Hell….I know energy. But what I know VS. what I crave gets misconstrued when I hit the AMuseMENtPaRk. I don’t want it no more. I refuse it.

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I love this song. I didn’t mean for this blog to be that long and maybe folks won’t read it but maybe I don’t even care. All I know is this song is gonna take me away from these lyrics by the time I finish listening to it. And it all starts with God. This is a deeply spiritual song and I hope others catch God in it the way I have. I’m done losing my peace. I’m done with my invitations. My fool’s gold mining. All I want is the me that I am ALL other times to be the me I am when in the presence of a man. That ME knows what she should do, how she should do it and why. She knows about the pursuit of man to woman. She knows way better than her recent actions have shown. She can’t be embarrassed again. Or anymore. It’s not fair. It’s definitely not fair.

But its life I guess. Here’s another chance to get it right. There’s this part of the song that is my favorite. The guitar has a solo that crushes the competition! But Jill’s voice comes out of nowhere with the answer. This part of the song makes me very aware of praying and the power of God and whether or not I have humbled myself to Him, despite how often I pray. I have humbled myself to the arms of many men.
But hardly God.
Here’s another chance to get it right.
“Open. Close.
Kneel. Stand.
Hands ….in the air. Head down.
Knees on the ground.
In a silent whisper.
Out loud.
Somebody say thank you.”