Contemporary hip-hop is as fake as a square two-cent penny and everyone is trying to spend that crap on a Furby. I don’t listen to the radio anymore. I hate hearing the lyrics so simple, vulgar, and pointless that either have the words are censored or a two-year old can sing the entire song like repeating a presidential list of Fry words. Don’t get me wrong. I know that music evolves and there are some great artists out there repping the craft; but, what happened to the real backbone of hip-hop? What happened to relevance and feeling? What happened to relating to life and not expecting drug money glamour and shiny plastic round bottoms? None of that is for me. Most of us are everyday people who are cool like that, right? I miss the golden age of hip-hop. I guess that’s why I love the movie, Brown Sugar, so much. A love letter to hip hop. Now, it’s more like a Dear John.
I wrote a poem about it on my other blog. Here’s the link. And you thought you knew
Unless preoccupied in the thoughts of my dream world, I always greet people with a smile. I was raised that way. Regardless of how society feels about salutations and respect, I say Ma’am and Sir. There is always room in the inn and food in the fridge. I was raised by a very hospitable family. I can remember my mom and dad cooking dinner and feeding anyone in the yard. Once, my dad fed a yard full of hungry kids with one pitcher of Kool-Aid, a bag of chips, and hotdogs. It wasn’t a planned meal. My dad was outside doing yard work. He threw some hotdogs on the grill and that was that. I’ve seen my mother feed ten people with one chicken, and everyone ate until they were full. Growing up, it never occurred to me that this wasn’t normal. I thought every family shared what they had. I can remember sleeping on the floor on pallets because family was visiting from out-of-town. What hotels? We slept on the floor and talked the entire night.
My childhood was an instructional manual in hospitality, Southern Comfort. I never knew my parents not to be willing to help anyone, family or not. They embraced everyone, even long gone exes. That’s another story. The miracle of it? They weren’t rich. Even by middle class standards, they were modest. However, they were abundantly limitless in love.
Forget Emily Post and all those manuals and books, Margaret Barclay is the most hospitable and charming lady. She could (and would) give lessons to you and feed your some of the best fried chicken you’ve ever eaten.
From the moment that I wake to the second that I fall asleep, I have traversed the corners of my mind and lost myself in its maze. Much like my grand and well-planned ideas, I try to begin with some pattern of order.
For example, I had a dream that instantly gave me the idea for a book. I instantly start writing ideas down and doing research only to be distracted by the idea of a poem. The idea of the poem reminds me of something that I read by Langston Hughes. I love Langston. Off I go in search of a book of his poems that I keep in the guest room. I cannot find the book, so I go online and use the remainder of my Amazon gift card to buy another.
While online, I see a link (courtesy of website cookies) to more Happy Planner stickers. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my Happy Planner/adult sticker book/scrapbook/life organizer. One “Oooh! I want that!” second later, I am digging in my work bag for my planner. Darn, I haven’t finished the weeks of May and there are many activities on Post-it notes waiting to adorn my stickered pages. Ten minutes later, I am sitting at the dining room table with my calendar caddy, planner, and laptop. As I mark the dates, my mind wanders to the meal planning and recipe stickers that I found for less than a dollar.
The menu stickers make me think of dinner. What should I cook for dinner? Speaking of dinner, Ayesha Curry sure makes meal prep look easy. I then proceed to research recipes online. But, the kitchens are so pretty and there is a conveniently placed Pinterest pinning button. As I pin the dream kitchen for the dream house that my dream job will purchase, I think of lemons. I like lemons. Do I have any lemons? Nope. I decide to go to the store for some lemons. Lemon, butter, garlic, and chicken.
Mental list made, I take a shower. The shower reminds me of songs that I need to learn for praise team practice. I jump out of the shower, leaving fat wet footprints on the floor as I run to get my phone. With the playlist going, I sing for the rest of the shower. The phone rings. Some poor soul thinks I deserve a free vacation that I must pay for. Sorry, no. A vacation outfit comes to mind. I reach in the closet and grab my sun yellow kimono shawl, a white tank, and some jeans. Mascara applied, I head to the store thinking of lemons. On the way, I see the new library they are building. I think of the books that I want to read. So, I go to the library. Books make me want to sit and read. Well, sit and read as I drink coffee or tea. So, I head to Starbucks, pre-order my tea, and sit for a spell. The book makes me hungry for tacos. Tacos would be great for dinner. I eat a taco from the place right by Micheal’s. I wonder if they have more clearance stickers at Michael’s.
Ten minutes and three dollars later, I am in afternoon traffic headed home where the laundry is not done, the dinner will not be, and the beginning of the book never was.
My mind is a maze where I am often distracted and sidetracked. Although I know there is a way to master it, I find that the turns and walls keep me doing exactly everything that I want at that one fleeting moment. Perhaps Daedalus had a point; just like his masterful Labyrinth, my mind changes and grows with my every move. I think I like the happiness of it.
Speaking of happy, my Happy Planner cover reminds me of the lemons that I never bought. Doesn’t lemon herb-butter chicken sound delicious? Does Ayesha have a recipe for that?
Cotton candy. I can remember going to the carnival and waiting in line. The air was always sweet from the sugar of the cotton candy machine and salty from the popcorn machine. My mouth watering, I was gloriously juxtaposed between the two alluring treats. First, it was always the cotton candy. I loved pinching off little sections of the fluffy mounds and letting them dissolve on my tongue. i habitually licked the sweet off my fingers and then wiped my fingers on my shorts before I pinched another sweet cloud. I was mesmerized by the candy floss artist as he flicked his wrist and twisted the paper cone around machine collecting a perfect pink cloud with every try. I recently tried to master this skill. Needless to say, I ended up with more stuck to my lashes and hoodie than I could attach to the cone.
Bedroom. My bedroom was a Better Homes and Garden photo-op staged by my mother. From the pink ruffled canopied bed to the Laura Ashley floral wallpaper, my room oozed “Darling Little Girl.” At night, the bed and the walls glowed pale in the moonlight. It was so pleasant that nightmares sat for a spell and enjoyed a cup of tea. Speaking of tea, my mother collected miniature tea sets and cleverly duct-taped them to the pink shelf above my headboard. In the daylight, my room became a Spring Sunday afternoon, bright and cheery. I would often fling myself across the bed only to be told to not get the spread dirty. I have so many wonderful memories of that room.
Medicine. Every child of the 80s remembers that bubble gum pink concoction, Amoxicillin. Why make medicine taste so good? I would look forward to that stuff only to be teased by two spoonfuls. I think those were the only times I ever finished the doses of any antibiotic. On the other hand, I ran from Pepto Bismol with the gusto of a life-sentenced fugitive fleeing the law. I would rather suffer through the episodes of vomiting than take one tongue’s lick of that unearthly muck. I can remember thinking that I was going to die from a stomach ache that I achieved from eating too much junk. My mother had to bribe me to take a dose of the Pepto-Dismal (as I called it). Even then, I convinced myself that my death certificate would read “She took Pepto.”
On yesterday, I shared my grief at the loss of something that I really wanted. To say that I was devastated would be like saying the Amazon is a bubbling brook or the Pacific Ocean is a teardrop. I was severely more than just devastated. It felt as if the world continued to move and I was forced to stand still on that crumbling pillar I’d built. I had lived in a dream for a little over a week. Anticipating the joys and fulfillment promised to me. Desiring to work hard and let my light shine. It was a dream. A dream that I pursued with the gusto of a starved maniac. Today is Day 2 and I find myself trying to muster up the desire to pursue again. Why? Because I am a hopeless and excitable glutton for happy beginnings and endings. I know that everything will not be a success and that I will fail countless times. Still, I cannot deny myself the chance to dream and pursue those dreams. A dreamer, I am as curious as a child left to wander a toy store inside a candy shoppe. My mind gives life to a thought that grows and expands beyond celestial entities. And unless I check myself with the reality, I will dangerously float in mid-air. I am that child who wants to touch and taste it all. Just like that child, nothing is off-limits to me, the dreamer. Me, the pursuer always looking distracted by the things that I want. That pin tip hope grows within me and I find myself wanting to be more and do more. I am hopeless, but I do not regret it. Finding things to hope for and look forward to… that gives me reasons to move forward. To pursue is to continue. To continue is to live life with a passion that heals and hurts. If I’m not pursuing a dream., I am not standing still complacent in where I am. I am moving backwards and becoming less of who I intend to be. To be honest, what is life if is isn’t full of those sand grains of hope that cause us to pursue our dreams?
I recently suffered a setback. Knowing better, but feeling mortal, I got my hopes up on an endeavor that I considered the perfect opportunity for me. For a little over a week, I sweetly suffered through daydreams. Decor. Quotes. Dreams of desktop adorableness and rewarding work. Then, as if sharing the punishment of Prometheus, my daydream dissolved in a mere nanosecond. To say that I was upset, is a severe understatement. I cried the tears of a grieving soul. I cried until my eyes and cheeks were red and raw. I cried for the loss of the daydream and the happiness that I envisioned as its accomplice. Mainly, I cried because I felt like a failure, unequivocally unaware of my shortcomings. I rested and then I cried some more.
Until now, I never understood how the loss of hope, even a hope so small that it could sit on the tip of a needle, could feel like the loss of a loved one, a part of myself, or a piece of my soul. But I am reminded that the loss of hope is temporary. It won’t last forever. This daydream wasn’t for me. Someone else is enjoying the visions of my future and that hurts me a little, but it doesn’t end me. This setback is only temporary. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. And just like it never happened, I will dream and hope again.
What happened to the ‘r’? How did pretty become petty? Social media negativity is as bitter as Denatonium, the stuff used to prevent ingesting poisons. But that is just what we do. We ingest the poisonous posts and we like the petty. We sit with our snacks and we phone a friend with the new revelations. This is a petty society enthralled with the joys that bitterness brings.
What happened to the ‘r’?
We lost it; there is no respect. We lost it; there is no responsiblity. We lost it; there is no relevance. We lost it; there is no reasoning.
I could go on forever with the losses, but it would only serve to satiate me. I know how bitter tastes and feels in a moment of pure unadulterated fury. But even more, I know how sweet tastes and feels in all the moments before, during, and after. Instead of joining the madness, I can change me. I don’t have to accept the petty. I can be and see the kind of pretty that makes the bitter sweet. Maybe we can all be more sweet than bitter.