BlogLovin

Popular Posts

Powered by Blogger.

Archive for 2013

A Crocheted Christmas Part 3

I pulled it off and managed to finish one more crochet project this season!! Sorry my limited photography skills don't do these justice, but they're red, gold and green bell door hangers.  I made a set for the front door and another set for the back door. I even managed to find some jingle bells online, so when the doors open, there's the cutest, little tinkling sound.
 
We'll see how long these last with Giselle around *laughter* she's really into all the decorations and loves anything with a bell.
 
 
And because that photo wasn't the most flattering, a cute Giselle pic for the masses.
 
 
Well, this is the final post in my Crocheted Christmas series. I am working on another crochet project, but I'm pretty sure it won't be done in time for Christmas. Seems like everybody liked the series (A Crocheted Christmas and A Crocheted Christmas Part 2), so I'll try to remember to do it again next year.
 
Until next time, ♥ from Halima

A Crocheted Christmas Part 2

As promised in my last post A Crocheted Christmas, here's a photo of the placemats I crocheted. Sparkly, sparkly.

I'll try to post more photos of this season's projects, but most are presents, so I don't want to spoil any surprises.

Until next time,

♥ from Halima

A Crocheted Christmas

I haven't been posting much because I've  been getting ready for the holidays. Just finished crocheting this Christmas throw for my living room. Loved working with this yarn because if you look closely, it has sparkles. I love anything sparkly.

I'm working on placemats too, so next time I'll share a photo of those.

Sankofa-ing It Up: Part Deux

Since revisiting Revolt, a paper I wrote as a high school senior, I was struck by how much of my life has been ruled by anxiety. I remember my English teacher printing copies of this piece and passing it out to my classmates. At the time, because she commented on how I developed my own style, I believed she did this to demonstrate how I took the assignment and ran with it. As an adult, I wonder if there was more to it than that. I wonder if it had to do with my teacher recognizing a student on the brink of discovering introspection.

I say on the brink because although I was in touch with my feelings, I wasn't able to move beyond that point. As I mentioned in my previous post, the assignment was to seamlessly link past and present while drawing meaning from the past to apply to present. Although I came up with a well-structured piece, as a more experienced writer I can honestly say I missed the point of the assignment. The story ends in resolution, but doesn't find meaning because I didn't learn anything from any of the mentioned experiences. In all four experiences mentioned in Revolt, I coped with stress, but I didn't learn how to manage it.

Almost 14 years later, in essence, I'm still trying to complete an assignment for 12th grade English because I'm still trying to learn that lesson. And so I write.









Tag : ,

The Greed Epidemic

The other day I finally got around to doing something I've wanted to do for years; I donated to my high school's annual giving fund. Sounds trivial - $25 for every year I wanted to contribute and couldn't, just a drop in the metaphorical bucket - but it was huge for me.

My high school gave me much more than education, it gave me opportunity and an abundance experiences. And since these all contributed to me being in a place to receive countless blessings, I've wanted to reach back and help give another student a chance.

But greed has been in the way. Let me explain. Although I've been blessed, I still live on a tight budget. And with the government freezing pay for almost four years, the cost of living skyrocketing and a bank that refused to budge on my mortgage despite all of this, I haven't been in the position to contribute to anything except corporations. So you see, it's not my greed that got in the way, but the greed of those who already have it all.

Recently, I was able to free up some funds by finally getting the bank to modify my home loan. I don't want to go too much into the process I had to go through to do this, but just know the way big banks treat customers who are trying to do the right thing is shameful. But anyway, words can't explain how great it felt to accomplish the modification - to take money out of corporate America's pocket and invest into something worthwhile, a young life.

When will corporate America stop with the lies and admit people will help themselves (and others) when put in a fair position to do so? My best answer is, when it's no longer profitable. Sad, but true.

Sankofa-ing It up: Part I

I've been in somewhat of a stalemate concerning my career lately.  It's caused me to think about what initially inspired me to want to write for a profession. And as usual, my inner voice would not let me rest.  This time it wanted me to dig up a paper I wrote during senior year of high school.  The paper where I proved to myself that four years of tears and two years of almost daily, after-school tutoring had paid off. 

I always loved English, but never learned to analyze a text or write a paper until high school.  For this reason, I struggled and consistently received Bs on my best efforts, until the day I received any assignment to write a stream of consciousness, William Faulkner inspired paper. 

The assignment was to seamlessly weave present with past to demonstrate how past informs present while giving shape to a seemingly spontaneous story.  Below is the result.  A piece my English teacher described as tighter and more electric than Faulkner - my own style.  A style worthy of publishing and possibly opening the door to pursuing study of Creative Writing in college (probably should've listened to her before I changed my major three times only to study journalism in graduate school). 

After finding and reading it, I feel reinspired by my younger self's potential.  I'm posting the piece below in hopes that my readers will enjoy it, but more so to remind myself if I was able to write this at the age of 17, I'm capable of so much more now.

Revolt 
I see the edge of the yellow curb approaching my feet, "Here it comes," I think to myself, and it does come.  The familiar dropping sensation in my stomach caused by the approach of the hill.  I see the three loops ahead of us.  I glance over and see my mother sitting next to me with her eyes closed.  I hear my brother telling her that it is important to get a high score on this test, for the sake of college...I have to get into my top choice.  I have to find it.  I ask my big brother to tell the teacher I lost it.  Our teacher looks up at the approaching middle school student walking with a crying first grader and appear to be wondering why am I so scared to perform this time?  I've never had to write with this penmanship before.  My handwriting was perfectly fine before, well at least it was legible although I guess I wouldn't consider it to be fancy. 

Soon we're all looking for my earring with the diamond center.  All I wanted was to look pretty on the first day of first grade at a new school.  I stand in the middle of the room crying.  After I tire myself out I sit at the desk and think about how my brother loves to scare me like this.  I feel myself being dragged into the line and I feel the people closing in around me...no escape.  This has to be a conspiracy from the government in order to stress teenagers out.  The must like to hear me squeal.  Well maybe not, maybe he thinks it's a happy squeal.  I never bother to ask him but the girl standing in front of us told us it's not really that scary.  She said she had ridden it a couple of times and this time the score counts.  I have taken three practice SATs but this one was the important one, this was real.  Even so I am still nervous because this is the first time I have ever performed a jazz song and it is the first time I have ever done a solo in front of so many people.  I begin to think about the teacher that taught me how to write in cursive and feel as though something is being snatched away from me.  She taught me, it's really all I have left to remember her by now that she's passed and now he wants me to change it, it feels like a type of betrayal. 

Similarly burdened strangers crowd into the room and I begin to feel my arms and legs flail out in an attempt to stabilize myself.  I pray that he won't drop me on the back of my head.  The sound of "Super Duper Looper" fills my heart with terror.  I honestly feel my life is in mortal danger. I hate roller coasters all I want is to get into college.  Why does this process have to be so difficult?  It's like learning how to write again.  Besides, I'm too old to be relearning this, I've been writing the same way for six years.  Regardless, there's nothing I can do about it, if I refuse to do penmanship I get a bad grade.  I know I'm prepare but still Ifeel a sense of doom as I grab onto the bar, holding on for dear life.  My palms begin to sweat and I pray that the sweat won't make my fingers slip off the keys.  I walk onto the stage and feel my anxiety increase, I know if I don't do well I'll be extremely upset with myself later on.  I feel the eyes of all of GDS on me but if I look now this feeling of helplessness will certainly overcome me, so I reach up and grab onto my brother's leg.  I cling to him but the feeling of loneliness won't leave me.  I cry and watch as the world tips away from me, all I can see is the sky.  Tears begin to fill my eyes, I feel my body pushing against the back of the stroller and I wonder if I can survive all these loops, three to be exact.  My ribs hurt from my mother lifting me up and placing me in line,  I am too big for her to carry on her hip but still small enough for her to lift.  I gaze through my misty eyes and wonder if they will ever be able to find it.  I'm old enough to understand that it was an expensive earring.  I'm sure mommy will be upset by she knows this isn't normal for me I don't usually feel this nervous before exams.


This is different if I don't do well
he's goig to drop me on my head.  My hands squeeze the bar until the circulation is cut off.  I have to find it mommy will be so mad I have to do well.  Stop being nervous, you have to concentrate, it's essential.  Think college, think about how happy I will be to get off this ride.  I can't believe I got dragged into taking this test.  A conspiracy I tell you.  If you want to succeed you have to go through this type of stress.  It's inhuman, herded into this line.  Forced to ride a ride I'm scared to death of.  Forced to perform a solo you're not entirely comfortable with.  Why does stuff like this always happen to me?

I watch my teacher search for the earring, I cling to my brother's leg and think
breathe, we've been in situations like this before.  Breathing, that's what's essential.  We have to be calm, we're going to make it
through this ride.  I promise, we will live to say we made it through this day.  The world will level off again, it has to help me find my earring.  The ride will end soon, it wasn't really that bad and maybe the test wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  After I leave this tension ridden room I can write the way he wants in order to fulfill my penmanship requirement.  Naturally I will continue to write the way I'm accustomed to writing at all other times.  I can't dwell on the fact that my fingers slipped, it's ok I recovered and all four wheels are on the ground again.  A sense of relief overshadows me as I finally regain control of my body.

Tag : ,

Dreamcatcher

Sunday night, an old friend visited me. A recurring dream I've never explored: my subconscious transports me to my childhood room where I've found jewelry boxes stuffed with forgotten accessories. All the while, a voice in my head whispers that I need to make an effort to remember.

What struck me this time, was the dream's timing.  I've been trying to develop a habit of meditating before bed. I can count Sunday night as a win towards this effort. To have this vision reappear after actively seeking to be in tune was telling.

Unfortunately, I've gone through some experiences where making it through while remaining sane meant compartmentalizing and disassociating from them. In a sense, locking them away in a boxes. Maybe the jewelry in my dream represents the valuable information that was attached to the negative experiences. And in trying trying to forget bad memories, I've also forgotten to extract their benefits. I lost the lessons.

My subconscious made it known that to find balance, I need to commit to remembering. It may be time to return and find the beauty in those boxes.

Tag : ,

Religion vs. Relationship

“You go to church to find you some religion/And all you hear is connivin' and gossip and contradiction” - Talib Kweli Beautiful Struggle

If I’m going to keep it completely honest, I have to admit that despite 10 years of church school, I never actually read the book of Jonah until a couple days ago. After reading Jonah's story, the thing that stuck out was the mention of gods. Specifically, when the storm hit the ship Jonah was on, the text states the sailors "were afraid, and they cried to their gods for help." Help didn't come and in fact the storm got worse. As this happens, the ship's captain went below deck to where Jonah was sleeping and sought his help "How can you sleep? Get up, and pray to your God. Maybe he will notice us, and we won't die." This realization that God is the real deal was confirmed again when the crew rid itself of Jonah (whose disobedience was the reason for the turmoil) and the storm calmed. At that point, "they offered sacrifices and made vows to the Lord."

This is the only time in the Bible, that I'm personally aware of, where mention of other gods is acknowledged without God getting angry. And as they say, everything happens for a reason. I read this during a time I was dissecting religion, so this casual mention of other belief systems was the opening I needed to delve deeper into my thoughts.

I've studied most of the major religions and found that although the man-made rituals may differ, there's always one head entity teaching the same life lessons. I've come to believe this is the same entity who goes by many names. Notice, in the story, no mention of religion is made, Jonah simply states he worships "the Lord, the God of heaven" (emphasis is mine), the Christian names for the singular entity I was speaking of previously. This is contrast to the crew's "gods," plural. And once the crew began believing in the God, the text doesn't say anything about them converting, it just states they took actions to align themselves with Him. Again, no mention of religion.

So how is it that we've gotten so far off track?? That people have begun to think they're better than others because they're one religion while someone else is another?? That what a lot of people hear in church is conniving, gossip and contradiction?? What happened to learning and living that the God loves us and we in turn are supposed to love him by loving the God in everything??

I overheard a conversation recently where a person was speaking about Rastafari. This person stated Rastas smoke weed to get closer to Jah and then the conversation turned into one about drug use. This upset me because its another instance where people spurt what they were taught and never question it. Never question why religions that accept a closeness to the God only at certain times and places are promoted while those that encourage an ever-present relationship are cast in a negative light. I'm not Rastafari, but I have a lot of respect for them based on the fact that building this relationship is the purpose of their entire existence. I respect anybody like that regardless of religion, culture or anything else man has placed value on. That is the purpose of this all.

What's the meaning of life?? Love. Religion is simply a tool. A means to an end. Forget the man-made conditions and return to the source.

"My people will follow me when I roar like a lion. When I roar, my children will come trembling from the west." - Hosea 11:10

Until next time....

♥ from Halima
Tag : ,

Almost Time To Get On The Bus


I'm sitting here thinking about all the stuff I planned for this weekend to try to squeeze every drop of fun out of summer before its fast-approaching end. Out of all the events, the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, on 24 August, is going to be the highlight.

I've been speaking with people to spread the word and am surprised that many don't recognize the importance of this march. So, I'll provide a short summary here and if you're interested, the rest can be found on National Action Network's Web site. To start off, the official name of the march is National Action To Realize the Dream March. Part of its purpose it to commemorate the original March on Washington, but the larger part is to recognize that some work still needs to be done to achieve the dream Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about at the original march. We'll be marching for Jobs and the Economy, to take a stand for the parts of the Voting Rights Act SCOTUS recently struck down and judicial rights (think Goerge Zimmerman verdict and corresponding Stand Your Ground Law), women's rights, LGBT equality, environmental issues that overwhelming affect the minority and low-income populations and in my opinion, the most important thing we'll be marching for is our youth and their future.

These are issues that affect everyone in this country, so everyone should be interested in this march. But when talking to people, I've heard two main reasons for reluctance to attend. The first: what will marching do to actively affect change? And the secone more common relates to the personal security as it relates to the concern of fights. To the first I have my own question to pose in response: What good is sitting around doing or saying nothing about situations that negatively impact you?? Yea, us rallying together won't change laws or create jobs, but it will send a message to the people who can. We're letting them know we are paying attention and want them to do a better job representing our interests. It's easy for them to say they don't know our issues or even worse, to ignore us when the only time we communicate with them is at the voting booth. It's much harder to do when we're physically present making our wishes known. As far as the second concern about violence, I have faith that all in attendance will be there for a good cause. I'm going to leave it at that because I refuse to speak any negativity into existance.

If you're on the fence about attending, I hope this post did something to sway you in the direction of coming. And if your attendance is based on some technical detail, please visit National Action Network's Web site for info on buses, hotels, etc.

I truly hope to see some familiar faces this weekend :-)

Until next time,

With ♥ from Halima

America's Need for New Literary Classics: Review of 'Heart of Darkness'

So after 13 years, I finally went back and picked up Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I was supposed to read it freshman year of college, but...well, anyway. One thing that did stick with me all these years was the discussion about racism in American literature that it sparked. So, after all these years, I decided to go back and see what my former classmates were talking about.

You can read more about the plot in the link I provided above, but in short, the story is about Marlow, a young steamboat captain, that is charged with rescuing Mr. Kurtz, an ivory trader, from one of the ivory company's stations. Upon approaching the station in the heart of the Congo region, Marlow is attacked by natives. Later, the reader finds out that the attack was ordered by Mr. Kurtz who had come to relate to the natives. But this bond between Mr. Kurtz and the natives is portrayed as the result of the illness that eventually took Mr. Kurtz's life.

So, what made this book so racist?

Well, outside of the natives being referred to as nothing other than savages or niggers, they received this era's usual treatment of dehumanization. The African men who were mentioned in this novel were either childlike, driven by simple motivators like food or simply in place to serve white men. The reader never learns anything about these characters, not even something so basic as a name. We are simply supposed to take Conrad at his word - that African culture is savage and evil.

And after all this, the reader is subjected to a conversation between Marlow and Mr. Kurtz's fiancé that starts like this:

'You knew him well,' she murmured after a moment of mourning silence.

'Intimacy grows quick out there," I said.

These words could have been those of any war vet. But in this case, what was the war about?? Men who entered a region to enslave the people and take their resources?? One man who got sick while doing this and as a result turned on his own people?? Maybe it's a difference of perspective, but I see no validity in Marlow's feelings.

Furthermore, I see no validity in any of our great American classics that hold this perspective. I wish educators would stop inserting books like this and Huckleberry Finn and The Last of the Mohicans in our curriculums and calling it diversification. These "classics" do nothing but offer instruction on how to continue a culture of inequality. There have been countless novels published since the late 19th century. I think it's time we find value in these and redefine what it means to be a classic.

Journaling the Journey

We are habitual beings.  This is by design; we learn through habit-formed behavior.  The downside is, habits make change difficult and sometimes even painful.  That's why documenting my reality and future goals through journaling has become one of my life's most meaningful exercises.

The story of how I began journaling is almost haunting.  I went to my church's school from first through eighth grades.  It was a one-room schoolhouse, so I had the same teacher from elementary school until the beginning of middle school.  In the first weeks of my seventh grade year, my teacher decided to introduce us to journaling and set aside time for us to practice it during the school day.  At first, I felt it was one of the most pointless parts of my day, ranking a close second to math class.  But a couple weeks later, my teacher passed away due to a brain aneurysm.  Everything I had ever known began to change drastically with the introduction of new people in my academic life and the personal changes I went through as I entered my teenage years.  Long story short, journaling became my go to method of sorting through thoughts and feelings.  It was like my teacher had some divine premonition to leave her students a life coping mechanism as her legacy.

Over the years, journaling has been in my life in varying degrees.  But one of the main reasons I continue is,  it provides a gauge of how I've grown and progressed towards personal goals from year-to-year.

That's why over the past couple of months, as I've been going through a season of change, I've encouraged myself to spend time with my journal almost every-other-day.  At first, every time I sat down, I felt like I'd have nothing to talk about that day.  But without fail, my entries would morph from me relaying the experiences of the day into me exploring root causes of incidents, how I would change the outcome of events and setting goals for the future.  After all, what's the point of living life if you are not actively growing from contact??  And what better way to assess your progress than to document it??

In addition to using it as a measuring device of sorts, journaling has become a simple way for me to state and achieve what I want for my life.  Many who know me know one of my life philosophies is, you'll never get what you want unless you ask.  So by writing my goals down, I actively recognize them and began working to make them manifest.

I've included a photo of my current journal below.  As you can see, it's simply a spiral notebook with cutouts of things that I like or that are meaningful to me.  I've tried more structured journals, but my thoughts were less free-flowing and therefore less useful. 

I apologize for the lengthy post this week.  As I began writing, the title, Journaling the Journey, took on two meanings - I had my initial purpose of relaying how I benefit from journaling, but my journal's journey is intertwined with that story. Without it, I would have never been able to understand such a simple tool.   Hopefully, I didn't lose too many people and will have inspired some. 

Until next time....

♥ from Halima

Simple Arithmetic: Time Management

I'm not sure who made the decision on how a typical American's day should be laid out, but it seems like something a child or philosopher would propose - equal parts that don't translate well when confronted with the real world.  Eight hours to sleep, eight hours to work and eight hours of personal time, a portion of which is spent commuting to/from work and preparing to go to work.  There is little time for looking after our true, personal well being.  Is there any question why our country has one of the most unhealthy and unstimulated populations in the world??

This is no new concept, I was simply thinking about it tonight while doing about three or four different things (and probably doing none of them well).  See, I suffer from the same thing  as many other Americans, multi-tasking, one of many side-effects resulting from our lack of real personal time. 

As with many of my freethink posts, I don't have a one size fits all solution to the problem.  And this ties into the advice I'm about to offer; make your own, informed decisions.  Blindly following suggestions will throw you into a cycle that prevents your advancement. 

Even with this advice, I don't mind sharing my personal formula with you.  It involves protecting my well being by continuing to squeeze everything I need physically, mentally and spiritually into the time I have.  And at the same time, not looking at everything I do in a scattered way, but rather focus on the fact that everything works together to create a cycle of good health.  Being the best me will allow me to expand to greater things, in this instance, creating a way to reconfigure my time management ratio into something more beneficial to me.  When I'm well, I have the energy I need to work towards a goal of finding a position with flexible work hours or running my own business or doing whatever I need to do to feel I'm functioning at my highest potential.   

Until then, I'm off to journal, pack lunch for tomorrow, finish doing my hair and pray that someone finally realizes a healthy society = a healthy country and make it less difficult for us to achieve.  AND I'm going to do all of this in the half hour of personal time I have left before beginning my eight hours of suggested sleep time.

Sneak peak: I keep track of my personal growth, short and long-term goals by journaling.  I'll go into this a little more in my next post.  Goodnyte, all ♥


Tag : ,

Facebook's Blackout

I woke up this morning to find many of my Facebook friends’ profile pictures blacked out.  I learned it was a stand of solidarity as the country awaits the verdict on the George Zimmerman trial (notice I didn’t say Trayvon Martin?? By putting his name in front of the words “case” or “trial,’ I feel we support the defense’s tactic of using a child’s immature, yet average behavior to justify his murder).   Although I am a proponent of individuals organizing to promote action, I can’t join this particular movement because I think it’s pushing for the wrong cause.
The defense and everybody in America knows where the minority community stands on our wishes for this trial’s outcome.  At best, changing a profile photo on Facebook simply makes the majority aware that we’re paying attention.  That’s not enough.  The judge has already allowed for the jury to consider lesser charges of manslaughter and third-degree murder.  We need to make sure these types of events – racial targeting, race-provoked murder and judicial punishment based on skin color – cease to exist.  And the only way this will happen is if we address a larger issue.
Did you ever think about why trials like Zimmerman’s, Jodi Arias’ and Casey Anthony’s, that should be open and shut, are made into extended, media affairs?  Ever think it may be a political power play?  In the words of Steve Biko, a South African community leader, “To them it looks as if something would be dangerously wrong if no major political trial was held for a period of one year.”  He goes on to say, “the government and its security forces are also ruled by fear, in spite of their immense power.  Like anyone living in mortal fear, they occasionally resort to irrational actions in the hope that a show of strength rather than proper intelligence might scare the resistors satisfactorily.”  In short, these trials are distractions meant to maintain control while our “leaders” up on Capitol Hill continue to make poor and selfish decisions.
I fear that once the jury’s decision is in, everybody’s Facebook profile picture will change and the solidarity lost until the next distraction…I mean cause.  So, I’m going to sit this one out, but y’all make sure to call me when you’re really ready to unite and get to the root of the problem.

Summer Project

In an ongoing effort to reduce stress, I decided to finish knitting a project I picked up about four years ago -a light summer sweater.  Seems like I'm okay as long as my hands are busy :-)

Anyway below are photos of the back of the sweater when I started it and after I completed it. Haven't done any blocking or weaving in loose ends, so it's in very raw form.

I've moved on to start working on the front already. It's much the same as the back -worked in stockinette stitch. The only difference between the front and back is the collar will be lower.

The completed sweater will have sleeves and a slightly ruffled collar. I'll try to remember to post pics along the way.

Getting What You Need

I'm almost finished reading my latest literary undertaking.  Usually, I would include the title and link to a book, but in this case it could be harmful.  See, the author of the book wrote about her recovery from mental illness and because everything is Googleable, I don't want anything I say here to compromise her progress should she happen to run across this.

In her memoir, the author speaks about a session she was having when her therapist told her her progress was being stunted by the need for others' validation.  The author was shocked and possibly a little angered by this comment.  But she goes on to detail her recovery which, when it comes down to it, was greatly rooted in public recognition of her talents and abilities.  In short, the author became recognized in the mental health community via her work as an artist (part of her artist's bio included that she was mentally ill).  From there, she began speaking publicly about the elements that aided on her path to wellness.  But in one of the last chapters of the book she says, in so many words, that her feeling of balance stems from people recognizing her as a capable individual who has something to contribute to society. 

So, has the author recovered or has she just found an acceptable way of gaining the validation she craves?? Her fix.  What would happen if her role in the mental health community diminished or disappeared?? Would it throw her back into mental unbalance until she could carve out another means of displaying her value?? 

On a larger scale, what makes the author so different from anyone else??  The need for a feeling of importance or the magnitude of this need?? We all want to feel like our time on earth has meaning.  Validation.  Maybe many of us don't become completely unbalanced when we don't have this, but it's still upsetting and motivates us to work for what we need.  And we do this with what we, as individuals, have available to us.  As a result, it's important to remember, everyones' path will look different. 

I can't judge the author because she found her way to get what she needed.  In fact, I commend her because she worked hard to do so in a positive way.  We should all take a page from her book - figuratively speaking. 

Book Review: 'Krik? Krak!' - Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat's books are of the sort that make you fail miserably when trying to explain what makes them outstanding. The kind that ties your tongue.  That makes you restart your sentence three times before finally giving up and saying, "You just have to read her work."  Even so, I'll do my best.

When I picked up Krik? Krak! I was expecting a book of unrelated, short stories.  But Danticat truly demonstrated her storytelling abilities in this one.  In every story, she would infuse a golden, literary nugget that was breathtaking, but not distracting.  I would read it, admire it and move on to the end of the short story in which it was written.  As I moved into other parts of the book, and at a time I least expected, I'd find that golden nugget nestled in another story, tying everything together.  And I discovered this wasn't just a book of short stories, this was a history of generations of Haitian women.  And let me take this moment to say, I was unable to finish any of their stories without closing the book and thinking about how powerful it was.  

I'm going to cut this post short because I don't want to give too much away.  So, I'll end by saying, you just have to read her work.

Managing Expectations: ODB, Evita and You

Today, I finished reading Evita: In My Own Words, an autobiography of Eva Perón, former First Lady of Argentina .  And while I loved its insight into Perón's thoughts on social equality, religion and the need for people to actively pursue what is rightly theirs, the below quote is my take away.  It was written by John Page in the book's introduction.  He had just relayed that Perón refused a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with the uterine cancer that would eventually claim her life:
Psychological and perhaps even cultural pressures may have made it impossible for the "Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children" to cope with the symbolism of a hysterectomy.
If Perón had opted to have her uterus removed, the odds were in her favor that she would have lived a long, cancer-free life.  Instead she got engrossed in her title of the "Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children," refused to have her womb, the physical embodiment of motherhood, removed and ultimately gave her life to continue playing the role that was cast upon her by others.

After reading this, I couldn't help but think about the similarities  between Perón's story and Ol' Dirty Bastard's.  At first glimpse, you'd think an Argentinian women who died in 1952 would have nothing in common with an African American man who died almost nine years ago, but hear me out.

RZA, of Wu-Tang Clan, provided a eulogy at ODB's funeral.  Here's a video of, what is in my opinion, one of the most notable things he said.  There's a text summary below:
RZA remembered back to when Jones was a young teenager and chose the righteous name of Ason Unique. He said that as Ason Unique, his cousin was radiant, beautiful and angelic, more powerful than he was in the ODB persona. As the years passed and RZA gave him the name of Ol' Dirty Bastard, he noticed his cousin changing more and more, adopting the characteristics of his stage moniker and going wild. (From MTV.com)
The important thing to note about all of this, is these names were not intended to  be a burden.  They were bestowed upon Perón and ODB as a way of people showing appreciation for their work.  Perón was given her title as the Spiritual Mother of All Argentine Children in gratitude of her humanitarian efforts.  ODB received his alias by RZA as a way of recognizing his unique delivery.  His flow was said to have no father, a reference to a 1980 martial arts film titled Ol' Dirty and the Bastard.

But ill intent or not, these two stories are proof that words have power.  So, whether you're naming a child or offering up a prayer, remember the expectations you're speaking into existence should be delicately balanced.

Live Love

This post is adapted from my recent Facebook status. Enjoy!!
Extending yourself for anyone does leave you vulnerable to ingratitude, but you know what?? Do it anyway.  There's not enough kindness in the world and every now and then, you'll run into someone who appreciates it.  And you may even inspire them to be a blessing for someone else.

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, the sentiment I heard expressed most often was that people couldn't believe this happened to those who were just trying to support good causes. And people were wondering why some can't let others live in peace. Well, we need to be the change we want to see. Create happiness for others if only for a few moments.  Live love.

Let's Get One Thing Straight: The Importance of Affirming Wombmanhood


This topic has been exhausted, but it’s definitely time for some more dialogue between the sexes.  Please don’t stop reading because I’m hoping to approach this from a less familiar vantage point.
Wombanhood.
In the Black community, we’re always discussing manhood and how it needs to be protected.  But men, there’s such thing as wombanhood and it requires similar nurturing.  This includes, but is not limited to, the name with which you address a womban.
Lately I’ve noticed a lot more men referring to womben as females.  And even worse, they don’t understand why some of us take offense.  Please allow me to explain. 
There are females in every species and their only function is to procreate.  This goes for dogs and sadly enough it goes for some humans who don’t understand their worth.
I and many of the wombmen I know, are not included in this category.  We have put effort into developing understanding, intellect, talent, skills and so much more.  Labeling us as simply a female means that effort is unnoticed and/or unappreciated.  It strips us down to basics and lumps us in the same category as those who haven’t put in the work. 
Furthermore, why would a man want to diminish a womban’s wombanhood -- the thing that is meant to compliment his own manhood?? 
I almost called this post something referring to the battle of the sexes or mars vs. venus, but I realized I’d be feeding the thought process that men and wombmen need to be destructive elements towards each other.  So, I’ll end with this: The purpose of life is to be the best person you can possibly be.  Therefore the best relationships are two people who are growing as individuals coming together and creating something even greater.
Tag : ,

The Classics: Big Things - Nas

I used to listen to this song every morning to keep me focused.  It reminded me that no matter what the people around me where doing (or not doing), I couldn't get caught up in it and lose sight of my goals.


Get yours nigga 'cuz I'ma get mine
in due time Everybody a-shine,
get yours, I spray nines
I say this one time,
the last time, I swear to y'all
I'm from where the dope fiends is at and killas crawl
And snitches call police,

all these niggas and street Corners
everybody's like smokin' marijuana and Snuffin' niggas in faces and startin' drama and
Shootin' niggas in cold blood, just kill 'em, so what
With the fo' pound go nuts

Betta slow up, before you get your ass on up
Nigga never gonna grow up Drinkin' the Henney but he know he gon' throw up
Tryin' to make crack sales

What it look like? Future for a black male
Don't want to make my momma cry
On a front page for a homicide
Fly whips, all I wanted to drive

Where chicks get blunted and then ride
Do a 105 in the fast lane And a fast pace, chasin' the papes
Spendin' chips on big chains

And the dimes that give brains
That was a 80's and 90's thing Now, I'm into big things

Nah, I ain't fuck with you
Now, I'm into big things
Gotta get my life together man
'Cuz now, I'm into big things
Nah, I ain't gonna rhyme wit you
'Cuz now I'm into big things
You know I can't do that shit no more
'Cuz now, I'm into big things
Nah, I can't fuck with you
I'm into big things
Nah, I ain't gonna stand on the corner I'm into big things
Now, the talk is small talk
I'm into big things
I'm into big things
The big things, the big things

When I started this, all I wanted was cars and cribs Like other rap artists
But do I know where I'm goin' to? Can I forget when I came from?
I be showin' you Another style I'ma flow for you
Can I make somethin' wild I can throw for you? Flow for you?
Make it bi-coastal, take it to heights That some of y'all can't come close to?
Some of y'all want to talk like hoes Worse than bitches
And when y'all niggas see me blow Bet it hurt like stitches
No competition, I stop and twist 'em Hit 'em like a mafia proposition
I'm glad y'all stopped and listen Thinkin' back to when I had not pot to piss in
Look up at a nigga nod, rocks are glistenin' Can't stop my mission,
 make anotha LP drop
I'm hittin' with the new shit exclusive
No time to get caught up in a crime I ain't have shit to do with
Used to chase the hoes, now, I chase the dough
Is y'all bitches gonna help me get paper? No

Nah, I ain't fuck with you
Now, I'm into big things
Gotta get my life together man
'Cuz now, I'm into big things
Nah, I ain't gonna rhyme wit you
'Cuz now I'm into big things
You know I can't do that shit no more
'Cuz now, I'm into big things
Nah, I can't fuck with you
I'm into big things
Nah, I ain't gonna stand on the corner
I'm into big things
Now, the talk is small talk
I'm into big things
I'm into big things
The big things, the big things

I go past y'all, y'all got the glass jar And when I hit it, admit it, y'all on y'all ass y'all
We on the same team, you don't wanna pass the ball
Chuck and gun up the dough
You want to score but you really don't want to ball
I put you on, it was me that introduced you to wealth
Crossin' me is like shootin' yourself Wanna blow so fast now do it yourself
You ain't shit, now, you was so ill, why you never came out? Where ya clique now? Where you sit now?
In the back seat Mad 'cuz I flip styles and I pack heat Make you run laps like a pro athlete an' I done that
From my experiences, I appear relentless Take more time just to hear my sentence I'ma tell you what's real An' what could stop you from makin' a mil
You could prevent this
When niggas don't see eye to eye to you Lie to you, wanna get high wit you Want to eat food off of your labor And take food off your table
'Cuz they don't see your vision Don't understand your mission Is to make history,
while you here How long you plan on livin'?
Not for forever, at least to 140
Pray for me, I'm tryin' to eat Like the niggas who bought Motown on Berry Gordy Good God

Nigga, I'm tired of games
I'm into big things
Gotta get my life together man
'Cuz now, I'm into big things
Now, the talk is small talk
'Cuz now I'm into big things
 'm into big things
The big things, the big things
Man, we already did that
Now, I'm into big things
No time to get sidetracked
Now, I'm into big things
Get money now besides that Some more big things
I'm into big things
The big things, the big things

Wasted Days??: Review of 'Tuesdays With Morrie'

I recently finished reading Tuesdays With Morrie which I'd like to recommend as a highly inspirational and thought-provoking good read. 

I walked away from this story with two quotes with which I connected.  The first is taken from a flashback of a conversation the author, Mitch Albom, was having with the subject of the book, Morrie.  It really encapsulates Morrie's life philosophy.
The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that give you purpose and meaning. 
 
Honestly, I think this is a philosophy many of  us have held at some point in our lives, but we lost sight of it as we took on more responsibility.  And unfortunately, oftentimes this responsibility is a result of what will make us appear happy and successful in society.  It has no actual connection to what will fulfill us on individual levels.

This brings me to the second quote with which I connected:
The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves.  We're teaching the wrong things.  And you have to be strong enough to say the culture doesn't work, don't  buy it.  Create your own.
 
Now is good time to mention Tuesdays With Morrie sold approximately 30 million copies worldwide.  It's safe to say people love this book.  I think it's because it affirms people's intuition about their life wisdom.  Gives credence to thoughts and feelings they have had, but were anxious about revealing or trusting. 

But if so many people are having the same thoughts about what it takes to reshape society into a better existence, why is the world in its current state??

I hate to keep harping on this, but the answer is simple.  Fear and greed.

Almost every culture worldwide is controlled by a greedy minority.  They fear losing their wealth, so they instill fear in the majority to prevent this from occurring.  They do this by creating situations that have the majority concerned about physical safety, social rank (usually as it relates to race) and financial status.  By keeping the majority's collective mind focused on these, it leaves no time to explore potential.  When the majority is focused on surviving instead of living, it blocks creative energy and lessens the likelihood of people elevating themselves.  This lack of growth stops the birth of new ideas that may usurp and therefore minimize the influence of the minority's existing cash cows.   And this, my friends, is how the rich get richer while the rest of us simply continue to hang on.

We all know it's not right, so in the words of Morrie, "the culture doesn't work, don't buy it." Don't let these lessens taught by life and affirmed by Morrie go to waste.  Go out and create something.  It's time to get free.


The Classics: Skin - Rihanna

Okay, so last week I posted my favorite sensual song.  Since then, I've been thinking about the difference between sensual and sexy.  In my opinion, sexy is pretty basic. Grounded in superficial appearance and natural feelings.  Sensual goes deeper.  It's connecting with someone on a higher spiritual level which includes sexuality.  Please understand there's nothing negative about either as both are needed in human nature.  Neither exists without portions of the other. 

All that being said, I started thinking about the sexiest song I could think of and came up with Rihanna's Skin. It just captures the anticipation created during foreplay.  Enjoy and if you get a chance, definitely play this on a real sound system. 


The mood is set
So you already know what's next
TV on blast, turn it down, turn it down
Don't want it to clash with my body screaming out
I know you hearin' it
You got me moaning now
I got a secret that I wanna show you, oh
I got a secret so I'ma drop 'em to the floor, oh

No teasin', you waited long enough
Go deep, I'ma throw it at ya, can't catch it
Don't hold back, you know I like it rough
Know I'm feelin' ya, huh, know you liking it, huh

So why you standing over there with ya clothes on?
Baby, strip down for me, go on, take 'em off
Don't worry, baby, I'ma meet you half way
'Cause I know you wanna see me

Almost there
So baby, don't stop what you're doing
Softer than a mutha
Boy, I know you wanna touch
Breathing down my neck, I can tell ya wanna...
And now you want it like
Want you to feel it now
I got a secret that I wanna show you, oh
I got a secret so I'ma drop 'em to the floor, oh

No teasin', you waited long enough
Go deep, I'ma throw it at ya, can't catch it
Don't hold back, you know I like it rough
Know I'm feelin' ya, huh, know you liking it, huh

So why you standing over there with ya clothes on?
Baby, strip down for me, go on, take 'em off
Don't worry, baby, I'ma meet you half way
'Cause I know you wanna see me

No heels, no shirt, no skirt
All I'm in is just skin
No jeans, take 'em off
Wanna feel your skin
You a beast, oh
You know that I like it
Come on, baby, all I wanna see you in is just skin, oh, oh
Your skin, oh, oh, just skin, oh, oh
I'm loving your skin, oh, oh

All in, baby, don't hold nothing back
Wanna take control, ain't nothing wrong with that
Say you liking how I feel, ain't gotta tell me that
Just put your skin, baby, on my skin

No heels, no shirt, no skirt
All I'm in is just skin
No jeans, take 'em off
Wanna feel your skin
You a beast, oh
You know that I like it
Come on, baby, all I wanna see you in is just skin, oh, oh
Your skin, oh, oh, just skin, oh, oh
I'm loving your skin, oh, oh
All I wanna see you in is just

No heels, no shirt, no skirt
All I'm in is just skin
No jeans, take 'em off
Wanna feel your skin
You a beast, oh
You know that I like that, come on, baby
All I wanna see you in is just skin
All I wanna see you in is just skin
All I wanna see you in is just skin
All I wanna see you in
All I wanna see you in
All I wanna see you in is your skin

D Day: To Sequester or Not

Okay, so we're officially about 12 hours from finding out if $85 million in budget cuts will come into effect. 

Regardless of what happens, I have to take this opportunity to urge everyone to make a conscious effort to remember how you're feeling during this time.  Remember because you seem to forget once election season roles around.  You forget that the names you're voting back into office because they're familiar are the same names that are so self-serving they are willing to put your livelihood in harm's way just to push their own agendas.  Just to protect their own wealth.  Just to continue their greed.  When will they realize pushing all the wealth to a small portion of the population will cause the downfall of us all?

I wrote my Congresswoman about the detriment the budget cuts could have on me due to the possible furlough of federal employees, but I wish I had further reach. 

I have two ideal situations.  The first is that I wish I could go into Congress and get on a soapbox.  Reveal to the members that they've lost perspective.  Remind them that they were voted into office to represent members of their communities.  I don't know any members of my community that would vote to have their pay withheld.  Especially when everyone is not being asked to make the same sacrifices.  Especially when the wealthy, including the individual that's supposed to be representing them in Congress, isn't undergoing the same circumstances. 

But more than likely my second scenario will be more effective. I wish I could go into Congress with a huge hose - clean everything out and start all over.

The Classics: Cherish the Day - Sade

Simply stated, this is the most sensual song I've ever heard and I still play it like it was released last week. Timeless love.


You're ruling the way that I move
And I breathe your air
You only can rescue me
This is my prayer

If you were mine
If you were mine
I wouldn't want to go to heaven

I cherish the day
I won't go astray
I won't be afraid
You won't catch me running
You're ruling the way that I move
You take my air

You show me how deep love can be

You're ruling the way that I move
And I breathe your air
You only can rescue me
This is my prayer

I cherish the day
I won't go astray
I won't be afraid
You won't catch me running
I cherish the day
I won't go astray
I won't be afraid
Won't run away

You show me how deep love can be
You show me how deep love can be
This is my prayer

I cherish the day
I won't go astray
I won't be afraid
Won't run away
Won't shy

I cherish the day
I won't go astray

I cherish the day
I cherish the day
I cherish the day
I cherish the day
I cherish the day

The Classics: 'Where Did The Night Go' - Gil Scott Heron

It's been a minute since I posted one these, but here we go.  Gil Scott Heron's Where Did The Night Go is near and dear to me because I can relate.  I've definitely had those nights where I couldn't go to sleep because there were words I needed to say, but couldn't gather together in a way that relayed my feelings.  And fuck tears, and screaming and definitely exhausation, I wasn't going to rest until I got it right.  Enjoy.


Long ago the clock washed midnight away
Bringing the dawn
Oh God, I must be dreaming
Time to get up again
And time to start up again
Pulling on my socks again
Should have been asleep
When I was sitting there drinking beer
And trying to start another letter to you
Don't know how many times I dreamed to write again last night
Should've been asleep when I turned the stack of records over and over
So I wouldn't be up by myself
Where did the night go?
Should go to sleep now
And say fuck a job and money
Because I spend it all on unlined paper and can't get past
"Dear baby, how are you?"
Brush my teeth and shave
Look outside, sky is dark
Think it may rain
Where did
Where did
Where did

A Different Perspective Creates New Responsibilities: Review of 'Playing in the Dark'

I recently began reading Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination.  
The book consists of three essays:  Black Matters, Romancing the Shadow and Disturbing Nurses and the Kindness of Sharks.

I've nearly completed the first piece and had to record my initial thoughts. The essay focuses on the effect removing Africanist culture from literature has had on American writers, who were largely white males. 

This study is broadening my literary horizons for a number of reasons. First, while it is more common to see a white, male author surmise how women or individuals of another race perceive the world, it's not as common to see an author of another race and gender turn the tables.  So Toni Morrison's take, as a black woman, offers a dynamic perspective on how race in American literature imposes itself on this group.  Needless to say, the confidence she approaches this task with is inspiring to me as a black, female writer.

Second, I've always been angered by the fact that African American history has been removed and taught separately from American history as though one can exist without the other.  That being said, I've never carried this thought process into American/African American literature.  I've always attributed the lack of African American presence or our negative portrayal in American literature to the fact that the authors write about what they know or, more accurately, think they know. I assumed DuBois' veil was in play; white culture's lack of true understanding of our culture blocking them from creating characters of any true substance.  Furthermore, though I've lamented on what our absence or negative portrayal has done to the readers of American literature, I've never considered the effect it's had on the authors. 

Lastly, I want to share a quote I fell in love with from the preface:
The imagination that produces work which bears an invites rereadings, which motions to future readings as well as contemporary ones, implies a shareable world and an endlessly flexible language.
And another from Black Matters:
Writers are among the most sensitive, the most intellectually anarchic, most representative, most probing of artists.  The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.
These capture just what I hope to one day achieve with my writing - to create something beautiful and meaningful that stands the test of time.  Toni Morrison has made it apparent just how much responsibility comes with this dream.

Feb. 20, 2013 Update: I just finished this book.  I can only say it's complex yet amazing.  I picked it up as a writer always seeking to learn more about my trade, but I'd definitely recommend it to anybody who loves literature.

The Happy Slave

You know what?? It's time for us to address the misperception of the happy slave.

I watched Alex Haley's Queen this weekend for the first time since its release in 1993.  I was lightweight outraged.  The way slavery and the post-reconstruction era were portrayed was distorted, to put it mildly. 

Because the story is about a mulatto ex-slave, Queen, it focuses on her struggle to find acceptance.  This is something to which a majority of people can relate.  Unfortunately, the truth specific to black people in this era was lost.  For instance, the viewer is confronted with Queen's friend who speaks her mind to her masters with no repercussions, Queen, who simply walks out of the big house's front door, twice, to escape slavery and a group of sharecroppers who go on strike.  Not only do they go on strike, but the only member of the group who faces consequence is the leader, Davis, who happens to be the father of Queen's first-born son Abner.  Davis was lynched for his revolutionary role in the community and this unfortunately, provided the only realistic portrayal of what was largely happening in the South during this era.

Twenty years after Queen, Django comes and demonstrates America's memory of black history has deteriorated even more.   Can I just say, they got y'all when they marketed Django as a movie about slavery??  Slavery in this context was used as the backdrop to a story and was used to draw an audience Quentin Tarantino wouldn't normally attract. 

In spite of all the violence and blood in the movie, the most horrific scene we witnessed that directly addressed slavery was four scars on Kerry Washington's back and the 'r' brand she received for running away.  Yes, the fact that a husband and wife were sold apart was sad, but it was part of the love story that fueled the need for the bloodshed that is classic Tarantino.

The other portrayals of slavery in Django were less than realistic: slaves swinging on a tree swing and fixing their hair while another slave is about to receive a beating and slaves leisurely strolling around the plantation when Django arrives on his first bounty hunting mission to name a few. 

Let me be clear, I'm not looking for more graphic footage here.  In fact, in the case of Django I'm glad there wasn't more blood in relation to slavery.  If there had been, I feel it would've gotten lost in Tarantino's signature exploding body parts and simply become part of the entertainment. 

What I'm asking for is an accurate portrayal.  Something that shows what most black people in America were going through during these eras, not just the stories the majority can relate to - a struggle for acceptance or coping with the loss of a mate.

I think this change of perception starts with who we permit to tell our story.  In the case of Queen, it turns out Alex Haley died before he completed the novel.  Because of this, David Stevens, completed the book and put it on screen.  David Stevens was born in Tiberias, Palestine.  And Django, written by a Italian/Irish filmmaker.  Not saying these men can't appreciate black history, but they overlooked key cultural pieces.  It could have been because they couldn't grasp their importance or it could have been for marketing reasons -  trying to sell a story that would appeal to a greater audience.  Whatever the reason, by continually allowing others to tell our story, we risk having history further rewritten.  We simply can't allow this to happen.

It's Unfortunate at Times, but Blood Really is Thicker Than Water

Blood ties are really something else.  I've seen it in my own life - relatives dealing me unimaginable and unjustifiable harm, but my love for them undeniably persists. 

Still, I couldn't help but feel shocked and saddened when I read Strom Thurmond’s black daughter: a symbol of America’s complicated racial history in The Washington Post this morning.  In it, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, Strom Thurmond's unacknowledged daughter, is quoted as having said she respected Thurmond.  Hard to digest when you go on to read this quote by him:
“There’s not enough troops in the army to force the southern people to break down segregation and admit the n—– race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches.”
And Thurmond's hatred for the black race made no exception for his own flesh and blood or the teenage girl he impregnated.  Wouldn't even call the young woman by her proper name. 

Obviously, Thurmond was the personification of the history of this country's confused misconception about race relations, so I'll let that speak for itself.  I'm more intrigued by what in the human make-up allowed Washington-Williams to refrain from outing Thurmond by keeping her identity secret and thus seemingly betraying not only her people, but her own mother who was routinely and personally disrespected by Thurmond.  I understand the danger she and her mother would have been in if she'd made this revelation in the height of the civil rights movement, but to hold onto this knowledge until Thurmond's death in 2003? 

The ultimate betrayal  was to herself.  That's evident in the quote the article provides from Washington-Williams memoir, “In a way, my life began at 78.” 

So I go back to my original question, what is it about familial connections that permits people to go on loving and sacrificing in spite of it all?
Tag : ,

The Classics: Lauryn Hill - I Get Out

Love this one because when I first heard it, it spoke to me on a very personal level.  Many parts of it gave voice to feelings I was having about a relationship I was in at the time.  As I moved past that and into a different phase of my life, it touched me on the socially aware level I believe Lauryn Hill meant it to.  In short, I appreciate that it's a song I'm able to carry into all areas of my life.

[Singing Chorus]
I get out, I get out of all your boxes
I get out, you can't hold me in these chains
I'll get out
Father free me from this bondage
Knowin' my condition
Is the reason I must change

[Verse 1]
Your stinkin' resolution
Is no type of solution
Preventin' me from freedom
Maintainin' your polution
I won't support your lie no more
I won't even try no more
If I have to die, oh Lord
That's how I choose to live
I won't be compromised no more
I can't be victimised no more
I just don't sympathize no more
Cuz now I understand
You just wanna use me
You say "love" then abuse me
You never thought you'd loose me
But how quickly we forget
That nothin' is for certain
You thought I'd stay here hurtin'
Your guilt trip's just not workin'
Repressin' me to death
Cuz now I'm choosin' life, yo
I take the sacrifice, yo
If everything must go, then go
That's how I choose to live

[Pause]

[Singing rest of Verse 1]
That's how I choose to live...
Hehehehe, awhh
No more compromises
I see past your diguises
Blindin' through mind control
Stealin' my eternal soul
Appealin' through material
To keep me as your slave

[Singing Chorus]
But I get out
Oh, I get out of all your boxes
I get out
Oh, you can't hold me in these chains
I'll get out
Oh, I want out of social bondage
Knowin' my condition
Oh, is the reason I must change

[Singing Verse 2]
See, what you see is what you get
Oh, and you ain't seen nothin' yet
Oh, I don't care if you're upset
I could care less if you're upset
See it don't change the truth
And your hurt feeling's no excuse
To keep me in this box
Psychological locks
Repressin' true expression
Cementin' this repression
Promotin' mass deception
So that no one can be healed
I don't respect your system
I won't protect your system
When you talk I don't listen
Oh, let my Father's will be done

[Singing Chorus]
And just get out
Oh, just get out of all this bondage
Just get out
Oh, you can't hold me in these chains
Just get out
All these traditions killin' freedom
Knowin' my condition
Is the reason I must change

[Singing Verse 3]
I just accepted what you said
Keepin' me among the dead
The only way to know
Is to walk then learn and grow
But faith is not your speed
Oh, you'd had everyone believe
That you're the sole authority
Just follow the majority
Afraid to face reality
The system is a joke
Oh, you'd be smart to save your soul
Oh, and escape this mind control
You spent your life in sacrifice
To a system for the dead
Oh, are you sure...
Where is the passion in this living
Are you sure it's God you servin'
Obligated to a system
Getting less then you're deserving
Who made up these schools, I say
Who made up these rules, I say
Animal conditioning
Oh, just to keep us as a slave

[Singing Chorus]
Oh, just get out
Of this social (?)-----> PURGATORY
Just get out
All these traditions are a lie
Just get out
Superstition killing freedom
Knowin' my condition
Is the reason I must die
Just get out
Just get out
Just get out
Let's get out
Let's get out
Knowin' my condition
Is the reason I must die
Just get out

The Classics: Dead Prez - Psychology

For some time, I've been feeling like I've needed to start a section on my blog that recognizes my all time favorite songs.  Songs that I feel are perfect in every way.  That cause something in my soul to move. 

To kick things off, I'm offering up Dead Prez's Psychology:


I was born, in a dump
My mama died and my father got drunk
They left me, to die or grow
In the middle of Tobacco Road

I grew up in a rusty shack
All I owned was hangin' on my back
And Lord knows, how I learnt
This place called Tobacco Road

Tobacco road, you're dirty and you're filthy
Tobacco road, gonna get me some dynamite and a crane
I'm gonna blow it up
Lord knows gonna start all over again

My mind is the place where I make my plans
The world is the place where I take my stand
The beauty of life is mine today
They cannot take my mind away

Fuck what you heard, I'm from Africa
This ain't no act it's mathematical
Past the black radical
I choose the M1, because it's practical
Nothin' was changed, we ain't protected
No names, it's all factual

They push the wrong buttons, count down to detonate
Brooklyn blown away and the world will have to speculate
This is what we learn in the streets, fuck a degree
Believe in none of what you hear and half of what you see

It's like watching your own father smoke crack
I have nightmares on shit like that
No way in hell I'll ever get like that
I seen a lot of shit in twenty-two years

It's like a tour of duty
My life is booby-trapped, it's hard to see the beauty
When your heart is turning ice cold
Cold like your hands exposed to blistering winds

My mother keep her eyes closed, she say she prayin'
I listen close to what she sayin'
When she speak of Jesus I ignore it
But when it's practical I'm all for it

You got to think like a soldier
I'm training myself to snatch pistols out of holsters
Discipline keep the mind focused
This whole world is a corn field son
Look out for flying locusts

My mind is the place where I make my plans
The world is the place where I take my stand
The beauty of life is mine today
They cannot take my mind away

My mind is the place where I make my plans
The world is the place where I take my stand
The beauty of life is mine today
They cannot take my mind away

Don't let 'em get in your head, they try to probe you
Figure your thoughts so they can try and control you
And through you, control your whole crew
It's psychology boy, now what the fuck that make you wanna do?

You can't walk the streets with no state of mind
Blind to the ways of mankind
And if you know the time, give me a sign
Tell me where we draw the line

I got your back if you got mine
My enemy's enemy is my man
One deadlock is stronger than one strand
While the crackers got the upper hand

My comrades stand on lands stolen
Every tooth a golden opportunity
Who holdin' my community hostage?
10 percent ransom, costing us time we lost and some

This is how the plan runs
Thinkin' with a fugitive brain
What we do to live is insane
Holdin' the weed, healing my membranes

Just like crack, you know it all boils down
To the dollars-and-cents of it
Niggaz commence to get [unverified] to sentenced to serve terms
Jumping the fence, the black germ is loose
When will they learn?

Psychology
We piss on walls and smoke reefa in the halls
No respect for their laws
I cut your face with a kitchen knife

In gladiator times, man against machinery
The tree bark fatigues help me blend in with the scenery boy
Life is a series of serious choices
Theories is formed from experience, never mysterious forces

Various courses of life can lead to failure
Too much of anything is a trap
My mind snap
Guerrilla warfare for two grand

They say karate means 'Empty hands'
So then it's perfect for the poor man
They say karate means 'Empty hands'
So then it's perfect for the poor man

My mind is the place where I make my plans
The world is the place where I take my stand
The beauty of life is mine today
They cannot take my mind away

My mind is the place where I make my plans
The world is the place where I take my stand
The beauty of life is mine today
They cannot take my mind away

When you think of us think of pyramids and pistols
And glimmering gold teeth that shine like crystals
The mind is like a jewel son
Only a fool wouldn't grasp it

Wisdom is a tool, you get blasted
When you think of us think of pyramids and pistols
And glimmering gold teeth that shine like crystals
The mind is like a jewel son
Only a fool wouldn't grasp it
Wisdom is a tool, you get blasted

Free your mind, and the rest will follow
Seize the time, no-one is promised tomorrow

Free your mind, and the rest will follow
Seize the time, no-one is promised tomorrow

Free your mind, and the rest will follow
Seize the time, no-one is promised tomorrow

- Copyright © LIVity - Skyblue - Powered by Blogger - Designed by Johanes Djogan -