Chaos is beauty
Weaving in and out of life
I can’t stand the pain
Yet. I must. This year has been dismal and devastating. Between President Trump (at this time of writing soon to be former President Trump), Covid and Black Lives Matter…there’s just been so much to do about death and anger. Uncertainty and mistrust. I suppose those are opposite sides of the same bloody coin.
I’ve had enough of it. I’m sure we all have. So ready to see it end…but will it? I cannot lie when I say I fear the worst.
In all of my *** years, I’ve never seen a violent storm on Christmas Eve. Every Christmas has either come to me as white or, sunny and bright. This Christmas Eve presented like Good Friday. I’ve known plenty of wind and rain and stormy days on Good Friday.
But this Christmas, on the day we welcome the birth of a Savior, who came to set the captives free..
The Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace…brought me no glad tidings of great joy this year.
In fact, my wallet was stolen. Third time this year. Well, that’s not true. The first time I thought it had been stolen, I found it-the hassles, however were the same, regardless.
Inconvenience. Calling the banks to cancel, changing the info on all of the accounts from which my bills were paid using my (once again) defunct debit card.
I’m tired y’all. Between looking for work, wondering why I can’t even land an interview, when I’m damned qualified, social distancing, and all of the other Covid related malfeasances, it seems that my face, which I’ve finally decided to attach to my profiles, and which I’ve been told I’d get 12x the exposure, has done the opposite. It seems my face may be the problem. I’ve since deleted my profile picture.
Is it me, or is this new age of networking and social media make it easier to discriminate?
This black girl is fed up.
I called this post jazz for a reason. If you’re a fan you’ll understand. If not, I do apologize. I have either the luxury nor time to explain, which I suppose in a roundabout way I just did.
Jazz resonates because jazz is my life right now. Chaotic, unpredictable and as of now, completely improvised.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately and I introspect a lot about what I’m doing wrong, what I have been doing, what I haven’t been doing.
I waste so much valuable time and energy worrying. I won’t say it’s needless worry because I do need to worry. I’m not getting any younger and I have big plans for my future, and we know time waits for no man or woman. Despite the fact that we’re pretty much all given the same amount of time to work with, it’s what one does with the time they are given is what makes the difference.
I have a plethora of books on shelves. Many classics, some were required reading for classes, much of them I collected because I love(d) to read. I used to be such a consistent reader and I’m talking finishing a novel in like three days, always on the hunt for the next read type reader.
Life got in the way or I became lazy, whichever you prefer. To me, the two became mutually exclusive. After a rough day, it became easier to sink into the couch, grab the remote and submit to Netflix or Amazon binges rather than write, which was suddenly beginning to feel like work. The words, the thoughts, the scenes that used to appear in my mind like magic were no longer accessible, especially not after feeding the kids, washing dishes or any of the other household duties that have taken over my life of late.
Occasionally I’d watch MSNBC or CNN, sometimes Fox. While I couldn’t care less about what pundits or talking heads were saying, I admired their vocabulary. I loved the comparisons or analogies they made, the way they could pull beautiful words so eloquently out of the air and make powerful points. They referenced authors and books (I even had some of them on shelves) often. They were/are knowledgeable because they are well read. I found myself wondering when they found time to read, and while I watched and listened to them speak with admiration and a little envy, I could see my bookshelf with piles of books on top of one another begging to be read reflected in the television and I felt pretty damn guilty.
Not only was I wasting time watching television, but I knew a lot about the topics that the talking heads were speaking on because I had gone to school. I read and I even wrote on the issues they spoke with authority about. Too much of what I had learned was forgotten because I was relying on information from others rather than relying on the knowledge I’d acquired throughout the years. Knowledge I acquired from reading, which I no longer did with the vigor or the rigor I did when I was younger and when I was in school. Of course my writing suffered as well. When I am reading, I’m writing.
I’m blaming social media for that too. I’m so busy scrolling through facebook or instagram, with envy, watching tik tokkers doing all of these incredible things with their lives, while the world watches and likes.
I’d been spending too much time in other people’s picture perfect worlds instead of creating my own, and I began tumbling down a terribly dark and seemingly endless rabbit hole.
I began my crawling my way out this weekend, and the ascent began with two books, I’d had on my shelf for nearly 20 years and hadn’t bothered to read. The first was an anthology called, The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, edited in 1967 by Langston Hughes (it’s shocking to find how little has changed for Black America since then), and The Fisher King by Paule Marshall. I came across a short story written so poignantly by Marshall in Hughes’ anthology that reminded me that I owned a book written by her that had been sitting on my shelf for years. It was as if I had been poisoning myself, suffering while the antidote was hiding in plain sight, within reach, all this time! I finished that book in two days and I’m reading and writing more than I have in years.
Something has awakened inside of me. Shake Loose My Skin...Yes!<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">I used to immerse myself in creative fiction. I've collected books from all the greats: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/obituaries/ntozake-shange-is-dead-at-70.html" data-type="URL" data-id="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/obituaries/ntozake-shange-is-dead-at-70.html">Ntozake Shange, </a>Sonia Sanchez, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Paule Marshall (who was born Pauline but changed her name to Paule to honor Dunbar) Colson Whitehead, and most recently Ta-Nehisi Coates, who I consider my writing doppelgänger, reminded me who I am and why I started writing in the first place.I used to immerse myself in creative fiction. I’ve collected books from all the greats: Ntozake Shange, Sonia Sanchez, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Paule Marshall (who was born Pauline but changed her name to Paule to honor Dunbar) Colson Whitehead, and most recently Ta-Nehisi Coates, who I consider my writing doppelgänger, reminded me who I am and why I started writing in the first place.
And it’s not just reading. I stopped listening to (and hearing) music as well, which is shameful since rhyme, melody and harmony-meaningful lyrics, songs—they were/are truly medicine for my soul.
It’s as if the music stopped once my life started and I don’t know how that happened or why I let it. I don’t regret my children. What I regret is that I neglected to share with them what provided me comfort, kept me curious and engaged and with a thirst for knowledge. If I heard something good, I wanted to know more…
For months I planned to write a post called Requiem about the writers and artists with whom I’d recently become reacquainted only to learn that they had passed on and I procrastinated, until now. I regret putting off that post almost as much as I regret waiting so long to read their writing or listen to their music all of which remind me how precious, yet fleeting time is.
Illustrating my point about time is a message that legendary poet and activist Sonia Sanchez gave to me:
The time is now. Where are you?
*R.I.P and thank you Ntozkae Shange, Paule Marshall and Lamya.