Sunday, July 31, 2011

Soliloquy: Why Do I Care?

I keep forgetting I'm supposed to be an adult.

I was one of those kids. The smart ones. The weird ones. The ones who still live with their parents through "college." But I'm an adult. It's a weird place to be in; between caring about what your parents expect from you and what you expect from yourself. I'm not one to care much about peers, because in the end, who are they anyway? But I still seem to care so much what my parents think, no matter how much I don't want to.

I'm a Grey's Anatomy fan. Seriously, I've been watching since season one episode one. W and I often talk about who's who and she decided long before I accepted that I'm a Meredith. I'm whiny and romantic. I have trouble admitting when I need help. I have a strange relationship with my parents and I only have one "person" in the world, even when she's a bitch and that's W; W gets to be the awesome Christina, and I'm stuck being the misty-eyed Meredith.

In any case, Meredith is this whining, moody, but very effective and logically illogical doctor. She falls in love with the most imperfect perfect man, and she makes a living by saving lives. Sounds awesome, but then life gets complicated. And then you meet her parents. Her father is this ineffective man who she can't connect with and her mother is this domineering super-surgeon with Alzheimer's who she still craves affection from and secretly idolizes and dislikes immensely.

While I'm not saying my parents are like that, I am saying I understand what it's like to be on the cusp of responsibility for your own life and realizing that you've got to be accountable to the people who raised you. It kind of sucks a little; you're just taking the reins on your life and now someone else's expectations of you are misguiding what you know you want to do, and who you know you want to be.

 I'm spoiled, and elitist. I think I know a lot when I really know I know next to nothing. I'm scared of everything outside of my comfort zone and I don't like to share. I know who I am without people telling me repeatedly, but my parents always seem to hit me right in the ribs with their criticism care and their guilt love; they tell me all the time, with and without words who they think I am and who they raised, not realizing I'm making my own person. I'm making myself, despite the fact that they've already laid down the foundation, I'm building my own house. I want to not care what they think, but I just end up feeling guilty about my lack of caring.

So the question I keep asking is why do I care? I never cared about friends in high school. I never cared about co-workers on a job. I never cared about much of anything outside of myself except for my parents. I guess I could say that, being an only child with a military background, they're all I think I have and I should value them. But the real part of me, that selfish, not-yet-grown-up part of me just says "Screw it, let them think what they want" while I go on and live my life the way I always wanted.

Where's the balance in that? Where's a survey that I can take every day to ensure that I'm giving at least 5% of care and attnetion to what others, including my parents, think? Why don't I care as much as I think I should?

Monday, July 18, 2011

(15) Who Am I...

When I was a young thing in Pampers sitting in front of subwoofers and playing with old CDs, I remember hearing this bossa nova type song. I'd spend years and years hearing it in my thoughts but not knowing who it was or where it came from until I heard it again, fifteen or so years later being sampled by Mya. It sounded like this and it's remix that sounded like this.

After that I got a little obsessed. I found the producer (the often imitated but never duplicated Jay Dee), and the band (the Pharcyde). The song was called Runnin'. Later on once the dopeness of the song rendered me able to search more, I found that the snippets Jay Dee used were from a Stan Getz song Saudade Vem Correndo and fell in love with that too. So now I have five versions of essentially the same song on my iPod.

In any case, what does this say about me besides my addiction to music knowledge? Why is this song the one that defines who I am?

I'm always, always running. Not in the literal sense, because heaven knows I hate to sweat but in the way that I always seem to find something to hold me back or scare me away from the things that I desire. The chorus just repeats the same phrase, which is convientently the same phrase I always repeat to myself: Can't keep runnin' away.

I'm afraid to be myself. I'm afraid to go out in the world and fail. So I'm always running to my parents, my friends, even sometimes deeper within myself to shield myself from what I see as a big bad world out there just waiting to tear me to pieces. Over time though I have realized that I can't keep running opposite of what I want, or else, how am I ever supposed to get there?  I take smaller steps back in the direction of "right" instead of running paces back in the direction of "safe," but sometimes I worry that those small steps don't matter to those around me, or even in the scheme of things with the way people treat them like a "It's about damn time" type thing instead of a "Congratulations, keep going," type thing. Should it matter what they think anyway?

The music is pensive and thoughtful but complexly layered, things I've been called on more than one occassion. The lyrics are meaningful and relate to everybody, again, a lot like me. It has roots deep in different cultures and an infectious loop that makes you want to delve deeper into why you are who you are, why you think what you think, and why you keep running which is exactly why this song defines a big portion of who I am.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

(12) Song by a Band I...

It's supposed to be a song by a band I hate by I don't necessarily hate The Dixie Chicks, I'm just not one of those Texas girls who go to rodeos and rides pick-ups with Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton blasting from the stereos. I don't do a lot of country music.

A few months ago though I heard Landslide on a Glee episode and liked it. I tried Fleetwood Mac's original and liked it more, but it didn't sound quite right to me; it was missing something that I couldn't put my finger on. When I heard the Chicks' version, I loved it; it had just the right amount of twang and emotion and it had that extra something that the other versions were missing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Storytime: Tes and Jewish Men

My aunt used to love to take me shopping in Germany. Admittedly I loved the culture, the people, the candy food; it was all like something out of a fairy tale. The buildings weren't over three levels tall, the streets were cobblestoned, and people could take carriages throughout the district. It was beautiful and it drew me in something serious, even as a kid. Coincidentally that was the around the time I first saw a Hassidic Jewish man praying in public.

While my aunt was heckling with a vendor buying things from a vendor, I had time to observe and listen closely. He was speaking in a language I couldn't understand but that was melodious and calm, though with lots of hard consonants. He was wearing a wide brimmed black hat and loose fitting black clothing. He had a long beard and two long curls of hair on either side of his face. And as he prostrated before his G-d, I decided in my no-more-than-eight-year-old mind that I liked this guy.

And its been like that ever since.

Over time I began to look into Judaism and found that I felt more drawn to it than any other religion I had been flirting with. Christianity scared me when I was younger; in my mind it looked like God was just coming down and touching people making them pass out and holler. Later in my teens I flirted with the idea of Islam and although I felt better there than with Christianity it still wasn't an easy fit.

A year or so ago I met a man at a Borders bookstore. We were both looking in the poetry section and he asked me if I knew much about the book I had picked up and suggested another one instead. ("Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair" by Pablo Neruda in case you were wondering.) I could tell he was older, how much so I wouldn't know until our third time meeting where we met for coffee (tea, actually) and discussed the book.

He was an odd looking guy; he, much like the man from my childhood, wore all black and a wide brimmed black hat. He had long peyes (uncut sideburns) and vibrant green eyes and an amazing smile. And we dated for roughly 8 months. I think we were a crazy sight; him in all his glory and I, a full foot shorter in sneakers and t-shirts and big hoop earrings. Visually we didn't fit, but in most other aspects we did. In the end though, it wasn't the right fit or the right time.

I felt real with him. I know it's odd to say that before I felt like a piece of something, a figment of my own imagination. He brought out what was real with me; my anxiety, my jealousy, my short-sightedness...All the bad things were called to the carpet, but immediately after we would talk about the good in me, my willingness to try, my intelligence, my compassion. It was a give and take relationship that made me a better person and gave me a great respect for his perspective and the perspective his religion gave him.

I think in that fairytale setting so long ago I saw something real. I saw something that could withstand time, language, race and whatever other qualifiers a person can come up with. And I saw it in a man, unashamed of who he was, where he came from or who (and what) he represented to the world. And there started my appreciation, respect and admiration of Jewish men.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Moment of Inspiration

It's kind of funny the things that inspire you. Like this guy Brian Gaynor.

Brian Gaynor has not only a passion for dance, but scoliosis as well. I have scoliosis. Or I did, until around 2000 when I had double titanium rods implemented. To see what he's able to do, even with his limited range of motion inspires me in a way I haven't been in a long time.

Here I am, sulking about school and jobs and all these other things that are constantly bombarding me and trying to pull me down, and there's this dude here. This dude here doesn't let his bodily limitations stop him from doing what he loves; he dances because it's what he wants to do and what brings him joy. Regardless of if he's the best at it although dude is superb at that robot or if it makes him money, he does it and does it with abandon and acceptance.

What I feel when watching him dance is...everything. Everything. If he can do that, then I can do all these things in my life that seem impossible. All it takes is that leap of faith and determination.

Friday, July 8, 2011

(14) Unexpected Song

I'm prone to being a bit eclectic with my choices, but if I had to guess one of the songs (and groups too) that no one would expect me to like, or for that matter know, are The Black Keys.

I heard of the Black Keys a few years ago in high school when one of my choir babies said she was attending a concert of theirs. She let me listen to a few of their MP3s and I had to go and buy a few of their songs, the first one being "When the Lights Go Out."

The song is like that expression "you don't know what you have until it's gone;" the woman he's singing to is just mean and loveless and once he leaves she's going to know what she's missing. It's gritty, it's simple, and it's perfect.

It's an unexpected song from me because I usually migrate between three states of being with my music which are sexy/sensual, sad/angry, and happy/energized of which the previous doesn't fall into. Truth be told I love a lot of songs that don't fall into those categories, but this is one of the only blues songs I own. Don't get me wrong I appreciate the greats who came before like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and the father of allegedly selling his soul modern music Robert Johnson. However, these two gentlemen...? They are a bit of a juicy contradiction conundrum to me; indie artists who are successful in the mainstream, who don't adhere to just one genre (as their Blakroc collab with hip-hop greats like Common , Mos Def and the RZA prove), and who genuinely seem to love what they make. And they're oddballs. Gotta love that.

Check them out.
I promise you'll be cooler for it ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I don't ever feel like writing anymore and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I don't think people actually read what I write. Maybe it's because I don't feel like my writing changes anything outside of myself. In any case, I write much less than I used to.

I used to write poems all the time. Love poems. Hate poems. Expectation poems. Now I don't even have the drive to come up with any. I don't push them, because I find that when I'm straining to make an idea connect and work it never feels right to me, and that's all I look for when writing poems is that it feels right. It may sound odd, it may be structured strangely, but if it feels like everything I felt when writing it, it's perfect.

And I don't use the word perfect often (unless in sarcasm) when referring to what I write. I think as a writer I'm always looking to edit, fix, cut and paste, highlight...I'm an analytical person so I often wonder if poetry is even for me, seeing as though I don't often openly express my feelings. I always mask with sarcasm and humor. Folks fall for it every time...

A friend of mine I call Soul Brotha is disappointed with the turn my writing, or lack thereof, is taking. Even writing this is kind of grating on me and he knows that if a day comes when I don't feel like writing something off that needs to be on. I don't know how to turn it back on though, and that's where he and I differ; he wants me to just write and write until I feel better while I want to feel better before I write. Also, what's there to write about? My life is stagnant at the moment; all I have are thoughts and ideas that usually go nowhere and that I'm not sure translate well with words.

In any case, how are you guys? What do you do when you don't feel like doing what you always do?


Saturday, July 2, 2011

(8) Don't Forget the Lyrics...

The song challenge for this one is hard: I know all the words to every song I have, and even some I've only heard once or twice in passing. I find though that more recently I enjoy instrumentals of popular songs more so than the songs themselves and that's where "My Last" by Big Sean comes in.

I don't know much other than the chorus, but the overall feel I get for the song is something like hopefulness and the urge to drive with the top down. I makes me think of warm weather and having an easy in my heart that doesn't happen a lot lately.

I think the purpose of the song, even without the lyrics, is to inspire; live to the fullest says the beat, live wit lightness says the piano...or maybe I'm just one of those weird listeners who hears characterizations and lyrics from the instruments themselves and not much from the person laying their voice over the track. :)