So I guess I get it. The reasons behind some people passing on conspiracy theories and ignoring science. Purposefully posting baiting posts and comments, starting internet fued after internet fued. It’s for the attention. These are people that have never benefited their society in any way before, besides residing in it. They have never been community minded because they were never personally affected by anything happening in their community. They are not ones to volunteer or support community events. Because of that they’ve never really been heard or seen before. Just another face in the crowd. But now they have a platform. Albeit a dangerous one but a platform nonetheless. Conveniently from the comfort of their own home. From the time they reposted a YouTube video of unproven propaganda and received their first “make this shareable” comment to the graduation of making their own posts of regurgitated, befuddled information that was liked more times than any mundane photo of their family. It’s an easy wagon to jump on with an abundance of material so you don’t have to use your own brain too much. And it gives you the feeling of importance quickly. Now granted they are gaining the popularity and importance from other under educated people that have also never benefited society, but who cares? The ego is the ego. As long as these wallflowers that have been ignored for years are finally getting the attention they crave and feel they deserve they will continue to blindly share, comment, and post in the hopes of getting one more like than last time. One more “make this shareable!” One more “Yes! Finally someone who gets it! 🙌”. To feel smart. To feel seen. To feel heard. To feel powerful. It may cost lives but to understand that the person would have to have a conscience and empathy from the start. And we already know that they don’t. So kudos to you person from a small town with an 8th grade education that no one has ever seen or heard of before. Now is your moment to shine!
Pet the cat. Sit in the same spot. Look out the same window. Hear the same birds. Are they the same? Probably. Watch the scenery change from brown to green and actually notice the change, as it’s happening, as opposed to when the trees go from bare to full overnight. Wash out the same coffee cup. Pour another cup of coffee. Pet the cat. Sit in the same spot. Decide what book to start. Forget about the book and play more games on the phone. When’s the last time I took a shower? It doesn’t matter. Pet the cat. Open a window. Hear the same birds. Definitely the same birds. Let the cats sniff. Walk into the kitchen. You should really make that chicken and some vegetables for dinner. Forget about the chicken and pour a bowl of cereal. Close the window. Turn on the TV. Turn off the TV. Cry. Sit back in the same spot. Stare out the same window. Think about a dream career that would bring you happiness. Realize there isn’t one. Pet the cat. Pull out your art supplies from college. Leave them on the coffee table untouched. Play more games on the phone. Was that a knock at the door? Peer through the peep hole. See nothing. Sit in the same spot. Decide to organize the dvds. Sit on the floor. Pet the cat. Leave half the dvds on the shelf, the other half on the floor. Pour another cup of coffee. Sit in the same spot. Check phone for texts. There are none. Check social media. Cry. Pet the cat. Look out the same window. Hear the same birds. Google homes for sale in Canada. Wonder where your passport is. Abandon search and play more games on the phone. Decide to take a nap. Lay with eyes open. Listen to the same birds. Get up. Sit in the same spot. Wonder if life will ever be the same again. Pet the cat.
Just Drove Around: A short film
A room with faded pink carpet, rainbow wallpaper covering one wall A blanket is tacked up over a window blocking out the light. Clothes and books litter the floor. In the corner is a small table with a record player, records lean up against the legs of the table. A bed is pushed into the other corner of the room. A bunched up pile of blankets on top. There is no sound but that of an oscillating fan gently blowing back and forth. A knock comes at the door.
A womans voice, “Dinner.”
Slowly the pile of blankets move. A girl sits up in the bed. Her hair is long and black. She is wearing a white tank top. The kind men used to wear under their dress shirts in the 50’s. Her eyes a large and dark. She rubs them.
A living room. Two women are sitting in lazy boy chairs. One with brown hair, one with white hair. They both have tv trays in front of them. The girl is sitting on a couch with a tv tray in front of her. Each tray has a plate of food and a drink. The floor is covered in faded pink carpet, the walls are covered in floral wallpaper. They are watching television while eating. A small dog sits at the foot of the woman with brown hair, watching her. The only sound is the metallic ping of forks hitting Chinawear plates and Wheel of Fortune playing in the background.
A kitchen. The brown hair woman is at the sink washing dishes. The girl walks in and sets her plate on the counter by the sink. The brown hair woman doesn’t look up. The girl walks out of the room. The only sound is the clinking dishes being washed.
The living room. The brown haired woman and white haired woman are sitting back in their lazy boys. The small dog is on the brown hair woman’s lap. Both have their feet up in a reclining position. The girl walks through the room, grabs keys off a side table and walks out the door. The only sound is Jeopardy playing in the background.
The girl walks to a small black 2-door car. She is wearing faded jeans with a hole in one knee, a black t-shirt with a band logo on it, black and white Converse shoes and a black bracelet on her wrist. Her long black hair is parted down the middle and hides her face as she gets in the car.
The outside of a large, run down white house. Multiple mailboxes are stuck on the wall by the front door. There is garbage and liquor bottles scattered on the lawn. An older man with baggy clothes and shaggy hair is standing at the bottom of the stairs. He is holding a bottle covered in a brown bag in his hand and talking out loud to no one. The black car parks in front of the house on the street. The girl gets out and walks up to the house. She high fives the old man and walks through the front door. A moment later she emerges with two men. The first has a blonde mullet and is wearing knee-length jean shorts and a black t-shirt. He appears to be in his 30’s. The second has brown, slightly balding hair and is wearing knee-length jeans shorts and a multicolored shirt. He appears to be in his 40’s. They get in the car with the girl and drive away. The camera stays on the old man standing in front of the house talking out loud to no one.
A parking lot of a store. The sun is setting in the distance. The girl is sitting in the driver’s seat of the car. The windows are down. She is smoking a cigarette. The front passenger seat is empty. The guy in his 30’s sits in the back seat. He hands the girl a cassette tape from the backseat.
“Put this in”, he says to her.
The girl puts in the cassette tape and turns the volume dial up. Metalica starts playing. The man in the back seat starts drumming his fingers on the back of the passenger seat.
A silver car pulls into the parking lot. It pulls past the girls car slowly. There are 4 men inside the silver car that look to be in their early twenties. They pull past the girls car, stop, and then back up. Lining up their driver window to her driver window.
“Hey girl, how are you doing tonight?” the driver says to the girl.
“Fine.” the girl says.
“Want to come party with us?” the driver asks.
“No thanks.” the girl says.
“Awe, come on. It’s going to be fun. You are very beautiful. You should come hang out with us.” the driver insists. His friends chuckling from the passenger and back seat.
“Look, I’m just waiting for my friend. We have to be somewhere, okay?” the girl says.
“Fuck off!” the man from the back seat of the girls car yells.
“What did that dude say?” says the driver of the silver car.
“Nothing. Can you just go please?” the girl says.
The silver car pulls forward and parks. The driver and passenger get out and walk to the girls car leaving the other two in the back seat. The driver bows his head by the girls window.
“What did you say chief?” the driver says to the man in the back seat.
“I said fuck off. She’s not interested so get the fuck out of here.” growls the man in the backseat.
“Look, can you just leave us alone and get in your car and leave please?” the girl pleads holding her arm across the passenger seat blocking the man in the back from getting out.
“Naw, this guys wants to talk shit. Why don’t you get out homeboy? I’ll fuck you up.” the driver says to the man in the backseat.
The girl moves her arm from the passenger seat and raises both hands in the air with a shrug. The man in the back seat tears out of the passenger door of the car. At the same time the man in his 40’s is walking towards the car from the store with cases of beer in his hands. He sees his friend rounding the front of the girls car and the two other men standing by her window.
“What’s up?” he asks his friend.
“These assholes want some.” the man in his 30’s replies while walking in front of the girls car towards the men.
“Oh you dickheads want some?” the man in his 40’s asks while setting the cases of beer on the ground.
“You wanna go old man? We’re Marines. We’ll beat both your asses.” the driver replies while starting to bounce around on the balls of his feet. His hands pop up into fists like a boxer.
Two other men get out of the backseat of the silver car and start walking toward the group.
“Yeah, we’re sure” the man in his 40’s says walking towards the driver. Just then, the man in his 30’s walks past the man in his 40’s and pepper sprays the group of marines. The Marines yell and starts blindly swinging. The man in his 40’s punches the drivers friend in the face knocking him to the ground. The man in his 30’s runs past the Marines and jumps in their still running car. He puts the car into drive and jumps out as it rolls across the parking lot. The two back seat passengers run after the silver car. The man in his 40s has the driver by the shirt and is repeatedly hitting him in the face. The guy in his 30’s runs back and starts kicking the driver’s friend who is laying on the ground.
The girl calmly gets out of the car. She walks to where the beer is and picks it up. She puts it in the trunk of her car. She hears police sirens in the distance.
“We have to go!” she shouts.
The man in his 30’s stops kicking the man on the ground and runs to the girls car getting in the backseat. The man in his 40’s is ramming the driver’s head into another parked car over and over, ignoring the girls yells.
“Lets go!” the girl yells again at the man in his 40’s. He doesn’t respond.
The girl walks up to the man in his 40’s and places a hand on his shoulder. The man turns around, fist drawn, ready to punch the girl. He stops when he sees her, let’s go of the driver, and runs to the girls car. They get in and speed out of the parking lot leaving the men laying on the ground.
“Did you get the beer?” the man in his 40’s says to the girl.
“It’s in the trunk.” the girl says.
“That’s my girl!” the man in his 40’s says.
He turns around and hi-fives the man in the back seat.
A poorly lit living room. The walls have dark paneling, the floor has dark carpeting. There are young people all over. Sitting on couches, on the floor. Passing joints and bottles. Surrounded by a cloud of smoke. A coffee table in the middle of the room is littered with beer bottles and overflowing ashtrays. A girl in camouflage shorts and a black bra walks across the room to a stereo. The Ramones start playing loudly. The door opens and in walks the man in his 40’s, man in his 30’s, and the girl. Everyone cheers as the man in his 40’s sets the cases of beer on the coffee table.
A small bathroom. There is garbage and magazines all over the floor by the toilet. The toilet paper roll is empty. The toilet seat is up. The toilet looks like it has never been cleaned. The sink is covered in cigarette butts and burn marks. A blue fluorescent light flickers above the mirror. The girl is standing at the sink looking at herself in the mirror. Her face is barely visible through the clouded glass. She stares silently at herself with no expression.
“Hurry up.” someone says while pounding on the bathroom door.
The girl walks out of the bathroom and past the man in his 40’s. He hands her a beer, smiles, and holds his hand up for a high-five. The girl smiles, takes the beer, and hits his hand as she walks by. She walks to a group of people on the couch and sits on one of the men’s laps, grabbing a joint out of his hand. Everyone laughs.
A classroom. Desks are lined up in symmetrical rows. Posters hang on the wall showing historical figures. A group of teens are in the back of the room talking and laughing. The girl is sitting at a desk in the front of the room. Her head resting on the desk. A blonde girl in a pink skirt and white top approaches her.
“You are never going to believe what we did last night.” the blonde says to the girl. The girl lifts her head from the desk and looks straight ahead with no expression. Saying nothing. “Me, Katie, Ryan, and BJ went to Wal-Mart and BJ got on one of those motorized scooters and drove it around until the security guard yelled at him. Then Ryan asked the security guard what he needs to do to have a career as a Wal-Mart security guard. We were dying. We totally almost got kicked out. BJ and Ryan are wild. I barely got home in time to study for the quiz on Wednesday. Anyway, what did you do last night?” the blonde asked the girl. The girl looks at the blonde and then turns looking straight ahead again.
“Just drove around.” she replies.
In the Dark
So earlier I had a moment that thousands of people have but rarely talk about; due to shame, embarrassment, etc. But here you go.
I came home from work and the electricity was off in my apartment. I knew I had fallen behind on payments and was planning on making one on my next pay check, two days away. I walked through the apartment laugh crying as I would forget the power was off and try to turn on a light or charge my phone that was on 3%. I wondered how I was going to get it paid and how I was going to explain to my teenager why the lights were off and how I was going to set an alarm clock for work in the morning and on and on….I sat in the dark ashamed. I sat in the dark defeated.
I eventually pulled myself together and walked out of the complex to my car so I could drive to the local Tim Hortons to buy the cheapest thing possible and charge my phone. On my way out I saw people standing outside talking by their cars. I said hello to one of my neighbors and they replied, “Can you believe the power is out??” I stopped in my tracks and blinked. “What’s going on?”, I asked. “The power, it’s been off since 11am. Estimated time for it to come back on is 8pm”, my neighbor replied. I dropped my head, shook it and continued to my car trying to hide my relief.
The whole complex. The whole complex was without power. And here I was, crying in my apartment, trying to figure out how my life had come to this. Questioning my worth. Wondering why I kept failing at life.
But I hadn’t failed this time. Unfortunately, failure is always close. But I do what I can to keep it at arms length. I work hard everyday in the hopes that arm length will grow. To 10 feet or 100 miles or to a point so far I can’t see or feel it anymore. And I am not alone.
There are people walking among you. People with kids in your kids school. People who work at your work. People who are your family or friends. People that are affected differently than you when the power goes out. People that act like everything is okay, when it’s not. And they are struggling. Silently. In the dark.
How do you find a job you actually enjoy? Do they really exist?
I have a friend who is an artist. She has a deep love and passion for painting. Crate and Barrel purchases her paintings to sell in their stores. She makes a comfortable living painting pictures. Her love has now turned into a job. There are deadlines and color guidelines and paperwork. Her love for painting has faded. It isn’t a passion anymore. It’s just a job.
So, again, how do you find a job doing something you actually enjoy to do? Everyone tells you, you can achieve anything as long as you put your mind to it. But what if you don’t know what it is you want to achieve?
Maybe I’ll teach, no psychologist, that’s it! Oohh but being a flight attendant sounds like fun or a writer! An artist! I’ll never have to “work” again!
But you do. It’s all work. And it all becomes an annoyance. A life draining entity. So how do you decide what degree to get or trade to learn or passion to invest in when ultimately it will end up feeling the same as every other job? Seriously. How? Anybody?
Not Another Zombie Story: Part 2
Miles away from the dingy house, out of the city, where the yards get larger and the houses more lavish, we find Taylor. Taylor is your typical 17 year old girl. Captain of the volleyball team, an amazing gymnast, and lead soprano in choir. Where Taylor differs from other kids her age is she has a secret. A secret life. A secret identity. A secret addiction.
Like most teenagers it started with a little pot. She was 13 when she first smoked a joint. It was after school in the woods behind the football field. Her friend Alyssa had started dating a high school boy and begged Taylor to come with her to the woods where the older, popular kids hang out. How could she say no? Standing awkwardly in the group of high schoolers Taylor did her best to fit in. When a joint magically appeared in front of her she grabbed it without hesitation, taking a long painful drag, immediately convulsing into a fit of coughs. The older kids laughed and cheered her on. That’s all it took. She was one of them now. The next four years were a blur of parties full of alcohol, pot, acid, mushrooms, whipits, cocaine, meth, you name it.
Taylor miraculously maintained her teenage life. She took drugs to help her study. She took drugs to help her compete. She took drugs to help her sleep. She took drugs for everything. No one knew. She was still beautiful. She was still vibrant. But she was slowly dying on the inside. And the drugs she took were no longer working. She needed something new. Something better.
Taylor had just finished her junior year and was getting ready for the end of the year party hosted by her bff Alyssa of course. She finished her makeup, did a bump, and headed out. The party was your typical teenage rager. Music blaring. Kegs, fifths, blunts, lines. Barely dressed girls kissing other barely dressed girls. Bros playing beer pong. Couples making out in the corners.
Taylor made her way through the crowd and found Alyssa.
“Yeeesss Queen! You look amazing!” Alyssa screamed as she reached out to hug Taylor. “Where the fuck you been? Tonight is going to be lit. Josh is bringing over some good shit.”
Taylor’s heart skipped a beat. She had been in love with Josh since freshman year. The idea of partying with him all night made her stomach flip.
“My Aunt is in town so I had to do dinner at the club with the fam. It was so fucking boring. Let me hit that.” Taylor said pulling a blunt out of Alyssa’s mouth. “What’s Josh bringing? I’m sick of this weak ass kid shit.”
“I don’t know.” Alyssa said, hitting the blunt. “He said his brother got it from a friend who got it from this guy. Anyway it’s supposed to be crazy. Like nothing we’ve ever tried before.”
Taylor looked around. Her classmates were spread throughout the house. Drinking, smoking, laughing. This was going to be a great summer. The summer before senior year. The summer before her adult life began.
Taylor and Alyssa walked in the kitchen to make a cocktail. And there was Josh. Tall, lean, beautiful. He was holding something in his hand and excitedly talking to JT, the captain of the lacrosse team. Taylor pretended not to notice him. Alyssa wasn’t as coy.
“Josh! About fucking time! You got it?”
“Yep.” Josh said with a grin. He held his hand out to show a small glass vial with some green murky liquid inside. “Hey Taylor.” He said sheepishly.
“That’s it??” Alyssa said before Taylor could answer. “Dude I gave you $200 and that’s all you came back with?? What the fuck?”
“Trust me.” Josh said, keeping his eyes on Taylor. “This stuff is legit. It will make you feel like you are flying.”
“Well what are we waiting for. Pour it in my drink.” Alyssa said.
“It doesn’t work that way.” Josh said. He pulled the top of the tiny vial and showed the girls a small glass dropper attached. “One drop. That’s all you need.”
“For fucks sake Josh, we’ve done acid before. I can’t believe this is what you got with my money.” Alyssa grumbled.
“It’s not acid!” Josh said. “It’s..it’s..it’s just different, okay? Trust me.”
“It better be the best shit ever.” Alyssa said. “Let’s get this party started.” She opened her mouth and tilted her head back. Taylor followed suit. Josh put the dropper back in the vial, pulled it out, and put a drop in Alyssa’s, Taylor’s, and his mouth.
Taylor instantly felt like she was floating. Her body was as light as a feather. The wall of the kitchen melted into a swirl of colors. The fridge splashed to the floor like an ocean wave. Taylor saw figures floating past her. They resembled her classmates but were distorted and misshapen like clocks in a Dali painting Taylor saw in a museum once. They floated past her one at a time exploding into red ribbons as they passed. The sounds she heard were like muffled police sirens. Long high pitch tones fading into the swirling walls. She thought she could make out Alyssa in the mix of shapes and colors but the distorted figure instantly collided with another figure. More red ribbons fluttered to the ground and muffled sirens sang. Then everything went black.
Not Another Zombie Story: Part 1
It didn’t start like everyone imagined. It didn’t start like it had been written millions of times before. There wasn’t a virus. There wasn’t a mutated gene. There wasn’t a rapture. It started as an experiment. No, not a mad scientist experiment. An experiment from the desperate, the uneducated, the addicted. People had been reinventing the wheel for centuries figuring out new ways to get high. Thanks to over medication of opiods in the past 20 years the inventions got more clever. Or more earth shattering.
It all started in the dingiest of cities. Where hopelessness was as thick as cigarette smoke and crime was as common as the sunrise. It started with a man. Not a brilliant man. A man who actually never even graduated high school. A man that held our fate in his hands.
Joel was born addicted to cocaine. The son of a rock star father he had never met. And a mother who peaked in the 80’s and spent the rest of her life chasing that feeling. Joel knew the cravings before he could even walk. Those cravings never went away. He was a mediocre student at best. That is, when he actually made it to school. Most of the time his mother was too hung over or high to take him. So Joel, like many others and soon all of mankind, was doomed. He could have fallen into that 5% and through hard work and determination became something wonderful. Something different. Instead he did what was easy. What he knew.
Joel tried his first drug at age 10. He found a roach in the chipped amber ashtray on the coffee table and snatched it before his mother, snoring on the couch, could notice. Joel decided to see why it was so great. Why his mother prefered it to him. Why his mom and her friends seemed to have more fun after smoking it. What Joel didn’t know is that the roach was not just marijuana. It was laced with something. Something that smelled kind of like burning plastic and gave him the strength of 10 men. That was the high that started Joel’s search. And that was the high that changed our world as we knew it.
Now here is Joel, 22. Alone, strung out, desperate. He has spent his life so far in and out of jails and treatment centers. He is on a first name basis with the police officers in town and even some out of town. He has gotten high in every way imaginable. Meth, crack, herion, prescription drugs, you name it. He has even drank bottle after bottle of vanilla extract to get a buzz. He lives alone in a one room cinderblock single floor house. On the right wall is a mini fridge, a sink, and a toilet. The left wall has a couch oozing stuffing from its cushions and a metal tv tray holding a lamp. In the middle of the room is a table with one chair. Beer cans, cigarettes, and garbage litter the floor. The walls are bare minus an outdated calendar with a picture of a classic car on it.
Joel sits at the table surrounded by empty beer cans, empty prescription bottles, and overflowing ashtrays. He is leaning over a green plastic bowl staring intently into it. There is a knock at the door. “J! What are you doin man?” It’s Patti. To people on the street Patti and Joel might be considered a couple. They were together more often than not. Smoking outside of bars, drinking from brown paper bags. Spending hours in Joel’s house. They both had the same mission and sometimes that was easier with a partner but romance was not part of the deal. Joel didn’t even know Patti’s last name. He just knew she was good at getting drugs.
“Fuck you, J. I know you got some shit in there.”
Joel ignored her. Yes, he did. But what? Inside the bowl was a green, murky liquid. A concoction of prescription drugs, alcohol, and household cleaners. Using a dropper, Joel takes some of the liquid and places a drop on his tongue.
Instant euphoria. Joel is flying high among the clouds. Below he sees the city. The cars look like bugs, the lights like prisms. Colors swirl all around and happiness is upon him. Trees blend and grow like waves on the ocean. Buildings melt into rivers. People move in slow motion like liquid. Then things start to change. The colors fade and turn dark. The people turn in slow fluidity, their eyes menacing. Joel feels scared. He sees a face. Is that Patti? She is a blur of shapes and colors. Is she screaming? Joel hears no sound. Patti’s mouth opens farther, her head stretching like the painting by Munch. It continues to stretch until it bursts into bright red ribbons that float silently to the dark ground below. Joel’s heart is beating fast. He looks down at his chest and can see his shirt move like his heart is going to pop out at any minute. He grabs his heart. Then everything goes black.
Since my daughter started high school I noticed a shift in the parent to parent dynamic. A seperation. A purposeful move to exclude. Under breath conversations and side glances. I couldn’t pinpoint why at first. Did I say something wrong? Were my bake sale cookies not up to par? Am I driving the wrong type of SUV? It wasn’t until my teen broke up with her boyfriend that a venomous mother showed me the light. I was the “cool mom”. I was the mom “more worried about being friends with my child than being a mother”. I was side stepping parent responsibility in order to be liked and considered “one of the gang”. Let me just say, that’s total bullshit.
First off, I don’t drink or party with my kid. Don’t get me wrong, I drink. I party. But the LAST thing I want is my kid to be around while I’m doing it. I party with my friends to forget for a few hours that I am even a parent. So why would I want my kid there???
Secondly, the reason my kid likes me (most days) is because I treat her like a human being. I respect her. I respect her feelings. I respect her thoughts. I consider her point of view. And the biggest of them all, I DON’T JUDGE. She is so close to being a legal adult it’s terrifying. Do I want that adult to not trust their own judgement? Do I want her to not feel confident to enter the real world without my help? Do I want her to feel her thoughts, feelings are not valid?
Third, instead of living in denial, I remember that I was once a teenager and what it felt like. I remember the insecurity. I remember the nervousness. I remember the desires my hormonal body was showing me for the first time. So no, I’m not going to lose my shit when my kid says she’s thinking about having sex for the first time with her boyfriend. I am not going to ground her for life and deprive her from something that is normal and natural. I am going to explain, in great detail, what it means to lose your virginity and what could happen after. What a horrible mother I am.
Lastly, I am going to let my kid live her life. You want to shave your head? Go ahead. You want to ditch me at dinner to go hang out with friends? Have fun. You want to go go to Detroit for a rock concert? Wear your seatbelt. In this fast paced game of life the small shit doesn’t matter. You learn from every experience. Why would I want to keep her from learning?
I determine my parental success with the following; Is she kind? Very. Does she work hard? Yes. Is she respectful? You bet your ass she is. Does she get straight A’s? Not always but who cares? Will she make mistakes? Of course, does anyone not?
Moral of the story is, before you judge the “cool mom” and throw her into the “bad mom” category, look at your own parenting. Life is short and our kids leave us before we know it. Don’t spend your time with them focused on insane schedules, perfect grades, lifelong abstinence, and militant discipline. Enjoy them. Respect them. Love them. Be cool.
It Won’t Be Long
My daughter turns 16 today. I am sad. I am not sad that she is not a little girl anymore. I love the person she is right now just as much, if not more, as that little girl. I am sad because I know it won’t be long.
It won’t be long before she graduates from high school. It won’t be long before she leaves for college. It won’t be long before she graduates from college. It won’t be long before she has a career. It won’t be long before she meets someone special. It won’t be long before she gets married. It won’t be long before she has kids. It won’t be long before her kids grow up. It won’t be long before her kids are gone. It won’t be long before I am gone.
As sad as the thought of the above makes me I pray that it happens. I pray I am there to see it. I pray I am along for every step. I pray she accomplishes everything she attempts. I pray that she is happy the whole way through. I will pray every day for it all.
Happy birthday my love. You have brought me 16 of the best years of my life. You are truly the most amazing person I have ever met. Enjoy this year because it will be unlike any other year you have ever experienced. Be present. Be adventurous. Be kind. Your next birthday is a year away and that may feel like a lifetime but trust me when I say, it won’t be long.
I Got 99 Problems But The PTA Ain’t One.
Growing up in the 80’s meant I was front and center for the rise of hip hop. I had an older brother that fed me rap albums re-recorded on scribbled on cassette tapes. I would listen to them over and over on my brown Playskool tape player, careful not to play it too loud for my mother to hear. By age 8, I was well versed in Grand Master Flash, NWA, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys. I loved it. It spoke to me, as much as it can speak to an 8 year old. It had a message. A message about struggle, discrimination, what life was like to be young and black in America. It helped me understand a world I would never know.
By the time Snoop and Biggie and Pac came along, in my teens, I was fully emersed. I listened to other music as well. Pop, punk, rock, alternative, R&B but hip hop always held strong in my heart. At a glance I looked like a punk. Piercings, tattoos, colored hair, combat boots but I could go toe to toe with any rhymers in the neighborhood. I cried when Eazy-E died. I continuously watched the coverage of Biggie and Pac’s murders. I felt my childhood fading away.
Fast foward 20 years. I am a middle aged, white mother. Spending my time bouncing between work and driving my kid to her next sporting event. Cruising around my Satelite radio one day I find the hip hop channels. Bliss! I rap along with every song much to the astonishment of my teenager.
Hip hop has never left me. And now we have all these new sounds. Fetty Wap, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, D.R.A.M. It is a hip hop revolution once again. It is hard for the old school to embrace the new school, I get it. But if we cannot embrace these young artists aren’t we just as bad as our parents back in the day? The people trying to get rap permanently banned? Music evolves. That is what is beautiful about it. Todays rappers have a message. They have a voice that needs to be heard. The have a story. And I hear them.
Hip Hop will always be in my heart and I do not have to play into any stereotypical image of what a middle aged white mother should be. I am proud that my daughter is starting to understand the artistry and message behind hip hop. I educate her on artists and songs. On what is trying to be conveyed. I taught her what Broccli meant, not the other way around. And I am proud.
So if you hear bass thumpin at the high school or the ballet class or the stop light, don’t assume it’s a thug with no musical taste. It’s me. A mother with a degree, a job, and a kid on the honor roll. I may look like Melissa McCarthy on the outside but on the inside I am Ice Cube. Ya’ll better recognize.